World number seven Garbiñe Muguruza began the year ranked inside the top three but has slumped to seven in the world due to inconsistencies throughout the year, however, winning the French Open this year and qualifying for the WTA Finals in Singapore were amongst her highlights of the year.
Muguruza's win-loss record was an average 35-20 in 2016. The Spaniard only reached the semifinals or better on three occasions this year, and the French Open was her solitary title this year along with her only final appearance she has made.
Muguruza's first quarterfinal appearance was in Doha losing to 2014 French Open semifinalist Andrea Petkovic and reaching the fourth round in the Miami Open losing to eventual champion Victoria Azarenka was another highlight of her year, losing in two tight tiebreak sets. The former world number two advanced to her first semifinal of the year in Rome back in May, losing to 2015 Australian Open semifinalist Madison Keys, however, following that solid run in Rome, Muguruza dropped one set at Roland Garros and won 14 consecutive sets to clinch her first Grand Slam title at the French Open.
Muguruza wouldn't reach another semifinal until the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, where she lost to eventual champion Karolina Pliskova, who went on to reach her maiden Grand Slam final at the US Open. The Spaniard qualified for the WTA Finals for the second consecutive year, reaching the semifinals in 2015, Muguruza failed to advance out of the Round Robin stage this year.
Unfortunately for Muguruza, there were more low points than high points with a whole host of early round exits. The reigning French Open champion retired from her first match in Brisbane with Varvara Lepchenko due to injury, and despite reaching the second week at the Australian Open in 2014 and 2015, Muguruza lost in the third round to Barbora Strycova. More misery ensued for the Spaniard losing to lower-ranked players in the second rounds in Dubai, the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and Madrid.
Despite reaching the final at Wimbledon last year, the French Open champion's grass court season was underwhelming losing to Kirsten Flipkens at the inaugural event in Mallorca, a tournament she might have skipped but participated due it to being in Spain. Muguruza's abrupt grass court campaign culminated with a shocking second round exit losing to giant-killer Jana Cepelova. On her debut appearance in Rio, Muguruza was thrashed by eventual gold medalist Monica Puig in the third round, and once again Muguruza's well-documented struggles at Flushing Meadows continued, as she could not advance past the second round losing to Anastasija Sevastova.
Muguruza's French Open triumph was by far her highlight of the season along with two semifinal finishes in Rome and Cincinnati losing to Keys and Pliskova respectively.
There has been plenty of poor results for Muguruza in 2016, most notably failing to perform at the Grand Slams this year losing to Barbora Strycova in the third round in Melbourne, and in the second round of Wimbledon and the US Open to Jana Cepelova and Anastasija Sevastova, who are all players, the Spaniard should be beating.
The French Open champion will be disappointed with her season on the WTA Tour, nonetheless, she won a Grand Slam title which would have been a weight lifted off her shoulders. The good news for Muguruza is that she is only 23 and there is plenty of room for improvement with time certainly being on her side to do better and maximise her career.
Muguruza is usually a mentally tough player and will need to improve her fitness slightly despite being in incredible shape. However, in 2017 for Muguruza to make her way back up the rankings, she will need to cut out the errors and go back to basics which brought her name to prominence. The Spaniard is a talented player and 2017 will be interesting to see if Muguruza will be genuinely challenging for Grand Slams again.