Timea Bacsinszky has had one of the weirdest seasons on tour this year. Not reaching any quarterfinals except for one tournament — and that tournament was a Grand Slam. And she even reached the last four there! However, just when she was making a rise in the rankings and looked on course for a return to the top-20, an unfortunate and untimely wrist injury ended her season after Wimbledon, forcing her to undergo a surgery and recuperate for a lengthy period of time.
Bacsinszky’s season win-loss record stands at a disappointing 18-10 (.643) and she has only progressed past the quarterfinals stage once throughout the year, although that could be credited to the fact that she was out of action since July. On six occasions, the Swiss lost to players of a lower ranking but she was still able to claim three top-20 victories within seven months.
Although her campaigns at the Australian Open and the BNP Paribas Open did not end the way Bacsinszky would have liked to, she was still capable of clinching some confidence-boosting victories along the way. Her first match of the year came against Camila Giorgi, and she dutifully prevailed in a 150-minute thriller before putting in a solid performance to defeat Danka Kovinic. The Swiss also claimed an incredible win over Kiki Bertens at Indian Wells, saving four match points in the process and triumphed after 202 minutes of play.
Bacsinszky also led the Switzerland Fed Cup team to glory against the powerful France team, securing their place in the World Group semifinals. Being the highest-ranked player in the team, the Swiss claimed two pivotal wins over the weekend and sealed the huge upset in an emphatic matter, taking a 4-1 victory. Bacsinszky defeated Kristina Mladenovic 7-6, 4-6, 7-5 in a drama-filled rubber before grabbing another marathon win over Alize Cornet in straight sets. Both matches lasted for more than two hours of play.
Her lone top-10 win of the year came against home favorite and soon-to-be world number one Garbine Muguruza at the Mutua Madrid Open, ousting the out-of-sorts Spaniard 6-1, 6-3 in just over an hour of play. Bacsinszky came into the French Open as a dark horse, having reached the quarterfinals for two consecutive years. The Swiss made it three after strolling to the second week losing just an impressive nine games in the process before outplaying the legendary Venus Williams in the fourth round.
Leaving the crowd shell-shocked after defeating the in-form home player Kristina Mladenovic, Bacsinszky progressed to the semifinals in Paris for the second time in three years. She had her best ever chance to reach a Major final as she played against fellow birthday girl and surprise semifinalist Jelena Ostapenko on their birthdays, meaning that it would be a bittersweet moment after the conclusion of the match. However, Bacsinszky was unexpectedly on the losing end as she fell to the eventual champion in a spirited display, leaving Roland Garros with a heartbreak despite an excellent run.
It was a bad omen for Bacsinszky on the first day of the new year, with injuries forcing her to withdraw from the Shenzhen Open and Sydney International as she headed into the Australian Open without any match practice. More injury issues followed as she retired in the opening round of the Qatar Total Open against Yulia Putintseva before a wrist issue caused her to forfeit during her fourth-round match at the BNP Paribas Open, disallowing her to compete at her fully best.
Onto the clay court season, which is inevitably Bacsinszky’s favorite stretch of the year, the Swiss was tipped to whip up some good results during this period. Ironically, she started the stretch on the worst possible note. At the Grand Prix SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem where Bacsinszky was the huge favorite to claim the title, the Swiss shockingly fell to teenage sensation Catherine Bellis in a tight 7-6, 5-7, 5-7 match which lasted longer than three hours.
Disappointing results at the Mutua Madrid Open and the Internazionali BNL D’Italia soon ensued for Bacsinszky. After beating world number four Muguruza, the Swiss miss was outclassed 2-6, 2-6 by the in-form Kiki Bertens the very next day. Bacsinszky was then ousted by world number three Karolina Pliskova in Rome — the loss was quite surprising considering clay was the Czech’s least-preferred surface and the Swiss’ favorite surface.
Grass has never been Bacsinszky’s cup of tea — and will probably never be. Her first match on grass this year was against Peng Shuai at the Eastbourne International, and she just narrowly fell short after losing 4-6 in the decider. Earning some excellent wins for a third-round appearance at the Wimbledon Championships, Bacsinszky’s wrist injury came into play during the worst possible time, affecting her during the majority of her match against Agnieszka Radwanska, and she ultimately fell in three sets despite earning multiple chances to lead by a set and a break. This wrist injury required a surgery and it effectively ended her season.
Season Grade: C
Although injuries came during moments when Bacsinszky seemed like regaining her form, her performances this year have been relatively poor apart from her Roland Garros semifinal appearance. Nonetheless, she was still able to end the year inside the world’s top-40 and with nothing to defend during the second half of the year, 2018 looks bright for the Swiss.