Sofia Kenin was this week named the WTA Most Improved Player of the Year for 2019, which is given to the player inside the Top 50 who showed the most significant improvement throughout the season.

The rising star claimed 39% of the vote, which was decided by the media.

The 21-year-old is now the WTA world No. 14, improving her ranking from 56 at the beginning of the year. She peaked at No. 12, breaking into the Top 20 in August.

Kenin this year reached her first four WTA Tour finals, winning in Hobart and subsequently picking up titles in Mallorca and Guangzhou, defeating former Top 10er Belinda Bencic in the final on the grass in Spain.

She is one of only six players to win three or more trophies this season, and claimed wins over No. 1-ranked players in successive weeks by defeating Ashleigh Barty in Toronto then upsetting Naomi Osaka in Cincinnati.

“I went into the court and tried to already get adjusted to the game, because [Barty] plays very differently to other players,” Kenin said at the time after becoming the youngest player in eight years to beat the No. 1-ranked player. “That’s why she’s No. 1…I’m playing well and having a good year. I love the big stages. I love the big matches. That’s why I play…just being there, that’s why I work hard.”

Hard courts proved Kenin’s specialty, and over the course of the year she picked up 38 tour victories on the surface, more than anyone else over the last 12 months. She also posted 17 three-set wins, a total that only four players on tour could best.

In winning the award she finished ahead of fellow Floridian Amanda Anisimova and Alison Riske.

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