After 11 months of entertainment and intense competition, the 2023 WTA season came to an end this past week.
Iga Swiatek played second fiddle in the WTA Live Race in 43 of 44 weeks but sprinted to the finish line in the final lap ahead of Aryna Sabalenka who can count herself unfortunate not to hold onto the No. 1 ranking. Going to the WTA Finals, just 630 points separated the world's top two.
The math was very simple. If Swiatek defeated Sabalenka and won the WTA Finals she would reclaim the No. 1 ranking that she momentarily lost after the US Open. The Pole did just that, beating Sabalenka in a one-off semifinal in Cancun and demolishing Jessica Pegula in the title match.
Swiatek pipped Sabalenka to the top spot by just 245 points. The Belarusian will have to do it all over again in Australia at the start of next year where she will defend 2,500 points in January. Coco Gauff, meanwhile, held off the challenge of Elena Rybakina to finish in the Top 3 for the first time in her career.
Gauff, with 6,580 points stayed ahead of the Kazakh who also attained her best-ever finish to a season in fourth with 6,365 points. Three Czech players finish the season in the Top 10. Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova was ranked 98th at this time last year, but she is the Czech No. 1 now in 7th place.
Karolina Muchova stays in the eighth spot while Barbora Krejcikova rounds off the Top 10. Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia fell just a spot below her previous career-high mark of 10th she achieved this season, but this is still the best-ever finish to a season by the Sao Paulo native who won the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai.
China's Qinwen Zheng is ranked a career-high of 15th having won two WTA titles and a gold medal at the Asian Games. France's Caroline Garcia attained the record for the most aces in 2023 but endured a slump in rankings. She was occupying the dizzying heights of fourth 12 months ago.
But because she couldn't defend her WTA Finals points from Fort Worth, she has dropped to 20th in the year-end ranking. Ukraine's Elina Svitolina started her season in early April and was outside the Top 1000 after a maternity break.
Svitolina made a jaw-dropping rise into the world's Top 25, winning her first title as a mother in Strasbourg and reaching the quarterfinal of Roland Garros and the semifinal of Wimbledon. One of her most remarkable stats is that she has been ranked in the world's Top 100 for an astonishing 500 weeks and counting.
Leylah Fernandez finishes the year in the world's Top 40 (36th) despite cascading as low as 96th at some point in 2023. She was instrumental in steering Canada to their maiden Billie Jean King Cup title at the weekend in Seville, winning all four of her singles rubbers.
Karolina Pliskova dropped to a low of 38th, her lowest year-end ranking since 2013. But as one Czech giant falters, a new star is looking to fill that void, and her name is Linda Noskova. The 18-year-old started the 2023 season on fire, reaching her first WTA 500 final in Adelaide. She concludes her season ranked 41.
Two surprise names make up the world's Top 50. One of them is big-serving American Caroline Dolehide who became the second-lowest ranked WTA 1000 finalist since the tier was incepted in 2009. Dolehide came up short in the championship match in Guadalajara losing to Maria Sakkari. However, she shut down her season while ranked 44th.
And the other player who took the tennis tour by storm is Mirra Andreeva, who at 16, is the youngest player in the Top 50. The Russian sensation has punched above her weight, scoring four Top 20 wins and reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon as a qualifier. You can track the year-end ranking for all the women by visiting our dedicated rankings page.