A ‘GRACEFUL’ VICTORY FOR MIN
By Rick Limpert
TROY, Ala., (Oct 10, 2012) – A rising American, a veteran Canadian player who was two years ago ranked No. 38 in the world, and chamber of commerce weather all made for a great match and a great day of tennis in Troy at the 10th annual USTA Tennis Classic of Troy.
With a mid afternoon start, American No. 5 seed Grace Min took on Rebecca Marino of Canada who is working her way back up the rankings after being out of tennis for about a year.
Min started quickly and relied on footwork that would make her a contender on “Dancing With the Stars.” Marino countered with an aggressive forehand that kept Min off-balance.
The first set went to a tie break and Min capitalized on Marino errors to take it 7-5.
Min’s momentum carried into the second set as she grabbed an early break and then held serve the rest of the way to take the second set 6-4.
Min seemed relieved to win her first round against a more experienced and dangerous opponent.
“She hits a big ball and either hits a winner or misses,” Min said of Marino. “Just getting the ball back one more time is key.”
In other matches, second-seeded Edina Gallovits-Hall a Romanian who lives in Atlanta defeated Pila Soumalainen of Finland 6-4, 6-3 and Arina Rodionova of Russia defeated Maria-Fernanda Alvarez-Teran of Bolivia 6-3, 6-1.
Rodionova says she appreciates what this tournament means to the players and the community.
“Well, honestly with me, I’d prefer to play in a bigger city, but this is a nice town and I’m enjoying the city, the courts and the facility.”
Former University of Tennessee player Natalie Pluskota, who won three matches in qualifying, continued her winning ways with a three-set win over Lenka Wienerova.
Thursday’s match to keep an eye on will be an encounter between two WTA Tour veterans in Gallovits-Hall and Rodionova. Although these two know each other very well off the court, they have never played in a USTA Pro Circuit or WTA Tour level tournament.
“I’ve known her for a long time,” admitted Rodionova. “She’s been a top-100 player for quite a few years now, so we’ll see how it goes.”
In a big upset in the doubles, Troy University player Hannah Toro and her partner, Maci Epstein defeated the No. seeded duo of Maria Abramovic and Lenka Wienerova 4-6, 6-4, 10-6.
Starting at 10:00 WS Edina GALLOVITS-HALL (ROU)  Piia SUOMALAINEN (FIN) 6-4 6-3
Starting at 10:00 WS Arina RODIONOVA (RUS) Maria-Fernanda ALVAREZ-TERAN (BOL) 6-3 6-1
Starting at 10:00 WS Natalie PLUSKOTA (USA) Lenka WIENEROVA (SVK) 3-6 6-1 6-3
Starting at 10:00 WS Jelena PANDZIC (CRO) Caitlin WHORISKEY (USA) 6-3 4-6 6-2
Followed by WS Sharon FICHMAN (CAN)  Anamika BHARGAVA (USA) 6-0 6-3
Followed by WS Chi Chi SCHOLL (USA)  Maria-Fernanda ALVES (BRA) 6-1 2-6 6-1
Followed by WS Chalena SCHOLL (USA) Isabella ROBBIANI (PAR) 6-2 6-1
Followed by WS Adriana PEREZ (VEN)  Chieh-Yu HSU (USA) 4-6 6-1 6-2
Followed by WS Grace MIN (USA)  Rebecca MARINO (CAN) 7-6(2) 6-4
Followed by WS Sachia VICKERY (USA) Lauren ALBANESE (USA) 6-0 6-1
Followed by WD Angelina GABUEVA (RUS) / Arina RODIONOVA (RUS) Sarah BORWELL (GBR) / Sonja MOLNAR (CAN) 6-4 6-2
Followed by WS Ulrikke EIKERI (NOR) Vojislava LUKIC (SRB) 7-6(7) 6-2
Followed by WD Sharon FICHMAN (CAN) / Marie-Eve PELLETIER (CAN)  Nicola SLATER (GBR) / Caitlin WHORISKEY (USA) 6-3 6-3
Followed by WD Maci EPSTEIN (USA) / Hannah TORO (GBR) Maria ABRAMOVIC (CRO)  / Lenka WIENEROVA (SVK) 4-6 6-4 [10-6]