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Elizabeth Mandlik stuns Alison Riske-Amritraj in WTA main-draw debut
After her mother captured two of her 27 career WTA singles titles there, California's Bay Area is now special for Elizabeth Mandlik, too. The 21-year-old American won her first WTA main-draw match on Monday night at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in a 6-3, 6-3 upset of compatriot Alison Riske-Amritraj.
Mandlik is the daughter of International Tennis Hall of Famer Hana Mandlikova, who reached No. 3 in the WTA rankings in 1984 and won four Grand Slam singles titles for Czechoslovakia. Mandlik, who goes by Elli, and her twin brother, Mark, were born to Mandlikova in 2001.
"I didn't even know she won it twice. I didn't even know she played!" Mandlik joked after the match. "It's super special to me. My first-ever WTA point was in California and now I'm into the second round of a tournament like this."
Mandlik had d already scored a big win before the main draw: In the final round of qualifying, she defeated world No. 21 Jil Teichmann of Switzerland, 3-6, 6-3, 6-0, despite trailing by a set and a break. In her first-ever main-draw match, Mandlik needed just 81 minutes to upset world No. 33 Riske-Amritraj despite more than 200 places between them in the WTA rankings.
She broke Riske-Amritraj's five times in victory, and more than doubled her total of winners (13 to 5).
"I feel like she plays a really good game and she takes the ball very early, but I felt like I took it earlier than her," Mandlik said. "Making her play off the court gave me an advantage. I kept pushing and pushing, and she was pushing me every time, but I tried to be better than her and I think I did that tonight."
Mandlik has been on the rise in 2022, thanks in part to three $25,000 titles on the ITF World Tennis Tour. She started the season ranked No. 491 and has cut her ranking in half to her current perch of No. 240. She'll get her biggest test yet in Round 2 against No. 2 seed and world No. 4 Paula Badosa of Spain, but whatever the result, she's guaranteed to break the Top 200.
As a junior, Mandlik reached a career-high world ranking of No. 17. Prior to San Jose, Mandlik had previously played qualifying in four other WTA events, including at last year's US Open. She made her WTA main-draw debut in doubles at the 2019 BGL Luxembourg Open partnering Katie Volynets.
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