The 2018 season was a mixed bag with both the older guard and the next gen winning Grand Slam titles. The Women's draw saw established pros like Caroline Wozniacki, Simona Halep win their first Grand Slam titles. Former World #1 Angelique Kerber became the only German to win Wimbledon since the legendary Steffi Graf. Naomi Osaka notched up her second win over Serena Williams in 2018 with a fine performance at the 2018 US Open Final.
Seeds of change have been sown with the next-gen ready to disrupt the status quo and expected to challenge the dominance of the established pecking order.
We discuss the prospects of four talented next gen tennis players across the WTA circuit who may well win a Grand Slam in the upcoming 2019 tennis season.
#4 Daria Kasatkina
21-year old Russian Daria Kasatkina has had a breakthrough season in 2018. She is presently the highest ranked Russian in the WTA rankings at World Number 10.
Kasatkina announced herself to the tennis world by notching up an impressive victory over newly crowned Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki at the St.Petersburg Open buoyed by the support of the enthusiastic Russian crowd.
Soon, she overtook Svetlana Kuznetsova to become Russia's top-ranked singles player. She notched up victories over all four reigning Grand Slam Champions - a remarkable feat for a player just aged 20. Victory against Wozniacki was followed by victories over Sloane Stephens and Garbine Muguruza.
At the BNP Paribas Open, she reached the quarterfinals beating Caroline Wozniacki for the second time in the year. In the quarterfinals and semi-finals, she notched up wins over two other Grand Slam Champions - Angelique Kerber and Venus Williams respectively. Another victory over Garbine Muguruza followed in Madrid.
A third victory of the year over Caroline Wozniacki followed at the French Open en route to her quarter-final loss to Sloane Stephens. Kasatkina reached her second Grand Slam quarter-final at Wimbledon losing to eventual winner Angelique Kerber. Her first title of the year came at the Kremlin Cup meaning that she cracked the WTA Top-10 for the first time.
With the ageing duo of Sharapova and Kuznetsova now in the wrong side of their 30's, Russian tennis will look to Daria Kasatkina to be the ray of Grand Slam hope in 2019.