WTA: Who were the biggest winners from the 2017 season?

As the WTA's 2017 season comes to a close, RealSport looks back at who the season's big winners were and relive some of their moments of triumph.

Following the conclusion of the WTA Elite trophy, the 2017 season will come to an end for the world’s best women. So what better time could there be to look back at some of the season’s best moments, from Grand Slam triumphs to rankings successes and a new addition to a certain family that has long been at the top of the tennis world.

Four different stars share this year’s Grand Slam titles

For the first time in three years, the four Majors were shared by four players as Serena Williams, Jelena Ostapenko, Garbine Muguruza, and Sloane Stephens all picked up one of the sport’s most prestigious titles. Williams began the year by defeating her older sister Venus to make history in Melbourne, despite being in the early stages of her pregnancy. It was her 23rd Slam win, and her seventh title at Melbourne, giving her an Open Era record.

Ostapenko then shocked the world at Roland Garros when she fired her way into the final. She then defeated overwhelming favourite Halep in a three-set thriller 4-6 6-4 6-3 coming back from a break down in the second and third sets. Interestingly, it was also the first time since the 1979 Australian Open final that neither player had won a Major coming into the final. Ostapenko became the first ever Latvian player to win a Grand Slam title in a career-changing win.

Muguruza came into Wimbledon in the middle of an apparent crisis. After losing in the fourth round at Roland Garros where she had been defending champion, she fell out of the top 10 and looked lost. But after two scintillating weeks, it was her name that was added to the list of champions at the All-England Club as she took home the Venus Rosewater Dish. It was again Venus Williams who was runner-up as the veteran American proved unable to live with Muguruza’s power as the Spaniard denied Williams 7-5 6-0. The win also laid the ground for Muguruza to climb to the top of the rankings, where she found herself following the US Open.

But it was Stephens, of all this year’s Grand Slam winners, who had perhaps the most surprising run as she became the lowest-ranked player to ever win a Major. The 24-year-old Stephens had missed almost a year of tennis after picking up a leg injury that kept her out from after the Rio Olympics until Wimbledon. Indeed, coming into the North American hard court swing she was ranked outside the top 900. But a series of excellent performances catapulted her up the rankings, with her 6-3 6-0 defeat of Keys in the US Open final the crowning glory of an excellent summer. It also made her the first American except the Williams sisters to win the title in New York since Jennifer Capriati in 2002. 

Caroline Wozniacki beats Venus Williams to secure her first WTA Finals trophy

Caroline Wozniacki qualified into the WTA Finals comfortably enough, coming sixth in the Road to Singapore. But few had expected her to triumph in a field packed with talent. Yet the Dane defied the odds to conquer a hard-fighting Venus Williams 6-4 6-4 and lift the biggest title of her career to date. In fact, it made her the first ever Dane to secure the WTA Finals trophy continuing her late-season surge after she had won the title in Tokyo. It was a deserved triumph for the 27-year-old Wozniacki, who had also never defeated Venus Williams before in seven previous attempts. Overall, Wozniacki had a strangely underrated season despite having the most finals appearances with 10 and leading the Tour in wins with 60 as well as top 10 wins with 14. Now at world #3, she has received some deserved recognition for her efforts.

Simona Halep clinches year end #1

Simona Halep was the first ever Romanian to reach the top of the WTA rankings tree. While she failed to reach the knockout stages of the WTA Finals in Singapore last week, she still finished on top of the world, literally. Despite winning just one tournament this year, the Madrid Open, the Romanian had a consistent year, making it to four other finals including at the French Open and the Italian Open. As a result, the 26-year-old still became the 13th player in the history of the WTA  to finish the year as the world #1 and was handed the world #1 trophy by WTA president Micky Lawler. Her record of being a member of the Top 10 for 196 consecutive weeks, which began in January 2014, continued and she is now the longest standing member of the game’s elite 10.

Serena Williams gives birth to her first daughter

The great Williams began her year with a bang after winning the Australian Open but little more was seen of her on a tennis court. The reason was the impending birth of her daughter with husband Alexis Ohanian. Williams, 72 times a WTA singles titlist, gave birth to Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, early in September. But fans can expect the American back on court soon, with her expected to return next year to defend her Australian Open title. There have been plenty of great matches and performances in her absence. But the Tour misses its very best, and her return will be a welcome one.

What was your favourite moment of the 2017 WTA season? Let us know in the comments below!

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