Americans Looking to Lock Up a Spot in the Main Draw at Volvo Car Open Today
Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
The 45th edition of the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, South Carolina opened yesterday with sunny skies and temperatures in the high 50s, chilly weather for this event. The weather and the tennis heated up quickly. Nine American women looked to qualify for this WTA Premier event and by the end of the day, six remained. Francoise Abanda, the top qualifying seed, was the upset victim of the day when she fell in straight sets to American Francesca Di Lorenzo on the opening match at Althea Gibson stadium court.
“I’ve been practicing the last 4 weeks on clay,” DiLorenzo told me. “I took some training blocks. I’m moving forward with my coach. I think it paid off today.”
Her serve wasn’t perfect, and she faced plenty of break points. It seemed like she hung around just long enough to win, even if it was in straight sets.
“It’s always tough in a first round match playing a high ranked player,” she said. “You can’t give away a lot. I knew I had to grind it out and stay until the end, because she’s a great player who goes for big shots.”
She’ll face Alla Kudryavtseva for a spot in the main draw in what may be the biggest match of DiLorenzo’s pro career.
Maryland’s Sophie Chang posted an impressive win over veteran Arina Rodionova in three tight sets yesterday to advance, 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(2). A contingent of Maryland fans made the trip to see Chang’s debut in a Premier level tour event. Today’s match against Silvia Soler-Espinosa is easily the biggest of her life.
Chang played at Churchville, Maryland’s recreational “Munchkin” program since she was three and now trains at Suburban Club with Ross Coleman and Hawkeye Tennis. After the match ended, she didn’t know who she’d be playing in her next match and she didn’t care. As for Maryland, she acknowledges it isn’t exactly Tennis Central. “It’s not, but we’ve had some greats come out of there, Pam Shriver, and uh, who else?,” she said, before adding:
“I’m hoping to change that.”
Last year’s Cinderella in Charleston was Fanny Stollar. Stollar qualified for the main draw and knocked off Elena Vesnina when Vesnina was on a hot streak last year. The Fanny Stollar Show is still alive, because Stollar somehow prevailed in three against Jil Teichmann, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(10). It was never clear that Stollar was going to win the match, and Stollar’s mood swings were as wild as the score. As soon as the match was over, Stollar marched for the locker room and she clearly wasn’t interested in giving up a quote. Her coach, Andrew Szatmary, was happy to talk about the message he gave her when he visited her on court near the end of the third set: “Stay positive and keep the pressure on the forehand. She got back (at 5-6) and it was amazing tennis at the end.” Stollar’s 2018 Charleston run has Ulrikke Eikeri in the way. The Norwegian was yesterday’s first winner, a two set breezer against South Africa’s Zoe Kruger. After the match, both players were in a good mood and signed autographs side by side. I always appreciate good sportsmanship and Kruger showed a lot of it yesterday.
American Caroline Dolehide also ended up in the winner’s circle yesterday after a 6-3, 7-6(5) win over veteran American Maria Sanchez.
“I play on a lot of red clay at USTA Orlando and last week we moved to the green clay,” Dolehide said. “I love it. Slow. It can be tough to play but I’m liking it.” On beating a veteran American, she told me: “It feels good. I’ve played a lot of Americans obviously. It’s tough to play one in the first round, but it was a really good match.”
The 19-year-old matches up against another veteran today in Misaki Doi.
VOLVO CAR OPEN – CHARLESTON, USA
APRIL 2 – 8, 2018
RESULTS – MARCH 31, 2018
Qualifying Singles – First Round
Qualifying – F. di Lorenzo (USA) d  F. Abanda (CAN) 63 64
Qualifying – S. Chang (USA) d  Ar. Rodionova (AUS) 46 76(5) 76(2)
Qualifying –  V. Lapko (BLR) d S. Aoyama (JPN) 76(3) 64
Qualifying – F. Stollar (HUN) d  J. Teichmann (SUI) 75 46 76(10)
Qualifying –  C. Dolehide (USA) d M. Sanchez (USA) 63 76(5)
Qualifying – C. Liu (USA) d  P. Schnyder (SUI) 76(2) 64
Qualifying –  G. Garcia Perez (ESP) d G. Arn (HUN) 62 76(5)
Qualifying –  M. Zanevska (BEL) d G. Dabrowski (CAN) 75 61
Qualifying –  D. Yastremska (UKR) d S. Karatantcheva (BUL) 67(1) 64 64
Qualifying –  M. Doi (JPN) d Z. Yang (CHN) 61 57 64
Qualifying –  I. Bara (ROU) d [WC] E. Halbauer (USA) 62 75
Qualifying –  K. Day (USA) d An. Rodionova (AUS) 76(4) 67(0) 64
Qualifying – A. Kudryavtseva (RUS) d  D. Seguel (CHI) 75 46 62
Qualifying –  S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP) d [WC] N. Melichar (USA) 64 64
Qualifying – [WC] J. Pegula (USA) d  G. Min (USA) 36 62 61
Qualifying –  U. Eikeri (NOR) d [WC] Z. Kruger (RSA) 61 64
ORDER OF PLAY – SUNDAY, APRIL 01, 2018
ALTHEA GIBSON CLUB COURT start 10:00 am
Qualifying – F. di Lorenzo (USA) vs A. Kudryavtseva (RUS)
Qualifying –  C. Dolehide (USA) vs  M. Doi (JPN)
Qualifying –  V. Lapko (BLR) vs [WC] J. Pegula (USA)
COURT 3 start 10:00 am
Qualifying – F. Stollar (HUN) vs  U. Eikeri (NOR)
Qualifying – S. Chang (USA) vs  S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP)
Qualifying – C. Liu (USA) vs  I. Bara (ROU)
COURT 4 start 12:00 noon
Qualifying –  G. Garcia Perez (ESP) vs  K. Day (USA)
Qualifying –  M. Zanevska (BEL) vs  D. Yastremska (UKR)