2016 season review: Caroline Wozniacki

2016 season review: Caroline Wozniacki

Former world number one  Caroline Wozniacki had an indifferent year on the WTA Tour due to suffering from injuries and a loss of form, however, since the US Open where Wozniacki reached the semifinals once again, the Dane was back to her best and ended the year inside the top 20.

tevon-king
Tevon King

Two-time US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki struggled during the first half of the 2016 WTA season with injuries and a loss of form, however, things improved immensely for the former world number one as an unseeded player at Flushing Meadows, she had an incredible run to the semifinals before losing to eventual champion and world number one Angelique Kerber.

Wozniacki had a few minor changes to her coaching team this year with David Kotyza, the former coach of two-time Wimbledon champion joining her team for a short amount of time before they decided to mutually split up.

Win/Loss:

The world number 19 recorded a respected 34-17 record during the WTA season despite missing the entire clay court season with an ankle injury that occurred during a training session, which caused the Dane to fall slide the rankings at lowly 74. The two-time US Open finalist won two titles in 2016 and it was the ninth successive year that the Dane won at least one title on tour.

High Points

Wozniacki reached her first semifinal of the year in Auckland losing to 2013 Australian Open semifinalist Sloane Stephens and reached the quarterfinals in Monterrey losing to Heather Watson. The quarterfinal in Monterrey was Dane's last appearance in a quarterfinal until reaching the semifinals at the US Open for the second time in three years, defeating Taylor Townsend in the first round to score her first victory at a slam since the US Open the previous year. Wozniacki backed up her run to the semifinals in New York by winning her first title of the year in Tokyo defeating Naomi Osaka and a few weeks later, she won the 25th title of her career in Hong Kong defeating Kristina Mladenovic in the final.

Wozniacki poses with her first title of the season in Tokyo (Photo by Koji Watanabe / Getty Images)
Wozniacki poses with her first title of the season in Tokyo (Photo by Koji Watanabe / Getty Images)

Low Points

Unfortunately for Wozniacki, she lost in the first rounds of the Australian Open and Wimbledon to Yulia Putintseva and two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova respectively. The Dane was unseeded at a Grand Slam for the first time since the Australian Open in 2008 which contributed to her first round loss at Wimbledon to Kuznetsova which was a tough draw for both but the Russian was playing some inspired tennis. More early exits ensued for Wozniacki losing to Dominika Cibulkova in the second round in St.Petersburg and Australian Open quarterfinalist Zhang Shuai upset the Dane in the second round in Indian Wells.

An underwhelming grass court campaign started with losses to Anett Kontaveit in the second round in Nottingham and a three set defeat at the hands of 2009 US Open semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer in the first round in Birmingham. The world number 19's hard court season got off to a poor start, despite winning the first set against Sam Stosur, Wozniacki retired in their second round match in Washington, followed by a second round exit at the Rio Olympics to Petra Kvitova and Jelena Ostapenko defeated her in the first round in New Haven. 

Wimbledon remains the only Grand Slam that Wozniacki hasn't reached the quarterfinals (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty Images)
Wimbledon remains the only Grand Slam that Wozniacki hasn't reached the quarterfinals (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty Images)

Best Results

Wozniacki's highlight of her season was reaching the fifth semifinal of her career at Flushing Meadows playing some inspired tennis against Kuznetsova, Monica Niculescu, Madison Keys and Anastasija Sevastova but came unstuck against Kerber, who was simply too good for the rest of the field during that fortnight in New York. The Dane's title victories in Tokyo and Hong Kong signify the hard work she's put in during the year and will do her some good heading into 2017.

Wozniacki poses with the 25th title of her career in Hong Kong (Photo by K.Y. Cheng / South China Morning Post)
Wozniacki poses with the 25th title of her career in Hong Kong (Photo by K.Y. Cheng / South China Morning Post)

Worst Results

The first round exits at the Australian Open and Wimbledon were certainly her worst results of the year along with first and second round losses in St.Petersburg, Indian Wells, Nottingham, Birmingham and New Haven.

The former world number one receiving some treatment in Melbourne (Photo by Michael Dodge / Getty Images)
The former world number one receiving some treatment in Melbourne (Photo by Michael Dodge / Getty Images)

Grade: C

Despite a late surge during the latter stage of the season, Wozniacki's season has been below par for her standards. The two-time US Open finalist has been non-existent at the big events except her run at Flushing Meadows. However, the former world number one is a talented player and will need to improve immensely going into 2017 if she is to finally win a Grand Slam singles title. This year's US Open was a great chance for Wozniacki to win a Grand Slam but a red-hot Kerber was in her path. 

She has the game to trouble the top players and certainly has the endurance to outlast many of her opponents in long gruelling rallies but the issue for Wozniacki is sometimes she struggles against the big hitters, like her best friend Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka who have got the better of the Dane plenty of times. Furthermore, Wozniacki has hardly got any points to defend in 2017, therefore, she could rapidly rise up the rankings should she stay injury-free and perform well at the big tournaments especially at the Slams.

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