WIN WTA YEAR-END AWARDS
Ashley Marshall | October 20, 2017
Two rising Americans have been recognized for their outstanding seasons as the 2017 campaign enters its final stretch.
US Open champion Sloane Stephens picked up the Comeback Player of the Year award and CiCi Bellis was named the Newcomer of the Year at the annual WTA player awards ceremony held as part of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals in Singapore.
The winners were voted by members of the international media.
The Comeback Player of the Year award is given to a player whose ranking previously dropped due to injury or personal reasons and the current season's results helped restore their ranking. And the Newcomer of the Year award is given to a player who made their Top 100 debut during the 2017 season or had not played in more than six main draw events at tour-level in a single season.
Few players in history have had quite the bounce back as Stephens, who was ranked No. ADVERTISEMENT 25 in the world when she was forced to pull out of the 2016 US Open. Her season ended later that month when she was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her left foot that eventually required surgery in January.
Stephens was unable to walk until the middle of April and her ranking fell to a career-low of 957. But she reached consecutive US Open Series semifinals in Toronto and Cincinnati in the build-up to the US Open, and she continued that momentum into the final major of the year. In New York, she won her first Grand Slam women’s singles title, beating fellow American Madison Keys to become the lowest-ranked player (83) to win the US Open title in the Open era.
Her ranking rose to No. 17 following the US Open, and she currently sits at No. 15.
Bellis, meantime, reached a career-high ranking of No. 35 in August. The 18-year-old had a breakout campaign in which she reached the semifinals in Mallorca and at the US Open Series event in Stanford, and she posted quarterfinal finishes at Dubai and Rabat. Currently No. 44, she is the youngest player in the Top 50 of the world rankings.