Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova finished 2012 as women’s tennis’ number one and two but Serena Williams reminded everyone of her quality in a mixed year full of twists and turns.
Player of the Year Serena Williams fought back from illness to stamp herself as the player to look out for and fear in 2013, although it was Victoria Azarenka who finished the calendar year ranked number one, with the American third. Williams clinched two major titles, Wimbledon and the US Open, while she reiterated her dominance in the season-ending WTA Championships. Her battle to beat Azarenka in three sets at Flushing Meadows was an entertaining and see-sawing tussle. With more tennis, she’ll soon re-claim her number one ranking.
Breakthrough of the Year Victoria Azarenka took her game to another level in 2012, after hinting that she could win majors in 2011 when she made the last eight at Roland Garros and the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows. The Belarussian flew out of the blocks in 2012, destroying all in front of her as she triumphed at the Australian Open. Azarenka went on a remarkable 26-game winning streak through the early part of the year, while she would also make the final of the US Open where she went down in a thriller to Serena Williams.
Bolter of the Year She may have been on the wrong end of a Yaroslava Shvedova golden set, but little Italian Sara Errani blossomed in 2012. Errani had been ranked in the fourties prior to the season, but with a combination of improved play and regular competitions she flew up the rankings. The Italian claimed 12 titles for 2012, four in singles, while she made the semi-finals of the US Open and the decider at Roland Garros. Whether she can compete with the best remains to be seen.
Veteran of the Year It’s hard to look past Serena Williams in a year where she re-discovered some of her finest touch and won over a few people too, with maturity and less drama. The game did also say goodbye to four-time major winner Kim Clijsters which was sad to see, but it is hard to go past the 31-year-old American.