Coco Vandeweghe Vanquishes Serena Williams’ Conqueror at French Open at Wimbledon

(June 23, 2014) WIMBLEDON – Fourth time was the charm for American Coco Vandeweghe at Wimbledon on Monday. In her fourth singles appearance at The Championships, she needed 13 match points get her first win in London. The 22-year-old beat the woman who upset Serena Williams in the second round of the French Open last month, Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, the 27th seed 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

Vandeweghe who is now on an eighth-match winning streak on grass courts, won her first WTA tournament two days ago at the Top Shelf Open in the Netherlands as a qualifier and beat the 20-year-old Spaniard on the way to the title.

“It was a tough match and it was crazy at the end,” said Vandeweghe. “The toughest part for me was that I played her the week before. I knew she would come out even more fired up because of the recent memory of her loss.”

“There was too many (match points) too count,” said Vandeweghe, whose ranking has risen to No. 51 as of Monday – a career high

The Californian will play Tereza Smithkova of the Czech Republic in the second round.

Karen Pestaina at Wimbledon

$ 18,575,979
JUNE 23-JULY 5, 2014

RESULTS – JUNE 23, 2014
Singles – First Round
(2) Li Na (CHN) d. (Q) Paula Kania (POL) 75 62
(6) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) 63 60
(8) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) 63 75
(10) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. (Q) Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) 61 62
(12) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. Jana Cepelova (SVK) 62 63
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) d. (17) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 63 64
Maria Kirilenko (RUS) d. (18) Sloane Stephens (USA) 62 76(6)
(22) Ekaterina Makarova  (RUS) d. Kimiko Date-Krumm  (JPN) 36 64 75
(23) Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Julia Goerges (GER) 76(3) 76(3)
CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. (27) Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP) 63 36 75
(30) Venus Williams (USA) d. María-Teresa Torró-Flor (ESP) 64 46 62
(32) Elena Vesnina (RUS) d. Patricia Mayr-Achleitner (AUT) 60 64
Casey Dellacqua (AUS) d. (Q) Anett Kontaveit (EST) 36 76(4) 63
Yvonne Meusburger (AUT) d. Vania King (USA) 75 63
Kurumi Nara (JPN) d. Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 64 64
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) d. (Q) Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) 62 62
Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) d. Johanna Larsson (SWE) 76(2) 60
Lauren Davis (USA) d. Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) 61 62
Mona Barthel  (GER) d. Romina Oprandi (SUI) 75 60
Peng Shuai  (CHN) d. Johanna Konta (GBR) 64 36 64
Polona Hercog (SLO) d. Paula Ormaechea (ARG) 64 64
Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) d. Monica Niculescu (ROU) 75 63
Misaki Doi (JPN) d. Elina Svitolina (UKR) 64 61
(Q) Tereza Smitkova (CZE) d. Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) 63 63
(Q) Ana Konjuh (CRO) d. Marina Erakovic (NZL) 63 46 60
(WC) Naomi Broady (GBR) d. Timea Babos (HUN) 26 76(7) 60
(WC) Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS) d. Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 63 76(6)

Suspended due to darkness
(4) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) leads (Q) Andreea Mitu  (ROU) 42
(14) Sara Errani (ITA) is tied with Caroline Garcia (FRA) 62 67(3)
(16) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) leads Shahar Peer (ISR) 63 20
(Q) Michelle Larcher de Brito (POR) leads (28) Svetlana Kuznetsova  (RUS) 21
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) leads Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 76(6) 02


Coco Vandeweghe wins First WTA Title

Coco Vandeweghe

Coco Vandeweghe

(June 21, 2014) Qualifier CoCo Vandeweghe of the United States beat China’s Zheng Jie 6-2, 6-4 Saturday in the final of the grass-court Topshelf Open for her first WTA title.

In the men’s tournament, third-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain beat Germany’s Benjamin Becker, 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4.

“I usually take tournaments one match at a time, so early in the week I was just focused on being prepared for my first match in the qualification,” said the 22-year-old American. “Once I took care of that first match I just went from there, and I got more and more comfortable on the courts. I played a ton of points and games, and a lot of long matches and three-setters as well. I was trying not to think about it being a final today. I got the first set and I thought to myself, ‘One set to the good, one more to go, try and get the early break now and keep the pressure on her.’ I was really just thinking about it step by step, just like how I would play in any match.”


Serena Williams Crushes, Maria Sharapova Rebounds to Advance at Sony Open

(March 24, 2014) In a tale of two different matches, expected results as No. 1 Serena Williams and fourth seed Maria Sharapova reached the quarterfinals of the Sony Open on Monday.

Williams dismissed American countrywoman qualifier CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-1 to reach the elite 8 in Miami for the 13th time in 14 appearances.

After her first two matches in the tournament she showed some rust, Williams cleaned up her game hitting 17 winners to only 11 unforced errors and stopping all six break points she faced.

“I was definitely happier today,” Williams said.  “I was really struggling my first two matches, so I just wanted to have a better performance today.”

“She’s improved a great deal,” Williams said of her opponent’s game.  “Her focus is so much better.  Her movement is good.  Her attitude is great.  She’s a nice girl.

“You know, it’s always fun to play with young Americans, I think, and just enjoy it.  It’s so good to see another American doing really well.”

Williams was so impressed with the young American that she spoke to her about possible playing doubles.

“She said, `Listen, you played so well. We’ve got to play doubles. We’d do so well,’” Vandeweghe said.

Next up for Williams will be the No. 5 seed Angelique Kerber, who beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.

“It will be good to play a different opponent,” Williams said.  “I feel like I have played the same person three times in a row.  It will be nice to play a lefty, someone that just plays different.

“Angelique has been able to beat me in the past, so I have to be really focused and be ready in that match.”


Maris Sharapova had to reset from a first set drubbing to beat Kirsten Flipkens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

The Belgium jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set and Sharapova could only win five points during those four games. In the second set Sharapova jumped out to a 4-0 lead, then Flipkens won 4 out of 5 games, but Sharapova broke serve to take the set 6-4.

“I usually like playing the first match, but I didn’t start off the way I wanted to,” Sharapova said. “Nothing was working.”

“Nothing was working in the first set,” Sharapova said. “Yeah, that’s just the way it went in the beginning.

“She’s a different type of opponent. There aren’t too many girls that hit a slice backhand 90% of the time in the rallies. You expect that because she’s been around for a long time, and it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise, but I wasn’t doing too much from my end and made a lot of mistakes from the first ball, which gives your opponent that confidence and the time they need to do whatever they want.

“It was about finding that combination of getting something in to give her something to play with.”

Sharapova’s momentum carried over into the final set where she kept her errors low and her aggression high, dropping only one more game.

Final stats for Sharapova- 36 unforced errors, 13 winners and 10 double-faults.

Sharapova will play the woman she lost to in the 2011 Wimbledon finals, No. 8 seed Petra Kvitova in the quarterfinals. Kvitova regrouped to stop Ana Ivanovic 3-6, 6-0, 6-0.

“We haven’t played for a long time, but we have always had interesting, tough matches against each other,” Sharapova said about her next opponent.  “I think we know what to expect from one another.  She’s always tricky because she is a lefty.  You don’t play so many out there.  I already had one in this tournament, so maybe that was good practice for it.

“She has a different game than someone like Safarova.  She has a powerful game and goes for her shots, and when she’s on it’s tricky to play against her.”


BNP Paribas Open announces Wild Cards Which Include Americans Young, Sock, Harrison, Johnson, Duval and Townsend

big bnp paribas open logo

INDIAN WELLS, Calif., Feb. 26, 2014 – Former top five players Nadia Petrova and Vera Zvonareva; Americans Donald Young, Jack Sock, Ryan Harrison, Steve Johnson, Rhyne Williams, Coco Vandeweghe, Shelby Rogers, Vicky Duval and Taylor Townsend; and Donna Vekic and Belinda Bencic were granted wildcards into the main draws of the BNP Paribas Open, to be held March 3 – 16 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, it was announced today by Tournament Director Steve Simon.
Russia’s Nadia Petrova has won 13 career WTA single titles and 24 doubles crowns. The former World No. 3 has reached nine Grand Slam quarterfinals, advancing to the semifinals twice. Fellow Russian star and 2009 BNP Paribas Open champion Vera Zvonareva has 12 career WTA singles triumphs and six doubles titles. The former World No. 2 also has two Grand Slam finals appearances.
In addition, nine Americans have been granted wildcards into the main draws including Donald Young, who reached the third round of this year’s Australian Open; 21-year-old Jack Sock, who advanced to the third round of the 2013 U.S. Open; Ryan Harrison, who boasted a career-high ranking of No. 43 in 2012; two-time NCAA Champion from USC Steve Johnson, who reached the third round of the 2012 US Open; Rhyne Williams, who is coming off a quarterfinals appearance at Delray Beach, pushing top-ranked American and World No. 13 John Isner to three sets; Coco Vandeweghe, a two-time ITF singles winner; Shelby Rogers, a four-time singles champion on the ITF circuit; Vicky Duval, who achieved a career-high ranking earlier this year after jumping 528 rankings places since the end of 2011; and 17-year-old Taylor Townsend, who turned professional in 2012 after reaching the top of the junior rankings earlier that year.
Two other international players receiving main draw wildcards are 17-year-old Croatian Donna Vekic, who reached a career-high ranking of No. 62 in 2013 and 16-year-old Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, who advanced to the second round of the Australian Open earlier this year.
“This year’s main draw wildcards span from established veterans, to rising American and international stars,” said Simon. “Awarding wildcards to players like Nadia Petrova, Vera Zvonareva, Donald Young, Jack Sock and others, add to the excitement for fans and provide the potential for these deserving athletes to make a run at the BNP Paribas Open.”
Qualifying wildcards were given to Americans Raymond Sarmiento, Stefan Kozlov, Clay Thompson, Irina Falconi, Madison Brengle, Grace Min and Allie Kiick, Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinaxis and the United Kingdom’s Heather Watson.
Sarmiento is a senior-standout at USC and member of two NCAA team championships for the Trojans. Sixteen-year-old Kozlov achieved a career-high ranking in February, after turning pro in 2013. Thompson reached a career-high ranking in 2013. Falconi cracked the WTA top 100 in 2011 and advanced to the second round of this year’s Australian Open. Brengle reached a career-high ranking earlier this year, and has won five ITF singles titles. Min won the 2011 US Open Junior Championship and three ITF titles in 2012, while Kiick also has three ITF singles crowns. Kokkinaxis advanced to the second round at this year’s Australian Open, where he pushed World No. 1 Rafael Nadal to three sets. Watson has one WTA singles title and two doubles titles.
In addition to the aforementioned qualifying wildcards, the winners of each BNP Paribas Challenge, the pre-qualifying event for the tournament, which takes place February 24 – March 1, will also be granted a berth into the 2014 BNP Paribas Open qualifying draw. Women’s qualifying starts March 3 and men’s qualifying begins March 4.

Melanie Oudin, Coco Vandeweghe, Victoria Duval and Taylor Townsend to Headline South Seas Island Resort Women’s Pro Classic


(October 31, 2013) CAPTIVA, FLORIDA – The South Seas Island Resort Women’s Pro Classic is thrilled to announce today that top rising American tennis stars are headlining the upcoming $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit Event getting underway on November 3rd. The line-up of young American talent in the Singles Main Draw will include Melanie Oudin, Coco Vandeweghe, Maria Sachez, Madison Brengle, Sachia Vickery, Julia Cohen, Victoria Duval, Jessica Pegula, Nicole Gibbs, Allie Kiick, Taylor Townsend and Chieh-Yu Hsu.

In addition to this, recently announced Wild Card recipients including the Women’s Pro Classic Wild Card Tournament winner Nikki Kallenberg (who will receive a direct entry into the Singles Main Draw) along with the three Singles Main Draw Wild Cards awarded by the USTA to Julia Boserup, Ellie Halbauer and Alexandra Mueller. Receiving the Doubles Main Draw Wild Card is local Southwest Florida residents and doubles duo Kerry Kendricks and Angie Guillette. Additional Singles Qualifying Draw Wild Cards were also awarded to six players.

“The turnout of American players for our first USTA Pro Circuit Event in Captiva Island is tremendous,” said Tournament Director, Nick Blackwood. “We have such an incredible group of young talented women playing in our event that will make for a great week of competitive tennis at a beautiful facility for spectators to enjoy. I hope many of our locals will take advantage of the opportunity to see some of the best up-and-coming American tennis stars playing right in their backyard.”

Of those in the Main Draw, Melanie Oudin, who has been ranked as high as #31 in the WTA Tour Singles Rankings, is known for her thrilling run at the 2009 US Open where she defeated Maria Sharapova to advance to the Quarterfinals. Just this summer, Victoria Duval captured the hearts of Americans at the 2013 US Open after defeating Grand Slam Singles Champion Sam Stosur in the first round. In addition to this, local Florida residents Sachia Vickery and Taylor Townsend have had breakthrough junior accomplishments on their way to playing the USTA Pro Circuit events with Taylor Townsend the winning the Junior Australian Open Singles Championship in 2012 and finishing the year ranked number one in Girls Singles Junior ITF World rankings. In 2013, Sachia Vickery won the USTA National Junior Singles Championships that earned her a spot in the Singles Main Draw of the 2013 US Open.

The South Seas Island Resort Women’s Pro Classic will be held from November 3rd-10th at the award-winning South Seas Island Resort in beautiful Captiva, Florida. The Main Draw Singles and Doubles will begin on Tuesday, November 5th, with the Finals taking place on Sunday, November 10th. As the last USTA Pro Circuit Women’s Event on the calendar in 2013 and opportunity for players to obtain WTA Tour points for the 2014 Australian Open, the Women’s Pro Classic will showcase world class tennis by bringing the game’s emerging and future tennis stars to the area while benefiting three local philanthropic causes – the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, Madisen’s Match and Partners for Breast Cancer Care, Inc.

Throughout the week of the Women’s Pro Classic, there will be a line-up of festivities and fundraising events starting on Sunday, November 3rd, with the FREE Kids Day from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. along with high level competition and tennis action at the two Pro-Am fundraisers on Monday and Tuesday that will all benefit the local philanthropic causes.

This year’s Title Sponsor for the Women’s Pro Classic is the South Seas Island Resort with Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille as the Presenting Sponsor. Additional sponsors include Sofibella, NU Men’s Formal Tennis, Pro Graphx and PSAV.

The Pavel & Blackwood Tennis Academy was founded by top 15 ATP Tour player Andrei Pavel and successful junior development coach Nick Blackwood. The Pavel & Blackwood Tennis Academy provides premier opportunities for both junior and professional players as well as programming for adults of all abilities, including beginners. With a combination of physical training, mental development and an emphasis on education for junior players, the Academy creates an environment where each hard-working player is a winner.

The South Seas Island Resort’s tennis facilities include 11 recently resurfaced hard courts (four lighted courts for nighttime play) making it the finest tennis facility on Sanibel and Captiva that was recently recognized by TripAdvisor as one of the industry’s most outstanding resorts.


Bank of the West Preview/Picks for Wednesday July 24, 2013

By Kevin Ware

Bank of the West Preview/Picks for Wednesday July 24, 2013

Tamira Paszek

Tamira Paszek

Tamira Paszek v Varvara Lepchenko [6]

Head-to-Head: Tied at 2-All

The most relevant matches in their head-to-head are the last two matches played on carpet (’11) and outdoor hard (’12). Paszek won the first in a 3-set match that lasted 3 hours. Lepchenko won the second in a 3-set match that last nearly 3 hours. If the pattern holds true, get set for another long one!

2013′s been a tough year for both players. Lepchenko has struggled to maintain the level she achieved in ’12, while Paszek struggled to even get past the first round at any tournament through most of ’13. The lack of confidence might show in the quality of shot-making, but their prior history should provide for a fairly competitive match. I’ll stick my neck out on this one for Lepchenko in three sets.

Coco Vandeweghe

Coco Vandeweghe

Sorana Cirstea v [Q] Coco Vandeweghe

Head-to-Head: Tied at 1-All

Vandeweghe won the first time they played in ’11 in a 3-set match lasting almost 2.5 hours. Their next meeting at this year’s Australian Open was pretty much a whitewash for Cirstea in straight sets. Given the status of both in their respective seasons, it’s unclear whether this match will look like either of those previous two.

Cirstea ‘s had a tough year, making it past the R16 at only one hard court tournament. Though she always has potential to be dangerous, her 19-17 record coming into Stanford can’t provide her with an excess of confidence.

Vandeweghe’s status as a qualifier pretty much says it all, since she’s spent much of the season qualifying for main draws in WTA events. But even though she’s a qualifier, she’s also one of last year’s finalists: which probably helped immensely in coming through the qualifying rounds. She’s on comfortable ground, and on a roll in terms of match wins.

I’ll give the edge to Vandeweghe in this one. If her shots are landing cleanly, it goes two sets. If she’s making a ton of unforced errors, it goes three.

Francesca Schiavone

Francesca Schiavone

Agnieszka Radwanska [1] v Francesca Schiavone (Featured Match)

Head-to-Head: Schiavone leads 4-3

This match, which could easily be titled “I Can Be Craftier than You”, features two of the best thinkers/strategists on the pro tour, and has the potential to be one of the most entertaining of the week.

Radwanska doesn’t have the power of Serena or Maria, but reads the ball well and defends with the best of them. She has an uncanny ability to use her opponent’s power to her own advantage, which helped her to overcome Maria in the ’12 Sony Open final, and take Serena to three sets in the ’12 Wimbledon final.

I’m not sure that skill will help Radwanska against Schiavone, a player who specializes in spin over power. She can hit with an extreme amount of spin from both her forehand and single-handed backhand wings. And her slice is one of the most formidable on tour. It’s no surprise that Schiavone’s biggest title came on clay at the ’10 French Open.

Schiavone needs a fair amount of racquet prep for her shots, especially her forehand.  This can get her into trouble on faster hard courts with the big hitters.  Radwanska’s shots don’t have the same pace, so Schiavone’s 4-1 record on hard courts show’s that she’s not nearly as troubled by Radwanska’s game on this surface.

The problem for Schiavone in this match-up is that she’s on the backside of her career, while Radwanska is on the upside of hers.  Radwanska’s game has improved, and dramatically so since ’10. Schiavone’s game has plateaued and declined since her peak moments in Paris. It’s no coincidence that Radwanska has won their last three matches: one each on hard court, clay, and grass.

Though it’s been two years since they last played, I don’t see Schiavone overcoming this new and improved Radwanska; and I’m not talking about the blonde hair. Radwanska has pushed herself to be more aggressive to win points outright instead of waiting for errors. Schiavone will throw the kitchen sink at her, but it won’t be enough to stop Radwanska from winning in two sets.

Kevin Ware is covering the Bank of the West Classic as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his live updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.  Follow his personal twitter @SFTennisFreak and site kevware.com/tennis/.

Stanford, CA, USA
July 22-28, 2013

Results – Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Singles – Second Round

Olga Govortsova (BLR) d. (2) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 62 64

Singles – First Round
(6) Varvara Lepchenko (USA) d. (Q) Michelle Larcher de Brito (POR) 62 64
(7) Urszula Radwanska (POL) d. Christina McHale (USA) 61 63
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) d. Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 62 46 60
Tamira Paszek (AUT) d. (Q) Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) 61 67(4) 30 ret. (heat illness)
(Q) Vera Dushevina (RUS) d. Marina Erakovic (NZL) 62 61
(Q) Coco Vandeweghe (USA) d. Monica Niculescu (ROU) 60 63

Doubles – First Round
(4) Chan/Dushevina (TPE/RUS) d. Dabrowski/Fichman (CAN/CAN) 64 60
Grandin/Rosolska (RSA/POL) d. Lepchenko/Tomljanovic (USA/CRO) 46 75 106 (Match TB)
Muhammed/Will (USA/USA) d. (WC) Gibbs/Vandeweghe (USA/USA) 75 63
Cako/Pluskota (USA/USA) d. Llagostera Vives/Schiavone (ESP/ITA) w/o (Schiavone: viral illness)

Order Of Play – Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Stadium (from 11.00hrs)
1. Cibulkova/Niculescu vs. Goerges/Jurak
2. Tamira Paszek vs. Varvara Lepchenko (NB 12.00hrs)
3. Sorana Cirstea vs. Coco Vandeweghe
4. Kops-Jones/Spears vs. McHale/Paszek
5. Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Francesca Schiavone (NB 19.00hrs)
6. Hantuchova/Raymond vs. Burdette/Cirstea

Court 6 (from 13.00hrs)
1. Govortsova/Kudryavtseva vs. Miyamura/Puchkova


Americans in Paris – Day Three at Roland Garros


(May 28, 2013) . Americans went 1-3 in Paris on the day 2 of the French Open. Here is a look at how they all fared:
(27) Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) d. Coco Vandeweghe (USA) 60 36 62
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. Lauren Davis (USA) 60 75
[Q] J Sock (USA) d G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 62 62 75
[WC] L Pouille (FRA) d [WC] Alex Kuznetsov (USA) 61 76(2) 62

Jack Sock

Jack Sock

World No. 118 Jack Sock was the only U.S. player in the win column on Day three of the French Open.

During his post- match news conference Sock, who made it into the main draw as a qualifier, shared the story on why he has two sets on initials on his sneakers.

“I grew up playing junior tennis with one of the kids named Alex Rovello, played a bunch of junior tournaments with him.

“His family came out to the US Open last couple of years and watched, and gave them tickets and everything.  They were just good family friends.  He was a good friend from juniors.  He passed away in a tragic car accident a couple weeks ago.

“And then a guy I played high school tennis with, Brian Boyd, also passed away in a car accident in the last couple of weeks.  And, yeah, spent a year or two playing high school tennis with him.  I mean, team parties, team dinners, all that, I mean, we were friends.  Just sucks to see someone go that soon.  They were both 21, I think, sophomores, juniors in college.

“So, yeah, it’s definitely been ‑‑ kind of hits you out of nowhere.  So I put the initials on my shoes and definitely thinking of them out there.”

As for the match, Sock was very excited about playing on the clay in Europe.

“First time competing over here in Europe, so, I mean, I was definitely excited coming over here to play, “ said Sock.  I love playing on clay, so I was even more excited coming out here and competing on the clay.

“And to come through quallies and have some momentum and confidence definitely and come in the main draw and then playing him, playing Garcia‑Lopez, who I played in Bordeaux last week or the week before, it was nice to have a little insight on his game, and was able to play well today and get the win.”

Sock made his debut in a major just last August at the US Open where he made the third round.


Top Seed Davis Holds Off Kudryatseva at Dow Corning Tennis Classic


Lauren Davis

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
Midland, Mich.
Purse: $100,000
Surface: Hard-Indoor

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


Duval Stuns Vandeweghe, Vickery Over Townsend in Michigan


Victoria Duval photo by Steve Pratt

Victoria Duval photo by Steve Pratt

MIDLAND, Mich., February 6, 2013 – The hallmark 25th anniversary of the Dow Corning Tennis Classic at the Midland Community Tennis Center continued on Wednesday with all remaining first round singles match taking place. 17-year-old American Victoria Duval stunned No. 2 seed CoCo Vandeweghe in the day session, while qualifier Sachia Vickery prevailed in an evening session match between American teens.

Duval, who won the Girls’ 18s National Championship last August, was responsible for the upset of the day by taking out Vandeweghe 7-5, 4-6, 6-1. Duval, who lost in the final round of qualifying yesterday, only moved into the main draw match as a “Lucky Loser” due to a player withdrawal.

“I was really lucky that I got that second chance and tried to make the most of it today,” said Duval. “Yesterday, I was rushing a lot because I really wanted to get into this main draw and was too nervous out there, but I played much smarter today.”

The win was also by far the biggest of her career and the first against a top 100 player on the WTA Tour.

“I’ve smelled those wins against top 100 players before, but to actually come through and pull it out is really nice,” she said.

In the evening session, 17-year-old Vickery used an aggressive baseline game to unseat 16-year-old wildcard Taylor Townsend 6-4, 6-3. Townsend was making her pro debut in Midland after finishing 2012 as the No. 1 ranked junior player in the world.

While Townsend used plenty of off-speed slices and spins to try and throw off Vickery, the 17-year-old had too much firepower for her opponent and won four consecutive games at one stage in the second set.

“This is my first win at the $100,000 level and I’ve had some really tough losses in the last few challengers I’ve played, so I’m thrilled to have gotten through this match,” said Vickery. “I just need to stay focused and keep doing the right things so I can hopefully keep playing better this week.”

Vickery, currently ranked No. 376 on the WTA Tour, has not lost a set in her four matches this week. She will play Monica Puig tomorrow for a place in the quarterfinals.

In other day session matches, Alexa Glatch prevailed against fellow American Julia Cohen in a nearly three-hour match 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. Maria Sanchez of the US also moved into the second round by easing past Maria-Fernanda Alves of Brazil 6-4, 6-1.

Other players moving into the second round after today include No. 4 seed Melinda Czink of Hungary No. 5 seed Tatjana Malek of Germany, No. 6 seed Olga Puchkova of Russia, No. 7 seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia, No. 8 seed Monica Puig of Puerto Rico and Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia. The lone match to be completed as of press time was a first round doubles match between Americans Nicole Melichar and Chiara Scholl against the Dutch team of former top-10 player Brenda Schultz-McCarthy and her niece, Jainy Scheepens.

First round doubles: Nicole Melichar and Chiara Scholl, United States, def. Brenda Schultz-McCarthy and Jainy Scheepens, Netherlands (WC), 6-3, 6-1,

All second round singles matches and remaining first round doubles matches will take place during Thursday’s play, which begins at 10:00am. The feature match of the day session will see No. 1 seed Lauren Davis take on fellow American Alexa Glatch, while No. 7 seed and 1999 Wimbledon semifinalist Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia will take on two-time Dow Corning Tennis Classic champion Jill Craybas of the US in the evening session.

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. Several former competitors at the event have gone on to win Grand Slam titles and reach the top 10 in the rankings. Past competitors include seven-time Grand Slam singles champion and Olympic gold medalist Justine Henin, three-time Grand Slam singles champion Maria Sharapova, two-time Grand Slam singles champion Mary Pierce, 2011 French Open singles champion Na Li, 2010 French Open singles champion Francesca Schiavone, and two-time Grand Slam doubles champion Anna Kournikova.

By McCarton Ackerman

Dow Corning Tennis Classic
A USTA Pro Circuit Event
Wednesday, February 6
Midland Community Tennis Center
Midland, Mich.
Purse: $100,000
Surface: Hard-Indoor

Wednesday, February 6 – RESULTS

Main Draw Singles – 1st Round

Victoria Duval, United States (LL), def. CoCo Vandeweghe, United States, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1
Melinda Czink, Hungary (4), def. Chieh-Yu Hsu, United States (Q) 6-3, 7-5
Tatjana Malek, Germany (5), def. Shelby Rogers, United States, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (5)
Olga Puchkova, Russia (6), def. Asia Muhammed, United States (WC) 6-3, 6-2
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, Croatia (7), def. Alexandra Mueller, United States (Q), 6-1, 6-2
Monica Puig, Puerto Rico (8), def. Alexandra Stevenson, United States, 7-5, 6-4
Alla Kudryavtseva, Russia, def. Anne-Liz Jeukeng, United States (WC), 6-4, 6-2
Sachia Vickery, United States (Q), d. Taylor Townsend, United States (WC), 6-4, 6-3

Main Draw Doubles – 1st Round
Maria-Fernanda Alves, Brazil, and Samantha Murray, Great Britain, def. Irina Falconi and Maria Sanchez, United States, 3-6, 6-1, 10-6
Mallory Burdette and Jessica Pegula, United States, def. Irena Pavlovic, France, and Olga Puchkova, Russia, 7-6 (3), 6-2

Thursday’s February 7 – SCHEDULE

Stadium Court – starting at 10 a.m.
Lauren Davis vs. Alexa Glatch, followed by Maria Sanchez vs. Victoria Duval, followed by Melinda Czink vs. Jessica Pegula, followed by Sachia Vickery/Victoria Duval vs. Julia Cohen/Alla Kudryavtseva

Stadium Court – starting at 7 p.m.
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni vs. Jill Craybas, followed by Mallory Burdette/Jessica Pegula vs. Maria Fernanda-Alves/Samantha Murray

Court 5 – starting at 10 a.m.
Olga Puchkova vs. Ajla Tomljanovic, followed by Tatjana Malek vs. Alla Kudryavtseva, followed by Samantha Crawford vs. Mallory Burdette

Court 3 – starting at 10 a.m.
Jacqueline Cako/Natalie Pluskota vs. Chieh-Yu Hsu/Shelby Rogers, followed by Monica Puig vs. Sachia Vickery


Uncle Sam at the Down Under Slam – Day 1 Edition

Venus Williams photo © Enrique Fernandez for Tennis Panorama

Venus Williams photo © Enrique Fernandez for Tennis Panorama

(January 14, 2013) Looking at how American tennis players fared on day one of the 2013 Australian Open.

American tennis players went  6-3 on the first day of the Australian Open with Venus Williams leading the way with a 6-1, 6-0 victory against Galina Voskoboeva.

“Obviously it’s nice to spend less time on the court, and not be in long sets,” Williams said after the match. She  had a first-serve percentage of 70 percent and converted on 6 of 11 break point chances.

“I don’t think my opponent quite got the hang of – you know, it’s hard to play the first match in a major, first thing of the year, and that can be a lot of pressure.” Williams said of her opponent “I did my best to just close it out.”

Sam Querrey, who is the highest ranking American man, due to the withdrawal of 13rh ranked John Isner, came back from a set down to defeat Daniel Munoz-De La Nava of Spain 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 6-2, 6-4.

Querrey will take on another American in the second round, Brian Baker, who defeated American turned Russian Alex Bogomolov Jr. 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-7 (0), 3-6, 6-2.

Ryan Harrison came back from a set down to advance, defeating Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4.  Bad news for Harrison – he’ll face top seed Novak Djokovic in the second round.

Spain’s Nicolas Almagro, the 1th0 men’s seed outlasted American qualifier Steve Johnson in a first round five-set marathon 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-2. Johnson was the first reigning NCAA champion to qualify for the Australian Open.

Tim Smyczek came into the tournament as lucky loser, and thanks to housemate John Isner’s withdrawal  due to a right knee injury, made it into the main draw. Smyczek was a winner on Monday with a 6-4, 7-6, 7-5 victory over Ivo Karlovic.

Veteran Michael Russell fell to No. 5 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-5, 6-3.

Touted as “one to watch” seventeen year-old Madison Keys won her first match in Melbourne on Monday with a 6-4, 7-6 (0) victory against Casey Dellacqua of Australia.

Sorana Cirstea had no problems beating American Coco Vandeweghe  6-4 6-2 in first round action.

Americans scheduled for Tuesday play in Melbourne include No. 3 Serena Williams, 29 seed Sloane Stephens, Vania King, Jamie Hampton, Melanie Oudin, Vavara Lepchencko, Lauren Davis, Rajeev Ram, and Rhyne Williams.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News