Sunday, 13 November 2016

WTA - New Look Year End Top 10

As the men prepare to compete in the prestigious ATP World Tour Finals, it is worth reflecting on the year just gone for the WTA Tour.

In Zhuhai, China last weekend Petra Kvitova finished 2016 in style, winning her second tournament out of the last four contested.  She was a beaten finalist in one of the others.
This compares with an ordinary first half of the year, in which she reached only one semi final.

Petra defeated Elina Svitolina in the Zhuhai final - Svitolina achieved plenty in 2016, including a win over Serena Williams.  The Ukranian reached three finals, grabbed one title, and finished the year at a career high ranking of 14.

The top ten at year end sees Angie Kerber at number one - her two Grand Slam titles helping the rise from 10 at the start.
Serena Williams dropped from 1 to 2.
Agnieszka Radwanska rose from 5 to 3.
Simona Halep dropped from 2 to 4.
Dominika Cibulkova rose from 38 to 5, including taking the WTA Finals title.
Karolina Pliskova rose from 11 to 6.
Garbine Muguruza dropped from 3 to 7, despite winning Roland Garros.
Madison Keys rose from 18 to 8.
Svetlana Kuznetsova rose from 25 to 9.
Johanna Konta rose from 47 to 10.

The five women losing their spots in the top ten were: Maria Sharapova - was 4 but found trouble, Petra Kvitova - 6 to 11, Venus Williams - 7 to 17, Flavia Pennetta - was 8 but now retired, and Lucie Safarova - 9 to 64

The dominance of Serena Williams has dissipated, at least statistically.  Also, there are certain players who clearly are not as intimidated by the great one.  Kerber and Pliskova have weapons which they are only too happy to throw at Serena, and on clay Muguruza demonstrates her ability to counter the brilliance of Williams.

Cibulkova and Kvitova are firing again, and both could be potent forces in the Australian summer, leading into the first major of 2017 - scarily only two months away.
Carla Suarez Navarro had a disappointing end to a solid year but is worth following in 2017, as is the ever improving Johanna Konta.

While Halep and Radwanska are in tournaments, they should never be discounted, and this and all before proves that the depth at the top level of women's tennis is as real as ever, a guarantee of absorbing viewing.

The eight players competing in London in the ATP World Tour Finals have been split into two groups.
Andy Murray heads the John McEnroe Group, and it is without doubt the tougher of the two.  It includes Stan Wawrinka (the US Open Champion), Kei Nishikori (who knocked out Murray in the US Open quarters) and Marin Cilic (who defeated Murray in the Cincinnati final).
Novak Djokovic heads the Ivan Lendl Group, which is filled with other players Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils and Dominic Thiem.
The Serb has not lost to any of them, winning all of his 7 matches against Raonic, 13 against Monfils and 3 against Thiem.  He has beaten each of them twice in 2016 alone.

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