This month, the WTA Editorial team is profiling a selection of up-and-coming names to look out for in 2023.

Sara Bejlek | Alexandra Eala | Alycia Parks | Linda Noskova | Eva Lys | Caty McNally

It's only a month since Caty McNally cracked the Top 100 for the first time, but it's hard to think of the 21-year-old as a newcomer.

The American got as high as No.105 in 2019 after a breakout summer that included qualifying for her first Grand Slam main draw at Wimbledon (alongside Coco Gauff), reaching her first WTA semifinal in Washington and taking the great Serena Williams to three sets at the US Open.

Over the next three years, McNally became more known for her doubles prowess, winning six WTA titles and reaching two US Open finals -- the first in 2021 as part of the popular "McCoco" combo with Gauff, the second with Taylor Townsend this year. But her singles ranking suffered, and fell as low as No.229 this June.

The Top 100 breakthroughs of 2022

It took a shift in mindset, a determination to shake off the "doubles specialist" tag and a faith in her own journey for McNally to turn that around. This summer, she thrilled her home-town crowd in Cincinnati with a pair of three-set barnburners. In Ostrava, she delivered all manner of hot shots en route to the quarterfinals, and a quality showdown with former junior rival Iga Swiatek. And in Midland, her first WTA 125 title enabled that long-awaited Top 100 debut.

Taking accountability on and off court

"I was actually pretty positive going into the year, but it was a challenging first half," McNally said from her Orlando preseason base. "I'd lost who I was on court and off court. I made a change and took more accountability."

On court, McNally sharpened her tactical preparation.

"I always wrote in my journal a couple of years ago, and stopped for no reason. But I sat down with my team and said, This is what I want to do. I'm going to write in my journal before every single match. I'm always watching film of my opponents the night before, so I write down a few things based on that. Their strengths, the plays they enjoy doing; also, what I want to accomplish throughout this match.

"And I said to my team, before the match we're going to talk together about my opponent and go over the game plan so everyone's on the same page."

Off court, McNally also frames her decision to start enjoying tour life has to offer as "accountability" as well. But it's important to remember that much of what she needed to thrive hadn't been an option during 2021, the year of bubbles and Covid restrictions -- a curiously under-reported factor that might have affected some players' form.

"I think every player handled [bubbles] differently, depending on their personality," McNally said. "Some people liked to just play their matches then go straight back to the hotel and into their room to watch Netflix. But for me, it's always important to be able to explore the culture. That's something we couldn't do. It was just matches and hotel. It was difficult, and if you weren't having the results -- because winning helps everyone and puts you in a good mood -- it was really tough mentally. 

"I was getting so stuck on the winning and the losing that I was missing out on all the cool places I was actually at. I decided to take accountability off court for finding the things that make me happy when I'm on the road. Little things that change my mindset away from tennis and on to something else, whether finding a place for coffee or reading my book, are really important."

Ostrava: McNally overcomes Muchova to reach first WTA 500 quarterfinal

Tweeners and touch make McNally a hot shot artist

McNally's rise has also established her as one of the tour's must-watch hot shot artists. Two matches with similarly gifted opponents -- a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(7) loss to Ons Jabeur in Cincinnati and a 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 defeat of Karolina Muchova in Ostrava -- are among the very best of the season. At the latter tournament, McNally even pulled off winning tweeners in consecutive matches.

The best indoor points of 2022

"I was probably getting a little bit too confident! I don't know if I should go for tweeners that often. But it's one of those things that I'll practice sometimes for fun. When I was younger, I'd practice with my mom and she'd throw up a lob and say, hey, go for the tweener. So it's all a testament to my mom and the way I was brought up -- I don't know if too many people are like that."

Highlights: McNally d. Sasnovich, Cincinnati R1 | Jabeur d. McNally, Cincinnati R2 | McNally d. Blinkova, Ostrava R1 | McNally d. Muchova, Ostrava R2 | Swiatek d. McNally, Ostrava QF

McNally has previously spoken about the influence of her mother, former pro Lynn Nabors-McNally, on developing an old-school game centred around slices, angles and net play. In recent years, Nabors-McNally has also reminded her daughter that this kind of game takes longer to come together than a more straightforward style.

"She always told me, 'You have a lot of tools in your toolbox. You just have to learn which tool to take out at the right time.' I think I've lost a lot of matches by hitting the wrong shot at the wrong time. But I had to fail to succeed, I believe. I had to go through those experiences to know not to go for that shot, to hit a different one. It just takes a little more time to figure out, but I think I'm doing that pretty well."

Navigating the end of McCoco -- for now

This season also saw the -- temporary -- end of "McCoco," the high-profile doubles partnership with Coco Gauff that dated back to their junior days. Gauff had teamed up with Jessica Pegula in February, when McNally's ranking had been too low to play in the Middle East. When they promptly won Doha, it was clear that the new duo -- who were assured of a similar schedule for the rest of the year -- would be sticking together.

The dissolution of doubles partnerships can be tricky social territory. But in this case there were no hard feelings on either side, and McNally and Gauff's friendship is as strong as ever.

"It was tough," McNally said. "There was a lot of hype, we're similar in age and we had so much fun playing together. But we both know each other really well off the court, and we both know that wasn't going to be the last time we ever played together. We were back together at Billie Jean King Cup, and it felt like we hadn't missed a beat. We were in stride, moving really well together. I think it's really special to have that kind of partner relationship where you might not see someone for a very long time, but when you do, it's like you never left."

McCoco won't be reuniting just yet; Gauff's schedule is still better synced with Pegula's. For now, McNally will continue an ad hoc approach to finding doubles partners, something that's worked well for her so far: as well as Gauff, she's also won doubles titles with Hailey Baptiste, Anna Kalinskaya and Alycia Parks.

"Whenever I play with someone new, I try to make my partner feel as comfortable as possible," she said. "I let them choose which side they want to return on, I communicate on each point."

For now, McNally is relishing in proving "the people who said I should stick to doubles" wrong. Balancing the two disciplines has been a challenge, particularly in managing a schedule that frequently involved doubles semifinals and finals clashing with singles qualifying in a different city. But in recent years, players such as Ashleigh Barty and Barbora Krejcikova have demonstrated how high-level doubles prowess can eventually translate into singles success.

"I think Krejcikova's a great example," McNally said. "She had a lot of success in doubles while she was still playing ITFs. Then she goes out and wins the French Open and gets to No.2 in the world. She's a great role model and example that doubles players can also play singles. There have been people who labeled me as only a doubles player, and that lit a fire within me to work harder and prove them all wrong. I'm a tennis player. I can play both."

Quick hits with "the female Slim Shady"

What's behind the "female Slim Shady" jokes between you, Coco Gauff and Taylor Townsend on Instagram?

"It was my rookie debut at Billie Jean King Cup, and our captain, Kathy Rinaldi, always makes us come up with a rap. The first day I get there, she's like, 'Just so you know, on Thursday night you're going to be giving your rap to everyone.' I was like. ... Great. Luckily Coco helped me out, my brother helped me out a little bit. I came up with some lyrics and one of the lines was "My name is Caty, volleys go crazy, the female Slim Shady."

What's your favourite travel memory of 2022?

"It was really special when my mom came over to the French Open. She hasn't travelled a ton this year, so it was just really nice to walk around the city with her, go to some really nice restaurants and the Eiffel Tower."

You've just turned 21 -- how did you celebrate your birthday?

"I went to church first thing in the morning with one of my best friends. We had a nice brunch afterwards, then I chilled at home with my dogs, Stella and Sky, and my family, then we had a really nice restaurant with some of my best friends - and some friends at college I didn't think would make it. I walked into the room and they were all there. But it was really special, because all the people there have been part of my journey and they've all impacted me in some way.

"The dogs haven't travelled yet. I want them to -- maybe if there's ever a tournament back in the States close to home over the summer. But I would feel bad if I just took one. But it's great to have dogs. They're just so happy to see you, and it doesn't matter if it's been a good day or a bad day - they don't know. They're just happy to be with you."

Favourite music of 2022?

"I've listened to a lot of the new Taylor Swift album, Midnights. I usually like country and rap -- I'm not too picky, but I was never a huge Taylor Swift person, but I've listened to that album a lot. I got my Apple Replay back for the year and the amount of minutes I've listened to her was like, wow!"

Favourite reading of 2022?

"Colleen Hoover. It was a big trend throughout summer, I think, and I hopped on the bandwagon. But there are a lot of girls on tour who started reading her because of me -- it was cool, because we'd catch up at tournaments to talk about the books we'd read and what we thought."

Goals for 2023?

"I want to break the Top 50, maybe even higher. Especially going into the first half of the year with not many points to defend. Then also to win a couple of tournaments. I've won a 125 now but I want bigger and better things -- winning a 250, a 500. I definitely think it's possible."