Top 20 in 2019: Women, 10-6

No. 10: Serena Williams
In 2019, she played 31 matches, which is OK, but the 38-year-old needs to compete more. Yes, she is one of the best players ever, and she could win another major. Then she will tie with Margaret Court, with 24 Slams. I am sure that she wants to do it, but she is aging. While she still crushes the ball, she isn’t quite as fast anymore and she will continue to slow down. That happens to everyone. However, there are things she can go to compensate, like when she has an opportunity, she can rush into the net. To win a Slam again, she has to push herself. To run back and forth, it is difficult to out-run the young, excellent players. In 2019, she did not win an event, even though she reached in the finals at Roland Garros and US Open when Simona Halep and Bianca Andreescu twisted her around. Obviously, Serena has a serious chance to win Slam in 2020. But when? My guess, I would say Wimbledon, if she can through in a bundle of aces. 
 
No. 9: Kiki Bertens

The tall Netherlander had a solid year, hitting harder, and becoming more patient. A couple of years ago, she won Charleston, Cincinnati and Seoul, and it was clear that she was leaping up. In 2019, she has been respectable, winning Madrid, upsetting Petra Kvitova, Sloane Stephens and Simon Halep on clay. Sadly, at RG, she became hurt and she has to retire in the second round. After that, she was decent, but not spectacular. At least she made the final at Beijing, and then she was on the verge of ousting No. 1 Ash Barty. But, she went down 7-6(7) in the third. Talk about close. In 2020, if she gets better, then she will push into the top 5, but not for No. 1.

No. 8: Belinda Bencic
You have to wonder whether the 22-years-old will win a Slam in 2020. The Swiss finally rose up in the spring, and over the months, she upset Naomi Osaka at the US Open, and she beat Karolina Pliskova, Elena Svitolina and Simona Halep, at different tournaments. When she beats the top 5 players (and she can), then it is so clear that she can grab a major. Her forehand and backhand are big and convincing. She hustles, and she is enthusiastic. However, she plays too much, and in 2019, she was forced to retire here and there. One of the reasons was that four years ago, she was winning all the time. But, she got hurt for many months. When she returned, she had to re-start again. It wasn’t instantaneous, but she was pretty patient, and this year, she finally grew. If she goes deep at the Slams, she will be knocking at the door. 

No. 7: Petra Kvitova
The Czech has won Wimbledon twice, and she was very close to win the 2019 Australian. But, in the final, she lost 6-4 in the third to Naomi Osaka. That was a terrific contest with huge swings by both of them. Had she found a way to trip up Osaka, then she would have been incredibly happy. But she could not, so Kvitova will have an opportunity in 2020. She has to bear down, and concentrate, all the time. She will be 30-year-old and the best thing for her is not to play a tremendous amount now. How long she will continue to play in the next few years in up in the air. If she is playing great, she will stay there, but if she is mediocre, month after month, then she will stop, and retire. Just like Caro Wozniacki recently said that in January, that is the last time she will play tennis because that will be it and she will wave goodbye. They are the same age. At the 2020 Australian Open, Kvitova will be thinking about her path forward, which would be to improve her second serve, her return and net play. All of it, slightly, and then she can win it at Melbourne.

No. 6: Elina Svitolina
The good thing about the Ukraine is that this year, she finally reached the semis at the Slams, twice, at Wimbledon and the US Open. But, the bad news is that on court, in front of thousands of fans, she backs off and she went down, to Halep and Williams. Clearly, it is not easy to beat the fantastic players, but she has to shake it off and concentrate. Svitolina has won 13 titles. In 2017, she grabbed in Dubai, Rome and Toronto, three Premier 5s. She is super strong, fast on her feet, muscular and ambitious. However, she has done everything, except win a Slam. In 2020, Svitolina has to be tranquil. If she does, she will reach a Slam final somewhere, and grind her opponent into the ground.

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