Angelique Kerber has always been a consistent top ten player but in 2016, the German went to new heights which have seen her become a two-time Grand Slam singles champion and world number one for the first time in her career.
Kerber registered an impressive 63-18 win-loss record in 2016. The world number one reached eight finals this year only winning three titles, nonetheless, the Australian Open and US Open triumphs are on the top of Kerber's list along with retaining her title in Stuttgart.
The world number one began the season by reaching the final in Brisbane losing to fellow two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka but following that defeat and a brief stint in Sydney, Kerber won her first Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open stunning reigning champion Serena Williams in three thrilling sets. Kerber went on to win her second title of the year on the clay courts in Stuttgart but her clay court season went downhill after her victory in Germany. The two-time Grand Slam champion bounced back by reaching her second Grand Slam singles final of the year at Wimbledon losing to Williams in straight sets.
The German's consistency continued by reaching the final in Rio losing to Monica Puig in the Gold Medal match but the world number one surprisingly reached the final in Cincinnati despite being exhausted, nonetheless it the final North American hard court swing of the season culminating with Kerber clinching her second Grand Slam singles title at the US Open defeating Karolina Pliskova, dropping one set in the process.
Despite recording consistent results throughout 2016, Kerber suffered some devastating losses. In Sydney following her first round victory over Elina Svitolina, Kerber withdrew from her second round match with Ekaterina Makarova due to suffering from gastrointestinal illness.
Unfortunately, she struggled to deal with the expectations of being a Grand Slam singles champion, suffering uncharacteristic losses to Saisai Zheng and Denisa Allertova respectively at the Qatar Open and BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. The WTA Player of the Year's clay court season was disastrous following her triumph in Stuttgart, she lost to Barbora Strycova and Eugenie Bouchard in her first round matches in Madrid and Rome, and her clay court campaign ended with a disappointing first round loss at the French Open to Kiki Bertens, who went on to reach the semifinals. It was the second time in three years that the reigning Australian Open champion was bundled out of the French Open in the first round.
Although reaching the final at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Kerber had the opportunity to overtake Serena Williams as the world number one but she lost to an in-form Karolina Pliskova in the final, however, Kerber would gain the world number one ranking all thanks to Pliskova at Flushing Meadows who eliminated Williams in the semifinals in New York.
The highlight of Kerber's season was winning the Australian Open and US Open titles becoming the first female player since Martina Hingis in 1997 to win two hardcourt majors in the same calendar year.
Kerber also won a title in Stuttgart but was a runner-up at Brisbane, Wimbledon, the Olympics, Cincinnati and the WTA Finals in Singapore.
The world number one's first round exits at the Qatar Open, Indian Wells, Madrid, Rome and French Open were amongst her worst results of the year. Kerber's form dipped in Asia suffering defeats at the hands of Petra Kvitova and Elina Svitolina in the third round of Wuhan and Beijing respectively.
Kerber's mental and physical toughness throughout 2016 has been a temperant to the German on improving her game. The third round loss to Victoria Azarenka at the US Open last year was the catalyst for things to come in 2016 as the German performed extremely well in that match.
Furthermore, Kerber has been battling well in tough moments to get the job done. The difficult part for the world number one is backing it up her results from this year, and Kerber is certainly capable of doing that but it remains to seen. There will be more pressure on Kerber in 2017 as she will need to defend plenty of points and Serena Williams will certainly want to wrestle away the world number one ranking from Kerber.
The two-time Grand Slam champion has been blessed to have avoided any serious injury issues in 2016 which has allowed Kerber to compete at a high level at virtually every tournament she has participated in.