Sloane Stephens and 5 WTA Tour players who had a year to forget

Sloane Stephens was one of a group of players who did not enjoy the drama of 2019 on the WTA Tour, can she revive her fortunes when next season begins?

A dramatic year on the WTA Tour saw some new stars like Bianca Andreescu and Coco Gauff arrive, while other established figures like Serena Williams and Simona Halep remained prominent.

But with the women’s game enjoying such depth and competitiveness, there were also some high-profile players who got lost in the shuffle, seeing their ranking positions tumble.

The new season in 2020 will give them an opportunity to bounce back, with the first major of the year, the Australian Open, beginning in January.

We have highlighted five players, three of whom are former Grand Slam winners, who will not look back at their performances in 2019 fondly.

Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens was US Open champion in 2017 and a French Open finalist in 2018, so few would have predicted the American’s struggles this year.

The 26-year-old had a decent enough start to the year, reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open and the last eight at Roland Garros.

But a third-round exit at Wimbledon was followed by a stunning first-round defeat to qualifier Anna Kalinskaya at the US Open.

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Stephens did not excel outside of the Slams either, reaching zero WTA Tour finals compared to four in the previous year.

It meant her year-end ranking dropped from number six to 25.

Sloane Stephens has shown she has the game to compete at the highest level and is a strong candidate to return to form next year, having reunited with former coach Kamau Murray towards the end of 2019.

Angelique Kerber

A three-time Grand Slam winner, Angelique Kerber’s struggles in 2019 came as a major surprise.

The German’s defence of her Wimbledon title ended at the second round when she  was beaten by Lauren Davis, who had reached the tournament as a lucky loser.

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Previously, she had suffered an emphatic defeat to Danielle Collins in the fourth round of the Australian Open and lost her first-round match at the French Open to Anastasia Potapova.

A third-round loss to Dominika Cibulkova ended a miserable year in the majors and she ended the season without a WTA Tour title as her year-end ranking fell from 2 to 20.

Turning 32 next month, Kerber knows time is not on her side with 2020 taking on an added importance.

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki started 2019 ranked at number three but ended it down at 38.

She had won a title for 11 consecutive seasons between 2008 and 2018 but that streak ended this year when the Dane did not take home a WTA trophy.

Unlike the others, though, Wozniacki is not a candidate to bounce back next year after she announced her impending retirement, with her last tournament to be the 2020 Australian Open.

Her struggles in 2019 do not detract from a brilliant career on the WTA Tour and fans will be hoping to see her bow out in style when the tournament in Melbourne begins next month.

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Caroline Garcia

Caroline Garcia’s career momentum appears to be heading in the wrong direction.

She ended 2017 ranked at 8 and then peaked at 4 in September 2018, but just over a year later she finished 2019 as the world number 45.

Garcia’s major performances this year were third-round and second round defeats followed by two first-round losses.

While it was not a vintage individual year for Garcia, she ended on a huge high by helping France to win the Fed Cup for the first time in 16 years, winning in the doubles alongside Kristina Mladenovic.

Garcia will hope that will provide the perfect springboard into 2020 on the WTA Tour, as she hopes to return to prominence.

Caroline Garcia

Caroline Garcia (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Daria Kasatkina

Daria Kasatkina also suffered a significant rankings fall, dropping from 10 to 69.

After reaching two Grand Slam quarterfinals in 2018 she won only won of her five matches at majors in the 2019 campaign, with first-round exits in Melbourne, Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows.

The Kremlin Cup winner in 2018, she did not reach a WTA Tour final over the course of the year, posting a singles record of 12-21.

Next: Halep: Nothing to prove, everything to gain

Still 22, Kasatkina has plenty of time to prove this year was simply a blip.

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