Top 20s in 2019: Women, No. 5-No. 1

  • No. 5: Bianca Andreescu 
    What an incredible year for the Canadian, with the 19-year-old snaring the US Open. She is such mighty and potent. She may not be so tall, but she is so quick and sturdy. She bangs the ball, and when she gets an opportunity, she honker down and strikes. In California, in March, she won Indian Wells, flipping Angie Kerber. She got hurt, but she came back in August and she won Toronto, upending Karolina Pliskova and Serena Williams. When she won in New York, she knocked down Carolina Wozniacki, Belina Bencic and Serena. Then, everyone knew that she will go very deep for years, if she won’t get significantly hurt. Assuming that she will be healthy in 2020, she could reach the No. 1 at some point, perhaps in February. She is coming up so breathless. 

    No. 4: Simona Halep
    The Romanian had a pretty good year overall, snaring Wimbledon. That was surprising, because year after year, the 28-year-old had never gone to the final on grass in London, becoming frustrated. But two years ago, she finally won a major, taking Roland Garros. After that, she was more smooth. Without a doubt, she gets hurt a lot, but she keeps playing tournament after tournament. At Wimbledon, in the final against Serena, she rose up so high, playing one of the most dominant performances in years. After that, Halep did not play well from August through October. She is so steady, all the time. In 2020, if she wants to win another Slam, she had to be more offensive.   

    No. 3: Naomi Osaka
    At the start of the year, the big basher won the 2019 Australian Open, five months after she grabbed the 2019 US Open. She was so darn good, never backing off, hitting oh-so-hard. Then the Japanese became messy, and she was unsettled. She was over-hitting too often. It had gotten mixed messages from coaches, the old one and the new one. Sometimes it doesn’t matter at all, but there are many more players who really listen to their the coach. When they begin to play on court, they can only react. Osaka certainly can grip it, totally, when she goes for it. She appears to be thinking, so that can be good or bad. In 2020, there will be months when she is happy and playing fantastic. When can she win a major again? Perhaps at Wimbledon, on the cool grass.

    No. 2: Karolina Pliskova
    The tall, powerful Czech was pretty consistent, reaching No. 2. But, for whatever reason, the 27-year-old has yet to win a major. Amongst the top 5, they have all snared a Grand Slam, but Pliskova hasn’t been able to take a slam. She should have it already, and maybe she can, but rather than just panicking, she can reassess and re-think her tactics. When she is on a roll, she can defeat one and all. Her huge first serve are possibly the best one on the tour now, and she can crack her forehead and backhand on the lines. However, Pliskova is not that fast and she doesn’t return deep enough. She is a very smart, talking with her, off the court. But, on court, she still gets confused. She can win a Slam, and she really wants to, so in 2020, on the hard courts, she will take either the Australian Open or the US Open. As long as she breathes.    

    No. 1: Ash Barty
    A few years ago, who would have thought that the Australian could actually become No. 1? Doubles, yes, because she was completely in control, but she also was/is a terrific volleyer and returner. But in singles, she would get very nervous and push the ball. However, this year, the 23-year-old started to change things. Not immediately, but she could tell that her heavy forehand, her slice backhand and her deep return were vastly improved. In April, she won a huge title in Miami on hard courts. And, then in June, on clay, she won Roland Garros. In Birmingham, she won on grass. Three different surfaces. At the end of the year, she won the WTA Finals over the top players. That is why that clearly, she is No.1, hands down. Can she continue as No. 1 for the entire year in 2020? That is difficult, for everyone, now, but given that she can still add some new shots, without a doubt, she will snag more than a few more titles. Maybe at the 2020 Australian Open? Absolutely.