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Best of 2016: U.S. women rule the Top 100

December 18, 2016 02:11 PM

As 2016 draws to a close, USTA.com is taking a look back at the top storylines, headlines and highlights from the year in American tennis. Visit our Year in Review homepage to see our complete Top 10.

By E.J. Crawford, USTA.com

From Serena Williams’ historic 22nd Grand Slam singles victory and Madison Keys’ run into the Top 10 to Sloane Stephens’ three tour titles and breakout seasons from the next generation of U.S. stars, it was a standout year for American women on the WTA tour.

Nowhere was that more evident than atop the WTA rankings. In all, an astounding 16 U.S. women finished the 2016 season ranked in the Top 100, twice as many as any other nation.

That group was led by Serena at No. 2 and bookended by Irina Falconi at No. 98. In between were No. 8 Keys, No. 17 Venus Williams, No. 35 Stephens, No. 36 CoCo Vandeweghe, No. 39 Alison Riske, No. 45 Christina McHale, No. 59 Shelby Rogers, No. 61 Lauren Davis, No. 68 Louisa Chirico, No. 73 Madison Brengle, No. 75 CiCi Bellis, No. 79 Vania King, No. 88 Nicole Gibbs and No. 89 Varvara Lepchenko.

The country with the second-most players in the Top 100 was Germany, with eight, followed by the Czech Republic and Russia, with seven each.

Moreover, the U.S. had the most women entered in the main draw in each of the four Grand Slam events: 17 at the Australian Open, 18 at the French Open, 18 at Wimbledon and 22 at the US Open.

The American breakthroughs and triumphs were many in 2016. In addition to Stephens’s three tournament titles, Serena Williams won three events, Venus Williams won one and Keys won one and secured her first-ever spot in the year-end WTA Finals. In addition, Vandeweghe won her second career title, Riske reached three finals and Davis advanced to two, Christina McHale and CiCi Bellis both won the first career tour titles, and Shelby Rogers made a surprise run to the French Open quarterfinals.

In doubles, Bethanie Mattek-Sands won a gold medal in mixed doubles at the Rio Olympics (with Jack Sock) and teamed with Czech Lucie Safarova to win the US Open women’s doubles title, while Serena and Venus paired to win the Wimbledon women’s doubles crown.