51 – Annika Beck, Germany, Age – 22
While a lack of all round power to match it with the big names, seems likely to inhibit her ability, to be much higher ranked than this, she still produced a fairly solid season. The clear highlight was her play in the Majors, particularly Melbourne, where she managed a 4th Round run, and solid 3rd Round efforts in Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
One other highlight was a Finalist result in Gstaad in the Doubles with partner Rodina, from Russia. There is plenty to play for even without the realistic aim of achieving elite results, and Beck will continue to develop a decent, though unspectacular career, as she matures in 2017.
52 – Katerina Siniakova, Czech Republic, Age – 20
A highly touted junior prospect, who claimed 3 Doubles Major titles in her pre-professional career, as well as a Finalist in Melbourne, she had a very good year. At one stage, she had her ranking to 33rd, after a 3rd Round Wimbledon result, and a Finalist result in Tokyo, where she lost to American, Christina McHale.
She also had some very good Doubles results, making the SF in Roland Garros and the QF at New York. A high ceiling prospect, who will look to mature and perhaps sneak into the top 20 if her season 2017 goes exceptionally well.
53 – Julia Goerges, Germany, Age – 28
Reasonably free from injury, the experienced German, will be looking to put it all together after a solid return this year. Her best results came in Doubles, with SF runs in both the French and US Opens, though these results are tempered by her lack of ability to get past the 2nd Round in any of the singles draws in the majors.
She did make her first singles Final in 4 years, in Auckland, before losing to Sloane Stephens, while she also made a Final in the Doubles, in Indian Wells. Time is running out for this once brilliant prospect to find her best on tour, as age catches up with her, though 2017 is the best opportunity she has had in a while, as she is healthy.
54 – Jelena Jankovic, Serbia, Age – 31
The veteran had a mixed bag in 2016, as she suffered a 3rd straight year, of no Major action in the 2nd week, the business end of the tournaments. Indeed she just managed one Final, all year in singles when she lost to Lesia Tsurenko in Guangzhou late in September. Perhaps her best is behind her, but she will probably disagree and argue that she can return to perform much better in 2017.
If not, she will go down as a fine player in her era, and a rare one to reach the apex, as she was #1 in 2008, despite not winning a major. She did come close, and the fire within to claim one may still be burning brightly.
55 – Andrea Petkovic, Germany, Age – 29
Somewhat like Goerges, Petkovic will still feel she has plenty to prove on tour, after some injury riddled seasons lately, particularly as father time catches up with her. Also like her compatriot, she did not get past the 2nd Round in any of the majors this season, despite having multiple QF and a SF appearances in the past.
She only managed 1 Final, in either Singles or Doubles, that was in the Doubles draw in Brisbane, with Angelique Kerber, where they lost to Hingis and Mirza. Definitely has the abilities to return to somewhere near her peak ranking of 9, back in 2011, but needs to put it all together soon.
56 – Viktorija Golubic, Switzerland, Age – 24
This youngster started to play to her potential this season, indeed she broke through for her first title in Gstaad, and then almost repeated the script in Linz only to lose to Cibulkova, who was sizzling at that stage of the season. Still though, the scope for improvement is immense as she has not yet even reached a 3rd Round of a major, and this ought to be the clear goal going forward.
She has plenty to work on in 2017, but there’s nothing to say she can’t reach the top 25 or so if she plays as she has already, more consistently.
57 – Lesia Tsurenko, Ukraine, Age – 27
A Round of 16 result in New York is easily her best tournament play of her career, as she ousted Dominika Cibulkova, who late in the season, was on fire. Other than that the pickings were rather slim for the Ukrainian, who was ranked some 24 places higher, in October of 2015.
Has not reached a Final in any tournament for some time, but can easily set goals of performing better and utilizing the plethora of tutelage available to tour players. Could continue to struggle in 2017, but will have plenty of incentives to improve, before her playing days expire.
58 – Yanina Wickmayer, Belgium, Age – 27
Another who had a mediocre 2016, with draw troubles in most of the bigger tournaments, where she only managed a 3rd Round effort at Roland Garros.
Won Washington, in the US Open leadup and was even dominant in the Final, also had a triumphant Doubles campaign in Washington to round off a great week, with partner Niculescu, defeating Aoyama and Ozaki. Will need to find consistency in 2017 if she is to rise up the rankings, though it is tough, as she is often overpowered by younger stronger opponents.
59 – Shelby Rogers, United States, Age – 24
Showed glimpses of her best this season, with a QF run at the French, and a tournament Finalist in Rio, where she gave Italian, Schiavone a fright. Overall though, a somewhat maligned season, though there is plenty of experience to build into something much better in 2017.
Is easily at the best place she has been through her 7 years on tour and can be rather optimistic of things going well next season, with a realistic goal of being seeded by the time New York rolls around again.
60 – Kristyna Pliskova, Czech Republic, Age – 24
Had a real breakout in 2016, as she won Dalian a 125k series tournament as well as Tashkent, in a super run to end the season. Perhaps feeding off her sisters remarkable season, this Pliskova, could also be a force to be reckoned with in future years.
Played in 3 major draws for the first time in a few years and actually started to look more confident late in the year. Here’s hoping she has a real break-out season in 2017, and enjoys some fine results, just as her sister is sure to do.
Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/naparazzi/16116048390/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/