With the WTA Finals set to start Sunday, Oliver Dickson Jefford and I returned with a special recording of the On The Line podcast. Early on in the podcast, we review the WTA Award winners, but later on, we preview the WTA Finals draw which sees one group filled with power hitters and the other group filled with counterpunchers.
WTA Award Winners
As Oliver correctly predicted, Garbiñe Muguruza took home the Player of the Year award. The Spaniard's ability to win big titles, including Wimbledon, as well as reaching world number one propelled her to win the award. It came to no surprise that Martina Hingis and Yung-jan Chan won the Doubles Team of the Year. Since the duo paired up, the team is 9-0 in finals and look to be clear-cut favorites for the title in Singapore.
Jelena Ostapenko is a deserving winner for the Most Improved Player. The Latvian was at one point just inside the top-70 in the rankings but two titles, including the French Open, currently have her inside the top-10 and vying for the title of world number one at the end of the week in Singapore. CiCi Bellis' consistent year has seen her win the Newcomer of the Year award. The American rose to a career-high of 35 and has four top-20 wins this year.
Finally, Sloane Stephens took home the Comeback Player of the Year award after a brilliant summer which saw her capture the award over a number of well-deserved nominees. The American was nearly outside the top-1000 but has now qualified for the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai thanks to her US Open title and semifinal showings in Toronto and Cincinnati.
You can here our picks for the WTA Finals and who will finish year-end world number one on the podcast. You can follow the podcast on @OnTheLinePod on Twitter.