American Roundup at @VolvoCarOpen: Day’s Wild Card, Kenin’s Big Win & A Cooler, Confident Lauren Davis
Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
The Americans are always here en masse in Charleston. After all, it’s America.
17-year-old Kayla Day picked her own first round opponent yesterday out of the draw bucket: fellow American Alison Riske. What did she think about a WC to a place like no other?
“It means so much,” she told me. “It’s such a great tournament and such a high-level tournament and I’m pretty excited. The fans seem really involved and excited and that’s really cool to have such a good tennis crowd.”
As for picking Riske: “I was the last to be chosen (for the draw) so I picked the last chip. She’s one of the great American players and she’s playing so well this year. I’m definitely excited to play her.” I guess she’s not superstitious yet.
Last summer, Lauren Davis was in the 50s but told me she expected top 20 by the end of the year. She’s halfway there now, but I sense a sea change of attitude as I watch her at ease doing media events. I had a sense that this is a cooler, more open side of Lauren Davis as she finds her way to the top.
“I’m focused on being more of a whole person rather than just a tennis player,” she told me yesterday. “There’s so much more to me than just the tennis side of things. I’ve gotten into some other hobbies and other interests in order to be more than just a tennis player. It’s really translated onto the court.”
Those hobbies include surfing, gymnastics, snorkeling and fishing.
Her faith helps her keep everything in perspective.
“Last year this time, I was in a tough spot and God opened my eyes to see how blessed I am in order to be able to do what I love every single day,” she said. “I’m blessed with some great gifts and my duty is to make the most of them and enjoy them.”
Finally, Sofia Kenin surprised some with an upset over top qualifying seed Taylor Townsend on Althea Gibson Court. “I played really well,” she said after the win. “I know she’s a great player. I had to battle out there. I’m so happy I won. I love this crowd, I love this court and I love everything here. I couldn’t be happier with my game. I’ve been practicing really hard so I’m happy it’s paying off now.”
Kenin gets her favorite court again today, this time against Fiona Ferro for a spot in the main draw.