Aryna Sabalenka claimed the third WTA title of the season in Linz in the closing stages of 2020, entering the year-end top-10 rankings for the first time in a career. The Belarusian overcame the 23-time Major champion Serena Williams by 140 points, sending the American out from the year-end top-10 charts for the third time in the previous four years!
Thus, Serena stays on 16 year-end top-10 finishes, securing the first one in 1999 and remaining competitive for over two decades against various rivals from different generations. Serena did enough to wrap up 2019 in the elite ten despite a light schedule, missing the honor in the current season despite giving her best at every tournament.
Serena has failed to win a Major title for three consecutive seasons for the first time in a career, waiting for that elusive 24th Major crown since the Australian Open 2017! Giving birth to a child later that year, Williams has kept her focus on four notable tournaments in the previous three seasons, reaching back-to-back finals at both Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018 and 2019 for a strong comeback.
It wasn't to be for the American, though, as she suffered four painful losses and hoped to make that extra step in 2020. Serena suffered an early loss in Melbourne, preparing for Roland Garros and Wimbledon when the coronavirus halted the action between March and August.
Wimbledon had to close the gates for the first time since 1945, and Serena turned the focus on the home Major, seeking the seventh New York title and the first since 2014. The veteran reached the semis for the 11th straight time, making a strong start against Victoria Azarenka before losing ground to propel the Belarusian into the title clash.
Daniela Hantuchova backs Serena Williams to chase a Major title in 2021.
Ready to give it a shot in her beloved Paris, Serena went to Europe and trained at Mouratoglou Tennis Academy, seeking the first Roland Garros title in five years.
The American won the first-round match before withdrawing with an Achilles injury ahead of the clash with Tsvetlana Pironkova, missing another chance in the quest for the 24th Major title. The next opportunity should come in Melbourne in February, and the former WTA player Daniela Hantuchova believes Serena should be in contention for the Major trophies in 2021.
The Slovak said that Serena should have a chance in Melbourne, playing with less pressure down under in comparison to Wimbledon and the US Open. "Whenever Serena enters a tournament, she has a chance. I think the Australian Open could be the best one for her because she is away from some of the pressure she gets at Wimbledon and the US Open, and she can concentrate on her tennis.
If there is a right place for her to get this record, maybe it will be in Melbourne. Hopefully, she can get there, and we can find a way to play with this quarantine issue. It was important to have so many successful events over the last few months, encouraging everyone to believe we have lots to look forward to in 2021," Daniela Hantuchova said.