Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday December 6, 2023

Karolina Muchova

Karolina Muchova broke through physical barriers and mental hurdles to enjoy the best season of her career in 2023, and she's not the only one.

Photo Source: Getty

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday November 29 2023

There were myriad success stories inside the WTA’s Top 100 this year, from world-beating Iga Swiatek to on-the-rise 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva.

Tennis Express

Today we are going to forego the obvious choices (think: been there done that) and pay homage to those players that have cracked significant milestones for the first time on tour in 2023. Some of the players are veterans, that have broken through to a new higher-ranking, while others are young players making their first moves on tour, and sometimes cracking the Top-100 or Top-50 for the first time.

Without any further ado, the list…

Mirra Andreeva

She finished 2022 at 405 in the world, played the 2023 Australian Open in the juniors (reaching the final) then proceeded to take the WTA by storm. That’s Mirra Andreeva, who announced herself in the spring by reaching the round of 16 at Madrid, then backed up that dazzling performance with a third-round appearance at Roland-Garros and a trip to the round of 16 at Wimbledon (both debut performances).

The 16-year-old (turns 17 on April 29) reached a career-high ranking of No.46 and finished the season at 56. If Andreeva keeps progressing at this rate, no one will be surprised to see the rising talent inside the Top-20, or even the Top-10, by the end of 2024.

Karolina Muchova

The talented Czech had been besieged by injuries over the course of her career, and due to the aforementioned primarily, had never held a ranking higher than No.19. But that all changed in 2023 as Karolina Muchova, finally fit for an extended period, stormed to her first Grand Slam final at Roland-Garros and came within a whisker of upsetting Iga Swiatek in the final.

Muchova also reached the semifinals at the US Open, weeks after she made her Top-10 debut. She finishes the season at No.8 – a career high ranking – and with high hopes for even better in 2024.

Emma Navarro

American Emma Navarro didn’t just make her way into the Top 100 for the first time in 2023. The 22-year-old racked up wins in convincing fashion and pushed all the way to a career-best ranking of No.32. Navarro won 64 matches across all levels in 2023, and finishes the season at 36 in the world.

Navarro reached eight finals across all levels, and won five titles. She also went 2-0 against the Top-20, with wins over Madison Keys and Maria Sakkari.

Aryna Sabalenka

Yes, she is a household name and has been for a while, but 2023 was decidedly a breakout year for Aryna Sabalenka. Not only did she break her duck on the Grand Slam stage, winning the Australian Open title to dispel the rumors that she was not built to win the big one, she also conducted an obsessive chase for the No.1 ranking over the next seven months...

In September, Sabalenka completed her epic chase-down of Iga Swiatek to become the 29th player to ever hold the WTA’s No.1 ranking. Though she didn’t manage to get past Coco Gauff in the US Open final (and finished the season at No.2), it was still a banner year for Sabalenka, and one that marked her transition from relative underachiever to elite force.

Magda Linette

When you're a Polish player not named Swiatek you’re pretty much going under the radar these days. But you are also benefiting from the inspiration that comes with having one of your own absolutely dominate the sport.

Maybe Swiatek’s success had something to do with Linette’s rise in 2023 – whatever the reason, it was impressive. The 31-year-old Pole started the season by reaching her maiden semifinal at the Australian Open, and would later make her Top-20 debut in March.

31-year-old Linette nearly doubled her cache of Top-20 wins from six to eleven over the course of the season, and also reached the final at Guangzhou – she finishes the season impressively, at No.24 in the world.

Wang Xinyu

China’s Wang Xinyu had never been inside the Top-50 prior to the 2023 season, but the talented Shenzhen native broke through that barrier thanks to a steady, solid season that saw her win 37 matches across all levels and reach the round of 16 at a major for the first time at the US Open.

Wang finished 2022 at No.97 in the world, and finishes 2023 at No.36. She also claimed the Roland-Garros women's doubles title alongside Hsieh Su-Wei.

Lin Zhu

Wang wasn’t the only Chinese player making big strides. Lin Zhu also made her Top-50 debut in 2023, and she claimed her maiden title, raising hardware at Hua Hin. Zhu also earned five Top-20 wins, taking her career total from two to seven, reached the final in Osaka, as well as four other semifinals (Monterrey, Birmingham, Cleveland and Zhuai).

Peyton Stearns

Having never even sniffed the Top-200 prior to 2023, it’s safe to say that 2022 NCAA singles champion Peyton Stearns had a lot to learn on tour this season. The former Texas Longhorn proved to be a quick study as she rose to a career-high ranking of 43 across a successful season and finished the year at No.49.

The 22-year-old was steady all season, reaching a final in Bogota, reaching the third round on her Roland-Garros debut and powering into the second week at the US Open on her second main draw appearance in Flushing Meadows.


Latest News