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The USTA Awards

The USTA Awards

Serena Williams honored as 2009 top player

Thursday, March 25, 2010 6:13 AM ET

Serena Williams poses with her award© Getty Images

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) — World No. 1 Serena Williams won the 2009 WTA Tour Player of the Year award and also took the Doubles Team of the Year honors with sister Venus at a ceremony held at the Sony Ericsson Open on Wednesday.

Serena Williams, wearing high heels despite a knee injury, was all smiles when picking up her award. She won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2009, was a semifinalist at the US Open and a quarterfinalist at the French Open.

The Williams sisters won the 2009 Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open doubles titles as well as the doubles crown at Stanford.

“It’s exciting because I don’t think we’ve won the Doubles Team of the Year award before,” Serena Williams told The Associated Press. “I won the daily double today and that was cool.”

US Open champion Kim Clijsters captured the Comeback Player of the Year and Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award. This marked the seventh time in Clijsters career she won the sportsmanship award.

American teen Melanie Oudin, who had a breakthrough 2009 season in reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon and quarterfinals at the US Open, was honored as the Newcomer of the Year. Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium, who broke into the top 20 last year, won the Most Improved Player award.

Naturalized American Liezel Huber won The Player Service Award for the fourth time in her career. Among the causes Huber’s raised money for are Hurricane Katrina victims and “Locks of Love,” a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from medical hair loss.

Russian Elena Dementieva was voted as the Fan Favorite Singles Player of the Year by fans online.

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Sharapova returns to guide the Newport Beach Breakers

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 10:00 AM ET

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – The stars of the Pacific Ocean will shine down on the Newport Beach Breakers for a fourth consecutive World TeamTennis Pro League season. Gloriously successful on the court and glamorous off of it, Maria Sharapova will again be the guiding light for the Breakers as they seek to make a run at a second consecutive playoff berth and the WTT title.

Three-time Grand Slam champion and Manhattan Beach resident Sharapova will join the Newport Beach Breakers as its marquee player for a sixth season in her professional career during the Breakers’ 2010 season, July 5-22. The 22-year-old Russian will make her lone Breakers appearance on July 20 when the Breakers host the Kansas City Explorers.

Sharapova, ranked No. 12 on the WTA Tour, is one of three marquee players who will make Newport Beach the center of the Southern California tennis scene for three nights in July. John McEnroe, a long-time member of the New York Sportimes, visits Newport Beach for the regular season finale on July 22, and Laguna Beach resident Lindsay Davenport will compete against the Breakers in front of her Southern California fans as a member of the St. Louis Aces on July 15.

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Denise J. Saul is the Founder/President of WSEN-Women's Sports & Entertainment Network.

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