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Top 10 WTA players to keep an eye on in 2019

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 28 Nov 2018
  • Top 10 WTA players to watch in 2019
  • We look at some of the brightest young talents that could rise up the rankings next season
Olga Danilovic (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

As we count down the days until the new WTA season in 2019, we've outlined 10 players who could make a big rise up the rankings next year.

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As with our ATP list, we’ve left out already-established players such as Aryna Sabalenka and Ashleigh Barty in favour of those who haven’t already broken into the top 20. Agree with our selections? Who did we leave out? Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook channels!

1. Katerina Siniakova - current ranking: No. 31

Katerina Siniakova (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

Siniakova might not have added to the two WTA titles she won in 2017, but the powerful Czech was much more consistent in 2018 and laid a solid foundation for bigger and better things in 2019. The 22-year-old ended the season on the highest of highs after helping Czech Republic to the Fed Cup title - something that has often propelled young players to the next level the following year. Siniakova also finished runner-up in Shenzhen, made the third rounds of Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and back-to-back quarter-finals in Wuhan and Beijing, along with winning a number of marathon three-setters throughout the season, highlighting her fitness and competitiveness. If Siniakova can put it all together in 2019, don’t be surprised if she makes a push towards the top 10.

2. Sofia Kenin - current ranking: No. 52

Sofia Kenin (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

Another player who finished 2018 in the Fed Cup final, but unfortunately for Kenin - who was making her debut - she couldn’t inspire USA to victory. Nevertheless, the 20-year-old was extremely impressive as she pushed both Siniakova and Barbora Strycova to three sets, while Kenin also cut her ranking in half throughout 2018, starting the year at No. 113 and ending it just outside the top 50. Equipped with a grinding game but also an aggressive and tenacious mindset, Kenin’s willingness to compete is something that will hold her in good stead as she looks to build on another encouraging season and make that climb towards the top 40 and beyond.

3. Dayana Yastremska - current ranking: No. 58

Dayana Yastremska (Photo by VIVEK PRAKASH/AFP/Getty Images)

The first player born in the 2000s to break into the top 100 when she did so in July this year, Yastremska was a Wimbledon junior runner-up in 2016 and ranked as high as No. 6 in the world as a junior that season, but she’s well and truly left that behind as she quickly establishes herself as one of the brightest young prospects in women’s tennis, with the Ukrainian making headlines in October when she became the second youngest WTA champion in 2018 after winning the Hong Kong title. Just as impressively, Yastremska went on to make the semi-finals in Luxembourg the next week - something that young players traditionally find difficult to do after an initial breakout. After a big off-season of training, all signs point to the 18-year-old climbing even higher in 2019.

4. Margarita Gasparyan - current ranking: No. 92

Margarita Gasparyan (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

While most of the other players on this list are all in the early stages of their careers, Gasparyan is in the midst of trying to rebuild hers following a nightmare run of injuries that threatened to force her onto the sidelines for good. Undergoing three knee surgeries after hitting a career-high ranking of No. 41 after a run to the fourth round of the Australian Open in 2016, Gasparyan missed most of the next two years and began 2018 unranked. However, the Russian put together an incredible season, highlighted by winning the WTA title in Tashkent, becoming the second-lowest ranked WTA champion in history behind No. 579 Angelique Widjaja in Bali in 2001. Ending the year with a top 10 scalp over Kiki Bertens in Linz and back-to-back semi-finals in Mumbai and Limoges, look for Gasparyan to make it back into the top 50 next season.

5. Anastasia Potapova - current ranking: No. 94

Anastasia Potapova (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The second-youngest player in the top 100, Potapova enjoyed a whirlwind rise in 2018, rising from No. 237 and into the top 100 on the back of two WTA runner-up finishes in Moscow and Tashkent. The 17-year-old combined with fellow teenage sensation Olga Danilovic to put on arguably one of the best matches of the season in the Moscow River Cup final, with both players demonstrating a fearless approach to their first WTA title match, but unfortunately for Potapova, she was couldn’t quite get over the line. Nevertheless, Potapova proved she already belongs at this level by reaching the Tashkent final soon after and ending the season inside the top 100. Definitely someone to keep a close eye on in 2019.

6. Amanda Anisimova - current ranking: No. 98

Amanda Anisimova (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

And now to the youngest player in the top 100. Anisimova stunned the tennis world back in March when at just 16 years of age, she conquered ninth seed Petra Kvitova on her way to the Round of 16 at Indian Wells, also beating No. 23 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Kvitova was on a 15-match winning streak after winning titles in St. Petersburg and Doha, but Anisimova wasn’t intimidated in the slightest as she took out the two-time major champion in straight sets. Anisimova went on to make the final of the WTA International event in Hiroshima towards the end of 2018, hitting a career-high ranking of No. 92. Rising close to 700 spots in the rankings over the last two seasons, Anisimova is set for even more gains in 2019.

7. Olga Danilovic - current ranking: No. 110

Olga Danilovic (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Coached by former ATP pro Alex Corretja, the 17-year-old Danilovic has got to be the only WTA champion without a profile picture on the official WTA website! But surely it won’t be too long before Danilovic’s face is being broadcast worldwide, with the Serbian cementing herself as one of the brightest young prospect’s in women’s tennis as she secured that aforementioned maiden WTA crown in Moscow, beating fellow rising star Potapova in a gruelling three-set tussle after earlier victories over established players such as Julia Goerges, Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Kaia Kanepi. Danilovic didn’t play much after that, but after moving up from No. 465 to the cusp of the top 100, expect the teenager to continue her rapid rise next year.

8. Marta Kostyuk - current ranking: No. 121

Marta Kostyuk (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

The youngest player in the top 200, Kostyuk made global headlines in January when she qualified for the Australian Open at 15 years of age (the first player born in 2002 to achieve that feat) and proceeded to become the youngest player to win a main draw match in Melbourne since Martina Hingis in 1996 when she defeated No. 25 Peng Shuai before going on to reach the third round, where she went down to top five compatriot Elina Svitolina. Also the youngest player in 21 years to make the third round of a Grand Slam, Kostyuk also impressed at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, upsetting Alize Cornet before a three-set defeat to another top 10 player in Caroline Garcia. We’ve seen players achieve early success on the WTA Tour before vanishing off the face of the earth, but Kostyuk looks like the real deal.

9. Caroline Dolehide - current ranking: No. 126

Caroline Dolehide (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Another young American player on the rise. Dolehide isn’t your average WTA player in the sense that she is already equipped with arguably the best second serve on tour, with it’s huge kick and spin causing enormous trouble for her opponents, while she is also blessed with immense power on her groundstrokes. In short, if Dolehide can harness all her talent and find some more balance and consistency, she has the ability to dominate the tour. The 20-year-old delivered a glimpse into her unlimited potential at Indian Wells, when she beat No. 30 Dominika Cibulkova before coming agonisingly close to toppling World No. 1 Simona Halep. Dolehide also qualified for Roland Garros and Wimbledon and appears ready to take the next step in her career in 2019.

10. Jaimee Fourlis - current ranking: No. 205

Jaimee Fourlis (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)

There’s a number of young Australian women coming through the ranks at the moment and trying to break into the top 100, including Priscilla Hon, Ellen Perez, Zoe Hives, Astra Sharma, Lizette Cabrera and Destanee Aiava, but I think Jaimee Fourlis is the pick of the bunch. The 19-year-old is blessed with natural power and is an extremely flat hitter of the ball, capable of blasting winners from just about anywhere on the court. Fourlis does need to work on her consistency and build up patience in baseline exchanges (instead of trying to fire off a winner immediately), but the potential is there for all to see. She’s already taken a set off Caroline Wozniacki at the French Open in her young career, and if she can put together a successful Australian summer, that could lay the foundation for a big 2019.

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Top 10 WTA players to keep an eye on in 2019

As we count down the days until the new WTA season in 2019, we've outlined 10 players who could make a big rise up the rankings next year.

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