WTA Year In Review: 5-1 Including Simona Halep

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This off-season, Last Word on Tennis will be looking back at the seasons of the top 50 players on each tour. This installment covers the WTA 2017 players ranked 5-1, including Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza.

5. Venus Williams

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Venus Williams continues to defy age by ending 2017 in the top five at 37 years old

High Points

If Venus proved anything in 2017, it is that she can still go at a high level at age 37. Whilst the American did not claim a single title in 2017, she made two Grand Slam finals at the Australian Open and Wimbledon respectively. Williams would cap off her year by making the final of the Year End Championships too.

Low Points

Whilst Venus made the semi finals of the US Open, which is by no means a bad result. However the fact she did not take advantage of the depleting draw in New York may mean that she lost perhaps her last chance at claiming Grand Slam glory when Sloane Stephens bested her in the last four.

Outlook for 2018

Venus will continue on as she always does because she simply loves playing tennis. But there must be a point where age catches up to her and that may happen in 2018. Venus may take on a reduced schedule as a result, and that will likely affect her ranking, but she will still remain in the upper echelons of the rankings.

4. Karolina Pliskova

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Three titles and a number one ranking meant a successful year for Karolina Pliskova despite not winning a Grand Slam title

High Points

Becoming world number one in July was undoubtedly the highlight of Pliskova’s year. It is what every player dreams of when they decide to become a professional and Pliskova achieved this in July. This was largely down to her tremendous start to the season where she won Doha and Brisbane.

Low Points

Despite her success during the year, the Czech still ailed to claim her maiden Grand Slam title. Perhas the most disappointing of these losses came at Wimbledon where she was dumped out in the second round by Magdalena Rybarikova. The quarter final defeat in Australia to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni is another that also stung.

Outlook For 2018

Claiming a maiden Grand Slam title will be the goal for 2018, but with Serena Williams returning and a host of young players threatening to break through, that could be difficult for the Czech. A top five finish once again might have to suffice for Pliskova with a few titles along the way.

3. Caroline Wozniacki

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A great end to the season saw Caroline Wozniacki cement her name in the top five once again

High Points

Wozniacki’s year ended just how she wanted. The Dane lifted the WTA Finals trophy after an impressive performance in Singapore to confirm a top five finish and get the attention of many people who are tipping her to break her rand Slam duck in 2018.

Low Points

It is hard to call finals a low point, but Wozniacki had trouble in finals in 2017 which stopped her being ranked even higher than she is now. She also failed to make it past the quarter finals of any Grand Slam which is disappointing for a player ranked three.

Outlook for 2018

It is interesting how most of this top 10 do not hold a Grand Slam title to their name. To win their maiden major is what most of these players will aim for and Wozniacki is no exception. Whether she will do so is the big question. She may make another final if she stays in her late season form and a top 10 finish will be likely.

2. Garbine Muguruza

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A second Grand Slam title helped Garbine Muguruza achieve the number one ranking for the first time

High Points

After the pressure of being a Grand Slam champion lifted at Roland Garros, Muguruza would go on to claim her second slam title just weeks later at Wimbledon. The Spaniard defeated Venus in the final and dealt with this win much better than the last. Muguruza backed it up by winning the Cincinnati title and becoming world number one for the first time.

Low Points

The 24 year old did not have a great first half of the season, but her ultimate low point came at the French Open against Kristina Mladenovic. Not only was she dealing with the pressure of defending a Grand Slam title for the first time, she had to face a partisan French crowd who upset her during the match. Muguruza would crash out here and the tennis world were left wondering if she was just a one slam wonder.

Outlook for 2018

Now Muguruza knows how to handle the pressure of being an elite player, she could be the dominant player on tour. She will have her inconsistent moments in 2018, but do not be surprised to see her rise to number one again and add another grand slam title to her collection.

1.      Simona Halep

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Simona Halep’s consistency throughout the season helped the Romanian finish the year as world number one

High Points

Finishing the year as number one in the world was a fantastic achievement for Halep. The Romanian was consistent throughout 2017 and that is what allowed her to finish 2017 as the best player in the world. She only won the single title in 2017 which came in Madrid. The world number one defeated Kristina Mladenovic in the final.

Low Points

Halep will be disappointed she let a golden chance of claiming her first Grand Slam title slip at the French Open. The Romanian was a set and a break up against Jelena Ostapenko in the final at Roland Garros, but she let the lead slip and with it the title. It was another year where she failed to break her Grand Slam duck.

Outlook for 2018

It will likely be more or less the same for Halep. She is one of the more consistent players on tour and she will be disappointed if she falls out of the top five. Can she claim a maiden Grand Slam title though? That is the goal and there are not many reasons why she can not.

 

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