Wang Yafan claimed back to back wins over top 50 players for the first time in her career in Miami, broke into the top 100 and reached her career-high rank at No.70 on November 12. "I had to fight against top players. I had opportunities, but I couldn't win the matches.
I would give myself 60, 70, but I hope I can do better in those key points" she said in Beijing after the first-round loss to Caroline Garcia at the end of a tense, hard-fought clash. In the first set, I was a little bit tense.
I shouldn't have lost that many points. I should have relaxed more in the first set. I was waiting at the baseline for too long. I didn't do many attacks. That is something I should work on, that I wasn't very satisfied with.
But the last two sets, I think I was okay" she said. "[Her] serve was really a pain point for me. I couldn't really hit them either at the baseline or I couldn't return the balls very well. That was the biggest thing I should work on after this match".
Wang, who had lost also the only previous match against a top 5 opponent, against No.5 Wozniacki at 2015 Kuala Lumpur, sealed her best career win against No.20 Stosur at 2014 Guangzhou. The Chinese began the season with her third career tour-level semifinal, losing to eventual champion Timea Babos in Taipei City.
Making her debut appearance (main draw or qualifying) at Miami Open, Wang came through two rounds of qualifying, before recovering from 5-3 down in final set to defeat Vondrousova in the first round. She went on to score the second and third-best wins of her career as she defeated No.23 Suárez Navarro and fellow qualifier Alison Riske, prevailing after an 80-minute deciding set.
Despite the defeat to Angelique Kerber, Wang registered her best showing at a WTA Premier Mandatory tournament, improving the second round showing at 2016 Beijing (l. No.11 Kvitova). “The goal I set for myself is not the same as it is with material comforts and money,” Wang said, as Stephanie Livaudais wrote on WTATennis.com last July.
“The process of hard work and overcoming difficulties to ultimately reach the goal brings great satisfaction and self-realization. In addition, there is a lot of uncertainties in the sport of tennis. I’m a never-say-die kind of person in and out.
I love challenges and I hate the feeling of losing". Coached by Alejandro Dulko, brother of former doubles No.1 Gisela, at Grand Slam level, she fell at the first round at both Wimbledon (l. Blinkova) and Roland Garros (l.
Martic), in her second and third major main draw appearance. Last August she equalled her best performance as she lost to Kvitova at the Us Open second round. In New York, after coming through qualifying, also made it this far on debut in 2016 (d.
Van Uytvanck, l. Tsurenko). This year, she won 12 of the last 16 points to edge out Schmiedlova in the opening match. Then, on a hot and humid day, she levelled from 1-4 down to 5-5 in the first set but Kvitova unleashed her powerful forehand and elevating her play to capture the final two games of the set before cruising to victory.
The fifth seed converted five of seven break points and fired down four aces to send 24-year-old Wang packing under two hours. Wang, who firstly rose to No.71 after the quarterfinals in Bucharest (l.Buzarnescu), completed the season with her biggest ITF title in the $60k event in Liuzhou.
“The goal I set for myself is to be among the World top 50,” WTA quoted her to say. “Of course, this is not an easy task, but as I said earlier, I like challenges. I understand my strengths. I will also keep a good state of mind and move forward step by step”.