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 14 on the money list from each tour are Ekaterina Makarova (WTA) and Caroline Hedwall (LPGA).
EKATERINA MAKAROVA (Russia)
Singles: $944,618 Doubles: $629,127 Mixed: $0
2013 Official WTA Prizemoney: $1,573,745
Best Results: (Singles) QF Australian Open, QF US Open, SF Citi Open, QF Mutua Madrid Open, QF AEGON International, QF New Haven Open at Yale; (Doubles) WINNER Roland Garros, WINNER BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, RUNNER-UP WTA Tour Championships, SF Australian Open, QF US Open
2013 proved to be a terrific year in both singles and doubles for Ekaterina Makarova. Admittedly, the 25-year old didn’t win an event in singles, but her year was solid nonetheless. She upset Marion Bartoli and Angelique Kerber on her way to a quarterfinal appearance at the Australian Open. Ekaterina also upset Sabine Lisicki and Agnieszka Radwanska at the US Open before taking losing to Li Na in 3 sets. We know that Makarova is fearless in Majors, as she showed in 2012 when she upset Serena Williams to reach her first Major quarterfinal. This year, she not only repeated her quarterfinal result in Melbourne and added another in Flushing Meadow, she also had 3 other quarterfinal appearances (Madrid, Eastbourne and New Haven) and a semifinal (Washington, DC).
As solid as her season was in singles, it was in doubles that Ekaterina collected hardware. Teaming up with fellow Russian star Elena Vesnina, Makarova won her first Major at Roland Garros. They would also win the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells and finish runners-up at the WTA Tour Championships. They were also impressive at two other Majors, with a semifinal result at the Australian Open and quarterfinal finish at the US Open. If Hsieh Su Wei-Shuai Peng and Roberta Vinci-Sara Errani are the two best doubles teams on the WTA (that play regularly…the Williams sister don’t), then I’d say Makarova and Vesnina are right there on their heels, if not almost neck and neck.
CAROLINE HEDWALL (Sweden)
2013 Official LPGA Prizemoney: $763,104
Best Results: T3 Kraft Nabisco Championship, T3 CN Canadian Women’s Open, 3rd Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship, T9 LPGA Lotte Championship, T9 ShopRite LPGA Classic, T10 Reignwood LPGA Classic, 5-0-0 Solheim Cup (Team Europe)
Sometimes when it’s said that a player without an LPGA win shows the signs that she will one day, maybe soon, break through it can important to understand there are divisions in that categorization. There are those we expect will win, but if they don’t we aren’t really shocked. After all, it’s tough to win out on tour. There are others who might win, but maybe only once or twice. Then there are those that are special, that we think not only will win but win multiple times, including at least one Major. In my opinion, that’s where 5-time Ladies European Tour winner Caroline Hedwall is. It’s not just about her 6 top 10s. That’s not earth shattering. It’s the eye test. She’s long enough (14th in 2013) plus she takes advantage when she has chances (11th in GIR and 6th in putts per GIR). What’s holding her back so far are the holes where she is not in birdie position. That’s reflected in her being 6th in putts per GIR but 30th in overall putting. If she can can clean up the bad holes a bit, she will stand among the best on tour.
Nowhere was Caroline’s brilliance more on display than at Solheim Cup 2013. They don’t award an MVP trophy at Solheim. If they did, it would undoubtedly have been presented to Caroline this year. Her 5 points via a perfect 5-0-0 record set the gold standard for Team Europe on their way to proving the naysayers wrong by outplaying the host American team. It was a vision of what many expect to see from Hedwall over the coming years on the LPGA tour. It’s just a matter of time.
SELECT 2013 PICS OF EKATERINA MAKAROVA and CAROLINE HEDWALL
ALL PICS CLICK TO ENLARGE