The top five
1. Serena Williams
Even with her meltdown at the U.S. Open and the return of Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters, Serena is always dangerous. If she can keep her fitness and focus, she will be tough to beat all year.
2. Caroline Wozniacki
“Sunshine,” as she’s known on the tour, will look to have another consistent year but this time, break through and win a Grand Slam. Whether or not she can win that big one remains to be seen, but things are looking up for Caroline. She will certainly be looking to build on her runner-up performance at the U.S. Open.
3. Dinara Safina
A lot depends on Dinara Safina’s current back injury, and her mental toughness is always the key issue. She will need to be healthy, both mentally and physically, in order to make it back to the top spot.
4. Svetlana Kuznetsova
Another player with mental flaws, but despite her flaws, Svetlana Kuznetsova will be a factor in 2010. She finished 2010 in good health and can play on all surfaces.
5. Venus Williams
The year 2010 might be the last chance at glory for Venus Williams as she turns 30 this year. Aside from Wimbledon, she’s hasn't been a factor for a while at the other Grand Slam events, and her knee is certainly cause for concern. She has lost the invincibility she once had.
1. Kim Clijsters
Everybody keeps talking about the return of Justine Henin, but Kim Clijsters, who played lights out tennis at the U.S. Open, will still go into every tournament with nothing to lose and thus no pressure. Clijsters was the talk of the tennis world after winning the U.S. Open and will be a factor on all surfaces throughout 2010.
2. Justine Henin
Justine Henin will be a big story at the Australian Open, regardless of her outcome. Her return is a big boost for the women's game and it will be fun to watch her try to regain her place atop the WTA rankings
Can they regain top form?
1. Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova is finally getting back on track after a rocky 2009, mostly due to injury. If she can get her serve right, she can be a big factor in the women’s game this year.
2. Ana Ivanovic
Mentally and physically tired, Ana Ivanovic wore down in 2009 and her game dropped off significantly. In 2010, she will look to bounce back and get back into the top 10 rankings.
Is this the year they break into the top 10?
1. Sam Stosur
Sam Stosur won her first WTA event in 2009, and will look to build on her success and break into the top 10 during 2010. She’s got the game to win a big one and will be a dark horse at the majors.
2. Melanie Oudin
This year will be the real test for the feisty American to prove the U.S. Open run was no fluke. Melanie will no longer be able to sneak up on the top players, but her heart, never say die attitude and strong baseline game should carry her far in 2010.