WTA Insider has the ranking and breakthrough milestones from a season of fresh faces.
WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen
November 5, 2018

The 2018 WTA Season is in the books. Now to synthesize what just happened over the last 11 months, which saw a steady World No.1, the resurgence of veterans, and the growing younger cast of WTA stars taking their place on tennis' biggest stages. 

No.1 Simona Halep
Ranking on January 1st: No.1
Record: 46-11
Titles: 3 (Shenzhen, Roland Garros, Montreal, also Australian Open final, Rome final, Cincinnati final)
Stat of the Season: Her 80.7% winning percentage led the tour in 2018.

No.2 Angelique Kerber
Ranking on January 1st: No.21
Record: 46-19
Titles: 2 (Sydney, Wimbledon)
Stat of the Season: Made quarterfinals or better at 9 of her 1st 12 events through Wimbledon, including semifinals or better at 5. Kerber improved her percentage of return games won by over 12% in 2018 (43.9%) compared to 2017 (31.8%).

No.3 Caroline Wozniacki
Ranking on January 1st: No.3
Record: 41-17
Titles: 3 (Australian Open, Eastbourne, Beijing)
Stat of the Season: Wozniacki has now won at last one title in each of the last 10 years, tied for the sixth longest streak in WTA history.

No.4 Elina Svitolina
Ranking on January 1st: No.6
Record: 44-15
Titles: 4 (Brisbane, Dubai, Rome, WTA Finals)
Stat of the Season: Svitolina was 4-0 in finals in 2018, extending her winning streak in championship matches to nine consecutive finals. She has not lost a final since 2016.

Naomi Osaka, BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, Singapore, Sascha Bajin
Naomi Osaka won her first two titles, on any level, in 2018. (©Jimmie48)

No.5 Naomi Osaka
Ranking on January 1st: No.68
Record: 42-20
Titles: 2 (Indian Wells, US Open, also Tokyo final)
Stat of the Season: Osaka was 38-0 when winning the first set in 2018. In fact, she has not lost a match in which she won the 1st set since 2016. Over her career, she is 90-10 in main draw matches when she wins the first set.

No.6 Sloane Stephens
Ranking on January 1st: No.13
Record: 37-19
Titles: 1 (Miami, also Roland Garros final, Montreal final, WTA Finals final)
Stat of the Season: Contested the final of 3 of the 9 biggest tournaments of the season (Miami - Won, Roland Garros, WTA Finals), more than any other player.

No.7 Petra Kvitova
Ranking on January 1st: No.29
Record: 47-17
Titles: 5 (St. Petersburg, Doha, Prague, Madrid, Birmingham)
Stat of the Season: Kvitova led the tour in titles in 2018. She won all five titles before Wimbledon, the fastest a player has won 5 titles since Serena Williams in 2013. 

No.8 Karolina Pliskova
Ranking on January 1st: No.4
Record: 49-23
Titles: 2 (Stuttgart, Tokyo, also Tianjin final, WTA Finals semifinals)
Stat of the Season: Finished the season with the most main draw wins on tour. In fact, Pliskova has the most cumulative main draw wins over the last three seasons.

No.9 Kiki Bertens
Ranking on January 1st: No.31
Record: 46-23
Titles: 3 (Charleston, Cincinnati, Seoul, also WTA Finals semifinals)
Stat of the Season: Her 12 wins over Top 10 opposition led the tour. Prior to May 2018, Bertens had 3 such wins, all on clay, with the last coming in 2016.

No.10 Daria Kasatkina
Ranking on January 1st: No.24
Record: 42-24
Titles: 1 (Moscow Premier, also Indian Wells final)
Stat of the Season: Her 5-2 record against Top 5 players this season was matched only by Stephens and Bertens.

2018 Most Improved of the Year: Kiki Bertens
Kiki Bertens is the first Dutchwoman to finish the season in the Top 10 since Betty Stove in 1978 (Getty Images)

Top 10 Debuts in 2018
No.5 Naomi Osaka: 9/10/2018
No.6 Sloane Stephens: 4/2/2018
No.9 Kiki Bertens: 10/8/2018
No.10 Daria Kasatkina: 10/22/2018
No.14 Julia Goerges: 2/5/2018

2018 Prize Money Leaders: 6 Players earned over $5M
1. Simona Halep: $7,409,564
2. Caroline Wozniacki: $6,657,719
3. Naomi Osaka: $6,394,289
4. Elina Svitolina: $5,737,247
5. Angelique Kerber: $5,686,362
6. Sloane Stephens: $5,068,099
7. Serena Williams: $3,770,170
8. Karolina Pliskova: $3,539,050
9. Petra Kvitova: $3,301,389
10. Kiki Bertens: $3,163,688

Danielle Collins was a 2-time NCAA champion at the University of Virginia. (©Jimmie48)

Top 100: Biggest Ranking Improvements Since End of 2017
No.36 Danielle Collins: +131
No.37 Belinda Bencic: +128
No.43 Ajla Tomljanovic: +108
No.51 Victoria Azarenka: +157
No.55 Rebecca Peterson: +141
No.60 Dayana Yastremska: +129
No.69 Dalila Jakupovic: +170
No.70 Tamara Zidansek: +110
No.94 Anastasia Potapova: +143
No.100 Katie Boulter: +100

Top 100 Debuts in 2018
No.36 Danielle Collins (USA)
No.55 Rebecca Peterson (SWE)
No.56 Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK)
No.60 Dayana Yastrzemska (UKR)
No.65 Vera Lapko (BLR)
No.68 Bernarda Pera (USA)
No.69 Dalila Jakupovic (SLO)
No.70 Tamara Zidansek (SLO)
No.71 Ana Bogdan (ROU)
No.73 Wang Yafan (CHN)
No.94 Anastasia Potapova (RUS)
No.95 Amanda Anisimova (USA)
No.96 Sachia Vickery (USA)
No.98 Anna Blinkova (RUS)
No.100 Katie Boulter (GBR)
No.101 Fiona Ferro (FRA)
No.103 Olga Danilovic (SRB)

Dayana Yastremska, 2018 Hong Kong (Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open)
Dayana Yastremska was one of two teenage title winners in 2018.

Teenagers in the Year-End Top 100
No.52 Sofia Kenin (19 years, 365 days)
No.60 Dayana Yastremska (18 years, 174 days)
No.67 Marketa Vondrousova (19 years, 130 days)
No.94 Anastasia Potapova (17 years, 220 days)
No.95 Amanda Anisimova (17 years, 66 days)

The American duo are also Fed Cup team-mates (Getty)

Year-End Ranking by Nation
12: United States
8: Russia
6: Czech Republic, Romania
5: Germany
4: Australia, Belarus, China, France, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, Slovakia, Spain
3: Belgium, Slovenia, Switzerland
2: Croatia, Estonia, Great Britain, 
Kazakhstan, Latvia, Poland, Sweden
1: Canada, Chinese Taipei, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Serbia, Thailand, Tunisia, Serbia

Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova wait to go on to court (Getty)
Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova combined for seven titles in 2018. (Getty Images)

Titles won by Nation:
7: Czech Republic
6: Ukraine
5: Germany
4: Belgium, France. Romania, Russia
3: Denmark, The Netherlands
2: Australia, Belarus, China, Japan, Serbia
1: Chinese Taipei, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, USA

Statistics and information provided by SAP Analytics.