Fairways and Forehands 2013 Top 30 WTA and LPGA Year In Review: #2 Victoria Azarenka and Suzann Pettersen

Victoria Azarenka, 2013 Australian Open winner (click to enlarge)

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 2 on the money list from each tour are Victoria Azarenka (WTA) and Suzann Pettersen (LPGA).

VICTORIA AZARENKA (Belarus)

2013 Official WTA Prizemoney: $6,497,165

Awards: WTA Diamond Aces Award (given to the player who gives the most to promote tennis on and off the court)

Best Results: WINNER Australian Open, WINNER Qatar Total Open, WINNER Western & Southern Open, RUNNER-UP US Open, RUNNER-UP Internazionali BNL d’Italia, RUNNER-UP Southern California Open, SF Roland Garros, SF Brisbane International, QF BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells

Facebook: VictoriaAzarenka (click)

Website: vikaazarenkatennis.com (click)

After winning the Australian Open, finishing as runner up in a three setter at the US Open and reaching the semifinal at Wimbledon in 2012, what would Victoria Azarenka do in 2013? How about once again winning the Australian Open, finishing as runner up in a three setter at the US Open and reaching the semifinal at Roland Garros. It was another outstanding year for Vika. In fact, it probably was even better than 2012. She was the only player to beat Serena Williams twice, at Doha and again in Cincinnati. I have no doubt she would have gone deep at Wimbledon had she not been injured and forced to withdraw before her second round match.

Vika celebrates winning Western & Southern Open (click to enlarge)

Vika has shown that she is capable of defeating Serena Williams. The next step, however, is to be able to do so at a Major. She has pushed Serena to three sets in the last two US Open finals, but ultimately came up a little short. In fact, I give Azarenka a pass for her late season swoon. After the Open, not only was she not quite right physically, but I thought with everything she accomplished through September that maybe mentally she needed a break as well. Three victories, including a Major. Three runners-up. A handful of semis and quarters. She excelled quite a bit, especially considering her fall schedule was virtually a wash.

Vika wins Qatar Total Open (click to enlarge)

The only worry I have about Vika is that while she doesn’t tend to get serious injuries that wipe out her year or large parts of it like Maria Sharapova and her shoulder, she does seem to get injuries that rob her of a couple of weeks here or there. They also affect how long it takes her to get back into proper form. A perfect example was an ankle injury that forced her to withdraw from the Sony Open. When she came back at the Madrid Open, she wasn’t quite right and was upset early. Miami and Madrid are two big events. Had she been healthy she would have had a chance to win both of the them. Minimally, I would have expected a semifinal run. As great as her year was, to the tune of nearly 6 1/2 million dollars in prizemoney, it could have been even better.

Suzann Pettersen, 2013 Evian Championship winner (click to enlarge)

SUZANN PETTERSEN (Norway)

2013 Official LPGA Prizemoney: $2,296,106

Best Results: WINNER The Evian Championship, WINNER LPGA Lotte Championship presented by J Golf, WINNER Safeway Classic presented by Coca-Cola, WINNER Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship, T3 Kraft Nabisco Championship, T3 Wegmans LPGA Championship, T4 Ricoh Women’s British Open, 2nd Kingsmill Championship, 3rd North Texas Shootout, T3 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, T3 LPGA KEB HanaBank Championship, T5 Lorena Ochoa Invitational, T6 Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, T7 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G, T7 CN Canadian Women’s Open

Facebook: suzann.pettersen.1 (click)

Website: suzanngolf.com (click)

Twitter: SuzannPettersen (click)

Sometimes in sports people talk about the “eye test.” Forget stats and measurables, you just watch somebody and they wow you…or they don’t. When Suzann Pettersen has it all working, she has that wow factor. She just looks like the best player in the world. And she’s been close to being that a few times in her career. She seems to be stuck on #2. If her second half of 2013 is a sign of things to come, her vast talent may soon pay off with a world #1 ranking, an LPGA Player of the Year…or both. She came up oh so short of the POY in 2013.

Suzann Pettersen, 2013 Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship (click to enlarge)

There were so many highlights in Suzann’s 2013 season. Take your pick. Four victories, including a Major (Evian Championship). 15 top 10s. Four top 4 finishes at Majors. 2nd on the money list. #1 in greens in regulation. 4th in putts per GIR. 2nd in scoring average. 2nd in Rolex Player of the Year. Oh, there are more accolades, but this is a blog post, not a book. You could certainly write at length detailing Suzann’s terrific year. And as if all of that wasn’t enough, she is the heart and soul of the champion European Solheim Cup team that came to the States and left with the victory.

Suzann at Solheim Cup 2013 (click to enlarge)

The question of whether Suzann can make it to #1 is already answered. The eye test says she has the ability. The real question is will she. Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis…maybe Lexi Thompson and Lydia Ko…will have something to say about who ultimately sits atop the Rolex Ranking. I actually think there will be multiple players at #1 during the 2014 season; Inbee, Suzann, Stacy and Lexi. I won’t say who I think will finish the year #1 (but if you’ve read my blog in the recent past, you probably know who it is) but I will say Suzann will be there fighting until the end.

SELECTED 2013 PICS OF VICTORIA AZARENKA and SUZANN PETTERSEN

ALL PICS CLICK TO ENLARGE

VICTORIA AZARENKA

Qatar Total Open

Qatar Total Open

Qatar Total Open

Qatar Total Open

Qatar Total Open

Qatar Total Open

MTV EMA Awards with Redfoo

MTV EMA Awards with Redfoo

MTV EMA Awards with Redfoo

WTA Tour Championships receiving WTA Diamond Aces Award from WTA CEO Stacey Allaster

WTA Tour Championships draw ceremony

WTA Tour Championships draw ceremony

US Open

US Open

US Open

US Open

US Open

US Open

US Open

BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis pre-US Open

BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis pre-US Open

BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis pre-US Open

Light the Empire State Building pre-US Open with Billie Jean King

Light the Empire State Building pre-US Open with Billie Jean King

Light the Empire State Building pre-US Open with Billie Jean King and Stacey Allaster

Light the Empire State Building with Billie Jean King

Western & Southern Open

Western & Southern Open

Western & Southern Open

Western & Southern Open

Western & Southern Open

Western & Southern Open autograph session

Southern California Open with tournament director, Alastair Garland

Southern California Open

Southern California Open

Southern California Open

ESPYs with Redfoo

Wimbledon pre-tourney party

Wimbledon pre-tourney party

Wimbledon pre-tourney party

Wimbledon pre-tourney party

Sony Open players party

Sony Open players party

BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells with Redfoo

BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells with Redfoo

BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells WTA All Access

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

SUZANN PETTERSEN

Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship

Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship

Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship with Michelle Wie

Evian Championship

Evian Championship

Evian Championship

Evian Championship

Safeway Classic

Safeway Classic

Safeway Classic

Safeway Classic

Safeway Classic with Sophie Gustafson

Safeway Classic with Sophie Gustafson

Solheim Cup with Liselotte Neumann

Solheim Cup

Solheim Cup

Solheim Cup

Solheim Cup

Solheim Cup opening ceremony

Solheim Cup practice round

Ricoh Women’s British Open

Ricoh Women’s British Open with Alison Nicholas

Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic

Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic

RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup photo session

RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup photo session

RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup

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