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"20 to Watch" Quarterly Review - Part 2

In Part 1, we looked at how the first five of our "20 to Watch" performed this year so far. Here, we move onto the next five players on our list.

Annika Beck

Initial World Ranking: 78
Current World Ranking: 74 (↑4)
2013 Record: 4-7
2013 Titles: 0

The young German has struggled to replicate her 2012 form this year so far. It started reasonable well with a quarter-final appearance in Shenzhen after wins over Garbine Muguruza and Su-Wei Hsieh, but defeat to Shuai Peng ended her tournament prematurely. However, that was as good as her year would get.

She struggled to an error-strewn victory over the out-of-form Yaroslava Shvedova in the first round of the Australian Open, but won just three games against Ayumi Morita in the second round. Defeats against Varatchaya Wongteanchai and Marina Erakovic in Pattaya and Memphis followed, before she dropped a set against Brazilian wildcard, Maria-Fernanda Alves in Florianopolis. A straight sets defeat in the second round continued her poor form.

Moving back to the USA, she might have hoped for an improvement in her form, but first round defeats in both Indian Wells and Miami against Kiki Bertens and Urszula Radwanska were both disappointing.

She does not have the biggest serve, which means that the rest of her game needs to be solid. However, so far in 2013, this has not been the case. Errors off both wings have hampered her and she has regularly been winning under 40% of points on her own serve. She needs to find some consistency if she is to live up to the potential that she showed in the later part of 2012


Katerina Siniakova

Initial World Ranking: 1077
Current World Ranking: 423 (↑654)
2013 Record: 11-3
2013 Titles: 1 ($10k Frauenfeld)

It has been a wonderful start to the year for the 16-year old Czech. After a quarter-final appearance in the junior tournament at Traralgon, she reached the final of the Australian Open juniors as the second seed, dropping just a single set. She was unable to win in the final against Ana Konjuh, but it was an impressive run.

A first round defeat in Kreuzlingen against Lara Michel was a disappointing first match at senior level for the season, but she bounced well by winning the title in the $10k event in Frauenfeld as a qualifier. The next stop was the Miami Masters, where she had received a wildcard into qualifying. Two very impressive wins over Mandy Minella and Alexa Glatch saw her through to her first ever WTA main draw and she took Garbine Muguruza to three sets in the first round in a hugely impressive performance.

Making the step up to a $50k event in Osprey, she registered more impressive results with victories over Alexandra Cadantu, Irina Falconi and Marta Sirotkina before losing to Mariana Duque Marino, showing she can play on clay as well as the hard courts.

She plays with a lot of power and looks to have a very bright future. It would be good to see her playing some more $25k and $50k events with the odd wildcard into qualifying for WTA events. With the type of results that she has registered over the past month, her ranking will shoot up over the coming year.


Alison van Uytvanck

Initial World Ranking: 232
Current World Ranking: 183 (↑49)
2013 Record: 14-5
2013 Titles: 1 ($25k Andrezieux-Boutheon)

2013 has been consigned to the ITF tour thus far for van Uytvanck, although she has enjoyed relative success. The year started with a semi-final appearance in Glasgow, losing in three sets to the in-form Tara Moore, before she won the title the following week at the $25k event in Andrezieux-Boutheon with victories over Ekaterina Bychkova, Yuliya Beygelzimer and Ana Vrljic without dropping a set.

A first round defeat in Eilat and defeat in the Fed Cup against Stefanie Voegele were disappointing results, but a final appearance in Sunderland was a return to form, but a second loss of the year to Anna-Lena Friedsam would have been frustrating.

Her most recent result was a first round defeat to Sandra Zahlavova in Croissy-Beaubourg in straight sets in a match that should have been a decent test for her.

With her ranking up to inside the top 200, she should get entry into qualification for the French Open and it would be nice to see her look to try to make the step up into qualifying for some of the WTA events, rather than stick with the $10k and $25k events on the ITF tour.


Taylor Townsend

Initial World Ranking: 502
Current World Ranking: 349 (↑153)
2013 Record: 2-4
2013 Titles: 0

The season did not begin for Townsend until February, having spent time off the circuit working on her game. A tame defeat to Sachia Vickery in Midland was a disappointing start, but things would improve. A victory over Valeria Savinykh in qualifying for Memphis was good, although she was unable to get past Claire Feuerstein and make the main draw.

She did receive a wildcard into the main draw at Indian Wells and certainly made the most of it. Having lost the first set against Lucie Hradecka, she bounced back to record the biggest win of her career, beating the world number 57 in three sets. Although she lost comfortably in the next round against Ivanovic, it was a successful week.

A transition to clay in Innisbrook was more challenging, losing to Maria Irigoyen, winning just four games, but there have certainly been signs that she has a future in the game.

Her main problem remains her movement. After the controversy last year concerning her weight, she has improved, but still struggles to move quickly around the court. Her shot-making looks promising, but she finds it difficult to get into the right positions to make her shots and this is an area where work is still needed.


Irina Khromacheva

Initial World Ranking: 190
Current World Ranking: 221 (↓31)
2013 Record: 4-5
2013 Titles: 0

It has been a difficult start to 2013 for Khromacheva, albeit on her less favoured surface. Defeat in the first round of qualifying for the Australian Open to Tereza Mrdeza was followed by a second round in Rancho Mirage and a quarter-final in Rancho Santa Fe.

She reached the second round again in Surprise before losing to Alize Lim, then faced a tough qualifying match against Yulia Putintseva in Miami. After winning the first set on a tiebreak, she lost the second set before retiring with an ankle injury.

She has looked to have struggled with her fitness a bit this year, falling away in deciding sets or retiring a number of times. However, her best results in the past have come on the clay, so the real test of her progress will likely come over the next few months. A tune-up on the ITF circuit might be a smart move before looking to qualify for a WTA tournament or two. The real challenge will be to improve her ranking by the twenty places or so that she needs to enter qualifying for the French Open.


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