#SportBits Recap … The 2016 WTA Season

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The women’s tennis season is officially over and what a wild year it was.

Over the weekend, the WTA Finals tournament came to a close in Singapore with No. 7 seed Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova taking the title over the newly No. 1 ranked Angelique Kerber of Germany. With the win, Cibulkova moves to No. 5 in the world.

wta-finalsThe singles field for the season ending WTA Finals tournament.

It was quite an effort for Cibulkova who lost her first two round robin matches of the tournament to Kerber and American Madison Keys. She then went on to beat Simona Halep to stay alive and move into the semis. Next, Cibulkova defeated Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova (who only qualified the day before the tourney started with a win at the Kremlin Cup) in the final four, and finally took her revenge on Kerber, who had beaten her in five consecutive matches, to take the title. All this after fighting her way back from a No. 66 ranking due to Achilles surgery which kept her sidelined last year.

kerberDominika Cibulkova

I’m sure Kerber is disappointed that she didn’t end the season with a victory, but she has nothing to cry about. Her 2016 was incredible: she won the Australian Open in January, made the Wimbledon final in July, took Olympic silver in August, and won the Australian Open in September. Oh, and she knocked Serena Williams out of the number one spot, a ranking Williams held for 186 weeks.

Yes, it was a wild roller coaster kind of season in women’s tennis.  Maria Sharapova got suspended for committing an anti-doping violation. Victoria Azarenka got pregnant and was off the tour. Serena Williams played just eight tournaments all season and lost her No.1 ranking. Karolina Pliskova and Cibulkova made their top-five debuts, Madison Keys and Johanna Konta entered the top-10 for the first time and Garbine Muguruza won her first grand slam title.

I think it’s great there was so much movement and diversity in the rankings and tournament finals this year. The power players were consistently at the top, but the young guns made their presence known.

The 2017 season picks up with the Australian Open, January 16-29th. I’m excited to see what next year brings. I’m hoping for the record-breaking 23rd grand slam from Serena.

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