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Jessica Pegula among finalists for WTA Most Improved Player award

Jessica Pegula among finalists for WTA Most Improved Player award

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France Tennis Jessica Pegula

Jessica Pegula plays Sofia Kenin in the French Open.

Buffalo-born Jessica Pegula is among the nominees for the most improved player on the women’s tennis tour after completing the best year of her career.

Pegula has a career-best ranking of No. 18 and reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open this year. She was 39-19 on the year with several semifinal and quarterfinal appearances, including reaching the final eight at Indian Wells.

She is one of four Americans to be a finalist for any of the four WTA major awards, which are voted on by the tennis media.

Other nominees are Leylah Fernandez, Maria Sakkari, Barbora Krejcikova, Ons Jabeur, Anett Kontaveit and Paula Badosa.

Krejcikova, also a nominee for Player of the Year, won the French Open, reached the Australian Open final and was ranked No. 3 in singles and No. 1 in doubles in 2021. She won the French Open doubles title, her third Aussie mixed doubles crown and the doubles gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

Fernandez was the runner-up at the U.S. Open and qualified for the WTA Finals. Kontaveit, Sakkari and Badosa also reached the finals.

“I feel like I improved but this is a tough group,” Pegula tweeted with a laughing emoji.

The nominees for Player of the Year are Ashleigh Barty, Krejcikova, Emma Raducanu Garbine Muguruza, Naomi Osaka, Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek.

Comeback Player of the Year nominees are Carla Suarez Navarro, Sania Mirza, Elena Vesnina and Ana Konjuh. Newcomer of the Year nominees are Raducanu, Mayar Sherif, Ann Li, Clara Tauson, Camila Osorio and Liudmila Samsonova.

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