Top 30 in 2018: Women 25-21

No. 25: Dominika Cibulkova
The 29-year-old Slovak has played so many tournaments, with winning 446 and 280 losses. Can she eventually hit 1,000 total? Possibility, for sure, but she will need more than a few years more on tour. Sure, she isn’t tall, but is super intense when on court. She is still swift, she celebrates and she can yell. Her serve is marginal, but both her forehand and backhand can be deep. She believes in herself, most of the time, and when she isn’t playing well, she will still try and try again. Cibulkova did reach the 2014 final at the Australian Open. Can she do it again next month? You have to give her an opportunity, at least a little bit.   

No. 24: Mihaela Buzarnescu
What a year by the 30-year-old, who was out for years because she had a shoulder and knee injuries. In July, she won San Jose and upended Elina Svitolina at Roland Garros and Birmingham. She is a big hitter and he’s hitting her stride. Buzarnescu started the year ranked No. 59, and now she is close to reach the top 20, or even further. Not bad. Good, in fact. 

No. 23: Carla Suarez Navarro
The 30-year-old veteran had a fine year. Yes, the Spaniard won’t be able to win a Slam, but she is always out there, trying, re-tooling her tactics. Years ago, this one-hander was way back behind the court. For sure, she was very steady. But, in order to upend the most important players, she had to run forward. She didn’t do it enough, but only once in a while. Now, she can attack while remaining steady. Suarez Navarro has been around for 15 years. Give her another five years, because clearly, she loves playing the sports, win or lose.

No. 22: Jelena Ostapenko
At times, the Latvian is so, so good. In 2017, she won Roland Garros, moving quickly and blasting off of both sides, nailing on top of the lines. Sure, she can rack up a ton of errors. But, when she is excited and thinking on court, she can lock in. However, this season Ostapenko dropped, and she lost a number of important matches starting in August. Good thing she reached the semis at Wimbledon, but she lost in the first round in Paris to Kateryna Kozlova. She wasn’t there. The 21-year-old is still young, so in 2019, she will play great at times, but still, she has more things to improve, and to figure it out. 
  
No. 21: Anett Kontaveit
The Estonian had some terrific wins, outside in the Grand Slams, but she did reach in the final in Wuhan, upsetting the 2017 US Open champ Sloane Stephens and she finally lost to the young riser Aryna Sabalenta. In Rome, she knocked off Venus Williams and Carolina Wozniacki before she went down to Elina Svitolina. Kontaveit can be very aggressive, and she can crack her forehand, but on court, she can get alarmed and she can totally lose it. The 22-year-old should get better next year, and improve her backhand and net play. If she does, she can reach the top 10 in 2019, at some point. And then?   

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