I’m back briefly from my off-season hibernation to dissect the 2017 predictions on Moo’s Tennis Blog. I successfully picked only four of the world’s top ten – I feel I was a tad unlucky with the likes of S.Williams, Kvitova and Bencic who all spent time away from the tour for various reasons, while other choices were just simply misguided! Let’s take a look back at some of my statements and how they stacked up against reality…
Svitolina has shown a willingness to adapt her game to take it to the next level and I predict that she will have her best year to date with a couple of Slam quarter-finals and a first Premier title.
I had Svitolina at number nine and I thought that was being quite optimistic. She definitely exceeded my expectations by finishing at world number six. The Ukrainian player won a trio of Premier 5 titles and has successfully improved her year-end ranking for the seventh consecutive season.
I think Pliskova will have a couple of deep runs at multiple Slams in 2017. A Slam title wouldn’t be a surprise…
Pliskova did indeed have a couple of deep runs at the Slams but no title just yet. I was surprised by Pliskova’s consistency week-to-week which saw her finish the season at world number four.
I think that qualifying for the WTA Finals in Singapore outright will surely be in the back of Konta’s mind… and I think she will do it.
Again very close for Konta but not to be. I had Jo at number 6 so not too bad!
I’d fancy Keys to get that big win over one of the more defensively-minded players. I also think that Keys will be knocking on the door of winning her first Slam at Wimbledon.
Keys did get a big win over a defensively minded player in Elina Svitolina at the US Open and went on to reach her first Slam final in New York. Her wrist thwarted attempts to back up last year’s top ten finish.
I’d fancy Kerber to win at least one more Slam in 2017 at the US Open.
Oh goodness. I can’t believe I had Kerber as number one! I really did seem to think she was going to keep it up. I think it was also a case of if not Kerber, then who? A tough year for the German player but I happen to think she’ll bounce back in 2018.
I think Cibulkova will start the year strong and reach the latter stages of the Australian Open… right now, she’s one of my dark horses for Melbourne.
This was the Singapore effect for me. Cibulkova struggled to replicate her 2016 form for much of the season and fell at the third round stage of the Australian Open to Ekaterina Makarova.
A future Roland Garros champion in years to come but I think Kasatkina will win her first WTA title in 2017.
Yep. Kasatkina won her first WTA title in Charleston. An up-and-down season but a rise of three places in the rankings was solid considering an early season slump in form and a nasty ankle injury picked up during the clay court season.
I was high on Muguruza in 2016, but i’m not feeling so joyful for 2017. In my opinion, her coaching set-up with Sam Sumyk is not a harmonious one. While he may have been around for her first Slam triumph at Roland Garros, I believe he contributed to her mentality and tactics becoming muddled towards the end of 2016.
I called Muguruza so, so wrong in 2017. The year before I had considered her as a future world number one but lost a bit of faith this time last year with her coaching relationship with Sam Sumyk after a turbulent end to the season.
I think Osaka will keep improving in 2017 and cement her place as a seed at the Slams. She will benefit from an improving ranking by not having to qualify for most events. I’m also fascinated to see Osaka play on grass…
I remain fascinated to see Osaka’s progress on grass and she improved with every match on the green stuff this year, falling short in a tight two setter again Venus Williams in an entertaining third round clash at Wimbledon. In terms of cementing her place as a seed, Osaka went backwards in the rankings in 2017. I’m intrigued to see her now working with Sascha Bajin.
Siniakova reached two finals in 2016, but I think she’ll grab at least one title in 2017 and reach the second week of a Slam.
Yes and no. Siniakova won her first title in the first week of the 2017 season in Shenzhen and triumphed again in Bastad. Aside from her two title runs, there wasn’t a great deal to shout about for Siniakova who lost in the first round of all four Slams.
I’d expect that we will see more of Bellis during the Spring once she turns 18 in April as she won’t have as many restrictions on playing WTA tournaments. I think that Bellis will be one of the biggest risers on the tour in 2017.
I don’t think this was a huge surprise as Bellis had shown plenty of promise pre-2017. While she was crowned as the ‘WTA Newcomer of the Year’, the season did end abruptly on a five match losing streak with injuries stacking up.
Some up-and-coming players who i’ll be tracking over the next year and beyond are Francoise Abanda, Antonia Lottner, Kayla Day, Rebeka Masarova and Anastasia Potapova. Watch out for at least one or two of these players to make a splash and push on towards the top 100.
I think all five players mentioned had their moments at some point during the 2017 season. All five remain as ones to watch.