2021 WTA Predictions: Grand Slam, WTA Finals and Olympic Champions

Following my popular article last year, I will once again be giving my WTA predictions for the upcoming 2021 season. In this article, I will be giving my predictions on the biggest tournaments of the year (Grand Slams, WTA Finals and Summer Olympics). So without further a do, here are my predictions…

 Australian Open  

2020 Final: (14) Sofia Kenin d. Garbiñe Muguruza 4–6, 6–2, 6–2
Thoughts on the 2020 finalists…

In my opinion, Sofia Kenin’s Australian Open win last year was less because of what she did and more because the games of her more experienced opponents crumbled under pressure in her last two matches. Therefore, I don’t expect her to defend her title. But her mental strength may enable her to make another deep run.

In most cases, Grand Slams are won by people with clearly identifiable on-court weapons, such as last year’s runner-up Garbiñe Muguruza. However, whilst I would list the Spaniard as one of the contenders to win in Melbourne, her inconsistent and unreliable nature leaves me unable to pick her as my predicted champion.

My Predicted Champion: Naomi Osaka 

The conditions seem set for Naomi Osaka to win her second Australian Open and fourth Grand Slam title. When she is not under the pressure of being defending champion or holding the #1 ranking, she is the one to beat on hard courts.

  French Open  

2020 Final: Iga Świątek d. (4) Sofia Kenin 6–4, 6–1
Thoughts on the 2020 finalists…

In recent times, the French Open has been the hardest Grand Slam for a woman to successfully defend – no woman has done it since 2007. Iga Świątek had an amazing two weeks to win the French Open but one must remember that is her first tour title and we have no idea how she will cope with the pressure and spotlight she will now be under as a Grand Slam champion.

As a result, I cannot bring myself to jump on the bandwagon just yet and I don’t think she will be winning the title in 2021. Kenin is not a natural clay-courter, as evidenced by her run to the French Open final being the only time she has reached a tour-level quarter-final or better on clay. She only reached the final on mental strength and willpower alone so I doubt it will be enough to reach the final two years in a row.

My Predicted Champion: Simona Halep

Halep is still the most consistent WTA player on clay by some distance. Her not winning the French Open this year was very understandable when you look into it. She was on the longest win-streak of her career and it is never advisable to be on under the pressure of maintaining a long win-streak during a Grand Slam.

In addition, she lost to the eventual champion Świątek who was particularly out for revenge against Halep, as the Pole had been demolished by the Romanian the year before. Therefore, I believe Halep will once again reign supreme in Paris next year.


2019 Final: (7) Simona Halep d. (11) Serena Williams 6−2, 6−2
Thoughts on the 2019 finalists…

The only female players who have successfully defended a Wimbledon singles title this century are the Williams sisters. Halep is a great player but her grass-court game is not close to either of them in their prime and therefore does not seem poised to retain the championship.

Until this year is seemed that Williams was still a cut above the rest of the tour on grass (and hard) courts but her mental weakness in Grand Slam finals (perhaps due to the desperation to win a historic 24th Grand Slam) was the sole thing holding her back.

However, it now seems that her game is now also declining. Wins no longer seem to come to her easily and it is hard to see her winning another Grand Slam title. In fact, she may now need a favourable draw just to reach a Wimbledon (or any other Grand Slam) final again.

My Predicted Champion: Ashleigh Barty

Barty was my pick for Wimbledon this year had it not been cancelled and she is still my pick for the title come 2021. The Australian has so far proven to be a reliable #1 and the courts of Wimbledon suit her game perfectly. As the consistency in women’s tennis continues to deteriorate, Barty will have a great opportunity to win another Grand Slam.

 Summer Olympic Games 

Rio 2016 Gold Medal Match: Monica Puig d. (2) Angelique Kerber 6–4, 4–6, 6–1
Rio 2016 Bronze Medal Match: (11) Petra Kvitová d. (7) Madison Keys 7–5, 2–6, 6–2

My Predicted Champion: Simona Halep

There are two players who I think could win this title: Osaka and Halep. Osaka has already expressed her desire to win the Gold medal at her home Olympics and the surface and home advantage will play into her favour.

But if she is the #1 player at the time it may count for nothing as she has yet to prove that she can handle the pressure that comes with the top ranking. Therefore, I believe that Halep will win the Olympic gold medal given her more reliable play and similar aspirations to claim an Olympic title.

  US Open  

2020 Final: (4) Naomi Osaka d. Victoria Azarenka 1–6, 6–3, 6–3
Thoughts on the 2020 finalists…

Whilst Osaka is the best player on hard courts now, her inability to deliver when she is defending champion makes me confident she will not win the US Open. However, a deep run is still possible for her. Someone who could take advantage is this year’s finalist Victoria Azarenka.

It seemed as if we would never see the Belarussian in form again but a humiliating loss to Venus Williams in Lexington (the only match Venus won in 2020) seemed to have reignited her career. With a 14-2 record on hard courts since that defeat and three US Open final appearances, she has both the skill and experience to win in New York next year.

My Predicted Champion: Victoria Azarenka

  WTA Finals  

2019 Final: (1) Ashleigh Barty d. (8) Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-3
Thoughts on the 2019 finalists…

Barty did very well to win the WTA Finals last year, with the last four editions had been won by players who had not gone through the emotional rollercoaster of winning a Grand Slam. She is proving herself to be a very reliable player (with an 11-3 record in 2020) and could well be a contender next year. However, successfully defending big titles is extremely rare in women’s tennis so I don’t think she will win the title in 2021.

This courts at the WTA Finals are a dream for a pusher like Elina Svitolina and so it is no surprise that she has made the final the last two editions. However, I do not expect her to reach three finals in a row.

After the humiliation she suffered this year when she lost a French Open quarterfinal to a predominantly ITF-level player (who had never won a Grand Slam match before that tournament) in straight sets, I expect her to miss out on WTA Finals qualification in 2021.

My Predicted Champion: Simona Halep

The WTA Finals is one of the big titles that still eludes the Romanian but it is one that she is definitely capable of doing well in having reached the final on her debut in 2014.

Although she didn’t win a Grand Slam in 2020, I was very impressed with how Halep played throughout the season and expect her to top off a stellar year in 2021 with her first WTA Finals title. As the player with the highest win rate of any player on tour this year (88.5%), this seems like a logical pick!

Which women do you think will win the big titles in 2021? Let me know in the comments!

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