By McCarton Ackerman
(February 8, 2013) MIDLAND, Mich.The hallmark 25th anniversary of the Dow Corning Tennis Classic at the Midland Community Tennis Center continued on Friday with all quarterfinal singles matches and remaining quarterfinal doubles matches taking place. Two of the four semifinalists in the singles draw are Americans, with top seed Lauren Davis and 2012 NCAA singles finalist Mallory Burdette prevailing in tough matches on Stadium Court.
In the comeback of the tournament, top seed Davis rallied from behind on numerous occasions to defeat Alla Kudryatseva of Russia 5-7, 7-6 (4), 7-5, after more than three hours of play. Kudryavtseva served for the match at 5-4 in the second set and led 4-0 in the tiebreaker. In the third set, the Russian led 5-2 and had a match point on her serve at 5-3, but was unable to convert. Davis converted on her first match point opportunity with a backhand winner down the line.
“I just never stopped believing in myself,” said Davis. “It seemed like it was almost impossible to come back at that point, so I just asked God to give me strength and help make the impossible to be possible.”
The 19-year-old Davis has come into her own over the last six months, breaking into the world’s top 100 on the back of strong results including quarterfinal finishes at WTA events in Quebec City, Canada and Hobart, Australia, as well winning two USTA Pro Circuit titles last fall at the $75,000 challenger in Albuquerque, N.M. and $50,000 event in Las Vegas.
Burdette and No. 7 seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia engaged in a hard-hitting baseline match that took over two hours to complete, but Burdette utilized some markedly improved defense to hang in the rallies and prevail 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. “Today was obviously about first strike tennis, but this is the best I’ve ever felt in terms of my movement and the ability to play defense,” said Burdette. “I’ve been doing a ton of fitness, especially during the off-season and pushing it as hard as I can in that regard.”
Burdette didn’t even have a WTA Tour ranking last July, but opted not to return for her senior year at Stanford University after a stellar summer that included winning the $10,000 futures event in Evansville, Ind., $100,000 challenger in Vancouver, Canada and reaching the third round of the US Open.
“I really wanted to give myself a shot at this and in order to do that, I had to put all of my time and energy into my tennis,” said Burdette. “It’s been great so far. There have definitely been some rough patches, but I’m just trying to do the best I can on a daily basis.”
In the final match of the day session, No. 8 seed Monica Puig of Puerto Rico defeated American teen Jessica Pegula 6-3, 7-5. Puig, ranked No. 116, is the only singles semifinalist who has yet to lose a set. In the evening session, Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia defeated American Maria Sanchez 6-2, 6-2. The 19-year-old, currently ranked No. 370, is enjoying the best tournament of her career after an injury-plagued 2012 limited her to just six events. The lone match to be completed as of press time is an all-American doubles quarterfinal between Jill Craybas and CoCo Vandeweghe against Chieh-Yu Hsu and Shelby Rogers.
All semifinal singles and doubles matches will take place during Saturday’s play, which begins at noon. The day session will see the American-Russian team of Julia Cohen and Alla Kudryavtseva take on the Brazilian-British team of Maria-Fernanda Alves and Samantha Murray, followed by Mallory Burdette against Ajla Tomljanovic. In the night session, Lauren Davis will square off against Monica Puig, followed by the Hungarian-Croatian team of Melinda Czink and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni against the American team of either Jill Craybas and CoCo Vandeweghe or Chieh-Yu Hsu and Shelby Rogers.
The Dow Corning Tennis Classic is in its 25th year on the USTA Pro Circuit, making it the longest-running women’s event on the USTA Pro Circuit.
Dow Corning Tennis Classic
A USTA Pro Circuit Event
Friday, February 8
Midland Community Tennis Center
Friday, February 8 – RESULTS
Main Draw Singles – Quarterfinals
Lauren Davis, United States (1), def. Alla Kudryavtseva, Russia, 5-7, 7-6 (4), 7-5
Mallory Burdette, United States, def. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, Croatia (7), 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
Monica Puig, Puerto Rico (8), def. Jessica Pegula, United States, 6-3, 7-5
Ajla Tomljanovic, Croatia, def. Maria Sanchez, United States, 6-2, 6-2
Main Draw Doubles – Quarterfinals
Julia Cohen, United States, and Alla Kudryavtseva, Russia (3), def. Nicole Melichar and Chiara Scholl, United States 6-4, 6-2
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, Croatia, and Melinda Czink, Hungary, def. Alexa Glatch and Asia Muhammed, United States, 6-3, 6-3
Saturday’s February 9 – SCHEDULE
Stadium Court – starting at 10 a.m.
Julia Cohen/Alla Kudryavtseva vs. Maria-Fernanda Alves/Samantha Murray, followed by Mallory Burdette vs. Ajla Tomljanovic
Stadium Court – starting at 7 p.m.
Lauren Davis vs. Monica Puig, followed by Melinda Czink/Mirjana Lucic-Baroni vs. Jill Craybas/CoCo Vandeweghe or Chieh-Yu Hsu/Shelby Rogers