2018 closing comment: Madison Keys continues to tease but ultimately stumble at the final hurdle. 2018 was another season of near misses for Keys, Keys made the quarter-finals in Melbourne, the semi-finals in Paris and New York but in all 3 of those matches she was fairly comfortably beaten in straight sets. Keys has struggled in the last few years in the biggest matches, especially against counter-punchers. Keys still remains injury prone and probably needs to sort out those issues before she can go all the way at a Grand Slam.
2018 closing comment: When Sloane Stephens is at her best, she is one of the best players on tour. Over the last couple of years Sloane has shown that when she wants to do well, she usually does well, this is more often than not at major events. After winning the US Open in 2017, Sloane had a great year in 2018 by winning the Miami Open, reaching the Roland Garros final and finally reaching the final of the WTA Finals. Expect Stephens to remain at the top of game for years to come.
2018 closing comment: Anastasija Sevastova had another very solid, consistent season in 2018. Sevastova’s year was again highlighted by a great run at the US Open, this time she managed to reach the semi-final stage at a Grand Slam for the very first time. Sevastova has a very unique game, one of the most versatile players on tour who can adapt her game to any surface and any opponent.
2018 closing comment: Aryna Sabalenka was arguably the biggest improvers in 2018, rocketing up the rankings with her bold and aggressive style of tennis. The sky is the limit for Sabalenka, she has already proven that her best is capable of beating anyone, yet she still has a heap of room for improvement in her game.
2018 closing comment: Kerber joined an exclusive group when she won her third Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2018. Kerber has achieved more than anyone could have hoped from her and can now play out the rest of her career without any pressure or obligations. Kerber has shown over the last few years that she can randomly peak at the biggest events, it is on the biggest stages that she is most dangerous, further major titles are certainly not out of the question for one of the strongest players on tour.
Johanna Konta shot to prominence at the 2016 Australian Open with a run to the semi-finals. Konta has not looked back since, narrowly missing out on an appearance at the WTA Finals in 2016 and 2017. Konta has a very complete game, one of the best serves on tour, her backhand is also up there with the best. A good forehand and a tidy game at the net make Konta very dangerous. What is worth noting is that Konta also has one of the most dangerous returns of serve, coupled with her very consistent serve, she is hard to stop when performing at her best. Expect Konta to be featuring prominently at major titles for years to come.
2018 closing comment: Qiang Wang ends 2018 at a career high ranking of 20 in the world thanks to an outstanding second half of the season. Wang went on a meteoric rise up the rankings during the later stages of 2018 after winning over 20 matches during the Asian swing. Wang has dramatically improved her game under the guidance of Peter McNamara and has signaled that she wants to rise even further and enter the top 10 in 2019. Given the level Wang produced during the second half of the year, I think this is achievable.
2018 closing comment: When Wozniacki won the Australian Open in 2018 it was a huge monkey of her back. For so long Wozniacki had been the best player to not win a Grand Slam title, now she has achieved all she set out to achieve and can be contempt. Wozniacki's 2018 season was not great apart from winning the Australian Open title and her late season revelation that she has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis suggests that she has probably reached her peak and is on the decline.