It was a season of surprises, with the first one being Serena Williams’ leave of absence from tennis due to her unexpected pregnancy. To say many were surprised would probably be the understatement of the season. After winning the Australian Open, tennis fans expected Williams would begin her quest again for the coveted Grand Slam; however, many were once again disappointed.
The WTA Tour struggled to have a consistent player in the number one spot with Williams’ absence and two talented players took the opportunity to announce their presence. First, Jelena Ostapenko gave us the second surprise when she made the breakthrough of the season by winning her first major title at Roland Garros as her first career singles title and Sloane Stephens made the second breakthrough on the major stage, when she returned from injury and captured her first major title at the US Open.
Garbine Muguruza rediscovered her form once more on the big stage of Wimbledon, making it to the final for the second time in her career and this time winning the Championship after Venus Williams came up short for the second time this season at the majors. Yet, Venus deserves a lot of credit for what she accomplished this year: two final appearances at the majors (Australian Open and Wimbledon) and the final of the WTA Finals; and semifinal showings at the US Open and the Miami Open.
Caroline Wozniacki also claimed the biggest title of her career when she won the WTA Finals. Simona Halep had been knocking at the door of glory but was stunned in the final of the French Open when the young Latvian, Ostapenko, stormed back to win the title in three sets and Halep lost another chance at becoming number one. However, although Halep still has yet to claim a major title, she won Madrid and finally made it to the top of the ranks on October 9th. Halep ended her year on a high as the number one ranked female player for the first time in her career.
What will 2018 have to offer and will the surprises top those of 2017? How will the new young guards handle the pressure of expectation? Will Serena Williams be able to defend her Australian Open title, if she returns?
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