Instead of a year in review focusing on overall achievements, I thought this time I’d do a countdown of the top 30 money list leaders from the WTA and LPGA. For the WTA, singles, doubles and mixed are combined for this top 30. Number 27 on the money list from each tour are Gerina Piller (LPGA) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (WTA).
GERINA PILLER (United States)
2013 Official LPGA Prizemoney: $572,690
Best Finishes: 2nd CME Group Titleholders, T5 ShopRite LPGA Classic, T6 Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, T6 Safeway Classic
Twitter: Gerina Piller (click)
I really like Gerina Piller’s story. In an age where it seems there’s always another 16 year old wunderkind popping up trying to join the LPGA Tour, Gerina is a four year college (UTEP) graduate who did her time on the Futures Tour (now Symetra Tour) before finally earning her way onto the big show. Now, at 28, she had her breakthrough year in 2013. She had more top 10s (8) and made more money ($572,690) than in her first two years on tour combined. She finished in the mid 60s on the scoring average list her first two years. In 2013, her 71.22 average ranked 22nd. To top all of that off, she finished the year with her best ever LPGA finish, a solo 2nd place at the CME Group Titleholders.
Of course, a case could be made that the highlight of Gerina’s year was being one of Meg Mallon’s captain’s picks for the 2013 United States Solheim Cup team. She absolutely deserved the pick and represented her country with great honor. The way Gerina is playing now, if she can keep it up she won’t need to a captain’s pick in 2015. She’ll qualify outright.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA (Russia)
Singles: $875,571 Doubles: $105,476 Mixed: $0
2013 Official WTA Prizemoney: $981,047
Best Finishes: QF Australian Open, QF Roland Garros, SF Kremlin Cup; Doubles: Winner, Kremlin Cup (with Samantha Stosur)
I admit it. I am guilty of thinking Svetlana Kuznetsova was done as an elite singles player on the WTA. I was very wrong. Although her one title in 2013 came in doubles when she partnered with Samantha Stosur to win the Kremlin Cup, it was her strong singles play that reminded me why the 2-time Major winner in both singles and doubles is a future Hall of Famer. Her greatest moment in singles in 2013 might have come in a loss, when she took the only set away from Serena Williams at Roland Garros. Svetlana would fall in 3 sets to the eventual champion, but she showed that she has no fear facing anybody.
What strikes me about Kuznetsova is that she’s only 28. It seems like she’s been around forever. But that’s how it is in women’s tennis when so many players turn pro at an early age. Svetlana turned pro in 2000. In a new WTA world where players are having success past 30, her two strong QF appearances in Majors this year suggest there are a lot of good years left in Svetlana Kuznetsova. I won’t make the mistake of underestimating her again.
SELECTED 2013 PICS OF GERINA PILLER and SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA