Aslan Karatsev came out of nowhere on the ATP tour this season, but Barbora Krejcikova's unexpected ascent on the WTA tour made the Russian's rise look small by comparison.
A doubles No. 1 in 2018, Krejcikova suddenly became a singles star three years later, doing her best impression of Sam Stosur. Like the Aussie, who won the US Open in a solo effort after years of doubles success, Krejcikova found that her game held up on its own. At Roland Garros—where she also won the doubles title, and even reached the quarterfinals in mixed—Krejcikova dropped just two sets en route to victory, beating players like Elina Svitolina, Sloane Stephens and Coco Gauff in straight sets. Her semifinal win over Maria Sakkari was a match-of-the-year candidate, a 7-5, 4-6, 9-7 triumph and assuaged any concerns critics my have had of the surging Czech.
She went on to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in a three-set final, and has become a late-round mainstay ever since, but Krejcikova has taken it all in stride.
"I just want to be me. I just don't want to change. I just want to still be me," she said after winning in Paris. "I'm not planning to change, not planning to do anything different. I'm just planning to work hard again. This is such a big motivation to just work hard, enjoy this journey, enjoy tennis and everything."