WTA Awards: Simona Halep is Player of Year, Serena Williams wins Comeback Award

Simona Halep wins the WTA Player of the Year Award as Serena Williams lands Comeback Award

Marianne Bevis
By Marianne Bevis

• Barbora Krejcikova/Katerina Siniakova win Doubles Team of the Year

• Kiki Bertens, Aryna Sabalenka and Elina Svitolina also honoured

The Women’s Tennis Association has revealed the winners of the annual WTA Player Awards at a gala in Singapore where the best players in the world are gathered ahead of the 2018 BNP Paribas WTA Finals.

Simona Halep, world No1 and French Open champion, despite being forced to withdraw from the tournament with a back injury, was nevertheless in attendance to collect the Player of the Year Award. The Doubles Team of the Year Award was presented to Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, who are top seeds in Singapore next week.

In addition, the WTA Jerry Diamond ACES award, presented to the player who consistently goes above and beyond in promoting the sport of women’s tennis to fans, media, and local communities, was given to Elina Svitolina.

Player of the Year: Simona Halep

· Claimed her maiden Major title at Roland Garros

· Spent 40 weeks as No1, and claimed the WTA Year-End world No1 ranking

· Reached a tour-leading six WTA singles finals, including titles in Shenzhen and Montreal, and runner-up places at the Australian Open, Rome and Cincinnati

Doubles Team of the Year: Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova

· Won back-to-back Major titles at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, the first team to do so in 15 years

· Only team ever to win both the girls’ and ladies’ titles at Wimbledon

· Reached finals at the Miami Open and Shenzhen Open

Most Improved Player of the Year: Kiki Bertens

Awarded to player who finished inside the top 100 and showed significant improvement throughout the 2018 season.

· Won biggest title of her career in Cincinnati

· Won two more titles this season, in Charleston and Seoul

· Broke into top 10 in October, becoming the first Dutchwoman to do so in 22 years

· Qualified for WTA Finals Singapore for the first time

Newcomer of the Year: Aryna Sabalenka

Player who made top-100 debut or notable accomplishments in 2018, and prior to current year, had not played in more than six main-draw events at tour-level in a single season.

· Won her first WTA singles title at New Haven and then the Premier 5 title in Wuhan

· Broke the WTA top 20 to reach a career-high ranking of No11 in October

· Made her best Major run to reach fourth round at US Open

· Scored eight wins over top-10 players this season, the second most on tour

Comeback Player of the Year: Serena Williams

Player whose ranking dropped due to injury or personal reasons and subsequently restored her ranking.

· Gave birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian in September 2017, and returned to tour at Indian Wells in March 2018, ranked 491

· Reached back-to-back Major finals at Wimbledon and US Open, and fourth round at Roland Garros

· Returned to the top 20 after the US Open, climbing to No16

WTA Jerry Diamond ACES Award: Elina Svitolina

The ACES Award was first introduced in 1995, in memory of former WTA CEO Jerry Diamond.

Svitolina received the ACES award for the first time in her career. She participated in numerous kids’ clinics, charitable activities and fan events around the globe to help bring the game closer to the community.

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