2020 year-end review: top 16-20, women

Petra Martic

20. Elise Mertens
She was almost in the top 20, both 2019 and 2020, as she racked up  some good, but not specular, wins,. She won the WTA title at Doha upsetting Simona Halep. She had a super week and on Sunday, really stroked the ball. But, that was February. After that, she was only decent. If she wants to add some new shots, then she has a shot at more success. If she goes for more variety, then she could punch into the top 15.

19. Elena Rybakina
The Russian is still very young, but she had a very good year, especially in January and February. On her beloved hardcourts, she reached the final at Shenzhen, and then won Hobart. She also reached finals in St. Petersburg, Dubai (she upset Karolina Pliskova and Petra Martic) and Strasbourg. In the fall, Rybakina was decent, but not fantastic. The 21-year-old has yet to go beyond the round of 32 at a Slams. If she adds new shots and trust herself, she can rise into the top 10.

18. Petra Martic
The veteran had a good year, overall, running all over the place, really digging. She can get down really low for her shots. Even though she slides out way to the left, almost in the seats, she can flip it crosscourt on the on to the lines. In 2020, 29-year-old became a little more ambitious as she knows that she has to change it up. Now she goes bigger on her first serve, but her forehand is decent but not great. If she wants to go even further, then she is going to have to refine her forehand and at net play.

17. Iga Swiatek
Out of nowhere the 19-year-old won Roland Garros, sliding and going for the lines. She downed the Halep and Sofia Kenin, losing just a set in seven matches. She was on fire. It is amazing that over the past three years, while the top veterans had won many times, the new ones can explode because they had no fear at all. Such as Naomi Osaka, Kenin, Bianca Andreescu and Jelena Ostapenko. In 2021, Swiatek has to be consistent and thoughtful. Within next year, she could easily reach the top 10. Maybe higher.

16. Madison Keys
Over the past five years, when she is healthy, the Floridian beat everyone. She hits very hard with her forehand and backhand, with some jolting shots at the Grand Slams. She reached numerous second week, making her more and more ambitious. But, she really likes the hard courts, which contributes to her getting hurt repeatedly. She retires on court, or she will pull out before tournaments start. If she wants to reach a Slam final in 2021, she has to figure out how to stay healthy. If that works out, then there is no doubt she can leap back into the top 5.