Four years in a row my friend John Bolan has been playing with his tennis prediction skills, sharing with you at/before the launch of a season his guess of what the Top 10 WTA rankings will look like at the end of the year. Being generous and social, John is also always inviting you to join him in predictions, offering a nice incentive – an autograph of your favorite WTA player. We have calculated everything carefully and commenter Mabel Ratto is our winner for 2014! Congratulations, Mabel! Let's now see the analysis of the WTA Top 10, of how the Women's Tennis Blog crowd fared in January 2014 and why Mabel was the best predictor! I'm giving the word to John.
The tennis year is over and the year-end Top 10 players have been named. The Women’s Tennis Blog published my Top 10 picks for 2014 back in December 2013 and many fans joined in with your own picks. We all included two players who were thought certain to make the Top 10 – Victoria Azarenka and Li Na. Because of injury neither player made the year-end Top 10. Additionally, no one picked Dominika Cibulkova as a Top 10 player. The best score possible was eight correct out of ten. Let’s see how the final standings compare to my predictions:
BOLAN'S JANUARY PREDICTIONS
1. Serena Williams
2. Li Na
3. Victoria Azarenka
4. Maria Sharapova
5. Agnieszka Radwanska
6. Petra Kvitova
7. Simona Halep
8. Caroline Wozniacki
9. Jelena Jankovic
10. Sabine Lisicki
ACTUAL YEAR-END TOP 10
1. Serena Williams
2. Maria Sharapova
3. Simona Halep
4. Petra Kvitova
5. Ana Ivanovic
6. Agnieszka Radwanska
7. Eugenie Bouchard
8. Caroline Wozniacki
9. Angelique Kerber
10. Dominika Cibulkova
I only had six correct picks. Fans using the comment section to submit their own picks averaged six correct picks. Seven fans who submitted timely entries had seven correct picks. In order to choose a winner, I had to determine which of those seven fans had the players in the closest order to the actual finish.
The race to the Top 10 was very exciting this year. The number one ranking was not decided until the second set of two matches in the WTA Finals at Singapore. In the Red Group final match, Ana Ivanovic had to win the second set over Simona Halep to make it into the final round. She lost that set which sent Serena Williams into the final round. Over in the White Group, Maria Sharapova also had to win her second set over Agnieszka Radwanska, but lost 6-7(4). This loss eliminated Maria from the final round. Both Ana and Maria won their matches in three sets, but failed to win in straight sets needed to advance. Maria led Serena most of the year in the 2014 points race until after the American section of the tour. Serena won Stanford, Cincinnati and her only major, the US Open, matching Maria who had won the French. Maria came back to win big in the required tournament in China, setting up the showdown in Singapore.
The final standings were very close. Less than 200 points separated number five and number 8. Just one more good victory would have moved Caroline from #8 to #5, for example. Dominika stopped Ekaterina Makarova’s Top 10 bid by just 82 points. If only Ekaterina had won one match at the Tournament of Champions in Sofia or another match in any tournament during the year, she would have been in the Top 10.
Seven fans with seven correct picks were: Alejo Belatti, James (our 2012 winner), Mabel Ratto, Mann, Michael N, Daryl Neo, and Emman Damian. James and Michael N were the only fans to pick Eugenie Bouchard. All seven chose Serena Williams #1, but Emman Damian was the only fan to pick Maria Sharapova #2. If Mann had gone with his heart and chosen Ana Ivanovic instead of Jelena Jankovic, he would have won this contest with eight correct picks. His comment about Ana needing a miracle to make the Top 10 came true.
This contest could not have been any closer. Based on a mathematical solution to find which fan had the closest picks to the final order, Mabel Ratto is our winner for 2014. Congratulations to her and a big thank you to all the fans who played this contest.
I'd like to thank everyone who joined us this year and to congratulate Mabel once again for being our best WTA predictor. Mabel, I will contact you shortly to see which autograph you'd like to receive.
If you'd like to remind yourselves of how the previous rankings looked, check out John's past comparisons of early-season and season-ending WTA rankings.
- 2013: John's successful WTA rankings prediction – nine out of ten players correct
- 2012: Comparison of January WTA ranking predictions to the year-end outcome
- 2011: Can we make predictions in women's tennis today? Compare January picks and year-end Top 10