New York, Nov 29 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Italy's Sara Errani has been named the WTA's most improved player of the year for rising 39 places in the world rankings to No. 6 and reaching her first singles Grand Slam final.
Errani, 25, lost the French Open final to Maria Sharapova and also reached the semifinal of the U.S. Open, where she lost to Serena Williams.
"It has been an incredible year for me − so many matches in singles and doubles," Errani said in quotes to the WTA website.
"It may be an unrepeatable year, but I'll try to continue like this and give everything I have on the court in every match."
Errani ended 2011 ranked 45 in the world but shot to No. 6 on the back of those achievements and four tour titles.
She became the first Italian woman ever to reach at least the semifinals of two different majors.
Errani was also named in the WTA's doubles team of the year after she captured the French Open and U.S. Open titles with compatriot Roberta Vinci.
"As for the doubles, I'm very happy to share all these results with my best friend, Roberta," she added.
Errani is the second Italian in three years to take the award after Francesca Schiavone took the accolade on winning the French Open in 2010.
Three Russian players have won the award in the last decade, with Nadia Petrova taking it in 2003, Sharapova in 2004 and Dinara Safina in 2008.