The WTA rankings saw a number of players—from teenage sensations to veterans—make major moves in 2019. As the regular season wraps up, here’s a look at five of them and their results during their career-best campaigns. While they didn't make it to the top 10, they're definitely headed in the right direction. (All photos: Getty Images)
Arguably the story of the year among up-and-coming players, “Coco” has had a season to remember. Only 15, she first made waves at Wimbledon, where she upset Venus Williams in the first round and proceeded to advance to the fourth round. Over the summer, she and her countrywoman Caty McNally won their first doubles title in Washington, DC. Gauff’s second title with McNally this week in Luxembourg comes on the heels of her singles breakthrough in Linz, Austria, where she captured the singles crown as a lucky loser and cracked the top 75.
If not for a wrist injury, the Czech could have made her presence felt even more on the WTA Tour this season and perhaps found a spot in the year-end championships. Her year started off strong, with a final in Budapest and quarterfinal runs in Indian Wells and Miami. It was at the French Open, though, where she made her biggest statement as she became the first teenager to reach a Grand Slam final in 10 years, a result that sent her into the world’s top 15. Vondrousova had to cut her season short due to the aforementioned wrist issue, but showed she was a force in only half a year.
With only one fourth-round Grand Slam showing in her decade-long career prior to this year, Riske finally surpassed that mark at Wimbledon, where she reached the quarterfinals and gave Serena Williams all she could handle. Prior to that tournament, she was already cruising on the grass, having posted a 10-match winning streak with an ITF title in Surbiton and the second WTA victory of her career in the Netherlands. A run to her biggest final in Wuhan, China, a couple of weeks ago landed her in the top 20 for the first time and also earned her a special nod, which she appreciated.
OH MY GOSH! I had to find out about this via twitter?! This seems like a big deal! ????Any time I’m voted as a winner of anything IM SHOOK. Hahaha! Thanks to anyone that voted! GOSH I LOVE YOU PEOPLE !!! Ps. On way to Zhuhai!!!! ????????????❤️????❤️????????— Alison Riske-Amritraj???????????????? (@Riske4rewards) October 16, 2019
For the young American, titles came in bunches in 2019. She started off the year with her first doubles victory in Auckland, then a week later, she captured her first singles tournament in Hobart. She tacked on two more singles titles and another in doubles, giving her five between the two disciplines. No top player was safe against the 20-year-old this year as she defeated Ashleigh Barty, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka to help her reach the top 15 in the rankings.
At this point, the only thing stopping the Swede from rising even higher up the rankings is that there are no more regular-season tournaments for the year. During the summer hard-court swing, Peterson picked up wins against Johanna Konta and Sloane Stephens. While she wasn’t able to build upon that at the US Open, where she fell in the first round, she tore through the Asian Swing with two titles, the first ones of her career. That run brought Peterson into the top 50 for the first time.
Follow Van on Twitter: @Van_Sias