When the weather cooperates, the Boyd Tinsley Women’s Tennis Classic in Charlottesville, VA, is one of the best tennis experiences in the world. I’ve been through monsoons here and I’ve been through beautiful spring days. And Thursday was a beautiful day on the Har-Tru at the Boar’s Head Sports Resort. 16 first round matches and 8 second round matches were on order due to Wednesday’s rainout. It was perfect for the fans and for the dogs. I saw more dogs today at a tournament than I have ever seen before. It’s called “growing the sport.”
Conditions were a little doggy for the players in the early going. For the first players on the courts on Thursday, the surface played very slow. After Allie Kiick beat Louisa Chirico before 11 a.m., she told me that “we were both hitting” dropshots and that “for two whole games, we had nothing but dropshots.”
Jen Brady and Allie Kiick needed three sets to open the day, with both staging comeback wins over Irina Falconi and Louisa Chirico respectively. In the 2nd round, it was all Jen Brady from the start and she advanced to a quarterfinal match today against Katerina Stewart.
Camilla Rosatello needed little time to dispatch Olga Ianchuk, who immediately went behind the court and sobbed into a phone call after the match. Cheer up, Olga! Mariana Duque-Marino spoiled my debut of Iga Swiatek 7-6(3), 6-3, and in the nightcap, Duque-Marino proved the tougher competitor in a 6-2, 6-3 sweep of Rosatello. She’ll face the plucky Grace Min today for a spot in the semis.
As for Min, she beat an error-prone Jamie Loeb yesterday morning before taking out Sophie Chang in the nightcap. Chang continued to impress since Charleston with a 7-5, 7-5 win over Victoria Duval earlier in the day.
Top seed Madison Brengle looked out of form, in all of her talking to herself idiosyncratic ways and plaintively looking at her mother in the stands all day. She wasted little time taking out American Maria Sanchez in straights in the first round and then completely fell apart in the round of 16, losing 6-2, 6-1 to Mari Osaka. Osaka plays Anhelina Kalinina later today.
Speaking of dogs: Ashley Kratzer celebrated with her dog, Koa, after a win over Lizette Cabrera in the morning. In late afternoon, she faced Sesil Karatantcheva. That’s when Krasher’s real dog days began. Karantantcheva advanced to play Taylor Townsend, 6-2, 7-6(5).
And then there’s Taylor Townsend. Inching ever closer to the Roland Garros Wild Card, she made another big step forward yesterday to make the quarters at this $80,000.00 event. The window is closing on other Americans to step up and make it a race. With Brady, Stewart and Min the only other Americans still standing at Charlottesville, a semis showing here should nearly wrap it up for Townsend. She showed yesterday that she is heads above the talent field at this level and it’s good to see her succeed.
—S. Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic