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Mar 22nd, 2003, 07:43 AM

Suarez and Ruano Pascual Win Tour's Prestigious Doubles Award

Clijsters, Morariu and Kuznetsova also win top awards
March 21, 2003

Miami, FL, USA - Paola Suarez and Virginia Ruano Pascual were named the WTA Tour 2002 Doubles Team of the Year on Friday.

The award, presented on court during the NASDAQ-100 Open in Miami, was one of four awards handed out by the Tour on Friday. Kim Clijsters of Belgium won the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award; Corina Morariu of the United States was given the Comeback Player of the Year award; and Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia won the Newcomer of the Year award.

In 2002, Suarez and Ruano Pascual went 52-11 in doubles and won seven titles, including the French Open and the US Open. They also reached the final in Miami and Wimbledon and finished the season ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the world, respectively.

Morariu, who suffered from acute promyelocytic leukemia and underwent chemotherapy that kept her off the Tour for more than half the season, made a triumphant return to the Tour in July.

In her first full season, Kuznetsova made quite a splash, winning two Tour titles (Helsinki and Bali) and compiled a 48-15 record, which propelled her from No. 266 in the rankings at the start of the year to No. 43 by season's end.

Clijsters, ranked No. 3 in the world in singles, was chosen for her award for displaying exceptional sportsmanship on and off the court.

The Tour's 2002 Player of the Year award and Most Improved Player award will be presented on Sunday during the NASDAQ-100 Open.

The awards, which are sponsored by Lalique, were voted on by the players and the media.

2003 WTA Tour, Inc.