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.

Australian Open picks for Monday, January 19

The 2015 Australian Open is here and ready to roll. Here are our picks for the opening day.

Rod Laver Arena

3-Simona Halep v Karin Knapp

The Romanian believes she is ready now to win a Slam. She played excellent ball at the WTA Final, very aggressive, fast and full of life. She will out steady Knapp, but she cannot be conservative against the big women.

5-Ana Ivanovic v Lucie Hradecka

For the first times, you can feel Ana playing smartly and not becoming nervous. She has improved a ton overall and will be heard from during the tournament, bashing the huge server Hradecka.

kerber 2013 pre champs

Kerber should get by Begu.

3-Rafa Nadal v Mikhail Youzhny

Who knows how well Rafa will play, saying that he isn’t right yet and still a little sore during the last half of 2014. But as he says that should he reach into the second week, then perhaps he will be competitive again. You know he will, nailing Youzhny side to side.

2-Roger Federer d Lu Yen-hsun

Here goes Roger again and in Brisbane towards the end he looks very, very good. Federer does not lose to the smaller guys in the Slams, so he will out think Yen-hsun, but Roger will have to be spot-on to win another Slam, as it’s been two-and-a-half years since his last triumph.

2-Maria Sharapova v Petra Martic

Sharapova had added a few new things, such as coming into the net more (I know, I know: it’s taken 10 years) and drop shots. She hasn’t played great in the past two years at the Aussie, but she is ready to rumble and knock the Croatian right off the court.

Margaret Court Arena

Jarmila Gajdosova v Alexandra Dulgheru

The Aussie Gajdosova looked very well in Sydney and while she can become wild, she wants the fans to see her again and take down a couple of seeds. She will begin run down Dulgheru in straight sets.

6-Andy Murray v Yuki Bhambri

Murray isn’t sure whether or not he can take out the best yet, but he doesn’t want to tell the big boys that, at least not yet. The young India Bhambri looked very good as a junior but isn’t strong enough. Murray will beat him down.

9-Angelique Kerber v Irina-Camelia Begu

Angie is all over the place. She tries super hard, but she doesn’t commit enough, which is why she can be had. But not yet, as the lefty will outlast Begu.

7-Eugenie Bouchard v Anna-Lena Friedsam

The Canadian has come a long way over the last year and wasn’t afraid to go after anyone, but she struggled the last four months in 2014. Now everyone knows who she is, which means it’s going to get even harder. Genie will hit through against Friedsam, but right now, she could be in for a fall.

Nick Kyrgios v Federico Delbonis

The Aussie Kyrgios is only 19 so he still has a long to go, but he has a gigantic serve and can crack his forehand. His back in hurting, meaning it is going to be very tough to reach very deep into the tournament. However, he could win a few rounds, like over the Argentine in four tough sets.

Hisense Arena

32-Belinda Bencic v Julia Goerges

I really like the Swiss teen overall as she is very smart and mixes it up, but she is a little up and down. The German Goerges has fallen in the singles but she can crush her forehand. How about an upset, stunning the Swiss in three long sets?

28-Sabine Lisicki v Kristina Mladenovic

I am not sure exactly where Lisicki is going (if she’s not on grass), but she will win in three long sets, as neither the German nor the French Mladenovic moves well enough.

Bernard Tomic v Tobias Kamke

The Aussie Tomic has been very good at times in Brisbane and Sydney, but he has not been able to take down the good boys. He is rising again, but he doesn’t want to get caught by a ton of up-and-coming Aussies like Sam Groth or Thanasi Kokkinakis. We don’t know yet, but Tomic will be good enough to best Kamke in straight sets.

Sam Groth v Filip Krajinovic

Speaking of which, Groth was also pretty darn good in Brisbane and Sydney. He has improved quite a bit over the past year or so. He has a massive serve and consistently charges to the net. The problem is, will he be too nervous at the AO? Perhaps, but not yet as he will edge Krajinovic in five sets.