Arthur Kapetanakis | May 14, 2018
In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this May, USTA.com is celebrating up-and-coming Asian-American players who are looking to make their mark in tennis.
This week’s feature spotlights Stanford graduate Kristie Ahn.
- Ahn, of Korean descent, made her US Open main-draw debut in 2008 as a 16-year-old qualifier. She declined to collect her first-round prize money after falling to No. 6 Dinara Safina, 6-3, 6-4, in order to maintain her college eligibility. After four years at Stanford (Class of 2014) and three as a full-time professional, Ahn earned her way back into a Slam main draw via a 2018 Australian Open wild card.
- Turning 26 in June, Ahn has matured into a consistent Top 125 player on the WTA tour. After ending her first full year on tour ranked No. 208 in 2015, Ahn cracked the Top 200 for the first time in April 2016. ADVERTISEMENT She climbed into the Top 150 in May 2017 and has not dropped out since, reaching a career high of No. 105 in January.
- A four-year Stanford student-athlete, Ahn scored the clinching point in the Cardinal’s 2013 NCAA championship victory over Texas A&M. Despite battling injury throughout her college career, the three-time All-American stepped up when it mattered most to make No. 12 Stanford the lowest-ever seed to win an NCAA title. (That claim now belongs to the 2016 Stanford team, which won the title as a No. 15 seed).
- Ahn has won seven ITF titles to date, three prior to her college career and two each in 2015 and 2017. Both 2017 titles came on the USTA Pro Circuit – at the $60,000 event in Dothan, Ala., where she defeated Amanda Anisimova in the final, and the $80,000 event in Tyler, Texas, where she got past Danielle Collins for the trophy – for the biggest wins of her career.
- She has recorded a number of impressive victories in the past year, defeating then-world No. 62 Naomi Osaka at the Nottingham Open in June and then-No. 54 Tatjana Maria at the Korean Open in September. Ahn also took current world No. 11 Julia Goerges to a third-set tiebreak at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, S.C., last month, after beating Sam Stosur, the 2011 US Open champ, in the opening round.