All-American Semifinal Saturday Set
Doubles Final to Feature Three Americans; Wild Card Challenge Heats Up
TYLER (November 3, 2017) — The Stars and Stripes will be well represented on Saturday, with seven of the eight remaining players in the RBC Pro Challenge, a USTA Pro Circuit event, hailing from the United States.
Kristie Ahn (Upper Saddle River, NJ) was the first to book her place in the semifinals after coming back to defeat Elitsa Kostova (BUL) in three sets. Ahn, who dealt with a right hip injury late in the second set, fought through a tight second set before running away with the decider.
“I’m pretty beat right now,” Ahn said afterwards. “That match was both mentally and physically taxing. I was lucky to pull (the second set )out; I just fought as hard as I could.”
Ahn, who reached the final in Scottdale, Arizona a year ago this week, added that the facilities and crowd in Tyler have helped encourage her to compete and fight in every match.
“Atmosphere’s like these where you get a nice crowd and it’s a very professional environment, it’s easy to feel like you’re at that level,” Ahn said. “Certainly the tennis level is there; here it feels like the tournament level is there as well.”
Irina Falconi (Manhattan, NY) won Friday’s battle of seeded players over Taylor Townsend (Chicago, Ill), 6-4 7-6(6). An incredible point at 6-6 in the tiebreak proved critical; Townsend struck a strong volley on the stretch which looked to have won the point. Falconi, incredibly, got to the ball and lobbed Townsend. Falconi closed out the match on the next point.
“A lot of players can win matches, but Taylor knows how to play the game of tennis,” Falconi said of Townsend’s instinct on court. “She’s such a talented player; I just had to maintain the focus on what I’ve been doing well.”
Falconi, the tournament’s seven seed, will face Ahn, the four seed on Saturday. Danielle Collins ended Ashley Kratzer’s run with a straight set victory, 7-5 6-1. The final singles match of the day saw 18 year old and number three seed Sofia Kenin(Pembroke Pines, FL) earn a straight set win over Cagla Buyukakcay(TUR).
Kenin recently reach the third round of the 2017 U.S. Open, where she took five time major champion Maria Sharapova to three sets on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“It can be tough,” Kenin said of maintaining intensity outside of the major tournaments. “But I’m playing really well and I love it here, so I hope I can keep it going tomorrow.”
Kenin added that her improved fitness has been a major factor in her success this year, and that she is looking play more aggressively going forward.
In doubles action, Jamie Loeb (Ossining, NY) and Rebecca Peterson (Sweden) saved a match point before earning a 13-11 final set win. They’ll face Townsend and Jessica Pegula (Buffalo, NY) in the doubles final.
Friday also featured an ACEing Austism clinic for children on the autistic spectrum. Six children and eight volunteers participated in the event. Tournament proceeds at the RBC Pro Challenge will go towards creating an ACEing Autism program at the Tyler Athletic and Swim Club.
Live streaming, live scores and draws can be found at www.RBCProChallenge.com.
RBC Pro Challenge
A USTA Pro Circuit Event
Friday, November 3
Tyler Athletic and Swim Club
Friday, November 3 — RESULTS
Singles – Quarterfinals
Kristie Ahn(United States), def. Elitsa Kostova(Bulgaria) 4-6 6-4 6-2
(3)Sofia Kenin (United States), def. Cagla Buyukakcay (Turkey) 7-5 6-4
(7)Irina Falconi (United States), def. (2)Taylor Townsend (United States) 6-4 7-6(6)
Danielle Collins(United States), def. (Q)Ashley Kratzer(United States) 7-5 6-1
Doubles – Semifinals
Jessica Pegula (United States)/Taylor Townsend(United States), def. (2)Ashley Weinhold(United States)/Caitlin Whoriskey(United States) 6-3 6-4
Jamie Loeb(United States)/Rebecca Peterson(Sweden), def.(1)Irina Falconi(United States)/Maria Irigoyen(Argentina) 6-3 3-6 13-11
ORDER OF PLAY – Saturday, November 4
Starting at 11:00AM
(4)Kristie Ahn(USA) vs. (7)Irina Falconi(USA)
Danielle Rose Collins(USA) vs. (3)Sofia Kenin(USA)
Jamie Loeb(USA)/Rebecca Peterson(SWE) vs. Jessica Pegula(USA)/Taylor Townsend(USA)