The year 2019 is one-third over: four of 12 months down, 8 months to go. The tennis season isn’t quite as long as a full 12-month period, but we can say the year is one-third done. It only makes sense to look at the three WTA players having the best 2019 seasons, and to spotlight one of the three — one-third — who just won the Stuttgart Open: Petra Kvitova.
I hasten to say, first of all, that four months of time — in which one major, two Premier Mandatories, and one Premier 5 have been contested — should not be the basis for a sweeping, far-reaching verdict on various players. I am not going to use this piece as a basis for predicting the rest of 2019 on the WTA Tour. I really don’t have much of a clue about the remaining months of 2019, if only because the WTA has been so consistently and delightfully unpredictable and deep.
Yet, if we ARE going to identify the top three WTA players through April, it is clear which players get those honors, and after Stuttgart, it is clearer than ever that Kvitova owns a secure place on this list.
Sydney title. Australian Open final. Dubai final. Stuttgart title. In Australia, the Middle East, and Europe, on multiple surfaces and in multiple weather environments, Kvitova has flourished. She became the WTA’s first multiple title winner this season. Consistent deep runs in tournaments with a few trophies to show for those deep runs? Yes, Kvitova is easily one of the top three.
Naomi Osaka is on this list for the very simple reason that she has bagged the one major championship contested so far this season. Ashleigh Barty has a Premier Mandatory title, but what is equally significant about her 2019 is that she has noticeably improved her basic tournament-to-tournament standard while also starring in Fed Cup. She has elevated her game in multiple situations. One could argue that Bianca Andreescu has risen more dramatically, which would be a correct assertion. If you wanted to say Andreescu here, I would not argue.
However, with Andreescu injured, there is something to be said for winning while also managing one’s body. (Is it okay to say that Andreescu’s team probably shouldn’t have allowed her to play Miami?) If one is unsure of which player to include in a top three of best WTA players in 2019, that point could serve as a tiebreaker.
Back to Kvitova for a final word here: She defeated Kiki Bertens in the Stuttgart semifinals before handling Anett Kontaveit in Sunday’s final. Bertens had served 20 aces in dismissing Belinda Bencic earlier in the tournament. One can say that in an indoor tournament, Kvitova was in good position to succeed, and that is true, but she also played an in-form version of Bertens and was able to rise to a higher level in that match. Stuttgart always has a loaded field, and Kvitova conquered it.
If high-level consistency is your thing, Petra Kvitova is your WTA player through one-third of 2019.