Awards & Achievements, First-half, 2021
Ditty Qualls elected to Ashland Tennis Center Hall of Fame
Julie Ditty Qualls became the first member of the Ashland Tennis Center Hall of Fame. The native of Ashland, KY, was surprised by the announcement and gave an emotional speech during the ceremony. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and has been battling a resurgence this year with chemotherapy treatments.
Ditty, below left, is a member of the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame (inducted in 2019), along with the Russell High School, Vanderbilt University and Kentucky Athletic halls of fame. Qualls captured 38 USTA Pro Circuit championships, 29 of which were doubles crowns. She won 590 pro-level singles and doubles matches and was ranked No. 89 in singles and No. 66 in doubles.
Longtime USTA Southern volunteer and tennis center general manager Jerry Groce led the ceremonies.
Gauff secures second WTA singles title
Atlanta product Coco Gauff, above right, defeated two seeds, including Qiang Wang in the final, to win her second WTA singles crown at the Emilia-Romagna Open in Parma, Italy. The 17-year-old also teamed up with American Katy McNally to win the doubles event.
Additionally, she was named to the USA Olympic team. Tennis.com placed Gauff on its 21 & Under Club. The website also cited her social justice stands battling racism and social media campaign during Black History Month.
Gauff won her first singles title at the 2019 Linz tournament. She also has two other doubles titles with McNally in 2019 at Washington and Luxembourg.
Kelly Gaines named to NC sports council
USTA North Carolina Executive Director Kelly Gaines been named to the inaugural North Carolina Sports Leadership Council (NCSLC).
The NCSLC was recently formed by the North Carolina Sports Association and is made up of sports industry leaders across the state. Gaines, who is one of 31 serving on the council, will represent tennis in the state and will also serve on the Executive Committee for the council.
Christian Harrison captures Naples and Orlando, reaches final
Louisiana native Christian Harrison won the Naples ASC BMW $25K Men’s World Tennis Tour “B” in Naples, FL, defeating Corentin Denolly of France 6-4, 6-2.
He won the Orlando Open Presented by Nemours doubles crown with Peter Polansky, downing JC Aragone and Nicholas Barrientos 6-2, 6-3.
Harrison, playing with Dennis Novikov, were finalists in the Orlando Open. Mitchell Krueger/Jack Sock won the final 4-6, 7-5, 13-11.
Catherine Harrison wins Palmetto, Naples
Catherine Harrison, Christian’s sister, was victorious in Sumter, SC. Playing with American Emina Bektas as top seeds, they defeated Paige Hourigan and Aldila Sutjiadi.
In a tournament played in Naples, she was the top doubles seed with Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway, Harrison downed Erina Hayashi/Kanako Morisaki of Japan 6-2, 3-6, 10-2 for the championship.
Christopher Eubanks wins Orlando, reaches Little Rock final
Atlanta product Christopher Eubanks won the Orlando Open Presented by Nemours tournament over Nioclas Mejia. He reached the Baptist Health Little Rock Open final with Roberto Quiroz. Nicholas Barrientos and Ernesto Escobedo prevailed 4-6, 6-3, 10-5.
Grace Min advances to final in Rome
Playing in her home state of Georgia, Grace Min advanced to the W60 Rome final. Irene Burillo Escorihuela, of Spain won the match 1-6, 7-6(4), 6-1.
Atlanta’s Hunter Reese joined with Evan King to reach the Cleveland Open doubles final. American’s Robert Galloway/Alex Lawson prevailed in the final 7-5, 6-7(5), 11-9.
Southerners make it to doubles finals
Playing with Sekou Bangoura, Atlanta’s Donald Young were finalists at the Tallahassee Tennis Challenger. The top-seeded team of Orlando Luz/Rafael Matos won 7/6(2), 6-2.