New times bring new vibes and the latest vibe in the WTA world is that of unpredictability — there are no dominant players that can sleepwalk through the first few rounds of tournaments and the greatest accomplishments are up for grabs for all players, regardless of their age, ranking and status. For the first time in WTA history we’ve had a different champion at every tournament since the start of the season — that’s 16 tournaments up to this moment!
Let’s have a look at all the singles champions so far in 2019.
Czech Karolina Pliskova beat Lesia Tsurenko in three sets to win her second Brisbane International title.
Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka won two matches in one day to clinch the Shenzhen Open title.
German Julia Goerges ended a fairytale run of Canadian qualifier Bianca Andreescu to defend her title at the ASB Classic in Auckland.
Czech Petra Kvitova was better than Ashleigh Barty in the third-set tiebreak and lifted the Sydney International champion’s trophy.
Twenty-year-old American Sofia Kenin won her maiden title at the Hobart International and still remains the only player in 2019 to have won a title without dropping a set.
After practically coming out of nowhere to win the 2018 US Open, Japan’s Naomi Osaka won the following Grand Slam as well, beating Petra Kvitova in the 2019 Australian Open final and becoming a world No.1.
Dutch Kiki Bertens won her eighth career title and first in 2019 by defeating Donna Vekic in the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy final.
Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska, 18, came back from the brink to win her second career WTA singles title at the Toyota Thailand Open presented by E@, becoming the youngest active multiple titlist.
Belgian Elise Mertens picked up her fifth career title and first at a Premier-level event after rallying to beat top seed Simona Halep in the final of the Qatar Total Open.
Belinda Bencic of Switzerland recorded four consecutive three-set victories over Top 10 players to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium completed a comeback win in the Hungarian Ladies Open final to beat Marketa Vondrousova and retain her title in Budapest.
Chinese Wang Yafan, 24, won her first WTA title at the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL presentado por HSBC as an unseeded player.
After coming short in the Auckland final against Julia Goerges early into the season, Canadian Bianca Andreescu completed the feat at a much more significant tournament, upsetting a slew of big names to go all the way to the BNP Paribas Open title.
Ashleigh Barty of Australia won the biggest title of her career and fourth overall by defeating former world No.1 Karolina Pliskova in the final of the Miami Open. Barty is positive about this new state of women’s tennis that lacks dominant players and is content that “anyone in the draw has a legitimate chance of winning [any] tournament.”
Over the weekend, American Madison Keys defeated Caroline Wozniacki in the final of the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, winning her first title on clay.
Garbine Muguruza of Spain defended a WTA title for the first time in her career when her fellow former world No.1 and two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka retired midway through their Abierto GNP Seguros final because of a leg injury. Azarenka, who was playing her first WTA final since giving birth to her son Leo in December 2016, retired while trailing 6-1 3-1.
While many tennis fans see this inconsistency as a positive trend, there are those who are nostalgic about the time when a handful of players dominated the sport. ESPN’s Peter Bodo recently wrote an interesting article “Is the WTA’s parity about depth or lack of dominant players?” and there he quoted Robert Lansdorp, who shaped the games of legends such as Tracy Austin, Lindsay Davenport and Pete Sampras:
Today, you look at a Muguruza or an Ostapenko and you wonder, ‘What the hell happened?’ They are losing, but not necessarily getting beat. They aren’t losing because the other players are better, but because they’re playing badly. Nobody seems tough enough to hang in there and play the same kind of tennis that brought them up.
Note that the distribution of countries is also diverse. The only countries that have two titlists in 2019 are the Czech Republic, Belgium and the USA. Also, there are no Russians among the 2019 champions so far. Remember that they used to have many players in the Top 50 and Top 100, right now there are only three Russians in the Top 50 and the highest-ranked one is No.22 Daria Kasatkina.