Aryna Sabalenka

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.

Rank 11

Anastasija Sevastova

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.

Rank 12

Elise Mertens

2018 closing comment: Elise Mertens really made a name for herself in 2018 with an outstanding season. It all started in Australia for Mertens where she defended her Hobart title before making it all the way to the semi-finals at the Australian Open. Mertens doesn’t necessarily have a spectacular game, she doesn’t have any huge weapons but she does do everything well and has a fantastic attitude. With a few improvements to her game she will push even further up the rankings and enter the top 10.

Rank 13

Julia Goerges

2018 closing comment: Julia Goerges had another solid season in 2018, nicely backing up an impressive ending to the 2017 season. There were some big highlights for Goerges in 2018, most notably a semi-final run at Wimbledon, winning the title in Auckland, a runner-up showing in Stuttgart as well as several other semi-final appearances. At her best, Goerges is still a big threat but she remains inconsistent and capable of losing to almost anyone on a poor day.

Rank 14

Ashleigh Barty

2018 closing comment: Ash Barty ends 2018 at a career high ranking of 15 after winning the biggest title of her career in Zhuhai in the final week of the season. 2018 wasn’t necessarily a great season for Barty and she continues to achieve average results at Grand Slam events, however there is no denying her talent and ability to get the job done against opponent ranked below and around her.

Rank 15

Serena Williams

2018 closing comment: Serena Williams made a successful return to the courts in 2018, despite limited tournament participation, Serena managed to reach back-to-back Grand Slam finals at Wimbledon and the US Open. Unfortunately for Serena she was beaten in straight sets in both of those finals and really lowered her colours in a disappointing final in New York. Whether Serena can add to her Grand Slam tally will be one of the main talking points in 2019.

Rank 16

Madison Keys

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.  

Rank 17

Garbine Muguruza

2018 closing comment: Muguruza had her worst season in while in 2018. Muguruza consistently looked unhappy and agitated on court in 2018 and was very rarely able to find her best tennis, certainly not on a consistent enough basis. There is no doubting that Muguruza’s best level is very dangerous, she has won 2 Grand Slam titles for a reason. However, there is no guarantee that she will ever reach that level again. Time will tell…

Rank 18

Caroline Garcia

2018 closing comment: Caroline Garcia had a solid season in 2018 but certainly did not match the heights that she reached in 2017. Ultimately, Garcia’s 2018 campaign was a disappointment given the undoubtable top-end talent that she possesses. Garcia’s game is very impressive, she has so many weapons, powerful yet versatile. However, Garcia’s greatest weakness is between the ears, she needs to sort that out quickly otherwise her talent will be largely wasted.

Rank 19

Qiang Wang

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.

Rank 20