It has been an eventful season for the Women’s Tennis Association, which featured an array of memorable moments and shocking results alike. While the season belonged to World no. 1 Serena Williams, there were several other players who made a significant impact on the tour. Marion Bartoli provided arguably the biggest upset of the season when she won the Wimbledon Championships for her maiden Grand Slam title, while youngsters like Eugenie Bouchard enjoyed a breakthrough year, which bodes well for our expectations for 2014.
Chinese No. 1 Li Na has taken part in arguably her best year on the WTA tour as she finished at a career-high of No. 3 after beginning the year ranked No. 7, which is a remarkable achievement for the 31 year old. While she only won a single title in 2013, she reached four finals, including the Australian Open and the WTA Championships in Istanbul. She also made her first ever US Open semi-final, where she lost to top-ranked Serena Williams. She has compiled a 44-14 record on the tour this season and earned over $3 million in prize money.
Romania’s Simona Halep enjoyed a extraordinary year on the tour as she rose 36 spots in the rankings to No. 11, and will now attempt to break into the top 10 for the first time in her career. She won six titles this year, including wins in Sofia, Moscow and New Haven, which will make her upcoming season a challenging one as she attempts to defends those titles. She finished with an outstanding 53-17 record, one of the best on the tour, and earned approximately $1.2 million in prize money.
World No. 12 Sloane Stephens announced herself as a rising star on the tour when he defeated World no. 1 Serena Williams in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. She would lose in the following round to eventual champion Victoria Azarenka but that did not hinder her gradual rise through the rankings. Stephens began the year ranked No. 38 and slowly worked her way up 26 spots to finish the year within the top 15 for the first time in her young career. She is yet to win her maiden title on the tour but has managed to compile a 39-23 record on the tour and over $1.5 million in prize money. It has been turbulent at times, but if Sloane could continue to develop her game at her current pace, it is only a matter of time before she breaks into the upper echelon.
Arguably the biggest mover in the WTA rankings has been rising Canadian youngster Eugenie Bouchard, who rose from No. 144 to close out the season at No. 32. It truly has been a spectacular year for the 19 year old, as she even won her first title on the tour and will finish the year ranked higher than British no. 1 Laura Robson, which was not the projected situation in 2013. For a young player with only a few years of professional tennis to her name, she has displayed a remarkable amount of potential and a well-rounded game that will undoubtedly take her to the upper echelon of the women’s game.