Top 20 in 2019: Women, 15-11

Sofia Kenin

No. 15: Petra Martic 
One of the smart veterans, the 28-year-old had an efficient year. Yes, she has never been one of the top competitors. But, the good thing is that in 2019, the Croatian changed a few things, and then she made her move. She is somewhat steady, and when she has an opportunity, she can clout it. Can Martic reach the top 10 in 2020? Possibly, but she has to get even better, or she will not be able to go inside to go deep at the Grand Slams. Or even win a huge tournament.

No. 14: Sofia Kenin
The young American broke out early and she didn’t stop. The huge hitter won three events — not gigantic — but good enough. She won Hobart, Mallorca and Guangzhou. Yes, she has yet to beat the great players, but she did upend with Elina Svitolina and Belinda Bencic. She played a ton of tournaments, almost every week, helping the 21-year-old became more intelligent on court. She started in January ranked No. 48, and Kenin had to battle and take a lot of big swings. At times, she did, and she began to climb up. Just like many of the young players, she has to mix it up more, serve harder and go down the lines. She is competitive, and enthusiastic, so in 2020 she will continue to trip up the top-tier players. 

No. 13: Madison Keys
The now 24-year-old American had a so-so year, not because she can is capable of knocking out any player when she is on, but she is still constantly hurt. She has come close to winning a Slam; when she gets there, she has froze up like she did at the 2017 US Open against Sloane Stepehns. Even this year, she looked terrific, winning Cincinnati by knocking out Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep and Kenin. But, then after that, she went down, losing in the fourth round against Elena Svitolina. In the fall, she skidded. Keys is very powerful, her first serve is vast, as are the forehand and her backhand, but she needs to run a little faster. Plus, she has to commit at the net. If Keys does, she can win a Slam, but she has to stay healthy. That is her plight and she has to change it.

No. 12: Johanna Konta
The British woman finally turned it around this season, being thoughtful, skillful and she was really listening. When she cracked the top 10, in 2017, it really looked like that she had a legitimate opportunity to win a Grand Slam. She made an attempt, went deep at Wimbledon. But, against the great Venus Williams, she became nervous and over-hit. Plus, she has to serve better, and return deeper. After that, Konta went down fast, losing all the time. She did nothing in 2018, and in 2019, she almost went into the top-50, but finally, she took a big breath. In May, she pushed herself. She went deep in Rome, Roland Garros and the US Open, before she became hurt. If she does the exact same thing, then Konta will back into the top 10 and grab an immense tournament 

No. 11: Aryna Sabalenka
There were great days by the Belarus, crushing the balls, knocking off many terrific players and winning a few events. But, that was in 2018. This season in the beginning of January, she won Shenzhen. Yet after that, she crashed. Sabalenka lost because she couldn’t keep her focus. In took her eight months to get back, and in the fall, she locked in again. She won Wuhan, upsetting the No. 1 Ash Barty, and in her last tournament of the year, she won Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai. It was not a good year overall, but the huge hitter is only 21 years old. So, without a doubt, she had listen her body and her mind. Hopefully, in 2020, she will become steadier, because she hits the heck out of the ball. If she does, she can win a Grand Slam next year. She is that good.

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