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Toronto-born Emma Raducanu named WTA newcomer of the year

U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu was named WTA newcomer of the year while world No. 1 Ash Barty took player of the year honors for a second time, the governing body of the women’s game said Tuesday.

The 19-year-old Raducanu, who was born in Toronto, entered the U.S. Open as a qualifier ranked 150th in the world and left as Britain’s first female Grand Slam champion in 44 years.

Barty, who won the top player honors in 2019, won a tour-leading five titles this year, including the second Grand Slam trophy of her career at Wimbledon where she defeated Czech Karolina Pliskova in the final.

She also defended her title at Miami and triumphed in Melbourne, Stuttgart and Cincinnati to secure her third year-end number one ranking in a row.

Czech Barbora Krejcikova took the WTA prize for the most improved player of the Year following a stellar season in which she won the French Open singles crown.

She also excelled in doubles with playing partner Katerina Siniakova, with the pair earning the doubles team of the year award which they also won in 2018.

Carla Suarez Navarro was named the comeback player of the year award.

The 33-year-old revealed in September 2020 she was being treated for early stage Hodgkin lymphoma and underwent months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy before returning at the French Open in June.

The WTA has confirmed the traditional season-opening Shenzhen Open will not take place in the first half of 2022, with the women’s tour staging events in January in Australia before following a conventional pattern until Wimbledon in June.

The WTA 250 tournament, which is usually played in the first week of the year, was held last year before events in China were wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The women’s tour has suspended its tournaments in China due to concerns over the treatment of former doubles world No. 1 Peng Shuai.

It is unlikely the tournament would have gone ahead early this year anyway due to China’s travel restrictions.

The WTA stated in a statement late Monday that in the first half of next year the Tour will have five WTA 1000 events in Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Rome, along with eight WTA 500 events and at least 15 WTA 250 events.

It is the second half of the year when the WTA calendar is usually more crowded with events in China, with the world’s most populous country hosting nine tournaments in 2019, the last full season before the spread of coronavirus.

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