Wins over Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic were just a couple of the highlights in a year that saw Daria Gavrilova fly up the rankings and be crowned WTA Newcomer Of The Year.
WTA Staff

When Daria Gavrilova and Maria Sharapova stepped on court for their second round meeting at this year's Miami Open, nearly 100 places separated the players on the tennis ladder. However, it was clear early on that Gavrilova was in no way daunted by the challenge in front of her.

Haring after every ball she could reach - and plenty she could not - Gavrilova's attitude immediately won over the crowd. There was inspiration to complement this perspiration, too, the former junior No.1 marrying defense with attack to shock her childhood idol in a result that reverberated around the tennis world.

This was the most high-profile performance in an impressive 2015 campaign that ended with the 21-year-old being crowned WTA Newcomer Of The Year.

Since recovering from torn anterior cruciate ligament a few years back, Gavrilova's career has been on an upward trajectory. The work invested into the technical and physical sides of her game whilst off the tour really started to pay off this January, as she came racing out of the traps with strong performances in her adopted homeland of Australia.

Better was to come in spring, the youngster following the upset of Sharapova by coming through qualifying to reach the semifinals in Rome. While she was unable to quite match these feats in the second half of the year, now perched inside the Top 50 it is safe to say the best is yet to come.

Gavrilova credits much of her improvement to the off-court structure implemented by her coach Nicole Pratt. "I'm more professional now," Gavrilova told WTA Insider during the US Open. "I know how it works now. I look at the players and I understand that's what everyone does. Two years ago I had no idea what you needed to do to achieve what I wanted to achieve.

"First of all I didn't have any base. I didn't have any structure. Now I have a good base. I have a fitness coach, I have Nicole, I always have a coach on the road. I always know what I'm doing. I have a plan for every match. Even in training I know what I want to achieve."

Gavrilova adds her name to a select band of players to have won the WTA Newcomer Of The Year, with Tracy Austin, Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario, Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis, the Williams sisters, Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki among her predecessors.

The WTA Awards are voted for by a combination of media and fans. Gavrilova received 68% of media votes and 36% of fan votes (Daria Kasatkina was next with 33%).