Krawczyk, Li, Melichar & Pegula
nominated for 2021 WTA awards
Victoria Chiesa | November 23, 2021
Four Americans—Desirae Krawczyk, Ann Li Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Jessica Pegula—were recognized for their achievements in 2021 with inclusion on their respective ballots for the year-end WTA tour awards.
The awards are given annually and voted on by members of the media in five different categories: Player of the Year, Doubles Team of the Year, Most Improved Player of the Year, Newcomer of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year.
Featuring in the same category, Krawczyk and Melichar-Martinez are on the ballot for Doubles Team of the Year with their respective partners, Alexa Gaurachi of Chile and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands. Both teams were among the elite eight who qualified for the season-ending Akron WTA Finals in Guadalajara, Mexico, where Melichar-Martinez and Schuurs advanced out of their round-robin group and lost to eventual champions Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in the semifinals.ADVERTISEMENT
The two pairs combined to win four WTA doubles title this year, while Krawczyk had the notable individual achievement of winning the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open in mixed doubles. The left-hander and former Arizona State University standout was the first woman to win three mixed doubles majors in the same season in six years.
For their singles efforts in 2021, Li and Pegula were shortlisted for Newcomer of the Year and Most Improved Player, respectively. Li, 21, reached two finals on tour in 2021, and captured her first career WTA singles title in Tenerife, Spain in October. The win helped Li, a product of the USTA Foundation NJTL Legacy Tennis and Learning program in Philadelphia who currently trains at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, crack the world's Top 50 and reach a career-high ranking of world No. 48. In addition to Li's summer successes, she shared the title at the Grampians Trophy with Estonia's Anett Kontaveit due to an unplayed final in February, and reached the third round of the Australian Open for her best-ever Grand Slam showing.
Ranked world No. 63 to start the season, Pegula soared into the Top 20 on the strength of a breakout season that saw her reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and the last eight or better at four of the seven WTA 1000-level events. In all, the Buffalo, N.Y. native defeated seven Top 10 players in 2021 and racked up 39 match wins in all.