As the 2017 WTA season unfolded, it did not take long for fans to grow accustomed to expecting the unexpected. Five women held the No.1 ranking in 2017 while nine different women won the nine biggest titles of the season.
According to SAP Analytics, five different women won the four Slams and WTA Finals for the first time since 2005. In fact, nine different women won the nine biggest events of the season for the first time since the advent of Premier Mandatory tournaments in 2009.
2017 SLAM CHAMPIONS:
Australian Open: Serena Williams (USA)
Roland Garros: Jelena Ostapenko (LAT)
Wimbledon: Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP)
US Open: Sloane Stephens (USA)
2017 PREMIER MANDATORY & WTA FINALS CHAMPIONS:
Indian Wells: Elena Vesnina (RUS)
Miami: Johanna Konta (GBR)
Madrid: Simona Halep (ROM)
Beijing: Caroline Garcia (FRA)
WTA Finals Singapore: Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)
The title bounty was spread across the field, with 43 players winning titles across 58 tournaments. Through the first four months of the season, only Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina, and Johanna Konta had notched multiple titles. By the end of the season, it was World No.6 Svitolina who set the tour-mark for most titles (5) after becoming the first player to ever win three Premier 5 titles in a single season, let alone winning three in a row (Dubai, Rome, Toronto).
Meanwhile, Venus Williams threw down a thoroughly surprising season, which kicked off with her first major final since 2009 at the Australian Open, continued with yet another final at Wimbledon, and ended with her first final at the WTA Finals since that same year. In qualifying for Singapore, Venus returned to the WTA Finals 19 years after she first qualified for the year-end event. This season also marked the first time since 2002 that Venus made the semifinals or better at three Slams.
While Venus set the mark amongst the veterans, Jelena Ostapenko became the youngest major champion since 2006 when she stunned the field at Roland Garros, just two days after her 20th birthday. In fact, it was a good season for the tour's youth brigade. For the first time since 2005, three major champions were 24-years-old or younger (Muguruza, Stephens, Ostapenko).
Once again, the Porsche Race to Singapore came down to the final week of the season, after No.8 Caroline Garcia came out of nowhere to reel off 11 consecutive wins to become the first player to ever win the Wuhan Open and China Open back-to-back. Garcia became the first Frenchwoman to qualify for the WTA Finals since her former Fed Cup captain Amelie Mauresmo in 11 years.
While a core group of players, led by Halep, Muguruza, Wozniacki, Pliskova, Svitolina, and Venus drove the season, being a top seed was a precarious position in 2017. The No.1 seed won their respective tournaments just six times, with none coming at a Premier-level event or higher, including the Slams.
NO.1 SEEDS THAT WON TOURNAMENTS:
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova: Rabat
Elina Svitolina: Istanbul
Elina Svitolina: Taipei City
Jelena Ostapenko: Seoul
Kiki Bertens: Nuremberg
Timea Babos: Budapest
2017 also saw 21 unseeded champions crowned, including at three of the season's biggest events, with Jelena Ostapenko winning the French Open, Sloane Stephens winning the US Open, and Caroline Garcia backing up her surge in China with the biggest title of her career at the China Open.
Slams and Premier Mandatory Tournaments
Jelena Ostapenko: Roland Garros
Sloane Stephens: US Open
Caroline Garcia: Beijing
Premier 5 and Premier Tournaments
Carolina Garcia: Wuhan
Kristina Mladenovic: St. Petersburg
Daria Kasatkina: Charleston
Laura Siegemund: Stuttgart
Daria Gavrilova: New Haven
Katerina Siniakova: Shenzhen
Lauren Davis: Auckland
Elise Mertens: Hobart
Ashleigh Barty: Kuala Lumpur
Francesca Schiavone: Bogota
Marketa Vondrousova: Biel
Mona Barthel: Prague
Anett Kontaveit: 'S-Hertogenbosch
Donna Vekic: Nottingham
Zarina Diyas: Tokyo (International)
Kateryna Bondarenko: Tashkent
Maria Sharapova: Tianjin
Carina Witthoeft: Luxembourg