2017 WTA Predictions: How did Moo’s Tennis Blog do?

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.

Follow Moo’s Tennis Blog on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

12 thoughts on “2017 WTA Predictions: How did Moo’s Tennis Blog do?

  1. I think the one prediction it’s safe to make is that a player will appear practically from nowhere and make a deep run in a slam. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (the Australian Open), Kaia Kanepi (the US Open) and of course Jelena Ostapenko (all the way to the title in RG) showed that beyond doubt in 2017.

    I was puzzled by Angie Kerber’s failure to back up her superb year in 2016 with further success in 2017. Practically every big tournament she played in I was thinking; “this is going to be the one where she comes back to form,” and it never happened.

    I’ll give credit to Andrew for calling both Agr Radwanska and Domi Cibulkova right; he predicted that both would have difficult seasons this year.

    Like

    • Angie lost that motivation necessary to maintain. I think that’s what she needs to find. Set some new goals for herself and chase it. That’s the very attitude that saw her claim two slams when the opportunities came. Plus being encouraged on by Steffi Graf, her fellow country woman, to prevent Serena from matching her Slam count. I really feel she needs to be ‘choosy’ now and only play what feels right.

      I think the same goes for Cibulkova, and Pliskova somewhat. With Cibulkova, it’s her style. I feel makes it tough to keep the same intensity level all through the year. Never really strong during the second half if she plays a full season. The enigma is Pliskova, she always has this interesting stat at the end of year that makes me think she should consistently be a top 3 player. I guess amazing stats don’t win slams. An extra gear or something, though I think it’s more a mental gear.

      I always root for Aga, but I think time is of the essence now, she needs to go big at one of the slams or stay/go home. Good things happened in her personal life, she should translate it to her court game now.

      Like

      • “Maybe Kvitova could be that somebody?”

        Good post. Perhaps, or it could be Karo Pliskova. I was expecting Karo to win a slam this year, and I don’t really know why she didn’t; maybe it was a bit of a psychological issue?

        As someone said on Tennis.com, Domi can only play at top speed. When she goes off the boil even a tad, her game suffers and that seems to be what happened in 2017.

        Like a lot of people I love Aga’s ninja shots, but she can never make enough of them to win matches on their own – she hit what must have been a contender for Shot of the Year against DariaK, and still lost the match. If I was her coach I’d try to get her to work on her second serve, which at the moment is far too slow for top class opposition; some of them have been timed in the 60s (mph).

        Like

      • Couldn’t agree more about Kerber and the motivation aspect. I do think the tough 2017 season and a fresh coaching partnership will spur her on for 2018. Cibulkova always plays better as the underdog so i’d expect her to have a better year now her ranking has dropped and there isn’t so much pressure. I can’t see why Radwanska won’t have a better year if she stays healthy.

        Like

    • An unexpected run at a Slam is just a given now! In hindsight, it was always going to be a struggle for Kerber to back up 2016 but I am surprised she didn’t push on after she played so, so well vs. Muguruza at Wimbledon. I’ve found that Andrew tends to call a lot of stuff correctly!

      Like

  2. Cheers James, Given how the seeds fell and rose this past year, I understand how planning to make the Grand Slams top 16 seeds only come 2019 could really benefit the matches. I daresay, if this merry-go-round trend continues, they should look at a top 8 seeds only. To make it that more competitive, just saying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aside from Simona Halep (for obvious reasons), I reckon Svitolina must be other most satisfied girl with her 2017 season. Should things playout as they did this year, She could find a path to one of the slams in 2018. It’s injuries, the bane of a lot the women in the predictions.

      Keys would have definitely been in the top 10 but for injuries. And having followed FED cup tennis this year, the trio of girls, CoCo, Sloane, and Keys could make a charge for the top 10 in 2018. I wonder if Coco and Shelby Rogers’ doubles partnership is something they would like to pursue further. It seems like a formidable combo if they can effectively temper their personal ambitions for teamwork. Their success could pull the other girls like Kayla Day along too. Good for USA women’s tennis, but will wait and see what a healthy Kvitova, fully back, the Pliskova sisters and the other Czech FED players have to say.

      I think it was @Andrew who suggested to me not much may come of Sharapova’s return. To me, it was a little bit of a dud. I get the feeling it will end up being the same with Azarenka and even Serena’s return. It won’t really change the rankings a whole. They most likely won’t play a full season. Probably like Venus, pick tournaments that they feel are worth it.

      Like

      • GRAND SLAM DRAWS (TOP 64 SEEDED)

        The GS draws should not be about the greaseball tournament directors or the bar rag TV directors. The draws should be about the players,the Players,the PLAYERS!!!
        The top players have hard worked all year to get into a good seeding position and then have it taken away from them a random luck draw is simply not fair. A match between the 1st and 17th might be exciting in the first round, but it would be just as exciting in the 3rd or 4th round.

        Ziggy2shu’s New Millennium Grand Slam Draw Format

        The top 64 players would be seeded, with the WCs and Qualifiers playing the 20 thru 64 seeds.

        Like

  3. I agree with Bellis, not much of a surprise there. I hope she recovers from her injuries over the break. Along with Osaka, I will give her another year or two to really settle into the tour. Osaka’s game is mighty when she is zoned but needs tweaking to make it more resilient. I think a little bit more maturity might be key.
    It was Ana Konjuh’s injury sideline I was disappointed about. She should have been establishing herself this year firmly in the thick of things.
    Kasatkina and Garbine are still good to go for me. They still hold great promise. Not sure, but I feel Garbine needs some kind of a rival/rivalry as part of her motivational package. Someone who consistently challenges/foils her charge. Maybe Kvitova could be that somebody ??? especially when it comes to the grass of Wimbledon.

    Like

    • I’m still high on Osaka, I think she was unlucky at times in 2017 in that injuries struck when she was beginning to build momentum. Agree that she is still settling into the tour. Konjuh should have been on course for a top 20 finish had it not been for the elbow. I do worry about her consistency though and whether she has a Plan B. I’d be up for regular Muguruza-Kvitova matches!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s