SINGAPORE - After compiling what was arguably the most consistent year on tour from start to finish, Ana Ivanovic has returned to No.5 in the world - her first time in the Top 5 since the Australian Open fortnight in 2009 - and she'll finish at No.5 on next Monday's year-end WTA Rankings as well.
Perhaps the biggest stat from Ivanovic's season was her 58 WTA-level match wins - more than anyone on tour, and one of only two players to win 50 or more (Serena Williams had 52). But she also won four WTA titles at Auckland, Monterrey, Birmingham and Tokyo [Pan Pacific], more WTA titles than she's ever won in a season in her career, and two of those - Birmingham and Tokyo - were Premiers.
After reaching the Stanford quarters she broke back into the Top 10 and now, after a great run at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, she's back at No.5, her 80th career week in the Top 5 (her first 79 came in the 82-week span between July 9, 2007 and February 1, 2009).
Williams edged Ivanovic when the Serb dropped the middle set to Halep in her third and final match.
"It was such a great match, yet it's such a low not to qualify for the semifinals," Ivanovic said. "So it's mixed emotions, but on a positive note I won two matches and finished the season with a victory.
"And it's been a great season for me. I really turned it around from the last few seasons, played a lot and won most of my matches. This is such a huge achievement for me, that I managed to play lots of matches back to back and managed to win quite a few titles. So I'm very, very proud of all of that.
"My fitness coach said I have a title on each continent this year. That's definitely a highlight!"
The re-breakthrough might be even sweeter given some of the lows Ivanovic had over the years - she actually fell as low as No.65 in the world midway through the 2010 season - but that all seems behind her now, and she's hoping to reach even higher heights in 2015, with one specific goal in mind.
"I felt like I was playing well the whole year this year, but at the big events, the Grand Slams, I didn't perform as well as I wanted to," Ivanovic said. "I think I'm going to schedule my season a little bit differently next year. Hopefully play less events, but play better at the big ones and Grand Slams."
But if she can just get out of those early rounds, she'll be a big threat deeper in the tournament - she had wins over five of the other seven members of Singapore's elite eight during 2014, never even playing against Agnieszka Radwanska all year and only going winless against Petra Kvitova.
The top players might want to avoid her in 2015...