The finalists for the 2015 WTA Rising Star Of The Year have been released, and we want to hear from you, the fans. The fan vote will count as one of the coveted media votes.
Have a look at the finalists and cast your vote before Sunday, December 6 at 11:59pm ET! The winner will be announced Tuesday, December 8.
2015 WTA Rising Star Of The Year Finalists
Margarita Gasparyan: Trivia question: who was the only player with a one-handed backhand to lift a WTA title in 2015? Surprisingly it was neither Carla Suárez Navarro nor Roberta Vinci, but the green and gifted Margarita Gasparyan. After plying her trade in the tennis backwaters for the majority of her nascent professional career, Gasparyan began to make her mark in the big leagues this year. The willowy Muscovite opened the campaign in fine fashion finishing her tennis schooling on the ITF Circuit with three titles before graduating in spring by qualifying for her first Grand Slam, the French Open. Though the 21-year-old fell at the first hurdle there, and also Wimbledon, her big breakthrough came in Baku, where she picked up the title, before closing the year just outside the Top 50 on the back of quarterfinals in Linz and Moscow.
Daria Gavrilova: The path from the top of the junior game to the professional ranks is rarely a smooth one. Lucky for former junior World No.1 Daria Gavrilova then that she is being guided along the way by a wise head in Nicole Pratt. Since recovering from torn anterior cruciate ligament a few years back, Gavrilova's career has been on an upward trajectory. The technical work invested into her game - most notably the backhand wing - whilst out injured, started to pay off this January, as she came racing out of the traps with strong performances in her adopted homeland. Better was to come in spring, the youngster upsetting Maria Sharapova in Miami before announcing herself to the wider tennis world 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 inside the Top 50 it is safe to say the best is yet to come.
Nao Hibino: Nao Hibino's ascent up the professional ranks has been understated, but by no means unimpressive. Racking up the wins - and titles - on the ITF Circuit for much of the year, Japan's brightest young talent edged her way towards the Top 100 before gatecrashing the big time in Tashkent, where she overcame former champion Donna Vekic to collect a maiden WTA title. More success was to follow in the shape of a semifinal run in Hua Hin, leaving her with 47 wins for the season and year-end ranking of No.78 to boot.
Daria Kasatkina: By common consensus, Daria Kasatkina is the next big thing in Russian tennis, drawing comparisons with none other than Maria Sharapova during her recent run to the semifinals at her home event, the Kremlin Cup. Softly spoken, but with a steely determination reminiscent of her celebrated compatriot, Kasatkina enjoyed a distinguished junior career, lifting the Roland Garros crown at 17, and announced herself in the senior ranks by reaching the US Open third round this August. A quarterfinal in Bad Gasten, and a string of titles on the ITF Circuit, further aided a charge up the rankings that saw her finish a year she started outside the Top 300 perched handily at No.71.
WTA Newcomer Of The Year Winners
2014: Belinda Bencic
2013: Eugenie Bouchard
2012: Laura Robson
2011: Irina-Camelia Begu
2010: Petra Kvitova
2009: Melanie Oudin
2008: Caroline Wozniacki
2007: Agnes Szavay
2006: Agnieszka Radwanska
2005: Sania Mirza
Click here to see all the WTA Newcomer of the Years Winners
How it works:
Finalists are selected by wtatennis.com
Rising of the Year criteria includes a player who made Top 100 debut or notable accomplishments during the 2015 season, and prior to the current year, had not played in more than six main draw events at tour-level in a single season
Winner is then determined by a media vote with a fan vote counting as one media vote