Recapturing the greatest winners of the 2017 WTA season

Serena Williams was one of four players who won a grand slam title this year. Houston Defender (file photo)
By: Kristoffer Ed Bellen

THE WTA had a great success for the past season and here are some of the finest events that happened across the tours for 2017.

By next week, the 2017 Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tours will officially come to an end following a successful finale at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Monday. Thus, it is only justifiable to take a look on how the league looked like for the past ten months and give honor to the most supreme players in this year’s tour.

Four different stars share this year’s Grand Slam titles

For the first time in three years, no player in the WTA managed to win at least two Grand Slam titles as four different stars in Serena Williams, Jelena Ostapenko, GarbiƱe Muguruza, and Sloane Stephens won the most prestigious events of the annual tours, respectively.

Williams defeated her elder sister Venus in a historic 2017 Australian Open championship match despite carrying a baby in her womb to record her 23rd career grand slam, the most in the history of WTA as well as tallying her seventh title at Melbourne – all in the Open era.

Maximizing the pregnancy leave of Williams, Ostapenko put up a surprise performance at the Roland Garros when she pushed her way through the finals to defeat Halep in an exciting three-set thriller, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, that also featured the first Grand Slam championship match who had no former Grand Slam titlists since the 1979 Australian Open.

Ostapenko became the first ever Latvian player of neither sex to win a Grand Slam title as she also recorded a career-changing first WTA Tour-level title.
Muguruza, on the other hand, claimed another accolade and engraved her name to the list of women tennis players to win The Championships when she defeated V. Williams via a 7-5, 6-0 throttle to exact revenge when she fell to the latter in the same fixture two years ago. The Spanish player who held this year’s world number 1 title in short term grabbed her second career Grand Slam following her victory as she clinched the French Open championship last year.

Stephens, of all this year’s Grand Slam winners, had the most surprising and gallant runs as she became the lowest ranked player to ever win a major title after dominating compatriot and friend Madison Keys in two sets, 6-3, 6-0.

The 24-year-old Stephens had to recover from a right leg injury early this year bringing back the US Open title to America when Italian Flavia Pennetta and German Angelique Kerber won the crown for the last two years. Stephens also became the first American except the Williams sisters to win the title since Jennifer Capriati in 2002.

Caroline Wozniacki beats Venus Williams to secure first WTA Finals trophy

After qualifying to this year’s WTA Finals in Singapore by being ranked as the world’s number six, Caroline Wozniacki defied the odds and squandered a hard-fighting Venus Williams leading to what probably the best victory of her career in so far after winning the 2017 season-ending title, 6-4, 6-4.

Wozniacki finished her season as the first ever Dane woman tennis player to secure the WTA Finals trophy after a surprise-filled tournament last week which highlighted her surprise dominance this month when she also won the Pan Pacific Open title at Tokyo, Japan, two weeks before ending this year with a sweet triumph over Williams.

The 37-year-old Williams took all seven matches to her hands when they played in as many times this year before the younger 27-year-old Wozniacki came assertive down the stretch of the latter tournaments to officially rank third by Nov. 9, the official commencement of the 2017 WTA season.

Wozniacki had an underrated 2017 season despite faring with the most finals appearances with ten and leading the tour in wins with 60 as well as top-ten wins with 14.

Simona Halep clinches year-end number 1 award

Simona Halep is the first ever Romanian woman tennis player to ever come atop the WTA rankings since the inception of the computerized rankings in 1975, and while she failed to reach the knockout stages of the WTA Finals in Singapore last week, this does not make her to end the season as the world’s number one.

Despite a quite silent run in this year’s regular season up to the WTA Finals where she only won once after defending her title at the Mutua Madrid Open, the 26-year-old still became the 13th player in the history of the women’s tennis tours to finish the year as the world number 1 when WTA president Micky Lawler officially handed the trophy to Halep after the season finale in Singapore.

Halep bannered a consistent performance all year-long as she managed to reach her second Grand Slam final at the Roland Garros before also making her way through three more championship matches at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome), Western & Southern Open (Cincinnati) and the China Open (Beijing).

Moreover, Halep also made a quarterfinal run at the Wimbledon as well as final four appearances at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix and Rogers Cup to solidify her status at the Top 10 for 196 consecutive weeks starting since Jan. 27, 2014.

Serena Williams gives birth to her first daughter

All-time best and tennis great Williams took a dim campaign for the whole year despite winning the season-opener Asutralian Open after taking an early exit as she prepared to give birth for her first daughter with husband and Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian that led her to fall out of the Top 10 since April 1, 2012.

The 52-time titlist Williams gave birth to her first ever daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., early this September and stepped onto her next phase in life as a mother to her child who helped her win her last major title in January at Melbourne.

Williams is expected to return next year to defend her Australian Open title.

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