Brady's First WTA Title
With four Grand Slam winners with 33 titles, weekend matches at the inaugural Top Seed Open, presented by Bluegrass Orthopaedics, at the Top Seed Tennis Club outside Lexington, KY, were definitely going to be star-studded events.
Just like 2020 has proved to be unpredictable, the list of the winner and three semifinalists proved to be downright shocking. The singles titlist was American Jennifer Brady (pictured above with all photos by Haley Wilson/Top Seed Tennis Club) who won her first WTA title by beating Switzland's Jil Teichmann. The other weekend victims were players with Southern roots; Teichmann downed Charleston, SC's Shelby Rogers and Brady eliminated Coco Gauff, who played out of Atlanta for many years.
Tennessee native Hayley Carter (pictured on the left in below photo) and Brazil's Luisa Stefani, the fourth seeds, won the doubles crown over unseeded Marie Bouzkova and Teichmann.
The string of accomplished players who didn't reach the weekend is shocking: No. 9 Serena Williams (winner of 23 majors), No. 11 Aryna Sabalenka, No. 14 Johanna Konta, and four in the top 30s including 2017 US Open champ Sloane Stephens. Former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka lost to former No. 1 Venus Williams, who lost to her sister.
Shelby Rogers had one of the biggest wins of her career at Lexington, eliminating the No. 1 seed and arguably the greatest woman player of all time Serena Williams.
Rogers, of Charleston, SC, turned around the match after a slow start, downing Williams 1-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) in the quarters of the Inaugural Top Seed Open, presented by Bluegrass Orthopaedics, at the Top Seed Tennis Club outside Lexington, KY. She is pictured above in a photo by Haley Wilson.
The victory was Rogers' third against a top-10 player. The loss was Williams' first to a player ranked outside the Top 100 since the first round of 2012 French Open.
Coco Gauff, 16, fought back after dropping the first set, downing Ons Jabeur of Tunsia 4-6. 6-4, 6-1 in her quarterfinal match. Gauff, who won the Georgia Girls' championship at the age of 12, will take on Swiss Jil Teichmann in Saturday's semifinal.
In a doubles semifinal,Tennessee native Hayley Carter and Brazil's Luisa Stefani prevailed over Russians Anna Blinkova/Vera Zvonareva. Zvonareva 7-5, 6-1.
Serena Williams called her defeat of sister Venus one of the top five matches they have played. Strange that their 31st match was contested on a small court surrounded by car traffic in a tournament that wasn't a reality until five weeks ago. Venus is pictured above in photo by Haley Wilson.
Serena escaped another first-set loss to comeback for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory in the second round of the Top Seed Open, presented by Bluegrass Orthopaedics, at the Top Seed Tennis Club outside Lexington, KY. Considering the long layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic and playing without the usual cheering crowds, the level of play was startling strong and competitive.
Shelby Rogers, of Charleston, SC, defeated Leylah Fernandez 6-2, 7-5 to set up a quarterfinal clash against top-seeded Serena. Their match is scheduled to be the second on Center Court and will start Friday not before 12:30 p.m. EDT.
Atlanta product Coco Gauff will take Center Court in the last scheduled match of Friday versus Tunsia's Ons Jabeur.
The first match of Court 2 will include Tennessee native Hayley Carter and Brazil's Luisa Stefani against a pair of Russians, Anna Blinkova/Vera Zvonareva. Zvonareva is in the midst of a resurgence. She was the No. 9 singles player in the world 15 years ago and reached the finals of the 2010 US Open and Wimbledon.
Tennis' top sister act set for Lexington after Serena and Venus Williams won their first-round matches on Tuesday at the Inaugural Top Seed Open, presented by Bluegrass Orthopaedics, at the Top Seed Tennis Club outside Lexington, KY. They will face off in the second round on Thursday. All eyes in the tennis world will be on the match, scheduled to start not before 12:30 p.m. EDT. (Photo by Katelyn Conn)
With another important victory in her skyrocketing career, Coco Gauff downed second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-4 on Wednesday.The Atlanta product showed determination and grit prevailing in the 2-hour, 48-minute match. Gauff had a sloppy day with 10 double faults but Sabalenka was even more erratic with 14 doubles.
Thursday's lineup includes Shelby Rogers, of Charleston, SC, facing off against Leylah Fernandez in the last match on Center Court. Hayley Carter, who was born in Chattanooga, TN. will be playing doubles with Luisa Stefani against the formidable duo of Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Sloane Stephens.
Tennis' top sister act is coming to Lexington after Serena and Venus Williams won their first-round matches on Tuesday at the Inaugural Top Seed Open, presented by Bluegrass Orthopaedics, at the Top Seed Tennis Club outside Lexington, KY. They will face off in the second round, presumably on Thursday.
In Tuesday's most anticipated duel of former No. 1 players, Venus easily downed Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-2.
Serena had a more demanding challenge. After losing the first set to American Bernarda Pera 6-4, the 23-time Grand Slam champion was down a break late in the second set. Serena found her stride and took the last two sets 6-4, 6-1.
Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens was eliminated by 17-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez 6-3, 6-3.
Two players with Southern connections advanced. Charleston, SC's Shelby Rogers was pushed into a final set but defeated Misaki Doi 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. Coco Gauff, who played much of her junior career while living in Atlanta, prevailed in two close set versus American Caroline Dolehide 7-5, 7-5.
Wednesday's top matches pit Gauff against second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka and the sixth-seeded Magda Linette of Poland against American Jennifer Brady.
Hayley Carter, who was born in Chattanooga, and Luisa Stefani of Brazil, easily eliminated Quinn Gleason/Catherine Harrison 6-0, 6-2 in first-round action on Monday at the Inaugural Top Seed Open at the Top Seed Tennis Club outside Lexington, KY, August 10-17. Carter was an All-American at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and is pictured above (photo: Bill Kallenberg). Harrison, who as born in Memphis and grew up in Germantown, was a four-time All-American at UCLA.
MLK Day CommemoratedJanuary 14, 2021The Talking Tennis Southern Style podcast concentrates on the Martin Luther King Holiday with the Serve and Connect, an Atlanta Police Athletic League program, and GT coach Kenny Thorne. Read More
NC Tennis & Holiday GiftsDecember 17, 2020Cy King on growing tennis in North Carolina and Rick Limpert on holiday gifts for tennis players. Read More
R. Stephens TC DedicatedNovember 19, 2020Babb-Macon County names tennis facility for Southern HOF inductee Randy Stephens Read More