One of the most consistent performers on the WTA Tour this year was former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, with the Dane continuing to surge back up the rankings throughout the whole of the 2017 season.
Heading into the US Open last year, Wozniacki was ranked down at 74th in the world, though played incredibly well through the final few months to finish 2016 at 19th and rose up to a year-end ranking of third at the end of this season. With eight finals, more than anyone else on the WTA, and two titles, including the biggest of her career at the WTA Finals in Singapore, it was undoubtedly a successful season for the Dane, though there were one or two less successful patches.
With the season now over, this piece will look at both the positive and negative moments of Wozniacki’s year, as well as look at what could be in store for the two-time Grand Slam finalist when the 2018 season begins in just over 30 days time.
Though there were several notable moments for the Dane in 2017, there can be no doubt that her victory in Singapore, the biggest title of her impressive career so far, was her season highlight.
Though she fell in three sets to Caroline Garcia in her final Round Robin encounter, dominant wins against Elina Svitolina and Simona Halep prior to that saw her reach the last four of the tournament. There, she fended off Karolina Pliskova to make the final for the first time, where she beat Venus Williams for the first time to secure the season-end title. Wozniacki had previously claimed her first title of the season in Tokyo, crushing Garbine Muguruza in the last four before beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final.
As well as those two title victories, Wozniacki reached a further six finals in 2017. She reached back to back finals in Doha and Dubai, losing to Pliskova and Svitolina respectively, before falling to Johanna Konta in the Miami final and then Pliskova once again in Eastbourne. The Dane then fell to Katerina Siniakova in Bastad and then Svitolina again in Toronto, though did eventually take the Tokyo and Singapore titles. Aside from that, Wozniacki reached the last eight at the French Open for just the second time and also once again made the second week at Wimbledon, as well as reaching the last eight in both Indian Wells and Cincinnati.
Though it was certainly an encouraging season overall for the Dane, there were some rough moments for her throughout 2017.
Wozniacki fell in the third round of the Australian Open, albeit to a higher seed in Johanna Konta, though also fell in the second round at the US Open to Ekaterina Makarova; an opponent she had never lost to prior to that match. Though she had a good run at the French Open, the Dane struggled prior to that, falling early in both Madrid and Prague and pulling out of Rome, and in the Asian swing fell early in both Wuhan and Beijing.
Also, whilst she did incredibly well to reach eight tour finals this year, she failed to win a set in any of her first six finals of the season and failed to make some of the finals competitive. Though she eventually rebounded to win her remaining two finals of the season, it cannot be a good thing that Wozniacki struggled so much in some of the biggest matches outside of the Grand Slam tournaments.
On paper, Wozniacki is in an incredibly solid position to start 2018 in, though has struggled recently to record back to back consistent seasons; an example of this is her finishing 2014 ranked eighth, yet falling outside the top-15 by the end of 2015.
Though she does have a significant amount of points to defend, which may put some pressure on her, the Dane still has the opportunity to gain a large number of points at the Grand Slam tournaments, as well as at a handful of tournaments outside of them.
Furthermore, if she continues to play consistently well, she will be seeded well at all of the Major tournaments next year, meaning she may have a shot at capturing the Grand Slam title that has so far eluded her; it will certainly be interesting to see how she performs in the opening weeks of the season, especially in Melbourne.
Season Grade: A
Though there were some bumps in the road for her, 2017 proved to be one of the most fruitful seasons of Wozniacki’s career, with her success being capped off by her victory in Singapore. 2018 will be a tough challenge for her, though her consistency suggests that next year could be a test that she is capable of passing with flying colors.