WTA 2016 Year in Review: 31-35

Sloane Stephens WTA

This offseason, Last Word On Tennis will be looking back at the seasons of the top 50 players on each tour. This installment includes the WTA 2016 players ranked 21-25.

31. Laura Siegemund

Laura Siegemund had the spring of her career in 2016 as she found great results on clay. After reaching the quarters of Charleston, she reached the Round of 16 at Madrid, and made the finals of Stuttgart, losing to Angelique Kerber. After poor grass results, she followed Wimbledon with a tour title in Bastaad. Siegemund’s form tailed off towards the end of the year and it will be interesting to see if she can find form in 2017 on surfaces besides clay.

32. Monica Puig

A gold medal. What could be a better highlight to a career, much less a season, than to win a gold medal at the Olympics. The first ever gold medal for Puerto Rico at that. Puig has long been tipped to becomeĀ a top player. Full of fight, power, great movement, she saw a resurgence during 2016 that culminated in her Olympic Gold where she won over a field full of past Slam winners. 2017 should be a year where she solidifies her position as a power player on the WTA Tour and climbs the rankings ladder into the top 20.

33. Yulia Putintseva

Yulia Putintseva continued to be the darling of tennis social media with her fiery temper and emotional (good and bad) reactions to match play in 2016. Putintseva had a strong clay season, including a quarterfinal showing at Roland Garros, which she rode to a career rankings high. If she can find the same results on the hard courts in 2017, she could add titles to the collection of memes and gifs she has inspired throughout her young career.

34. Anastasija Sevastova

One of the feel good stories on the WTA Tour this year, Sevastova continued her comeback from retirement in great fashion. Showing that one can recover from back and muscle problems to find success on tour, Sevastova reached the finals of two tour stops this year – Mallorca and Bucharest – also making the quarters of the US Open, where an injury possibly cost her a spot in the semifinals. The hard hitting, aggressive Latvian is playing with joy, and 2017 is full of possibility for her.

35. Sloane Stephens

The positive note for the talented American is that she had long been knocked for only performing well in Slam events, and in 2016 she captured three WTA tour titles (Auckland, Acapulco, and Charleston). The bad news was that her Slam performances were uneven and uninspiring. After not making it past the 4th round at any of the first 3 slams, and a first round defeat at the Olympics, Stephens shut down her season to let her body heal and prep for a strong 2017. A healthy and confident Stephens is a top 10 player, so if those traits can intersect, she should add to her title haul in 2017.

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