Close Matches Rule the Day at USTA Australian Open Women’s Wild Card Playoffs
Despite the rankings, the matches are remarkably competitive in Norcross, Georgia. And close women’s matches were the rule today at the USTA Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs at Lifetime Athletic.
Court 7, which functions as Center Court, saw the first action and a topsy-turvy two set win for Victoria Duval over Maria Sanchez. Duval was able to finish off the match after some aggravation to her left knee. She got huge crowd support, having trained at the facility in the past.
On Court 5, Atlantan Grace Min continued to make the home crowd cheer with an extended 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 win over Nicole Gibbs. Gibbs was argumentative and testy near the end of the match, declining to shake hands with the chair umpire and continuing to argue as she packed her bag and left the court. In an attempt to evade the throng of spectators on her way off court, she slipped through the back curtain, finding herself alongside the food concession employees and the cash register area, to the bemusement of the beer guy.
The most interesting women’s match was likely the Madison Brengle/Sachia Vickery contest. Brengle snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on several occasions, and the poise and point construction by Vickery in the third set booked her a place in tomorrow’s semis.
Top-seeded Shelby Rogers eased past Sanaz Marand 6-4, 6-2. Marand was a last-minute replacement for Julia Cohen. On the dubious honor of being the top seed, Rogers said “We’re all so close in rankings anyway, we all know each other’s games. That’s why you play the matches”.
Rogers, like most others here, are headed Down Under win or lose. Like last year, she’ll travel with a huge contingent of Americans and will land in New Zealand on Christmas morning, 24 hours before Christmas day in the U.S. “An Early Christmas is always a good thing”, Rogers replied. “When we fly, I get the window seat so I can lean on the window and get some sleep.”
Sachia Vickery d. Madison Brengle 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
Shelby Rogers d. Sanaz Marand 6-4, 6-2
Grace Min d. Nicole Gibbs 4-6, 6-4, 7-5
Victoria Duval d. Maria Sanchez 7-5, 7-5
—-Stephan Fogleman, Tennis East Coast