Three Future WTA Stars Set For A Big 2018

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As the season draws to a close and the players hang up their rackets for the offseason, we take a look back at some of the great breakthrough stories that came this past year. These young women are all future WTA stars and are expected to come back better and stronger in the 2018 season.

Destanee Aiava

Destanee Aiava stunned the tennis world back in January, becoming the first player born in the 2000’s to win a main draw WTA level match. Aiava had a breakthrough Australian summer, winning her way through qualifying before beating American veteran Bethanie Mattek-Sands in a stunning three set encounter at the Brisbane International. Her stellar play led to wild cards for the singles, women’s and mixed doubles at her home Grand Slam, the Australian Open. Unfortunately, the young Australian was not able to continue her winning ways and was knocked out in the first round of all three events. Even though it was not the desired outcome in her first Grand Slam appearance, the 17-year-old gained valuable experience.
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The rising star spent the remainder of the 2017 season competing mainly in ITF level events, having mixed results. Aiava is currently ranked outside of the top 100, however with the Australian summer fast approaching, expect this to improve greatly. The future star will look to secure a wild card into the Australian Open in the coming months and will hope to improve on last year’s performance. At just 17 years of age, Aiava has an incredibly bright future and has already shown she can handle the pressure of playing against the very best in the world.

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka may not be a household name just yet, but expect that to change very quickly. The 20-year-old has already made appearances in the third round of every Grand Slam. In her short career, Osaka has totalled more than 1.2 million dollars with half of that coming from the 2017 season. Osaka has proven she is a future superstar with wins over top-10 players, Angelique Kerber and Venus Williams, both in straight sets. Osaka’s big, hard hitting game can be unstoppable at times and has garnered the attention of the biggest stars, with Serena Williams calling the young gun a ‘very dangerous’ player.
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The 5-foot-11 star seems to be mature beyond her years which is an important trait in tennis. Osaka remains very level on court, similar to Aiava, and her demeanour rarely changes throughout matches. However, unlike Aiava, Osaka possesses a monster serve that many have compared to her idol, Serena Williams. The Japanese No.1 has already reached superstar status in her home country, despite speaking limited Japanese, and is expected to push on to achieve even greater feats.

Donna Vekic

Donna Vekic may be a familiar name to some people, and not for the desired reasons. You may recall the shot Nick Kyrgios took at Stan Wawrinka during their Montreal Masters clash… Anyway, Vekic should be no longer be remembered as ‘Wawrinka’s girlfriend’, because she truly is an up and comer in the women’s game and is already proving herself amongst the top players. In 2012, Vekic reached her first WTA final at only 16-years-of-age, becoming the youngest to do so in six years. There was a lot of hype surrounding this teenager and for good reason. Now aged 21, Vekic has amassed wins over Eugenie Bouchard, Lucie Safarova, Johanna Konta and fellow rising star, Jelena Ostapenko.

The Croatian has shown that she can mix it with the best on tour, already winning 2 WTA titles in her short career. Vekic may not have lived up to the very high expectations just yet. However, currently ranked just outside the top-50, at 21-years-of-age, Vekic has a huge future ahead of herself.

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