Sonya Kenin, Other Top Young American Women’s Players to Play in Central Coast Pro Tennis Open
Templeton Tennis Ranch to Host First USTA Pro Circuit Tournament With $60,000 Prize Money and Valuable WTA Ranking Points Up For Grabs
TEMPLETON, Calif. (Sept. 21, 2017) – Young Americans Sonya Kenin and Louisa Chirico will headline a strong field of up-and-coming professional women’s tennis players when the first annual Central Coast Pro Tennis Open takes place at Templeton Tennis Ranch Sept. 24-Oct. 1.
The Central Coast Pro Tennis Open, a USTA women’s $60,000 Pro Circuit event, gives young promising WTA Tour players a chance to earn valuable ranking points. Players ranked from No. 97 to No. 225 will compete in a 32-player singles main draw, and a 16-team doubles event will also be contested.
Kenin, 18, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., recently turned heads at the US Open after beating Americans Lauren Davis and Sachia Vickery to advance to the third round. Playing a night match on Arthur Ashe Stadium, Kenin fell to Maria Sharapova. She is ranked No. 112 in the world and expected to be seeded No. 2 at Templeton.
Currently ranked just outside the world top 150, Chirico has won three ITF singles and two doubles titles during her career. The 21-year-old from Morristown, N.J., is coached by the USTA’s Jay Gooding. Last October, Chirico reached career-high No. 58 world rankings.
Other top players include Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic (No. 106), Francoise Abanda (No. 122), and Great Britain’s Naomi Broady (No. 135).
Vickery, and former NCAA singles champions Jamie Loeb (Univ. of North Carolina, 2015) are also entered in the main draw, as are former college standouts Irina Falconi (Georgia Tech) and Danielle Lao (USC).
Another player to watch is 22-year-old Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia. Currently ranked No. 164 in the world, Schmiedlova has won 11 ITF singles and two WTA singles titles during her career. She reached a career-high singles ranking of No. 26 in the world in 2015, but has been beset by injuries.
In qualifying, Southern California juniors Ashley Kratzer and Claire Liu will compete. Newport Beach’s Kratzer won the USTA Hardcourt 18s Nationals in San Diego and played in the main draw of the US Open. Liu, from Thousand Oaks, won the Junior Girls’ Wimbledon title.
“This elite group of athletes, fresh off the courts at Arthur Ashe stadium at the US Open, are coming to Templeton Tennis Ranch to show us what world class talent looks like, up close and personal,” Templeton Tennis Ranch Director of Tennis Scott Cleere said. “The Central Coast Pro Tennis Open will alter the course of tennis in our area. We are so excited to be hosting this event and bringing this experience to tennis players, fans and our local communities. If you appreciate the finer things in life, you must attend. It will not disappoint.”
Qualifying begins Sunday, the 24th, and concludes on Tuesday, when main draw play also begins. Sunday will feature a free Kids Play Day starting at 5 p.m. A Pro-Am will take place Tuesday with Breast Cancer Awareness Day and a BBQ on Friday, the 29th, with the Doubles semi-finals matches beginning at 6 p.m. The doubles final will be Sunday, Oct. 1, at 1 p.m., followed by the singles final. In total 74 matches will be played over eight days.
Admission to watch the exciting pro tennis is free during the week’s early rounds. On Friday night, Saturday and Sunday for the semifinals and finals, tickets are just $10, or fans can purchase a three-day pass for $25. Children 12 and under are free.
Qualifiers Fill Out Main Draw @VolvoCarOpen Field of 56
Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
April 2–Two Americans joined the main draw today and six other qualifiers will compete for the Volvo Car Open title in Charleston, South Carolina. Asia Muhammad and Sofia Kenin won in straight sets, but the most compelling matches today had nothing to do with Americans. Veronica Cepede Royg, Aleksandra Krunic and Ana Bogdan all posted comeback wins after dropping the opening set against a lower-ranked player. As for Bogdan, her opponent was the returning Alexandra Dulgheru, so it was even more difficult. Cepede Royg played the longest match of the weekend in a 2:42 nailbiter, 2-6, 7-6(9), 6-4, while Krunic played the second longest match (2:24) and prevailed 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(5).
It’s the same thing I see every time: lower-ranked players only have a small hope of rolling through the match without awakening the beast on the other side of the net, usually without success.
Kenin’s straight sets victories over Taylor Townsend yesterday was no small feat. Today, she booked a trip to the 56 with straights over Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro. I’m very interested in her first round match against Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Qualifiers compete all weekend to qualify, so you must keep them playing continuously or they are apt to nap for days. Tomorrow, lucky loser Ons Jabeur gets Marina Erakovic, Ana Bogdan meets up with Jelena Ostapenko, Silvia Soler Espinosa plays Kristina Kucova, Anastasia Rodionova draws Ying-Ying Duan, Fanny Stollar and Asia Muhammad face each other, and lucky Veronica Cepede Royg meets hometown fave Shelby Rogers. The only qualifiers to get the day off are Sofia Kenin and Aleksandra Krunic. Rest up!
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.
I don’t think I love anything more than Charleston qualifying. It’s the unofficial beginning of my annual pro tennis tour and the baby sunburns I get in Charleston remind me of the scorching American hardcourt circuit ahead.
Tena Lukas? As Donald Trump would say, “Who knew keeping up with the WTA could be so hard?” Yes it is, but the previously unknown to me Lukas exasperated an impressive early crowd, many of whom left after the first set in a 6-1, 6-1 destruction of Samantha Crawford which commenced the Americans woes yesterday. When I asked her if she liked the Charleston surface, she gave the predictable but extremely enthusiastic “I do now!” response.
Only 3 Americans are left out of 11 in the first round of qualifying, but two emerged from All-American matches. There are players of 13 nationalities still vying for the 8 main draw spots to be awarded later today. Muhammad, Kenin and Min are your Americans on the march in qualifying.
Ana Bogdan was particularly animated after a 6-1, 6-0 55 minute slammer over Aleks Wozniack. Bogdan will play Romanian counterpart Alexandra Dulgheru in one of the final matches of the day. Speaking of Wozniak, I thought that the Canadian’s loss earlier in the day foreshadowed Caroline Wozniacki’s loss in Miami. I’m very superstitious that way. And Wozniak is showing such poor form that I expect little from her in the near future.
In the outdoor bar, I overheard one woman say, “but I do like Ted Cruz.” And I waited, but then she started onto something else. How was I to take this without context? It shall haunt me for time immemorial.
Now for the draw ceremony. First of all, why are we still picking poker chips out of buckets in the 21st century? Second, two kids in front of me were really mad that Shelby Rogers wasn’t at the draw ceremony. They didn’t seem to care less that an Olympic Gold Medalist was right in front of them. They wanted their darn Shelby.
Here’s your Order of Play for this Sunday, April 2, which is the laziest day of the tourney for the next 5 days. It’s a chance for organizers and volunteers to put in a rare 9-5 workday and a chance for me to move out of North Charleston and enjoy slightly more reasonable downtown hotel weekday rates. It’s going to be a great day.
VOLVO CAR OPEN – CHARLESTON, SC, USA
APRIL 3 – 9, 2017
RESULTS – APRIL 1, 2017
Qualifying Singles – First Round
Qualifying – S. Kenin (USA) d  T. Townsend (USA) 64 63
Qualifying –  S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP) d J. Elie (USA) 75 61
Qualifying –  A. Bogdan (ROU) d A. Wozniak (CAN) 61 60
Qualifying –  A. Krunic (SRB) d E. Halbauer (USA) 62 62
Qualifying –  O. Jabeur (TUN) d A. Hlavackova (CZE) walkover
Qualifying –  G. Min (USA) d [WC] M. Gordon (USA) 63 75
Qualifying –  V. Cepede Royg (PAR) d C. Dolehide (USA) 63 63
Qualifying – A. Rodionova (AUS) d  S. Vickery (USA) 63 63
Qualifying –  A. Muhammad (USA) d D. Jurak (CRO) 64 60
Qualifying – A. Dulgheru (ROU) d  L. Hradecka (CZE) 62 63
Qualifying – T. Lukas (CRO) d  S. Crawford (USA) 61 61
Qualifying – J. Maleckova (CZE) d  C. Burger (NED) 26 64 76(6)
Qualifying – F. Stollar (HUN) d  T. Pereira (BRA) 61 60
Qualifying – F. Ferro (FRA) d  M. Gonzalez (PAR) 46 60 76(4)
Qualifying –  S. Karatantcheva (BUL) d [WC] C. Morra (USA) 64 63
Qualifying – A. Carreras (GBR) d  J. Teichmann (SUI) 75 62
ORDER OF PLAY – SUNDAY, APRIL 2, 2017
ALTHEA GIBSON CLUB COURT start 10:00 am
Qualifying –  S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP) vs T. Lukas (CRO)
Qualifying – S. Kenin (USA) vs F. Ferro (FRA)
Qualifying –  G. Min (USA) vs F. Stollar (HUN)
COURT 3 start 10:00 am
Qualifying –  V. Cepede Royg (PAR) vs A. Carreras (GBR)
Qualifying – A. Rodionova (AUS) vs  S. Karatantcheva (BUL)
Qualifying –  A. Bogdan (ROU) vs A. Dulgheru (ROU)
COURT 4 start 11:00 am
Qualifying –  A. Krunic (SRB) vs J. Maleckova (CZE)
Qualifying –  O. Jabeur (TUN) vs  A. Muhammad (USA)
Wild Card Challenge Winner & USTA Girls’ 18s Champ Sofia Kenin Returns to US Open Main Draw, Escobedo Leads Men
2015 USTA Girls 18s champion Sofia Kenin, 17, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., will compete in the US Open main draw for the second consecutive year after winning the USTA Pro Circuit’s US Open Wild Card Challenge this weekend. Kenin finished the challenge with 81 points after winning $50,000 FSP Gold River Women’s Challenger in Sacramento, Calif., two weeks ago. Kenin won the 2015 USTA Girls’ 18s national title to earn a wild-card berth into last year’s US Open women’s singles draw for her first Grand Slam main draw.
Kenin, who goes by Sonya, lost to Mariana Duque-Marino in the first round of the women’s singles main draw last year, but rebounded to reach the singles final at the 2015 US Open Junior Championships. She also reached quarterfinals of junior Wimbledon earlier this year. Kenin has climbed as high as No. 2 in the ITF World Junior Rankings, and she represented the U.S. at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games and also competed at the 2016 ITF Junior Masters, both held in China. Kenin won her first USTA Pro Circuit singles title at the $25,000 event in Wesley Chapel, Fla., in January.
In the men’s wild card challenge, Ernesto Escobedo took the lead with 80 points by winning the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships, a $50,000 Challenger in Lexington, Ky., this weekend. Mitchell Krueger is in second place with 63 points after reaching the quarterfinals in Lexington and the final of the $50,000 Levene Gouldin & Thompson Tennis Challenger in Binghamton, N.Y., two weeks ago. The men’s US Open Wild Card Challenge concludes the week of Aug. 8 with the $100,000 Nordic Naturals Challenger in Aptos, Calif.