2017

Charleston tennis news compiled by Mike Saia.
Non-cited stories by James Beck, Post and Courier.

Winner: 2018 USTA South Carolina Media Excellence Award

Archive:
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(12/31/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Ashley Ridge, Summerville tennis players receive all-region honors
Ashley Ridge and Summerville both landed two players on the 2017 Region 7-AAAAA Girls Tennis All-Region Team.

Juniors Katelyn Schmedeke and Arianna Brim represent Ashley Ridge on the all-region team, which was recently released by coaches for the eight teams in the region.

Juniors Paige Reynolds and Sullivan Long represent Summerville on the team.

Stratford’s Kyleigh Gregg is the only senior on the 2017 all-region squad. Others on the team are James Island eighth-graders GiGi Hinson and Ashton Loring, West Ashley sophomore Madison Clayton, Stratford sophomore Elizabeth Sivertsen, Wando freshmen Kelsey Sinclaire and Emma Chadwick and Wando junior Abby Sinclaire.

Hinson was named the Region Player of the Year. James Island’s John Eppelsheimer was named the Coach of the Year.

Wando claimed the 2017 Girls Tennis region championship and James Island finished as the region runner-up. Summerville placed third and was followed by Ashley Ridge, Stratford, West Ashley, Fort Dorchester and Goose Creek.

The Warriors advanced all the way to the Lower State final match before falling 4-3 to eventual state champion River Bluff. Summerville was the only other region team to advance out of the first round of the playoffs. The Green Wave fell 6-0 to River Bluff in the second round.


(12/29/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Taking a swing at breast cancer
For the 13th year, The Pine Forest Ladies Tennis Association took another “Hard Swing at Breast Cancer” by donating $35,270 to the MUSC-Hollings Cancer Center’s Racquets for Recovery Fund. This fund, specially set up for this event, assists local breast cancer patients with their personal recovery process.

It is exciting for the ladies in the tennis association to know that a total 13-year contribution of over $300,000 has been used to help make the road to recovery a bit easier for many local breast cancer patients.

The award-winning tournament, held Nov. 3-5, had a record number of players: 192 avid tennis players from around the state participated.

The Flocking for Funds campaign was once again enormously successful, with pink flamingos adorning many lawns during the month of October, and the Celebration Party and Silent Auction that took place on Saturday night had everyone opening their hearts and their wallets to help someone in need as they danced the night away.

The association thanks everyone who helped make this year’s tournament a success - from the players, to the sponsors, to the volunteers, and the fans.


(12/30/17) Kimball's history book of USTA published
USTA.

The United States Tennis Association.

To me, the USTA means league tennis and the U.S. Open. And, of course, junior tennis.

But the USTA goes much deeper, much more complex. Thanks mainly to the U.S. Open, it's a multi-million-dollar a year business that gives the everyday tennis player the popular league tennis program, and in the U.S. Open it gives every tennis player and fan one of the world's most popular and largest sporting events.

The USTA commissioned noted diplomacy historian Warren Kimball the challenge of producing a history of the USTA about 15 years ago. That was about the same time I first met Kimball, a fiercely competitive league tennis player out of Seabrook Island. Kimball moved to Seabrook Island permanently in 2002 after retiring from Rutgers University.

Now at age 82, Kimball has put the finishing touches on a sometimes light and humorous, but authoritative and all-encompassing book entitled "The United States Tennis Association: Raising The Game."

Kimball is the Robert Treat Professor Emeritus of History at Rutgers University. His books include "Forged in War: Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Second World War."

In the 448 pages of the USTA history book, Kimball demonstrates his longtime love and appreciation of tennis. Tennis history buffs have to look no further than this book to relive the history of tennis in this country.

Kimball's late wife, Jackie Kimball, was one of the five people who initially started league tennis. It was Jackie who urged Warren to accept the USTA's bid to write the history of the organization. The loss of his wife put Kimball's research of the book on hold for a while.

"After Jackie's death, my wife Sally has been as intensely supportive and understanding as Jackie had been. Anyone who would sit, listen, and comment on my reading aloud of a draft of the entire manuscript during a four day train ride across southern Canada, is very 'special'," Kimball wrote in the book's preface.

First USTA female president Judy Levering (1999-2000) put the thought of this book into the minds of the USTA officials when she proposed an institutional history of the association. But the USTA didn't have an archival system when Kimball started considering taking on the project.

"I was appalled to find them (Association records) stored, unprocessed, in a big unheated and not air-conditioned garage, full of silverfish chewing away and mice comfortably snuggled up to minutes of the USTA board and executive committee," wrote Kimball, who served on the USTA's board of directors for four years.

He told the USTA he could not even consider writing a history without having those records preserved and managed. The USTA agreed. An archive now exists.

The history starts with Martha Summerhayes, a young Army officer's wife who mentioned tennis being played in Camp Apache in the Arizona Territory in early October 1874.

"... the most compelling and engaging and persuasive 'first' story is that of Martha Summerhayes," Kimball wrote in the first chapter entitled "Origins: The Major and the Ladies."

The book moves through the early years when the organization was known as the United States Lawn Tennis Association under the 21-year reign of James Dwight as president to the current USTA, and the impressive Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

The organization's presidents play a major role in the book. Normally occupying the top spot in a two-year term as a non-employee, presidents usually wanted to leave their legacy on the organization, Kimball said.

The book also deals with the USTA hierarchy in many instances, including the fact this multi-million-dollar company in the past has been under the direction of voluntary presidents, officers, boards and committees, and not permanent staffers such as an executive director.

There was the time the USTA sought to hire legendary college football coach Bud Wilkinson.

"Hiring a prestigious professional to head up the Association had come up seriously in 1967, when the new president Robert Kelleher pushed for a big name to be the Association's executive director," Kimball wrote.

"His initial suggestion was former Oklahoma football coach, Bud Wilkinson. But when Wilkinson explained he could only work half time and would need an assistant to handle the administrative work, the Association looked elsewhere."

The USTA made a major move into diversity in 2015 when former WTA Tour standout Katrina Adams became USTA chairman, president and CEO. Adams was the first African-American and first former professional tour player to serve in the capacity of USTA CEO.

Gordon Smith has served as the USTA executive director since 2007.

"After some 80 years (since World War One) of presidents who were, with rare exceptions, from the business world, an 'elite athlete' (as designated by USTA bylaws) was once again in charge of American tennis," the book states.

"Tennis has the largest percentage of women participants of any sport," Kimball said.

The history finishes up with: "The role and responsibilities of the executive director have been a matter for near-constant discussion by the Association's leadership since late 1968, when President Robert Kelleher instructed a special committee to study the USTA's long-range financial plan and its administrative structure.

"Well over a half-dozen formal recommendations to make the executive director the chief executive officer were rejected between 1969 and 2002. Given the significance of those discussions for the Association's development, it is necessary to this history to include the following:

" 'At the Association's 2017 annual meeting, the section delegates, by a vote of 16 to 1, adopted bylaw changes, as of January 1, 2018, shifted the title, authority, and responsibilities of the chief executive officer (CEO) from the USTA president to the executive director.' "

Thank you, Warren, for your tireless effort to provide to American tennis such a worthy account of the history of the USTA.

ROGERS SKIPS PRELIMS

Charleston's Shelby Rogers is skipping the preliminaries this time Down Under.

The 25-year-old touring tennis professional is scheduled to leave next weekend for Melbourne, Australia, where the Australian Open will begin a week later.

"I'll be starting in Melbourne at the Aussie Open," Rogers said from Los Angeles. "I have been busy training. I love going to Australia. I have lots of good memories from last year. I can't wait."

Now ranked 58th in the world, Rogers is working on a string of five straight first-round wins in the Grand Slams, including the 2017 U.S. Open, where she made the third round.

Rogers played some of the best tennis of her career last January in Australia. Before upsetting current No. 1-ranked Simona Halep in the first round of the Australian Open, she defeated former top 10 player Genie Bouchard in Brisbane and upset currently No. 16 Anastasija Sevastova en route to the quarterfinals at Hobart.

PRATT NO. 4 IN U.S.

Jared Pratt has finished off an impressive tennis year by earning a No. 4 national ranking in boys 18. Of course, the Bishop England senior is still the South's No. 1 junior boy.

In late fall, Pratt won the boys 18 doubles title in the USTA National Indoor Championships with partner William Peters of Duxbury, Mass. The University of Wisconsin-bound Pratt also captured third place in boys singles.


(12/27/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: Two top 10 players and 'Newcomer of the Year' join 2018 Volvo Car Open roster
World No. 8 Caroline Garcia, World No. 9 Johanna Konta and WTA Newcomer of the Year Catherine “CiCi” Bellis have committed to play in the Volvo Car Open’s main draw for 2018. The two top 10 players, Garcia and Konta, and 18-year-old Bellis, will be joined in the growing Charleston player field by defending Volvo Car Open champion Daria Kasatkina, U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová and U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys.

The Volvo Car Open will take place March 31 - April 8, 2018 on Daniel Island. Next year will be the first time playing in the Volvo Car Open main draw for Konta and Bellis. Garcia will compete for the sixth time in the Volvo Car Open singles field. She won the Charleston doubles title in 2016, the same year she won the doubles title in Roland Garros.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Caroline, Jo and CiCi to Charleston,” said Eleanor Adams, Volvo Car Open tournament manager. “We pride ourselves on supporting a wide-range of talent, and we are proud of how the 2018 field is shaping up. It features many new faces competing in our tournament, and we know our fans are going to love interacting and rooting for these ladies!”

The three newest additions to the Charleston field each found success on the court this past season.

France’s Garcia won two back-to-back singles titles in 2017 in Wuhan and Beijing, respectively, before qualifying for the WTA Finals where she reached the semifinals. On her way to the Beijing title, she defeated Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina, ranked No. 2 and No. 3 at the time. Her match against Svitolina was named the “Best Match of the Year” by WTA, as Garcia completed a three-set, three-hour unseeded victory over Svitolina by saving match point. She also reached four semifinals and three quarterfinals this year, and had her first top 10 season of her career.

Konta also won two tournaments in 2017, in Sydney and Miami. Her Miami Open win solidified her first WTA Premier title, the best of her career, to date, and the biggest by any British woman in 40 years. Additionally, Konta reached the finals in Nottingham, the semifinals of Wimbledon, Eastbourne and Shenzhen and quarterfinals of Cincinnati and the Australian Open. She closed out the year with her second top 10 season.

Bellis was named the WTA Newcomer of the Year winner in October 2017, which was voted upon by international tennis media. Due to injury, the American missed the beginning part of the 2017 season, however, her successes this year include several tennis firsts for the teenager. She reached her first Premier-level semifinal in Stanford and her first Premier 5 quarterfinal in Dubai, where she defeated Agnieszka Radwanska for her first top 10 win. She also made the semifinals in Mallorca and the third round of the French Open. She reached a career-high ranking of No. 35 in August.

The nine-day Volvo Car Open is the largest women’s-only tennis tournament in North America, attracting an average of 90,000 attendees and more than 100 of the top singles and doubles tennis players.

Tickets for the 2018 Volvo Car Open are available now. Patrons can choose from individual tickets, ticket packages and travel packages. Ticket prices range from $25 for an individual session to $525 for the all-inclusive weeklong package. In addition, the PowerShares Series returns to the Volvo Car Stadium on April 7. The men’s legends event features Andy Roddick, Mark Philippoussis, Tommy Haas and one additional player to be announced at a later date.

The Volvo Car Open is bringing back its popular Ace Club from 2017, a membership program for box and ticket package holders. The Ace Club provides amenities and benefits during the tournament. In addition, members have the option to receive access into the Ace Lounge, an exclusive hospitality marquee providing first-class accommodations including live entertainment, air-conditioning, elevated food options and more.


(12/23/17) John McDermott: Through the year: A look back
October
Meredith Corporation, Family Circle's owner, says it sold a majority stake in the operator of the Daniel Island tennis center that bears the magazine's name for $9.1 million. The buyers include musician and Charleston native Darius Rucker, as well as an assortment of lawyers and sports agents.


(12/19/17) Ashley Hall's Emma Navarro heads All-Lowcountry girls tennis team
Emma Navarro is looking more than two years into the future at becoming a college student and playing tennis for Duke University, all the while dreaming of a professional tennis career.

Just a sophomore, Navarro juggles a complex and difficult schedule. She plays a full national and Southern junior tennis schedule, as well as selective U.S. Women's Pro Circuit and International Tennis Federation events, while attending Ashley Hall School, and fitting in high school tennis.

In two seasons at Ashley Hall, usually playing only in the Panthers' key matches, she is undefeated and relatively unchallenged in the high school ranks. That is to be expected from a player talented enough to be able to celebrate her 16th birthday last spring as the No. 1 junior girl in the South.

Navarro has been selected as The Post and Courier's Lowcountry girls high school tennis player of the year. She is joined on the All-Lowcountry team by eighth-grader Sophie Williams and senior Alex Hildell, both from Porter-Gaud, along with Bishop England freshman Lily Woods, Oceanside Collegiate Academy junior Emma Smith and Berkeley freshman Abby Cotuna.

Navarro and Hildell are the only returnees from the 2016 All-Lowcountry team.

A year ago, Navarro played a prominent role in helping Ashley Hall win a SCISA state championship, but the Panthers had to settle for a runner-up finish to Porter-Gaud this fall.

Bishop England's Kristin Fleming Arnold is the All-Lowcountry coach of the year after directing the Bishops to a remarkable seventh consecutive state championship.

"It's fun to play high school tennis and to be on a team," Navarro said. "I like my coach (veteran Ashley Hall coach Mary Gastley) and my teammates. I really like the team aspect."

She has her goals lined up.

"Two more years of high school, then (four years at) Duke . . . and then professional tennis," she said. Navarro verbally committed to Duke last summer.

In the near future, she is looking forward to a couple of big national events at Orlando, Fla., and the Easter Bowl. She also plans to play some Pro Circuit tournaments during the first few months of the new year, and then LTP Tennis' $80K pro tournament in the spring, followed by International Tennis Federation tournaments later in the year

Navarro had a special 2017 at all of her levels of play. She teamed up to win three ITF junior doubles titles, one U.S. Pro Circuit doubles title and three major Southern junior doubles titles, mostly with partner Chloe Beck of Watkinsville, Ga.

Navarro has been just as impressive in singles, winning back-to-back ITF singles titles as well as five high level national or Southern singles championships. The list included a national girls title in singles in last spring's Easter Bowl. She also was the sportsmanship award winner in the girls 16 nationals.

While Navarro is rated as the No. 1 player in the South in girls 16 and 18, she is ranked fifth nationally in girls 16. Her younger sister, Megie, is ranked second in the South in girls 14.

ALL-LOWCOUNTRY GIRLS TENNIS TEAM
Emma Navarro, Sophomore, Ashley Hall
Sophie Williams, 8th grade, Porter-Gaud
Alex Hildell, Senior, Porter-Gaud
Lily Woods, Freshman, Bishop England
Emma Smith, Junior, Oceanside Collegiate
Abby Cotuna, Freshman, Berkeley
Player of the Year: Emma Navarro, Ashley Hall
Coach of the Year: Kristin Fleming Arnold, Bishop England

Honorable Mention
Bishop England: Eleanor Campbell, Jenna Santa Lucia, Mackenzie Penton, Crista Vroman, Lauren Ferrera, Molly McManus; Wando: Abby Sinclaire, Kelsey Sinclaire, Emma Chadwick, Grace McKellar, Adelia Phillips, Karson Powers, Ellie Zimmerman; Academic Magnet: Mina Schaafsma, Aileen Shi, Abbi Hulsey, Thandi Nixon, Caroline Young, Mary Claire Newsom; Ashley Hall: Rebecca Spratt, Marissa Dye, Hannah Reuther, Addison Propes, Ella Gray Settle, Kayla Kirkland; Oceanside Collegiate: Jill Morse, Emily Loring, Elise Smith, Caroline Lively, Camryn Rossa.

Porter-Gaud: Rebecca Kahn, Piper Brown, McKenzie Davis, Michaela Cuoco; Palmetto Christian: Emily Shaw, Lauren Pernell, Gabe Noce, Kate Howard; Cane Bay: Madison Miller, Nicole Montemayor, Morgan Montemayor; James Island: Gigi Hinson, Ashton Loring, Elizabeth Snyder; Summerville: Paige Reynolds, Sullivan Long, Lizzie Nava; Ashley Ridge: Katlyn Schmedeke, Arianna Brim; Colleton County: Daryn Hooker, Anni Crook.

Colleton Prep: Rianna Bailey, Meredith Ware; Fort Dorchester: Georgia Hoffman, Temperance Sanders; Hanahan: Carla Vacca, Ellie Hatcher; Pinewood Prep: Jessica Osbourne, Ellie Rodgers; Stratford: Kyleigh Gregg, Elizabeth Sivertsen; West Ashley: Madison Clayton, Katie Lowe; Berkeley: Logan Ponce; Goose Creek: Hailey Simmons; Woodland: Courtney Simmons.


(12/19/17) MOULTRIE NEWS: FRANKIE MANSFIELD: Mount Pleasant's Gretkowski named USTA SC Player of the Year
No junior tennis player in the state had a year as good as Allie Gretkowski.

The 14-year-old Mount Pleasant resident received the Junior Girls Player of the Year award at the U.S. Tennis Association South Carolina’s annual meeting earlier this month on Hilton Head Island. The honor is awarded annually to the state’s top tennis players under the age of 19.

“South Carolina has many great junior female players competing currently so for Allie to be chosen to receive it, especially at the young age of 14, is quite an honor,” said Gretkowski's coach Bryan Minton, director of coaching at the MW Tennis Academy on Daniel Island. “Almost all of the past recipients have gone on to play scholarship tennis at Division I schools or professional tennis.”

Gretkowski was already ranked as the South’s best girls 14 player when she was still 13 years old. She rose as high as No. 19 in the nation this year.

She played the No. 1 position and didn’t lose a singles match at the National Spring Team Championships in early March. Two weeks later, she won a coveted Silver Ball, finishing second in the country at the Easter Bowl national championships.

Gretkowski won a 14 doubles title and took second in 14 singles at the USTA Southern championships in June. She then won the 16 doubles title at the USTA National Championships in August.

She competed in her first $15,000 LTP Charleston U.S. Women's Pro Circuit event in September, moving through a 64-draw qualifying tournament with three convincing wins.

Gretkowski is the third consecutive player from the East Cooper area to be named the state's best junior, following Jared Pratt of Daniel Island last year and Emma Navarro of Mount Pleasant in 2015. Charleston's Shelby Rogers won the award in 2010.


(12/18/17) Police: Burke High School teacher/tennis coach arrested, accused of having sexual relationship with student
A Burke High School teacher and tennis coach was arrested Monday on a charge that she had a sexual relationship with a student, police said.

Jennifer Olajire-Aro, 27, of Johns Island faces a count of sexual battery with a student, a spokesman from the Charleston Police Department said. The felony charge carries up to five years in prison.

Olajire-Aro is set to appear for a bond hearing Tuesday.

The 17-year-old student told Burke High officials about the months-long relationship, the police said.

"The incidents occurred off campus," spokesman Charles Francis said. No details were immediately available.

A Charleston County School District spokesman declined to comment on the case or on Olajire-Aro’s employment status with the district.

A directory on the school's website lists Jennifer Aro but contains no further information.


(12/18/17) JEFF HARTSELL: Top 10 players Caroline Garcia, Johanna Konta commit to Volvo Car Open
Top 10 women's tennis players Caroline Garcia and Johanna Konta have committed to play in the 2018 Volvo Car Open, the Daniel Island tournament announced Monday.

Garcia, ranked No. 8, and No. 9 Konta join WTA newcomer of the year CiCi Bellis in the main draw. Already committed are defending Volvo Car champion Daria Kasatkina, U.S. Open champ Sloane Stephens, two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova and U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys.

The Volvo Car Open is set for March 31-April 8 on Daniel Island.

Next year will be the first time playing in the Volvo Car Open main draw for Konta and Bellis. Garcia will compete for the sixth time in the Volvo Car Open singles field. She won the Charleston doubles title in 2016, the same year she won the doubles title at the French Open.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Caroline, Jo and CiCi to Charleston,” said Eleanor Adams, Volvo Car Open tournament manager. “We pride ourselves on supporting a wide-range of talent, and we are proud of how the 2018 field is shaping up."


(12/18/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: Q&A with the DI Grand Marshal nominees
It’s time to cast your ballots!
By: Katie Estabrook

Five island residents have been nominated by friends and fellow community members to become the first ever Daniel Island Grand Marshal – an ambassador of goodwill and community spirit. His or her responsibilities will include serving as the Grand Marshal for the Brouhaha, Fourth of July Parade, Park Day, Concert in the Park, ribbon cuttings, the Holiday Festival and other island events.

The person selected to hold the position will serve for a one year term beginning Jan. 1, 2018 and ending Dec. 31, 2018. Additionally, the Daniel Island Property Owners Association and The Daniel Island News will donate a combined $1500 to the charity of the Grand Marshal’s choice.

A ballot for voting will be sent out via The Daniel Island News email list this week. It will also be promoted via social media sites for the Daniel Island POA, Black Tie Music Academy and The Daniel Island News.

“The goal of the Grand Marshal project is to create an even greater sense of community than we already have here on Daniel Island,” said Sue Detar, publisher and managing editor of The Daniel Island News. “Imagine the Grand Marshal with his or her scepter on a float leading the Fourth of July parade. It just brings a little bit of small town friendliness to our area of the city.”

Read below to learn a little bit about each of the nominees and why they would like to become Daniel Island Grand Marshal…and then cast your ballots at the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9PH3795.

RONA BOBEY
Profession: Marketing Manager, Payne Law Firm of Daniel Island.
Family: Husband - John; Daughters - Drew (18), senior at Bishop England; and Alex (14), freshman at Bishop England

Q: When did you move to the island and what brought you here?
John and I moved to Mount Pleasant in February 1995 right after getting married and for John's work. We rented while looking for our first house to purchase and after looking for just over a year, we came out to Daniel Island to a brand new development that was just getting started. Two homes were in the process of being built, one in Etiwan Park and one in Codner’s Ferry. We fell in love with the design concept and the idea of all the green spaces and parks, so we picked a lot and waited for a road to be built so construction could even start! We moved into our house on Corn Planters Street in February 1997.

Q: What was your reaction to hearing you had been nominated to be Daniel Island’s Grand Marshal?
I was surprised to be nominated but my family was not. They say we can't go anywhere on the island without me knowing people and talking forever! They have always teased me that I am the Mayor!

Q: Fill in the blank: To me Daniel Island is______.
To me Daniel Island is paradise and home!

Q: What is your best memory of living on Daniel Island so far?
My favorite memories on Daniel Island were the early days when all of our neighbors would gather and have a street party under the first street lamps that were installed. In the beginning of development, there had to be four houses on the street before the city would install a street lamp. It was pitch black on the island at night! We celebrated with a potluck party every time a lamp was installed for the first few years. The police officers at that time would always come join us and we would feed them. We were all one big family.

Q: What Daniel Island event do you enjoy most and why?
My favorite event on DI is Family Circle Cup (now the Volvo Car Open). I have volunteered at the event every year after attending as a patron the first year it was on the island. My family knows that for those nine days every year, I am on the FCTC campus every day all day! I love playing tennis and think it is incredible to have the opportunity to watch professional tennis players at a WTA Premier tournament in my backyard.

Q: In what ways are you involved in your community?
I have volunteered for the Property Owners Association events on the island from the very first celebrations at Scott Pool, to later events such as Park Day, Holiday Festival, 4th of July festivities, Pork and Pearls and several concerts on the island. I also volunteered for several kid triathlons, the glow run, Race for the Cure and hosted the “Walk and Wag” charity fundraiser. I started the volleyball program at Daniel Island School and volunteer coached there for eight years, was a co-chair volunteer for the first gala for DI School and many of the pumpkin walks and carving parties and other fundraisers benefiting the school. I coached basketball, tennis and soccer for DI School and the Charleston Rec Department.

Q: What is one thing you’d like to see improved on Daniel Island?
The one thing I would like to see improved on DI is the preservation of our waterfront properties that have yet to be developed. I would like to see the charm of these areas preserved and accessible to all. This requires balancing growth with respecting the natural beauty that the island has to offer our community.

Q: If appointed Grand Marshal, what do you envision your role will be?
I have always been a cheerleader for the island since moving here 20 plus years ago. I have watched it grow and the master plan unfold. I think this role of Grand Marshal is a fun way to have the opportunity to advocate and promote Daniel Island.

BERNIE BELL
Profession: Retired corporate and association executive. I spent most of my early career working for several national manufacturing companies before moving to the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, where I worked with businesses and industries in all sectors and of all sizes. Besides providing human resource consultation and training, I also worked with public policy and the South Carolina legislature to ensure a business climate that would allow companies to prosper and South Carolinians to have jobs. I also had the opportunity to host and lead large conferences, and that experience will be invaluable as Grand Marshal. Public speaking experience is also an asset I would bring to the Grand Marshal role.
Family: Married to my high school sweetheart, Diana Roe Bell, who is a retired executive from International Paper, Inc. We have two children and seven beautiful grandchildren, and they all love coming to Daniel Island.

Q: When did you move to the island and what brought you here?
We moved to Daniel Island in August 2013. When it was time to decide where to build our retirement home, we chose beautiful Daniel Island and moved here from Memphis, TN. As young sweethearts, Diana and I lived in North Charleston before leaving for jobs and college, and it was wonderful to come home to the Charleston area. We wanted to live in a place that has something for everyone, and we found that in Daniel Island.

Q: What was your reaction to hearing you had been nominated to be Daniel Island’s Grand Marshal?
I was excited, honored and humbled to be one of the highly qualified nominees. We love meeting new people and attending festivities across the Island. I look forward to meeting more families across the Island and working with others to represent the Island with the passion I have for DI.

Q: Fill in the blank: To me Daniel Island is ______.
Paradise! We are overjoyed to be part of the people in our amazing and beautiful communities. Daniel Island is a happy place! It’s a real community!

Q: What is your best memory of living on Daniel Island so far?
My cherished memories began the very first day we moved into our new home. I could not believe that we were actually living on a 4,000 acre island with 23 miles of beautiful rivers and creeks located in the City of Charleston where people live, learn and play. A very specific memory I cherish is participating with my grandchildren in the 4th of July parade this year. My grandchildren and I had so much fun decorating our golf cart and being in the parade with so many patriotic golf carts.

Q: What Daniel Island event do you enjoy the most and why?
I enjoy the Volvo Car Open Tennis Tournament the most. I am an avid tennis player and also play at the Volvo facilities. I really enjoy watching and meeting many of the players. The matches are always so competitive, and it’s even fun to see many dressed up in their tennis fashion attire. I go to the tournament early every day and I stay the whole day. It’s just a fun and exciting nine days here on the Island. This tournament brings so many together across the Island.

Q: In what ways are you involved in your community?
Community involvement has always been a priority and a joy. I have chaired United Way campaigns and been president of my previous homeowners’ association, just to name a few. I am now looking for more opportunities to serve in Daniel Island. I am passionate about lending a helping hand to those in need and have done this all of my life. I participate in the St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church and its building fund. I believe St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church is going to be one of the most beautiful buildings on the Island and Charleston once it is constructed. Being involved in the Swing for the Cure Tennis Tournament for the past two years has been a great way to support breast cancer which has affected so many friends and family. I have also given time and resources to support autism since moving here. I have planned and organized the Daniel Island New Year’s Eve Party at the Daniel Island Club for four years. Although not a golfer myself, I have been very active in Junior Golf to support my grandson and other young athletes.

Q: What is one thing you’d like to see improved on Daniel Island?
Daniel Island already has done a lot to bring all of its communities together and I very much want the opportunity to do all I can to continue this. One example is to create something similar to Second Sunday in downtown Charleston. We will soon have our own “downtown” as more shops and businesses under construction open. It would be very exciting to have shops open on Second Sunday and restaurants serving outside. Another way to bring everyone across the Island together would be to have a grand tree lighting event where we all gather to kick off the holiday season here on Daniel Island—similar to what happens in NYC but, of course, with a somewhat smaller tree.

Q: If appointed Grand Marshal, what do you envision your role will be?
If appointed Grand Marshal, I would envision being a great cheerleader for the entire island throughout the year. I have tremendous passion for our island and all its people. It’s a role I will relish. Being Grand Marshal is a natural fit for my background and my personality. I have been told many times that my enthusiasm is contagious. I have the time to devote to this role. I don’t own a business and will not have any conflicts of interest. My only interest is serving Daniel Island and being excited every day to do so. I want to use my leadership and skills to support the many current activities and charitable causes and to work hard with others to identify additional opportunities for enhancing life on the island. I also know how important it is to recognize others and their contributions and will always make that a priority. I truly want to be an ambassador for Daniel Island.


(12/07/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: S.C. Jr. Tennis Foundation helps local youth achieve collegiate tennis ambitions
After spending the better part of eight years traveling the world as a tour coach, Jeff Wilson landed at Family Circle Tennis Center on Daniel Island and realized his dream of launching a charitable tennis foundation.

“I’ve seen so many charitable tennis events, foundations and activities around the world,” said Wilson. “I feel like with my job at Family Circle, I have an opportunity to help others right here in South Carolina. Through tennis, academics and hard work, a lot of kids can have a great college experience. Helping get kids to college - that’s the mission, that’s what needs to happen.”

The South Carolina Junior Tennis Foundation (SCJTF) was established in January of 2017. A non-profit organization, the SCJTF is run by Wilson with the assistance of Meg Farrelly and Rob Eppelsheimer. Composed of a local and statewide initiative, the foundation serves as a resource for advancing players (and their families), who have the talent and desire to excel but may not have the means to pursue their dreams of going to college.

Locally in the Lowcountry, the SCJTF identifies players who show an unbridled passion for competition on the court and excellence in the classroom. These young players wish to compete as collegiate student-athletes, but for various reasons are unable to take the necessary pathway. They have the skills, grades and character to excel but need help financing the journey.

The statewide initiative has created teams of local ambassadors throughout South Carolina. These teams, selected by coaches in their areas, are comprised of high school tennis players who take a fundraising idea all the way to completion. The students are solely responsible for the project, and the funds raised are kept in their local communities. Through this program, high school tennis players gain valuable service hours, business relationships and references for their college applications, while supporting the community in which they live.

In 2017, 17 high school tennis players took part in the ambassador initiative. These players, including a young man who recently signed to play collegiate tennis, will be recognized at an inaugural gala on April 2, 2018. The gala, hosted by the Volvo Car Open, will held at the Daniel Island Club.

“To be in position to partner with the Volvo Car Open and participate in such an incredible night at the first annual SCJTF Gala is just remarkable,” said Wilson. “The opportunity to tell our story to such a supportive and interested audience really raises the bar for our efforts to change young people’s lives across the great state of South Carolina. I am simply honored and humbled to see this dream come true!”

If you would like to get involved with the SCJTF, or if you know of a student or family who could benefit, visit the foundation website at scjtf.org or contact Jeff Wilson at jeff@scjtf.org or (843) 849-5306.


(12/03/17) PINE FOREST COUNTRY CLUB e-newsletter
IMPORTANT DATES & REGULATION CHANGES
Friday, December 1, 2017: USTA is scheduled to release the new ratings.

Friday, December 1, 2017: LCTA USTA League registration opens for 18 & over, 40 & over, 55 & over, and 70 & over. If you are pleased with your new rating, register your team as soon as possible. If you plan to appeal, delay a few days to make sure you have the current / correct rating on your team roster.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018: The Annual and Captains' Meeting will be held at the Charleston County Library, 68 Calhoun St. Charleston.

Friday, January 5, 2018: Initial rosters are due to be in TennisLink. For 5 position leagues, 8 eligible players must be on the roster for 18 & over / 9 eligible players must be on the roster for 40 & over; for 3 position leagues, 5 players must be on the roster for 18 & over 2.5, 6 players for all other 3 position leagues.

NOTE 40 & OVER FORMAT FOR 2018 WILL BE 1 SINGLES AND 4 DOUBLES FOR REGULAR SEASON; FOR PLAYOFFS AND OTHER CHAMPIONSHIPS, 40 & OVER FORMAT WILL BE 2 SINGLES AND 3 DOUBLES.

2018 REGULATION CHANGES

For USTA SC Championships, it has been proposed to give a 2 week window to complete championship matches in the event the matches cannot be played during the scheduled time frame for the championships.
LCTA 40 & Over League teams in the 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5 divisions shall consist of a minimum of nine players of the same sex eligible to compete at a specific level of competition. Format is 1 singles, 4 doubles for regular season, format is 2 singles, 3 doubles for playoffs and other championships.

Teams that default an entire match in accordance with USTA rule 2.03L are expected to continue to play the remainder of their schedule. If their opponent opts not to play the team that has defaulted, they may do so and there will be no sanction against the team that elects not to play.
Concerning the inclement weather regulation - Once the make-up dates are established, those are considered to be the official match dates and they are not able to be postponed unless there is inclement weather on those dates. The coordinator should be informed of the makeup date to be changed in TennisLink. If the match is rained out on the makeup date, the 2-week rule is reset from the date that was communicated to the coordinator. If the coordinator is not informed, the teams will be held to the 2-week makeup from the original match date.


(12/02/17) Kriese believes in Citadel tennis program
Chuck Kriese is having a great time coaching tennis at The Citadel.

No one ever said coaching tennis at the military college would be easy. It's been a long time since teams coached by Marion Lewis, Don Bunch and Ben Varn made winning look easy at The Citadel.

One victory against Southern Conference opposition in Kriese's four seasons at The Citadel takes coaching difficulty to another level. But don't count the 67-year-old Kriese out.

"The culture is right ... many people see obstacles, but I see the benefit," Kriese said.

Of course, Kriese has experienced his share of success as a college tennis coach. In 33 years as Clemson's head coach, his teams posted an Atlantic Coast Conference record 685 victories, and he was honored with four national coach of the year awards.

As a result of all of this success, Kriese has been selected to be inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. He's already in the National Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame, the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame, the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame, the Indiana High School Tennis Athletic Hall of Fame and the Tennessee Tech Athletic Hall of Fame.

The fact that The Citadel has posted a 24-120 record during the last four seasons has to be frustrating, but the Bulldogs are slowly improving. Last spring's 11-32 record was the best during Kriese's reign at The Citadel.

"Coach Chuck Kriese is an amazing coach, but an even better man," is the way former Citadel athletic director Jim Senter described Kriese. Senter recently became athletic director at Texas-El Paso.

"He develops leaders, competitors and models with what humility, authenticity and manhood looks like for his cadet athletes. We are so excited for Chuck. He is most deserving of this incredible honor."

Although Kriese takes losses as learning experiences, he expects to one day to have a winning tennis team at The Citadel.

"We have built a great culture. The guys are all competitors, and we've learned how to lose the right way. Now we have to learn how to win the right way, and then win conference championships," Kriese described his five-step plan for The Citadel.

"My goal from day one has been to build a great program. We go forward. We won't go backward."

His plan is for the Bulldogs to be competitive in the Southern Conference next spring. "I hope we can move to the middle of the pact," said Kriese, an Indianapolis native and a graduate of Tennessee Tech where he served as an assistant tennis coach.

Kriese said five players are battling for the No. 1 position. That in itself should mean that the Bulldogs are getting closer to their goal.

"We've got 10 good players," he said. "We have come a long way."

The Bulldogs have two local players, sophomore Noak Nawabi and and walk-on freshman Covington McMillan, both from Wando. Four other players are from the state.

Many college tennis coaches take the quick route to success by the heavy recruitment of international players. "That's the quick fix," Kriese said.

"We are building a program, not a team."
RATINGS ARE OUT

USTA league tennis released its annual year-end NTRP ratings on Friday. Unfortunately, the program hasn't changed.

It's probably time for the USTA to drop the NTRP program and create a new program that is more in tune with the various levels of league tennis.

The USTA computer hardly knows a 3.0 player from a 4.0. It's that far out of touch.

Algorithms and statistics might work in singles, but not in doubles.

League tennis needs eyes in the field, a local sounding board that actually goes out and scouts league tennis players. Just because a player only plays doubles doesn't mean a 4.0 caliber player should be rated 3.5.

Statistics mean very little in league tennis doubles competition where all sorts of mixes and matches are used to disguise a player's talent.

Many of the same teams likely will dominate again in the spring, although Mount Pleasant took a big hit in the number of 3.5 men bounced up. West Ashley's 18-plus 3.5 men's league should look much the same with a group of ex-4.0 players continuing to have a major impact on the 3.5 competition. Most of these players should and probably would still be 4.0s if there were scouts in the field. The computer doesn't see them.

LOCAL NOTES

Local 16-year-old star Emma Navarro started play this weekend in the prestigious Orange Bowl Junior Championships in Florida.

The USTA Southern apparently wasn't overly impressed by local tennis' exceptional year in 2017, both in individuals, clubs and organizations. The area's only Southern award winner was the Andrew and Cindy Giannelli family of Moncks Corner as the family of the year. Congratulations to the Giannelli family, which also won the state award.


(12/01/17) USTA SOUTHERN: 2017 USTA Southern Awards; Make an AmazonSmile; Fed Cup to Asheville
Mickey McNulty Family of the Year
Given in memory of Judge Mickey McNulty, the award is presented annually to a family that resides in the USTA Southern Section that has been outstanding in its promotion of tennis. The winner of this award is selected by the Awards Committee. In addition, the Southern winner is then submitted for USTA National award consideration.
The Andrew & Cindy Giannelli Family; Moncks Corner, SC

Tennis On Campus Leader of the Year
Presented to leader that has made significant contributions to the USTA Tennis On Campus program on his/her campus.
Luke Mixon, Clemson University; Clemson, SC


(11/30/17) LOWCOUNTRY TENNIS ASSOCIATION NOVEMBER 2017 NEWSLETTER"
Hello to all of you,

Here's to hoping you've had a great 2017 tennis year!
IMPORTANT DATES & NOTES

Friday, December 1, 2017: USTA is scheduled to release the new ratings.

Friday, December 1, 2017: LCTA USTA League registration opens for 18 & over, 40 & over, 55 & over, and 70 & over. If you are pleased with your new rating, register your team as soon as possible. If you plan to appeal, delay a few days to make sure you have the current / correct rating on your team roster.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018: The Annual and Captains' Meeting will be held at the Charleston County Library, 68 Calhoun St. Charleston.

Friday, January 5, 2018: Initial rosters are due to be in TennisLink. For 5 position leagues, 8 eligible players must be on the roster for 18 & over / 9 eligible players must be on the roster for 40 & over; for 3 position leagues, 5 players must be on the roster for 18 & over 2.5, 6 players for all other 3 position leagues.

NOTE 40 & OVER FORMAT FOR 2018 WILL BE 1 SINGLES AND 4 DOUBLES FOR REGULAR SEASON; FOR PLAYOFFS AND OTHER CHAMPIONSHIPS, 40 & OVER FORMAT WILL BE 2 SINGLES AND 3 DOUBLES.

OTHER IMPORTANT DATES
55 & Over: TBD
18 & Over: 2.5, 3.5 4.5 - April 9-15 at Mt. Pleasant Rec
18 & Over: 3.0 and 4.0 - April 16 at Charleston Tennis Center
Dates may be moved depending on number of teams registered and weather conditions.

2018 SOUTH CAROLINA ADULT LEAGUE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP DATES
(Dates are subject to change)
April 26 - 30 Adult 70 & Over, Hilton Head - Levels 3.0, 3.5, 4.0
April 26 - 30 Adult 55 & Over, Hilton Head - Levels 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 9.0
May 5 - 7 Adult 40 & Over, Florence - Levels 3.0 3.5, 4.0, 4.5+
May 18- 21 Adult 18 & Over, Aiken - Levels 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0+.
September 7 - 10 Mixed Doubles, Florence - all age divisions
October 18 - 22 Combo Doubles, Hilton Head
November 3-5 Adult 75 & Over Invitational, Hilton Head - Levels 3.0, 3.5, 4.0
November 3-5 Adult 65 & Over, Hilton Head - Levels 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 9.0
November 10 - 12 Singles League, Aiken - all age divisions tentative

2018 REGULATION CHANGES

For USTA SC Championships, it has been proposed to give a 2 week window to complete championship matches in the event the matches cannot be played during the scheduled time frame for the championships.
LCTA 40 & Over League teams in the 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5 divisions shall consist of a minimum of nine players of the same sex eligible to compete at a specific level of competition. Format is 1 singles, 4 doubles for regular season, format is 2 singles, 3 doubles for playoffs and other championships.
Teams that default an entire match in accordance with USTA rule 2.03L are expected to continue to play the remainder of their schedule. If their opponent opts not to play the team that has defaulted, they may do so and there will be no sanction against the team that elects not to play.
Concerning the inclement weather regulation - Once the make-up dates are established, those are considered to be the official match dates and they are not able to be postponed unless there is inclement weather on those dates. The coordinator should be informed of the makeup date to be changed in TennisLink. If the match is rained out on the makeup date, the 2-week rule is reset from the date that was communicated to the coordinator. If the coordinator is not informed, the teams will be held to the 2-week makeup from the original match date.

Thanks,
Steve Wilson
LCTA President and LLC
srw924@gmail.com


(12/03/17) Ashley Hall's Navarro qualifies for Orange Bowl International Junior Tennis Tournament
Charleston 16-year-old Emma Navarro won three straight-set matches on Saturday and Sunday in Plantation, Fla., to extend her International Tennis Federation tournament match-winning streak to 15 to qualify for the prestigious Orange Bowl International Junior Tennis Tournament.

Navarro will begin main draw singles play on Tuesday. She also will compete in doubles with partner Chloe Beck of Watkinsville, Ga.

An Ashley Hall School sophomore, Navarro yielded a total of only nine games in three matches in sweeping through qualifying as the 14th seed in the clay-court event. She earned her spot in the 64-player main draw with a 6-1, 6-1 victory on Sunday over 17-year-old left-handed Italian Isabella Tcherkes Zade, who was the fifth seed in qualifying.

Navarro's streak included a 6-3, 6-2 victory in Saturday's second round of qualifying over 16-year-old France junior champion Carole Monnet, another left-hander.

The Orange Bowl is a Grade A ITF junior tournament. Navarro entered qualifying in the Florida tournament on the heels of back-to-back singles titles in two Grade 4 ITF tournaments.


(11/24/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Long leads South to victory
Green Wave Tennis coach David Long helped lead the South All-star Team to victory during the 2017 South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association Girls Tennis North-South All-star Match.

Under the guidance of Long and Myrtle Beach High coach Jeri Himmelsbach, the South All-stars earned a 7-2 victory Nov. 18 over the North All-stars. The event featured three doubles matches and six singles matches. The South’s win avenges a 5-4 loss to the North during the 2016 all-star event.

The South team was comprised of six of the top players from schools in the lower part of the state from across all the South Carolina High School League classifications. Team members were Bailey Deskins and Paxton Gentry (Myrtle Beach), Anna Brice Cox (Socastee), Katie Koon (Chapin), Madison Conwell (Brookland-Cayce) and Tamara Jackson (Green Sea Floyds).

This marks Long’s second year coaching the all-star event. He served as the South’s assistant coach last year and as its head coach this year.

Long has coached the Summerville Boys and Girls tennis teams the past five years and has been named the Region coach of the Year four times. He led the Green Wave Girls to the Lower State semi-final last year and in the process won two playoff matches in same year for first time in the program’s history.

This year, Summerville lost in the second round to eventual state champion River Bluff.

Long led the Summerville Boys to a region title in 2016 and to the 2014 Lower State semi-finals. His teams produced two Boys Region Players of the Year and one North-South All-star, his son Walker Long who now plays for Coker College.

Earlier this year, Long was named the head coach for the Green Wave Boys Basketball program.


(11/18/17) Barker, Carter lead the way for seniors in local tennis scene
Charleston senior players Diane Barker and Brenda Carter have had banner years. They have won world team titles as well as world individual and doubles championships.

Their years also include a long list of national titles, including Barker's national mixed doubles crown with her son, Matt Hane.

Hane is aging up to also become eligible for selection to the USTA's 2018 men's 35 international cup team, according to his mother.

"Matthew will be eligible to play in the (men's 35) cup match next year being held in Argentina," Diane Barker said. "He has not yet been selected on the team. The selections come out Dec. 10. But with his record he will probably be selected."

Matt Hane is a left-hander with huge serves and ground strokes that he perfected as a collegian at George Washington University.

When Matt Hane teamed up with his mother to win the mother/son clay court nationals earlier this fall, it marked the fifth national title of the year for Hane. He also won the singles titles in both the national indoors and grass courts as well as the doubles titles in both events with Kiawah Island pro Brandon Blankenbaker.

A former I'On Club pro and local high school star, Hane is currently the head pro at Richmond's Country Club of Virginia.

Of course, Diane Barker just led the Alice Marble Cup women's 60 team to a world team championship, and followed that up by winning the world singles title, the seventh world individual crown for the former College of Charleston All-American.

And Carter won her share of awards by leading the USTA Althea Gibson Cup women's 70 team to a world title, and then staying around to capture the world doubles crown as well.

NAVARRO'S RANKINGS

Talking about rankings, Emma Navarro has a variety of rankings after having so much success in 2017, with December's Orange Bowl still to be played. Just this fall, the 16-year-old standout has won doubles in a $10,000 U.S. Women's Pro Circuit tournament and then captured back-to-back ITF Grade 4 tournament singles titles and one doubles.

As a result, she has climbed to No. 354 in the ITF's world junior singles rankings and No. 875 in the WTA Tour's world doubles rankings. Of course, she is ranked No. 1 in girls 16s and 18s in the South, as well as No. 4 nationally in girls 16 and No. 9 in U.S. girls 18.

Tennisrecruiting.net also lists Navarro as the No. 3 girl in the nation among the class of 2020. She already has verbally committed to Duke.

The Charleston area has five girls ranked among the top 13 in the South: Megie Navarro (No. 3), Allie Gretkowski (4), Sophie Williams (10), Carri Hayes (11) and Whitley Pate (13). The area's other Southern top 20 girls include No. 10 Anna Ross (16s) and No. 13 Saige Severance (12s).

STATE AWARDS

USTA South Carolina has selected The Post and Courier as the recipient of the 2017 state media award.

In all, 11 local organizations and individual award winners will be recognized with other state winners on Dec. 9 at USTA S.C.'s annual state meeting at Hilton Head Island.

Other local winners include: Renee Lowry, adaptive tennis volunteer of the year; Brenda Carter, adult female player of the year; the NSWTA Anne Geier Cup at LTP Tennis, adult tournament of the year; Lowcountry Youth Tennis Association, community tennis association of the year; Steve Cohen, Junior Team Tennis volunteer of the year; Allie Gretkowski, junior girl player of the year; Stanley Waters, most improved junior boy; Carri Hayes, most improved junior girl; Margaret Dixon, official of the year; and the Giannelli family of Moncks Corner, tennis family of the year.

LOCAL NOTES

-- Berkeley freshman Abby Cotuna is among the rising young stars of local tennis. She finished third in the Class AAAAA-AAAA state high school singles championships held recently at Cayce Tennis Center.

-- National Junior Tennis Essay Contest winner Ducky Steward was recently honored by the City of Charleston and Major John Tecklenburg.

-- Sunday (today) is the deadline for entering next weekend's Charleston Thanksgiving Junior Classic (tournament No. 700045917) at Charleston Tennis Center. Play will begin on Friday. Contact Peggy Bohne (843-766-7401 or bohnep@charleston-sc.gov.)

-- The Snee Farm Challenger (700034314) will be held Dec. 5-7, with an entry deadline of Dec. 2. Contact Rich Shy (843-345-8338 or richardshy@hotmail.com).

-- The Dec. 15-17 Junior Holiday Championship (704128617) will be held at The Citadel. The entry deadline is Dec. 10. Contact Toby Simpson (843-709-6876 or tobysimpson9@gmail.com).


(11/14/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Green Wave athletes sign commitment letters
During a celebration ceremony in the Summerville High gym Nov. 13, seven Green Wave athletes officially announced which college program they will join after graduation.

Summerville No. 1 singles player Michael Stephen Wills signed to play for the Coker College Men’s Tennis team. He finished his junior season with a 15-6 record. He joined the Green Wave Tennis team as a seventh-grader and became a starter as a ninth grader. He has won 59 matches for Summerville.


(11/12/17) Rogers helps U.S. win first Fed Cup title since 2000
Shelby Rogers is ranked 59th in the world in singles, but the touring tennis professional from Charleston is even more accomplished as a player in team competitions.

Already having a World Team Tennis title in 2016 on her list of accomplishments, Rogers added a Fed Cup title to her resume on Sunday in Minsk, Belarus, by teaming with American star CoCo Vandeweghe to win the decisive doubles match over Belarus and give the U.S. women a 3-2 victory and their first Fed Cup crown since 2000.

"I was so happy to be able to get a chance to compete for my country with these girls and do my part," Rogers said. "The team is amazing. I love these girls. I will never, ever, ever forget this moment."

Vandeweghe was the dominant player in the Americans' 18th Fed Cup crown as she won twice in singles in Minsk and closed out the competition with the doubles victory.

"CoCo came out and just played unbelievable," U.S. Fed Cup captain Kathy Rinaldi said.

This capped a year by Vandeweghe that was among the best in Fed Cup history. She finished 2017 with eight Fed Cup wins, including the maximum six Fed Cup singles victories.

"It was a lot of work and a lot of dedication to the Fed Cup in each and every round to dedicate my time and energy through my season to be able to perform the best I could for team USA," said the 25-year-old Vandeweghe, who is ranked 10th in the world.

After U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens dropped her singles match for the second straight day, this time to deadlock the match at 2, it came down to Rogers and Vandeweghe.

The hard-hitting Vandeweghe again stood out in the 6-3, 7-6 (3) doubles victory over the Belarus team of Aryna Sabalenka and Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

But Vandeweghe received plenty of help from Rogers, who came up with her share of winning volleys and sizzling, deep groundstrokes.

"Shelby stepped up," Rinaldi said.

The Belarusians couldn't match Rogers' consistency and power from the baseline where she played the deuce side.

"I wouldn't want to share this moment with anybody else," Rogers said. "CoCo is amazing. "

It was Rogers' strong crosscourt forehands that allowed Vandeweghe to play aggressively at the net, poaching and putting away volleys that appeared to frustrate the home team.

Sasnovich had beaten Stephens 4-6, 6-1, 8-6 to deadlock the World Group final at 2. Vandeweghe won both of her singles matches in the competition, defeating Sabalenka 7-6 (5), 6-1 earlier Sunday to give the U.S. team a 2-1 edge.

Rogers held service in the key eighth game of the doubles match with a backhand that handcuffed Sasnovich at the net for a 5-3 lead, then made the key volley in the next game service break for the Americans as they took a one-set lead.

Rogers and Vandeweghe had to rally from 5-2 down in the second set to force a tiebreaker, which the Americans won 7-3. Rogers won both of her service points in the tiebreaker for a 3-2 edge and then delivered a backhand volley winner against Sabalenka's service point for a 4-2 advantage for the Americans.


(11/12/17) Ashley Hall's Navarro wins second straight ITF junior tournament title
Charleston's Emma Navarro is on a roll.

The 16-year-old Ashley Hall sophomore cruised to her second consecutive International Tennis Federation junior girls grade four tournament championship on Saturday at the Chris Evert Academy in Boca Raton, Fla. Navarro blitzed 16-year-old ninth seed Michelle Sorokko of Douglaston, N.Y., 6-0, 6-0 in just one hour on the hard courts.

"I'm super excited and can't wait for the Orange Bowl (in December)," said Navarro, the Boca Raton tournament's 12th seed.

Peter Ayers, Navarro's coach, was impressed by his student's play. "Emma was good from the first point to the last point," Ayers said.

"There was no letdown at all. It was a very professional performance by Emma."

It was Navarro's 12th straight ITF victory, including six the previous week while winning the South Carolina ITF at Lexington. The South's No. 1 junior girl, Navarro entered the Boca Raton tournament ranked No. 518 among the world's juniors and has been climbing quickly with her success.

"The other girl (Sorokko) had had a great week. She hits a lot of high balls, and she relies on her speed to get to almost every ball, but Emma was hitting heavy balls and doing a lot of damage," Ayers said.


(11/10/17) Five tennis players from MWTennis Academy sign with colleges
Five MWTennis Academy players signed college tennis letters of intent this week at Family Circle Tennis Center during the academy's signing event.

Sam Kavarana and Elizabeth Truluck signed with Davidson, while Kerim Hyatt signed with Tennessee-Chattanooga, Ansley Hardeman signed with Wofford, and Dalton Capobianco signed with New York-Oneonta.

Kavarana attends Academic Magnet, but the other four signees all attend online schooling at MWTennis where they train full-time.

Hyatt has starred for Hanahan the last two seasons, leading the Hawks to undefeated seasons and back-to-back state Class AAA titles. Truluck is from Myrtle Beach and Capobianco is from Hartsville, while Hardeman of Athens, Ga., resides and trains here.


(11/10/17) Diane Barker wins International Tennis Federation's women's 60 world singles championship
Diane Barker is back in a big way after an injury-marred 2016.

The former College of Charleston All-American won the International Tennis Federation's women's 60 world singles championship in Miami Beach, Fla., on Friday.

Barker did it the hard way, losing the first set and having to take the last two sets against an Alice Marble Cup teammate. Barker, a 59-year-old Daniel Island resident, overcame Doris Wright of Detroit, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, to capture her seventh world individual title.

"They are all exciting. The first one (world title) probably was the most rewarding, but I don't remember when it was," Barker said.

"Playing Susan is always tough. I lost to her a couple months ago at the indoors . . . three sets too . . . so this was a tough one to play and of course I wanted to win it.

"It was a long match and very hot. Now it's on to intersectionals in Boca Raton, starting Monday."

A week earlier in South Florida, Barker played No. 1 singles and Wright played No. 2 in carrying the USTA women's 60 team to the Alice Marble Cup world team championship. They also were seeded in that order in this week's singles tournament.

It had been five years since Barker last won a world singles title. So, this one was pretty special, too.

"I was injured last year and did not play them (worlds) when we were in Finland," said Barker, who will turn 60 years old just before Christmas. Players are allowed to compete in the next age group throughout the year in which they age up.

Prior to Friday's final, Barker had dropped just eight games in four matches at the tournament. Neither Barker nor Wright yielded a game in the semifinals.

NAVARRO IN ITF FINAL

Charleston 16-year-old Emma Navarro will be aiming for her second straight ITF junior title on Saturday on hard courts at Chris Evert Academy in Boca Raton, Fla.

Navarro, the 12th seed, scored a 6-3, 6-3 victory in Friday's semifinals over sixth seed Nikki Redelijk, a 16-year-old out of the IMG Academy. In Saturday's 9:30 a.m. final, Navarro will face another 16-year-old, No. 9 seed Michelle Sorokko from Douglaston, N.Y.

Navarro has won five straight matches in this tournament after taking the title last Saturday in the South Carolina ITF at Lexington.


(11/08/17) Charleston's Shelby Rogers and U.S. teammates hope to bring home Fed Cup this weekend
It's cool in Minsk, Belarus, this time of the year. It's in the 40s.

But the U.S. Fed Cup team members preparing for Saturday's final are hardly concerned about the weather. Shelby Rogers and her teammates are practicing indoors on a hard court in a sparkling four-year-old arena that seats approximately 9,000.

"The temperature here is much different from Miami, but we practice indoors," Rogers said Monday from Minsk after arriving there late the night before from Miami.

Rogers is hoping to play in her third consecutive Fed Cup tie, having won one doubles match with CoCo Vandeweghe and lost one singles.

"We haven't been told (the lineup) yet. I came ready to play, and I will be ready for whatever is scheduled. I'm pretty excited," she said.

In addition to Vandeweghe (No. 10) and Rogers (59), the team is made up of U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens (13) and Alison Riske (70).

For Rogers, the Fed Cup is not like other events.

"I put a lot more pressure on myself because I'm playing for my country. It's certainly a lot different from regular tournaments," she said.

"We are coming together as a team and practicing, getting used to the time change and everything. We eat on the local time schedule and I usually don't have much trouble sleeping, so that's a good thing."

Minsk is eight hours ahead of Charleston. Saturday's first Fed Cup competition is set for 6:30 a.m. on the Tennis Channel.

Rogers, 25, has had her overall best year on the WTA Tour, advancing to the third round of three of the four Grand Slam events. At 59th in the world currently, she is at a career-best year-end ranking. She also has more than $660,000 in earnings for the year.

"My year has been great, pretty good results in the majors, my best year in them. I'm happy with my ranking. I have been able to play a full season which was a positive for the year," she said.

This is a new experience for Rogers in that she usually is on break from professional tennis this time of the year. "This is something that is new. I'm not used to tournaments this time of the year. That's why we tried to get here early, to get refreshed," she said. "But it's just another week on the calendar. We will hit twice every day, and be on court, three or four hours a day."

Rogers hadn't had time yet on Monday to tour the nearly 1,000-year-old city of more than two million residents.

Although the Belarus team is made up of players ranked Nos. 78, 87, 130 and 477, Rogers expects a highly competitive final as the Americans hope to win their first Fed Cup title since 2000.

"Their singles players have had good seasons, and they have played every (Fed Cup) tie at home. They will be ready," she said.

After Fed Cup, she said, "I have a couple of exhibitions the rest of the season. But I want to take a little break and get ready for next year. It's already late in the year. Before long, I'll be going to Australia again.

"I'll be in L.A. again for Christmas, but I'll be home for Thanksgiving."


(11/05/17) Christ Church again denies Academic Magnet for Class AA tennis title
Academic Magnet’s girls (12-2) came up short once again against perennial power Christ Church (17-0) on Saturday in the SCHSL tennis Class AA title match at Cayce Tennis Center.

The Raptors, who had dropped a 7-0 decision to Christ Church in last year’s state final, fought all the way against the talented Christ Church team, but still suffered a 7-0 loss to the Cavaliers from Greenville.

It marked the 15th state title for Christ Church, with current coach Sherry Adams directing seven of them. The Cavaliers had beaten some of the elite Class AAAA and AAAAA teams in the state on the way to the Class AA title match, including Class AAAA finalist Greenville and AAAAA finalist Spartanburg.

Academic Magnet junior Aileen Shi was the only player for the Raptors to make things close against the Christ Church lineup. Shi suffered a close loss to Christ Church freshman Sarah Allen at No. 3 singles, losing the match in a third-set tiebreaker.

“The girls worked really hard to get back to states this year. I could not be more proud of them,” said first-year Academic Magnet coach Marissa Hollabaugh. “We’re thankful for this experience and look forward to using this as an opportunity to bring us back next year.”

CHRIST CHURCH 7, ACADEMIC MAGNET 0
SINGLES: Day Nuckolls (CC) def. Josephine Drake, 6-0, 6-0; Lauren Allen (CC) def. Mina Schaafsma, 6-1, 6-2 ; Sarah Allen (CC) def Aileen Shi, 6-4, 3-6, 10-2; Mary Cage Carter (CC) def. Abbi Hulsey, 6-1, 6-0; Avery Nuckolls (CC) def. Mary Claire Newsom, 6-0, 6-0. DOUBLES: D. Nuckolls/L. Allen (CC) def. Drake/Schaafsma, 8-1; Paula Pieper/Abby Riddle (CC) def. Caroline Young/Tori Streetman, 6-2, 6-3.


(11/04/17) Navarro captures South Carolina ITF singles and doubles titles
Emma Navarro captured her first International Tennis Federation singles championship on Saturday in the South Carolina ITF at Lexington. The South's No. 1 junior girl posted a convincing 6-1, 6-0 victory over fifth seed Kylie Collins of Savannah in the final.

Navarro then teamed with regular doubles partner Chloe Beck of Watkinsville, Ga., to take a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Collins and No. 2 Southern junior Sophia Patel in the doubles final.

"I played well, served well and played solid on the ground," said the 16-year-old Navarro, the No. 8 seed in singles who upset the top-seeded Beck in the semifinals. "I was a little surprised to win this tournament, but I am very excited about winning my first ITF singles and doubles titles."


(11/04/17) Bishop England girls claim seventh straight state tennis championship
Bishop England's girls tennis team captured its seventh consecutive SCHSL state championship on Saturday at Cayce Tennis Center with a 5-2 win over Mid-Carolina (14-4) in the Class AAA state final.

The Bishops (17-2) wrapped up the match by taking four wins in the five singles matches. Junior Eleanor Campbell won the decisive match at No. 2 with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Mid-Carolina's Caroline Matney.

"I'm very excited to help carry on the legacy of Bishop England tennis," Campbell said. "We worked so hard this year, and it paid off in the state final.

"I had a close match, but I knew I had to do it for the team. That was my No. 1 priority."

The victory also gave the Bishops their state-best 22nd girls tennis state title, and ninth-year head coach Kristin Fleming Arnold has participated on exactly half of those championship teams. She owns a personal 12-0 finals record, but one came coaching the BE boys and four as a player for the Bishops.

This match was much closer than BE's 7-0 win over Mid-Carolina in the 2016 final, mainly due to Mid-Carolina ace Elise Mills, who scored a 6-2, 6-0 victory over BE freshman Lily Woods at No. 1 singles and then also won over Woods and Campbell in No. 1 doubles.

"We won Nos. 3, 4 and 5 singles pretty easily and quickly (giving up only four games), but I knew Lily would have a tough match against Mills," Fleming Arnold said. "So it came down to Eleanor, and she closed out the fourth point well.

"I am very excited for the girls. They played very well. I told them today would be a different match from last year. It was a great season, continuing the streak. It's a good day."

BISHOP ENGLAND 5, MID-CAROLINA 2
SINGLES: Elise Mills (MC) def. Lily Woods, 6-2, 6-0; Eleanor Campbell (BE) def. Caroline Matney, 7-5, 6-3; Jenna Santa Lucia (BE) def. Riley Frazier, 6-1, 6-0; Crista Vroman (BE) def. Ragan Peel, 6-0, 6-0; MacKenzie Penton (BE) def. Ady Ashmore, 6-0, 6-1. DOUBLES: Mills/Frazier (MC) def. Campbell/Woods, 8-6; Drew Bobey/Grace Michel (BE) def. Candice Northcutt/Catherine Taylor, 8-3.


(11/04/17) LTP, FCTC teamwork made girls nationals happen
LTP Tennis has become a special place in the Charleston tennis community. What Ben Navarro's club on Mathis Ferry Road has created is a perfect complement to all of the projects that come under Bob Moran's umbrella at Family Circle Tennis Center.

It's because of this teamwork between FCTC and LTP, and LTP's proven track record in staging pro and junior events that the USTA on Wednesday awarded LTP the Girls 18 National Clay Courts for at least the next three years. This tournament is possibly the USTA's premiere junior event outside of the Junior U.S. Open.

"To be honest, I didn't think we would get the girls 18 clay courts," Navarro said Saturday.

"It's not just us, it's the whole tennis community coming together.

"This wouldn't have happened if not for the support of the rest of the tennis people in the community, and especially if not for Bob Moran and the Volvo Car Open giving the wild card."

The VCO main draw wild card possibility for the 2018 girls 18 nationals singles winner happened during a lunch meeting between Navarro and Moran, who is the VCO tournament director as well as Charleston Tennis LLC president.

"Bob Moran is a wonderful supporter, big supporter of tennis in Charleston. It's all to Bob's credit. He suggested they would do this (VCO main draw wild card) if we got the tournament," Navarro said.

"Now that we have the wild card from Volvo, every (top) girl in the country will be here. Normally they just get a gold ball, and they will want to win a gold ball here, but they'll also get a wild card into the Volvo for winning."

Landing the girls 18 nationals also is the result of what LTP has done the last few years under Navarro's ownership and the junior tennis atmosphere created by the Randy Pate Academy. Pate brought last year's boys 12 nationals with him from Winston-Salem and LTP had put on two $10,000 U.S. Women's Pro Circuit tournaments even before the boys 12 nationals. Then came this year's $80,000 and $15,000 U.S. Pro Circuit women's tournaments.

As Navarro said, "The USTA took notice."

After all, LTP's complete name is "Love To Play Tennis."

Navarro also has a family interest in tennis outside of LTP. His two daughters, 16-year-old Emma and 13-year-old Megie Navarro, are both ranked among the top three players in the South in their age categories. Emma is No. 1 in Southern girls 16 and 18, as well as No. 4 in the nation in 16s, and Megie is No. 3 in Southern girls 14.

"We want to keep this tournament (the 18s)," Navarro said. "It's the mother of all tournaments for us. We would like to keep this one and keep having pro tournaments, and make them bigger and bigger. I want to see tennis grow in Charleston.

"I would love to see our pro tournament grow. The bigger we can make it would be better. We want to make it an important tournament regionally."

ROGERS AIMS FOR FED CUP

Charleston will have a presence in next weekend's Fed Cup final in Minsk, Belarus, in 59th-ranked Shelby Rogers.

Rogers will join CoCo Vandeweghe (No. 12), Sloane Stephens (13) and Alison Riske (70) on the U.S. team.

All ranked among the world's top 70 women, they will go against a team with players ranked Nos. 78, 87, 130 and 477. Those rankings should make the Americans heavy favorites to win their first title since 2000.

Rogers reached the third round this year of three of the four majors, missing only the Australian Open where she upset current world's No. 1 Simona Halep in the first round.

MW'S BANNER YEAR

MWTennis Academy has had a banner year for college tennis commitments. Reilly Wilson can't sign until next summer, but the son of MWTennis CEO Jeff Wilson has committed to the U.S. Naval Academy.

"They offered him a spot and he accepted," Jeff Wilson said.

Reilly Wilson won the SCHSL singles title this past spring as only a sophomore and was selected as the Post and Courier's Lowcountry player of the year.

Kerim Hyatt, Wilson's teammate on a Hanahan team that won its second straight Class AAA state championship, has committed to Tennessee-Chattanooga. Hyatt was the Lowcountry player of the year in 2016.

Sam Kavarana, another local star who helped Academic Magnet win the 2016 Class AA state title, has committed to Davidson.

Elizabeth Truluck also committed to Davidson, while Ansley Hardeman has committed to Wofford.

Then, there's Dalton Capobianco who moved here last August from Hartsville. He committed to Capobianco-SUNY Oneonta.

LOCAL NOTES

-- Diane Barker has helped another U.S. team win a world senior championship. The former College of Charleston All-American played No. 2 singles on the women's 60 Alice Marble Cup U.S. team that won the ITF world title on Friday in Miami on clay at the Crandon Park Tennis Center. The U.S. team defeated Great Britain, 2-1, in the final by sweeping singles. Barker now will compete in the individual tournament.

-- Brenda Carter, who recently helped the U.S. women's 70 team win a world title, stayed in Florida to team with Betty Wachob to win the women's 70 doubles world championship. Carter is ranked 18th in the world in women's 70 singles and second in doubles.


(11/03/17) Academic Magnet, Bishop England aim for girls tennis state titles
Saturday's noon S.C. High School League girls tennis state championship matches in both Class AA and Class AAA will be rematches of last year's state finals.

The matches are set for the Cayce Tennis Center.

Coach Marissa Hollabaugh's Academic Magnet team (12-1) will be hoping for better results in this Class AA final against perennial power Christ Church than a year ago. The Raptors suffered a 7-0 loss to Christ Church in the 2016 final.

Bishop England (16-2) will be hoping for the same type of success coach Kristin Fleming Arnold's team had in last year's AAA final against Mid-Carolina when the Bishops won, 7-0. The Bishops will be in search of a seventh straight state title.


(11/02/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Volleyball, tennis seasons come to an end
In the Girls Tennis playoffs, Summerville fell 6-0 to River Bluff last week in the second round. Summerville ends its season with a 14-9 record. River Bluff advanced to face Wando in the Lower State tennis championship match.

The future also looks bright for the Green Wave team, which stands to return all its starters next season.


(11/02/17)  TENNIS WORLD USA: Charleston Tennis event majority sold by 70 percent
Big news for WTA Charleston event. The owner of Family Circle has decided to sell a majority stake (70%) of the Daniel Island tennis center to Moorad Sports Partners, led by Jeff Moorad for $9.1 million.

But also other people, including musician Darius Rucker of Hootie & the Blowfish fame, restaurant operator Mark Cummins and local entrepreneur John McGrath are involved into it. 'We are confident that the combined background and relationships of the investor group will provide unique growth opportunities moving forward', said Whitener CEO Gordon Whitener said in a statement Friday.

The Family Tennis Centre doesn't only host tennis matches, but also concerts and other activities during the year, in which new majority owners are involved Pretty much, the Bob Moran, president of Charleston Tennis.

'Our new partners provide a wide array of marketing, management and promotional opportunities that add great value to the goals we have developed for the facility," Moran said in a statement. "In short, they are helping open more doors for us on the sponsorship, ticketing and operational fronts.' Sloane Stephens and defending champion Daria Kasatkina are committed to play in 2018.


(11/01/17) USTA Girls 18 National Clay Courts championships coming to Mount Pleasant's LTP Tennis and Swim
LTP Tennis and Swim received a big payback on Wednesday from the USTA for serving as the host facility for the boys 12 USTA National Clay Courts last year in what was the first junior national championship ever held in South Carolina

Another national championship is coming. The USTA nationals will return next July to the Mathis Ferry Road facility in the form of the Girls 18 National Clay Courts. The three-year deal became official on Wednesday, according to Randy Pate of LTP's Randy Pate Tennis Academy.

There's more big news. "Shelby Rogers won the U.S. girls 18 hard courts a few years ago (2010), and was awarded a wild card into the U.S. Open. That was her first big breakthrough," Volvo Car Open tournament director Bob Moran said Wednesday night.

"So I told them (LTP officials) that if they were to be awarded the Girls 18 National Clay Courts, we thought it would be a great thing to award the winner a wild card into the only WTA Tour clay-court event in the United States," Moran added.

With that endorsement by Moran, the Girls 18 National Clay Courts singles winner will receive a wild card into the main draw of the 2019 Volvo Car Open. The runner-up will receive a wild card into the USTA Women's Pro Circuit $80,000 tournament in 2019 at LTP Tennis.

"We're all excited," Pate said.

The payback was the result of LTP accepting the boys 12 nationals in 2016 on a one-year deal, with the possibility of something bigger coming soon. The big prize arrived Wednesday.

"When they (USTA) moved the boys 12 here last year, they said if we waited a year and be patient it would be worth our while," said Pate, whose academy had been the longtime host for the boys 12 nationals in Winston-Salem, N.C., prior to his as well as the boys 12's move to LTP Tennis.

"This time, it's a three-year commitment from the USTA, and we could keep the girls 18 for a long time. They don't move it around much and we plan to keep it a long time."

The boys 12 clay court nationals moved to the USTA headquarters in Orlando, Fla., this year, while the girls 18 clay court nationals were held in Memphis, Tenn.

"The USTA said if we did a good job with the boys 12s, they would give us an older group, but they didn't guarantee it. The one we wanted was the girls 18," Pate said.


(11/01/17)  WCSC-TV/Live 5 News:  Shelby Rogers picked for USA Fed Cup Finals team
The USTA and United States Fed Cup Captain Kathy Rinaldi today announced that 2017 US Open Champion and world No. 13 Sloane Stephens, 2017 US Open and Australian Open semifinalist and world No. 12 CoCo Vandeweghe, No. 59 Shelby Rogers and No. 70 Alison Riske will represent the U.S. in the 2017 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Final against Belarus.  

Belarus’ Fed Cup Captain Eduard Dubrou named No. 78 Aryna Sabalenka, No. 87 Aliaksandra Sasnovich, No. 130 Vera Lapko, and No. 477 Lidziya Marozava to face Team USA.

The best-of-five match series will be played at the Chizhovka Arena in Minsk, Belarus, Nov. 11-12, on an indoor hard court. Chizhovka Arena hosted Belarus' two other home ties earlier this year.

Play begins on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 2:30 p.m. local time (6:30 a.m. ET) with two singles matches. On Sunday, play will continue, starting at 2 p.m. local time (6 a.m. ET) with two reverse singles matches and the doubles match. A revised schedule for Sunday may take place if a team clinches in the third or fourth match. Tennis Channel will present live daily coverage.

The U.S. Fed Cup team made its last appearance in the Fed Cup Final in 2010, when a team featuring Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands lost to Italy, 3-1, in San Diego. The U.S. won the last of its record 17 Fed Cup titles in 2000. U.S. Captain Kathy Rinaldi, who is in her first year as captain, follows Mary Joe Fernandez to make it back-to-back U.S. captains to reach the Fed Cup Final in their debut year. Belarus will be competing in its first-ever Fed Cup Final.

Earlier this year, the U.S. swept Germany, 4-0, in the World Group First Round in Maui, Hawaii, then posted a 3-2 semifinal win in April over defending champion Czech Republic, clinching the victory in the fifth-and-decisive doubles rubber in Tampa Bay, Fla. Belarus defeated the Netherlands, 4-1, in the World Group First Round, then defeated Switzerland, 3-2, in the semifinals.

The U.S. holds a 1-0 record over Belarus in Fed Cup competition, sweeping the Belarusians, 5-0, in the World Group II First Round in February 2012 in Worcester, Mass. The American team for that tie was comprised of Serena and Venus Williams. New world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka was named to the Belarus team for that tie, but she had to withdraw due to a lower back injury after winning the Australian Open a week prior.

Vandeweghe, 25, of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., is ranked a career-high No. 12 in the world. She reached the semifinals of both the US Open and the Australian Open this year—her career-best Grand Slam results. In New York, Vandeweghe upset world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals to become one of four American women in the semifinals, marking the first time all four women's singles semifinalists had been American at the US Open since 1981 – and at a Grand Slam tournament since Wimbledon in 1985. In Australia, Vandeweghe upset three seeded players, including then-world No. 1 Angelique Kerber. Vandeweghe also advanced to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in 2015. She holds two WTA singles titles, both won in Den Bosch, Netherlands, in 2014 and 2016. She represented the U.S. in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio in women’s doubles and advanced to the doubles semifinals at the US Open in 2015 and 2016 and the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in 2016. She captured her first WTA doubles title at Indian Wells in 2016 with Mattek-Sands. Vandeweghe has played in six Fed Cup ties for the U.S., holding a 5-3 record in singles and a 4-0 record in doubles. She played a crucial role in leading the U.S. Fed Cup team to the final this year, winning both of her singles matches in the first round in Maui and then winning both of her singles matches in the semifinal in Tampa Bay and clinching the tie for the U.S. in the fifth-and-decisive rubber to become the first U.S. Fed Cup player since 1996 to win three live matches in one tie. As a junior player, Vandeweghe won the 2008 US Open girls’ singles title. Her mother, Tauna, was a member of the U.S. national team in both swimming and volleyball, and her uncle is former NBA star Kiki Vandeweghe.

Stephens, 24, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is ranked No. 13 in the world. She won her first career Grand Slam singles title by capturing the US Open this year after being ranked as low as No. 957 in July, her ranking having dropped after she missed 11 months following surgery on her left foot. At the US Open, Stephens defeated compatriot Madison Keys in the first All-American final since 2002. Stephens, who was No. 83 entering the Open, upset five seeds en route to the title, including Venus Williams. Prior to the US Open this summer, Stephens, who was away from the game for surgery from the 2016 Rio Olympics to 2017 Wimbledon, reached the semifinals of back-to-back US Open Series events in Toronto and Cincinnati in the third and fourth tournaments of her comeback. She holds five WTA titles (Washington D.C. in 2015; Auckland, Acapulco and Charleston in 2016; and the US Open in 2017). In 2013, Stephens defeated Serena Williams en route to the semifinals of the Australian Open. That same year, she advanced to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon to peak at No. 11 in the world. She has competed in four Fed Cup ties for the U.S., making her debut in 2012 and last playing for the U.S. in the 2016 World Group II First Round in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. In 2010, Stephens won the girls’ doubles titles at the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, and reached the singles quarterfinals or better at the same three junior Slams. She is the daughter of the late New England Patriots running back John Stephens. Her mother, Sybil, was an All-American swimmer at Boston University and qualified for Olympic trials in three events.

Rogers, 25, of Charleston, S.C., is ranked No. 59 in the world. This year, she reached three WTA quarterfinals (Charleston, S.C., Strasbourg, and Hobart) and upset No. 4 seed Simona Halep in the first round of the Australian Open. Rogers also reached the third round of the US Open, French Open, and Wimbledon this year. She peaked at No. 48 in the world in January and gained her first career Grand Slam quarterfinal at the 2016 French Open, upsetting three seeds en route. Also in 2016, she reached her second career WTA final at the Rio Open. As a junior player, Rogers won the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships to earn a wild card into the main draw of the 2010 US Open for her first appearance in a Grand Slam event. She is competing in her third consecutive Fed Cup tie after making her debut earlier this year in Maui, where she competed in doubles with Mattek-Sands. She also played singles in the semifinal in Tampa Bay.

Riske, 27, of Pittsburgh, is ranked No. 70 in the world. Riske, who peaked at No. 36 this May, had a strong start to 2017, highlighted by reaching her fifth career WTA singles final, in Shenzhen, and advancing to the third round of the Australian Open. She also advanced to the third round of Wimbledon this year. She holds one WTA singles title, won in 2014 in Tianjin, China. Her career-best Grand Slam result came in 2013, when she defeated then-world No. 7 Petra Kvitova en route to the fourth round of the US Open. Riske represented the U.S. in Fed Cup in 2014, 2015 and in this year’s first round in Maui. She trains at the new USTA National Campus at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla.


(10/30/17) Academic Magnet girls earn return trip to state tennis finals
Academic Magnet (12-1) is headed to Columbia for a second straight year to play in the S.C. High School League Class AA girls tennis state championship match after a completely dominating 6-0 victory over Marion (13-2) on Monday.

The visiting Swamp Foxes didn't win a game in singles as sophomores Josephine Drake and Mina Schaafsma, junior Aileen Shi, and seniors Abbi Hulsey and Mary Claire Newsom all posted 6-0, 6-0 victories (in that order) as the Raptors won the Lower State title match at Magnet's home courts.

"It was a good match with nice girls, and we are ready for state," said the Raptors' Drake.

Drake put on a show of consistency and strong serving in the No. 1 singles match.

At No. 2, Schaafsma handed Marion junior Andi Querubin her first loss of the season.

First-year Magnet coach Marissa Hollabaugh was just as happy over her team's big win.

"It’s been a great year," Hollabaugh said. "The girls have put in a lot of hard work and dedication and we are ready for state."

The Raptors are scheduled for a noon match on Saturday at Cayce Tennis Center probably against perennial powerhouse Christ Church, which played Southside Christian in the Upper State final on Monday. Christ Church defeated the Raptors in last year's state final.

ACADEMIC MAGNET 6, MARION 0
SINGLES: Josephine Drake (AM) def. Julian Inabinet, 6-0, 6-0; Mina Schaafsma (AM) def. Andi Querubin, 6-0, 6-0; Aileen Shi (AM) def. Emily Graham, 6-0, 6-0; Abbi Hulsey (AM) def. Jasmine Wiggins, 6-0, 6-0; Mary Claire Newsom def. Lesile Woodberry, 6-0, 6-0. DOUBLES: Caroline Young/Tori Streetman (AM) def. Morgan Wilson/Regan Atkinson, 6-3, 6-1.


(10/30/17) Bishop England girls on track for 7th straight state title
Bishop England stayed on track to win a seventh consecutive state championship on Monday at Pawley's Island as the Bishops (16-2) scored a one-sided 6-0 victory over Waccamaw in the S.C. High School League Class AAA girls tennis Lower State final.

The Bishops will play for another state title on Saturday at noon at Cayce Tennis Center against the winner of the Upper State matchup between 2016 runner-up Mid-Carolina and Woodruff.

Coach Kristin Fleming Arnold's Bishop England team yielded just four games in the top four singles positions to wrap up the match in the first shift of players on the four available courts. The Bishops finished off the match with wins in pro sets in No. 5 singles and No. 2 doubles.

"It'll be a good match if we play Mid-Carolina again," said BE freshman No. 1 Lily Woods, who is seeking her third state title.

"I played really well today. The whole team played awesome. I think we have a good chance to win if we play smart and well on Saturday."

Fleming Arnold felt the same way. "We stepped up and played very well," she said.

"Everyone played really well. We are excited to be playing on Saturday."

Junior Eleanor Campbell, the Bishops' No. 2 player, said, "I'm excited. We'll give it our best shot Saturday, and if we do we'll win our seventh straight title."

Wando loses

In Mount Pleasant, Wando's Warriors played their hearts out, but at the end of a third-set tiebreaker in No. 1 doubles, River Bluff (19-4) was headed to the Class AAAAA state title match after scoring a 4-3 decision over Wando (18-3) in an afternoon match that lasted well into the night.

Wando's Sinclaire sisters, No. 1 junior Abby and No. 2 freshman Kelsey, carried the Warriors in singles by yielding a total of only four games as Wando won three of the five singles matches. But after a No. 2 doubles win by River Bluff evened the match at 3-3, the Sinclaire girls were called on again for the deciding match.

The Sinclaires played a solid first set and rallied to take a set lead over River Bluff's Nos. 1 and 3 singles players Claire Floyd and hard-hitting eighth-grader Liyin Zhu. But behind Zhu's big ground strokes, River Bluff took charge of the second set.

The decisive third set match tiebreaker belonged to River Bluff as the Wando pair committed too many errors, allowing Floyd and Zhu to take a 5-7, 6-3, 10-4 victory that sent the Lexington-based team to Saturday's state final.

"They played their heart out," first-year Wando coach Megan Hinton said about her team.

BISHOP ENGLAND 6, WACCAMAW 0
SINGLES: Lily Woods (BE) def.‎ Kate Drosiero, 6-0, 6-0; Eleanor Campbell (BE) def.‎ Aynsiey Aimee Flowers, 6-1, 6-0; Jenna Santa Lucia (BE) def.‎ Addison Flowers, 6-1, 6-0; MacKenzie Penton (BE) def. Annie Reichert, 6-1, 6-1; Molly McManus (BE) def.‎ Gabriella Martin, 8-3. DOUBLES: Drew Bobey/Grace Michel (BE) def.‎ Mary Drosiero/Rylee Allison, 8-2.

RIVER BLUFF 4, WANDO 3
SINGLES: Abby Sinclaire (W) def. Claire Floyd, 6-1, 6-0; Kelsey Sinclaire (W) def. Victoria Votion, 6-1, 6-2; Liyin Zhu (RB) def. Emma Chadwick, 6-3, 6-4; Margan Togneri (RB) def. Grace McKellar, 6-4, 6-0; Adelia Phillips (W) def. Kiana Thatcher, 6-0, 6-3. DOUBLES: Floyd/Zhu (RB) def. Sinclaire/Sinclaire, 5-7, 6-3, 10-4; Elizabeth Roquemore/Shelby Byers (RB) def. Karson Powers/Ellie Zimmerman, 6-2, 6-4.


(10/30/17) The past week in the Charleston economy
Net income

The owner of Family Circle has sold most of its stake in the operator of the Daniel Island tennis center that bears the magazine's name. The deal was valued by $9.1 million by media giant Meredith Corp.

The buyer of Charleston Tennis LLC is a group led by Jeff Moorad of Moorad Sports Partners. The ex-agent is a former co-owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres.

Existing management continues to run the Family Circle Tennis Center, site of the Volvo Car Open and other events. No major visible changes are planned.


(10/29/17) Family bonds highlight girls state tennis playoffs
Families still play a key role in competitive tennis. You have to look no further than the current SCHSL girls state playoffs to see the importance of the family bond in tennis.

Lily Woods might not be one of the most talented, versatile and promising young tennis players in the state if not for the influence of her father and coach, Rob Woods.

Bishop England is two wins away from a seventh straight state title, and Lily Woods played a prominent role in the Bishops' last two championships. As the No. 1 player, she is the leader of the current Bishop England team as a 14-year-old freshman.

The Bishops (15-2) will go against old rival Waccamaw on Monday about 4 p.m. at Pawley's Island in the Class AAA Lower State final.

There's also Adelia Phillips, who three years ago was helping Bishop England win a state title. Now a junior, Phillips is a key figure for Wando (18-2) in its charge into Monday's Class AAAAA Lower State final against River Bluff at 4:30 p.m. at the Wando courts.

Billy Silcox isn't just a proud grandfather, he's Phillips' coach, the only coach his granddaughter has had.

Silcox has been among the leaders in local tennis since the 1970s. He was the original pro at Creekside Tennis and Swim, and then became the first pro at Charleston Tennis Center.

In his spare time, Silcox now serves as the volunteer assistant coach of the College of Charleston women's team after having guided the C of C women to a national championship during his 13 seasons as head coach.

But coaching his granddaughter is a special relationship. "It's wonderful taking lessons from my grandfather," said the 5-2 Phillips. "He started me playing when I was 5 or 6 years old."

Phillips, who played No. 5 singles for BE's 2014 state championship team, put Wando on the edge of its tight 4-2 victory over Blythewood last Wednesday with a three-set win at No. 5 singles that gave the Warriors a 3-1 advantage.

Lily Woods also is smallish, but the 5-3 standout packs a mighty wallop with her aggressive all-court game. "I started out with my dad in clinics when I was 3 years old," she said.

"She took to tennis and loved it," her dad said.

Rob Woods believes his daughter developed her versatility and competitiveness by playing a variety of sports.

"My philosophy goes against most of the teaching that goes on in sports today that there should be one-sport only focus," Rob Woods said. "It certainly works for some . . . I just don't see the well-rounded athletes coming out at the end."

Woods should know. The Rich (professional Rich Shy) and Rob junior tennis academy of the early 1990s at Creekside Tennis and Swim was the forerunner of today's local academies. They still run their academy at Snee Farm Country Club, which was the site of Bishop England's home matches this season.

Lily Woods' goal is to play college tennis, but she loves competing in all sports. She played competitive ice hockey on weekends for seven years before switching to lacrosse.

"She is an extremely gifted tennis player who is about to hit her stride both mentally and physically, a player who has benefitted from the other sports that she plays through the year," Rob Woods said.

In basketball, Woods was the most valuable player and player of the year at Christ Our King Stella Maris School before moving up to BE. She plans to join the Bishops' basketball team once the tennis season ends.

Highly successful Bishop England coach Kristin Fleming Arnold grew up in tennis training under Lily's father. "That's where I started . . . under Rich and Rob," said Fleming Arnold, a former college All-American at Elon.

"Kristin ran similar paths to Lily (all-sports athlete), and I believe that is one of the reasons they are so close. Coach K sees a lot of herself in Lily," Woods said.

"I remember Kristin being a hard worker and a very tough competitor, someone who hated to lose more than any other kid . . . very similar to Lily."

And Fleming Arnold on Lily: "Lily has improved a lot in the past year. Her strengths are she is a hard worker, she is aggressive and she battles hard. I know when she steps on the court she will give 110 percent."

RAPTORS IN LS FINAL

Academic Magnet (11-1) will be at home in North Charleston on Monday to take on Marion at 4:30 p.m. in the Class AA Lower State championship match.

In her first year as coach, Marissa Hollabaugh has directed the Raptors into position to repeat last year's state runner-up finish.

Monday's Lower state championship winners will travel to Columbia on Saturday to compete for state titles at Cayce Tennis Center.


(10/28/17) No reason for anxiety: FCTC isn't leaving
Family Circle Tennis Center and Charleston's world-class 10,000-seat stadium aren't going anywhere other than Daniel Island. And the City of Charleston owns both of them.

That's not only old news, it's good news.

All local tennis players and fans should be proud that this outstanding complex is public and available to them.

But there was some anxiety when news broke on Friday that a group led by investors from Los Angeles and Knoxville, Tenn., had purchased a majority stake in the company that operates Family Circle Tennis Center and runs the Volvo Car Open. Of course, most tennis fans probably didn't even realize that Charleston Tennis LLC existed or had control over "Charleston's tennis tournament."

And no one other than the principals involved in the transaction might know even now about the sale of Charleston Tennis LLC if not for the Securities and Exchange Commission's disclosure requirements and regulations relating to a publicly traded company's financial condition. The deal closed July 1, but wasn't disclosed until Thursday when Meredith Corporation reported its 2018 first quarter earnings.

Still, the transaction wasn't huge, except in financial terms ($600,000 up front and $8.5 million more over eight years). It's business as usual at Family Circle Tennis Center. "Nothing has changed. There is no change in day-to-day operations," is the general response.

Family Circle was the only name local fans seemed to know until Volvo swooped in to take over the name of the tournament and its stadium in 2015.

Charleston Tennis LLC is the company that was formed by Meredith Corporation about 10 years ago to handle everything at Family Circle Tennis Center that didn't belong to the city. Basically, Bob Moran is Charleston Tennis LLC, serving as its president. He also is tournament director for the Volvo Car Open. As someone at the complex said, "Bob Moran is responsible for all things at FCTC."

The Volvo Car Open isn't likely to go anywhere anytime soon, either, even though Volvo is in the last year of a three-year sponsor contract with the tournament. The tournament is money in the bank for Volvo as long as it has such a giant presence in the Lowcountry with the construction of its auto factory in Berkeley County.

The tournament is great advertising for the Swedish auto builder. "The tournament is just free taxpayer-provided luxury for Volvo," one local observer said.

With the Family Circle Cup moving here in 2001 from Hilton Head Island, the City of Charleston built a grand tennis facility and stadium for the tournament. The city then signed a 15-year agreement to lease the complex to Family Circle. That lease has been renewed until 2029, Moran confirmed on Saturday.

There also is the matter of the tournament's lucrative WTA Tour sanction. The sanction is owned by Charleston Tennis LLC, Moran said. Meredith Corp., which purchased Family Circle Magazine in 2005, still owns 30 percent of Charleston Tennis LLC. The new investors own the other 70 percent.

"There is no firm number on a (WTA) sanctions' value. It's what a certain market would offer," Moran said.

The WTA sanctioning rights for the Premier level Connecticut Open was bought by the state of Connecticut in 2014 from the WTA Tour for $618,000 to keep the late- August tournament from moving to North Carolina. The Volvo Car Open also is a Premier event, but occupies a favorable early April slot on the WTA Tour.

With Meredith still involved with the Daniel Island complex, Family Circle Tennis Center's name isn't likely to change in the near future. The city has to be happy with the facility keeping the name Family Circle Tennis Center.

Everything may be a little confusing to local tennis fans now that Volvo currently owns the tournament's name and Charleston Tennis LLC owns the tournament. But the members still cherish calling Family Circle their tennis home. And why not, it's a great place, a world-class tennis venue that's a public facility.


(10/27/17) JOHN McDERMOTT: Net income: Family Circle parent sells 70% of its Charleston tennis business
The owner of Family Circle has sold a majority stake in the operator of the Daniel Island tennis center that bears the magazine's name to an investment group with expertise in sports and entertainment.

The deal was valued at $9.1 million by media company Meredith Corp., which disclosed it for the first time in a filing this week. The sale of Charleston Tennis LLC closed July 1, the company said.

The buyer is a group that includes Jeff Moorad of California-based investment firm Moorad Sports Partners. The lawyer and ex-agent is a former co-owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres. The other lead investor is the Whitener Co. of Knoxville, Tenn.

Among the local backers are musician Darius Rucker of Hootie & the Blowfish fame, restaurant operator Mark Cummins and local entrepreneur John McGrath of JEM Management.

"We are confident that the combined background and relationships of the investor group will provide unique growth opportunities moving forward,” Whitener CEO Gordon Whitener said in a statement Friday.

The day-to-day management hasn't changed at the Family Circle Tennis Center, site of the annual Volvo Car Open, concerts and other outdoor events.

The new majority owners are "involved in lot of companies in our space," said Bob Moran, the longtime president of Charleston Tennis.

"Our new partners provide a wide array of marketing, management and promotional opportunities that add great value to the goals we have developed for the facility," Moran said in a statement. "In short, they are helping open more doors for us on the sponsorship, ticketing and operational fronts."

He added the sale would result in "increased opportunity" for the WTA's annual Volvo Car Open, formerly the Family Circle Cup.

"The new investor team has strong relationships within the sports and entertainment world ...," Moran said.

Meredith sold 70 percent of Charleston Tennis to Moorad, Whitener and their backers for $600,000 in cash and an $8.5 million note to be repaid over eight years. As part of the deal, the Family Circle publisher keeps one seat on the company's board of directors and has "approval rights over certain limited matters," according to the quarterly filing.

The acquisition gives the new majority owners an influential role at one of South Carolina's three biggest annual professional sporting events. The others are the Heritage golf tournament on Hilton Head Island and the Southern 500 NASCAR race at Darlington Speedway.

Greg Byrnes, a Chicago-based partner in Moorad Sports, said the handover on Daniel Island has been "completely seamless and business as usual."

He called the investment "a unique opportunity" for his firm, citing Charleston's history, the longevity of the Volvo Car Open and the physical venue.

The buyer is a group that includes Jeff Moorad of California-based investment firm Moorad Sports Partners. The lawyer and ex-agent is a former co-owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres. The other lead investor is the Whitener Co. of Knoxville, Tenn.

Among the local backers are musician Darius Rucker of Hootie & the Blowfish fame, restaurant operator Mark Cummins and local entrepreneur John McGrath of JEM Management.

"We are confident that the combined background and relationships of the investor group will provide unique growth opportunities moving forward,” Whitener CEO Gordon Whitener said in a statement Friday.

The day-to-day management hasn't changed at the Family Circle Tennis Center, site of the annual Volvo Car Open, concerts and other outdoor events.

The new majority owners are "involved in lot of companies in our space," said Bob Moran, the longtime president of Charleston Tennis.

"Our new partners provide a wide array of marketing, management and promotional opportunities that add great value to the goals we have developed for the facility," Moran said in a statement. "In short, they are helping open more doors for us on the sponsorship, ticketing and operational fronts."

He added the sale would result in "increased opportunity" for the WTA's annual Volvo Car Open, formerly the Family Circle Cup.

"The new investor team has strong relationships within the sports and entertainment world ...," Moran said.

Meredith sold 70 percent of Charleston Tennis to Moorad, Whitener and their backers for $600,000 in cash and an $8.5 million note to be repaid over eight years. As part of the deal, the Family Circle publisher keeps one seat on the company's board of directors and has "approval rights over certain limited matters," according to the quarterly filing.

The acquisition gives the new majority owners an influential role at one of South Carolina's three biggest annual professional sporting events. The others are the Heritage golf tournament on Hilton Head Island and the Southern 500 NASCAR race at Darlington Speedway.

Greg Byrnes, a Chicago-based partner in Moorad Sports, said the handover on Daniel Island has been "completely seamless and business as usual."

He called the investment "a unique opportunity" for his firm, citing Charleston's history, the longevity of the Volvo Car Open and the physical venue.


(10/27/17) PINE FOREST COUNTRY CLUB: Racquets for Recovery
MUSC HOLLINGS CANCER CENTER VISIT
The Ladies Tennis Association officers and some of our own honored players got a chance to interact with women who directly benefit from the Survivor Fit Club - one of the programs that continue to be strictly funded through the contributions of Racquets for Recovery. It was inspirational to hear these survivors sincerely express how they personally benefit and how much they appreciate of the existence of such a program. It truly was an honor and gave us a renewed spirit and encouragement to continue this important effort.

The tennis courts at Pine Forest will be rocking the first weekend in November as we create a pink atmosphere and camaraderie as players battle for bragging rights and raise funds for local recovering breast cancer patients.
The Tennis Tournament continues to grow and now is a Level 2 USTA Level Sanctioned Men's, Women's and Mixed Doubles (no singles). This tournament is considered a tradition among tennis communities; and we will be hosting approximately 200 players from all over the state and beyond.

JOIN THE FUN! CELEBRATION - Saturday, November 4th - 6:30 P.M.
You do not have to be a participant in tournament to attend.

RSVP REQUIRED - DEADLINE - SUNDAY, OCTOBER 29TH
Email Tabatha Waddill -Tabatha.waddill@edwardjones.com
$15 Per Person - Includes Dinner - Catered by Bob's Viddles - Silent Auction - Cash Bar

Enjoy a night by the pool and cabana as we eat, drink and be merry and celebrate the tournament and the efforts of all involved. Big Jim will be spinning some tunes and there will be fabulous silent auction items to bid on. You could go home with a fabulous hunting or fishing excursion, local art by our own John Meckley, Jamie McElhiney and Margaret Hall Hoyback, a week in the mountains or a night in Charleston at the historic Pinkney Inn, Volvo Car Open tickets, barrel of booze, and much, much more. Visit the auction anytime Saturday afternoon and get a bid number.
Thanks to all that have allowed our Pink Flamingo's to adorn your lawns for the month of October. Flocking for Funds has become a Pine Forest and surrounding neighborhoods' tradition too!

All net proceeds of this event will benefit local recovering breast cancer patients through the Racquets for Recovery Fund at MUSC Hollings Breast Cancer Center.

Please contact Shirley Hunter for additional information or questions. racquetsforrecovery@gmail.com


(10/26/17) SUNDAY DISPATCH: TONY CALLAIO: My Corner, Your Corner: Remembering the ghosts of Halloweens past
Time does fly and my children are no longer children. One day ,they may have Halloween stories of their own to tell.

I had a conversation with my good friend and tennis enthusiast, Mike Saia. Mike was responsible for hiring me to work at a world-class tennis tournament in Charleston, SC for many years. It was great fun and a chance to utilize my skills as a writer and a photographer.

Even though Mike hasn’t lived in Greater Pittston for many years, it’s like he never left. He reads everything and anything he can get his hands on regarding our area. In fact, he may even call me to tell me about a happening here before I hear of it.

He noticed Wyoming Area sophomore Brianna Pizzano recently became a two-time tennis district champion. He shared his excitement over Brianna’s accomplishment, at the same time sharing information regarding her father Steve.

As the story goes, in the early 1990s, Wyoming Area had a great tennis facility but did not field a boys or girls tennis team. A group of guys that included Mike and Steve approached the school to see if they could start a tennis team.

Steve Pizzano, a senior at the time, really pushed for the program and was instrumental in creating a boys tennis team. It didn’t happen during Steve’s senior year, but it did the next year when Saia became a senior.

Could the tennis gods be rewarding Steve for his efforts at Wyoming Area? Anything is possible for sure, but in the meantime, Brianna will be one of 16 PA girls on the 2A level who will vie for a state tennis title on Nov. 3 and 4 in Hershey.

Thanks to Steve, Mike and others who pushed for these programs and good luck to Brianna at states.


(10/26/17) MEREDITH CORPORATION: Meredith Reports Fiscal 2018 First Quarter Results
Meredith Corporation (NYSE:MDP) reported today fiscal 2018 first quarter results. Earnings per share were $0.73, including a gain of $0.04 per share related to the sale of a majority stake in the Family Circle Cup Tennis Center.


(10/26/17)  WALTERBORO PRESS AND STANDARD: CINDY CROSBY: Lady Hawk Tennis finishes 2017 season
The Colleton Prep Lady Hawk Tennis team finished the 2017 season following a 5-4 loss to Palmetto Christian Academy during the 2017 SCISA Class II-A Playoffs held Monday Oct. 16 at the Family Circle Tennis Center on Daniel Island.

The Lady Hawks finished the season 6-3 in Region II-A.

“Sadly, our season came to an end,” said tennis sponsor Sandy Smith. “I am so proud of all of the girls. They played with so much heart and I enjoyed watching them grow throughout the season. I would like to thank all the supportive parents and Coach Alan for a successful season.”

Colleton Prep is slated to return each member on its roster next season.

Palmetto Christian 5,
Colleton Prep Academy 4
Oct. 16
Singles
#1 Meredith Ware (CPA) d. Emily Shaw (PCA) 6-3, 6-4
#2 Lauren Pernell (PCA) d. Rianna Bailey (CPA) 6-3, 6-2
#3 Gabe Noce (PCA) d. Becca Martin (CPA) 6-2, 6-1
#4 Katelyn Howard (PCA) d. Emma Kate Bell (CPA) 6-1, 6-0
#5 Avery Jiminez (PCA) d. Sidney Bailey (CPA) 6-1, 6-4
#6 Paige Emerson (PCA) d. Gracie Bishop (CPA) 6-0, 6-1
Doubles
#1 M.Ware/B.Martin (CPA) d. E.G. Campbell/E. Estes (PCA) 8-2
#2 S. Bailey/E.K.Bell (CPA) d. A. Norman/E. Campbell (PCA) 8-6
#3 R. Bailey/G. Bishop (CPA) d. E. Sloane/A. Schaaf (PCA 8-0

Exhibition Match
K. Spears/M. Pellum (CPA) d. E. Brown/B. Weinheimer 8-6


(10/25/17)  WALTERBORO PRESS AND STANDARD: CINDY CROSBY: Lady Cougar Tennis eliminated
The Colleton County Lady Cougar Tennis team was eliminated from the SCHSL Lower State Playoffs following a 5-1 loss against the No. 1 seed Myrtle Beach High School on Wednesday Oct. 18. The Lady Cougars finished their 2017 season 6-6 overall and 2-6 in Region 8-AAAA.

“I am so incredibly proud of this team,” said Coach Allyson Griffin last Wednesday evening. “They have had a great season – playing and fighting hard in each and every match. To my six seniors, it has been a great six years. I love each of you and wish you the best. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for each one of you.”

Daryn Hooker was named All-Region last week for the Colleton County High School Lady Cougar Tennis team for Region 8-AAAA.

Colleton County 1, Myrtle Beach 5
Wednesday Oct. 18
Singles
No. 1 Bailey Deskins (MB) d. Anni Crook (CC) 6-2, 6-1
No. 2 Paxton Gentry (MB) d. Cami Crook (CC) 6-0, 6-3
No. 3 Carrington Callihan (MB) d. Alicia Roberson (CC) 6-1, 6-2
No. 4 Daryn Hooker (CC) d. Janell Horton (MB) 6-4, 7-5
No. 5 Jalah Horton (MB) d. Megan DeWitt (CC) 6-1, 6-2
Doubles
Cassidy Friend/Carly Starnes (MB) d. Matilyn Griffin/Madison Strickland (CC) 6-3, 6-0


(10/25/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Pinewood Tennis season ends with a thriller
The Pinewood tennis team’s season came to a thrilling end last week when it was beaten 5-4 by Heathwood Hall in a SCISA state quarter final match.

“Despite the challenges faced during the playoff match, the girls fought hard and came up with some impressive wins,” Pinewood coach Ivan Besancon said. “I am very proud of the group. They have come a long way in a short amount of time. Making this playoff match a competitive one was a huge achievement.”

Region Champion Heathwood Hall hosted Pinewood at the Avery Tennis Center and the match was soon tied at 3-3 after the singles matches. On the No. 1 Singles Court, Panthers seventh-grader Jessica Osborne beat Highlanders’ junior Kendall Couch and gave Couch her first loss of the season. Osborne won the match 6-2, 2-6, 10-8.

Pinewood also came away with wins on the No. 3 and No. 4 courts with Abbey Martichenko winning at 6-4, 6-4 and Ellie Rodgers winning 6-4, 3-6, 11-9.

It all came down to doubles play and Heathwood Hall won two of the three doubles matches to win the match. The Pinewood pairing of Martichenko and Mary Hannah Rodgers was very close with the Highlanders during an 8-6 win. The team of Victoria Vietri and Elizabeth Hylton also had a very close match, pulling out a 9-8 win.

It was a strong end to a challenging season for Pinewood.

“Our schedule this season was really tough but we did not get discouraged and tried hard which allowed us to show up in a big way when the playoffs came around,” Besancon said. “I am looking forward to another year with this young group.”


(10/25/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Tennis, volleyball playoffs open
The Class AAAAA girls’ tennis and volleyball playoffs opened last week.

The Summerville Girls Tennis team earned a 6-0 victory over Conway Oct. 18 in the opening round. The Green Wave didn’t drop a set in the match.

Earning a win on the singles courts were Paige Reynolds (6-0, 6-2), Sullivan Long (6-0, 6-1), Lizzie Naval (6-3, 6-0), Hannah McKee 6-0, 6-1) and Annelise Pagan (6-0, 6-0).

On the No. 2 Doubles Court, Gwen Rast and Zakiya Wilson teamed up for a 6-4, 7-6 (2) Summerville win.

Summerville improved to 14-8 with the win and advanced to face River Bluff, which eliminated West Ashley last week, in the second round. Results from Tuesday’s second-round match were not available at press time. The winner of the match advances to play either West Florence or Spring Valley.

Ashley Ridge faced Blythewood in the opening round and was eliminated with a 6-0 loss on the road.


(10/25/17) Wando, Bishop England and Academic Magnet advance to Lower State tennis finals
Junior Grace McKellar came through in the clutch for Wando (18-2) Wednesday night in a pair of tiebreakers to lift the Warriors to a 4-2 win over Blythewood's Bengals (14-2) and into the SCHSL Class AAAAA girls tennis Lower State championship match.

Bishop England (15-2) also stayed in the running for its seventh straight state title in a 5-0 win over visiting Georgetown to claim a spot in the Class AAA Lower State final.

Academic Magnet (11-1) became the third area school to advance to the Lower State finals with a 6-0 road victory over Batesburg-Leesville in the Class AA Lower State semifinals.

But Wando had to fight for every point late in the match to pull out its win. McKellar wrapped up the victory at No. 4 singles by bouncing back from losing the first set in a tiebreaker to turn the tide on Blythewood's Jordan Slagle, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 10-6.

Leading 7-6 in the match tiebreaker, McKellar came up with an ace out wide and then a clean forehand winner cross-court to reach match point. The individual match and team match ended on the next point with a double fault by the Blythewood player.

"I just tried to stay concentrated and not get frustrated," McKellar said.

About the serve, she said, "My serve is my biggest weapon and I just wanted to get it in." And that she did as the serve hit the sideline and bounced away from Slagle.

Wando will be the home team in Monday's lower state final, which is expected to be against River Bluff. The good news for Wando coach Megan Hinton is that Blythewood and River Bluff split a pair of regular-season matches.

"The girls came out and played their best game," said Minton, in her first year as coach. "We looked really good and the competition was good but we out-played them. We are going to now look forward and start preparing for the next round."

BISHOPS CRUISE

Bishop England had no trouble against visiting Georgetown, dropping only five games in the Nos. 1-4 singles and No. 2 doubles matches. The No. 5 singles match was not completed.

Freshman Lily Woods didn't yield a game in the top spot for the Bishops.

"The girls are continuing to play well and we are looking forward to lower state (final)," said BE coach Kristin Fleming Arnold.

The Bishops played their final match at Snee Farm Country Club since they will go on the road to Waccamaw for Monday's lower state finals, and next season the Bishops will be playing on their own new courts.

MAGNET BREEZES

Academic Magnet went on the road to Batesburg and yielded a total of only six games on Wednesday. The Raptors will go for a second straight trip to the Class AA state finals on Monday when they entertain Marion, which scored a 5-1 win over Woodland.

"They played great," first-year Magnet coach Marissa Hollabaugh said about her team. "It was a little chilly, but once they got into it and warmed up, they did great."

WANDO 4, BLYTHEWOOD 2
SINGLES: Erica Zippel (B) def. Abby Sinclaire, 6-3, 6-3; Kelsey Sinclaire (W) def. Hannah Myers, 6-3, 6-4; Sophie Carlton (B) def. Emma Chadwick, 5-7, 7-6 (7), 10-7; Grace McKellar (W) def. Jordan Slagle, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 10-6; Adelia Phillips (W) def. Emma Horan, 6-0, 1-6, 10-7. DOUBLES: Karson Powers/Ellie Zimmerman (W) def. Rachel Truitt/Kinsey Todd, 7-5, 6-4.

BISHOP ENGLAND 5, GEORGETOWN 0
SINGLES: Lily Woods (BE) def. Avery Benton, 6-0, 6-0; Eleanor Campbell (BE) def. Tyah Bonds, 6-0, 6-1; Jenna Santa Lucia (BE) def. Journey Peters, 6-0, 6-1; Mackenzie Penton (BE) def. Hannah Nash, 6-0, 6-1; Lauren Ferrera (BE) led Alston Nash, 6-2, 2-1. DOUBLES: Drew Bobey/Jackie Hanna (BE) def. Tata Hemeon/Alexa Neely, 6-0, 6-2.

ACADEMIC MAGNET 6, BATESBURG-LEESVILLE 0

SINGLES: Josephine Drake (AM) def. Hannah Derrick, 6-0, 6-1; Mina Schaafsma (AM) def. Reynolds Rawls, 6-0, 6-0; Aileen Shi (AM) def. Caroline Bedenbaugh, 6-2, 6-2; Abbi Hulsey (AM) def. Megan Hook, 6-0, 6-0; Mary Claire Newsom (AM) def. Beth Ann Puryear, 6-0, 6-0. DOUBLES: Caroline Young/Tori Streetman (AM) def. Maria Reyes/Nicole Deluna, 6-1, 6-0.


(10/23/17) Rain interrupts high school tennis playoffs
Monday's rain played havoc with the local S.C. High School League girls tennis teams' scheduled matches in the round of 16 of the state playoffs.

Academic Magnet, Bishop England and Wando all canceled their home matches that had been scheduled for Monday afternoon by midday and rescheduled them for Tuesday afternoon.

Summerville's match at River Bluff was postponed to Tuesday as well as Berkeley match at A.C. Flora.

Coach David Long's Summerville team (14-8) has the task of going on the road to play a No. 1 seed, River Bluff. Long considers River Bluff to be a serious threat in the lower state Class AAAAA playoffs.

The Green Wave lost to River Bluff, 5-1, in the third round of last year's state playoffs. River Bluff has all seven of its top players back, according to Long. Summerville has six of its top seven back.

"I think they (River Bluff) are the best team in the lower state," said Long, whose Summerville team lost two regular-season matches to 7-AAAAA champion Wando.

Bishop England (13-2) will take on Aynor at Snee Farm Country Club at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Class AAA as the Bishops resume their chase for a seventh straight state title.

Wando (16-2) also has reset its Class AAAAA match against Dutch Fork for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Warriors' courts in Mount Pleasant.

Academic Magnet will play its Class AA playoff match against Green Sea-Floyds on Tuesday at the Raptors' tennis complex in North Charleston.

Berkeley (12-5) will play a road match in the Class AAAA playoffs against No. 1 seed A.C. Flora on Tuesday. That match will be played in Columbia.

"We match up well with A.C. Flora," said Berkeley coach Joe Harnage, whose team suffered a 6-0 loss to A.C. Flora in last year's playoffs. "We have a strong No. 1, (all-Region 8-AAAA freshman) Abby Cotuna. If she can win, we may be able to win some at the bottom. Their (Flora's) top three are very strong."


(10/21/17)  Fenno commits to Wake Forest
Charleston’s exceptional junior tennis is moving into the heart of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Brant Fenno has verbally committed to play tennis for Wake Forest. The Deacons have one of the country’s top collegiate programs.

Wake Forest coach Tony Bresky can’t talk about landing the talented Porter-Gaud senior until Fenno signs a national letter-of-intent in November. But Bresky is happy that Fenno will be joining a program that advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals, was ranked second nationally at one point and finished 30-3.

“I chose Wake because of the extremely strong tennis program and because of the strong academics,” Fenno said. “Also, I had a great visit and really liked the coach (Bresky) and the team.”

Brant’s father, Edward Fenno, also is happy. “They (Wake Forest) have a very strong team these days, and finished ranked No. 2 in the country last year. Brant is very excited,” the father said.

“Their coach was on the lookout for a tall, hard-hitting lefty and seems to have a plan in mind for Brant.”

Fenno is just that, a 6-2 left-hander who plays an aggressive big game, with plenty of spin and unlimited potential.

He skipped high school tennis as a sophomore to focus on his game, and the move appears to have paid dividends. Fenno led Porter-Gaud to a state title back in the spring, his third.

Fenno recently earned a world junior tennis ranking by winning five matches to reach the round of 16 in an ITF Grade 5 tournament in Austin, Texas. He is ranked 50th in the South in boys 18.

HIGGINS HONORED

Tom Higgins spent 29 years coaching either men’s or women’s tennis teams at Eastern Kentucky University. The courts there are named in his honor.

And if you know the story-telling, likeable “Hig”, the former FBI agent made an endless number of friends in that time. Earlier this month, more than 35 of them gathered at the beach for what they called “HigFest 2017.”

Of course, Higgins is known best locally for directing Porter-Gaud’s boys to seven SCISA Class AAA state titles in his 11 years as the Cyclones’ head coach. He also won a pair of girls titles at the school.

Now retired, Higgins was in the championship picture on Saturday when Porter-Gaud’s girls won another state title.

The HigFest crowd was made up of former men’s and women’s players from Eastern Kentucky and friends of Higgins. Players traveled from distant places such as Texas, Michigan, Indiana, Florida, Kentucky, Virginia, Indiana and Dubai to celebrate the impact Higgins had on their lives.

Among the group was Heather Chadwick, who played tennis for two years at Eastern Kentucky. Her daughter, Emma Chadwick, is Wando’s No. 3 player as a freshman and is now coached by Higgins.

“It is so amazing and wonderful he (Higgins) is Emma’s coach, too. It’s unbelievable,” Emma Chadwick said.

CARTER’S TEAM WINS

Charleston’s Brenda Carter served as the playing captain of the U.S. women’s 70 team that recently won a world championship in the Althea Gibson Cup competition in Orlando, Fla., at the USTA National Campus at Lake Nona. The U.S. team scored a 2-1 win over the Netherlands in the championship match of the ITF’s 37th Super-Seniors World Team Championships.

Carter posted a 3-1 record in her matches at No. 2 singles in the competition.

The U.S. women won all four of the age group titles (65s, 70s, 75s and 80s), while the U.S. men won three of five titles.

LOCAL NOTES

-- A local 14-and-under Junior Team Tennis team named “Baby Got Backhand” placed 14th recently in the JTT 14U Advanced National Championship tournament at the USTA National Campus at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla. Wando’s Emma Chadwick played on the JTT team that her mother coached. The team won the state championship and then finished as runner-up in the Southern tournament.

-- The Charleston area has five players ranked in the top 15 in the South in girls 14: No. 3 Meggie Navarro, No. 4 Allie Gretkowski, No. 12 Sophie Williams, No. 13 Carri Hayes and No. 15 Whitley Pate. That’s more than any other area.


(10/21/17) Porter-Gaud wins SCISA Class AAA girls tennis state championship
Porter-Gaud's Charlotte Hartsock and Rebecca Kahn now have their state championship sandwiches.

"I remember when Grace Robards said she had her 'State Championship Sandwich' when we won in 2014, and now I have mine," was the way the smallish 5-2 Kahn described closing out her high school career with a solid individual win and a second state title ("the bread").

The Cyclones (17-4) won this one with ease, blanking archrival and defending state champion Ashley Hall, 5-0, on Saturday to capture the SCISA Class AAA girls state tennis championship at Cayce Tennis Center. Coach Mary Gastley's 31st Ashley Hall team closed out with a 15-7 record.

Kahn won her match at No. 3 singles on Saturday over Ashley Hall freshman Marissa Dye, 6-3, 6-0. Just a freshman back then, Kahn teamed with senior Robards in doubles to decide the 2014 title match.

"It feels great to win twice, especially as a senior," Kahn said. "We have a great team and get along so well together. It was very exciting to finish it in singles and not have to go into doubles."

Senior Alex Hildell put the finishing touch on this state championship with a 6-0, 6-1 win at No. 2 singles over talented Ashley Hall junior Rebecca Spratt.

"I just won most of the key points," said Hildell, who joined the Porter-Gaud program as a junior. "It feels good. I'm so proud of all of the girls."

It might be said by Hartsock that, "The Cyclones won before Emma (Navarro) won." Navarro, the South's No. 1 junior, held a 6-1, 5-3 lead over hard-hitting Porter-Gaud eighth-grader Sophie Williams in No. 1 singles when Hildell nailed down the title-clinching fifth individual win.

Porter-Gaud's Nos. 2-6 players yielded only 11 games in what Hartsock termed as her team's best performance of a great season.

The other Porter-Gaud winners included junior No. 6 Michaela Cuoco, who also played in the 2014 final, but for Ashley Hall. Freshmen Piper Brown and McKenzie Davis also scored decisive wins at Nos. 4 and 5 singles for the Cyclones.

Hartsock said the difference this year for the Cyclones was the addition of Williams and Brown to the team that suffered a 5-3 loss to Ashley Hall in the 2016 state final.

"Piper and Sophie were the big additions. To have two tournament players to come into our program was huge," the fifth-year Porter-Gaud coach said.

"We really have six girls who play tennis all year around. That's what you need.

"Everyone was focused today. We played our best. We had a great day," added Hartsock, whose team had beaten Ashley Hall twice during the regular season.

"I told the girls to stay focused and win the important point . . . to stay in the present . . . the next point is the important point, not the last."

PORTER-GAUD 5, ASHLEY HALL 0
SINGLES: Emma Navarro (AH) led Sophie Williams, 6-1, 5-3; Alex Hildell (PG) def. Rebecca Spratt, 6-0, 6-1; Rebecca Kahn (PG) def. Marissa Dye, 6-3, 6-0; Piper Brown (PG) def. Hannah Reuther, 6-0, 6-1; McKenzie Davis (PG) def. Addison Propes, 6-1, 6-2; Michaela Cuoco (PG) def. Ella Gray Settle, 6-3, 6-0.


(10/20/17) PREP ZONE: Girls tennis
SOCASTEE 6, STRATFORD 0
Singles: Cox d. Gregg 6-0, 6-0. Rogers d. Sivertsen 6-0, 6-0. Renfrow d. Class-Rodriguez 6-4, 6-6 (7), 10-6. Benedetti d. Eudy 6-4, 7-5. Mortel d. Hattayer 6-0, 6-0. Doubles: Beam/Williams d. Gourdine/Lin 6-3, 6-1.

Next: Socastee moves on to the second round of the playoffs. Stratford's season is complete.

PALMETTO CHRISTIAN 5, COLLETON PREP 4
Singles: Ware (CP) d. Shaw 6-3, 6-4. Pernell d. R. Bailey 6-3, 6-2. Noce d. Martin 6-2, 6-1. Howard d. Bell 6-1, 6-0. Jimenez d. S. Bailey 6-1, 6-4. Emerson d. Bishop 6-0, 6-1. Doubles: Ware/Martin (CP) d. EG Campbell 8-2. S. Bailey/Bell (CP) d. Norman/E. Campbell 8-6. R. Bailey/Bishop d. Schaaf/Brown 8-6.

Records: PCA 9-3. Next: PCA plays Trinity Byrnes in the SCISA 2A Semifinals at Cayce today.


(10/19/17) Porter-Gaud aiming for SCISA tennis title this weekend
No other area in the South can match the Lowcountry in the number of highly ranked 14-and-under girls tennis players.

But of the five local Southern top 15 players in girls 14, only Porter-Gaud eighth-grader Sophie Williams competes at the high school level. Williams as well as the Cyclones as a team all benefit from that local competition.

In her first full season with the Cyclones, Williams is aiming for a new accomplishment to go with her current 12th ranking in the South in girls 14. Porter-Gaud (15-4) will oppose Heathwood Hall on Friday at 2:15 p.m. in the semifinals of the SCISA Class AAA state girls playoffs at Cayce Tennis Center.

A win in that match would send the top-seeded Cyclones into Saturday's 9 a.m. state final against the winner of Friday's other 2:15 p.m. semifinal that pits lower bracket top seed Wilson Hall (15-0) against defending champion Ashley Hall (14-6), the second seed in the lower bracket.

Williams knows all about Ashley Hall, having dropped a pair of regular-season decisions to top-ranked Southern junior girl Emma Navarro at No. 1 singles. "Emma does everything well," she said.

Navarro is back with Ashley Hall after missing the Panthers' opening-round 8-1 win over Cardinal Newman on Tuesday, due to competing in a $25,000 U.S. Pro Circuit tournament.

With her torrid left-handed game, Williams is the missing piece from a year ago that transitioned a 2016 Porter-Gaud runner-up team into a heavy favorite to win this season's state title. That's primarily because of the Cyclones' two one-sided wins over Ashley Hall in the regular season.

Williams was talented enough to push 2016 No. 1 and All-Lowcountry player Alex Hildell to the No. 2 slot in the P-G lineup for her senior season. The dual strength at the top of the lineup makes the Cyclones a different team this season.

Williams has an eye on college tennis and maybe even professional tennis. She has been training since age three. "I like competing," the left-hander said. "I got serious (about tennis) when I was seven, and more serious when I was 10. I'm really serious now."

A James Island resident, she trains five times a week at Wild Dunes on the Isle of Palms with noted pro Martin Zumpft and three times weekly with Country Club of Charleston pro Toby Simpson.

"Martin really helps me keep my game under control," said Williams, whose favorite player is hard-hitting American CoCo Vandeweghe ("I like the way she plays.").

"Toby and Martin have played a big roll on where I am right now."

At Wild Dunes, Williams trains alongside Southern girls 14 No. 13 Carri Hayes. "We push each other," Williams said.

Williams also trained at LTP Tennis prior to joining Zumpft's academy, and often hit with Southern No. 3 girls 14 player Meggie Navarro, as well as Emma Navarro. "Emma, Meggie and I are all good friends."

As a left-hander, Williams thinks she has an advantage over most right-handers. "I can hit my serve with a different spin, and also hit my forehand to their backhand."

She considers Porter-Gaud coach Charlotte Hartsock a good coach and mentor. "She likes to compete, and she's a good coach. Last year Charlotte told me to focus on my national ranking (and skip high school tennis). She gives me really good advice."

Williams played for the Cyclones as a sixth-grader, but was injured and played only a few matches.

She is finding high school tennis to be fun. "I like it," she said. "Porter-Gaud's can win state."
Ashley Hall

Veteran Ashley Hall coach Mary Gastley likes the Panthers' chances against Wilson Hall, especially with Navarro back in the lineup. Ashley Hall defeated another unbeaten Wilson Hall team, 6-0, in last year's state semifinals.

"Wilson Hall is an experienced undefeated team with six singles players returning from last year's team. They are a tough competitor," Gastley said.
Palmetto Christian

Palmetto Christian Academy (9-3) is in the running for an eighth SCISA girls title after Monday's 5-4 first-round win over Colleton Prep in the Class AA state playoffs. Coach Dewey Caulder's team will face Trinity-Byrnes of Darlington in Friday's 4:30 p.m. semifinals at Cayce.

But Palmetto Christian will have only No. 1 Emily Shaw available on Friday among its top eight players, due to fall break conflicts. Shaw is a seventh-grader.

"I'm excited for the team to have a chance to play," Caulder said about his Region 2-AA champion team.

With its regular lineup, PCA might have had a real chance to win a state title since Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach posted a first-round upset of Hilton Head Prep, which was seeking its sixth consecutive state title. Christian will take on Spartanburg Day in the other state semifinal.


(10/18/17) ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Green Wave enters tennis playoffs
The Summerville Girls Tennis team opens the playoffs on the road Oct. 18.

The Green Wave picked up region wins over Stratford and Fort Dorchester last week to secure the No. 3 seed for Region 7-AAAAA. Last year that would have earned the team a home playoff match, but this year’s bracket has the No. 3 seed from Region 6-AAAAA hosting the first round so Summerville opens the playoffs in Conway.

If Summerville gets past the Tigers, it will either travel to the Region 5 champion or host West Ashley Oct. 23. Riverbluff, which eliminated Summerville from the playoffs in the Lower State semifinals last year, is most likely the team Summerville will face if it advances to the second round.

Summerville is coming off a 5-1 victory over Fort Dorchester so it should have some momentum. The Wave improved to 13-8 with a 10-4 mark in its region with that win.


(10/18/17) Charleston Regional Business Journal: Alan Fleming Tennis Tournament
The Alan Fleming Tennis Tournament raised more than $41,000 for Respite Care Charleston. The money will be used to help families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

The organization also will host the More. Good. Days. art gala and silent auction on Oct. 26 at Charleston Yacht Club. The event includes sales of artwork produced by Respite Care participants, a silent auction, and open bar and food from First Impressions Catering. Click for information or to purchase tickets or send email to jennifer@respitecarecharleston.org


(10/18/17) PREP ZONE: Girls tennis
SUMMERVILLE 6, CONWAY 0
Singles: Reynolds d. Stevens 6-0, 6-2. Long d. Gore 6-0, 6-1. Naval d. Hamilton 6-3, 6-0. McKee d. Norris 6-0, 6-1. Pagan d. Young 6-0, 6-0. Doubles: Rast/Wilson d. Harrelson/Hernandez 6-4, 7-6 (2).

Records: Summerville 14-8 (10-4). Conway 6-11 (4-6). Next: Summerville at River Bluff in the second round of the playoffs Monday. Conway's season is complete.

BISHOP ENGLAND 6, BATTERY CREEK 0
Singles: Woods d. Flesig 6-0, 6-0. Campbell d. Sanders 6-0, 6-0. Santa Lucia d. Gonzalez 6-0, 6-0. Ferrera d. Hill 6-0, 6-0. 5 singles forfeit. Doubles: 2 doubles forfeit.

Records: Bishop England 13-2. Next: Bishop England hosts TBD in the second round of the playoffs Monday. Battery Creek's season is complete.


(10/18/17)  WALTERBORO PRESS AND STANDARD: CINDY CROSBY: CCHS Tennis set to begin Lower State playoffs
The Lady Cougar Tennis team finished 6-6 overall and 2-6 in Region 8-AAAA last week, which was enough to earn a berth in the Lower State playoffs.

Colleton County will travel to Myrtle Beach to take on the No. 1-seeded Lady Seahawks in round one of the playoff brackets.

Colleton County had region losses against Hilton Head and Berkeley to finish out its region schedule, before earning a Senior Night win over Woodland High School on Wednesday Oct. 11.

Colleton County 0
Hilton Head 6
Oct. 3
Singles
No. 1 Emily Ruckno (HH) d. Anni Crook (CC) 6-1, 6-0
No. 2 Ariella Steplman (HH) d. Cami Crook (CC) 6-1, 6-1
No. 3 Sydney Hall (HH) d. Alicia Roberson (CC) 6-2, 6-4
No. 4 Madeleine Pollitzer (HH) d. Daryn Hooker (CC) 6-3, 6-0
No. 5 Danielle Silvan (HH) d. Taylor Virden (CC) 6-2, 6-1
Doubles
Pilar Kayser/Sierra Seabra (HH) d. Megan DeWitt/Madison Strickland 6-3, 6-1

Colleton County 1, Berkeley 5
Oct. 5
Singles
No. 1 Abby Cotuna (BHS) d. Anni Crook (CC) 6-0, 6-1
No. 2 Logan Ponce (BHS) d. Cami Crook (CC) 6-3, 6-1
No. 3 Shelby McCutchen (BHS) d. Alicia Roberson (CC) 6-4, 7-5
No. 4 Daryn Hooker (CC) d. Mary Neeley Jones (BHS) 7-6, 6-2
No. 5 Kennedy Yonce (BHS) d. Taylor Virden (CC) 7-6, 6-1
Doubles
Grace Lewis/Ashley Reichard (BHS) d. Megan DeWitt/Matilyn Griffin (CC) 6-1, 6-2

Colleton County 6, Woodland 0
Oct. 11
Singles
No. 1 Anni Crook (CC) d. Kimani Green (WHS) 6-1, 6-1
No. 2 Cami Crook (CC) d. MaKayla Cobbs (WHS) 6-0, 6-0
No. 3 Alicia Roberson (CC) d. Kaleshia Green (WHS) 6-1, 6-3
No. 4 Daryn Hooker (CC) d. Da’Yani Perry (WHS) 6-0, 6-0
No. 5 Taylor Virden (CC) d. Kiana Richardon (WHS) 6-0, 6-0
Doubles
Megan DeWitt/Madison Strickland (CC) d. Blair Floyd/Catlin Olive (WHS) 6-0, forfeit


(10/18/17)  WALTERBORO PRESS AND STANDARD: CINDY CROSBY: Lady Hawk Tennis earns berth in region playoffs
The Colleton Prep tennis team finished the 2017 season with region wins over John Paul II, assuring them a spot in the Region IV-AA playoffs.

The Lady Hawks finished 6-3 in the region. As of press time, they were scheduled to play Palmetto Christian Academy at 3 p.m. Monday Oct. 16 at Family Circle Tennis Center on Daniel Island.

Colleton Prep Academy 5, John Paul 2
Original match Sept. 21 suspended due weather, completed Oct. 12
Singles
#1 Meredith Ware (CPA) d. Katherine Reilly (JP2) 6-0, 6-0
#2 Rianna Bailey (CPA) d. Abi Quinty (JP2) 6-4, 6-0
#3 Merritt Woodham (JP2) d. Becca Martin (CPA) 6-2, 6-1
#4 Alexa Eaddy (JP2) d. Emma Kate Bell (CPA) 7-5, 6-4
#5 Sidney Bailey (CPA) d. Brenna Frank (JP2) 6-4, 6-2
#6 Samantha Reilly (JP2) d. Kaylee Spears (CPA) 6-0, 6-0
Doubles
#1 M. Ware/R. Bailey (CPA)d. K. Reilly/A. Quinty (JP2) 8-1
#2 B. Martin/E.K. Bell (CPA) d. M. Woodham/B. Frank (JP2) 8-1
#3 A. Eaddy/S. Reilly (JP2) d. S. Bailey/G. Bishop (CPA) 8-4

Colleton Prep Academy 8, John Paul II
Oct. 12
Singles
#1 Meredith Ware (CPA) d. Katherine Reilly (JP2) 8-0
#2 Rianna Bailey (CPA) d. Merritt Woodham (JP2) 8-6
#3 Becca Martin (CPA) d. Abi Quinty (JP2) 8-4
#4 Emma Kate Bell (CPA) d. Samantha Reilly (JP2) 8-1
#5 Brenna Frank (JP2) d. Sidney Bailey (CPA) 8-6
#6 Gracie Bishop (CPA) d. Renee Delgado (JP2) 8-1
Doubles
#1 M. Ware/B.Martin (CPA) d. K. Reilly/A. Quinty (JP2) 6-0
#2 R. Bailey/E.K. Bell (CPA) d. Caroline Gilmour/S. Reilly (JP2) 7-5
#3 K. Spears/G. Bishop (CPA) d. Caroline Lavery/R. Delgado (JP2) 6-4


(10/17/17) WEST OF…: Quite the Team Player: Sophomore Madison Clayton shines for West Ashley High School
Sophomore Madison Clayton is currently enrolled in online school via Connections Academy, but since she lives within the district, she’s able to play on the West Ashley High School Varsity Girls Tennis Team. “She is driven to become the best player, teammate, and student, and it shows daily,” says WAHS varsity girls tennis coach Jaima Kennedy.

Clayton was extremely surprised when she learned that she was this week’s Athlete of the Week. “It feels great,” she says. “Not going to West Ashley is hard sometimes, but being picked makes me feel really included.”

Clayton has been a part of the WAHS varsity girls tennis team since the start of the 2014 season as a 7th grader. This season marks her fourth consecutive year on the varsity team, where she currently plays in the number one spot; a ranking that she has held for the past two years.

Considering she takes classes online, and with tennis being an individual sport, many might think it would be difficult for Clayton to bond with her team, but that’s hardly the case.

“Although we play matches individually, in the end, it’s a team sport,” says Clayton. “I absolutely love all the girls on this team and the wonderful bond we all have.” Her coach would agree. “Madison is a great team player,” says Kennedy. “She pushes herself and her opponents to their limits [while] at the same time encouraging her teammates.”

Clayton’s friends and family are part of the reason she is such an accomplished tennis player. “My best friend and my dad played, so I became interested in [tennis],” says Clayton. She believes that her biggest supporters and motivators are her parents. They have always encouraged her to do whatever she can to improve. “Aside from practicing with the high school team, [Clayton] also trains with a private trainer several hours a day, working to be the best she can be,” says Kennedy.

“This season I’ve been working on mental toughness,” says Clayton. She has been challenging herself to do her best every match and to leave everything on the court. She likes to have the feeling that she tried her best, even in the matches she loses. “Walking off the court after losing a match, but feeling like I’ve won is an amazing accomplishment,” says Clayton. Her fight and determination is unmatched by many of her opponents. “She always comes ready to work with a smile and a positive attitude,” says Kennedy.

Currently, even though she is only a sophomore, Clayton holds the number one spot on the Varsity team, and she’s been number one for the past two years. She has played on the Varsity team since she was a seventh grader, and she continues to improve her singles game. This, paired with her mental toughness, is a recipe for success.


(10/16/17) Top-seeded Porter-Gaud rolls in girls tennis playoff opener
SCISA Class AAA girls tennis top seed Porter-Gaud needed only about an hour on Monday afternoon to move one step closer to an expected state title showdown with arch rival Ashley Hall in the state playoffs.

Porter-Gaud (15-4) easily beat an impending rainstorm as the Cyclones rushed to a 5-1 opening-round victory over the visiting Laurence Manning Academy Swamp Cats (6-6) from Manning at Porter-Gaud's tennis complex at Albemarle Point.

"We are so pleased to move ahead to the semifinals," said Porter-Gaud coach Charlotte Hartsock, who is looking forward to a possible state championship showdown on Saturday against defending state champion Ashley Hall. The Cyclones handed Region 3-AAA rival Ashley Hall a pair of losses in the regular season.

The Cyclones posted the one-sided win over Laurence Manning without regular senior No. 2 player Alex Hildell, who was visiting Wofford College. Everyone moved up a notch, but the Cyclones still didn't yield a game in the first five positions as eighth-grader Sophie Williams, senior Rebecca Kahn, freshman Piper Brown, freshman McKenzie Davis and junior Michaela Cuoco all posted 6-0, 6-0 victories.

Porter-Gaud's only loss came at No. 6 where sophomore Ellie Walter moved into the singles lineup, due to Hildell's absence.

Porter-Gaud now will face the winner of the first-round match between Heathwood Hall and Pinewood Prep in the SCISA Class AAA semifinals on Friday at 2:15 p.m. at Cayce Tennis Center. The Cyclones handed 3-AAA foe Pinewood Prep a pair of losses in the regular season.

Lower bracket second seed Ashley Hall (13-6) will begin the playoffs on Tuesday against second seed Cardinal Newman at 3:30 p.m. at Charleston Tennis Center.

PORTER-GAUD 5, LAURENCE MANNING 1

SINGLES: Sophie Williams (PG) def. Mason Ham, 6-0, 6-0; Rebecca Kahn (PG) def. Eliza Davis, 6-0, 6-0; Piper Brown (PG) def. Carley Tsukalas, 6-0, 6-0; McKenzie Davis (PG) def. Madison Ham, 6-0, 6-0; Michaela Cuoco (PG) def. Carrie Rickenbacker, 6-0, 6-0; Savannah South (LM) def. Ellie Walter, 6-4, 6-4.


(10/16/17) PINE FOREST COUNTRY CLUB: Court Resurfacing
As some of you may have noticed, we have begun resurfacing the tennis courts.

This should be a week-long project depending on the weather. There may be a few disruptions with the current court reservations but we only ask for your patience as we try to accommodate all. Of course league matches will take priority but the project will be completed as fast as possible.

Please refer to the court scheduler. We will notify anyone whose schedule may change.


(10/14/17) SCISA tennis playoffs feature familiar foes
Ashley Hall or Porter-Gaud?

The odds are pretty high that one of these two girls tennis teams will own another SCISA Class AAA state title by this time next week. Each team has won a state title during the last three years, and each team has advanced to seven of the last 10 finals, with Ashley Hall winning four titles in the last decade.

It all starts on Monday when Laurence Manning visits Porter-Gaud's complex at Albemarle Point for a 3:30 p.m. first-round SCISA playoff match against the upper bracket top-seeded Cyclones (14-4). Charlotte Hartsock is in her fifth season as the Cyclones' head coach, winning the state title in 2014 and finishing as runner-up to Ashley Hall a year ago.

Ashley Hall (13-6) will start a day later as the lower bracket No. 2 seed against lower bracket third seed Cardinal Newman on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at Charleston Tennis Center. Mary Gastley is in her 31st season at Ashley Hall, which scored a 4-2 victory over Cardinal Newman earlier this season in a high school tournament.

The state semifinals are scheduled for Friday at 2:15 p.m. at Sumter's Palmetto Tennis Center, with the state final set for next Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Sumter.

"We will take one match at a time. Hoping to have the opportunity to play PG one more time this year. They are very strong but we will give it our best effort," said Gastley, whose team suffered 7-2 and 6-3 losses to Porter-Gaud during the regular season.

The Panthers are hoping for a reversal of the regular-season results, much like Porter-Gaud accomplished in 2014 by upending Ashley Hall in the final after losing twice to the Panthers in the regular season or 2010 when Ashley Hall pulled a reversal against the Cyclones in the state title match.

But a major question is whether standout sophomore Emma Navarro will be available for Ashley Hall for any of the playoffs. Navarro led the Panthers to last year's state title, but she is scheduled to play in singles qualifying starting on Sunday (today) for a $25,000 pro circuit tournament at Florence, according to her coach, Peter Ayers.

As a result, Gastley said, "I'm not sure of Emma's status at this point."

With Florence and Sumter only an hour's drive apart, it might be possible for Southern junior No. 1 Navarro to participate in the SCISA playoffs next weekend, even if she plays late into the week at Florence.

Navarro and her Watkinsville, Ga.. partner, Chloe Beck, recently won the doubles title in a $15,000 pro circuit event at LTP Tennis. However, Navarro withdrew from a National Selection junior tournament in Delray Beach, Fla., last weekend due to pain in her shoulder.

"We decided not to push it before getting it (shoulder) looked at," Ayers explained Saturday morning. "All is good, completely pain free."

Ashley Hall's No. 2 player is junior Rebecca Spratt, who plays doubles with Navarro for the Panthers. Freshman Marissa Dye, senior Hannah Reuther, senior Addison Propes and freshman Ella Gray Settle are the Panthers' next four singles starters, respectively.

"Wilson Hall gets the higher seed because they are undefeated," Gastley said about 14-0 lower bracket top seed Wilson Hall, which also was unbeaten a year ago when Ashley Hall posted a 6-0 win over Wilson Hall in the state semifinals.

With eighth-grader Sophie Williams blossoming this year for the Cyclones to push 2016 No. 1 Alex Hildell down a position to No. 2 for her senior season, Porter-Gaud has been difficult to beat this season.

"The depth of this year's team is the best we’ve had in a long time," Hartsock said.

But the Cyclones ended the regular season with a 5-3 loss to non-SCISA member Oceanside Collegiate in a match that Williams and Hildell scored the only singles wins for Porter-Gaud.

"I am excited about our chances in the playoffs this year," Hartsock said. "We need to take one match at a time and I am not looking ahead."

After Williams and Hildell, Hartsock is expected to call on senior Rebecca Kahn, freshman Piper Brown, freshman McKenzie Davis and junior Michaela Cuoco in that order. Kahn and Davis both played on the 2014 Porter-Gaud team that halted Ashley Hall's bid in the state final, while Cuoco was playing for the Panthers at that time.

The winner of the Porter-Gaud vs. Laurence Manning match will advance to the state semifinals to oppose the winner of Monday's Pinewood Prep at Heathwood Hall match.
SCISA CLASS AA

Palmetto Christian will be the host team against Colleton Prep on Monday in the opening round of the Class AA SCISA state playoffs. The winner will advance to Friday's state semifinals in Sumter.

Perennial state champion Hilton Head Prep is in the other half of the Class AA draw in search of a sixth consecutive state championship. Hilton Head Prep was the Class AAA state champion in 2012 and 2013 before dropping back to Class AA where the Dolphins have won three more state titles in succession.


(10/13/17) PREP ZONE: Girls Tennis
WANDO 5, ASHLEY RIDGE 1
Singles: Schmedeke (AR) d. A. Sinclaire 6-2, 1-6, 10-8. K. Sinclaire d. Jacky 6-2, 6-0. Chadwick d. Shephard 6-1, 6-1. Phillips d. Sparling 6-0, 6-0. Biller d. Fuss 6-0, 6-3. Doubles: Zimmermann/Powers d. Rye/Stoper 6-0, 6-1.

PALMETTO CHRISTIAN 6, CAROLINA ACADEMY 3
Singles: Weaver (CA) d. Shaw 6-4, 6-2. E. Askins (CA) d. Pernell 6-0, 6-1. Noce d. Matthews 6-0, 6-1. Howard d. Hunt 6-0, 6-3. Jimenez d. McDaniel 7-6, 5-7, (1-0). Emerson d. S. Askins 6-3, 6-2. Doubles: Weaver/E. Askins (CA) d. Shaw/Pernell 6-2, 6-3. Noce/Howard d. Matthews/Hunt 2-6, 6-3, (1-0). Emerson/Campbell d. McDaniel/S. Askins 6-1, 7-6.

Records: PCA 8-3 (8-0). Next: Playoffs start the week of October 16th. Notes: PCA won the SCISA Region AA Championship. E.G. Campbell and Emma Brown are Seniors.

STRATFORD 4, WEST ASHLEY 2
Singles: Clayton (WA) d. Gregg 6-0, 6-3. Lowe (WA) d. Sivertsen 6-0, 6-4. Class-Rodriguez d. Brazelton 6-1, 7-6 (3). Eudy d. Diamond 6-3, 7-6 (3). Hattayer d. McClain 6-0, 6-1. Doubles: Gourdine/Lin d. Pickhardt/Angel 6-1, 6-2.

Records: Stratford 9-8 (6-8). Next: Stratford plays an opponent TBD in the playoffs Wednesday.

COLLETON PREP 8, JOHN PAUL II 1
Singles: Ware d. K. Reilly 8-0. R. Bailey d. Woodham 8-6. Martin d. Quinty 8-4. Bell d. S. Reilly 8-1. Frank (JP) d. S. Bailey 8-6. Bishop d. Delgado 8-1. Doubles: Ware/Martin d. K. Reilly/Quinty 6-0. R. Bailey/Bell d. Gilmour/S. Reilly 7-5. Spears/Bishop d. Lavery/Delgado 6-4.

WEST ASHLEY 6, FORT DORCHESTER 0
Singles: Clayton d. Hoffman 6-1, 6-1. Lowe d. Mullins 6-0, 6-0. Brazelton d. McPhearson 6-1, 6-0. Diamond d. Wang 6-0, 6-0. McClain d. Bezvidenhout 6-1, 6-1. Doubles: Pickhardt/Angel d. DeSeargent/Venkatapathy 6-0, 6-0.

Next: West Ashley plays TBD in the playoffs Wednesday.


(10/12/17) USTA SOUTH CAROLINA: Players, volunteers and coaches from across the state to receive USTA SC Annual Awards
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Tennis coaches, players and volunteers from all over the state will be honored for their tennis achievements later this year by the United States Tennis Association of South Carolina.

In all, 23 people and organizations will receive USTA South Carolina annual awards at the organization’s annual meeting on Hilton Head Island in December.

“It’s a privilege to recognize these award recipients at our annual meeting,” said Graham Cox, executive director of USTA South Carolina.

The 2017 USTA South Carolina annual award recipients:
Adaptive Tennis Volunteer of the Year - Renee Lowry, Mount Pleasant
Adult Female Player of the Year - Brenda Carter, Charleston
Adult Male Player of the Year - Nicholas Lombardo, Aiken
Adult Tournament of the Year - The NSWTA Championships/Anne Geier Cup, Mount Pleasant
Coach of the Year - Todd Seagle, Chesnee
Community Service Award - Sarah Casteel, Greenville
Community Tennis Association of the Year - Lowcountry Youth Tennis Association, Charleston
Company of the Year - Spinnaker Resorts, Hilton Head Island
Jim Russell Junior Tournament of the Year - The Peanut Patch Junior Open, Florence
John Newcomb Pro of the Year - Anibal Braga, Greenville
Junior Team Tennis Volunteer of the Year - Steve Cohen, Charleston
Junior Boy Player of the Year - Marcus Ferreira, Hilton Head Island
Junior Girl Player of the Year - Allie Gretkowski, Mount Pleasant
Most Improved Junior Boy - Stanley Waters, Mount Pleasant
Kimberly Hampton Most Improved Junior Girl of the Year - Carrington Hayes, Mount Pleasant
Helen Jeter League Volunteer of the Year - Ed Sprenger, Florence
Mark Hodgin Junior Sportsmanship Boy - Bryce Keim, Spartanburg
Mark Hodgin Junior Sportsmanship Girl - Suzette Smit, Tega Cay
Media Award - The Post and Courier, Charleston
Member Facility of the Year - Greenview Park Tennis Facility, Columbia
Pete Conklin Official of the Year - Margaret Dixon, Isle of Palms
Tennis Family of the Year - The Giannelli Family, Moncks Corner
Wilton McKinney Award - Lauren Joch, Irmo


(10/12/17) PREP ZONE: Girls Tennis
WANDO 6, WEST ASHLEY 0
Singles: Chadwick d. Clayton 6-3, 6-2. McKellar d. Lowe 6-3, 6-2. Zimmermann d. McClain 6-1, 6-0. Powers d. Diamond 6-1, 6-0. Doubles: Rogers/Biller d. Pickhardt/Angel 6-1, 6-0.

Next: West Ashley at Stratford today. Wando hosts Ashley Ridge today.

JAMES ISLAND 6, ASHLEY RIDGE 0
Singles: Hinson d. Schmedeke 6-3, 4-6, 10-5. Loring d. Brim 6-4, 1-6, 10-8. Snyder d. Jacky 6-2, 6-4. Masindet d. Shepard 6-0, 7-5. Kirkland d. Sparling 6-3, 6-0. Doubles: Cross/Eng d. Rye/Campbell 2-6, 6-2, 10-4.

Records: James Island 13-2. Next: James Island hosts an opponent TBD in the playoffs Wednesday. Notes: James Island finished second in the region.

STRATFORD 6, GOOSE CREEK 0
Singles: Sivertsen d. Balila 6-0, 6-0. Class-Rodriguez d. Shaw 6-0, 6-1. Eudy d. Torres 6-2, 6-0. Nielson d. Salas Bock 6-0, 6-0. Souza d. Rugema 6-1, 6-2. Doubles: Blass/Suter d. DeGuzman/Davis 6-1, 6-2.

Records: Stratford 8-8 (5-8). Goose Creek 0-14 (0-14). Next: Stratford hosts West Ashley today.


(10/11/17)  WALTERBORO PRESS AND STANDARD: CINDY CROSBY: Lady Hawk Tennis earns region win over Dolphins
The Colleton Prep tennis team improved to 4-3 in Region IV-AA following a 7-1 win over Hilton Head Prep last Thursday Oct. 5 in an away match. Earlier in the week, the Lady Hawks fell 7-2 to Beaufort Academy.

Colleton Prep has three region matches remaining where they must finish a rained-out game against John Paul II before playing them for the second time this season, and will also host Hilton Head Prep this week.

Beaufort Academy 7, CPA 2
Oct. 3, 2017
Singles
#1 Meredith Ware (CPA) d. Jayda Scheper (BA) 6-4, 6-0
#2 Pressley Jackson (BA) d. Rianna Bailey (CPA) 6-3, 4-6, (10-7)
#3 Ladasha Prather (BA) d. Becca Martin (CPA) 6-2, 6-4
#4 Emma Kate Bell (CPA) d. Mary Alden Cooper (BA) 4-6, 6-1, (10-7)
#5 Ansleigh Pingree (BA) d. Sidney Bailey (CPA) 6-4, 3-6, (10-8)
#6 Leath Gray (BA) d. Kaylee Spears (CPA) 6-2, 6-0
Doubles
#1 J. Scheper/P. Jackson (BA) d. M. Ware/R. Bailey (CPA) 8-6
#2 B. Ambrose/M.A. Cooper (BA) d. B. Martin/E.K. Bell (CPA) 6-6 (retired)
#3 A. Pingree/ L. Gray (BA) d. K. Spears/S. Bailey (CPA) 9-8

CPA 7, Hilton Head Christian 1, Oct. 7, 2017
Singles
#1 Olivia-Rose Besecker (HHC) d. Meredith Ware (CPA) 6-3, 6-3
#2 Rianna Bailey (CPA) d. Abby Peduzzi (HHC) 6-1, 6-1
#3 Becca Martin (CPA) d. Jacqueline Lowrey (HHC) 6-4, 6-1
#4 Sidney Bailey (CPA) d. Elizabeth Minton (HHC) 6-3, 6-0
#5 Gracie Bishop (CPA) d. Charlotte Bauer (HHC) 7-5, 6-0
#6 (CPA) by forfeit
Doubles
#1 Abandoned match
#2 R.Bailey/S.Bailey (CPA) d. E.Minton/J.Lowrey (HHC) 8-0
#3 (CPA) by forfeit


(10/11/17) Charleston's Shelby Rogers loses to Gavrilova in Hong Kong
Professional tennis can be unpredictable.

Just over a month ago, Shelby Rogers was riding high after an upset of Australia's Daria Gavrilova in the second round of the U.S. Open by taking the first and third sets in tiebreakers.

But two days before her 25th birthday, Rogers faced the 23-year-old Gavrilova again. This time, the setting was Hong Kong in a WTA Tour tournament, and the seventh-seeded Gavrilova prevailed, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 in the round of 16 on Wednesday in Hong Kong.

Gavrilova is ranked 22nd in the world, while Rogers is ranked 55th. Rogers had defeated Su Jeong Jang of Korea in the first round.


(10/10/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Tennis teams are wrapping up region slate
The playoff fate for the Region 7-AAAAA girls’ tennis teams began to take shape last week and should be clear by the end of this week.

Ashley Ridge won four region matches in a four-day period to improve to 9-7 on the season with an 8-4 mark in region play. The Swamp Foxes entered this week in fourth place in the region standings, but could move up with an upset over either region leader Wando or second place James Island in the Swamp Foxes final region matches. That run included a 4-3 win over Stratford Oct. 3 and a 6-0 win over Fort Dorchester Oct. 5.

“Last week we capped off a strong run as the regular season (began) to wind down,” Ashley Ridge coach Sean McCawley said. “Everyone played well in the (Fort Dorchester) match, but the ladies that stood out were Emily Fuss and Jessica Rye at our No. 2 doubles slot. They lost the first set pretty quickly before regrouping to put in a dominant performance in the second set and match tiebreaker to walk away with a victory.”

Against Stratford, Kate Schmedeke won on the No. 1 singles court, Arianna Brim won on the No. 2 singles court and Caroline Jacky won on the No. 3 singles court. Then Schmedeke and Brim paired up for a win on the No. 1 doubles court to clinch the win for the Swamp Foxes.

A hot streak for the Summerville girls recently came to an end. The Green Wave dropped its second matches of the season to Wando and James Island to fall to 11-8 with an 8-4 mark in region play. However, Summerville swept Ashley Ridge this season so it entered this week in third place for the region with only matches against Stratford and Fort Dorchester remaining.

“Our team just isn't playing its best tennis like we did last year at this time of the season," Summerville coach David Long said. “We have to pull things together, finish out the regular season on a good note and go to work in the playoffs.”

Pending any upsets in the final week of the regular season, Summerville will earn the region’s No. 3 seed for the playoff and host the No. 3 seed from Region 6-AAAAA on Oct. 18 in the first round. If that is the way things play out and Summerville wins in the first round it will travel to Region 5-AAAAA’s top team, which will likely be River Bluff. The Gators are the team that eliminated Summerville last year in the lower state semi-final match.

James Island and Wando are also expected to host in the first round. Ashley Ridge, if it remains in fourth place, will open the playoffs at the No. 2 team from Region 5-AAAAA.

Fort Dorchester defeated Goose Creek 6-0 last week so it is looking to build off that momentum. The top six teams from Region 7-AAAAA will make the playoffs while the bottom two will not.


(10/10/17) PREP ZONE: Girls Tennis
OCEANSIDE 5, PORTER-GAUD 3
Singles: Williams (PG) d. Em. Smith 6-2, 6-4. Hildell (PG) d. Morse 6-2, 6-3. Rossa d. Kahn 6-2, 6-3. Loring d. Brown 6-0, 6-3. El. Smith d. Davis 6-0, 6-1. Lively d. Walter 6-3, 6-3. Doubles: Kahn/Williams (PG) lead 7-5 over Smith/Morse (darkness). Rossa/Smith d. Brown/Hildell 8-3. Davis/Cuoco d. Loring/Lively 8-2.

BISHOP ENGLAND 4, WANDO 2
Singles: Woods d. A. Sinclaire 6-2, 6-1. Campbell d. K. Sinclaire 6-1, 6-2. Chadwick (W) d. Lucia 6-4, 6-1. Penton d. McKellar 6-2, 6-3. Phillips d. McManus 6-2, 6-2. Doubles: Bobey/Michel d. Zimmermann/Powers 6-2, 6-3.

Records: Bishop England 10-2.

JAMES ISLAND 6, WEST ASHLEY 0
Singles: Hinson d. Clayton 6-1, 6-4. Loring d. Lowe 6-0, 6-1. Snyder d. Brazelton 6-0, 6-2. Masindet d. Murry 5-3, ret. Kirkland d. Diamond 6-2, 6-3. Doubles: Cross/Eng d. Angel/Pickhardt 6-4, 6-2.

Records: James Island 12-2. Next: West Ashley hosts Wando today. James Island at Ashley Ridge today.

ASHLEY HALL 9, PINEWOOD PREP 0
Singles: Dye d. H. Rodgers 6-2, 6-3. Reuther d. Marticomb 6-1, 6-2. Propes d. E. Rodgers 6-2, 6-2. Settle d. Osborne 7-5, 6-4. Kirkland d. Vickni 6-1, 6-1. Brisson d. Hyltan 6-4, 6-3. Doubles: Reuther/Dye d. H. Rodgers/Marticomb 8-3. Propes/Settle d. E. Rodgers/Osborne 8-4. Dugger/Brechtel d. Vickni/Hyltan 8-5.


(10/9/17) Shelby Rogers wins opening match in Tokyo
Shelby Rogers came through in the clutch on center court Tuesday to hold off Japan's Risa Ozaki in the opening round of the Toray Pan Pacific Open WTA Tour tournament.

A touring tennis professional from Charleston currently ranked 59th in the world, Rogers closed out a second-set tiebreaker on the 12th point to complete a 6-2, 7-6 (5) victory over the 92nd-ranked Ozaki in one hour and 53 minutes. It was the first meeting between the two players. Ozaki, a 23-year-old, was a wild card in the Tokyo event.

Rogers, who advanced to the third-round of the recent U.S. Open, now faces a major challenge in the round of 16 where she is scheduled to take on sixth-ranked Caroline Wozniacki.


(10/07/17) It's a great time to be a Charleston tennis fan
Charleston tennis obviously is in a league all of its own.

The recent U.S. Women's Pro Circuit event at LTP Tennis made that even more obvious. It's a great time to be a fan of tennis in Charleston.

It wasn't as much that Emma Navarro and Allie Gretkowski both won key matches as the way the two local teens performed.

We haven't heard the last of these two players. Of course, Navarro and Gretkowski are only two players in a herd of outstanding local junior girls.

Navarro will be headed off to Duke in three years. There is even a chance that both Navarro and her LTP Pro-winning doubles partner Chloe Beck could end up at Duke. Both are 16. According to her mother, Beck also is considering Vanderbilt, Pepperdine and her hometown University of Georgia, along with Duke.

And Gretkowski is still "a young 14 years old" as her dad, Steve Gretkowski, said. She just turned 14 a couple of months ago, is already 5-9 or 5-10, plays like a college player and has unlimited potential.

Gretkowski had never played in a pro tournament before the LTP event. She won three qualifying matches to advance to the main draw. She lost, but went on to another $15K event at Hilton Head Island last week and collected another qualifying win. Just a little while ago, Gretkowski was playing girls 12.

It's not too early for both Navarro and Gretkowski to dream.

BOYS ARE TALENTED

Don't forget the local guys. There's a ton of outstanding local junior boys. They may not be headed to professional tennis, but they should make their mark on college tennis.

Of course, the boys are led by the South's No. 1 junior boy, Jared Pratt. He will join the University of Wisconsin's tennis program next school year.

The other outstanding local boys include Academic Magnet senior Sam Kavarana, who is bound for Davidson. Mark Militzer is already at Georgetown University.

Porter-Gaud senior Brant Fenno, a rangy left-hander who might have the most potential of any local junior boy, has several offers from strong tennis programs, according to his father, but has not committed.

Jacob Jahn, who along with Kavarana was leading Academic Magnet to an unbeaten season and a state championship in 2016, has decided to switch to home schooling for his junior year. Jahn plans to join the Clemson tennis program when he finishes high school.

Hanahan has at least a quartet of stars who should play major college tennis. First, they are aiming to remain unbeaten for a third straight year while winning a third consecutive state title.

Senior Kerim Hyatt, juniors Chad Nash and Reilly Wilson are outstanding players. And don't forget sophomore Max Smith. Forehand-from-both sides sophomore Coy Simon decided not to return to Hanahan. Hyatt and Wilson are the last two Lowcountry players of the year.

Hyatt plans to visit Tennessee-Chattanooga the next three days and is leaning toward a major in mechanical engineering at Chattanooga, while Nash and Wilson both visited the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., this weekend.

P-G FACES BIG MATCH

A big match is looming for Tuesday in high school tennis when Porter-Gaud, the area's top girls team, battles quickly rising Oceanside Collegiate at the Cyclones' Albemarle Point complex.

Coach Charlotte Wilson's Porter-Gaud team is 14-3. Two of the losses, one against Wando and another to Oceanside in a tournament, came when No. 1 Sophie Williams didn't play.

Porter-Gaud also owns a 4-2 win over Wando and a 6-2 victory over Oceanside when eighth-grader Williams was in the lineup.

When the SCISA Class AAA state playoffs begin on Oct. 16, Porter-Gaud will be a heavy favorite to upend defending champion Ashley Hall. The Cyclones own 7-2 and 6-3 wins over Ashley Hall.

LOCAL NOTES

-- Two Lowcountry Tennis Association teams won titles at last weekend's mixed doubles state championships at Hilton Head Island. Mike Cladakis' 18-plus 9.0 team out of Mount Pleasant Rec took one title, while the independent Bob and Susie Peiffer-captained 65-plus 8.0 team won the other title. In 55-plus, two Maybank Tennis Center teams were runners-up, a 7.0 team captained by Doug Holmes and an 8.0 team captained by the Peiffers.

-- Brant Fenno has earned a world ITF junior tennis ranking by winning three qualifying matches and then upsetting players from Brazil and England to reach the round of 16 in an ITF Grade 5 tournament in Austin, Texas. The English player had upset the No. 1 seed. Fenno and his partner also reached the round of 16 in doubles.

-- LTP Tennis owner Ben Navarro has confirmed that next spring's U.S. Women's Pro Circuit event at LTP will have an $80,000 purse, up $20,000 over this past spring's pro tournament. Jerry Albrikes, who has been the tennis director at LTP for the last decade, has returned to the Northeast to teach tennis.

-- LTP put on a great show for local tennis fans, including putting up a stylish white canopy cover over cushioned chairs placed on tiered levels. The cover was well received by fans in a week of almost constant midday heat.


(10/06/17) PREP ZONE: Girls Tennis
COLLETON PREP 7, HILTON HEAD CHRISTIAN 1

Singles: Besecker (HH) d. Ware 6-3, 6-3. R. Bailey d. Peduzzi 6-1, 6-1. Martin d. Lowrey 6-4, 6-1. S. Bailey d. Minton 6-3, 6-0. Bishop d. Bauer 7-5, 6-0. Doubles: R.Bailey/S.Bailey d. Minton/Lowrey 8-0. Colleton Prep wins by forfeit.


(10/04/17)  WALTERBORO PRESS AND STANDARD: CINDY CROSBY: CCHS Tennis earns win over Cane Bay Cobras
The Lady Cougar Tennis team picked up a region win over Cane Bay last week, then lost a double-header to Beaufort High School to leave them at 4-4 overall and 2-4 in Region 8-AAAA.

The Lady Cougars were scheduled to host Hilton Head Tuesday Oct. 3 and Berkeley Thursday Oct. 5 in their final region matches of the season.

Colleton County 4, Cane Bay 2 – Sept. 26
SINGLES
No. 1 Anni Crook (CC) d. Nicole Montemayor (CB) 6-0, forfeit
No. 2 Cami Crook (CC) d. Autum Leya (CB) 6-1, 6-2
No. 3 Alicia Roberson (CC) d. Morgan Montemayor (CB) 6-0, 6-1
No. 4 Daryn Hooker (CC) d. Bekka Hicks (CB) 6-2, 6-0
No. 5 Maddison Miller (CB) d. Taylor Virden (CC) 6-2, 6-1
No. 6 Madison Strickland (CC) d. Cindy (Unknown CB) 6-1, 6-4)
DOUBLES
Mel Dodd/Molly Mix (CB) d. Megan DeWitt/Matilyn Griffin (CC) 6-1, 5-7, 10-6

Colleton County 0, Beaufort 6 – Sept. 28
SINGLES
No. 1 McKenzie Daniel (CB) d. Anni Crook (CC) 6-1, 6-0
No. 2 Morgan Loww (CB) d. Cami Crook (CC) 6-3, 6-1
No. 3 Kirsten Stone (CB) d. Alicia Roberson (CC) 7-6, 7-6
No. 4 Lucy Burns (CB) d. Daryn Hooker (CC) 6-2, 6-3
No. 5 Elizabeth Holloway (CB) d. Taylor Virden (CC) 7-5, 6-3
DOUBLES
Caroline Lewis/Lucy Aydelette (CB) d. Megan DeWitt/Matilyn Griffin (CC) 6-0, 6-0

Colleton County 0, Beaufort 6 (Game 2 of Doubleheader) – Sept. 28
SINGLES
No. 1 McKenzie Daniel (CB) d. Anni Crook (CC) 6-0, 6-1
No. 2 Morgan Loww (CB) d. Cami Crook (CC) 7-5, 7-5
No. 3 Kirsten Stone (CB) d. Alicia Roberson (CC) 6-4, 6-2
No. 4 Lucy Burns (CB) d. Daryn Hooker (CC) 6-2, 6-1
No. 5 Elizabeth Holloway (CB) d. Megan DeWitt (CC) 6-3, 6-0
DOUBLES
Julianne Lane/Grace Lubkin (CB) d. Matilyn Griffin/Madison Strickland (CC) 6-1, 6-3


(10/04/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: Daniel Island's Steve Zalinski to be inducted into SC Tennis Hall of Fame
Football and basketball’s loss was the sport of tennis’ gain.

Steve Zalinski was a high school athlete in Chicago and dabbled in many sports in the late 1950s and early 1960s, including football, basketball and tennis. There is good reason why Zalinksi decided on a career path that ultimately led to tennis.

He played football at Swerz High School and once faced a team that had an imposing linebacker: Dick Butkus. Zalinski collided with the future Hall of Famer and after suffering a broken nose, he knew the gridiron would not be his stage.

Then there’s basketball. He liked hoops but remembers going up against Cazzie Russell. Russell, who went on to have a great career at both the collegiate and NBA levels, drove to the basket and leveled Zalinski, smashing into his face.
After that, Zalinski again realized his future would be strictly tennis. More than a half century later, his dedication and love for the sport would be rewarded.

Zalinski, of Daniel Island and Greenville, will be inducted into the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame along with Domino Boulware of Columbia. Their achievements will be celebrated Dec. 9 at the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame banquet at the Omni Hilton Head Resort on Hilton Head Island.

“I just have that love for the game,” Zalinski said. “It is an incredible honor. My mom and dad played tennis and they shared their love of tennis with me.”

Zalinski earned a tennis scholarship to play tennis for DePaul University where he became a top ranked player and was inducted into the DePaul Athletic Hall of Fame. He was the top ranked player in Chicago for nearly two decades and became a tennis pro in the Chicagoland area.

He moved to the Palmetto State in 1992 when he was named vice president of sales for Dunlop, a position he held for nearly two decades.

He retired in 2007, but didn’t slow down. He joined the USTA Southern Section staff as the tennis service representative for the Palmetto State. He worked with the Palmetto Championships in Belton to develop the Dunlop Scholarship, which recognizes an incoming college freshman who has participated in junior tennis in South Carolina. In 1996, the Zalinskis received the USTA SC Tennis Family of the Year Award. He has served on the board of the Lowcountry Youth Tennis Association and the Lowcountry Tennis Association. Zalinski also frequently volunteers his time with Family Circle Cup, which is now the Volvo Car Open.

His biggest tennis joy just might be his involvement in the 10-and-Under tennis program. Young players use smaller rackets, smaller balls and play on smaller courts to hone their skills.

“They have been using that program in Europe since 1984,” Zalinski said. (Roger) Federer, (Justine) Henin and (Kim) Clijsters and other European players came up that way. It’s just a wonderful way to play tennis for all involved. I think the future is bright for American players with this program in place.”


(10/04/17) WEST OF…: Finding A Place: West Ashley Tournament Honors Tennis Pioneer Harold Smith
Two weeks ago, the view at the Harold Smith Classic tennis tournament at St. Andrews Parks and Playground was exactly the way Harold Smith would want it to look.

While all the players were dressed in all-white, their faces were every color under the sun. Black, white, brown, green and a mix of all of the above. And players hailed from every corner of the Lowcountry, and beyond.

Every year since 2002, the Charleston tennis community has held the tournament to honor Smith, 88, the man who quietly forced the city to integrate its tennis courts. And in doing so, ended up teaching and inspiring generations of locals.

Smith had been a champion diver at Hampton University, a private historically black school located in Virginia which counts Booker T. Washington as an alum and former faculty member.

But when the Burke High graduate returned home to 1950s Charleston, Smith decided he wanted to learn tennis. So, he and some friends went down to what is now the municipal Jack Adams Tennis Center located on Congress Street behind the end zone of The Citadel’s Johnson Hagood Stadium.

In a 2002 article in the Post & Courier, it was reported that he “would remain on the court until he was finally allowed to play in peace.”

Well … that’s not how Kenneth Funderburk remembers it:

“It was the late 1950s, and Mr. Smith and his friends went to Jack Adams to hit on the tennis court and were told by law enforcement that they were ‘in the wrong place and time,’ and the officers forced them off the court,” says Funderburk, who founded the honorary tournament in 2002.

Funderburk, 64, has been a professional tennis teacher for more than three decades, and now resides in Atlanta.

He said Smith took the path of most resistance by contacting the state NAACP and began meeting with the city. “They told him he and his friends could play on basketball courts in their neighborhoods,” says Funderburk.

Smith persisted and it lead eventually to the integration of Charleston’s tennis facilities. Funderburk says he wanted to honor Smith with the tournament: “I just wanted to say thank you for the game we still play to this day.”

As such, Funderburk successfully lobbied the city to dedicate one of the courts at Jack Adams to Smith. Even more honors came when MOJA, the annual festival featuring African American and Caribbean artistic expression, included the tournament as an official part of its event.

Smith touched the early tennis life of Phillip Burke, who now hosts the tournament as the head of tennis at St. Andrews. His younger brother, Brian, who brought it to West Ashley when he held the same job in 2005.

Burke says that the reason why the diverse tournament maintains an all-white dress code is a reflection of Smith, too. “He’s a traditionalist, and if it’s good enough for Wimbledon, then it’s good enough for the Harold Smith Classic,” says Burke.

Burke, who took lessons from Smith when he was a kid, strives to keep St. Andrews as open and welcoming to as many players as possible, regardless of their wealth, color, or playing ability.

Christine Bozigar played her first ever match three years ago at the tennis classic. Now a tennis-crazed player on several teams throughout the year, Harold Smith was a perfect fit for her.

“Now, I keep coming back for a few reasons,” says Bozigar. “One, the fact that it is at St. Andrews where I play means I want to support every tournament there. Two, I like the dress code: all white, very classic and everyone looks lovely.”

“And third, and these are not in order per se, while I didn’t know anything about [Smith] at the first tournament, I want to support him and his cause that he fought for now that I do,” she says.

Dee Mack tells a similar story, having also played her first competitive match at St. Andrews, but 20 years before. Mack took up tennis there originally so she could learn to keep score at her daughter’s middle school league matches.

“The Harold Smith Classic is the best, and I love that it’s part of MOJA’s slate, as far as the history of his efforts are concerned,” says Mack.

Mack serves on the board of the local tennis association, and on Friday was driving back from Columbia where she attended a regional tennis workshop on how to attract more into tennis in our community.

For Mack, she wants to help expand the diversity of tennis in the Lowcountry from “sports and competition to everyone’s fitness, health and wellness.”

Bradley Smith (no relation) can’t stop helping out at St. Andrews. The first morning of the tournament, Smith, who was a competitor this year again, had taken up his usual spot behind the computer where all the players and doubles teams register.

“First of all, St. Andrews is very near and dear to my heart because it’s where I learned to play tennis,” Bradley Smith says of why he passes up facilities closer to his James Island home. “They just do not have that open, welcoming, friendly vibe to them … and this is one of the most diverse tennis communities in the area, and that matters to me.”

Bradley Smith, who is white, has since joined the black West Side Tennis Club, which Mr. Smith was instrumental in forming ages ago. He now travels to other black clubs’ tournaments and hopes to expand attendees at next year’s classic to include players of color from Columbia, Charlotte, and even Atlanta.

“I would love to see the tournament grow and somehow attract those people,” says Bradley Smith.


(10/04/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: Daniel Island's Steve Zalinski to be inducted into SC Tennis Hall of Fame
Football and basketball’s loss was the sport of tennis’ gain.

Steve Zalinski was a high school athlete in Chicago and dabbled in many sports in the late 1950s and early 1960s, including football, basketball and tennis. There is good reason why Zalinksi decided on a career path that ultimately led to tennis.

He played football at Swerz High School and once faced a team that had an imposing linebacker: Dick Butkus. Zalinski collided with the future Hall of Famer and after suffering a broken nose, he knew the gridiron would not be his stage.

Then there’s basketball. He liked hoops but remembers going up against Cazzie Russell. Russell, who went on to have a great career at both the collegiate and NBA levels, drove to the basket and leveled Zalinski, smashing into his face.
After that, Zalinski again realized his future would be strictly tennis. More than a half century later, his dedication and love for the sport would be rewarded.

Zalinski, of Daniel Island and Greenville, will be inducted into the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame along with Domino Boulware of Columbia. Their achievements will be celebrated Dec. 9 at the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame banquet at the Omni Hilton Head Resort on Hilton Head Island.

“I just have that love for the game,” Zalinski said. “It is an incredible honor. My mom and dad played tennis and they shared their love of tennis with me.”

Zalinski earned a tennis scholarship to play tennis for DePaul University where he became a top ranked player and was inducted into the DePaul Athletic Hall of Fame. He was the top ranked player in Chicago for nearly two decades and became a tennis pro in the Chicagoland area.

He moved to the Palmetto State in 1992 when he was named vice president of sales for Dunlop, a position he held for nearly two decades.

He retired in 2007, but didn’t slow down. He joined the USTA Southern Section staff as the tennis service representative for the Palmetto State. He worked with the Palmetto Championships in Belton to develop the Dunlop Scholarship, which recognizes an incoming college freshman who has participated in junior tennis in South Carolina. In 1996, the Zalinskis received the USTA SC Tennis Family of the Year Award. He has served on the board of the Lowcountry Youth Tennis Association and the Lowcountry Tennis Association. Zalinski also frequently volunteers his time with Family Circle Cup, which is now the Volvo Car Open.

His biggest tennis joy just might be his involvement in the 10-and-Under tennis program. Young players use smaller rackets, smaller balls and play on smaller courts to hone their skills.

“They have been using that program in Europe since 1984,” Zalinski said. (Roger) Federer, (Justine) Henin and (Kim) Clijsters and other European players came up that way. It’s just a wonderful way to play tennis for all involved. I think the future is bright for American players with this program in place.”


(10/02/17) Shelby Rogers falls to Shuai Peng in China Open
Shelby Rogers once again experienced the frustration of going against China's 31-year-old Shuai Peng. On Monday, Rogers lost to Peng, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 7-5, in the $6.38 million China Open in Beijing.

Rogers, a 24-year-old pro from Charleston currently ranked 56th in the world, had trouble winning points on her serve this time as she put only 59 percent of her first serves into play and won only 59 percent of those serves. She also won 50 per cent of her second serves.

The latest match was similar to Rogers' first match in a Grand Slam tournament, a 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-3 loss to Peng in the first round of the 2010 U.S. Open. Rogers now stands 1-3 in head-to-head meetings with Peng, currently ranked 25th in the world.


(10/01/17) Washington State freshman Bayerlova wins LTP Tennis title
MOUNT PLEASANT -- There was no payday on Sunday for Michaela Bayerlova, even after winning her second pro tournament in a few months.

The 18-year-old Czech from Germany is a collegian and was not allowed to accept the $2,352 singles prize money from winning the $15,000 U.S. Women's Pro Circuit tournament at LTP Tennis. She is a freshman at Washington State in Pullman, Wash.

That didn't stop the 5-11 Bayerlova from putting everything she had on the line in a 2 hour, 19 minute clay court final. The tournament's fifth seed hit, ran and fought her way to a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 upset of top-seeded Montserrat Gonzalez of Paraguay.

"I think she fought real hard. She was really resilient and didn't let anything bother her, and she was able to capitalize on her opportunities," Washington State women's tennis coach Lisa Hart said about her new star. "We liked the way she competed when we recruited her."

Bayerlova played smart tennis. After dropping the first set, she switched to a more passive game, but always kept her huge ground strokes ready to deliver lethal blows.

As a result, Gonzalez was unable to hold service in the second set, being broken five straight times, and then held service only once in the third set when she pulled even at 3-3.

"I just fought through everything," Bayerlova said. "I never thought I would win this tournament."

While Gonzalez possessed the near-perfect forehand, Bayerlova had weapons from both sides, especially on the forehand side, and possibly a little more fight in her than the much shorter Gonzalez, who was returning from a lengthy injury layoff.

Bayerlova's big strokes did their damage, but it was her deep high-kickers that wore Gonzalez into submission. It was difficult for Gonzalez to deliver net-hugging forehands from a head-high contact point.

Gonzalez, a stylish 23-year-old who trains in Barcelona, Spain, wasn't as sharp as she might have been a year earlier when she was ranked 150th in the world. She is currently ranked 438th in the world.

"She made errors with her forehand, too," pointed out Bayerlova, who was born in the Czech Republic but resides in Krumbach, Germany.

Bayerlova headed back to Washington State a few hours after the match. She should see her world ranking climb to around 600 after entering the LTP event ranked No. 726.


(09/31/17) Navarro, Beck team shines at Pro Circuit
MOUNT PLEASANT - It was a pair of 16-year-olds against the college girls the last two days of doubles in the $15,000 U.S. Pro Women's Pro Circuit tournament at LTP Tennis.

The high schoolers prevailed. LTP's Emma Navarro and Watkinsville, Ga., product Chloe Beck walked off with their initial professional tennis title on Saturday.

The Navarro/Beck team sparkled for 68 minutes, and other than a three-game stretch of the second set, the 16-year-olds dominated the University of Central Florida pair of Ksenia Kuznetsova and Maria Martinez in a 6-1, 6-4 victory. A day earlier, Navarro and Beck had beaten two top of the line players from the South Carolina and Georgia college programs.

The singles final will pit 23-year-old top seed Montserrat Gonzalez of Paraguay against 18-year-old Washington State University freshman Michaela Bayerlova of Germany/Czech Republic at 10 a.m. on Sunday.

On this day, Beck and Navarro were simply too good, too quick, and too dynamic and aggressive at the net for the Russian-Spanish pair of Kuznetsova-Martinez.

"They complement each other beautifully," said Peter Ayers, Navarro's coach. "That's a special thing when you can do that."

Of course, the teens were thrilled to be pro champions, earning money and WTA Tour ranking points. Navarro and Beck should find their names around the 700 mark when the WTA doubles rankings are updated with Saturday's result.

Navarro, who was a quarterfinalist in singles, earned more than $800 (less than the purse cap for non-pros) for playing tennis for four days on her dad's courts. Ben Navarro owns the LTP tennis and swimming complex on Mathis Ferry Road.

"She's a beast at the net," Navarro said about partner. "We're close. We travel together. But I didn't expect to do this well."

The two players are similar in height, 5-6 to 5-7, and have been playing together for some time now. They even own a national championship in junior competition. So, they are good, and both are thinking about playing for major tennis colleges. Navarro already has verbally committed to Duke, her coach's school.

"I can always rely on Emma on the baseline to make every shot," Beck said. "I'm super confident at the net when she's back. I can poach whenever I want."

After Kuznetsova and Martinez won three straight games to deadlock the second set at 4-4 and deuce in the ninth, Navarro nailed a clean winner on the no-ad point when the opponents were out of position. She then served a love game to clinch the title.

"I was pumped up from winning that deuce point," Navarro said.

In the singles semifinals, Gonzalez, who was ranked 150th in the world a year ago before missing three months with an injury, rushed to a 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 8 seed Anastasia Nefedova, a 6-0 18-year-old Floridian who was born in Moscow. Power-hitting No. 5 seed Bayerova smothered unseeded University of Texas sophomore Anna Turati of Italy in the decisive set to finish off a 6-1, 3-6, 6-0 victory.


(09/29/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: SHS tennis team picks up region win
The Green Wave Girls Tennis team continues to battle for one of Region 7-AAAAA’s top spots.

Summerville earned a 6-0 win over West Ashley Sept. 28 to improve to 11-6 on the season with an 8-2 mark in region matches. West Ashley dropped to 3-5, 3-4.

Claiming a win on the singles courts were Paige Reynolds (7-5, 6-0), Sullivan Long (6-4, 6-2), Lizzie Naval (6-0, 6-1), Hannah McKee (6-1, 6-1) and Annelise Pagan (6-0, 6-1).

On the doubles courts, Summerville’s Dylan Zoeller teamed up with Gwen Rast for a 6-0, 6-0 Green Wave victory.

This week, Summerville faces the region leaders. The Wave traveled to Wando Oct. 3 after press time and hosts James Island at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 5. The first match between Summerville and James Island was tight so Green Wave fans are hoping the home-court advantage will be the difference in the rematch with the Trojans.

The James Island match is the last match of the season scheduled at Blanton Courts. After that, Summerville travels to Stratford Oct. 9, to Fort Dorchester Oct. 11 and to Bishop England Oct. 16.


(09/29/17) Emma Navarro falls in singles quarterfinals, but reaches doubles final at LTP Tennis
MOUNT PLEASANT — All didn't go badly for Emma Navarro on Friday at LTP Tennis.

After a loss in the singles quarterfinals, the South's No. 1 junior girl bounced back to advance to Saturday's doubles final with Chloe Beck in the $15,000 U.S. Women's Pro Circuit tournament.

Not a bad day at all for a pair of 16-year-olds.

Navarro and Watkinsville, Ga., product Beck rallied for a 2-6, 6-2, 10-5 win over the fourth-seeded team of University of South Carolina junior Ingrid Martins of Brazil and University of Georgia junior Kennedy Shaffer.

The unseeded Navarro/Beck team will square off for the doubles championship against Russia's Ksenia Kuznetsova and Spain's Maria Martinez at 10 a.m. on Saturday at LTP Tennis on Mathis Ferry Road in Mount Pleasant.

Earlier in the day, Navarro fought to the wire before falling 6-4, 7-6 (4) to eighth seed Anastasia Nefedova, a 6-0 native of Moscow who now resides in Florida as an 18-year-old U.S. citizen.

Navarro, a sophomore at Ashley Hall, didn't play badly in the two hours and 16 minute clay-court match. Nefedova simply wouldn't go away with her drop shot-passing shot combination, impressive quickness and court attitude. She even had one point taken away by the chair umpire for her conduct.

"We both played well. She just got up in the first set," Navarro said. "I thought she defended well, and I thought I moved her around, but she was always there.

"She had good passing shots." And yes, "She has an attitude."

Nefedova put it simply: "I think I came up with good shots when I needed it."

"I really enjoyed it. It was a great match and she played well," Nefedova said while apologizing to the fans for her court behavior.

Nefedova will face top seed Montserrat Gonzalez of Paraguay in Saturday's semifinals. Gonzalez defeated No. 6 seed Thaisa Pedretti of Brazil, 6-7 (5), 7-5, 7-5, in the quarterfinals.

Unseeded Anna Turati of the University of Texas will oppose fifth seed Michaela Bayerlova of the Czech Republic in the other semifinal. Turati upset No. 2 seed Laura Pigossi of Brazil 7-5, 6-2, while Bayerova turned back American Amanda Rogers 6-4, 6-3.

In the other doubles semifinal, the Kuznetsova/Martinez team scored a 6-3, 3-6, 10-6 win over the U.S. team of Nicole Coopersmith and Kariann Pierre-Louis.

Navarro, after recovering from a 5-3 deficit, held double set point in the second set against Nefedova's serve when the good luck charm returned to pull Nefedova through. A soft Nefedova serve landed on the service line and rolled under Navarro's racket to wipe out one of the set points. A drop shot winner followed to erase the second set point as Nefedova eventually held service to force a tiebreaker.

Nefedova got off to a 5-1 lead in the tiebreaker. Navarro charged back to 5-4 before Nefedova delivered another drop shot winner to move to match point.

In the first set, Navarro appeared to be in great shape when she broke Nefedova for a 3-1 lead. But Nefedova effectively used the drop shot-passing shot combination to get back in the set.

At 4-4, the tennis gods twice sided with Nefedova. A Nefedova backhand hit the net cord, bounced up and over the net, dropping at the foot of the net for one free point.

Nefedova appeared to sense the good fortune from the net and delivered another one of her drop shot winners, followed by a second gift when a bad bounce on the baseline on a deuce point missed Navarro's racket altogether. Nefedova finished off the break and then got off to a 40-0 lead in closing out the first set.


(09/29/17) PREP ZONE: Girls Tennis
COLLETON PREP 5, HILTON HEAD CHRISTIAN 4
Singles: Ware d. Inglis 6-0, 6-0. Besecker (HH) d. Bailey 6-0, 6-1. Peduzzi (HH) d. Martin 6-3, 4-6, 10-3. Lowrey (HH) d. Bell 1-6, 6-3, 10-4. Bailey d. Minton 6-0, 6-2. Spears d. Bauer 6-2, 6-2. Doubles: Ware/Bailey d. Inglis/Besecker 8-4. Peduzzi/Lowrey (HH) d. Martin/Bell 8-4. Bailey/Spears d. Minton/Bauer 8-3.


(09/28/17) Oceanside Collegiate Academy quickly becomes contender in girls tennis
Oceanside Collegiate Academy has lost to both Porter-Gaud and Bishop England in regular-season girls tennis matches, but the Landsharks defeated both of the area rivals in last weekend's Bishop England Invitational.

That should make Oceanside the unofficial champion of area high school tennis.

However, that's as far as Mount Pleasant's new elite sports charter high school can go in girls tennis this fall. The Landsharks are ineligible to compete in the SCHSL state playoffs this school year.

But wait until the 2018-19 school year when Oceanside will be eligible for the playoffs after sitting out a two-year waiting period as a new member.

"Oceanside is a neat school," first-year tennis coach Phil Whitesell said. "You have four hours of school and then two hours to play your sport ... and you can get two years of college credits."

Whitesell, a former College of Charleston head men's tennis coach, thinks it's a win-win situation for athletes. Whitesell played on three NCAA championship teams at the University of Southern California and now serves as director of the popular HSI Charleston Pro Tennis League.

On the court, Oceanside owns a 4-2 record after suffering a 4-3 loss to Bishop England on Tuesday. The Landsharks cruised by the Bishops, 5-1, in last Sunday's final of the BE Invitational.

Oceanside is led by junior Emma Smith at No. 1, senior No. 2 Camryn Rossa and junior No. 3 Jill Morse.

"Being the best team from Charleston says something," Whitesell said.

Of course, Bishop England is working on a string of six consecutive state championships under coach Kristin Fleming Arnold.

Oceanside edged Porter-Gaud, 4-3, in the BE tournament semifinals, possibly due to P-G No. 1 Sophie Williams being out of town for a national junior tennis event.

Porter-Gaud's only other local loss (against Wando) also came when Williams didn't play. Just an eighth-grader, Williams is regarded as the area's No. 2 high school player behind only Southern No. 1 junior girl Emma Navarro of Ashley Hall.
Cyclones top threat

With Williams, Porter-Gaud has been unbeatable against local opposition, defeating Bishop England, Ashley Hall and Oceanside.

Although Williams might not be a match for Navarro, her presence at No. 1 for Porter-Gaud creates a problem for SCISA Class AAA defending state champion Ashley Hall. Williams pushes 2016 No. 1 Alex Hildell down to the No. 2 position where she easily defeated Ashley Hall junior Rebecca Spratt in their first meeting.

That set the tone for a 7-2 Porter-Gaud win over the Panthers, because of the Cyclones' depth in the last four singles positions.

Coach Mary Gastley's Ashley Hall team is 10-4 overall, including a 3-1 record in the BE tournament. Yet, even with Navarro in the lineup, Ashley Hall may not be able to prevent Porter-Gaud from taking this year's SCISA title.
Bishops revamped

Bishop England, which has played only six matches due to the bad weather and is 4-2, could have a more difficult time keeping its state championship streak alive this fall as a result of losing its top three players from last year's Class AAA state championship team. Nos. 1 and 2 Jenna Vroman and Camryn Deames have both graduated to college tennis, while 2016 No. 3 Emily Elliott decided to switch to online schooling.

That leaves freshman Lilly Woods leaping from No. 4 a year ago to the top of the Bishops' lineup, while junior Eleanor Campbell has moved up to No. 2 from No. 5, followed by freshman Jenna Santa Lucia, junior Crista Vroman and eighth-grader Mackenzie Peyton.

"This team is young, but we always battle hard. We need to stay focused, determined and hungry," Fleming Arnold said.
Wando tops Class AAAAA

In Region 7-AAAAA, Wando is once again dominant. New coach Megan Hinton has guided the Warriors to a 9-1 record, 8-0 in region play.

Junior Abby Sinclaire, freshman Kelsey Sinclaire and freshman Emma Chadwick lead the way for Wando.

James Island and Summerville (7-2) are battling it out for the second spot in the region.

With the top nine players back from a 2016 region runner-up team, David Long entered his fifth season as Summerville's head coach hoping this might be the year the Green Wave could catch up with Wando. Juniors Paige Reynolds, Sullivan Long and Lizzie are leading the Green Wave for a fifth straight year.

However, Summerville's hopes to win the league were wiped out on Wednesday by Wando's 6-0 win over the Green Wave.

Academic Magnet returned almost its entire team from a year ago when the Raptors posted a 14-3 record while finishing as state runner-up in SCHSL Class AA. The Raptors shouldn't have any trouble returning to a second straight state final against perennial power Christ Church.


(09/28/17) PREP ZONE: Girls tennis
COLLETON PREP 8, ST. ANDREW'S 1
Singles: Ware d. Rolland-Mills 6-2, 6-1. R. Bailey d. Avramovski 6-1, 6-3. Martin d. King 6-1, 7-5. Bell d. Horton 1-6, 6-4, 10-2. S. Bailey d. Bacon 6-4, 6-4. Spears d. Rachlin 6-4, 6-2. Doubles: Ware/Martin d. Rolland-Mills/Avramovski 8-2. King/Bacon (SA) d. Bishop/Bell 8-3. S. Bailey/Bellum d. Rachlin/Weeks 8-1.

WANDO 6, SUMMERVILLE 0
Singles: A. Sinclaire d. Reynolds 6-1, 6-1. K. Sinclaire d. Long 6-0, 6-3. Chadwick d. Naval 6-1, 6-4. McKellar d. McKee 7-5, 6-4. Phillips d. Pagan 6-0, 6-3. Doubles: Zimmermann/Powers d. Zoeller/Rast 6-4, 6-4.

FORT DORCHESTER 6, GOOSE CREEK 0
Singles: Sanders d. Simmons 6-0, 6-0. Hoffman d. Bilila 6-0, 6-0. Mullins d. Shaw 6-1, 6-1. Hewett d. Torres 6-0, 6-3. Bezuidenhowt d. Tylea 6-2, 6-2. Doubles: Tallman/Cheung d. Deguzman/Davis 6-2, 6-1.


(09/28/17) STAFF REPORT: Volvo Car Open offering deal with Terrace Theater
The Volvo Car Open is offering a deal to movie-going tennis fans on Friday night at the Terrace Theater on Maybank Highway.

The VCO, which is held each spring on Daniel Island, is partnering with the Terrace Theater for the Charleston premiere of the "Battle of the Sexes" movie that is based on the 1973 Battle of the Sexes tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

Emma Stone and Steve Carrell star in the movie that will premiere locally on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Terrace.

The Volvo Car Open has partnered with the theater to host a special night for Friday’s moviegoers.

The event includes:
-- A Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs look-a-like contest for two ace-worthy prizes
-- Four "enter to win" prize packages from the Volvo Car Open.
-- A special gift in all movie seats.
-- A free Volvo Car Open ticket for the tournament’s opening weekend.

“The Terrace prides itself in its involvement with the community, and has always wanted to work with the Volvo Car Open folks,” said Paul Brown, Terrace Theater owner. “They jumped on the opportunity and the fit is perfect for this remarkable movie, Battle of the Sexes. We are super excited!”

The “Battle of Sexes” event took place in September 1973, just four months after the inaugural Family Circle Cup (now the VCO) in May. King competed in the first Family Circle Cup, and the Volvo Car Open stadium court is named Billie Jean Court.


(09/27/17) PREP ZONE: Girls tennis
WEST ASHLEY 6, GOOSE CREEK 0
Singles: Clayton d. Simmons 6-0, 6-0. Lowe d. Bilila 6-0, 6-0. Brazelton d. Shaw 6-0, 6-0. Murry d. Torres 6-0, 6-1. Diamond d. Reguna 8-2. Doubles: Pickhardt/Angel d. Deguera/Davis 8-1.

Next: West Ashley hosts Summerville Thursday. Goose Creek at Ashley Ridge Thursday.

JAMES ISLAND 6, FORT DORCHESTER 0

Singles: Hinson d. Sanders 6-4, 6-2. Loring d. Hoffman 6-0, 6-0. Snyder d. Mullins 6-0, 6-1. Masindet d. Hewett 6-1, 6-1. Kirkland d. Tallman 6-0, 6-2. Doubles: Eng/Cross d. Wang/Chung 6-0, 6-1.

BISHOP ENGLAND 4, OCEANSIDE 3
Singles: Em. Smith (O) d. Woods 7-5, 6-0. Morse (O) d. Campbell 6-4, 7-5. Lucia d. Loring 6-4, 4-6, 10-6. Vroman d. El. Smith 6-2, 6-2. Penton d. Lively 6-1, 6-2. Doubles: Rosa/Green (O) d. Bobey/Michel 6-3, 7-5. Woods/Campbell d. Smith/Morse 7-5, 2-6, 10-4.

Records: Bishop England 4-2.

WANDO 6, STRATFORD 0
Singles: Phillips d. Gregg 6-1, 6-0. Zimmermann d. Sivertsen 6-1, 6-4. Powers d. Rodriguez 6-4, 3-6, 10-3. Rogers d. Eudy 6-0, 6-0. Biller d. Hattayer 6-1, 6-0. Doubles: McDonough/Gough d. Gourdine/Lin 7-6, 6-4.

Records: Stratford 5-5. Next: Stratford hosts Fort Dorchester Thursday.


(09/27/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: Reigning U.S. Open champ Sloane Stephens joins 2018 VCO field
Newly crowned U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens has committed to play the 2018 Volvo Car Open (VCO), March 31– April 8 on Daniel Island. Joining Stephens in the current field is U.S. Open 2017 finalist Madison Keys and Petra Kvitová, a 2017 U.S. Open quarterfinalist and two-time Wimbledon champion. Stephens captured her first VCO title in 2016.

Stephens’ recent U.S. Open win, her first Grand Slam singles title, came following an 11-month hiatus from the sport due to a foot injury. In historic fashion, the 24-year-old’s triumph is only the second time an unseeded player has won the tournament in the Open era. Since her return to tennis in July, Stephens reached the semifinals in both Toronto and Cincinnati, and in five weeks this summer, won 15 matches, all against top 50 players, which culminated with the U.S. Open title.

“We couldn’t be more ecstatic for Sloane!” said Volvo Car Open Tournament Manager Eleanor Adams. “Our fans have watched her game grow in Charleston and they have rooted her on since she first stepped onto our courts. Her U.S. Open win shows how much determination she had to get back to tennis, and we can’t wait to have her compete in our field next year.”

Stephens will play the Volvo Car Open for her seventh time in 2018. In 2017, unable to participate in the competition, she joined The Tennis Channel’s team as a correspondent during the tournament.

“I’m so excited that I’ll have the chance to play the Volvo Car Open again,” said Stephens. “I wanted to defend my title last year, and was disappointed when I couldn’t due to my injury. I always love playing in front of Charleston’s supportive fans, and am so glad that I’ll be back in April!”

Stephens won the 2016 Volvo Car Open in a season where she captured two additional titles, one in Auckland and another in Acapulco.

The nine-day Volvo Car Open is the largest women’s-only tennis tournament in North America, attracting an average of 90,000 attendees and more than 100 of the top singles and doubles tennis players.

Tickets for the 2018 Volvo Car Open are now on sale. Patrons have the option to choose from individual tickets, ticket packages and travel packages. Ticket prices range from $25 for an individual session to $525 for the all-inclusive week-long package. The Volvo Car Open will provide six special ticket packages in 2018. In addition, the PowerShares Series will return to the Volvo Car Stadium on April 7. The men’s legends event will feature Andy Roddick, Mark Philippoussis and two players new to the Charleston field. For more information on the tournament and ticket options, visit volvocaropen.com or call (800) 677-2293.


(09/27/17) Navarro earns first-round win at U.S. Women's Pro Circuit tournament
Emma Navarro might have seen the exits a year ago if she started a match by losing four of the first five games against a veteran professional.

However, the Ashley Hall sophomore plays a mature game, poised and confident. And the South's No. 1 junior girl showed all of those traits on Wednesday as she recovered from a 4-1 deficit to win eight straight games to dominate 26-year-old Canadian Petra Januskova, 6-4, 6-2, in the opening round of the $15,000 U.S. Women's Pro Circuit tournament at LTP Tennis.

Navarro, 16, who also won in doubles on Wednesday, set up a round of 16 singles matchup on Thursday at 10 a.m. against fourth seed Bianca Turati of Italy.

Against Januskova, Navarro demonstrated patience, power and consistency. She was in total control of her game. When the time came to win a point, she repeatedly unleashed sizzling winners to the corners, mostly with her forehand.

"I didn't think I played well the first five games, but I relaxed after that," Navarro said, sizing up the 86-minute clay-court match. "I thought I was aggressive and finished points off at the net (after the slow start)."

Januskova, who is in her seventh year as a touring tennis player and has been ranked as high as No. 628 in the world, couldn't match Navarro's consistency and variety of strokes off the ground.

"She couldn't last too long in the points," Navarro said.

The area's other main draw entry, 14-year-old Allie Gretkowski, was eliminated on Wednesday after scoring three straight qualifying tournament wins. The MWTennis Academy product fought back after falling behind 5-1 against 18-year-old defending champion Nicole Coopersmith to make a match of it before losing, 7-5, 6-1.

Gretkowski was actually in position to win the 11th and 12 games of the match after winning four straight games to deadlock the first set at 5-5.

"After I got down 5-1, I told myself I might as well just play my game and go for my shots," said the Mount Pleasant junior, who was playing in her first pro tournament.

Navarro and Watkinsville, Ga., junior Chloe Beck posted a 6-3, 6-1 victory in first-round doubles over the U.S. team of Anastasia Nefedova and Nikita Uberoi.

LTP $15K First-Round Singles Results
Montserrat Gonzalez (1), Paraguay, def. Elvina Kalieva (U.S.), 6-4, 6-1.
Emily Appleton, Germany, def. Josie Kuhlman, U.S., 6-3, 6-4.
Jade Lewis, New Zealand, def. Alexa Graham, U.S., 6-0, 4-6, 6-2.
Natalie Novotna, Czech, def. Catherine Leduc, Canada, 6-2, 6-4.
Emma Navarro, Charleston, def. Petra Januskova, Canada, 6-4, 6-2.
Anna Turati, Italy, def. McCartney Kessler, U.S., 7-5, 6-0.
Thaisa Pedretti (6), Brazil, def. Ksenia Kuznetsova, Russia, 7-5, 7-6 (3).
Nicole Coopersmith (3), U.S., def. Allie Gretkowski, Mount Pleasant, 7-5, 6-1.
Amanda Rodgers, U.S., def. Andie Daniell, U.S., 6-4, 6-2.
Laura Pigossi (2), Brazil, def. Francesca Fusinato, Italy, 6-2, 6-3.
Akilah James (7), U.S., def. Mara Schmidt, U.S., 6-0, 6-3.


(09/27/17) PREP ZONE: Girls tennis
WEST ASHLEY 6, GOOSE CREEK 0
Singles: Clayton d. Simmons 6-0, 6-0. Lowe d. Bilila 6-0, 6-0. Brazelton d. Shaw 6-0, 6-0. Murry d. Torres 6-0, 6-1. Diamond d. Reguna 8-2. Doubles: Pickhardt/Angel d. Deguera/Davis 8-1.

Next: West Ashley hosts Summerville Thursday. Goose Creek at Ashley Ridge Thursday.

JAMES ISLAND 6, FORT DORCHESTER 0
Singles: Hinson d. Sanders 6-4, 6-2. Loring d. Hoffman 6-0, 6-0. Snyder d. Mullins 6-0, 6-1. Masindet d. Hewett 6-1, 6-1. Kirkland d. Tallman 6-0, 6-2. Doubles: Eng/Cross d. Wang/Chung 6-0, 6-1.

BISHOP ENGLAND 4, OCEANSIDE 3
Singles: Em. Smith (O) d. Woods 7-5, 6-0. Morse (O) d. Campbell 6-4, 7-5. Lucia d. Loring 6-4, 4-6, 10-6. Vroman d. El. Smith 6-2, 6-2. Penton d. Lively 6-1, 6-2. Doubles: Rosa/Green (O) d. Bobey/Michel 6-3, 7-5. Woods/Campbell d. Smith/Morse 7-5, 2-6, 10-4.

Records: Bishop England 4-2.

WANDO 6, STRATFORD 0
Singles: Phillips d. Gregg 6-1, 6-0. Zimmermann d. Sivertsen 6-1, 6-4. Powers d. Rodriguez 6-4, 3-6, 10-3. Rogers d. Eudy 6-0, 6-0. Biller d. Hattayer 6-1, 6-0. Doubles: McDonough/Gough d. Gourdine/Lin 7-6, 6-4.

Records: Stratford 5-5. Next: Stratford hosts Fort Dorchester Thursday.


(09/26/17) PREP ZONE: Girls tennis
Stratford 6, Hanahan 0
Singles: Kyleigh Gregg d. Ellie Hatcher 6-2, 6-1; Elizabeth Sivertsen d. Kaitlyn Songer 6-3, 7-5; Celeste Class Rodriguez d. Brooklyn Murphy 6-2, 7-5; Aubrey Eudy d. Lindsey Swindal 6-3, 6-0; Emily Hattayer d. Elyse Droege 6-0, 6-0. Doubles: Ryan Gourdine/Elisa Lin won by forfeit.

Records: Stratford 5-4. Next: Stratford at Wando on Tuesday.


(09/25/17) CHARLESTON CITY PAPER: Terrace Theater and Volvo Car Open host Battle of the Sexes premiere Fri. Sept. 29
The year is 1973. The sartorial trappings range from mustard yellow corduroy to wider than a table bell bottoms. Hairstyles are all fringe, frizz, and insane bangs, sideburns are sexy, and eyeglasses swallow any and every face shape. But beneath the questionable fashion choices, a battle for gender equality rages.

As a result of such inequities in the home and work place, feminist icons rise to power. One such icon was Billie Jean King, a superstar tennis player who at only 29 was one of the top female tennis players in the world, and the first female athlete to win more than $100,000 in a year.

In Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton's (Little Miss Sunshine, Ruby Sparks) Battle of the Sexes, we see Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) turn down aged out sorta chauvinist Bobby Riggs (Steve Carrell) as he pleads with her to play in a gimmicky battle of the sexes face-off. Eventually she gives in, and the whole world watches.

The Terrace Theater and Volvo Car Open have teamed up to screen the Charleston premiere of Battle of the Sexes Fri. Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. In addition to the film, there will be a Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King costume contest (see trailer for inspiration); four 'enter to win' prize packages from Volvo Car open; a special gift in all movie seats; and a free Volvo Car Open ticket for the tournament's opening weekend.

If you cannot attend the Friday premiere, your ticket stub can be used at any Battle of the Sexes showings and will be redeemed for a free ticket to the Volvo Car opening weekend. Purchase tickets online or by calling (843) 762-4247.


(09/23/17) Stephens gives Americans fresh incentive
It's interesting how things sometimes happen.

Sloane Stephens and Shelby Rogers were on a parallel path in their tennis careers until 2016 when Stephens came to Charleston and left with the first Volvo Car Open title.

Both had played in the Family Circle Cup main draw for the first time in 2011. After Stephens had advanced through qualifying, I wrote, "Help might be on the way for Venus and Serena Williams. Just turned 18 years old, Sloane Stephens looks like a real comer, with strong, deep ground strokes and excellent quickness and consistency."

That was April 2011.

The same things could have been said about Stephens two weeks ago when those same traits carried her to a victory over Venus Williams in the U.S. Open semifinals and then a one-sided win over Madison Keys for America's championship.

It appears that Stephens has arrived at her destination, a worthy replacement for the Williams sisters.

Stephens' success should provide fresh incentive for Shelby Rogers and the herd of young American players to fulfill their dreams and potential by winning a Grand Slam title.

It's possible. Someone has to win these titles.

When Stephens comes to town next April for another VCO, the always polished and pleasant Stephens will be treated like tennis royalty. She just may fit the bill.

PRO CIRCUIT STARTS

A third U.S. Women's Pro Circuit tournament in one year's time will start with qualifying at 9 a.m. Sunday at LTP Tennis in Mount Pleasant.

Local junior star Emma Navarro will be in the main draw in singles and doubles when the LTP Charleston event begins its main draw on Tuesday at noon. This tournament has a $15,000 tag.

A pro tennis career may not even be in the works for the South's No. 1 junior girl. Navarro has her schedule trained on attending Duke University and playing tennis in a few years. She is only a sophomore at Ashley Hall.

Talented defending LTP champion Nicole Coopersmith, an 18-year-old whose mother played on the WTA Tour, will be among the favorites as well as 20-year-old former Charleston junior Ellie Halbauer.

This tournament is loaded with college graduates such as Amanda Rodgers (Syracuse) and Mara Schmidt (Purdue) as well as present collegians Andie Daniell (Alabama), Alexa Graham (North Carolina) and Kennedy Shaffer (Georgia), and former South Carolina State/Arizona player Akilah James.

Some of the local players other than Navarro include Kat Lyman, Elizabeth Truluck, Ana Lei Kalawe, Callie Billman and Wando student Anna Ross. Most of these girls train at LTP. Emina Bektas, who played in the doubles main draw at the U.S. Open and is ranked No. 126 in the world in doubles, decided not to play at LTP where she trains and instead compete in a $60,000 tournament in Templeton, Calif.

Georgia junior star Chloe Beck will play doubles with Navarro as well as in the singles main draw.

Current WTA Tour standout Lauren Davis played in this tournament a few years ago on her way to a solid pro career.

One of the good things about this level of tennis, other than maybe discovering another Lauren Davis, is that the tournament is free and open to the public.

HALL OF FAME SELECTIONS

USTA South Carolina and the South Carolina Tennis Patrons Foundation announced that Domino Boulware of Columbia and Steve Zalinski of Greenville/Daniel Island will be the 2017 inductees into the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame on Dec. 9 at the Omni Hilton Head Resort.

Boulware is a tennis professional and coach in Columbia, who along with serving as a tennis professional at Greenview Community Park for over 30 years, has coached at various schools throughout the midlands.

Chicago native Zalinski played college tennis for DePaul University where he became a top-ranked player and was inducted into the DePaul Athletic Hall of Fame.

Zalinksi was named the Nicest Male in the Tennis Industry by Tennis Week Magazine in 1999 and received the 2011 USTA Southern Marilyn Sherman Spirit Award. He has coached many juniors, including his three daughters who all played college tennis.

LOCAL NOTES

-- Former local pro Matt Hane won his fifth national title of the year by teaming with his mother, Diane Barker, to win the mother/son clay court nationals in Williamsburg, Va. They defeated the Charleston team of Jill Healy and her son, James Island standout Brendon, in the final.

-- Brenda Carter is fresh from winning women's 70 singles and doubles titles in the national indoors in Vancouver, Wash.

-- Summerville's Pine Forest County Club will hold the HSI Charleston Pro Tennis League competition and festivities next Friday night at 6 p.m. The CPTL's weekly matches were held at Charleston Tennis Center on Friday night.


(09/21/17) USTA SOUTH CAROLINA: South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame Welcomes Two New Inductees
USTA South Carolina and the South Carolina Tennis Patrons Foundation are proud to announce that Domino Boulware of Columbia and Steve Zalinski of Greenville and Daniel Island will be the 2017 inductees into the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame.

Boulware has spent over 30 years working to grow the game of tennis and pave a path of opportunity for young people in the community by coaching tennis to people of all ages and economic circumstances.

Zalinski, a dedicated advocate of the 10 and Under tennis program, has volunteered countless hours at tournaments, schools and park functions to grow tennis through education and marketing.

“It is appropriate that Domino and Steve will be inducted in the same year,” said Graham Cox, Executive Director of USTA South Carolina. “Each has made a noble and noteworthy contribution to tennis in South Carolina. While their achievements have grown over the years, their success has always been rooted in their humble demeanor, desire to share the sport and heartfelt care for their players.”

Their achievements will be formally celebrated at the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame banquet on December 9 at the Omni Hilton Head Resort on Hilton Head Island. The induction ceremony, held in conjunction with the USTA South Carolina Annual Meeting, is sponsored by the South Carolina Tennis Patrons Foundation, the charitable arm of USTA South Carolina which operates the S.C. Tennis Hall of Fame in Belton.

DOMINO BOULWARE

Domino Boulware is a tennis professional and coach in Columbia, South Carolina. Along with serving as a tennis professional at Greenview Community Park for over 30 years, he has coached at various schools throughout the midlands. Boulware has encouraged many youth and adults to participate in USTA programs such as Junior Team Tennis, Adult Leagues and Tennis Apprentice. He credits the training he received from the ACE Professional Tennis Registry and USTA for many of his accomplishments in the tennis community.

Boulware was instrumental in developing the tennis program at Greenview Community Park. He founded the Bolden/Martin Math and Science Camp (which has run for over 10 years). During the camp, students gather around the net to listen to distinguished speakers before and after rigorous tennis drills. He encourages kids to grow academically, professionally and to serve the community.

After becoming certified with the Professional Tennis Registry in 1995, Boulware realized the need for a formal organization to help grass roots children become involved in the tennis world. This led him to establish the DD&J Junior Tennis Foundation whose primary objectives are to teach young people of all ages and economic circumstances the skill of tennis competition, and to use the power of the game to build character, support educational achievement and to reduce juvenile problems that lead to delinquency, teen pregnancy and other social ills. DD&J, which received the USTA SC Community Service Award in 1998, also provides tennis scholarships to children who cannot otherwise afford to pay the season’s fees.

Boulware has worked with school district administrators and athletic directors to develop partnerships to empower their teachers to learn the sport of tennis, so that the game can be enjoyed and shared with their students. He has also served as head of the Mayor’s Skills and Drills Tennis Program for the City of Columbia. Boulware has embedded himself in the tennis community of South Carolina, and has served as a mentor, coach and inspiration to many. His dedication to the sport has manifested itself in many ways, including facilitating college scholarships for kids, coaching ranked players, mentoring underprivileged children and instilling a lifelong love of the sport.

STEVE ZALINSKI

Steve Zalinski, a native of Chicago, received a scholarship to play tennis for DePaul University where he became a top ranked player and was inducted into the DePaul Athletic Hall of Fame for his outstanding play, sportsmanship and leadership. Zalinksi was the number 1 ranked player in Chicago several times during the 1960s and 1970s, and was the 1981 USTA National Parks singles and doubles champion. He served as the Head Tennis Professional at the Lake Forest Club in Chicago, where he met his wife, Kathy. He also served as the Manager and Director of the MidTown Tennis Club which is the world’s largest indoor tennis club with 18 indoor tennis courts.

Zalinski and his family moved to South Carolina in 1992, when he became the Vice President of Sales for Dunlop, a position he held for 18 years. After retiring from that position in 2007, Zalinksi joined the USTA Southern Section staff as the tennis service representative for South Carolina. After moving from Chicago, it didn’t take long for Zalinksi to shape a name for himself in the tennis community in South Carolina. He worked with the Palmetto Championships in Belton to develop the Dunlop Scholarship which recognizes an incoming college freshman who has participated in junior tennis in South Carolina. In 1996, the Zalinski’s received the USTA SC Tennis Family of the Year Award. He has served on the board of the Lowcountry Youth Tennis Association and the Lowcountry Tennis Association. He frequently volunteers his time with Family Circle Cup, which is now the Volvo Car Open. After retiring from Dunlop in 2007, Zalinksi joined the USTA Southern Section staff as the Tennis Service Representative for South Carolina, a position he held for 10 years before retiring earlier this year. As a Tennis Service Representative, he worked tirelessly to promote Tennis in Schools, 10 and Under events and Special Populations Adaptive tennis. He frequently spoke to the parents of junior players on various topics including the importance of good sportsmanship and having fun while playing.

Steve Zalinksi knows many people in the tennis world and treats everyone equally whether they are the USTA President or a parent of a 10 & Under player. He was voted the Nicest Male in the Tennis Industry by Tennis Week Magazine in 1999 and received the 2011 USTA Southern Marilyn Sherman Spirit Award. He received a Special Recognition Award from USTA SC in 2016, an award that recognizes an individual or group that has made an exceptional contribution to the sport of tennis in South Carolina.

Zalinksi has coached many juniors, including his three daughters. Kelly, Courtney and Shannon played the USTA Jr tournament circuit and earned tennis scholarships to Notre Dame, University of North Carolina and Western Carolina. Over the years they received multiple awards for their skills as well as their sportsmanship. Steve comes from a tennis family. Both of his parents were ranked #1 during the 1930s and he learned the value of sportsmanship from his mother. His rule is that regardless of what happens during a match, you always look your opponent in the eye when you shake their hand. Zalinksi has become much like a dad to many of his players and he truly believes tennis is the greatest sport on earth, and wants everyone to learn how to play.

For more information about the Hall of Fame ceremony, visit sctennis.com/annualmeeting.


(09/21/17) PREP ZONE: Girls Tennis
PALMETTO CHRISTIAN 8, ROBERT E. LEE 1
Singles: Shaw won 6-0, 6-0. Pernell won 6-3, 6-0. Noce won 6-0, 6-0. Howard won 6-0, 6-0. Emerson won 6-0, 6-0. Jiminez won 6-1, 6-2. Doubles: Campbell and Campbell won 8-5. Weinheimer and Schaaf won 6-3.

Records: PCA 2-2.


(09/21/17) Caroline Wozniacki rallies in third set to beat Shelby Rogers
Charleston touring tennis professional Shelby Rogers appeared to be on the verge of one of the biggest victories of her career on Thursday in Tokyo's Pan Pacific Open when she charged out to a 3-0 lead in the third set over Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark.

But the defending champion Wozniacki reeled off five straight games and posted a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory over the 59th-ranked Rogers.

Currently ranked sixth in the world, Wozniacki moved into Friday's quarterfinals with the win. She is the tournament's third seed.

Rogers appeared to have the answer for Wozniacki's consistent play when she broke Wozniacki's service for a 4-3 lead in the first set and then held her next two services to win the first set. But the 27-year-old Wozniacki, who finished the 2010 and 2011 seasons as the world's No. 1 player, bounced back to take a 3-0 lead in the second set and didn't waste any time in evening the match at a set apiece.

Rogers, who already owned a victory over recent world's No. 1 Karolina Pliskova at the 2016 French Open, looked poised to pull off the upset when the 24-year-old Charleston player broke service in the second game of the third set and then held service for a 3-0 lead. But Wozniacki quickly turned things around to take a 5-3 lead in the decisive set.


(09/20/17)  WALTERBORO PRESS AND STANDARD: CINDY CROSBY: CCHS Tennis wins against Fort Dorchester
The Colleton County Lady Cougar Tennis team defeated Fort Dorchester last week 5-1 in a non-region game played on the road last Wednesday Sept. 13. The following day, the Lady Cougars fell 6-0 to Hilton Head High School in a region match to put them at 1-1 in Region 8-AAAA.

“Everyone played great tennis last week considering we were out for a few days due to the hurricane,” said Coach Allyson Griffin.

Colleton County was scheduled to travel to Berkeley for a region match Tuesday Sept, 19.

Colleton County 5, Fort Dorchester 1 – Sept. 13
Singles
No. 1 Temperance Sanders (FD) d. Anni Crook (CC) 6-1, 6-3
No. 2 Cami Crook (CC) d. Georgia Hoff (FD) 6-1, 6-1
No. 3 Alicia Roberson (CC) d. Lauren Hewett (FD) 6-1, 6-0
No. 4 Daryn Hooker (CC) d. Kirsten McPhearson (FD) 6-1, 6-0
No. 5 Taylor Virden (CC) d. Allison Tallman (FD) 6-0, 6-3
Doubles
Megan DeWitt/Matilyn Griffin (CC) d. Kelly Wang/Serene Cheung (FD) 6-3, 6-2

Hilton Head 6, Colleton County 0 – Sept. 14
Singles
No. 1. Emily Ruckno (HH) d. Anni Crook (CC) 6-1, 6-3
No. 2 Ariella Stepleman (HH) d. Cami Crook (CC) 6-0, 6-1
No. 3 Sydney Hall (HH) d. Alicia Roberson (CC) 6-2, 6-3
No. 4 Madeleine Pollitzer (HH) d. Daryn Hooker (CC) 6-1, 6-2
No. 5 Danielle Silvan (HH) d. Taylor Virden (CC) 6-0, 6-4
Doubles
Ashton Grant/Pilar Kayser (HH) d. Megan DeWitt/Matilyn Griffin (CC) 7-5, 6-2


(09/19/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Green Wave Girls have quality depth
With everyone doing their part, the Summerville Girls Tennis team won its first five Region 7-AAAAA matches of the season.

The Green Wave defeated Stratford 5-1 Sept. 14 to improve to 6-1 on the season and 5-0 in region play. Paige Reynolds and Sullivan Long set the tone by winning the No. 1 and No. 2 singles courts, respectively. Then Lizzie Naval, Hannah McKee and Annelise Pagan swept up, winning courts 3 through 5.

The Stratford team of Ruan Gourdine and Elisa Lin earned a 6-4, 6-4 victory over the team of Gwen Rast and Zakiya Wilson on the No. 2 doubles court.

“We have had some competitive matches at the top of the lineup, but our depth is what has made us favorites in every region match so far,” Summerville coach David Long said. “Most casual fans look at the top courts but coaches know every court is a point and we have relied on depth in many cases over the last few years.”

Entering this week, Summerville’s only loss of the season was to Myrtle Beach, which bested the Wave 4-3 in Summerville’s season opener.

“Myrtle Beach is a very good team but I feel like we really should’ve won that match,” Long said.

However, Summerville faces some big challenges the rest of the season.

“We are a good team but the early region schedule has been favorable,” Long said. “The best teams in the region are Wando and James Island and we have not played them yet due to weather. I look forward to seeing how we perform against those teams on the next two Wednesdays. Competitive tennis is what makes it fun to coach. Our goal is the region title, but the No. 2 seed would also go a long way in the playoff match-ups.”

Summerville entered a streak of 10 matches in a 10-day period Tuesday. In addition to the make-up matches with Wando at home and James Island on the road, Summerville is scheduled to host Goose Creek Sept. 21 and Ashley Ridge Sept. 26 and to travel to compete in the Bishop England Invitational Sept. 22-24 and at West Ashley Sept. 28. Home matches begin at 4:30 p.m. at Blanton Courts.


(09/19/17) Shelby Rogers wins opening match in Tokyo
Shelby Rogers came through in the clutch on center court Tuesday to hold off Japan's Risa Ozaki in the opening round of the Toray Pan Pacific Open WTA Tour tournament.

A touring tennis professional from Charleston currently ranked 59th in the world, Rogers closed out a second-set tiebreaker on the 12th point to complete a 6-2, 7-6 (5) victory over the 92nd-ranked Ozaki in one hour and 53 minutes. It was the first meeting between the two players. Ozaki, a 23-year-old, was a wild card in the Tokyo event.

Rogers, who advanced to the third-round of the recent U.S. Open, now faces a major challenge in the round of 16 where she is scheduled to take on sixth-ranked Caroline Wozniacki.


(09/19/17) GENE SAPAKOFF: U.S. Open champ Sloane Stephens commits to 2018 Volvo Car Open
Sloane Stephens knows the green clay of Daniel Island and is a fan favorite in Charleston. But expect more adoration at the next Volvo Car Open when Stephens returns as reigning U.S. Open champion.

Stephens, 24, on Tuesday committed to play in the 2018 tournament, scheduled for March 31-April 8 at Volvo Car Stadium. She has played in the tournament six times and was singles champion in 2016.

“I’m so excited that I’ll have the chance to play the Volvo Car Open again,” Stephens said. “I wanted to defend my title last year, and was disappointed when I couldn’t due to my injury. I always love playing in front of Charleston’s supportive fans, and am so glad that I’ll be back in April.”

The 2018 Volvo Car Open field already included Madison Keys, the 2017 U.S. Open finalist, and Petra Kvitová, a 2017 U.S. Open quarterfinalist and two-time Wimbledon champion.

Stephens’ U.S. Open victory was her first Grand Slam singles title and came following an 11-month break from the WTA Tour due to a foot injury.

Sure, Serena Williams was sitting the last U.S. Open out. And Stephens was unseeded for injury reasons. But she became only the second unseeded player to win the tournament in the Open Era.

Since her return to tennis in July, Stephens reached the semifinals in both Toronto and Cincinnati, and in five weeks this summer, won 15 matches, all against top 50 players.

“We couldn’t be more ecstatic for Sloane,” said Eleanor Adams, Volvo Car Open Tournament Manager. “Our fans have watched her game grow in Charleston and they have rooted her on since she first stepped onto our courts."

Stephens won the 2016 Volvo Car Open in a season where she captured two additional titles, one in Auckland and another in Acapulco.

Tickets for the 2018 Volvo Car Open are now on sale. For more information on the tournament and ticket options, visit volvocaropen.com or call (800) 677-2293.


(09/16/17) PINE FOREST COUNTRY CLUB: Save the Date: CPTL Pro League
HSi Charleston Professional Tennis League

Sept. 29, 6pm until at Pine Forest Country Club
Come enjoy the party, have dinner, listen to the DJ, and watch fantastic tennis.


(09/14/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Swamp Foxes look to be competitive
The Ashley Ridge Girls Tennis team has a new coach and is looking to make a bigger impact this season.

Despite moving into a highly competitive region last season, the Swamp Foxes returned to the playoffs. They fell to Dutch Fork in the opening round, but are hoping to make a deeper run in 2017.

Sean McCawley has taken over as the coach for both the AR Girls and Boys programs. On the girls’ side, he hasn’t had to start from scratch as sophomores Arianna Brim and Kate Schmedeke have returned to the team after claiming Region 7-AAAAA All-region honors last season. Also back are Cameron Shephard, Taylor Sparling, Emily Fuss, Jessica Rye and Victoria Campbell.

Shephard and Sparling began this season in the Swamp Foxes’ Top 5 after seeing considerable action with the team last season. Caroline Jackey is also playing on the singles courts for Ashley Ridge.

“Since we started having open court time this summer I have been optimistic about the direction in which we can move as a program,” McCawley said. “Overall, we are a young team with only one senior on the squad. Having some players back in the mix in singles gives us a strong foundation to build on.”

Campbell, Fuss and Rye have all played on the No. 2 doubles court for the Swamp early this season. However, some of the players new to the team may push for playing time both in doubles and singles play.

McCawley indicated that other than several practices being rained out, things have gone smoothly since he took over as the team’s coach.

“At this point in the season our biggest issue is simply dealing with the weather,” he said. “Luckily, we have only had one match cancellation due to weather, but practice time on court has been hard to come by. Regardless, I feel pretty confident about our chances within the region. We certainly have some things to work on and there is plenty of stiff competition within the region, but I believe that, with hard work, focus, and a little bit of luck, we can rise to the challenge.”

Ashley Ridge got out to a 2-3 start this season. The Swamp Foxes were looking to even their record and improve to 2-1 in the region with a win over Stratford Sept. 7 but results from that match were not available at press time.

Ashley Ridge is scheduled to host power Wando at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 14 and to travel to Berkeley for a rematch at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 18.


(09/14/17) MOULTRIE NEWS: FRANKIE MANSFIELD: Volvo Car Open tickets on sale next week
Tickets for the 2018 Volvo Car Open, scheduled for March 31- April 8 on Daniel Island, will go on sale at 9 a.m. on September 19.

Patrons have the option to choose from individual tickets, ticket packages and travel packages. Ticket prices range from $25 for an individual session to $525 for an all-inclusive week-long package. The Volvo Car Open will provide six special ticket packages in 2018, each offering more tennis at a greater value and Ace Club membership. Ticket packages also include premium seats in the terrace section of the stadium.

The tournament is bringing back its popular Ace Club from 2017, an exciting membership program for box and ticket package holders. The Ace Club is a recognition program providing unparalleled amenities and benefits during the tournament. In addition, members have the option to receive access into the Ace Lounge, an exclusive hospitality location providing first-class accommodations including live entertainment, air-conditioning, elevated food options and more.

“As we celebrate our 46 years as a tournament and reflect on our many historic moments, we also look ahead to the future,” said Bob Moran, Tournament Director. “We continue to evolve our attendee experience including updating our in-stadium entertainment, technology and hospitality options. With Volvo Car USA as an outstanding partner, we’re confident that our 2018 tournament will be another memorable one.”

The PowerShares Series, a competitive tennis circuit featuring legendary male tennis icons and world-renowned champions, will also return to Charleston in 2018. The event occurs the night of April 7th and will include four champions playing two semifinal matches, with the winners meeting in the final. The format is entertaining for fans with players calling their own lines and interacting with the crowd. Currently, the field consists of Andy Roddick, former World No. 1 and US Open champion, and Mark Philippoussis, former World No. 8 and two-time Davis Cup champion. Two additional players making their first appearance in Charleston will be announced at a later date.

The nine-day Volvo Car Open is the largest women’s-only tennis tournament in North America, attracting an average of 90,000 attendees and 100+ of the top tennis players.

Two tennis players have already committed to play in the 2018 event – Petra Kvitová and Madison Keys.

Kvitová will make her Charleston, South Carolina tennis debut at the 2018 Volvo Car Open. The two-time Wimbledon champion returned to the WTA circuit in May 2017 after a complex hand injury following a home invasion in December 2016. Her resilience helped her capture her 20th WTA title in June of 2017 in Birmingham, just following her comeback.

The 2018 Volvo Car Open will be Keys sixth consecutive year in the field. She was a finalist in the 2015 tournament. After undergoing two wrist surgeries, Keys returned to tennis in March 2017 and hoisted her third WTA trophy in August in Stanford. There, she defeated current Wimbledon Champion Garbiñe Muguruza on the way to the finals. She also recently reached the finals of the 2017 US Open.

For more information on the tournament and ticket options, visit volvocaropen.com or call 800.677.2293.


(09/06/17) PR.com: PRESS RELEASE: Charleston Couple Invents New Tennis Product
Charleston couple, Dan & Margie Curry, have just launched their website to sell Tennis Bagup, a very unique new product for tennis players. The Tennis Bagup stand attaches to your tennis bag, and gets the tennis bag up off the ground and off the court benches. Folding legs makes it easy to use, carry, and store. This couple spent the past two years building different prototypes and improving their product, before applying for patents and selling it online.

Charleston, SC, September 06, 2017 --(PR.com)-- The Tennis Bagup stand is very unique because it attaches to your tennis bag, with color coordinated bungee cords with balls, and the stand and bag stay connected, whether you're using it, carrying it, or it's being stored. Available in lime, blue, and purple, the stand is made from a very sturdy, but lightweight plastic, and has UV inhibitors to protect the colors from fading. Dan & Margie Curry, of Charleston, SC are the inventors of this new tennis product, which is designed to get tennis bags up off the ground and off the tennis court benches. Custom folding legs makes it easy for tennis players to use. Currently the Tennis Bagup products are being sold in the U.S. but this company has big plans for growth. "We want to build a global brand for our Tennis Bagup products," says Margie Curry, Vice President, Sales, Marketing, & Licensing. Please visit their website for more information on this new product for the tennis market.

Margie Curry
Tennis Bagup LLC
Phone: 843.302.6024
sales@tennisbagup.com
https://www.tennisbagup.com/

Dan Curry, CEO, Tennis Bagup LLC.
My skills include: new product development, experience developing products in the plastics industry, managing sales and marketing for North America, and helping companies increase marketshare. I was also a member of the New Product Development Team for a Fortune 100 company. Strong problem solving skills and good understanding of how things work, and how they could work even better. When I'm not thinking about our next invention, I love to play tennis, and ride my bike along the paved bike paths in our home community, which looks like a nature preserve. We lived in Atlanta before relocating to Charleston, and I played on many ALTA leagues. I have been a tennis fan, and tennis player for several years. I believe, "the best new products are those that serve.a purpose." tennis bagup products were designed for that reason. Margie and I have also invented tennis bagup "frame in the bag", which sits in the bottom of the tennis bag, and has legs on the outside of the bag. Available exclusively to tennis bag manufacturers.

Our story begins with a sketch on a piece of drawing paper for a new product which would get tennis bags up off the ground, and off the benches at the tennis courts. The new product for tennis players needed to be made from a lightweight plastic, sturdy, available in vibrant colors which had UV protection from fading, along with folding legs which were easy to open and close, We wanted the tennis product to serve a good purpose and to be able to attach the stand to a tennis bag with something that looked really cool. How it attached was very important, especially for our targeted market, which was the tennis equipment industry. In our "think tank" at home, we spent almost two years designing prototypes and then looking at each other and saying "I think it could be better", before tennis bagup was ready to be patented and marketed. We currently have four patents pending for these new tennis products, which are now available to tennis players, through our website. During this two year journey, we prayed a lot, talked about building a global brand for the tennis bagup products, and agreed serving customers through good business practices, was very important.

Margie Curry, Vice President, Sales, Marketing, & Licensing.
My skills include: new product development in plastics and other product lines, sales management, negotiating licensing agreements, developing marketing strategies, sports marketing, career coaching, and executive recruiting. I was a top career coach in the Atlanta market for several years, but "marketing" is my real passion. I have worked on many interesting projects including: independent Marketing Consultant, L'Oreal Paris (the global leader in beauty and hair care products) where I launched a new product line for this company, experience launching other products, experience in sports marketing, where I managed the hiring of the Venue Managers and event support staff for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, recruiting executives for Suntrust Bank Corporate Marketing Department, (recruited Director of Sponsorship Marketing and Manager of Sports Marketing) and working for a top Advertising & PR Agency, where I managed focus groups for clients gathering data before launching new products, managed photo shoots, and also managed print and TV advertising campaigns. I understand that "color" can have a big impact in buying decisions, so I spent a lot of time evaluating different colors for our tennis bagup products and even matching them up with tennis bags that really look great together! I used the same strategy with the bungee cords and balls. All the design elements of this new product for tennis players makes tennis bagup look like a work of art.


(09/03/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Tennis teams fall to Green Wave
The Summerville Girls Tennis team is off to a 4-1 start this season.

The Green Wave earned two promising victories last week, defeating Berkeley 4-2 Sept. 1 and crosstown rival Ashley Ridge 5-1 Aug. 31 to improve to 2-0 in Region 7-AAAAA.

Summerville’s Paige Reynolds earned a 6-3, 6-1 victory on the No. 1 singles court at Ashley Ridge. Arianna Brimm fought for a 6-3, 2-6, 10-7 Swamp Fox victory on the No. 2 court, but Summerville swept the rest of the singles courts. Lizzie Naval, Hannah McKee and Annelise Pagan all won 6-0, 6-0 to clinch the victory for Summerville.

In doubles play, Gwen Rast and Zakiya Wilson teamed up for a 6-2, 6-4 victory.

Ashley Ridge dropped to 2-1 and 1-1 in Region 7 with the loss.

The next day, Summerville notched its second consecutive road victory in Moncks Corner.

Abby Cotuna got Berkeley off to a good start with a 6-3, 6-0 win on the No. 1 singles court. However, Summerville took the other singles courts.

Sullivan Long won 4-6, 6-2, 12-10 at No. 2 singles. Naval won 6-1, 6-0. McKee won 6-1, 6-2. Pagan won 6-3, 6-2.

The No. 2 doubles match went to a third set, but the Berkeley team of Ashley Morrell and Jane Huise won 6-3, 2-6, 10-7 over the Summerville team of Rast and Zakiya.

Berkeley dropped to 3-1 on the season.

Summerville hosts defending Region 7 Champion Wando Sept. 7 and James Island Sept. 12.


(09/02/17) Shelby Rogers falls to No. 4 Elina Svitolina at U.S. Open
NEW YORK — It was a match that was Shelby Rogers' to win. But she didn't on Saturday in the third round of the U.S. Open.

World's No. 4 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine won most of the key points and held off a late Rogers rally to score a 6-4, 7-5 victory over the Charleston touring tennis professional.

Ranked 62nd in the world, Rogers still leaves the Big Apple with more than $150,000 in earnings from three singles matches and one doubles match. That should have helped the 24-year-old sleep better Saturday night.

At times, Rogers sparkled with all parts of her game, serve, hard-hit and well-placed forehands and backhands as well as numerous strong volleys. She matched up well against one of the WTA Tour's hottest players. Svitolina has won five tournaments this year alone.

But overall, Rogers didn't appear to be as sharp and play with the confidence and focus she had demonstrated while winning two three-set matches at BJK Tennis Center, including Thursday's longest recorded women's singles match in U.S. Open history that produced an upset of 20th-ranked Daria Gavrilova.

Rogers had ample opportunities to win this match and advance to Monday's round of 16.

She didn't blink in the first nine games of the match, coming up with the shots she needed to stay neck-and-neck with the speedy and consistent 5-9, 132-pound Ukrainian.

"I made too many unforced errors," said Rogers, who committed 34 unforced errors to only 17 by Svitolina as each player finished with 16 winners.

"The last couple of matches I've been moving forward well. I've been pretty successful with it lately," said Rogers about her 20-for-33 results on net approaches against Svitolina. "I want to keep doing it."

Rogers was there at 4-4 in the first set and served with an ad-point in the 10th game, but committed three straight errors to drop the set.

"She didn't miss much," Rogers said.

As both players seemed to go into a lull in the second set, Rogers grabbed a 2-0 lead, only to drop the next five games for a 5-2 deficit. The match appeared to be over at that point. But Rogers didn't think so.

Rogers staged an impressive rally by saving a pair of match points to break service in the ninth game to close to 5-4 and then held service to deadlock the second set, bringing the crowd to life.

"I left it all out there, and that's all I can ask," Rogers said. "The crowd was so awesome I wanted to fight until the end."

With new life among the fans in the Grandstand stadium, Svitolina silenced the crowd by breaking out of deuce to hold service for 6-5 to again apply pressure on Rogers' survival mode. Rogers played somewhat of a loose 12th game, committing three errors, and it cost her when she could only watch helplessly as a Svitolina forehand hit the net cord and trickled over the net to end the 92-minute match.

"The net cord was very tricky, but there also was one that went against me," Svitolina said.


(08/31/17)  WALTERBORO PRESS AND STANDARD: CINDY CROSBY: Lady Cougar Tennis earns first win of season
The Colleton County High School Lady Cougar Tennis team earned its first win of the season last Thursday Aug. 24 in an away match against Wade Hampton High School.

“It was a great first win,” said Coach Allyson Griffin. “The girls played hard, worked through some nerves and gave me 100%. I am very proud of each of them.

The Lady Cougars will host Wade Hampton Thursday Aug. 31 with the first serve set for 4:45 p.m.

Score: Colleton County – 7, Wade Hampton – 0
Singles:
#1- Anni Crook d. Savannah Deloach 6-2, 6-1
#2- Cami Crook d. Megan Long 6-2, 6-3
#3- Alicia Roberson d. Alexis Deloach 6-0, 6-4
#4- Daryn Hooker d. Madison Long 6-0, 6-2
#5- Megan DeWitt d. Emily Firster 7-5, 6-1

Doubles:
#1- A. Crook/Roberson d. S. Deloach/A. Deloach 8-0
#2- Taylor Virden/Madison Strickland d. Jessica Simpson/Jordan Simmons 6-0, 6-0


(08/31/17) Shelby Rogers wins her second-round match at U.S. Open
NEW YORK — Shelby Rogers did more than just prevail on Thursday in the U.S. Open's second round. She won the longest recorded women's singles match in U.S. Open history, and in a big upset.

After Rogers had finished off 20th-ranked Daria Gavrilova, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 7-6 (5), in three hours and 33 minutes, she was mobbed by fans from all over the country who suddenly appeared to be in love with the name "Shelby."

"Shelby! Shelby! Shelby!" was the sound of the day out on a packed court 10. The previous record was set in the 2015 U.S. Open in a second-round match in which Johanna Konta defeated Garbine Muguruza in three hours and 23 minutes.

Things could get even more difficult for Rogers probably on Saturday in the round of 32 where her opponent will be fourth seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, who was a 6-4, 6-4 winner over Evgeniya Rodina of Russia in the second round.

"It was a very special moment for me today being down in the third, coming back, having a few match points," Rogers said. "Just so many ups and downs for both of us today.

"To get through that on the winning side was just really incredible. The crowd helped me so much. They gave me some energy in the third, for sure."

Rogers wouldn't give up in this match, but neither would the Australian on the other side of the net. Gavrilova was coming off of her first title on the WTA Tour in last week's big Connecticut Open in New Haven.

So, the 23-year-old Gavrilova had a little reason to be leaping high in the air when she tied the first-set tiebreaker at 4-4, just moments after she had slammed her racket to the court when she dropped her serve at love with a double fault to fall behind 6-5 in the first set.

Time after time, it appeared that the match's momentum switched. Rogers had triple match point in the 10th game of the third set, but lost all three of those and another in the game.

"She makes you want to do a little bit more with that next ball because she is so quick," Rogers said about the triple match point situation when she netted a hard-hit short forehand on the first one.

"Got the last one (match point) ... that's all that matters."

The tiebreaker continued the dramatics as it went to 5-5 before Gavrilova netted a forehand to give Rogers her fifth match point. This time, Rogers didn't fail as a Gavrilova forehand sailed long.

There was a challenge, of course, and this time unlike a day earlier when Rogers defeated Kayla Day in the first round, the instant replay system was available.

The two players had a lengthy hug at the net as Rogers was declared the winner. And then came the mob for photos and autographs.

The key to the win for Rogers might have been at the net where she played fearless tennis in the critical stages of the match, coming up with several aggressive volleys that caught the fleet Australian by surprise. Rogers went to the net an unthinkable, for her, 50 times, and made good on the approaches 32 times.

"If you would have told me six months ago that I just played a match where I came to the net 50 times, I would definitely be surprised," Rogers said. "Above 50 (percent on winners), I love it."

Although not as powerful as Rogers' serves, Gavrilova had her placement down to a science most of the match, pulling Rogers out wide on the deuce side and surprising her down the middle on the ad-side. "She was keeping me guessing a little bit. She was using the wind really well, too," said Rogers about Gavrilova, who came up with six aces.

Gavrilova was everywhere with her quickness, but Rogers still went all-out for winners, and connected 43 times to 33 for the ultra-consistent Gavrilova. Although Rogers' powerful ground strokes played a major role in Gavrilova's 47 unforced errors, Rogers also had 64 unforced errors of her own.

Rogers broke Gavrilova for 4-4 in the third set with a forehand volley to recover from a 4-2 deficit. She then held service for 5-4 before failing to capitalize on the four match points in the 10th game.


(08/30/17) Shelby Rogers wins her first-round U.S. Open match
NEW YORK — Shelby Rogers prevailed on Wednesday afternoon at the U.S. Open.

Prevail pretty much described the Charleston touring tennis professional's 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 first-round victory over 17-year-old wild card Kayla Day at BJK Tennis Center.

After a happy celebration with supporters at courtside, Rogers proclaimed in the interview room, "In the end, I came out ahead."

Although Rogers sailed through the first set, the match turned in the second set and the two players fought for every point in the third set. Rogers had four break points and lost all of them in the seven-deuce third set's third game, which was followed by Day calling for a trainer to massage her back.

The end on noisy court six came down to a thunderous forehand to the baseline that Day couldn't get to, ending the match. The Santa Barbara, Calif., teenager protested that the ball was long, but the chair umpire wasn't about to start a new trend for the day with an over-rule.

"The call was good," Rogers said. "It's just part of the game (on a no challenge/instant replay court). You just have to live with it."

Of course, Day said she "definitely would have liked an instant replay on the last point."

Rogers, ranked No. 62 in the world, ran her string of first-round Grand Slam tournament victories to five straight. Rogers' second-round opponent will be 20th-ranked Daria Gavrilova of Australia, the winner of last week's New Haven, Conn., tournament.

Gavrilova defeated American Allie Kiick, 6-2, 6-1, here on Wednesday in the first round.

The victory was worth an additional $36,000 to Rogers to boost her current earnings for this U.S. Open to $86,000.

"There is a lot on the line here, a lot of money, a lot of points, a lot of recognition," Rogers said.

"I just give 100 percent and look forward to the next round."

Rogers dominated the first set with her big serve and forehand, going ahead 5-1.

Day changed her game in the second set to a more passive mode, keeping Rogers deep with high-looping left-handed forehands that caused problems for Rogers' backhand.

"It was a really frustrating day. I started out playing like I wanted to. I kept telling myself to stay aggressive," Rogers said.

"I was just forcing a little (in the second set). I was missing by just inches. I was playing just like I wanted to, but I wasn't executing well.

"I kept moving forward, and I did a little better in the third set. I served better, too. I just tried to be aggressive, and it worked out in the end."

After overcoming a love-40 start in the fourth game of the third set to hold for a 2-2 deadlock, Rogers held service at love in her next two service games to pull even at 4-4.

"I was having a hard time reading her serve," said Day, who is ranked 128th.

Day double-faulted at 30-40 in the ninth game to allow Rogers to serve for the match.

Serving at double match point, Rogers' second serve brought a weak return from Day that Rogers jumped on to end the match.

Rogers won 66 percent of the points on her second serve to just 43 percent for Day on her second serve.


(08/29/17) Rogers' first U.S. Open match postponed by rain
NEW YORK -- It was just another day at the office for Shelby Rogers on Tuesday at the U.S. Open. She just didn't get to play a tennis match.

Touring professional tennis players are accustomed to the rainy day routine. They are like tennis soldiers, prepared for almost anything that might affect them.

"I warmed up this morning at 10 and ate lunch, then just waited in the lounge with my team," Rogers said after her midday scheduled match at BJK Tennis Center was cancelled for the day due to rain on the courts outside the covered Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Rogers' first-round match against 17-year-old wild card Kayla Day had been scheduled as the second match on court six, which is just a few yards from Ashe Stadium.

"It happens. We just have to reset and start over tomorrow," Rogers said. "That's why we have routines that we stick to in order to help us get the right mindset whenever we need it."

With that, the 62nd-ranked Rogers is set for another day at the office on Wednesday. The 24-year-old Charleston product is still scheduled to take on the left-handed Day on court 6, where play again will begin at 11 a.m. Only this time, the Rogers-Day encounter will be the third match.

They will have more time to wait since their match is scheduled to follow the completion of the rain-halted match between Jennifer Brady and Andrea Petkovic, and a men's match pitting Adrian Mannarino against Ricardas Berankis.

Day is a 128th-ranked player from Santa Barbara, Calif., who also is the 2016 Junior U.S. Open champion. Day has played in both of the Charleston area's pro tennis tournaments held so far this year, the Volvo Car Open and the LTP $60K event that were held just a few miles and a short time apart.


(08/28/17) Shelby Rogers 'prepared for a fight' in her first-round match at U.S. Open
NEW YORK – Playing a 17-year-old normally might be a good first-round draw for a veteran touring professional such as Shelby Rogers. But Kayla Day isn't just another teen tennis player.

"I'm prepared for a fight," Rogers said in the media center during Monday's first round of the U.S. Open, looking ahead to Tuesday's second match on court six where play begins at 11 a.m.

Day is one of the teen sweethearts of American tennis. The crafty 5-8 left-hander from Santa Barbara, Calif., won last year's Junior U.S. Open and already has climbed to No. 128 in the world.

"I practice with her. We're pretty good friends," said Rogers, currently ranked 62nd in the world.

"She's had a lot of success. It's tough playing another American player, but there isn't any pressure for me."

There's also the left-handed opponent to deal with.

"It's definitely different playing a lefty," said Rogers, who prepared for the match on Monday by practicing against another left-hander.

Day was a wild card in this year's Volvo Car Open and also made the quarterfinals of the $60K U.S. Pro Circuit event held this past spring at LTP Tennis in Mount Pleasant.

Rogers generally plays the same way, shooting from the hip for the lines with her big forehands and strong serves.

The 24-year-old Rogers practiced Monday "out in the park" (the practice courts in the park outside the gates to the BJK Tennis Center) with coach Marc Lucero and then immediately received normal treatment inside the gates from her physio, Cherryl Bueno. "It was just normal treatment . . . getting the body and muscles in shape," Rogers said.

Bueno also served as Rogers' physio at the Australian Open.

Rogers is playing doubles in the U.S. Open with American CoCo Vandeweghe.

Charleston has another player in the doubles draw. LTP Tennis pro division player Emina Bektas received a doubles wild card with 15-year-old American partner Amanda Anisimova. A former University of Michigan All-American, Bektas has jumped to No. 125 in doubles, mostly through winning tournaments such as the LTP $60K.


(08/26/17) Life on Tour: Charleston's Shelby Rogers savors every moment as a pro tennis player
Shelby Rogers realizes she is living in something of a dream world.

Playing tennis at Wimbledon, Roland Garros and the upcoming U.S. Open is a dream come true for a young woman who was born and grew up East of the Cooper, and whose heart has never left the area.

Charleston and her legacy here figure prominently in everything Rogers does as she travels the world as a touring professional.

"My tennis career is the greatest thing that has happened to me and I want it to be a very positive thing," she said.

Rogers is only 24 years old, but she is well aware of how precious moments on the WTA Tour are. She knows they won't last forever.

"Everyday life on the tour is a lot of fun. My career has taken me to so many new and exciting places where I have met new friends, experienced new cultures, and made memories that I’ll remember forever," she said.

Lofty goals

Rogers is in the prime of her career. She can still improve on her current No. 60 world ranking, and winning a Grand Slam tournament isn't out of the question.

"It is nice to sometimes take a step back and appreciate how far I've come and all that I have accomplished. I am by no means satisfied with where I am and I have high goals for myself to get back into the top 50 ... and (top) 25."

She achieved her career high ranking of No. 48 earlier this year.

Rogers has scored at least one victory in each of the last four Grand Slams, and has advanced as far as the quarterfinals at the 2016 French Open. She owns victories over the current top two players in the world, No. 1 Karolina Pliskova at the 2016 French Open and No. 2 Simona Halep at this year's Australian Open. She also has beaten two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

Globe-trotter

What is it really like traveling the globe and being an integral part of the most prominent women's athletic circuit in the world?

"The traveling can be tough at times, especially if you are dealing with delays, expensive last minute flights, or playing late in the week at one tournament and trying to rush to the next," Rogers said. "We don’t get to plan ahead much since every week depends on how many matches we win."

It's much the same way on match day, unless a player is assigned the first match time on the court for a particular session. Otherwise, it's follow the leader, except the followers don't know how long the players playing ahead of them are going to take to finish off an opponent.

And don't even mention the word "rain."

"The match schedule is usually released the day or night before we play," Rogers said. "Unlike other sports, tennis doesn’t give us much time to prepare before we go out there. The scheduling can be tough because it is usually not a set time, rather an order of play. So it will be one match followed by another, and you have to be ready for those matches to be quick or they could be marathons."

Travel is travel, sometimes more comfortable than others.

"I will try to splurge and fly first class going to Australia because it makes a big difference with recovery after a 16-hour flight. If you can lie down and sleep through that, adjusting once you arrive is much easier and quicker," she said.

"Most of the time I am sitting in coach seats, unless I get an upgrade due to frequent flyer status on American Airlines."

Winning helps

Everything depends on winning.

If a player is winning consistently, she can settle in for a longer stay at most stops on the tour.

"I enjoy sightseeing in the cities I visit, but you have to schedule well," Rogers said. "It can be exhausting walking around the cities ... this isn’t ideal match prep. Usually a few days before, or if I get to stay after a tournament, is when this will happen," she said.

"We don’t have many days off throughout the events, so it can be tough to do much more than go to dinner with friends or see one thing. I try to do at least one fun thing in each city because who knows if I will be back."

Winning also is important financially, in more ways than one.

"Every tournament has an official hotel that will be listed on a fact sheet for that event. They usually get us a 'player rate' which is at a discount, and nights for the players are free for competition days," she said.

"Most of the tournaments have player parties, usually with a theme. We tend to meet a lot of sponsors at these events, but it is a nice chance for us to get all dressed up and mingle with each other outside of a competition setting."

Family ties

Family is always part of the equation.

Rogers remains close to her married older sister Sabra, mother Starley and stepfather Jim Gabrish, a former Citadel football All-American and NFL player. Sabra is a former college tennis player and now a psychologist who resides here and has a young daughter.

Sabra often discusses the mental angles of tennis with her younger sister. Shelby's parents reside on Daniel Island.

"I don't have too many free weeks throughout the season. We travel over 30 weeks a year depending on scheduling, and with all of the fun we have I definitely have to schedule in recovery time and time to spend at home," Rogers said.

"My family has been so supportive of me. My mother and sister have played a huge role in why I have been so successful. They have always been there for me, encouraging me and helping me along the way. I still talk to them almost every day. We are very close."

Staying on schedule

Rogers enjoys the freedom and independence of being a professional tennis player.

"I don’t see myself as having made 'sacrifices' to be where I am because I always enjoyed playing and training," she said. "It is exactly what I wanted to do. Now I have the freedom to make my own schedule and play this amazing sport for a job.

Rogers recently has been training with her coach, Marc Lucero, at Chris Evert's tennis academy in Boca Raton, Fla. She spends most of her off time at her place in nearby Fort Lauderdale.

Coach's influence

Rogers depends heavily on Lucero, her coach of 2 years.

"My coach and I talk about the schedule for the following days and plan practice times with other players," she said. "Or I will choose to do fed ball and drills when I feel it is necessary to work on certain shots or skills."

"It is nice to have a coach that can practice with me in case we are early to a tournament and not too many players have arrived yet.

"Usually the days leading up to matches I will practice twice, and the day right before I play only one hour. There is also the element of maintaining strength and cardio training while on the road."

Getting a degree

When Rogers has free time away from the courts, she enjoys the opportunities to relax and maybe watch her favorite TV shows.

"I probably watch TV less than most people, but 'Game of Thrones' and 'Suits' are my favorite," she said. "I like to read, listen to music, and naps are always a plus."

"I feel that the American girls are all very close, and we are going to dinner and hanging out at tournaments. We have a lot of fun even in the locker rooms. I find myself (able) to get along with most all the players, but really only open up to a handful."

Rogers has taken another big step in her life off the court. She's going to college.

"I am in the process of getting my degree online through Indiana University . . . because the WTA has an agreement with them to help us financially," she said. "I am studying psychology and even though I am only taking a few classes at a time, it is important to manage my time well.

"I like psychology. I am interested in people and how they act and respond in situations. I deal with people all the time with media, traveling, etc. It is interesting to learn more about everything."

Career highlights

Rogers' talent was apparent early. Fritz Nau, then director at the Players Club, once said that "Shelby is automatic at Belton."

Rogers won five prestigious Belton Palmetto Championships singles titles, the last one in the girls 16 division in 2007, when she was 14.

Two years later, she was playing her first professional tournament in a $10,000 ITF event in St. Joseph, Missouri. She won her first pro match in three tiebreakers while advancing to the quarterfinals of that tournament before losing to American Maria Sanchez.

Rogers got her first big break in 2010 when she won the National Junior Hard Court Championships in San Diego to earn a wild card into the main draw of the U.S. Open.

"That started everything," Rogers said.

Once she had a taste of playing in the Big Apple in America's Grand Slam tournament, Rogers knew exactly what she wanted: A career in professional tennis. She turned pro at age 17.

Earlier in 2010, she had won the Smash Junior Cup to earn a wild card into qualifying for the Family Circle Cup, her first appearance in Charleston's WTA Tour event (now the Volvo Car Open).

"No one had heard of me at the time," Rogers said.

A year later, Rogers made the main draw of Charleston's WTA Tour tournament.

She finally broke through with her first Family Circle Cup main draw win in 2015.

"That was a good moment," she said. "I had been struggling that year.

Then in 2016, she made the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. That accomplishment at Roland Garros turned Rogers into a real pro in the minds of many people including Rogers.

"It helped me to believe in myself," she said.

Looking ahead

Rogers probably is nearing the mid-point of her career. She will turn 25 in less than two months, and appears to have plenty of time to add to her career highlights.

"I would like to play as long as I can and enjoy it. When I can't enjoy it, I won't force myself to play. But I want to play as long as I can," she said.

She has played only two matches since returning to the tour after playing World Team Tennis for the San Diego Aviators following her third-round appearance at Wimbledon.

Rogers was eliminated in the first round of qualifying for the WTA Tour's tournament in New Haven, Conn., last weekend and her next stop is the U.S. Open that starts Monday.

The bottom line

Rogers has earned nearly $2 million playing tennis. That may sound like a lot of money for someone in her mid-20s, but the life of a traveling tennis professional doesn't come cheap. Big-city lodging and one-way last-minute airline tickets are expensive, not to mention having a coach on the payroll.

"The financial aspect of my career is a great bonus, but it comes with a lot of expenses," she said. "It’s not like every cent of that prize money is sitting in my bank account.

"I am very fortunate to make money from doing something I love, and I try to be very smart with it because I have seen players' careers end abruptly. I try not to take any of it for granted, enjoying everything as it comes and staying in the moment.

"It can be easy to get caught up in the lifestyle and think it's normal, because it’s all I’ve ever done and everyone around me is doing the same."


(08/26/17) CPTL returning for 15th year
The Charleston Pro Tennis League is preparing to start its fourth straight season under former College of Charleston men's coach Phil Whitesell.

When the league was formed in 2002, it was one of the few such leagues in the nation. The CPTL thrived in its early years under the guidance of co-founder Chris Henderson, but when Henderson left the area the league was disbanded in 2013.

Whitesell stepped forward to head up the league, and the HSI-sponsored CPTL now appears to be on sound footing for its 15th season. The opening Friday night program is scheduled for Sept. 8 at the I'On Club in Mount Pleasant.

"We have a good, strong league with new players joining the veterans," said Whitesell, the head pro at Hamlin Plantation in Mount Pleasant who doubles as the girls tennis coach for Oceanside Collegiate. "We averaged 500 fans per match last season."

The top players in the league include former Brigham Young All-American Chip Hand. Currently a pro at the Daniel Island Club and the coach of Southern No. 1 junior boy Jared Pratt, Hand is rejoining the league.

The seven-team league will hold its second program on Sept. 15 at Family Circle Tennis Center as part of the Lowcountry Tennis Association's annual member party.

BE, ASHLEY HALL CLASH

The area's defending girls state champions aren't wasting any time. Bishop England and Ashley Hall will go head-to-head on Wednesday afternoon at Charleston Tennis Center

Bishop England is the defending SCHSL Class AAA state champion, but the Bishops will have all they can handle against defending SCISA Class AA champ Ashley Hall and Southern No. 1 junior Emma Navarro. Coach Kristin Fleming Arnold's BE teams have won six consecutive state titles, but lost Nos. 1 and 2 Jenna Vroman and Camryn Deames from last year's team to college tennis.

The same two teams are scheduled to clash again on Sept. 12.

NATIONAL CHAMPS

Charleston native Matt Hane and Kiawah Island pro Brandon Blankenbaker have teamed up for quite a year of men's 35 national tennis competition. Hane and Blankenbaker are just back from Philadelphia where they won the men's 35 national grass court championship last weekend.

Earlier this year, they won the national indoor title.

And Hane, a former I'On Club pro and currently the head pro at Richmond's Country Club of Virginia, also won the singles titles in both the national indoors and grass courts.

Hane is the son of Diane Barker, a former world's No. 1 in the senior rankings.

Barker finished as runner-up in the national indoors women's 60 singles competition this past week in Seattle. Diane and Jack Barker took fourth in mixed doubles.

NAVARRO U.S. NO. 5

Emma Navarro has moved up to No. 5 nationally in girls 16 and 14th in girls 18.

In Southern rankings, Navarro still tops the girls 16 and 18 standings, while Jared Pratt is No. 1 in boys 18.

Saige Severance has climbed to No. 8 in Southern girls 12, while Alice Otis has vaulted into the top 10 of Southern girls 12 at the 10th spot.

Allie Gretkowski holds the second spot in Southern girls 14 and Magie Navarro is fifth.

In Southern boys rankings, Jacob Smith is seventh in 12-and-under and Carson Baker is No. 10 in 12s.

LOCAL NOTES

Drew Bobey of Daniel Island was named the USTA Southern's state winner in the NJTL Essay Contest and was awarded an all-expense paid trip last weekend to the Winston-Salem Open ATP Tour tournament.

The Hugs for Harper fundraising event is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sept. 15 at Charles Towne Landing. Proceeds from the event honoring the memory of Harper Drolet will benefit the Hugs for Harper Endowment, a fund created to support pediatric cancer research at MUSC Children’s Health. Contact Amanda Mahaffey (843-792-3321 or mahaffea@musc.edu).


(08/25/17) JEFF HARTSELL: Volvo Car Open spreads love of tennis in the Lowcountry
After she won a main-draw match at Wimbledon for the first time in July, Shelby Rogers tweeted, "Thanks for all of the support today! Nice to have some #Charleston vibes in the crowd."

Charleston's tennis vibes have never been stronger, thanks in no small part to Rogers, the Lowcountry's favorite WTA star. She grew up playing on Lowcountry courts and was a ball girl at the Family Circle Cup on Daniel Island, where she now wins matches at the Volvo Car Open.

Rogers’ continued climb in the tennis world — she's ranked No. 61 in the world, is the ninth-ranked American player and played for the U.S. Fed Cup team — serves as an inspiration for the hundreds of kids learning the game in the Lowcountry, and the almost 5,000 people ages 18 and older who participate in U.S. Tennis Association leagues in the Charleston area.

The Family Circle Cup, a staple of Charleston tennis since it moved to Daniel Island from Hilton Head in 2001, underwent a name change in 2016 and is now the Volvo Car Open. Charleston was named Best Tennis Town in 2010 in a USTA competition, and there are plenty of places for enthusiasts to get their game on in the Lowcountry.

Family Circle Tennis Center
This Daniel Island fixture hosts the Volvo Car Open, and is a public facility owned by the city of Charleston. The center features green clay courts and hard courts, and hourly rates range from $10 to $15 per hour for nonmembers. (843-849-5300)

Maybank Tennis Center
The James Island facility underwent a major renovation in 2012. The city of Charleston facility has six hard courts and three clay courts. Hourly fees or annual memberships available. (843-406-8814)

Charleston Tennis Center
The city of Charleston’s site in West Ashley has 15 lighted hard courts and, along with the Maybank facility, hosts USTA, Charleston Area Ladies Tennis Association and tri-county elementary and middle school events. Group and individual lessons are available at both locations. Hourly fees or annual memberships available. (843-766-7401)

Mount Pleasant Tennis Complex
The Whipple Road complex has 12 hard courts, three clay courts, eight Quick Start courts for kids and a playground for ages 5-12. Ball-machine rentals and racquet-stringing services are available. (843-856-2162)

Arthur B. Schirmer Jr. Tennis Center
The Bees Landing Recreational Center has six lighted courts. (843-406-8814)

LTP Tennis
The Mount Pleasant club is a private membership-based facility that also features paddle tennis courts. (843-388-0898)

Among other area tennis centers that host USTA league events are I’On, Doty Park, Legend Oaks, Park West, Creekside Tennis and Swim, Collins Park, Legend Oaks, Ashborough East, Dunes West, Snee Farm, Wild Dunes, Daniel Island Club, Brickyard Plantation, Seabrook, Kiawah, Walterboro, Crowfield, St. Andrew’s, Pine Forest Country Club and others.


(08/25/17) ANDREW MILLER: Minor league, college teams and tennis offer major fun in Charleston
While Charleston might be a three-hour drive from the nearest NFL or NBA city, that doesn’t mean the Lowcountry comes up short when it comes to spectator sports. This middle-size market packs plenty of bang for the buck, including some up-and-coming stars in the minor leagues. The Lowcountry features professional baseball, soccer and hockey at the minor league level. It also has three NCAA Division I athletic programs and the Volvo Car Open, which has the longest tenure on the Women’s Tennis Association Tour.

Volvo Car Open

The Volvo Car Open on Daniel Island is more than a tennis tournament, it’s an event. The food, the music, the shopping make the week-long tournament a must-attend experience even for the casual tennis fan. The list of past winners of the tournament is a who’s who of the tennis royalty and includes Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Jennifer Capriati and Justine Henin. Daria Kasatkina won in 2017. The 2018 Volvo Car Open is March 31 to April 7.


(08/24/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Expectations high for Summerville Girls Tennis
The Summerville High School Girl’s Tennis program returns the top eight players from its most successful team in recent history.

Expectations for the 2017 squad are high considering the Green Wave lost no starters and has a vast amount of varsity experience.

“Our goal this year is to play in the Lower State final, but we are well aware how difficult that will be,” Summerville Coach David Long said. “Over the last four years we have advanced one step further each season but to do that again this year will take a serious commitment and some great play.”

Summerville finished 15-8 overall and 11-3 in the region last year. The Green Wave placed second in region 7-AAAAA, earning a state playoff bid.

Summerville won a very competitive first-round home match against Spring Valley 4-3 before traveling to Region 6 champion Socastee in the second round of the playoffs. There, Summerville pulled out another thrilling 4-3 win to earn a spot in the Lower State semi-finals.

A road trip to River Bluff then ended the team’s season in the third round. According to Long, the Green Wave Girls have not won two playoff matches in the same season since the playoff team bracket format was instituted in 1983. Prior to that, an individual format was used with players earning points for their team toward determining the state champion.

Juniors Paige Reynolds, Sullivan Long and Lizzie Naval have all returned for their fifth season as starters and will anchor the Top 3 singles positions again this year.

Freshman Hannah McKee, the daughter of tennis professional and former Green Wave head coach Bryant McKee, is expected to battle sophomore Annelise Pagan for the No. 4 Singles spot. Junior Dylan Zoeller is also a four-year starter and will likely play the No. 2 doubles court with junior Gwen Rast.

Sophomore Zakiya Wilson also returns after a very good first season with team last year.

New to the team are 10th-grader Jadin Williams and eighth-grader Lily Butterworth.

Long, who enters his fifth season as head coach of the Summerville Girls, expects for his team to contend for the region title. However, several teams are expected be in the hunt for the title.

“We expect another battle this year for the top spots in the region,” Coach Long said. “Wando won the region last year and it will be very tough to beat JI and West Ashley. We have the talent to make a run at the region title and in the playoffs but we have to work hard to increase our chances and hopefully make it all come together at the right time.”

He has earned two Region Coach of the Year Awards in his four years at the helm. This season, he will serve as the head coach for the South team in the North-South All-Star Match in Myrtle Beach in November. He served as the assistant coach last year.

This summer, Long was named the head coach for the Summerville Boys Basketball program, so while he will continue to coach girls’ tennis, he will not return to coach the Summerville Boys Tennis program.

In addition to its region matches, the 2017 Summerville team will compete in the 16-team BE Fall Invitational, and against Myrtle Beach, Waccamaw, Berkeley and Bishop England.

The team will play home matches at the Blanton Courts behind the school located on Green Wave Boulevard.

2017 Summerville Girls Tennis Schedule

Aug. 25 @ Myrtle Beach
Aug. 26 @ Waccamaw
Aug. 29 @ Goose Creek
Aug. 31 @ Ashley Ridge
Sept. 01 @ Berkeley
Sept. 05 West Ashley
Sept. 07 Wando
Sept. 12 James Island
Sept. 14 Stratford
Sept. 19 Fort Dorchester
Sept. 21 Goose Creek
Sept. 22-24 @ B.E. Tournament
Sept. 26 Ashley Ridge
Sept. 28 @ West Ashley
Oct. 03 @ Wando
Oct. 05 @ James Island
Oct. 09 @ Stratford
Oct. 11 @ Fort Dorchester
Oct. 16 @ Bishop England

All Region 7-AAAAA matches are scheduled for 4:30 p.m.


(08/16/17) USTA SC: South Carolina NJTL Essay Recipients
Drew Bobey of Daniel Island, South Carolina and Ducky Steward of Johns Island, South Carolina received the 2017 USTA Southern NJTL Essay Contest and the 2017 National NJTL Essay contest, respectively.

Drew was one of nine youth who were selected for an all-expense paid trip for her and one chaperone to the Winston-Salem Open in Winston-Salem, NC.

Ducky was one of ten youth who were selected for a travel package to New York City which includes VIP status in the President's Box during the 2017 Arthur Ashe Kids' Day at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

The National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network is a nationwide network of community tennis organizations seeking to develop the character of young people through tennis and education. NJTLs are unique because they offer a variety of on-court programming and also educational and life skill components designed to enhance a child’s overall development.


(08/15/17) DERREK ASBERRY: Madison Keys commits to 2018 Volvo Car Open on Daniel Island
Madison Keys, the 17th-ranked women’s tennis player in the world, is the second player to commit to the 2018 Volvo Car Open.

Keys, 22, reached the final of the WTA tournament in Charleston in 2015.

The 45th annual Volvo Car Open, formerly called the Family Circle Cup, will run from March 31 through April 8 on Daniel Island.

Keys’ commitment comes during a bounce-back year for the Illinois native. After two wrist surgeries, she returned to action in March. And earlier this month, she captured her third WTA trophy at the Bank of the West Classic.

“I’m so excited to be back in Charleston next year,” Keys said in a statement released Tuesday. “The Volvo Car Open is one of my favorite tournaments to play and it happens to be in one of my favorite cities, too.

“I’m feeling great on the court again and I’m hopeful to keep the momentum up and win the title in April.”

Keys holds an 8-5 record in the Volvo Car Open. Next year will mark her sixth consecutive year playing in the Charleston event.

Eleanor Adams, the tournament manager, applauded Keys for her growth over the past several years.

“Our fans have rooted for Madison since the very beginning, and we know that they will be ecstatic to hear she’s returning to our tournament in 2018,” Adams said.

In addition to keys, Petra Kvitová also announced this month that she would be competing in the Volvo Car Open. Kvitová, 27, is a two-time Wimbledon champion and is ranked No. 14 in the world.

Tickets for the tournament will go on sale on Sept. 12.


(08/12/17) Courting Kids' 'Ducky' wins national award
The Courting Kids program has done it again. The City of Charleston youth tennis program's Ducky "Sally" Steward was named a national winner in the USTA Foundation's 19th annual NJTL National Essay Contest.

Steward was one of the 10 winners (five girls and five boys) from the more than 2,600 entries in the five age groups from 10-18 years old. The seventh grader from Charleston Collegiate School on John's Island was the 12-and-under girls division winner for her 350 words or less essay on life skills.

Each winner and a parent/legal guardian will be rewarded with a trip to New York City from Aug. 25-27 to participate in Arthur Ashe Kids Day at the U.S. Open. In addition to round-trip airfare and a two-night stay at New York's Grand Hyatt, the winners will have VIP status in the USTA President's Box during the Aug. 26 Arthur Ashe Kids Day

Essay participants were asked this question: "In addition to tennis, education and life skills are extremely important to the development of our youth. Which one of the three components above is most important to you, and how will it help you throughout your life?"

Participants in Courting Kids, which operates out of Charleston Tennis Center, the downtown Jack Adams Tennis Center and the Alan Fleming Tennis Center on John's Island, have won several national awards under program director Delores Jackson's guidance. In addition to the city, the Family Circle Tennis Center complex and the Volvo Car Open are major supporters of Courting Kids.

"Ducky's real name is Sally but no one knows her by that ... even at school her report reads 'Ducky'," her mother, Lisa Steward, said.

"She started playing tennis at four years old at the Charleston Tennis Center ... has volunteered at Courting Kids for over a year, and also volunteers at Maybank Tennis Center."

RACKETS FOR KIDS

The Volvo Car Open and its apparel partner, Antigua, are playing a major role in supporting youth tennis in the area through the distribution of tennis equipment to area schools, recreation departments and tennis organizations as well as the Courting Kids program.

VCO and Antigua recently donated and distributed more than 1,000 tennis rackets and 700 tennis bags to a dozen of those groups.

LOCAL NOTES
Shelby Rogers is skipping the big tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati between World Team Tennis and the U.S. Open. The touring pro from Charleston, now ranked 61st, played in Washington and also will compete in the New Haven, Conn., tournament the week before going to Flushing Meadows for her next major.

The Lowcountry Tennis Association has scheduled its annual party for Sept. 15 at Family Circle Tennis Center as part of the Charleston Pro Tennis League program. There is no charge to members and guests to attend and take part in the annual feast of plentiful food, beverage and tennis that is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. The only thing apparently missing from the fun and festivities is a band.

Top Southern juniors Jared Pratt and Emma Navarro had solid performances in the National Championships that ended this weekend. Pratt got off to a slow start with a first-round loss in boys 18 in Kalamazoo, Mich., but then won six straight matches in the consolation bracket. Navarro advanced all the way to the quarterfinals of the girls 16 nationals in San Diego.

Other results from the nationals included the Coy Simon/Reilly Wilson team making the round of 16 in boys 16 doubles, Michael Ross advancing to the round of 16 in boys 14 doubles, Mitchell Deames reaching the bronze division consolation final in boys 14 singles and Allie Gretkowski making the round of 16 in girls 14 doubles.

LTP Tennis is getting ready for next month's U.S. Women's Pro Circuit $15,000 event at the Mathis Ferry Road complex. Patrick Heifer is coming all the way from Germany to serve as tournament director for the Sept. 25-Oct. 1 event.

The last LTP Pro Circuit event, May's LTP $60K, included two players who have achieved major success the last couple of months. Claire Liu was the Junior Wimbledon champion and was runner-up at the Junior French Open. And 18-year-old Sofia Kenin, who made the VCO's main draw a few weeks before the LTP event, won the U.S. Open Wild Card Series for the second straight year to earn another berth in the U.S. Open's main draw.

LTP Tennis' Randy Pate Academy pro division player Emina Bektas was a semifinalist in the recent $60K U.S. Open Wild Card tournament in Lexington, Ky ., losing to Kenin. Bektas has charged up to No. 132 in the world in doubles as a result of her sparkling play on the Pro Circuit since winning the doubles title at LTP in the spring after starting the year at No. 296.

Sunday (today) is the deadline for entering the Aug. 18-20 West Ashley Optimist Club Back to School junior tournament at the St. Andrew's complex. Contact Phil Burke (pburke@standrewsparks.com).

The Kiawah Island Summer Junior Championship is set for Aug. 25-27 with an Aug. 21 entry deadline. Contact Jonathan Barth (jonathan.barth@kiawahresort.com).


(08/11/17) Mount Pleasant's Mark Militzer joins trend of junior tennis stars skipping conventional high school
Online school appears to be the "in" thing these days for junior tennis players who have dreams of playing the sport professionally.

It's almost a rarity to find a young tennis player with such lofty ambitions in a conventional classroom setting once the player reaches high school age. Of course, younger players and those who only want to play college tennis are no exception.

Why not? Online school allows a junior the time to concentrate nearly full-time on tennis. It obviously worked for local touring professional Shelby Rogers, who grew up playing on the area's courts but now performs at places such as Wimbledon, the French Open and the upcoming U.S. Open.

Mark Militzer wanted to give online school a try because he wanted to achieve his full potential in tennis. He felt that would take more time than he had for tennis while attending Academic Magnet.

Militzer is now headed to Washington, D.C., at the end of the month to major in business and join the Georgetown University tennis team. The 18-year-old Mount Pleasant player is sold on the product of online education.

Militzer wanted more time for tennis, and Connections Academy gave him just that. He made the switch to online school after spending his freshman and sophomore years at Academic Magnet.

"The reason I switched was that Connections allowed me to have a much more flexible schedule for traveling to tournaments and it also gave me the time to be able to train twice a day," Militzer said.

"Connections also provided the same challenging AP courses that I was looking to take, so I knew my academics would not be compromised. It is also a public schooling program so it does not cost any money to attend. I could not be more happy that I made the switch."

Militzer went to Kalamazoo, Mich., for the current National Boys 18 Hard Courts ranked 18th in the South after making the consolation singles quarterfinals in the National Clay Courts in Delray Beach, Fla.

"Unfortunately I did not do so well," the 5-10 right-hander said about his 0-3 record in Kalamazoo (losses in main draw singles and doubles, and consolation singles).

Militzer has trained the last four years with Wild Dunes pro Martin Zumpft.

"I started taking tennis lessons with coach Phil Whitesell out of Hamlin Plantation when I was about 10. Before that, I had just played for fun with my mom and my stepdad. They were the ones that introduced me to the sport," he said.

"I switched to train in coach Martin Zumpft's academy. I met Martin when he started running his academy out of Hamlin Plantation, which is where I played with Phil.

"Martin's academy was a better fit for me because Phil's program only happened twice a week and I was really looking for a more serious program where I could rapidly improve my game. I have trained with Martin for the past four years . . . he has done an excellent job as a coach and I accredit much of my success to him."

Zumpft has been impressed by Militzer's commitment. "Mark is very coachable, a hard deliberate worker. He's a good athlete and he makes the most from the tournament opportunities that are given to him. A very smart, young man that will definitely do great at Georgetown on and off the court," Zumpft said.

Militzer was sold on Georgetown once he visited the college last fall. "I previously had been talking to some Ivy League schools, some in-state schools, and the U.S. Naval Academy," he said.

"When I visited Georgetown last October, I fell in love with the university. The campus was beautiful and everybody there was incredibly friendly and driven."


(08/11/17) LCTA AUGUST 2017 NEWSLETTER
Hello everyone,

It seems like just yesterday we were having the Volvo Car Open and LCTA playoffs. It's amazing how time flies when you are playing lots of tennis.

PARTY! PARTY! PARTY!

The LCTA / CPTL Annual Party is scheduled for Friday, September 15, 2017, at Family Circle Tennis Center beginning at 6:00 p.m. This is a wonderful event with lots of food, beverage, and great tennis. There is no charge to you and your guests. Come out and plan to have a wonderful time, say hello to your friends, and get to know the folks you've played against better.

IMPORTANT DATES

65 and Over & 75 and Over USTA teams must have teams registered with at least 3 eligible partnerships by August 18. Many of you have been away or busy with summer activities; take the time now to get your team registered.

18 & Over, 39 & Over, and 54 & Over Fall League team registration opens August 18. Teams must have the minimum number of players registered by September 15. This is a local league that allows players to test themselves if they are moving up an age group or want to just have a great time with your regular team.

Flex League is set for September 10 to November 12.

2018 LCTA Captain and Annual Meeting is planned for January 3, 2018. Plan to attend as we will also hold an election for LCTA Board Members.

2018 PLAYOFF DATES
It appears the school districts have changed their Spring Break so they don't coincide with our playoffs. The following 18 & Over dates are tentative, please check your email for potential updates.

April 9 - 15, 2018: 2.5, 3.5, and 4.5 playoffs at Mt. Pleasant Recreation, Whipple Road
April 16 - 22: 3.0 and 4.0 playoffs at Charleston Tennis Center.

2017 LCTA MIXED DOUBLES CHAMPIONS
Congratulations to the 2017 LCTA Mixed Doubles Champions!

65 & Over 6.0
Roland Ouellette, Del Webb

55 & Over
6.0--Roland Ouellette, Del Webb
7.0--Doug Holmes, CTC
8.0--Bob Peiffer, Maybank

40 & Over
6.0--Lawrence Lowell, Legend Oaks
7.0--Caroline Demille, FCTC
8.0--Allison Pickhardt, FCTC
9.0--John Bumgarner, Ion

18 & Over
6.0--Karol Lowell, Legend Oaks
7.0--Stuart Hill, St Andrews
8.0--Mike Cledakis, MPR
9.0--Mike Cledakis, MPR

ANNUAL AWARDS

Would you like to see your facility, coach, pro, official, volunteer or player recognized for their outstanding achievements? Submit a nomination today!


(08/02/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Steingold helps the South to victory
A Lowcountry athlete helped the United States Tennis Association Southern team capture its fourth straight Keith Donoff Men's Challenge Cup Championship.

Pine Forest Country Club Tennis Director Andy Steingold went 6-0 during the Challenge Cup tournament in Arlington, Texas, earlier this summer to help the Southern team claim victory over teams representing other regions of the country. Steingold won three singles matches and was part of three doubles victories.

“It was a very tough, but successful weekend,” Steingold said.

The Donoff Cup is a team sectional competition held annually that brings together the top senior adult players from four USTA sections. Team USTA Southern captured the 2017 championship 48 points to 44 over the home team from USTA Texas. Several matches with Texas went three sets and Team Southern captured five of those three setters.

Steingold is one of only a handful of 65-year-olds chosen to represent the nine Southern states in the national tournament.

Team Southern will go for its fifth straight Donoff Cup championship in 2018 when the cup is hosted by Team Middle States.


(08/02/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Pinewood names new tennis director
Pinewood’s Athletic Department announced last week the addition of Ivan Besancon as its new director of tennis and head coach of boys’ and girls’ tennis.

Besancon comes to Pinewood from LTP in Mount Pleasant, where he worked as director of 12-and-under tennis for the past year and a half, as well as the John Drew Smith Tennis Center in Macon, Georgia, where he was the operations manager and academy director for five years.

“We are thrilled to have Ivan as the newest member of our athletic coaching staff and leading our tennis program here at Pinewood,” Pinewood Athletic Director Andy Morgan said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge in player development and a contagious enthusiasm for tennis. Ivan will take on the role of Director of Tennis, which includes the Lower School Afterschool Tennis program, along with being our Boys and Girls head coach. He has a clear vision, which will bring success to all levels of the tennis program. Ivan is a great communicator and has the ability to connect with players in a way that builds their confidence in reaching their full potential. I look forward to the great things Ivan will accomplish at Pinewood.”

In addition to working as a director and manager in the field of tennis, Besancon’s resume as a tennis player lists a multitude of achievements. As a young man he was a Top 3 ranked player among French juniors and reached the quarter final of the French Open and Orange Bowl in the under 16 division. As a junior, he played current top pro players such as Djokovic, Murray, Del Potro, Cilic, Mannarino, Giraldo, Gulbis, Chardy, and Paire in tournaments all across Europe.

His career continued as a collegiate player at Freed Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee. While at Freed Hardeman, he was a Top 25 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) singles and doubles player and was a semi-finalist in the NAIA National Championship. He transferred to Mercer University, a Division 1 school in Macon, Georgia, where he received a full tennis scholarship. He later served as an assistant coach for the Mercer Men’s and Women’s Teams.

Besancon held a U.S. Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) 10-and-under certification and is a Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) Certified Professional. He has 10 years of experience with juniors of all ages and levels. He also maintains connections with a variety of college coaches for potential scholarship opportunities for up-and-coming players.

Besancon, his wife Brenna and their 7-month-old son, Hugo Lex, reside in Hanahan.



(08/01/17) SEABROOK ISLAND - TENNIS: Alan Fleming Tournament
ALAN FLEMING SR. OPEN CLAY COURT STATE CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT
October 4-8, 2017

To register or get more information on this year's tournament, please visit the USTA website.

The 34th Alan Fleming Senior Open Clay Court State Championships are set to be held October 4th - 8th at the Seabrook Island Racquet Club. In 2015, our 70’s Mixed Doubles joined our 40’s, 50’s and 60’s Mixed events that are now played as a Category 1 National Championship Gold Ball Event (1000 point level). This South Carolina Level 1 State Championship event and southern level 200 point tournament was recently named “South Carolina Adult Tournament of the year. The tournament offers over 44 events including singles, doubles and mixed doubles for men and women ages 35 to 80.

The event was originally established in 1981 under the leadership of Seabrook resident Alan Fleming, a resident of Seabrook Island along with his wife Sally. Before moving to Seabrook, Alan had been a nationally ranked tennis player whose resume included matches played at Forest Hills, the precursor to the US Open. Alan was a NJ State champion and a National Father-Son champion with son Peter. Alan was often ranked #1 in his age group in both New Jersey and South Carolina.

The tournament, originally called the Seabrook Island Senior Tennis Tournament, ran continuously until Hurricane Hugo forced a two year hiatus in 1989. After Alan’s death in 1997, the tournament was renamed in his honor. His son, Peter, went on to become a tennis professional and in the early 80’s was the Seabrook Island Club’s touring pro. But, it was with his doubles partner, John McEnroe, that Peter made tennis history. Together, Peter Fleming and John McEnroe won over 50 doubles titles including four at Wimbledon and three at the U.S. Open.

Respite Care Charleston

The 2017 charitable beneficiary will be Respite Care Charleston, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families coping with Alzheimer’s disease. Respite Care provides social day programs, early stage Alzheimer’s disease support groups and caregiver support groups for individuals and families affected by memory disorders. These services are offered at several Charleston locations including John’s Island, James Island and West Ashley. The money donated will come from the generosity of the Seabrook Island community, fundraising held in conjunction with the tournament, and any sponsorship money remaining after tournament expenses. Last year more than $40,000 was raised to support this effort.

Over the years, participation in the tournament has grown to over 250 players from all over the Southeast and beyond. In 2007, the tournament received its current designation as a South Carolina Level 1 State Championship event and a Southern section 200 point tournament - one of only four events at this prestigious level in a nine state region. Last year’s national championship level 1 “Gold Ball” mixed event brought a new level of completion and national exposure to the Seabrook Island Racquet Club.


(08/01/17) Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova to play in Volvo Car Open for first time
Petra Kvitova will make her Charleston tennis debut at the 2018 Volvo Car Open on Daniel Island, tournament officials announced Tuesday.

The two-time Wimbledon champion returned to the WTA circuit in May after suffering a serious hand injury during a home invasion in December 2016. She won her 20th WTA title in June in Birmingham, England.

“No one has shown more desire and strength to be on a tennis court than Petra Kvitova,” said Eleanor Adams, Volvo Car Open Tournament Manager. “Her comeback after a life-threatening incident eight months ago is nothing short of miraculous. It is our absolute pleasure to welcome Petra to Charleston, where our fans will have the opportunity to cheer her on for the first time.”

Kvitova said she is looking forward to playing in Charleston.

“I’m very thankful to be able to play in the 2018 Volvo Car Open,” said Kvitova. “I was looking forward to the tournament last year and am excited that I’ll be able to compete in front of Charleston fans for the first time this year.”

Kvitova ended the 2016 season with titles at Wuhan and Zhuhai, as well as helping the Czech Republic to its fifth Fed Cup trophy in six years.

In addition to her two titles in 2016, she captured a bronze medal in the Rio Olympics, was a finalist in Luxembourg, made the semifinals in New Haven and Stuttgart and made the quarterfinals in Indian Wells and Beijing.

The nine-day Volvo Car Open (March 31–April 8) is the largest women’s-only tennis tournament in North America, attracting an average of 90,000 attendees and more th
(08/01/17) SEABROOK ISLAND - TENNIS: Alan Fleming Tournament
ALAN FLEMING SR. OPEN CLAY COURT STATE CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT
October 4-8, 2017

To register or get more information on this year's tournament, please visit the USTA website.

The 34th Alan Fleming Senior Open Clay Court State Championships are set to be held October 4th - 8th at the Seabrook Island Racquet Club. In 2015, our 70’s Mixed Doubles joined our 40’s, 50’s and 60’s Mixed events that are now played as a Category 1 National Championship Gold Ball Event (1000 point level). This South Carolina Level 1 State Championship event and southern level 200 point tournament was recently named “South Carolina Adult Tournament of the year. The tournament offers over 44 events including singles, doubles and mixed doubles for men and women ages 35 to 80.

The event was originally established in 1981 under the leadership of Seabrook resident Alan Fleming, a resident of Seabrook Island along with his wife Sally. Before moving to Seabrook, Alan had been a nationally ranked tennis player whose resume included matches played at Forest Hills, the precursor to the US Open. Alan was a NJ State champion and a National Father-Son champion with son Peter. Alan was often ranked #1 in his age group in both New Jersey and South Carolina.

The tournament, originally called the Seabrook Island Senior Tennis Tournament, ran continuously until Hurricane Hugo forced a two year hiatus in 1989. After Alan’s death in 1997, the tournament was renamed in his honor. His son, Peter, went on to become a tennis professional and in the early 80’s was the Seabrook Island Club’s touring pro. But, it was with his doubles partner, John McEnroe, that Peter made tennis history. Together, Peter Fleming and John McEnroe won over 50 doubles titles including four at Wimbledon and three at the U.S. Open.

Respite Care Charleston

The 2017 charitable beneficiary will be Respite Care Charleston, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families coping with Alzheimer’s disease. Respite Care provides social day programs, early stage Alzheimer’s disease support groups and caregiver support groups for individuals and families affected by memory disorders. These services are offered at several Charleston locations including John’s Island, James Island and West Ashley. The money donated will come from the generosity of the Seabrook Island community, fundraising held in conjunction with the tournament, and any sponsorship money remaining after tournament expenses. Last year more than $40,000 was raised to support this effort.

Over the years, participation in the tournament has grown to over 250 players from all over the Southeast and beyond. In 2007, the tournament received its current designation as a South Carolina Level 1 State Championship event and a Southern section 200 point tournament - one of only four events at this prestigious level in a nine state region. Last year’s national championship level 1 “Gold Ball” mixed event brought a new level of completion and national exposure to the Seabrook Island Racquet Club.
an 70 of the top tennis players.

Tickets for the tournament will go on sale on Sept. 12.


(07/29/17) Farmfield will miss Davy Hairston
Charleston Tennis Center and the local tennis community are sure to miss Davy Hairston, the West Ashley facility's hard-working, energetic and likable departing head tennis professional.

Hairston is the second former local junior sensation to surprisingly walk away from the City of Charleston's outstanding Farmfield Avenue complex during the last two decades.

Like former city pro Arthur Anastopoulo (1984-97), Hairston returned to his junior stomping grounds under the local pressure of great expectations after brilliant junior and college careers.

Hairston was well aware that the highly recognized Charleston Tennis Center could present a tough challenge, going up against the Daniel Island/Mathis Ferry Road facilities where junior champions seemed to rise with the morning sun. Anastopoulo, who later switched from city pro in Macon, Ga., to currently run a private club in Florida, was the local pro before the Family Circle Cup/America's Best Tennis Town era of the 2000s.

There was great anticipation and hope when Hairston arrived back in town two years ago from a stint at a private club in Charlottesville, Va. The crafty left-hander, who starred at the University of Virginia, will depart Farmfield in early August for a club pro job in Macon, not from personal failure. Indeed, he was a success in West Ashley.

Hairston tried everything he knew to return Charleston Tennis Center to its glory days under Anastopoulo when Farmfield was a sparkling new complex that was among the top public facilities in the nation. Hairston has spent many hours off court organizing and promoting the tennis center's activities that have included numerous round-robins, clinics and playing parties, giving Farmfield a fresh social atmosphere to compete with the popular St. Andrew's Parks and Playground, located nearby. He also brought back the City Championships from an earlier era.

While Farmfield still shines with its 15 lighted hard courts and exceptional organization and security, large facilities have popped up over the middle part of the state in the awakening of Charleston's Best Tennis Town era. The huge Cayce and Florence tennis centers are among these facilities.

Of course, locally there's Mathis Ferry's LTP Tennis, which has followed in the footsteps of the world-class Family Circle Tennis Center.

Tennis is a much tougher sale in West Ashley away from the East Cooper complexes that have churned out Southern champions, and even a world-class touring professional named Shelby Rogers.

Yet, the fact remains that some of these stars, including Southern junior boys No. 1 Jared Pratt, have trained under new Daniel Island Club pro Chip Hand at Farmfield for most of the last six months. This has happened as a result of Hairston's influence in the local tennis community.

West Ashley tennis and Farmfield are faring well, when not compared with LTP and the Family Circle complex in junior activity. Even Southern junior girls No. 1 Emma Navarro plays high school tennis out of Farmfield for Ashley Hall, but trains for juniors at her dad's LTP complex.

Also in West Ashley, Porter-Gaud remains a dominant force in SCISA boys tennis, while the Country Club of Charleston's junior tennis program appears to be thriving under former Citadel coach Toby Simpson. The city's James Island-based Maybank Tennis Center is one of the area's most popular facilities under teaching pro Toni Young, the mother of former local junior star/current Clemson assistant coach Ryan Young.

Charleston Tennis Center made the announcement on July 20 that Hairston would resign from his position at the complex after an Aug. 11 round robin/fond farewell in his honor.

At the Healy Point Country Club in Macon, Hairston will receive benefits similarly to what he has had since he arrived at Farmfield in the spring of 2015 -- retirement, insurance and optional 401K.

That's a nice improvement over the days of Anastopoulo when Charleston did not provide its independent contractor/head tennis pro with those benefits.

"I can't pay rent with benefits," said Hairston, who became frustrated in 2016 by a change in his contract with the city.

Hairston's family will remain in Charleston until at least the end of the year while his daughter completes the first semester at Porter-Gaud, where her dad was a tennis star. Harrison plans to return to Charleston on weekends to teach private clients at the Porter-Gaud tennis complex.

The son of a local heart surgeon, Hairston said he chose the University of Virginia after finishing Porter-Gaud because that's where his father attended college. He tested the satellite circuit after college, but his father became ill and he returned to Charleston.

But travel was in Hairston's blood. He taught tennis at Club Med resorts, worked in Florida for famed teaching pro Rick Macci, went to the South Pacific, held the position of national tennis coach for Guam, taught tennis in Mexico and directed programs at resort hotels.

Hairston wed Sandy from the Turks and Caicos Islands. They have a son and a daughter.

Notes

-- After a successful World Team Tennis season with the defending league champion San Diego Aviators, Charleston touring professional Shelby Rogers is in Washington, D.C., to begin play in the $226,750 WTA Tour event starting there. Rogers, now ranked 61st in the world, will oppose 108th-ranked veteran 27-year-old Marino Duque-Marino from Colombia in the first round of the hard-court U.S. Open Series event.

-- Wofford-bound Lowcountry player of the year Jenna Vroman was named a national winner of the 2017 Novo Nordisk Donnelly Award and received a $7,500 scholarship from Billie Jean King last weekend during a World Team Tennis match in Philadelphia. The award can be used towards education, tennis development and/or medical care.

-- Volvo Car Open qualifier and LTP $60K participant Sofia Kenin is the leader in the U.S. Women's Pro Circuit U.S. Open wild-card series competition for direct entry into the U.S. Open main draw. Kenin swept singles and doubles last weekend in the $60K event in Stockton, Calif., and advanced to the semifinals of another $60k in Sacramento, Calif., this weekend.

-- Former Charleston junior Ellie Halbauer withdrew from main draw berths in both Sacramento and this coming week's Lexington, Ky., U.S. Open wild-card events citing continuing wrist problems. "I actually have a tear in my wrist and probably will be out for another month ... I've been going to physical therapy three times a week," Halbauer said on Friday.

-- The Smith family of Daniel Island is making the selection committee for last year's state tennis family of the year award look good. The Smiths have two state Nos. 1s in Hanahan star Max Smith in boys 14 and Jake in boys 12.

-- The Charleston area has five girls 14 players ranked in the state's top 10: Allie Gretkowski (No. 2), Sophie Williams (4), Magie Navarro (5), Carri Hayes (6) and Shianna Guo (8). Three of these girls are highly ranked in Southern 14s (Gretkowski No. 2, Navarro No. 5 and Hayes No. 12).

-- Local juniors had some success in the recent Clay Court Nationals, but no champions or runners-up. Ninth seed Emma Navarro lost in the round of 16 of girls 18 singles, while 12th seed Jared Pratt lost early in boys 18 singles, then retired with an injury from the consolation round of 32. Mark Militzer made the consolation singles quarterfinals in 18s, while Jake Smith was a doubles quarterfinalist in boys 12 and Jenna Vroman was a doubles quarterfinalist in girls 18.

-- In the recent Junior Team Tennis state tournament in Florence, Charleston area teams sparkled as the Baby Got Backhand 14U Advanced team took first place and the Creekside Court Crushers won the 18U Advanced division. There were five runners-up from the Lowcountry: the I'On Topspinners in 10U Intermediate, the Creekside Court Crushers in 14U Advanced, the Creekside Court Crushers in 18U Intermediate, the Summerville Seahawks in 18U Advanced and the St. George Aces in 18U Girls.


(07/17/17) Charleston's Shelby Rogers defeats Maria Sharapova in WTT action
Charleston's Shelby Rogers missed out on an opportunity at Wimbledon to upend a world's No. 1 player, now No. 3-ranked Angelique Kerber.

Rogers didn't let a chance to upset another former world's No. 1 escape her Sunday night. But Rogers' win over Maria Sharapova won't count toward Rogers' WTA Tour world ranking, which advanced to No. 62 this week as a result of her third-round appearance at Wimbledon.

The Rogers-Sharapova match came in World Team Tennis where Rogers won the last three games to upend Sharapova, 5-3, and help the defending WTT champion San Diego Aviators rally past the Orange County Breakers, 17-14.

Rogers' victory not only helped the Aviators overcome a big Orange County lead, but it also served as sweet revenge for Rogers, who earlier in the team match had been part of a 5-1 doubles loss to Sharapova and her partner. The match was played before the first home sellout ever by the Aviators.

Sharapova, who has been banned by the International Tennis Federation for drug issues, had defeated Rogers in Acapulco two years ago in their only WTA Tour meeting

Rogers won't have much time to enjoy the upset in the fast-paced WTT. The Aviators will play host to the Springfield (Mo.) Lasers on Tuesday night.


(07/08/17) 'Lots of positives' for Charleston's Rogers in three-set loss to No. 1 Kerber at Wimbledon
Shelby Rogers' powerful serves and ground strokes appeared to have Angelique Kerber on the ropes and Rogers on the verge of a major upset, and an elusive win over a world's No. 1 player.

It was then that Kerber demonstrated why she is the top-ranked woman in tennis as the German left-hander turned up her consistency and court coverage for a 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 win over the 70th-ranked Rogers in a televised two-hour and 16-minute struggle in the third round of the Wimbledon Championships on Saturday.

Rogers didn't leave London empty handed. The 24-year-old from Charleston earned $116,734 for her effort and gave her world ranking a small boost into a projected mid-60s spot.

"I thought I played well today," Rogers said. "Lots of positives to take from this match into the rest of the season."

Indeed, there are many positives for Rogers to take with her from this Wimbledon, not to mention her first two main draw wins in the world's most revered tennis tournament and the fact she played well enough against Kerber for the TV commentator to comment that she probably should have won, but didn't.

Kerber didn't look like the top player on the court for much of the match. Rogers marched through the first set with her big serve, saving the only break point she faced.

But just when it appeared that Rogers would be headed to Monday's round of 16, Kerber turned up the pressure. Rogers held a 6-4, 4-2, break-point advantage when fatigue and pressure appeared to set in.

Rogers suddenly became indecisive, and sometimes passive on her shot-making as well as slightly sluggish in her movement in the mid-day heat, especially against Kerber's relentless but precise drop-shot attack. Loose ground strokes and errors quickly followed.

Rogers lost that seventh game in the second set and the next one as Kerber overcame Rogers' 30-0 advantage to surge into a 4-4 deadlock as Rogers committed three errors and Kerber delivered a winning volley. Rogers bounced back to hold her next two services to force a tiebreaker.

By then, Kerber had turned into a backboard, who maintained the threat to nail winners at every opening. After a net-cord forehand winner by Rogers on the first point of the tiebreaker, Kerber sailed through six straight points and took the tiebreaker, 7-2, as her lobs and drop shots started taking their toll on Rogers.

Again in the third set, Rogers appeared to be in a good position as she recovered from a first-game service break and battled to a 3-2, break-point advantage against Kerber. A few minutes and a service break by Kerber later, Kerber was sitting on a 5-3 advantage in the decisive set.

Rogers managed to fight off an early finish by holding service for 5-4, but Kerber prevailed by gaining double match point and closing out the match on the second match point with a solid serve to Rogers' backhand that Rogers returned long.

Rogers had an advantage in most of the key statistics, six aces to one, two double faults to four for Kerber and 48 winners to the German's 25, but lost on the scoreboard.


(07/06/17) Charleston's Shelby Rogers upsets Safarova at Wimbledon, faces No. 1 Kerber in third round
Unseeded Shelby Rogers pulled off another upset on Thursday as the Charleston touring tennis professional rallied from a set down to upend 32nd seed Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-3, in the second round of Wimbledon.

"It was a great win for me. I've never been this far at Wimbledon before," Rogers said. "I had never won a (main draw) match at Wimbledon until this year. This was a good match to get ready for the next match."

The two-hour match served as a warmup for Rogers against left-handers. Rogers, ranked 70th in the world, will next face world's No. 1 Angelique Kerber in the third round of the Grand Slam event.

"It will be a fun match. Maybe we'll play on Centre Court," Rogers said, looking ahead to the probable Saturday match against the left-handed Kerber. "I played her in Miami (a 6-4, 7-5 loss), so I'm familiar with her game."

This upset was much like Rogers' 2016 victory in Paris over left-handed former two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova that caught the eye of the tennis world while advancing Rogers to the quarterfinals of the French Open. Rogers continued her string of upsets at this year's Australian Open by defeating current world's No. 2 Simona Halep on hard courts.

But this one was on grass, and Rogers' big serving dictated much of the two-hour match. She didn't face a break point in the first set, but lost the set as Safarova won the last four points of a tiebreaker for a 7-4 decision.

The 24-year-old Rogers didn't let that happen again as she recovered from a first-game service break in the second set by coming up with two service breaks to win the second set, the last one coming in the last game of the set.

Rogers quickly moved to a 3-1 lead in the decisive third set with another service break and held service the rest of the way. In the key seventh game of the set, Rogers blasted four service winners for a 5-2 lead. When it came time to close out the match, Rogers did it at love with back-to-back service winners to seal her spot in the round of 32.

"I served well when I needed to get out of pressure situations," Rogers said. "I felt more comfortable serving as the match went on."

For Safarova, a 30-year-old who was a semifinalist at Wimbledon in 2014 and a French Open finalist in 2015, it was the second loss of the day at Wimbledon.

Just prior to going on the court to play Rogers, the Czech left-hander saw her dreams of a fourth straight Grand Slam doubles championship disappear when doubles partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands suffered a serious knee injury that forced her to retire from a singles match.

"It was a tough situation for everyone ... one of the hardest matches I've had to play," said Rogers, a Fed Cup teammate to Mattek-Sands. "We (Rogers and Safarova) were hugging each other with tears in our eyes before our match."

Yet, Safarova played a solid first set, fighting off break points in the first and ninth games to eventually force the tiebreaker.

"Lucie played well. She is a very tough, competitive player," Rogers said.

Each player served eight aces, but Safarova served up eight double faults to Rogers' six.

Rogers made up for putting only 58 percent of her first serves into play by winning 79 percent of those first serves.

In doubles earlier in the tournament, Rogers and Donna Vekic of Croatia suffered a 7-5, 6-1 first-round loss to Mona Bartel of Germany and Anett Kontaveit of Estonia.

So, now Rogers only has to concentrate on another highly ranked left-hander.


(07/04/17) Charleston touring pro Rogers tops Boserup for first Wimbledon victory
Charleston touring tennis professional Shelby Rogers scored her first Wimbledon main draw victory with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over Californian Julia Boserup on the Fourth of July in London.

Rogers, ranked 70th in the world, powered home 10 aces in the 2-hour, 3-minute match on grass in the opening round, including consecutive aces that took her to match point.

"I served well," Rogers pointed out.

She also benefitted greatly from 10 double faults by Boserup, a tall 25-year-old from Newport Beach, Calif., who is ranked 81st.

Rogers advanced to the second round to oppose No. 32 seed Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic. Safarova posted a 51-minute 6-2, 6-2 win over Oceane Dodin of France in the first round.

The victory ran Rogers' streak to four straight first-round wins in Grand Slam tournaments as the hard-hitting 24-year-old now has scored wins at each of the Grand Slams. She improved her career Grand Slam singles record to 13-14.

"Great feeling," Rogers said about winning for the first time in the main draw at Wimbledon after a pair of losses. She won two Wimbledon qualifying matches in 2014. "I was happy with my fight."

Rogers showed her grit in the six-deuce sixth game of the match when she survived two break points to hold service for a 4-2 lead. She also fought off two break points and five deuces to win the first game of the third set.

"It was a tough match against another American and someone who plays very well on the grass," she said. "Nice to have some people from Charleston in the crowd, too."

Rogers will team with Donna Vekic of Croatia, who defeated Rogers at Nottingham last month, in doubles later in the week to take on Mona Bartel of Germany and Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in a first-round match.

Rogers got the service break she needed for 4-2 in the third set as Boserup double-faulted at break point. Rogers then used an ace to help recover from a 0-30 hole and held service for a 5-2 lead.

Trailing 15-30 in the last game, Rogers blasted back-to-back aces for match point. The match ended on Rogers' first match point when Boserup committed a backhand error.

Boserup got into trouble early when she double-faulted to gift-wrap Rogers the first game of the match. Boserup started the ninth game with another double fault as Rogers made good on her second set point on a volley error by her opponent for a service break to take the opening set.

The two players split a pair of breaks in the first four games of the second set before Boserup broke back in the fifth game and held service the rest of the set.


(07/03/17) Area junior tennis players thrive at Belton
Charleston tennis fans have been trained to expect success from their juniors, even at the youngest ages.

After all, Charleston is the home of the Volvo Car Open and LTP/Charleston $60K, not to mention Southern boys No. 1 Jared Pratt and Southern girls No. 1 Emma Navarro, and the elite MWTennis and Randy Pate tennis academies along with a number of other outstanding junior training bases.

And, of course, Shelby Rogers.

So, when observers look at the state's biggest and brightest junior tennis tournament and see three singles champions, it can be surprising. But any area should be proud to win three of the eight regulation court singles titles at Belton's Palmetto Invitational Championships, even America's Best Tennis Town.

HATS OFF TO CHAMPIONS

Hats off to boys 12 champion Jacob Smith, girls 14 winner Sophie Williams and girls 18 champion Kat Lyman. They are the cream of the Charleston crop at Belton.

Winning a Belton title of any sort is a great accomplishment, whether doubles or even a consolation prize. This is a compliment to Rex Maynard and now-deceased Jim Russell. The tournament has been around since 1957, but without the support of Maynard from the 1970s until now and Russell alongside Maynard in those early years, this tournament might not have survived all these years.

Every year about this time, kids from all over the state load up their automobiles to head to the northwest corner of the state for the Belton encampment. To most players with Southern tournament aspirations for the summer, playing in the state qualifier is a must.

Even Rogers won a bunch of Belton titles before outgrowing Belton and moving on to bigger things such as the U.S. Open main draw at age 17.

Another Belton was recorded last weekend. By the numbers, it was a whopping success for a long list of area players.

FIVE RUNNERS-UP

In addition to the three singles champions from Charleston, there were five Belton runners-up in singles: Callen Hein in boys 16, Max Smith in boys 14, Lucas Acevedo in boys 12, Anna Ross in girls 16 and Shianna Guo in girls 14.

Oceanside Collegiate's Stanley Waters was a semifinalist in boys 16 and Lauren Quinn was a semifinalist in girls 18, and Michael Pitts (boys 14), Nathan Pitts (boys 12) and Otto Seawell (boys 12) also were semifinalists.

There was a herd of quarterfinalists: Kerim Hyatt, Earl Navarro and Huntley Allen in boys 18; Reilly Wilson in boys 16; Ian Rasheed and William Baly in boys 14; Sawyer Severance, Zack Hyatt and Joshua Giannelli in boys 12; Elizabeth Truluck in girls 18; Logan Voeks and Alice Otis in girls 14; and Margaret Allen in girls 12.

Overall, the Charleston area's presence was heavily felt, especially among boys, as 17 of the 32 boys who played in the singles quarterfinals were from here.

Pratt and Emma Navarro fell into the Southern exempt state qualifier list as top 16 players in their age groups. High-ranking junior boys Brant Fenno and Jacob Jahn did not compete in singles at Belton due to injuries, but Jahn played doubles and was a finalist.

Charleston's doubles champions included Brendan Healey (boys 16), Sewell (boys 12), Truluck (girls 18), Ross (girls 16) and Saige Severance/Voeks (girls 14).

SCHOOL LEAGUE WINNERS

The Tri-County Elementary and Middle School Tennis League has wrapped up another successful year with 137 teams registered. City of Charleston tennis manager Peggy Bohne reports that approximately 1,300 players made up the teams' rosters. Some schools, such as James Island Elementary and Stiles Point Elementary, had as many as 10 teams. Christ Our King-Stella Maris had nine teams, while Harbor View Elementary had seven teams and Daniel Island School five.

You might have noticed that three of these schools are from James Island, which might mean James Island is an area to watch in junior tennis in future years.

The league wrapped up its season with its annual tournament. The winners were: Yellow Ball Tournament 1, Daniel Island School 1; Yellow Ball Tournament 2, Daniel Island School Blue; Yellow Ball Tournament 3, Moultrie Middle AA; Yellow Ball Tournament 4, Haut Gap Middle; Green Dot Tournament 1, Belle Hall Elementary 5 ; Green Dot Tournament 2 , Christ Our King - Stella Maria 4th; Orange Ball 1, Beach Hill Elementary; Orange Ball 2, Stiles Point Elementary Black; and Orange Ball 3, James Island Elementary White.


(07/01/17) Emma Navarro commits to play tennis for Duke
Emma Navarro is preparing to start her sophomore year at Ashley Hall next month. She's looking forward to helping the Panthers possibly win a second straight state championship.

But the South's No. 1 junior girls tennis player is looking several years into the future.

Navarro has committed to play tennis for Duke.

"I knew Duke was the right school for me," she said Saturday morning in giving her reason for the early commitment.

"I visited Duke and it's a beautiful campus. The sports facilities are really, really nice. I like the whole campus and I like the coach (Jamie Ashworth).

"My Dad liked it as much as I did."

Her dad is Benjamin Navarro, owner of Mount Pleasant's LTP Tennis and Swim Club, founder and CEO of Sherman Financial Group, and founder of Meeting Street Academy.

Emma's coach at LTP is Peter Ayers, a former All-American and four-time Atlantic Coast Conference singles champion for Duke.

In women's tennis, Duke won the 2009 NCAA championship and has advanced to the NCAA playoffs 20 consecutive seasons under Ashworth.

Navarro is fresh from winning two singles qualifying matches in the current $25,000 U.S. Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Auburn, Ala. She teamed with partner Chloe Beck to advance to the quarterfinals in doubles.

She is now on a week's vacation with her family before heading to Memphis for the girls 18 national clay courts. But she isn't leaving her tennis racket behind.

"We'll still play every day," the 16-year-old said. "My sister (high-ranking junior Meggie) and my coach and his family are coming."
Charleston rules

With MWTennis Academy's Allie Gretkowski taking over the current Southern No. 1 ranking in girls 14, Charleston area players now hold three of the four No. 1 spots in the South in regulation-court junior girls rankings. Of course, Emma Navarro holds the top spot in both 16-and-under and 18-and-under.

Jared Pratt is still No. 1 in the South in boys 18.

Talking about tennis families, not only is Navarro the top-ranked girls 16 and 18 player in the South, little sister Meggie is ranked No. 5 in girls 14 in the South.

And Max Smith is No. 6 in the South in boys 14, while little brother Jake Smith is No. 9 in boys 12.

Other top 10 Southern rankings for local players include No. 7 for Saige Severance in girls 12 and No. 10 for Alice Otis in girls 12.

Also, local newcomer Anna Ross added to the area's title number in the recent Southern Closed Hard-Court Championships by winning the girls 16 doubles crown in Little Rock, Ark.

Ross, who will be a junior at Wando in the fall, moved here with her family from Chicago just to train at the Randy Pate Academy at LTP Tennis. Brothers Eddie and Michael also train at LTP, while dad Ed commutes back and forth from Chicago.

Kat Lyman also joined this year's Southern Championships' runner-up list by making it to the girls 18 doubles final.
Rogers' Wimbledon draw

Shelby Rogers' draw for Wimbledon isn't perfect, but it isn't a bad one for a player ranked 70th in the world. Drawing 25-year-old Californian Julia Boserup for her first match is about as close to a lucky draw as Rogers could get.

Not that the 5-11 Boserup isn't capable of scoring a few wins at Wimbledon, she is ranked 80th in the world. That's thanks in part to five victories at Wimbledon 2016 in qualifying and the main draw before losing in the round of 32.

The winner of the Rogers-Boserup match will get either No. 32 seed Lucie Safarova or 48th-ranked Oceane Dodin of France in the second round. Top-ranked Angelique Kerber is the likely foe for whoever makes it to the round of 32 in that section of the draw.
LTP Pro program

LTP Tennis' newly started pro training program is already having success. U.S. Women's Pro Circuit doubles sensation Emina Bektas has joined the program full-time when she isn't out on the circuit winning doubles titles.

Bektas was a doubles champion in May's $60K LTP Charleston tournament and has won a half-dozen doubles titles this year on the Pro Circuit, including Saturday's final at Auburn, while climbing to No. 149 in the world in doubles. A 24-year-old, she is the University of Michigan's all-time wins leader in singles.

The LTP $60K also featured Francoise Abanda of Canada, who just advanced through qualifying at Wimbledon into the main draw.

LTP will serve as host to another U.S. Women's Pro Circuit tournament Sept. 25-Oct. 1, this one a $15,000 event.

Local Notes

MWTennis CEO Jeff Wilson reports that Emily Elliott, Reilly Wilson and Kerim Hyatt all earned main draw wild cards into this fall's Lexington ITF tournament by making it to the finals of last weekend's S.C. Closed Hard Court Championships.

Pine Forest Country Club tennis director Andy Steingold is beaming these days about finally winning a national singles title. Steingold claimed his title in the 32-draw men's 65 division at the Atlanta Senior Invitational.

This year's sixth annual Hugs for Harper "celebration of courage, strength and hope" dinner and auction are scheduled for Sept. 15 at Founders Hall at Charles Towne Landing. Contact Emma Blitch (blitch@musc.edu).


(06/30/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Juniors net berth to state championships
Three Summerville teams have punched a ticket to the United States Tennis Association’s South Carolina Junior Team Tennis Championships.

The 10U Summerville Spinners, 12U Summerville ACEketeers and 18U Summerville Seahawks all finished on top of their division for the Lowcountry JTT program this summer to qualify for the JTT State Championships scheduled for July 14-16 at the Dr. Eddie Floyd Florence Tennis Center. There, the teams will compete with the top teams from other parts of the state for a Junior Team Tennis title.

The 10U Summerville Spinners team is comprised of Madison Cleveland, Carter Hatcher, Audrey Jacks, Arlen Sumersett, Kaiden Williams, Sally Clarke Wimberly and Ellery Woods. The Spinners are coached by Bryant Mckee and Nancy Sumersett.

The 12U Summerville ACEketeers team is comprised of Anna Dale, Alex Hylton, Abby Oberman, Edward Naval, Megan Schmedeke and William Wimberly. The ACEketeers are coached by Bryant McKee.

The 18U Summerville Seahawks team is comprised of Arianna Brim, Ben Diffley, Sullivan Long, Lizzie Naval, Paige Reynolds, Taylor Reynolds and Stephen Wills. The Seahawks are coached by Josh Byrd.


(06/30/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Long to lead Green Wave Boys on the hardwood
David Long has been named the new head coach for the Summerville High School Boys Basketball program. Long has worn multiple hats at SHS the past few years, serving as an assistant boys’ varsity basketball coach, head coach for the Green Wave Boys and Girls tennis programs and department head for the physical education department.

As the Green Wave tennis coach the past four years, Long led the Boys to a region championship in 2016 and to a second-place finish in the region during his other seasons at the helm. He led the Boys to the Lower State semifinals of the playoffs in 2014 and the Girls to the semifinals last fall.

Long has been named the Region Coach of the Year twice and served as an assistant coach for the Girls Tennis North-South All-star Match in 2016. He will continue to coach the Green Wave Girls Tennis team and will serve as the head coach for the 2017 Girls Tennis North-South All-star Match. He does not plan to continue coaching the Green Wave Boys Tennis team because that team’s season overlaps with basketball season.


(06/21/17) Sabine Lisicki defeats Shelby Rogers at Mallorca Open
Big-serving Sabine Lisicki of Germany dominated the first five games and held off Charleston touring tennis professional Shelby Rogers for a 6-3, 6-4 victory on Wednesday in the round of 16 of the WTA Tour's grass court Mallorca Open.

Lisicki, the 2009 Family Circle Cup champion and owner of a women's record 131 mph serve in 2014, closed out four of the first seven games she won with aces. A wild card now ranked 144th in the world, Lisicki jumped out to a 5-0 lead with a pair of service breaks, limiting Rogers to a total of seven points in those games.

Rogers fought back to 5-3 before Lisicki closed out the first set with her fifth ace. Lisicki took charge of the second set by breaking Rogers for a 4-3 lead. Lisicki finished with eight aces in the 72-minute match and won 85 percent of the first serves she put into play.

Currently ranked 70th, Rogers will move over to London for the July 3 start of the Wimbledon Championships.


(06/20/17) Shelby Rogers wins first-round match in Mallorca tournament
Charleston touring tennis professional Shelby Rogers came through at the end of the first set with clutch serving and then controlled the second set with her serve for a 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory over 21-year-old Brazilian left-hander Beatriz Haddad Maia on Tuesday in the first round of the grass-court WTA Tour tournament on the Spanish island of Mallorca.

Rogers, ranked 70th, held service in the 12th game to send the first set into a tiebreaker, which she finished off by winning the last two points on her serve. She continued her solid play in the second set by coming up with a service break in the second game and then holding her serve the rest of the way to close out the match in one hour and 43 minutes.

Serving seven aces and two double faults, Rogers won 88 percent of the first serves she put into play against the 6-1 Haddad Maia, who is ranked 95th in the world.

In the round of 16, Rogers will oppose 2009 Family Circle Cup champion Sabine Lisicki of Germany, a wild card who advanced when No. 5 seed Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands retired, 6-2, 3-6, retired.


(06/19/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Steingold claims national singles title
Pine Forest Country Club Tennis Director Andy Steingold is receiving some national notoriety.

Steingold recently captured his first National Singles Championship at the 2017 Atlanta Senior Invitational. More than 300 total entrants representing every region of the country participated in the National Category 2 tennis tournament. There were 32 in Steingold’s 65 and Older division.

“The guy I beat in the last round was from California,” Steingold said. “The guy that was seeded No. 1 is from Baton Rouge so it was truly a national tournament. It was pretty sweet because I had to win in (several) rounds.”

The only other South Carolina singles winner for the tournament was tennis professional Will Bull of Myrtle Beach, who won the 40-plus division.

Steingold has played in other large tournaments in recent years, but he has just this year been able to free his schedule up enough to compete in as many of the more prestigious tournaments as he would like.

Earlier this year, Steingold placed second at a National Category 2 event in Naples, Florida. He lost in the finals of that tournament to the player who at the time was the top-ranked player in the nation for the division and who had once held the top world ranking for the division.

“The quality of tennis at those events was unbelievable,” Steingold said. “It’s been a long while since I competed in a tournament like those.”

The tennis director has participated in the last few Southern Senior Cup tournaments. Team captains for these events select only one male and one female from each age division to represent South Carolina during a team competition against squads from other Southern states. Steingold has helped South Carolina win the event two of the past three years.

Steingold is currently preparing for his second USTA Intersectional match that will pit a team of players from all the Southern States up against teams representing other regions of the country. The tournament is scheduled for late June in Arlington, Texas.

“For me, it’s a big honor to be one of the four or five 65-year-olds chosen to represent the nine Southern states,” Steingold said. “We won it last year in Atlanta, but I don’t know how it will go this year because we are going to play on hard courts in Dallas.”

Tennis has been a part of Steingold’s life for some time, but he hasn’t always made his living as a tennis director.

After attending USC, he helped found a tennis program for the City of Columbia Recreation Department in 1974. He went on to serve as a coach and instructor at College of Charleston and Seabrook Island and then left tennis for another career.

After approximately 25 years he was ready for another change, but not ready to retire. He landed a job as the tennis director for Legend Oaks Golf and Tennis Club in 2007. He remained there until he took the job at Pine Forest in January 2016.

While some of his peers who have 25 to 30 years in as a tennis instructor may be staring to lose some of their enthusiasm for tennis, he certainly isn’t.

“Tennis is my passion so I’m having fun,” Steingold said. “I basically just got cranked up 10 years ago so I’m having a blast.”

His responsibilities at Pine Forest include helping with the planning, organization and execution of the club’s two major annual tennis tournaments, the Azalea Clay Court Championships in March and Racquets for Recovery Tournament in November.

This year’s Clay Court Championships drew more participants than ever – 185. The 2016 Racquets for Recovery Tournament drew 179 participants and raised approximately $29,000 for the MUSC-Hollings Cancer Center’s Racquets for Recovery Fund.

The tournaments, as well as the club’s tennis pro shop, are open to the general public.


(06/17/17) Wando’s Lyman wins Southern tennis title
Charleston tennis experienced another big day on Saturday when Wando star Kat Lyman walked away with the girls 16 singles title in the USTA Southern Closed Hard-Court Championships in Little Rock, Ark.

I played well. I really wanted to win, but I knew it would be a close match,” the 15-year-old Lyman said while on the road home from Arkansas with her mother Saturday afternoon. “I was really happy when I won.”

Winning the Southern final was even more exciting than Wando’s Class AAAA state championship last fall. “This is more exciting, I think, since we (Wando) were favored to win the whole year,” she said.

Lyman went 7-0 in singles, capping the week as a No. 5 seed with a 6-4, 7-6 (2) upset of top-seeded Carly Briggs of Calhoun, Ga., on Saturday morning. Lyman also was a doubles quarterfinalist.

After playing No. 3 for the Warriors as an online-schooled freshman, Lyman doesn’t expect to play high school tennis as a sophomore, instead focusing more on her full-time tennis training at LTP Tennis and Swim.

Local newcomer Whitney Pate also won the girls 12 singles Southern championship in Cary, N.C. Pate is the daughter of Randy Pate, whose Randy Pate Tennis Academy recently moved to Mount Pleasant’s LTP Tennis from Winston-Salem, N.C

But titles didn’t end there for the Charleston area in probably its most successful week ever in Southern closed tournaments. Pate also won the girls 12 Southern doubles title with Paige Severance of Mount Pleasant, while Brant Fenno was a Southern boys 16 doubles titlist in Little Rock, and Southern boys 16 No. 1 Jared Pratt played up and collected a boys 18 doubles crown in Mobile, Ala.

Pratt topped off a 15-1 week Saturday morning by taking the consolation singles crown after winning seven straight matches in the consolation draw following a loss in the round of 32. Indeed, it was a big week for just-turned 15-year-old Emma Navarro, who like Pratt played up in the 18-and-under division. Navarro was a girls 18 doubles finalist and a singles semifinalist.

Overall, Charleston won two of the eight Southern singles titles (boys and girls) and had five other top five singles finishers; in doubles, the area produced three titles and two runners-up.

Academic Magnet star Sam Kavarana made the round of 16 in Southern boys 16 in Little Rock, then won five straight matches to take the consolation title.

Fenno, and high school stars Jacob Jahn, Chad Nash, Kerim Hyatt and Earl Navarro all made the singles round of 32 in the Southern boys 16 tournament. Wando’s Lauren Quinn made the round of 32 in girls 16 singles.

Allie Gretkowski posted a 14-2 singles/doubles record in Macon, Ga., in Southern girls 14 while winning the consolation singles title and advancing to the doubles final.

Sophie Williams took fifth in girls 12 singles, while Mattie Dermody made the girls 12 round of 16 in singles.

David Nawabi advanced to the round of 16 in boys 12, and Maxwell Smith made the round of 16 in boys 14.

Shelby Rogers went from the glamour of playing in the French Open quarterfinals to suffering a loss in the first round of qualifying last weekend for the $250,000 event in Mallorca, Spain. Rogers fell in straight sets to 150th-ranked Elise Mertens of Belgium, who qualified and then won a round in the main draw.

Rogers has moved up to No. 59 in the world. She will be in the main draw at Wimbledon, which starts June 27.

September is shaping up to be a busy month for major local tennis events. The Shape Invitational women’s collegiate event is switching from March to September to avoid the conflict the tournament had with the regular college season when Family Circle Tennis Center held its inaugural Shape event in March. Also, LTP Tennis will hold its second women’s U.S. Pro Circuit satellite tournament Sept. 26-Oct. 2.

Several members of the eight-player USTA summer traveling team that trained for a week recently at Family Circle Tennis Center are expected to participate in the Shape tournament, which offers a main draw wild card into the Volvo Car Open to its singles winner.

Inaugural Shape champion Frances Altick of Vanderbilt was a member of the USTA summer traveling team as was former two-time Dunlop Junior champion Hayley Carter of the University of North Carolina, along with Ohio State’s Francesa DiLorenzo, who ended local junior star Emma Navarro’s first pro run in the 2015 LTP satellite and made the semifinals of the current $25,000 event in Sumter.

Former Charleston junior Connor Clements played on his third straight NAIA national championship team at Georgia Gwinnett and was named an All-American. The former Southern No. 1 will be going for a school record fourth national title in 2017 as a fifth-year senior. Guinnett finished 26-0.

Charleston’s Diane Barker will compete for the USTA’S women’s 55 team in the ITF Seniors World Team Championships this week in Helsinki, Finland. Barker owns seven world singles titles. The individual world championships will be June 25-July 2 in Helsinki.

The 3.5 men’s 18-plus team from Creekside Tennis and Swim recently won a state spring season championship in Greenville. Daniel Island’s 2.5 women also won an 18-plus state title.

The City of Charleston Junior Hard-Court Championships are July 15-17 at Charleston Tennis Center. The entry deadline is July 11. Registration is available online at USTA.com (team number 700044816).


(06/14/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: 2017 Daniel Island Middle School Tennis Team - Charleston City League Regualr Season and Playoff Champions
Ten players represented Daniel Island School during the spring 2017 school tennis season and playoffs.

The team went undefeated and were the Charleston City League Champions and Playoff Champions of Division 1. This means out of 137 teams in the league (almost 1300 children), the Daniel Island 1 team was the overall winner.

The league is sponsored by the City of Charleston Recreation Department, but the official name is the Tri-county Elementary and Middle School Tennis League. Teams participate from Charleston, Mt. Pleasant. Summerville, James Island Johns Island and North Charleston. There are a number of divisions and tournaments and there were actually several Daniel Island teams that won. The Daniel Island White team won Division 3 and the Daniel Island Orange team won Division 9. Daniel Island Blue won Tournament 2.

Pictured Left to Right, top to bottom: Carson Baker, Sawyer Severance, JD Sutterlin, Isabella Demarco, Luke Smith, Coach Cori Smith, Olivia Demarco, Garrett Brooker, Jake Smith, Zade Hyatt, Will Ramey.


(06/13/17) Shelby Rogers loses to Donna Vekic in first round at Nottingham
Donna Vekic of Croatia came up with late service breaks in both sets to defeat Charleston touring tennis professional Shelby Rogers, 6-4, 6-3, on Tuesday in the opening round of the grass-court WTA Tour event in Nottingham, England.

The 21-year-old Vekic, ranked 70th in the world, pulled off service breaks for 5-3 leads in each set. Rogers, whose ranking dropped 19 places to 68th in the world after her third-round outing at the French Open, bounced back with a service break in the first set, but then was broken again by Vekic.


(06/12/17) Lowcountry Tennis Association June 2017 Newsletter
Hello everyone,

The summer is off to a great start. We have several important date reminders and coordinator updates. Congratulations are in order to our SC State Champions and Finalists. All of our LCTA players did a wonderful job representing LCTA. - Steve Wilson

Important Dates
June 17 - Combo team registration ends. Teams must have 3 eligible partnerships (at least 3 at level)
August 18 - 65 & Over / 75 & Over registration ends
July 28 - Singles registration ends

Coordinator Updates
Steve Speer has stepped down from his many coordinator roles after several seasons. Steve has done a terrific job. It has been a great pleasure to work with him. Steve will continue to work with LCTA on Special Projects and help train the new coordinators.

Bill Ennis has been appointed and accepted the position of overall women's coordinator and will coordinate the 3.0 women night flights (effective August 2017). Steve Wilson will fill those positions until Bill takes over in August.

Mark Pickhardt has been appointed and accepted the position of 18 & over 4.0 Women's Coordinator.

Jim Gooden has been appointed and accepted the position of 18 & Over 4.5 Women's Coordinator.

Nancy Pitcairn will continue as Combo Coordinator; Dee Mack has been appointed and accepted the position of Overall Men's Coordinator.

Cindy Kicklighter has been appointed and accepted the position of 40 & over Combo Coordinator.
LCTA State Champions and Finalists

18 & Over

Champions
3.0 Women - St. Andrews- Captain Jen McCool
4.0 Men - I'On - Captain Frank Cuoco

Finalists
4.0 Women - CTC - Captain Shannon Drayton
4.0 Men - Maybank - Captain William Workman
4.5 Women - Citadel - Captain Scotty Brisson
40 & Over

Champions
4.5+ Men - MPR - Captain William Shelley

Finalists
3.5 Women - Creekside - Captain Crystal Daniel
4.5 Women - LTP - Captain Alice Kryder
55 & Over

Champions
4.0 Women - MPR - Captain Jane Fluet

Finalists
3.5 Men - Maybank Bangers - Captain Doug Holmes
9.0 Men - I'on - Captain Frank Larkin
70 & Over

Finalists
4.0 Women - Seabrook - Captain Hutchie Cummin

(06/09/17) Hanahan's Reilly Wilson named All-Lowcountry tennis player of year
All-Lowcountry Boys Tennis

Player of the Year: Reilly Wilson, Hanahan

Wilson, a sophomore at Hanahan, won the SCHSL state AAA-AA-A singles championship and on the same day helped Hanahan capture the Class AAA tennis team state title. Wilson did not lose a set the entire season.

First Team
Reilly Wilson, Hanahan
Jared Pratt, Bishop England
Kerim Hyatt, Hanahan
Chad Nash, Hanahan
Coy Simon, Hanahan
Brant Fenno, Porter-Gaud

Honorable Mention: Academic Magnet: Michael Pi, Chris Moss, Andrew Demetre, Forrest Moon; Ashley Ridge: Zach Rabon, Exavier Leo. Berkeley: James Giannelli, Joshua Giannelli. Bishop England: Lleyton Dacuba, Zach Dacuba, Lukas Gosselin, Brian Privett, Ben Meyer, Rafe Flatchman. Cane Bay: Jordan Howell, Melvin Tejada. Charleston Collegiate: Ducky Steward. Fort Dorchester: Will Shope, Joseph Varner, Connor Westbrooke. Goose Creek: Revis Mickler, Mateo Coleman. Hanahan: Max Smith, Mark Jones, Tong Vong. James Island: Brendan Healey, Josh Evans, Ben Alexander. Oceanside Collegiate: Stanley Waters, Luke Prendergast, Matthew Kirk, Michael Davies, JT Ramey, Bradley Upshaw. Palmetto Christian: Michael Pernell, Carter Tappan, Henry Hyden, PJ Noce. Pinewood Prep: Ben Diffley, Cannon McConnell, MacGregor Mann. Porter-Gaud: Manning Schnyder, Malone Vingi, Alex des Francs, Jack Kammerer, Luke Harvin, Lucas Acevedo. Stratford: Jeffrey Wong, Parker Hoffman. Summerville: Stephen Wills, Taylor Reynolds, Thomas McGinnis, Rahi Gajjar. Wando: Alex Shaw, Will Bumgarner, Palmer Smyth, Jack Johnson. West Ashley: Ozzie Duarte, Stratas Anastopoulo, Ben Foster.

Coach of the Year: Jonathan Barth, Porter-Gaud.


(06/07/17)  WALTERBORO PRESS AND STANDARD: CINDY CROSBY: Strickland named Region 8-AAAA Tennis Coach of Year
Coach Jaymie Strickland, Colleton County High School Boys’ Tennis, has been named Region 8-AAAA Tennis Coach of the Year by the South Carolina High School League.

In first season as head coach, Strickland led the Cougar tennis team to a 3-8 overall record and 2-6 finish in Region 8-AAAA, earning a berth in the playoffs. The Cougars, seeded at No. 4, were eliminated following a 6-0 loss to the No. 1 seed, Darlington High School.


(06/07/17) USTA SOUTHERN: Community Tennis News
Nominate the Best of Tennis in South Carolina

Know someone or some group who is growing the game of tennis in South Carolina? Know an unsung hero who makes a difference every day in the South Carolina tennis community? Want to highlight your local CTA for its leadership in driving positive local change through tennis?

The USTA South Carolina Annual Awards recognize individuals and organizations who have made outstanding contributions to tennis during the year. The awards will be announced this Fall and will be presented in December at the USTA South Carolina Annual Meeting. Nominations are currently being accepted.


(06/04/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Gladis named Boys Tennis Region Coach of the Year
Coaches for Region 7-AAAAA recently released their 2017 Boys Tennis All-Region Team.

Ashley Ridge, Fort Dorchester and Summerville all landed one or more players on the team and the Patriots also had a coach receive an all-region honor.

Juniors Stephen Wills and Taylor Reynolds represent Summerville on the All-Region Team. Senior Zach Rabon represents Ashley Ridge on the list and senior Connor Westbrooke represents Fort Dorchester.

Patriot coach Jesse Gladis and Wando coach Winde Ellenberg share this year’s Region Coach of the Year honor. James Island junior Brendan Healey is the 2017 Boys Tennis Region Player of the Year.

Other players named to the All-Region Team are Wando’s Alex Shaw, Will Bumgarner and Palmer Smyth; West Ashley’s Ozzie Duarte and Ben Foster; Stratford’s Jeffery Wong and Parker Hoffman; Goose Creek’s Mateo Coleman; and James Island’s Josh Evans.

Wando claimed the region championship this year and Summerville finished as the region runner-up. Fort Dorchester placed fourth in the region while Ashley Ridge placed sixth.

West Ashley, which placed third in the region, and Wando were the only two Region 7-AAAAA teams to advance past the first round of the playoffs. West Ashley was eliminated in the second round by Irmo and Wando was eliminated in the third round by West Florence, which went on to claim the Lower State title.


(06/03/17) Area junior tennis players thrive at Belton
Charleston tennis fans have been trained to expect success from their juniors, even at the youngest ages.

After all, Charleston is the home of the Volvo Car Open and LTP/Charleston $60K, not to mention Southern boys No. 1 Jared Pratt and Southern girls No. 1 Emma Navarro, and the elite MWTennis and Randy Pate tennis academies along with a number of other outstanding junior training bases.

And, of course, Shelby Rogers.

So, when observers look at the state's biggest and brightest junior tennis tournament and see three singles champions, it can be surprising. But any area should be proud to win three of the eight regulation court singles titles at Belton's Palmetto Invitational Championships, even America's Best Tennis Town.

HATS OFF TO CHAMPIONS

Hats off to boys 12 champion Jacob Smith, girls 14 winner Sophie Williams and girls 18 champion Kat Lyman. They are the cream of the Charleston crop at Belton.

Winning a Belton title of any sort is a great accomplishment, whether doubles or even a consolation prize. This is a compliment to Rex Maynard and now-deceased Jim Russell. The tournament has been around since 1957, but without the support of Maynard from the 1970s until now and Russell alongside Maynard in those early years, this tournament might not have survived all these years.

Every year about this time, kids from all over the state load up their automobiles to head to the northwest corner of the state for the Belton encampment. To most players with Southern tournament aspirations for the summer, playing in the state qualifier is a must.

Even Rogers won a bunch of Belton titles before outgrowing Belton and moving on to bigger things such as the U.S. Open main draw at age 17.

Another Belton was recorded last weekend. By the numbers, it was a whopping success for a long list of area players.

FIVE RUNNERS-UP

In addition to the three singles champions from Charleston, there were five Belton runners-up in singles: Callen Hein in boys 16, Max Smith in boys 14, Lucas Acevedo in boys 12, Anna Ross in girls 16 and Shianna Guo in girls 14.

Oceanside Collegiate's Stanley Waters was a semifinalist in boys 16 and Lauren Quinn was a semifinalist in girls 18, and Michael Pitts (boys 14), Nathan Pitts (boys 12) and Otto Seawell (boys 12) also were semifinalists.

There was a herd of quarterfinalists: Kerim Hyatt, Earl Navarro and Huntley Allen in boys 18; Reilly Wilson in boys 16; Ian Rasheed and William Baly in boys 14; Sawyer Severance, Zack Hyatt and Joshua Giannelli in boys 12; Elizabeth Truluck in girls 18; Logan Voeks and Alice Otis in girls 14; and Margaret Allen in girls 12.

Overall, the Charleston area's presence was heavily felt, especially among boys, as 17 of the 32 boys who played in the singles quarterfinals were from here.

Pratt and Emma Navarro fell into the Southern exempt state qualifier list as top 16 players in their age groups. High-ranking junior boys Brant Fenno and Jacob Jahn did not compete in singles at Belton due to injuries, but Jahn played doubles and was a finalist.

Charleston's doubles champions included Brendan Healey (boys 16), Sewell (boys 12), Truluck (girls 18), Ross (girls 16) and Saige Severance/Voeks (girls 14).

SCHOOL LEAGUE WINNERS

The Tri-County Elementary and Middle School Tennis League has wrapped up another successful year with 137 teams registered. City of Charleston tennis manager Peggy Bohne reports that approximately 1,300 players made up the teams' rosters. Some schools, such as James Island Elementary and Stiles Point Elementary, had as many as 10 teams. Christ Our King-Stella Maris had nine teams, while Harbor View Elementary had seven teams and Daniel Island School five.

You might have noticed that three of these schools are from James Island, which might mean James Island is an area to watch in junior tennis in future years.

The league wrapped up its season with its annual tournament. The winners were: Yellow Ball Tournament 1, Daniel Island School 1; Yellow Ball Tournament 2, Daniel Island School Blue; Yellow Ball Tournament 3, Moultrie Middle AA; Yellow Ball Tournament 4, Haut Gap Middle; Green Dot Tournament 1, Belle Hall Elementary 5 ; Green Dot Tournament 2 , Christ Our King - Stella Maria 4th; Orange Ball 1, Beach Hill Elementary; Orange Ball 2, Stiles Point Elementary Black; and Orange Ball 3, James Island Elementary White.


(06/02/17) Shelby Rogers falls in third round at French Open
Shelby Rogers had to be thinking she was on the way to again booking her spot in the French Open's second week when she headed to her chair after serving a love game for a 5-2 lead in the third set Friday.

Only, she forgot to seal the deal. She lost the next 11 points, and by then, it was anyone's match.

World's No. 14 Kristina Mladenovic was playing before a home crowd on Susanne-Lenglen Court that helped lift France's No. 1 player to victory in the last three games and a 7-5, 4-6, 8-6 third-round win over Rogers.

It was a disappointing ending for the 49th-ranked Rogers, who dreamed of equaling last year's run to the French Open quarterfinals. She leaves Paris two wins short of that.

"I felt like I kept doing the same thing," Rogers said. "She didn't really miss a ball. I think she elevated her game.

"The French fans are awesome. They love their French players, and it's a really cool atmosphere . . . they have the wave going and everything. It's nice to see the fans of tennis like that."

Rogers was in position to win all three sets. She led 5-4 in the first set and was only two points short of breaking Mladenovic's serve and winning the opening set. But the 6-foot Mladenovic, something of a gambler with 13 double faults, 42 winners and 39 unforced errors, wouldn't buckle.

The second set went to Rogers when the 24-year-old touring tennis professional from Charleston came up with the only service break in the set in the 10th game to even the match at a set apiece.

But the third set is really when Rogers let this one get away from her. More time in Paris was looking good when a Mladenovic backhand went astray to give Rogers a 5-2 advantage. Eleven points later, Mladenovic made another error, but this time she had two game points to play with for a 5-5 deadlock.

Rogers recovered to hold service for a 6-5 lead, but she was broken at love in her next service game to allow Mladenovic to take a 7-6 advantage and serve for the match. The French player came up with a pair of forehand winners to move to 40-15 and match point. She ended the two-hour and 46-minute match on her first match point.


(06/01/17) Shelby Rogers falls in French Open doubles, ready to face Kristina Mladenovic again in singles
Round two didn't go Shelby Rogers' way in her current three-match battle against Kristina Mladenovic of France. But it was only a first-round doubles match on Thursday in the French Open.

The decisive match will come early Friday morning (Charleston time) when 49th-ranked Rogers will collide with 14th-ranked Mladenovic in the third round of the singles draw in Paris.

"We played once before, but on hard court. She (Mladenovic) has the home crowd behind her. So, it'll be tough. She's very confident," Rogers said after the doubles encounter, looking ahead to Friday's red clay matchup at Roland Garros.

In their earlier singles meeting, Rogers rolled past Mladenovic, 6-1, 6-1, in 2016 in the round of 32 at New Haven, Conn., when Mladenovic was ranked 37th in the world. Already in 2017, the Mladenovic has been a finalist at Stuttgart (Germany) and Madrid.

Mladenovic, a defending French Open doubles champion, teamed with former French Open singles champion Svetlana Kuznetsova on Thursday to outlast Rogers and Britain's Heather Watson, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2.

Rogers, a French Open singles quarterfinalist a year ago, has been pleased with her strikingly similar 7-6, 6-4 victories over 144th-ranked Marina Erakovic and 155th-ranked Cagla Buyukakcay in this French Open. Not only did each match feature a first-set tiebreaker, the second sets in both were tied at 4-4 before Rogers held service at 40-30 and then broke service at 30-40 in each.

"After I won the first match, I had a little more confidence in the second and was happy to close it out in two. She (Buyukakcay) came out playing really well. She was inspired. She had a good win the first round (over 22nd seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni), and so I knew it was going to be tough because she was very confident," Rogers said about her first two wins.


(05/31/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Doty Park offers summertime tennis activities
For those with an interest in tennis, the Town of Summerville offers a variety of summer activities at the Doty Park Tennis Facility.

“We offer everything from adult programs to junior tennis clinics and camps,” Town Head Teaching Pro Nancy Sumersett said. “We offer Cardio Tennis once a week and even one-on-one instruction opportunities.”

The town hosts weekly tennis camps for youth age 5 and older. Camps for those of all skill levels are scheduled from 8:30 a.m. until noon on June 12-15, June 26-29, July 101-13, July 24-27 and July 31-August 3. The camp fees are $110.

Campers are required to bring a tennis racket, drink (water or Gatorade, carbonated drinks will not be permitted on the court), tennis or running shoes, shorts or tennis skirt, a hat and two towels.

Campers will participate in drills and games that focus on fundamentals, tennis basics and strategy, placement and shot execution for intermediate and advanced players. A tournament will be played at the close of each camp.

“We help the beginners and play a lot of games,” Sumersett said. “Players learn the basics and have a lot of fun doing it.”

Campers are also treated to non-tennis activities such as a water day and pizza party.

The town offers Junior Tennis Clinics from 5-6 p.m. several days per week. Players age 12 and younger use special balls during the clinics to help them develop their skills. Special clinics are scheduled for more advanced players and tournament players.

Cost is $10 per clinic.

Once a month, the town partners with the USTA to host Junior Play Days. Attendees typically receive tips from USTA experts, learn fundamentals and play a variety of games.

USTA Junior Play Days are scheduled from 1-2:30 p.m. June 17, July 15 and Aug. 19, Sept. 16, Oct. 21, Nov. 11 and Dec. 16. The fee is only $5 per person.

Doty Park is the home to adult leagues for Mixed Doubles and Combo teams.

Each week, the Doty Park courts host an Adult Friday Night Doubles Social. All players age 18 and older (skill level 2.5 through 4.0) are welcome. Event organizers ask that participants bring tennis balls and a light hors d'oeuvre. Alcoholic beverages are permitted, but glass bottles are not.

Cardio Tennis sessions for players of all ages and skill level are offered from 6:45-7:45 p.m. each Thursday. Cost is $15 per session.

For more information on any of the tennis programs offered at Doty Park, including individual tennis lessons, visit the tennis page located at the town’s website (summervillesc.gov) or contact Sumersett at nsumersett@gmail.com or at 843-270-1017.


(05/31/17) Shelby Rogers wins again at French Open, downs Buyukakcay
Shelby Rogers apparently has this thing about red clay.

She grew up on green clay in Charleston, but the 24-year-old touring tennis professional loves red clay.

She's doing it again in Paris at the French Open, although she hasn't pulled off an upset yet. Rogers defeated 155th-ranked Cagla Buyukakcay of Turkey, 7-6 (6), 6-4, on Wednesday in her latest victory in Paris.

Rogers still has a long ways to go to match last year's run to the quarterfinals of the Grand Slam event after Wednesday's second-round encounter. In the third round, likely on Friday, she will get the chance to pull off a major upset when she faces 13th seed Kristina Mladenovic of France.

Mladenovic scored a 6-2, 6-3 win in the second round over 2012 French runner-up Sara Errani, a 5-4 Italian who has made her career on the red dirt but was only a qualifier this time at age 30.

Actually, Rogers' next two matches will be against Mladenovic, a big-hitting 6-footer who already has a Grand Slam title with French cohort Caroline Garcia from last year's doubles competition in Paris.

Rogers and British partner Heather Watson have drawn Mladenovic and former French Open singles champion Svetlana Kuznetsova for a first-round doubles match on Thursday.

Mladenovic, who also won last year's Volvo Car Open doubles title with Garcia, started 2017 ranked 42nd in the world but has charged to the finals in Stuttgart (Germany) and Madrid in singles en route to her current rank of No. 14. She is 24 years old.

Rogers, ranked 49th, came on strong in the late going of both sets to win this one against Buyukakcay. She trailed 5-2 in the first set, but came up with a pair of service breaks and actually served for the first set at 6-5. She lost the first three points in that 12th game and was eventually broken to force a tiebreaker.

Again in the tiebreaker, Rogers fell behind, 5-2, as she dropped her first four service points. She then won four straight points to earn her first set point and ended the set on her second set point as she served.

Rogers and Buyukakcay split four service breaks early in the second set before Rogers got the service break she needed in the 10th game to wrap up the one-hour and 57-minute match.

Early in the match, Buyukakcay controlled play with her consistent serve as she put 77 percent of her first serves into play during the match. As the match wore on, Rogers won more and more of the 27-year-old Turkish player's first service points, something 22nd seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni was unable to accomplish in her first-round loss to Buyukakcay.

Buyukakcay was limited to only 53 percent success on her first service points against Rogers' aggressive return game.


(05/30/17)  West Of...: WAHS Says Goodbye to the Class of 2018: Stratas Anastopoulo
Boys Tennis player Stratas Anastopoulo will play for Spartanburg Methodist College in the fall.


(05/30/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Legend Oaks Gives Back raises 7K for The Ark
The sixth annual Legend Oaks Gives Back USTA Level 2 Tennis Tournament raised $7,100 to support The ARK, Alzheimer’s Family Support Services.

The event was held Jan. 26-27 at Legend Oaks Golf and Tennis Club in Summerville. The full-field event opened Thursday night and ended Sunday afternoon, with the crowning of 19 champions. A total of 155 five players, ranging from beginners to the highest ranking local players and professionals, came out to make the event a huge success.

The biggest winner of the event was The ARK, Alzheimer’s Family Support Services, selected by the members of the Legend Oaks Gives Back Tennis committee, based on votes by the members of Legend Oaks Golf & Tennis Club. Owner Jim Chickarello is thrilled that the event has grown so fast over its six year history, and that a local Lowcountry community charity will benefit from the funds raised. “It’s great to see so many residents within our community supporting their neighbors in need,” Chickarello commented. “Local charities need our support more than ever.”

Chickarello thanked the Legend Oaks Gives Back Tennis Committee members for their tireless efforts in support of this event: Lisa Diedrick – Co-Chair, Tournament Director Bryant McKee, and the Legend Oaks Golf & Tennis Club staff. A big thank you also went out to all the generous sponsors in the business community especially major sponsors Soul Whispers Arts, Heritage Trust Federal Credit Union, Hospice Care of South Carolina and Carrabba's Italian Grill. The event would not have been possible without the support of the many volunteers from within the neighborhood and community and all the participants from across the Lowcountry and South Carolina.

The Legend Oaks Gives Back initiative was founded in 2008 by Jim Chickarello, owner of Legend Oaks Golf and Tennis Club in Summerville, SC. The club staff joins with club members and the Legend Oaks neighborhood, working together to help those in the immediate community in need. The year-round initiative includes a fall fundraiser with a golf tournament and dinner/silent auction, multiple 5K runs on the back nine, a used golf and tennis equipment drive, a back to school supplies drive, a turn the course Pink fundraiser and a Christmas toy drive, in addition to this annual USTA Level 2 Tennis Tournament. Past donations have benefited The Alzheimer’s Association, The ARK Alzheimer’s Family and Support Services, Dorchester Children’s Center, Meals on Wheels of Summerville, MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, MUSC Children’s Hospital, One80 Place, the Professional Tennis Registry Foundation and The South Carolina Junior Golf Association. The Legend Oaks Gives Back initiative, operating with the motto “A Community Working Together, to Help Those in Need” has raised more than $316,000 in cash donations and goods since its inception in 2008.

The ninth annual Legend Oaks Gives Back Charity Golf Tournament is scheduled for Sept. 9. Exact dates for the 7th Annual Championships at Legend Oaks USTA Level 2 Tennis Tournament are forthcoming.

The Legend Oaks Gives Back charity initiative welcomes businesses and members of the community who would like to become involved and help those in our local community in need. For more information, contact Kathy Chickarello at 843-821-4077, extension 113 or email kchickarello@legendoaksgolf.com.


(05/29/17) Rogers' path at French Open gets a little easier
Shelby Rogers' chances of another strong performance in the French Open cleared a small hurdle when Turkey's Cagla Buyukakcay upset No. 22 seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni on Monday in the opening round in Paris.

Facing the 155th-ranked Buyukakcay in the second round probably on Wednesday instead of Lucic-Baroni looks like a big break for the touring tennis professional from Charleston. Rogers has climbed to No. 49 in the world, but has a large number of WTA Tour ranking points on the line after appearing in the quarterfinals of last year's French Open.

Lucic-Baroni defeated an injured Rogers in the quarterfinals of the Volvo Car Open in April, and also turned back Rogers in their only other meeting, a straight-set win in Acapulco earlier this year.

Rogers, who defeated New Zealand's Marina Erakovic 7-6 (4), 6-4 on Sunday in Paris' first round, and Buyukakcay have never squared off. Buyukakcay is a 27-year-old who served 71 percent against Lucic-Baroni and won 28 of the 36 first serves she put into play.

While Rogers has yet to win a WTA Tour title, the 5-8 Buyukakcay won the singles title in Istanbul in 2016.

Getting to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam event as Rogers did a year ago usually takes some big wins and even a little luck. In the third round, the Rogers/Buyukakcay winner will face either 13th-seeded Kristina Mladenovic of France or 2012 French runner-up Sara Errani, a smallish Italian who is a qualifier this time.


(05/29/17) MOULTRIE NEWS: Frankie Mansfield: Lowcountry women win tennis state championship
The Lowcountry Tennis Association’s 55-and-over 4.0 women’s team won the U.S. Tennis Association state championship earlier this month in Hilton Head.

The local team went undefeated through its three flight matches then shut out Greenville 3-0 in the semifinals before defeating Hilton Head 2-1 in the championship round.

The LCTA team advances to the USTA Southern Sectionals, where it’ll compete against nine other states Sept. 15-17 in Asheville, N.C. for a bid to nationals. LCTA’s 55-and-over 4.0 team won the Southern Sectionals in 2015.


(05/28/17) Charleston's Rogers gets past Erakovic in first round at French Open
Charleston touring tennis professional Shelby Rogers rallied to win six straight points in a first-set tiebreaker, then came up with a service break in the 10th game of the second set to post a 7-6 (4), 6-4 win over New Zealand's Marina Erakovic on Sunday in the opening round of the French Open.

Rogers, a quarterfinalist a year ago on Paris' red clay, will next take on the winner of the first-round match between No. 22 seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia and Cagla Buyukakcay of Turkey.

After exchanging service breaks in the sixth and seventh games, the 49th-ranked Rogers and Erakovic held service the rest of the first set to force a tiebreaker. Erakovic charged into a 4-1 lead in the tiebreaker before Rogers rebounded when Erakovic committed two straight forehand errors.

Rogers followed up with three forehand winners on the next four points to end the 51-minute first set.

Rogers got the service break she needed in the second set in the last game of the match. She moved into position for the victory by holding service for 5-4 by nailing a backhand winner at 40-30.

The 24-year-old Rogers reaped the luck of a double fault by Erakovic to move to within two points of the victory. A backhand error by the 144th-ranked Erakovic gave Rogers the only match point she needed as the 29-year-old New Zealander committed a forehand error on the next point to end the 93-minute match.

Also on Sunday, LTP/Charleston $60K winner Madison Brengle of the United States outlasted No. 51 Julia Goerges of Germany, 1-6, 6-3, 13-11, to also move into the second round.


(05/24/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: PHILIP BOWMAN: Hanahan's top tennis players serve up impressive victories
With back-to-back undefeated seasons, 28 victories in a row and two consecutive state championships, Hanahan High School boys’ tennis coach Glenn Cobb can say with confidence that his top five players have the potential to play Division I tennis when they matriculate to the next level.

“All five could play small college tennis right now,” the coach added.

That comment was an exclamation point to some great tennis. The Hawks completed another ultra-impressive season as a team and as individuals. The Hawks blanked Clinton 6-0 in the Class AAA state championships that were pushed back three days because of inclement weather.

It was worth the wait.

Then the Hawks excelled in the individual championships as well. There were so many Hawks involved in the chase for the individual title that it was often Hawk vs. Hawk once the field thinned out.

There’s no wonder that the Hawks’ top five players - Reilly Wilson, Kerim Hyatt, Coy Simon, Chad Nash and Max Smith - all gained all-state honors.

“I don’t know if that’s ever happened before,” Cobb said of five players from the same team making the all-state team. “I asked around and no one seemed to know if that had happened before. Either way, it is very impressive.”

This year’s team didn’t include two players from last year’s squad who transferred to Oceanside Collegiate Academy. This year’s team also had three newcomers, who were motivated to play well.

“The new players wanted to keep the streak going,” Cobb said. “They wanted to prove they belonged.”

The team is young. The top six players include a junior, three sophomores, a freshman and an eighth-grader. They felt pressure because they were expected to win.

“If you do it once, people expect you to do it again,” Cobb said in reference to the great expectations placed on the team after last season’s success. “When you win a state championship, everyone expects you to win. You have to live up to the expectations.”

The Hawks breezed through the playoffs. They received a first-round bye and defeated Gilbert. The Hawks then topped rival Bishop England 4-2 for the Lower State crown and defeated Clinton 6-0 for all the Class AAA marbles in a match played at the Cayce Tennis Center. Clinton managed to win only five games in singles play.

“Yes, they were overmatched,” Cobb said of Clinton. “Basically, my team is full of tournament-level players and the other team is a good high school team. There is a difference between a player who has a lot of tournament experience and a player who plays at the high school level.

In singles play, Hyatt defeated Isaac MacMillan; Nash topped Robert Powell; Simon beat Ike Waldron; Wilson defeated Tyler Trevino and Smith blasted Alexander Windsor.

The doubles team of Mark Jones and Tong Vong also posted an impressive triumph.

In individual play, Hanahan had three of the four semifinals spots, and Wilson earned the Class AAA state championship with a gritty performance that included wins over teammates Hyatt and Simon.


(05/17/17) Academic Magnet falls to Christ Church in boys tennis title match
At last, Christ Church collected its 25th state boys tennis championship on Wednesday at Cayce Tennis Center with a 6-0 victory over defending champion Academic Magnet in the Class AA final.

The Cavaliers (14-1) had been denied the last two years by Charleston-area teams, last year by Academic Magnet and 2015 by Bishop England.

But this time, the Greenville-area team was too strong for an Academic Magnet team that was playing without the top four players from a year earlier. Christ Church yielded just 12 games in singles to the Raptors (8-3).

Christ Church was led by Clemson-bound senior Wes Quattlebaum, who scored a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Academic Magnet junior Michael Pi at No. 1 singles. The Cavaliers' Ric Philpot handed Academic Magnet senior Chris Moss a 6-2, 6-0 defeat. Moss was the Raptors' No. 5 player in last year's final.

"We are a young inexperienced team," Academic Magnet coach Andrea Langley said. "But we hung in there. Super hot, and middle of the week was tough mentally with tests etc.

"We had one returning player (Moss). Christ Church had all of the guys from last year (back)."

CHRIST CHURCH 6, ACADEMIC MAGNET 0
SINGLES: Wes Quattlebaum (CC) def. Michael Pi, 6-1,6-0; Ric Philpot (CC) def. Chris Moss, 6-2, 6-0; Jackson Houser (CC) def. Andrew Demetre, 6-1, 6-1; Earle Russell (CC) def. Forrest Moon, 6-2, 6-2; Chase Garrett (CC) def. Jack McFee, 6-1, 6-2. DOUBLES: Sam Russell/Richmond Mayher (CC) def. Kyle Smith/John Conley, 6-2, 6-2.


(05/17/17)  WALTERBORO PRESS AND STANDARD: CINDY CROSBY: CCHS’ Boys Tennis season ends
The Colleton County Boys Tennis Season came to an end in the first round of the playoffs with a loss to Darlington High School.

“It took a little while for my kids to start feeling comfortable with being in the playoffs and a two-hour ride to get to our match,” said Coach Jaymie Strickland. “The boys had chances to win several courts, once we started settling into our matches but could not finish off games to win the sets.

“I feel the experience from this year with so many rookies will truly help them in handling tough matches next season and making it through the first round of the playoffs.  I am very proud of my kids and what they were able to achieve this year and I know they will continue to improve over the off-season,” he said.

Darlington County 6, Colleton County 0
Singles
Chris Moore (DC) d Trey Bowman 6-2, 6-1
Joe Watford (DC) d Thomas Warren 6-2, 6-4
Max Ward (DC) d Adam Buckner 6-1, 2-6, 17-15
Kendall Howle (DC) d Joe Sanders 6-0, 6-3
Jonathan Bryant (DC) d Nick Fanchette 6-0, 6-1
Doubles
#2 Laine Ward/Ross Beasley (DC) d Legrier Cooper/Makel Bowman 6-0, 6-0


(05/16/17) Wilson, Hanahan capture state tennis titles
A state championship of any type is a significant achievement. But two in one day?

And not just singles and doubles titles. Hanahan sophomore Reilly Wilson experienced the height of high school tennis success on Tuesday by winning the Class A-AA-AAA individual state singles title and then playing a key role in the Hawks' second straight boys Class AAA state championship.

All Wilson did on Tuesday at Cayce Tennis Center was survive two hot mid-day matches in the individual competition against higher-rated Hanahan teammates Kerim Hyatt and Coy Simon at Cayce Tennis Center, and then late in the day scored a 6-0, 6-0 victory at No. 4 singles in Hanahan's 6-0 romp over Clinton for the Hawks' 28th consecutive victory to complete a second consecutive unbeaten season.
"I think we improved this year over last year, and I think we can be just as strong next season," Hanahan coach Glenn Cobb said about his team of underclassmen that limited Clinton to just six games in singles.

Hanahan could hardly lose in the individual competition with three of the four semifinalists, except that the only non-Hawk was Waccamaw's Paul Hendrix, the top seed who had won the singles title three times. Simon, who uses two forehands, took care of Hendrix, 6-1, 6-1, in the semifinals after having survived a three-set bout against Hanahan No. 2 Chad Nash in the quarterfinals.

Wilson outlasted Hanahan No. 1 and tournament second seed Hyatt, 6-3, 6-4, to earn his berth in the final. Wilson then won his fifth straight match in the competition, 6-3, 6-3, over Hanahan No. 3 Simon in the final.

Hanahan took four of the top five individual awards, including Hyatt third and Nash fifth as well as Wilson and Simon winning the top two prizes.

"Winning the singles title was equally as satisfying as winning a junior title," said Wilson, the son of MWTennis Academy CEO Jeff Wilson.

"I was really nervous against Kerim, but I got a break late in the first set and won the set. He was up 4-3 in the second set and I held service and then broke him for 5-4." Wilson wrapped up his place in the final by surviving the 10th game that went to deuce in the no-ad scoring.

Then came the test against the linky, hard-hitting Simon, who had beaten Wilson three straight times. "I set the tone early by holding serve. He usually breaks me right off," Wilson said.

"Coy had played unbelievable against Hendrix. Once he starts hitting winners, you can't stop him."

Wilson also defeated Christ Church No. 1 Wes Quattlebaum, 6-3, 6-1, in the quarterfinals. Quattlebaum will lead Christ Church against Academic Magnet in Wednesday's 5 p.m. Class AA state final.

As a team, the Hawks were just as dominating as they had been individually. Hanahan's top five players all posted love sets.

"I haven't been keeping up with it, but it's amazing, incredible that we've won 28 straight matches," said the 5-9 Nash, who posted a 6-0, 6-0 win Clinton's Robert Powell. "I hope we can continue it next year."

Simon was equally excited about the Hawks' domination. "It feels pretty good. I think we have the best team in the state," he said.

HANAHAN 6, CLINTON 0
SINGLES: Kerim Hyatt (H) def. Isaac MacMillan, 6-0, 6-4; Chad Nash (H) def. Robert Powell, 6-0, 6-0; Coy Simon (H) def. Ike Waldron, 6-0, 6-1; Reilly Wilson (H) def. Tyler Trevino, 6-0, 6-0; Max Smith (H) def. Alexander Windsor, 6-1, 6-0. DOUBLES: Mark Jones/Tong Vong (H) def. Bedenbaugh /Orr, 6-3, 4-6, 10-6.


(05/16/17) Times set for Class AA and AAA state tennis finals
Hanahan (11-0) will be going for its 27th straight victory and second straight Class AAA boys tennis state championship when the Hawks take on Clinton on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Cayce Tennis Center.

The Class AA final between defending champion Academic Magnet (8-2) and perennial power Christ Church is now set for Wednesday at 5 p.m., also at Cayce Tennis Center.

Both matches were postponed by rain last Saturday.


(05/13/17) Class AA and AAA tennis state championship matches rained out
Saturday's regularly scheduled Class AA and Class AAA boys tennis state championship matches at Cayce Tennis Center were rained out.

The Hanahan-Clinton match for the Class AAA state title has been rescheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Cayce Tennis Center after the completion of the state individual competition.

The Class AA final between Academic Magnet and Christ Church had not been rescheduled by Saturday afternoon, according to Magnet coach Andrea Langley.


(05/11/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Vikings eliminate Green Wave in first round of playoffs
A strong season for the Green Wave Boys Tennis team ended in the first round of the Class AAAAA playoffs.

Summerville earned the No. 2 seed for Region 7-AAAAA to secure home-court advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. However, a Green Wave team that was a starter down fell 4-3 at Blanton Courts April 27 to Spring Valley, a No. 4 seed.

Summerville received wins from Stephen Willis and Taylor Reynolds on the No. 1 and No. 2 singles court, but lost the other singles courts. Two of the other singles matches were decided by a tiebreaker set. Then the Spring Valley No. 2 doubles team earned a 6-4, 6-4 win to secure the team victory for the Vikings.

Summerville ended the season with a 13-6 record. Spring Valley went on to be defeated 5-1 by Socastee in the second round.

Fort Dorchester placed fourth in the Region 7 and was defeated by region champion Wando 6-0 in the first round of the playoffs. Ashley Ridge placed sixth in Region 7. The Swamp Foxes were eliminated with a 6-0 loss to Irmo, which won its region, in the first round.


(05/11/17) Academic Magnet, Hanahan take aim at tennis titles Saturday
Chris Moss was far out of the headlines a year ago when Academic Magnet was preparing for its Class AA boys tennis state final against Christ Church.

Moss held down the last singles position in 2016, and the Raptors knew they only needed victories from Jacob Jahn, Sam Kavarana, Earl Navarro and Vinod Pandey. The Raptors got what they needed as the four players yielded a total of only 13 games in cruising to a 4-1 win over a Christ Church program that has been somewhat legendary in state high school tennis.

On Saturday at Cayce Tennis Center, Christ Church will be going for its 25th state championship. Coach Andrea Langley's Academic Magnet team, 8-2 this time and not unbeaten as it was a year ago, stands in Christ Church's way without last year's four stars, all of whom were eligible to compete for the Raptors this season but decided not to play.

Moss, now a senior, is the Raptors' No. 2 player. He played No. 1 in Michael Pi's absence in their 6-0 rout of Barnwell in the lower state final.

Hanahan vs. Clinton

Hanahan (11-0) not only has its two big stars, junior Kerim Hyatt and sophomore Chad Nash, back but also has two new stars in freshman Coy Simon and sophomore Reilly Wilson. The Hawks collected their 26th consecutive victory with a 4-2 win over Bishop England in the Lower State Class AAA final.

Against Clinton in Saturday's noon Class AAA state final at Cayce Tennis Center, coach Glenn Cobb's Hanahan team is a heavy favorite to win its second straight state title.

"I think we have a great shot at winning the state championship," the 5-8 Nash said. "I think our team is playing very well together."

Obviously, that's true. Only Hyatt has dropped a set this season.

Nash trains at MWTennis Academy at Family Circle Tennis Center. He and several Hanahan players are online schooled. "I've never gone inside the building (at Hanahan)," Nash said.

The Hawks will not be facing a Jared Pratt caliber player in the final. Pratt collected the only singles win for Bishop England in Wednesday's match by defeating Hyatt in straight sets to win the season's head-to-head match-ups (2-1) between the 2016 (Hyatt) and 2015 (Pratt) Lowcountry players of the year.

Pratt commits

Pratt grew up in the suburbs of Madison, Wis., before moving to Daniel Island as a kid. Obviously, he's still a Badger at heart.

As the South's No. 1 junior player, he could have had his pick of colleges from Stanford to Duke.

But he has committed to the University of Wisconsin.

"I grew up there (Wisconsin). And I really like the coach and the campus," Pratt said.

Pratt led the Bishops to the 2015 state championship as freshman, less than two years after undergoing surgery for the curved spine condition scoliosis. Now 6-1, he is finishing up his junior year at Bishop England.


(05/10/17) Hanahan knocks off Bishop England in Class AAA tennis playoffs
The battle between the Lowcountry's last two boys high school tennis players of the year was taking place on the club court at Family Circle Tennis Center on Wednesday.

Southern No. 1 junior Jared Pratt won 6-1, 7-5, over Hanahan left-hander Kerim Hyatt at No. 1 singles.

But the real match was taking place on four other singles courts for the Class AAA Lower State championship, and defending state champion Hanahan (11-0) swept the Nos. 2-5 singles matches to capture a second straight Lower State title as the Hawks posted their 26th consecutive win in a 4-2 triumph over Region 7-AAA rival Bishop England (6-8).

"I have to play my own match," Pratt said. "I can't worry about what other people are doing."

Hanahan was simply too deep for the Bishops, other than at No. 1 singles.

"We are playing up to our potential," said Hanahan coach Glenn Cobb, whose team now advances to Saturday's noon state final at Cayce Tennis Center against either Clinton or West-Oak.

"Kerim is the only (Hanahan) player who has lost a set this season (in singles)."

Playing No. 1 is a different league when Pratt and Porter-Gaud's Brant Fenno are the opponents.

Sophomore Chad Nash posted a 6-2, 6-3 win over BE junior Lleyton Dacuba at No. 2, and Hanahan's Coy Simon turned back BE's Zach Dacuba, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 3 in a battle of freshmen.

Sophomore Reilly Wilson and freshman Max Smith posted wins at Nos. 4 and 5 for the Hawks.

Smith had to rally from a 4-1 deficit in the second set to claim a 6-3, 6-4 win over BE senior Brian Privett.

"I was serving really well. I got a lot of first serves in, and I had five or six aces," said the 5-8 Nash, who trains at FCTC in the MWTennis Academy.

Nash kept Dacuba off balance with delicate drop shots. "The drop shot is one of my weapons. It just comes natural to me," Nash said.

Bishop England's Rafe Flatchman and Ben Meyer won No. 2 doubles after the Hawks had clinched the Lower State title.

"They're deep . . . a good team," BE coach Kristin Fleming Arnold said about Hanahan.

In the No. 1 singles match, Pratt appeared to be headed for an easy win with a 6-1, 3-0 lead, but Pratt then double-faulted three straight times and Hyatt got back into the match.

Pratt served for the match with a 5-4 lead, but was broken. But Pratt broke back and then held service at love to post his second win over Hyatt in three meetings this season.

"He (Hyatt) is very tough to play against, especially on clay," Pratt said. "I think I played a lot more aggressive than the last time I played Kerim."

HANAHAN 4, BISHOP ENGLAND 2
SINGLES: Jared Pratt (BE) def. Kerim Hyatt, 6-1, 7-5; Chad Nash (H) def. Lleyton Dacuba, 6-2, 6-3; Coy Simon (H) def. Zach Dacuba, 6-1, 6-1; Reilly Wilson (H) def. Lukas Gosselin, 6-0, 6-0; Max Smith (H) def. Brian Privett, 6-3, 6-4. DOUBLES: Rafe Flatchman/Ben Meyer (BE) def. Mark Jones/Tong Vong, 8-5.

Academic Magnet wins

Academic Magnet (8-2) charged into its second straight Class AA boys tennis state championship match with a 6-0 win over Barnwell on Wednesday afternoon in the Lower State final.

The defending state champion Raptors will oppose perennial power Christ Church or Southside Christian in Saturday's noon state final at Cayce Tennis Center.

Playing without regular No. 1 player Michael Pi, coach Andrea Langley's Academic Magnet team didn't drop a set against an outmanned Barnwell team (9-5).

Senior Chris Moss, junior Andrew Demetre, sophomore Forrest Moon and junior Jack McFee all moved up a notch and sailed to one-sided wins at Nos. 1-4 singles. Kyle Smith filled in at No. 5 and yielded four games for the Raptors.

Academic Magnet gave up only a total of 11 games in singles.

The Raptors lost their top four players from the 2016 team that went unbeaten and defeated Christ Church in last year's Class AA state final.

ACADEMIC MAGNET 6, BARNWELL 0
SINGLES: Chris Moss (AM) def. Ben Solomons, 6-0, 6-1; Andrew Demetre (AM) def. Chris Sullivan, 6-1, 6-1; Forrest Moon (AM) def. Jackson Solomons, 6-0, 6-0; Jack McFee (AM) def. Lionel Mason, 6-1, 6-3; Kyle Smith (AM) def. Animesh Sahu, 6-1, 6-3. DOUBLES: John Conley/Ethan Santi (AM) def. Collin Sitton/Rithuik Oruganti, 8-5.


(05/09/17) Hanahan, Bishop England, Academic Magnet advance to Lower State tennis finals
Monday’s Lower State boys tennis semifinals all turned out to be a routine afternoon for the area’s last three teams still playing in the SCHSL playoffs. Hanahan, Bishop England and Academic Magnet all posted 6-0 victories.

Now, it’s on to Wednesday’s Lower State championship matchups, in which Region 7-AAA champion and defending state champion Hanahan (10-0) will oppose 7-AAA runner-up Bishop England (6-7) on hard courts at Family Circle Tennis Center.

Defending Class AA state champion Academic Magnet (7-2) will be at home on Wednesday against Hannah-Pamplico or Barnwell.

“It should be a good match. We’re looking forward to it,” Hanahan coach Glenn Cobb said about the Hawks’ third meeting with Bishop England this season. Hanahan won the regular season confrontations, 5-0 and 4-2.

Hanahan has won 25 consecutive matches, most of them like Monday’s romp past Waccamaw at Pauleys Island. Junior Kerim Hyatt, sophomores Chad Nash and Reilly Wilson, freshman Max Smith and sophomore Mark Jones yielded a total of five games in singles against the once perennial power Warriors.

Freshman Coy Simon, the Hawks’ regular No. 3 player, missed the match while out of town playing in a junior tournament. Cobb said Simon will be back for Wednesday’s match.

Coach Kristin Fleming Arnold’s BE team was almost as dominant on Monday in a match played on the road against Bluffton. The Bishops yielded just 11 games in singles in their 6-0 win.

“We played very well. The boys were ready,” Fleming Arnold said.

Junior Jared Pratt, the South’s No. 1 junior boy, scored a 6-0, 6-0 victory over senior Matthew Ball, just the third Bluffton player ever to be selected as a North-South tennis all-star participant.

The Dacuba brothers, junior Lleyton and freshman Zach, followed Pratt’s lead, and Lukas Gosselin and senior Ben Meyer scored the other singles wins.

Academic Magnet was even more dominant than Hanahan and BE. The Raptors yielded just four games in singles in their 6-0 decision over Green Sea/Floyds, led by junior No. 1 Michael Pi. Senior Chris Moss also won, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 2, followed by junior Andrew Demetre, sophomore Forrest Moon and junior Jack McFee.

“We are gaining confidence and looking forward to Wednesday,” Magnet coach Andrea Langley said.

HANAHAN 6, WACCAMAW 0
SINGLES: Kerim Hyatt (H) def. Spencer Kemp, 6-1, 6-0; Chad Nash (H) def. Harry Kemp, 6-0, 6-1; Reilly Wilson (H) def. Stephen Russell, 6-1, 6-1; Max Smith (H) def. Braedon Tomouski, 6-1, 6-0; Mark Jones (H) def. Tucker Hendricks, 6-0, 6-0. DOUBLES: Hyatt/Wilson (H) def. Kemp/Kemp, 8-3.

BISHOP ENGLAND 6, BLUFFTON 0
SINGLES: Jared Pratt (BE) def. Matthew Ball, 6-0, 6-0; Lleyton Dacuba (BE) def. Alex Swetman, 6-0, 6-1; Zach Zacuba (BE) def. Weieri, 6-2, 6-0; Lukas Gosselin (BE) def. Nace Groshon, 6-2, 6-2; Ben Meyer (BE) def. Stone Aerni, 6-0, 6-4. DOUBLES: Brian Privett/Rafe Flatchman (BE) def. Garrett Nitz/Jonathan White, 6-0, 6-2.

ACADEMIC MAGNET 6, GREEN SEA-FLOYDS 0
SINGLES: Michael Pi (AM) def. Steele Willoughby, 6-0, 6-0; Chris Moss (AM) def. Bryce Ford, 6-0, 6-0; Andrew Demetre (AM) def. Jacob Strickland, 6-1, 6-0; Forrest Moon (AM) def. Keagar Davis, 6-0, 6-0; Jack McFee (AM) def. Anthony Jackson, 6-3, 6-0. DOUBLES: Kyle Smith/John Conley (AM) def. Gabe Meadows/Tyler Buffkin, 8-1.


(05/08/17) SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY: The Sit-Down: Bob Moran, Volvo Car Open
With our new Tennis Channel deal, they came down and captured a lot of coverage, working with our [convention and visitors bureau] and really bringing the city of Charleston to life. That has been an unbelievably awesome experience for us to get that kind of exposure to a tennis audience nationwide.

I can draw a straight line from what Tennis Channel has been doing to some new destinations where our folks are coming from.

These days, you have to have a social media team. People want the information now.

They want to hear and see stories that are not just about tennis, but about how these players live their lives outside of tennis. We’re trying to tell as many stories as we can and create as much buzz as we can every day.

When we look at a field, I feel like it’s our responsibility to start to tell the stories and also start to introduce players that people may not know right now. We have to sell the game.

When I’m hiring, I am looking for someone who is willing to do whatever it takes. When it comes to pulling this all together, from building a media center to building a player dining hall to making sure the stadium is in good shape, everyone on my team has to put their operations hat on at one time or another.

I’m looking for someone who is really engaged in the experience of running an event. It is not glamorous.

The biggest challenge we face is competition. Everyone’s competing for the time of the consumer. So you’ve got to make sure the experience is fantastic.

We know the tennis is going to be world class, so I’m not worried as much about what’s happening on the court as about what’s happening outside the court.

What is the food experience like? What is the entertainment experience like? What are our sponsors doing that’s going to engage our consumers?

We call the tournament “Three-Set Charleston,” because for some reason everyone likes to play three sets here. So we’ve always got to watch the schedule and think about contingencies if matches run long.

TV plays into it. We’re trying to hit not just domestic windows, but we have 174 international partners that are looking for matches to pick up. Eight years ago I never worried about this.

Now, at the end of the day, we’ll sit down with WTA Media, which handles international rights, and Tennis Channel, which has domestic rights, and all three of us have to agree on what matches we want to see at what time, and I can tell you that we all don’t always agree.

What does success look like? There’s a couple of things. One is financial. How did we do with ticket sales? With sponsorship sales? Those two things are pretty much already set, other than walkup. And then how does that trickle down to our concession stand sales, our merchandise sales? We have markers set and we’re trying to hit those markers all the way through.

Success after that is, How was the fan experience? Did they enjoy the changes we made from last year to this year? Were there any issues that they brought up that created a bad experience?

I’m not a mandatory event, so the players don’t have to be here. We’ve got to go recruit them. We’ve got to make sure they have a great experience.

And when they’re here we take care of them. We go way above and beyond, I would say, what a normal tournament director would have to do to make sure they have a great experience. Is it reservations? Is it taking them out to dinner one night? Player vehicles?

I’ll do an individual wrap-up with each sponsor within a month of the tournament. We had a hundred percent renewal rate from last year to this year. My goal is always a hundred percent renewal rate. But that doesn’t always happen.

“Not to settle” has kind of been my mantra for this year. If something’s not right, we’re not going to say, “Aww, it’s too late to fix it.” We can fix anything.

I’m not saying I settled a lot, but there’s just too many things that I’ve looked at in the past, when I do my wrap-up meetings, where I know it was wrong. I know it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. It’s easy to look at it and say, I don’t want to push that button right now, because we’re right in the middle of a tournament.

“Thought” and “know” are two different things. If there’s an issue or a problem, or something doesn’t get done, it almost always includes the word “thought.” I thought so-and-so was doing it. I thought this was being taken care of. I thought.

So if we’re in a staff meeting and someone uses that word, we discuss it. We want it to be, I KNOW that’s complete. Or I KNOW so-and-so’s taken care of that.

Does losing Venus [Williams in an early round] hurt us? Sure, it does. She’s got a ton of fans out there. Does losing Madison [Keys] hurt us? Yeah, it does. But I can’t control two things: the weather and the players.


(05/07/17) Hanahan faces Waccamaw in Lower State semifinals
High school tennis has evolved into a situation where coaches seem to know very little about other teams, unless they have played a team during the regular season. The internet generally is no longer a search weapon for high school tennis coaches.

Hanahan is 9-0 and has won 24 straight matches dating back to last spring's unbeaten season and Class AAA state championship. But coach Glenn Cobb knows very little about Waccamaw, the team the Hawks will face on Monday at 4:30 p.m. at Pawleys Island's Stables Park Tennis Center in the Lower State semifinals.

But then again, Hanahan might not need to know much about the Warriors, except whether senior standout Paul Hendrix is playing for Waccamaw.

Hanahan was unbeatable a year ago, and last season's No. 3 Mark Jones is now playing No. 5 or No. 6 along with young Max Smith. The Hawks still have Nos. 1 and 2 Kerim Hyatt and Chad Nash, but they have added Nos. 3 and 4 junior tennis standouts Coy Simon and Reilly Wilson.

The Hawks likely are the deepest and most talented high school tennis team in the state over all classes.

"If we play up to our potential, we can beat anybody," Cobb said. "I don't know anyone who has as good a No. 5 or 6 player as Hanahan."

But Hendrix has won three High School League state titles and could prove to be a tough out at No. 1 singles.

Nevertheless, the Hawks probably aren't too worried about Waccamaw and are looking to Wednesday when they would face either Bluffton or Bishop England for the Lower State title, or maybe even to Saturday's noon state final at the Cayce Tennis Center against the eventual survivor of the Camden/Clinton and Powerderville/West-Oak Upper State battles.

"I don't know any more about Waccamaw (than last Friday)," Cobb said.

Hanahan already owns a pair of victories (5-0 and 4-2) over Region 7-AAA runner-up Bishop England.

With Southern No. 1 junior Jared Pratt, the Bishops (5-7) scored a 6-0 first-round victory over Brookland-Cayce and will travel to Bluffton for a Lower State semifinal on Monday. BE coach Kristin Fleming Arnold also is somewhat in the dark about Bluffton.

In Class AA, defending state champion Academic Magnet (6-2) will entertain Green Sea-Floyds on Monday afternoon in the Lower State semifinals. But the Raptors lost their top four players from last year's unbeaten team.

"I think we can get to the finals again," Magnet coach Andrea Langley said. Perennial power Christ Church is still alive in the Upper State, and is probably looking for revenge after last year's star-studded Raptors crushed the Cavaliers in the state final.


(05/07/17) Brengle tops Collins for LTP/Charleston $60K tournament title
It worked.

Of course, Madison Brengle didn't plan to lose the first set of Sunday's singles final in the LTP/Charleston $60K tournament. It just worked out that way, and for the first time in the tournament, Danielle Collins won a first set.

But Collins also suffered her first loss at LTP Tennis as former world's 35 top seed Madison Brengle of Dover, Del., walked off with her second straight title on the U.S. Women's Tennis U.S. Pro Circuit with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over the two-time NCAA Tournament champion.

"Maybe it was bad luck to win the first set," Collins said, referring to her four straight victories at LTP after being a set down.

How did Brengle recover to win the $9,119 top prize? The 27-year-old tour veteran did it the same way her doubles partner and good friend Collins had been performing all week, fighting for every point and every game.

The power-hitting, go-for-broke Collins, who is 5-10, had the velocity to end points with outright winners as she did in the first set. Brengle was all about being crafty, moving the ball around and waiting for the right time to apply pressure while demonstrating great mobility and footwork.

"I did a lot of running. When she (Collins) hit a line, the ball just went whew . . . and it was gone," Brengle said. "She hit a lot of angles and drop shots. Her angles are difficult to get to. She uses a lot of the court well."

But Brengle, who would have won the French Open Wild Card Challenge over 15-year-old Amanda Anisimova of Freehold, N.J., if Brengle hadn't already been assured of direct entry into the French Open because of her current 91st world ranking, should jump approximately a half-dozen places on Monday.

Brengle and Collins made the trip together by car from the $60K in Charlottesville, Va., where a week earlier they were doubles runners-up and Brengle had captured the singles, but Brengle planned to drive alone back to Bradenton, Fla., where she and Collins train at the IMG Academy.

They weren't mad at each other. Collins' boyfriend arrived at LTP on Sunday at LTP, and they planned to head out for Naples, Fla., where the No. 242-ranked Collins is scheduled to compete in a $25K event this week.

Brengle has a break now before heading to Strasbourg, France, for a tournament the week before the French Open starts.

"I'm just playing one match at a time," Brengle said. "I've got a lot of off-court things going on right now, legal and other things. I may not even play in the French."

Brengle was delighted and surprised to see her former second-grade teacher from Dover, Del., current local resident Judy Collins for the first time since school days. Collins still remembers second-grader Brengle saying, "Golf isn't exercise, tennis is."

Brengle also remembers that day. "We were comparing golf and tennis," she said.

The first set ended like a normal third set for Collins. She held service in the long ninth game for a 5-4 edge and then broke Brengle with a service return winner to close out the first set. Collins even got off to a 2-0 lead in the second set before the tide turned as Collins started missing and Brengle committed fewer errors.

Brengle did hit consecutive double faults in the second game of the third set to give Collins hope with a 1-1 deadlock. But Brengle quickly regained her momentum and charged to a 5-2 lead.

"She has a lot of experience," said Collins, who picked up a check for $4,863 as the runner-up. "She's such a smart player."

Emina Bektas of the United States and Alexa Guarachi of Chile won the doubles title with a 5-7, 6-3, 10-5 victory over the former Southern California NCAA top-ranked doubles team of Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria. Bektas and Guarachi split $3,344.


(05/06/17) Navarro, Albrikes, Earley: Three key tennis figures
The inaugural LTP/Charleston $60K made a grand entrance onto the stage of the U.S. Women's Pro Tennis Circuit on the backs of three men, each at the pinnacle of their field, along with a cast of literally hundreds of supporters.

LTP Tennis and Swim Club owner Ben Navarro was at the top of the list. He made the tournament happen at a very late moment through his generous support of tennis. The tournament has been open to the public free of charge for the last seven days. Sunday's finals are no exception.

Local fans that skipped this tournament missed out on a landmark event that some fans will be talking about for a long time. It compares similarly to the time Andre Agassi showed up at Creekside Tennis and Swim in 1986 as a mere 15-year-old kid to participate in a $10,000 men's satellite event. The fans who attended that event will always be able to say they were there when Agassi came to Creekside and lost to Jay Lapidus.

The LTP event will have its own folklore. Probably a dozen or more of this year's players will show up at the Volvo Car Open in the next few years. And some of them are likely to one day win a Grand Slam. Two of this year's players participated in the VCO main draw.

NAVARRO MADE DIFFERENCE

Navarro made all of this possible. He is the founder and chief executive officer of Sherman Financial Group, LLC. Before that he served as vice president and co-head of Mortgage Sales and Trading for Citicorp, and was with Goldman Sachs for three years. He also is the founder of the Meeting Street Academy.

He just happened to have four kids who love to play tennis.

So, what did Navarro do? He purchased the old Players Club on Mathis Ferry Road in 2010. He changed the club's name to Live To Play as in LTP Tennis. He turned it into a showpiece of local tennis. He built a swim club with training facilities, which serves as a high quality fitness center for a U.S. Pro Circuit event.

His oldest daughter, Emma Navarro, is presently the top junior girl in the South. Younger daughter Meggie may follow in her sister's footsteps in a few years.

They are along the area's top candidates to one day be another Shelby Rogers on the WTA Tour.

Yes, the area will have another Shelby Rogers, due to the generosity of people like Ben Navarro.

ALBRIKES HALL OF FAMER

Navarro made the smart decision to hire Jerry Albrikes to run LTP in 2010.

Albrikes will be inducted into the USTA's New England Section Hall of Fame on June 10. The ceremony will take place at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.

"Tennis has given me and my family (wife Beth and four children) so much, and I wake up every day and work for tennis," said Albrikes, a native of Stratford, Conn., and a graduate of Central Connecticut State University.

At the current LTP $60K, Albrikes might be seen raking the court one minute and the next moment serving as a ball boy. He's the tournament director.

U.S. OPEN'S BRIAN EARLEY

The third piece of this puzzle is Brian Earley. You've probably seen Earley at Arthur Ashe Stadium at the U.S. Open or Centre Court at Wimbledon in a time of weather or player decisions or anything to do with the court or match. He is the chief referee for the U.S. Open, and this year's event will mark his 25th year in that capacity.

Earley was deputy referee for the U.S. Open for 10 years prior to becoming its head referee. He also serves as deputy chief referee at Wimbledon as well as the French Open, on loan from the USTA.

He is the USTA supervisor for the LTP $60K, a job he does as director of the USTA Pro Circuit. He started out as a USTA part-time referee in 1979 at places such as Creekside. He attended the University of Pittsburgh, but now he and his family are all New Yorkers, except when he's out on the pro circuit.

The LTP/Charleston $60K was a special tournament. You could see that when the likes of local senior stars Cindy Babb, Diane Barber and Brenda Carter, not to mention Albrikes, were part of chief umpire Meg Farrelly's ball crew. And every match for the last seven days has had a full line crew and a chair umpire.

You can bet that the girls will be back in 2018, some probably even in the fall for LTP's $10K U.S. Pro Circuit event.


(05/06/17) Brengle, Collins reach title matchup of LTP/Charleston $60K tournament
Chalk Saturday's semifinals of the LTP/Charleston $60K up to the wind.

Top seed and former world's No. 35 Madison Brengle played the wind. Former two-time NCAA champion Danielle Collins hit through it. That's why they are in Sunday's final of the U.S. Women's Pro Circuit tennis tournament at LTP Tennis in Mount Pleasant.

Good friends, practice partners and doubles partners Brengle and Collins will battle for the $9,119 first prize on Sunday after the 10 a.m. doubles final.

Brengle and Collins will then pack up and together head back to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. They also drove together to Charleston from the Charlottesville, Va., Pro Circuit event where they were doubles runners-up and Brengle won the singles title.

Teenagers Claire Liu and Sofya Zhuk struggled, although the 17-year-old Zhuk appeared to be in charge of her match against Collins after one set. But then Collins' power serves and strokes took charge the last two sets for the third straight day in a 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over the talented Russian.

And 16-year-old world's No. 8 junior Liu never got going against the crafty Brengle, who has won nine straight matches after Saturday's 6-3, 6-1 romp, and is one win away from a second consecutive title on the Pro Circuit.

"I didn't need it," French Open main draw direct entry Brengle said about the French Open Wild Card Challenge competition. If she had needed it, the French wild card now would be hers. Instead, 15-year-old Amanda Anisimova has received the wild card.

"It's great we have a young American doing that well," Brengle said about Anisimova, who skipped the LTP event.

Brengle, a 27-year-old from Dover, Del., and Liu exchanged five consecutive service breaks in the first set before Brengle held service in the eighth game and then broke Liu again to claim the set.

"The wind was tricky. You have to adjust," said the backboard-like Brengle. "When you have the wind with you, you try not to make unforced errors. You try to use the wind to your advantage. I practice a fair bit of the time in the wind. Against the wind, you try to hit through it, and play balls lower against it."

As for the clay surface, Brengle said, "My movement is my strength, so on clay I can get maybe a few more balls back."

Collins, a Floridian who is ranked No. 242, said she doesn't think she had ever won three straight matches after losing the first set in each. "I just get off to slow starts," the power-hitting 23-year-old said.

"She (Zhuk) was returning well in the first set, but then I started going for my shots. But the wind was tough. It wasn't like that when we warmed up before the first set."

Zhuk, who was deadlocked at 3 in the third set, made a ton of errors in the last three games, including a double fault to start the eighth game when her first serve went long with the wind and she over-corrected and netted the second serve.

"The wind got stronger in the second and third sets," said Zhuk, a 5-9 player ranked No. 253 in the world with great movement, strokes and potential who also trains at the IMG Academy. "I wasn't stepping into the court the last two sets on short balls, and she hit the ball a lot deeper."

The doubles final will pit the U.S. team of Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria against Emina Bektas of the U.S. and Alexa Guarachi of Chile. In the semifinals, Christian and Santamaria defeated the U.S. team of Sofia Kenin and former Charleston junior Ellie Halbauer, 7-5, 6-3, while the Bektas/Guarachi team defeated the Canadian team of Charlotte Robillard-Millette and Carol Zhao, 2-6, 6-1, 10-8.


(05/06/17) Cyclones seize third straight SCISA state boys tennis crown
Porter-Gaud swept to its 17th boys tennis state title in the last 23 years on Friday in Sumter as the Cyclones rushed past

Cardinal Newman, 5-0, for their third straight SCISA Class AAA state crown.

Coach Jonathan Barth’s Porter-Gaud team (13-3) collected the five wins it needed for another title even before all of the singles competition was completed.

Juniors Brant Fenno and Manning Snyder led the way at Nos. 1 and 2, and Nos. 4-6 junior Alex des Francs, and seniors Jack Kammerer and Lucius Harvin followed as all five scored straight-set victories. Senior Malone Vingi did not complete his match at No. 3.

Fenno was especially pleased with the way he was able to perform under windy conditions at the Palmetto Tennis Center in posting a 6-0, 6-1 win over Cardinal Newman’s Max Miller.

“He (Miller) was really a solid player, but the wind might have thrown him off some,” said the power-hitting 6-2 Fenno. “It was tough in the wind, so I had to put a little more spin on my shots today.

“I played pretty well, but everyone had a pretty easy time. We were all playing well, and we were able to get it over with pretty quickly. It was a lot of fun.”

Fenno was happy to collect his third state tennis title. “They (titles) were spaced out, seventh grade, ninth and now this one. That’s awesome,” said the tall left-hander who skipped high school tennis in 2016 as a sophomore.

PORTER-GAUD 5, CARDINAL NEWMAN 0
Singles: Brant Fenno (PG) def. Max Miller, 6-0, 6-1; Manning Snyder (PG) def. Andrei Bolshakov, 6-1, 6-3; Alex des Francs (PG) def. Thomas Liebenow, 6-3, 6-1; Jack Kammerer (PG) def. Miguel Sy, 6-0, 6-1; Lucius Harvin (PG) def. Victor Camps, 6-0, 6-1.


(05/05/17) Top seed Brengle easily advances to semifinals
Top seed Madison Brengle is the only seed remaining in the LTP/Charleston $60K U.S. Women’s Pro Circuit, but no one is counting out a pair of teenagers or a former two-time NCAA national champion.

Of course, the French Open Wild Challenge ended on Thursday when Vicky Duval retired from her match, handing the Paris wild card to non-LTP participant 15-year-old Amanda Anisimova.

But 91st-ranked Brengle is already headed to Paris as a direct entry and needs just two more victories at LTP Tennis to take back-to-back titles on the circuit.

Brengle, somewhat of an old-timer on the circuit at 27 years old, needed just 62 minutes to polish off 26-year-old qualifier Lauren Embree, 6-1, 6-0, in Friday’s quarterfinals. Brengle will take on 16-year-old world’s No. 8 junior Claire Liu of Thousand Oaks, Calif., in Saturday’s second match.

Liu, a wild card, defeated sixth seed Francoise Abanda of Canada, 6-1, 6-1.

The opening semifinal at 10 a.m. will pit 17-year-old Russian Sofya Zhuk against 23-year-old University of Virginia graduate Danielle Collins.

Zhuk outlasted 24-year-old Elizaveta Ianchuk of Ukraine, 4-6, 7-5, 3-2, retired. Collins upset 17-year-old third seed Kayla Day of Santa Barbara, Calif., 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

The hard-hitting and versatile Liu will be headed to Europe soon, but to compete in the French Open and Wimbledon Juniors. She’s still an amateur.

“I try to hit hard,” said the 5-6 Liu, who creates quite a pop when her racket meets the ball on serves. “I’m been working on that a lot. I try to work hard, and it is starting to pay off.”

The 2017 Easter Bowl girls 18 champion is still undecided on college. “I will go pro if my ranking gets higher,” she said.

But that’s in the future. She still might decide to accept one of the many offers that will come her way. She is a junior in online schooling.

“I would turn down the purse if I won this tournament,”said Liu, a talented and quick volleyer.

And, yes, she thinks she has a chance to win the LTP title.

Her first big break came when she won the Orange Bowl girls 12 title at 11 years old. She continued to grow and improve, making a major breakthrough when she won a $10K event in Orlando, Fla., when she was just 14 years old.

The hard-hitting 5-10 Collins wouldn’t allow crafty left-hander Day to get a foothold on the match in the second and third sets. Collins used huge service returns to break Day in each of Day’s first service games in the second and third sets. Collins then relied on her powerful serves and sizzling ground strokes to maintain the advantage in each set.

“I just have to keep going for my shots,” said the 242nd-ranked Collins, who for the second straight match rallied from a set down. “I’m playing well. I’ve made a lot of improvement. I’m going into the next match with a lot of confidence.”

Zhuk (No. 253) is a smooth-performing 5-9 player who has been training the last two years at the IMG Academy in Florida.

In the doubles semifinals, Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria defeated the team of Sofia Kenin and former Charleston junior Ellie Halbauer, 7-5, 6-3, in a matchup of Americans, while Emina Bektas of the U.S. and Alexa Guarachi defeated the Canadian team of Charlotte Robillard-Millette and Carol Zhao, 2-6, 6-1, 10-8.


(05/04/16) Porter-Gaud, Cardinal Newman set to clash for state tennis crown
Porter-Gaud has a secret weapon from France as it prepares to go for a third straight SCISA Class AAA boys tennis state championship on Friday.

He’s dual U.S./French citizen Alex des Francs, who is loving his time as a Porter-Gaud junior and a starting member of its elite boys tennis team.

“I really like Charleston,

Porter-Gaud and the tennis team,” des Francs said after the Cyclones (12-3) had captured the Lower State title on Wednesday with a 6-0 win over Hammond School.

“I think we can win the state title. I think we’ve got a really good team.”

The 5-10 No. 4 player yielded only two games against Hammond, but he knows things could be a little tougher in Friday’s 3 p.m. state championship showdown against Columbia’s Cardinal Newman at Sumter’s Palmetto Tennis Center.

His favorite player is unpredictable Frenchman Gael Monfils. He also likes Rafa Nadal.

“I want to be a lawyer. That’s my dream job,” said des Francs.

Why did the des Francs family leave their home in Angers, France, to move to Charleston?

“My parents wanted me to come to the United States so I could go to college here,” des Francs said. His grandmother resides in downtown Charleston, where he now lives.

He started tennis when he was six years old in Angers, a town about the size of Charleston in northwest France near the coast.

Only Hanahan’s Coy Simon and Reilly Wilson have defeated des Francs, who already is looking ahead to moving up to

No. 3 in next year’s Porter-Gaud lineup to replace the graduating Malone Vingi.

(Wednesday)

PORTER-GAUD 6, HAMMOND
Singles: Brant Fenno (PG) def. William Lynch, 6-0, 6-3; Manning Snyder (PG) def. Julian Owens, 6-0, 6-1; Malone Vingi (PG) def. Devohn Goodwin, 6-3, 6-1; Alex des Francs (PG) def. Benjamin Gardner, 6-2, 6-0; Jack Kammerer (PG) def. David Estefana, 6-1, 6-0; Lucius Harvin (PG) def. Ryan Asbill, 6-0, 6-0.


(05/04/17) Ankle injury forces out Duval at the LTP/Charleston French Open Wild Card Challenge
The $60K LTP/Charleston French Open Wild Card Challenge changed directions quickly on Thursday.

Vicky Duval, the only player left in the 32-draw clay court tournament to still have a shot at winning the French main draw wild card when play started on Thursday, went out with a right ankle injury. Only moments later, talented Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic stopped play with a hip injury.

As a result of Duval’s departure, 15-year-old Amanda Anisimova of Freehold, N.J., won the French Open Americans only wild card competition without even playing in this last event of the four-tournament challenge.

Duval, a 21-year-old from Orlando, Fla., who had just recently fully recovered from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, had upset No. 2 seed Elitsa Kostova in the first round, and looked like a contender to win the LTP title and French wild card. But

Duval’s movement was limited by an old ankle injury, and she finally retired while down 6-3, 1-1 against Elizaveta Ianchuk of Ukraine.

Less than five minutes later, top seed Madison Brengle of Dover, Del., was declared a 6-4, retired, winner over Tomljanovic. “My hip started hurting,” was the way the former 47th-ranked Tomljanovic described her retirement from the match.

“I’m also injured,” said Ianchuk, a 6-2, 24-year-old ranked 370th in the world who was sporting a bandage on her left knee from a meniscus injury. “I’ve also got back spasms.”

Meanwhile, former world’s No. 35 Brengle marched into the quarterfinals with her seventh straight win, while already assured of playing in the French Open because of her current No. 91 ranking. Brengle won the $60K French Open Challenge event at Charlottesville, Va., last Sunday.

Former two-time NCAA champion Danielle Collins dominated the last two sets of a 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 win over Ellie Halbauer, but Halbauer bounced back in doubles with 18-year-old Sofia Kenin of Pembroke Pines, Fla., to post a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Dia Evtimova of Bulgaria and Pia Konig of Austria to advance into the tournament’s doubles semifinals.

As for her singles loss, former local junior Halbauer said, “I looked good in the first set because she was missing. I just started hitting shorter in the second set.”

That was about the same time the 5-10 Collins resorted to loud outbursts of gamesmanship after she won points. After the second set, the chair umpire told Collins to cease making the loud noises. Collins was quiet during the third set, but the damage had been done.

Kenin, the fifth seed in singles and a Volvo Car Open main draw participant, was eliminated by unseeded Sofya Zhuk of Russia, 6-4, 6-1.

The bottom half of the draw now looks like it belongs to 17-year-old left-hander Kayla Day of Santa Barbara, Calif., the tournament’s No. 3 seed and a VCO main draw participant.

Day scored an impressive 6-0, 6-2 win over American Emina Bektas to advance to the quarterfinals where she will face the temperamental Collins.

Day just turned pro in December after a lengthy decision-making process as to whether to play college or pro tennis. She had captured the U.S. Open junior title and won her first-round main draw match at the U.S. Open. She decided not to turn pro and turned down the nearly $80,000 payday from the Grand Slam event.

Now ranked 150th in the world, Day is considered to be one of the bright young faces of women’s tennis.


(05/04/17) Porter-Gaud rolls into SCISA tennis state finals behind Fenno
Brant Fenno skipped high school tennis last season and he has another season still to go at Porter-Gaud, but on Friday Fenno will be going for his third SCISA Class AAA boys tennis state championship.

Fenno is a 6-2 junior now and the Cyclones' leader at No. 1, blasting mighty left-handed strokes in his new power game. Hammond School's William Lynch often hardly had a chance to put Fenno's big groundstrokes and serves back in play in a 6-0, 6-3 loss to Fenno on Wednesday at the Porter-Gaud complex at Albemarle Point.

That victory set the stage for the Cyclones' 6-0 romp past outmanned Hammond, which managed to win only a total of 11 games against coach Jonathan Barth's 12-3 Porter-Gaud outfit.

The Cyclones now are only one win away from capturing their 17th state title in the last 23 years and their third straight state title.

"Brant has gotten stronger and he's playing real well," said fourth-year head coach Barth.

"Our team played well today and it has most of the season. I hope we can finish it on Friday with a state championship."

Fenno said he's "super excited" to be going for his third state title. He won the first one as a seventh-grader.

"I think we've got a good chance. It's been great playing for Porter-Gaud."

Fenno has had an excellent season, including a victory over fellow left-hander Kerim Hyatt of Hanahan, the 2016 Lowcountry player of the year.

"I'm playing quite well, working really hard and hitting the ball well," Fenno said.

The Cyclones' opponent and site for the state final have not been announced.

PORTER-GAUD 6, HAMMOND 0
SINGLES: Brant Fenno (PG) def. William Lynch, 6-0, 6-3; Manning Snyder (PG) def. Julian Owens, 6-0, 6-1; Malone Vingi (PG) def. Devohn Goodwin, 6-3, 6-1; Alex des Francs (PG) def. Benjamin Gardner, 6-2, 6-0; Jack Kammerer (PG) def. David Estefana, 6-1, 6-0; Lucius Harvin (PG) def. Ryan Asbill, 6-0, 6-0.


(05/03/17) Duval punches into LTP second round
Vicky Duval is the only double threat left in the LTP/Charleston $60K U.S. Women's Pro Circuit French Open Wild Card Challenge. Not only is this hard-hitting 21-year-old a viable threat to win the tournament, she can walk off with the wild card into the main draw of the French Open.

The other 15 first-round survivors all are in the running for the title at LTP Tennis, but Duval is the only one left in the wild card chase.

Top seed Madison Brengle took care of the only other double-threat candidate with a convincing 6-4, 6-2 win over powerful, but erratic 18-year-old Caroline Dolehide of Illinois. Former world's 35th-ranked Brengle already is a direct entry into Paris' big clay court event and doesn't need the wild card.

Fan favorite Emma Navarra, the 15-year-old who has dazzled the local tennis community by becoming the South's No. 1 junior girl, put up a good fight, but couldn't overcome the low trajectory penetrating shots to the corners by aggressive 5-11 veteran Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia.

Four days away from her 24th birthday, former world's No. 47 Tomljanovic put on a clinic in a 6-3, 6-2 win over the wild card Navarro to earn a shot at Brengle in Thursday's round of 16.

Duval, playing only her second tournament since rebounding from a battle with Hodgkin's Disease that sidelined her for more than two years, was razor sharp in a 7-5, 6-3 upset of No. 2 seed Elitsa Kostova of Bulgaria.

The 5-10 Duval, whose only other tournament this year was at Indian Harbour, Fla., where a semifinal appearance put her in position to come to Charleston with a chance to take the French wild card, wore her patented dark prescription sunglasses and colorful hat. The Orlando, Fla., resident attacked every ball, especially with her bread-and-butter backhand shot.

Duval, once ranked as high as 85 in the world, is excited about her chances to win the tournament and overtake 15-year-old Amanda Anisimova in the Americans only wild card race. "I've got a real chance here," she said. Anisimova skipped the LTP event.

At 21 years old and finally healthy and free of Hodgkin's after being sidelined from July 2014 through 2016, she feels good about her tennis game. "Hodgkin's is completely gone, and I still have a chance to chase my dream (tennis)," she said.

After a close first set, Duval dominated the second set against Kostova. "She played real well the first set, but then I played a lot better in the second set," Duval said.

Navarro, who lost her first-round doubles match on Tuesday while playing with Yuki Kristina Chiang of the United States, got off to a slow start against Tomljanovic, dropping her first serve, but then rallied back to trail 4-3 in the first set. Navarro was at 2-2 in the second set, but a long fifth game escaped her.

The key was that Tomljanovic was in an aggressive mode from the start, almost always keeping the ball deep and preventing Navarro from going into an offensive mode.

"I knew I had to be aggressive," Navarro said. "She just hit so flat (to the corners) that I didn't have time to react.

"In juniors, I get a lot of short balls, but I didn't get many today. I learned what it takes to win out there (against pros). I know what I need to work on . . . everything," said the country's No. 3 girls 16 player.

Former local junior Ellie Halbauer will face ex-University of Virginia two-time NCAA national champion Danielle Collins at 10 a.m. Thursday on court No. 2. Halbauer and fellow U.S. teenager Sofia Kenin upset the top-seeded U.S. doubles team of Ashley Weinhold and Caitlin Whoriskey, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 10-7, and will play another doubles match on Thursday.

The Brengle-Tomljanovic match on Thursday is scheduled as the second stadium court match where play also will start at 10 a.m.

The tournament is open to the public all week free of charge.

LTP/Charleston Women's Pro Tournament Results

Singles Round 1
Ajla Tomljanovic, Croatia, def. (WC) Emma Navarro, United States 6-3, 6-2,
Victoria Duval, United States, def. Elitsa Kostova (2), Bulgaria, 7-5, 6-3,
Sofya Zhuk, Russia, def. Kamila Kerimbayeva, Kazakhstan, 6-3, 7-6 (2),
Francoise Abanda (6), Canada, def. (LL) Chanelle van Nguyen, United States, 6-3, 6-1,
Madison Brengle (1), United States, def. Caroline Dolehide, United States, 6-4, 6-2,
Jovana Jaksic, Serbia def. Renata Zarazua, Mexico, 5-7, 7-5, 7-5,
Elizaveta Ianchuk, Ukraine, def. (WC) Ronit Yurovsky, United States, 6-1, 6-1,
(Q) Emina Bektas, United States, def. (Q) Sabrina Santamaria, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2,
(Q) Lauren Embree, United States def. Katherine Sebov, Canada, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2,
(Q)Carol Zhao, Canada def. Lizette Cabrera (4), Australia. 7-5, 6-2.

Doubles Round 1
Elizabeth Halbauer, United States/Sofia Kenin, United States def. Ashley Weinhold, United States/Caitlin Whoriskey, United States (1) 6(4) - 7, 6-2, 10-7,
Dia Evtimova, Bulgaria/Pia Konig, Austria def. Francoise Abanda, Canada/Maria Sanchez, United States, 3-6, 6-4, 10-5,
Kayla Day, United States/Caroline Dolehide, United States def. (WC) Madison Brengle, United States/Danielle Rose Collins, United States, 6-2, 6-3,
Ulrikke Eikeri, Norway/Renata Zarazua, Mexico (3)
Elizaveta Ianchuk, Ukraine/Kamila Kerimbayeva, Kazakhstan,
Emina Bektas, United States/Alexa Guarachi, Chile, def. Jovana Jaksic, Serbia/Elitsa Kostova, Bulgaria (4) 6-1, 6-2

Round 2 Schedule

Stadium

Singles

Carol Zhao vs. Claire Liu, 10 a.m.;
Madison Brengle vs. Ajla Tomljanovic (following)
Lauren Embree vs. Michelle Larcher De Brito, (following)

Doubles
Kayla Day/Caroline Dolehide vs. Charlotte Robillard-Millette/Carol Zaho (following)

Grandstand
Singles
Sofia Kenin vs. Sofya Zhuk, 10 a.m.
Elizabeta Ianchuk vs. Victoria Duval (following)

Doubles
Elizabeth Halbauer/Sofia Kenin vs. Dia Evtimova/Pia Konig (following)
Ulrikke Eikeri/Renata Zarazua vs. Kaitlyn Christian/Sabrina Santamaria (following)

Court 2
Singles
Danielle Rose Collins vs. Elizabeth Halbauer, 10 a.m.
Emina Bektas vs. Kayla Day (following)
Jovana Jaksic vs. Francoise Abanda (following)

Doubles
Alexandra Mueller/Jessica Wacnik vs. Emina Bektas/Alexa Guarachi (following)


(05/02/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Pinewood Prep grad helps Blue Hose claim Big South title
Pinewood Prep graduate Joel Roberts helped the Presbyterian College Men's Tennis team capture its first Big South Championship.

Roberts and partner Ben Kelley earned a 6-4 win on court one during doubles play to help Presbyterian earned a 4-3 win over Campbell during April 22’s Big South title match at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex in Winston-Salem, N.C.

“I’m so proud of our guys,” second-year head coach Patrick Fediuk said. “This is all about them. They have worked so hard all year, coming to work day in and day out at practice and in competition. It is such an honor to coach these guys and to be the first-ever to win a championship.”

According to the bigsouthsports.com website, it is the first Big South Tournament Title for Presbyterian College in any sport so the tennis team will be the college’s first to make an NCAA Tournament appearance since PC moved to Division I.

Presbyterian earns the Big South Tournament title in its fourth appearance in the title match, which includes a very narrow loss a year ago. The Blue Hose entered the tournament as the top seed after winning its second Big South Regular Season Title.

“This win is for all the coaches and proud alums who took on the idea of (first ever),” Fediuk said. “They laid the groundwork for this to be able to happen.”

Presbyterian wrapped up tournament play with an 18-10 overall record and went 9-1 against Big South opponents this season between the regular season and the tournament.

The team found out its NCAA Tournament destination when the bracket were announced May 2 after press time.


(05/02/17) Halbauer snaps losing skid with win at LTP/Charleston $60K U.S. Pro Circuit French Open Wild Card Challenge
Ellie Halbauer's losing streak and rib injury are history. The 19-year-old former Charleston junior was back on her old stomping grounds at LTP Tennis on Wednesday and playing big-time tennis.

Halbauer's recovery couldn't have come at a better time than in the first round of the LTP/Charleston $60K U.S. Pro Circuit French Open Wild Card Challenge. She displayed a much different game than she had a month earlier in the Volvo Car Open qualifying tournament.

The big balls in Halbauer's newly constructed go-for-broke power game found the court with amazing consistency, unlike her first match back (at the Volvo Car Open) after suffering the rib injury earlier this year. She had dropped five straight matches when she showed up at LTP.

And after losing the first set against 18-year-old Usue Arconada, Halbauer appeared to be in trouble before turning the match around with a blistering display of power and accuracy for a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory.

Halbauer didn't crumble when the match was on the line. She repeatedly nailed huge forehands and backhands while on the run down the stretch. Halbauer allowed two match points to elude her while serving the long 10th game before forcing back-to-back backhand errors from her opponent.

Now ranked No. 283 in the world after consistently climbing up the rankings prior to the injury, Halbauer was thrilled by her strong performance.

"It was a great battle. I thought it could have gone either way," she said. "It was fun to play such great points. I think we were both playing well. It was just the person that went for it more won the point, and at the end I was more consistent."

Halbauer demonstrated great resolve in the final set after falling behind 3-0 and then 4-3 against the talented and quick Arconada, a Buenos Aires native who now trains out of College Park, Md., and is ranked 254th in the world.

Halbauer's next opponent will be former University of Virginia two-time NCAA champion Danielle Collins, who scored a 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-2 upset of eighth seed Sesil Karatantcheva of Bulgaria.

"I've played Danielle once and we had a really close match," Halbauer said. "She is a good player, so it should be a fun match like today."

Fifth seed Sofia Kenin, Halbauer's doubles partner and a main draw player in last month's VCO, also posted an impressive victory, 7-5, 6-0, over Maria Sanchez of the United States.

"She's a good player, with good hands at the net. I had to move her around," Kenin, an 18-year-old from Pembroke Pines, Fla., who is ranked No. 181 in the world, said about the 435th-ranked Sanchez.

Third seed Kayla Day, a 17-year-old left-hander from Santa Barbara, Calif., scored a 6-0, 7-6 (5) win over Mexico's Victoria Rodriguez.

The tournament's top two seeds, Madison Brengle and Elitsa Kostova, will open play on Wednesday against the only two players who have a chance to beat out 15-year-old Amanda Anisimova of Freehold, N.J., for the French Open main draw wild card. Top seed Brengle takes on 18-year-old Caroline Dolehide from Illinois, and No. 2 seed Kostova goes against veteran Victoria Duval, a wild card from Bradenton, Fla.

Local 15-year-old Emma Navarro, the South's No. 1 junior girl, opens singles play on the stadium court on Wednesday at 10 a.m. against veteran Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia.

Navarro and U.S. partner Yuki Kristina Chiang suffered a first-round doubles loss to the American team of Kaitlyn Christian and Sanrina Santamaria, 3-6, 6-2, 10-7.


(05/01/17) Brengle top seed at LTP/Charleston $60K French Open Wild Card Challenge
The chase is on for Paris. But it may be a short one.

The draw for the LTP/Charleston $60K French Open Wild Card Challenge didn't do any favors for the tournament's only two players, Caroline Dolehide and Victoria Duval, still in the running for the main draw wild card in Paris.

Dolehide drew top seed Madison Brengle, while Duval's first-round foe will be No. 2 seed Elitsa Kostova of Bulgaria. Both matches are scheduled to be played on Wednesday at LTP Tennis.

That leaves 15-year-old Amanda Anisimova of Freehold, N.J., in grand position to punch her ticket for Paris, even without playing at LTP Tennis. Dolehide or Duval has to win the LTP tournament to edge out Anisimova for the wild card in the Americans-only competition.

Brengle is especially a tough draw for Dolehide, since the 18-year-old from Illinois lost to Brengle in Sunday's final of the $60K Wild Card Challenge event in Charlottesville, Va. The charge to the final gave Dolehide hopes of winning the wild card.

Brengle is now ranked 91st in the world and headed to Paris as a direct entry on her own ranking.

A 27-year-old from Dover, Del., Brengle should be the class of the field, a real treat for fans to watch at a U.S. Pro Circuit level event. She made the round of 16 in the Australian Open in 2015 and also the round of 16 at the Family Circle Cup that year. She is coached by her mother.

The USTA had to give Duval a wild card just for her to get into the LTP event. The 21-year-old Bradenton, Fla., resident is ranked No. 518 in the world, but managed to make the semifinals of the $80K clay court wild card event in Indian Harbour, Fla., before losing to Anisimova.

Tuesday's schedule at the Mathis Ferry Road complex has several matches scheduled with local appeal.

After a 10 a.m. final round qualifying match on the stadium court, former Charleston junior Ellie Halbauer (No. 283) will play a main draw match against Usue Arconada (254), a Buenos Aires native now residing in Puerto Rico.

In the third match on stadium court, fast-rising 17-year-old left-hander Kayla Day (150) of Santa Barbara, Calif., will take on Mexico's Victoria Rodriguez. Day is the third seed. That match will be followed not before 3 p.m. by LTP's 15-year-old Emma Navarro playing a doubles main draw match.

On court 2, talented 18-year-old fifth seed Sofia Kenin (181) of Pembroke Pines, Fla., will take on American Maria Sanchez (435). Like Day, Kenin played in the main draw of the recent Volvo Car Open.

Former University of Virginia two-time NCAA champion Danielle Collins (242) will oppose 27-year-old eighth seed Sesil Karatantcheva of Bulgaria (229) in the third match on the grandstand court.

The last four spots in the main draw will be determined in the third round of qualifying on Tuesday in four matches, all starting at 10 a.m. The entire week of tennis is open to the public free of charge.

SECOND-ROUND QUALIFYING

Monday
Pia Konig (5), Austria, def. (WC) Maileen Nuudi, Estonia, 6-4. 6-4.
(WC) Frances Atlick, U.S., def. Zuzana Ziochova (2), Slovakia, 6-3, 6-3,
Chanelle van Nguyen, U.S., def. Julia Elbaba (4), U.S., 6-4, 6-2,
Lauren Embree, U.S., def. Ulrikke Eikeri, (1), Norway, 6-2, 6-4
(WC) Alexa Glatch, U.S., def. Sanaz Marand (7), U.S., 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-3,
Sabrina Santamaria (8), U.S., def. Alexa Guarachi Mathison, Chile, 7-5, 6-4,
Emina Bektas (6), U.S., def. Ashley Kratzer, U.S., 6-3, 6-3,
Carol Zhao, Canada, def. Tori Kinard, U.S., 6-4, 6-3.

Tuesday’s Schedule

Stadium
Starting at 10 a.m.
Q-Lauren Embree vs. Pia Konig
Usue Maitane Arconada vs. Ellie Halbauer
Victoria Rodriguez vs. Kayla Day
Yuki Kristina Chiang/Emma Navarro vs. Kaitlyn Christian/Sabrina Santamaria

Grandstand
Starting at 10 a.m.
Q-Frances Altick vs. Emina Bektas
Caitlin Whoriskey vs. Clair Liu
Sesil Karatantcheva vs. Danielle Collins
Charlotte Robillard-Millette/Carol Zhao vs. Sanaz Marand/Keri Wong

Court 1
10 a.m.
Q-Carol Zhao vs. Alexa Glatch

Court 2
Starting at 10 a.m.
Q-Chanelle van Nguyen vs. Sabrina Santamaria
Lauren Albanese vs. Michelle Larcher de Brito
Sofia Kenin vs. Maria Sanchez
Usue Maitane Arconada/Ashley Kratzer vs. Alexandra Mueller/Jessica Wacnik
Q - qualifying match


(04/30/17) Porter-Gaud eyes third straight SCISA Class AAA boys tennis title
Porter-Gaud is a heavy favorite this week to capture its third consecutive SCISA Class AAA boys tennis championship. The Cyclones need only a pair of wins to wrap up their season with their 17th state title in the last 23 years.

Coach Jonathan Barth's team has a bye in Monday's first round of the state playoffs and will play the winner of Monday's Hammond School/Wilson Hall match in the semifinals on Wednesday at the Porter-Gaud tennis complex at Albemarle Point.

Pinewood Prep will entertain Ben Lippen in the other first-round match on Monday, with the winner advancing to a Wednesday semifinal match at Cardinal Newman.

The state final is scheduled for Friday.

In SCISA Class AA, Palmetto Christian will open the playoffs at home on Monday against Christian Academy.

SCHSL Playoffs

In the S.C. High School League, only top seed Wando and third-place team West Ashley remain alive from Region 7-AAAAA. Wando will play a dangerous Region 5 third-place Lexington team on Tuesday at the Wando courts, while West Ashley will travel to Region 5 No. 1 Irmo.

It’s not often families have a weekend free of soccer games, swim meets, homework or birthday parties. Those rare occasions when the calendar is clear are the perfect times to load up the family and go exploring in your own backyard.

Region 5 fourth-place Spring Valley upended Region 7 runner-up Summerville in last Thursday's opening round of the state playoffs.

Unbeaten Hanahan will open defense of its Class AAA title on Tuesday at home, while Region 7-AAA runner-up Bishop England also will be at home on Tuesday.

Defending Class AA state champion Academic Magnet, minus its top four players from last spring's unbeaten team, will open play on Thursday.


(04/30/17) Lyman falls to Altick in opening round of qualifying at LTP tournament
Local junior standout Kat Lyman couldn't handle the clay-court consistency of former Vanderbilt star Frances Altick in Sunday's opening round of qualifying for the LTP/Charleston $60K U.S. Women's Pro Circuit French Open Wild Card Challenge finale at LTP Tennis in Mount Pleasant.

Altick, who in 2016 earned a wild card into the main draw of the Volvo Car Open by winning the Shape Invitational, was too crafty for the hard-hitting Lyman on the teenager's home courts in posting a 6-3, 6-0 victory.

"She gets everything," said Lyman, the South's fifth-ranked girls 16 player. "She makes you hit another ball."

Lyman had company in the loss column. Alexandra Stevenson, a veteran player who has had some big moments in Grand Slams and is the daughter of legendary former pro basketball star Dr. J (Julius Erving), also had trouble keeping her thundering strokes in play in a 6-4, 6-4 loss to 16-year-old Maileen Nuudi of Estonia.

Alexa Glatch, a talented 27-year-old, scored a 6-2, 6-2 win over 24-year-old Shelby Talcott, and former University of Florida star Lauren Embree posted a 6-1, 6-1 win over Ashley Weinhold in a pair of all-American battles.

The main draw will start on Tuesday in the chase for a wild card into the main draw of the French Open. Fifteen-year-old sensation Amanda Anisimova of Freehold, N.J., holds a commanding lead in the competition, but is not entered at LTP.

Caroline Dolehide is still in the running for the wild card but would need to win the LTP tournament to prevent Anisimova from taking the French Open wild card in the competition that ends with the LTP event and is limited to American players.

Dolehide, an 18-year-old from Illinois, was runner-up to 98th-ranked Madison Brengle on Sunday at the Charlottesville, Va., $60K event. Brengle, who also is entered at LTP, should be a direct entry into the French Open, and would not need the wild card.

Former Charleston junior Ellie Halbauer already has arrived at LTP and will be in the main draw, although she has been eliminated from the wild card race. LTP's Emma Navarro, the South's top-ranked junior, also is in the main draw.

FIRST ROUND QUALIFYING
Ulrikke Eikeri (NOR) (1) def. Brianna Morgan (USA) 7-6 (3), 6-3
Lauren Embree (USA) def. Ashley Weinhold (USA) 6-1, 6-1
Maileen Nuudi (EST) def. Alexandra Stevenson (USA) 6-4, 6-4
Pia Konig (AUT) (5) def. Alexandra Mueller (USA) 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-0
Zuzana Zlochova (SVK) (2) def. Amy Zhu (USA) 6-2, 6-3
Frances Altick (USA) def. Katherine Lyman (USA) 6-3, 6-0
Ashley Kratzer (USA) def. Jessica Wacnik (USA) 6-0, 6-3
Emina Bektas (USA) (6) def. Yuki Kristina Chiang (USA) 6-1, 6-2
Alexa Glatch (USA) def. Shelby Talcott (USA) 6-2, 6-2
Julia Elbaba (USA) (4) def. Kaitlyn Christian (USA) 6-3, 6-2

SENIOR NATIONALS

The National Senior Women's Tennis Association's annual championships wrapped up Sunday at LTP Tennis with Betsy McColl of Columbia winning the women's 75 singles crown with a 4-0 record, getting a walkover win in the final on Sunday.

Susan Love of Charlotte captured the women's 55 singles title with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Ann Clark of Lancaster, Pa. Top seed Wendy McColskey of Durham, N.C., defeated No. 2 Victoria McEvoy of Cambridge, Maine, 6-2, 6-3, in the women's 65 singles final.

The top-seeded team of Ligia Bottinelli of Ocoee, Fla., and Abbi Neuthaler of Chappaqua, N.Y., won the 45-and-over doubles crown.

The local team of Diane Baker and Sally Smith took the women's 55 doubles championship.

Cindy Babb of Charleston teamed with McColskey to take the 65-and-over doubles crown.

Burnett Herrick of Tarlboro, N.C., and Dorothy Wasser of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., won the 75-and-over doubles title.

Earlier in the week, Porter-Gaud girls coach Charlotte Hartsock won the 45-and-over singles crown, and Lizl Kotz of Mount Pleasant captured the 35-and-over singles title.


(04/29/17) Kotz wins title at National Senior Women's Tennis Association championships
Lizl Kotz is mostly an I'On mom. She and her dermatologist husband Teddy have four children 12 years old and under.

But the 41-year-old native of Johannesburg, South Africa, finds enough time to keep her high-level tennis game very competitive. The last few days, Kotz has been making the short trip from the I'On neighborhood across Mathis Ferry Road to the LTP Tennis and Swim complex where the National Senior Women's Tennis Association's annual championships are taking place.

Kotz completed her task on Saturday afternoon with a three-hour 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over doubles partner Jessica Zaganczyk Van Der Mije to take the 35-and-over singles title of the national tournament.

The two friends, Kotz and Kiawah Island pro Zaganczyk Van Der Mije, swept the 35-and-over doubles tournament earlier in the week. They first crossed paths on the collegiate recruiting trails when Kotz was on her way to the University of Indiana where she played No. 1 and Zaganczyk Van Der Mije ended up at the University of North Carolina where she was an All-American.

"We train together, so we know each other's game well," Kotz said.

Kotz is the typical clay-courter with great consistency, although she didn't have any clay courts to play on back home in South Africa before moving to Illinois with her family when she was 15 years old. Zaganczyk Van Der Mije plays a power game, built around a huge forehand.

And Kotz's consistency won out over an opponent that had played another long three-setter earlier in the afternoon. Kotz played only one match on Saturday to complete round-robin play with a 4-0 record.

"I try to play relaxed and stay in control of the points," said Kotz, who trained at the Van der Meer Academy on Hilton Head Island for two years before enrolling at Indiana.

"I think I'm pretty even from both sides (forehand and backhand). I just like to move my opponent around."

Obviously, the 5-6 blonde enjoys running around the court. It reminds her of her dad when they were back in South Africa and he was an endurance runner.


(04/28/17) Hartsock enjoying first national tennis title
It's been 41 years now since Charlotte Hartsock started playing tennis. And it's still as much fun as ever.

"I loved tennis then ... and I love tennis now," she said.

Especially when she can stay at home in Charleston and chalk up her first national level victory at the National Senior Women's Tennis Association's annual championships now going at LTP Tennis in Mount Pleasant.

Hartsock notched three consecutive straight-set round-robin victories on LTP's green clay to capture the women's 45 title in a tournament that is officially known as the Anne Geier Cup. The tournament moved to LTP this spring from the Washington, D.C., area.

Hartsock's title-clinching victory came Friday in a 6-0, 6-0 conquest of Terri Thomson of Orange City, Fla.

"I'm glad to have this tournament in Charleston," Hartsock said. "I feel I am playing well, but mostly just enjoying it."

Hartsock got a lucky break in her early years growing up in Salisbury, Md., then a tennis hotbed on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It just happened that now deceased famed tennis promoter Bill Riordan of Jimmy Connors fame had a home there.

"Mr. Riordan was the one that made things happen for the kids of Salisbury. He took an interest in the kids there. A lot of college players came out of Salisbury about that time, and he was the reason," said the 52-year-old Hartsock.

She took advantage of the early training to play college tennis for the University of Richmond. As a sophomore at Richmond, she was runner-up in a USTA national tournament in Augusta.

The Hartsocks moved to Charleston 20 years ago, and Charlotte found a perfect mix for her tennis. She plays regularly with a group of other outstanding seniors.

The wife of a MUSC doctor and mother of three non-tennis playing sons (two at Clemson and one at Porter-Gaud), Hartsock never seems to run out of tennis activity.

When she's not playing in senior tennis events such as this one or the Seabrook Island tournament or playing USTA League Tennis, she gets great satisfaction from serving as the head coach of the girls tennis team at Porter-Gaud.

Hartsock directed the Cyclones to a SCISA Class AAA state title in 2014 in her second year as head coach, and she has the Cyclones in the mix for a state championship nearly every fall.

In the spring, she assists Jonathan Barth with coaching the Porter-Gaud boys team.

"Playing and coaching are two entirely different things," Hartsock said. "I can control playing, but I can't control coaching."


(04/28/17) USTA NEW ENGLAND: Jerry Albrikes to be inducted into USTA New England Hall of Fame
CONNECTICUT NATIVE JERRY ALBRIKES SELECTED FOR USTA NEW ENGLAND TENNIS HALL OF FAME

DANIEL ISLAND, SC- The United States Tennis Association (USTA) of New England has announced that former No. 1 ranked player, Jerry Albrikes, originally from Stratford, CT, has been selected for induction into the Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

The ceremony will take place on Saturday, June 10 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, RI.

“I’m very excited. Each day you don’t go out to make the Hall of Fame, but represent the sport you love and are committed to,” Albrikes said. “Everything in my life has come to be through tennis. Tennis has given me and my family so much, and I wake up every day and work for tennis.”

Albrikes enjoyed tennis growing up in Connecticut but was only a part-time player throughout high school. Although he was a two-time Class M State Champion for St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, CT in 1986 and 1987, his passion for tennis didn’t peak until college and beyond.

He played at Central Connecticut State University and served as captain for three years, and while there, he took his love for tennis to a whole new level.

Following college, Albrikes continued to make tennis a priority. He held a top ranking in singles, doubles and mixed and consistently played New England tournaments until 2010. He captained multiple Church Cup teams and played in the Talbert Cup.

Albrikes is also a heralded coach, leading multiple Intersectional teams and Women’s USTA League Nationals team. He led the girls program at Lauralton Hall in Milford, CT and served as an assistant at his alma mater, CCSU.

In 2010, Albrikes and his family moved to Daniel Island, SC where he currently runs and coaches at the nearby LTP Tennis and Swim Club. He splits his time playing competitively in a local pro league and coaching both juniors and adults at his club.

Albrikes will be presented in Newport by former college teammate and captain Chris Gaudreau, who Albrikes said played a role in his decision to attend the university.

“I looked up to him as a junior player and he took me on my recruiting visit there,” Albrikes said. “He knows the game well and has been heavily involved, and he has been one oft the guys I’ve always been in touch with after college.”

Albrikes added on his Hall of Fame selection, “You don’t sit and reflect on the amount of time you spent playing tennis, but when you’re not so busy, you look back and it means a lot. It also means a lot to my family, friends, coworkers and everyone that’s played a role along the way.”

###

USTA New England Hall of Fame
The USTA New England Hall of Fame exists to recognize those tennis players and non-players in New England whose achievements as sportsmen or sportswomen are worthy of the highest commendation and recognition, or whose contributions as officials or individuals in a tennis-related activity have been so outstanding over a significant period of time as to justify the highest commendation and recognition.

About USTA New England
USTA New England, one of 17 regional sections across the country that comprise the United States Tennis Association (USTA), is a not-for-profit organization committed to promoting and developing the growth of tennis and increasing participation in the sport in New England by offering quality recreational and competitive programs for people of all ages and abilities. For more information, visit www.ustanewengland.com.


(04/26/17)  WALTERBORO PRESS AND STANDARD: CINDY CROSBY: CCHS Boys tennis qualifies for playoffs
The Colleton County Boys Tennis team finished the season in fourth place in the region and qualified for the playoffs with a record of 2-6 in the region.  The boys’ tennis team secured a place in the playoffs by taking two matches from Berkeley during the regular season.

“I am very proud of these young men for doing something that hasn’t happened in over a decade in the boys’ tennis program. We are continuing to make progress as a team and starting to see our rookies making a turn, to help take some of the burden to win matches off of the veterans,” said Coach Jaymie Strickland.  The boys will play a number seed team from the Florence/Darlington area May 27.

“If the kids will continue to work on their game during the off season and with only losing one senior this year, the team should be in good shape to make the playoffs next year as well.  We still need to recruit more kids to learn how to play the game of tennis, so the Colleton County tennis teams can continue to grow and progress against other teams.”

April 18: Colleton County 5, Berkeley 2
Singles
Trey Bowman (CC) d Hugh Huxfort (BH) 6-2, 6-3
Ridge Baggett (BH) d Thomas Warren (CC) 6-1, 6-2
Adam Buckner (CC) d Gabe Wadford (BH) 6-2, 3-6, 10-8
Wonyae Cameran (BH) d Nick Fanchette (CC) 6-2, 6-4
Makel Bowman (CC) d D. Navarne (BH) 7-5, 6-0
Doubles #1
Trey Bowman/Thomas Warren d Ridge Baggett/Wonyae Cameran 6-3,6-4
Doubles #2
Legrier Cooper/Antonio Brown (CC) d Graham Jones/Michael Simmons (BH) 7-6, 4-6, 10-8

April 19: Cane Bay 5 Colleton County 1
Singles
Jordan Howell (CB) d Trey Bowman (CC) 6-2, 3-6, 10-6
Melvin Tejada (CB) d Thomas Warren (CC) 6-4, 6-2
Joe Sanders (CC) d Don Keyes (CB) 6-2, 6-7, 10-8
Andrew Zhuo (CB) d Nick Fanchette (CC) 6-0, 6-0
Andrew Dodd (CB) d Makel Bowman (CC) 7-5, 6-0
Doubles #2
Nathan West/ Charles Jones (CB) d Antonio Brown/Richard Cartier (CC) 3-6, 6-2, 10-4


(04/25/17) MOULTRIE NEWS: FRANKIE MANSFIELD: Mount Pleasant eighth-grader places second in nation
Allie Gretkowski won a Silver Ball at the 50th annual U.S. Tennis Association Easter Bowl national championships last month in Indian Wells, California.

The Mount Pleasant eighth-grader placed second in the girls 14 doubles division, competing alongside Avery Durham of Hilton Head Island.

Gretkowski and Durham dropped just one set through the first four rounds of the tournament before finally falling to top-seeded Kylie Collins (Ga.) and Gianna Pielet (Texas), 6-0, 6-4, in the championship match.

The unseeded South Carolina duo eliminated No. 2 seed Kailey Evans and Katherine Petty of Texas, 6-3, 5-2, in the tournament semifinals after defeating teams from Southern California, Texas, the Intermountain Section and Florida in the early rounds.

Gretkowski is currently ranked first in the state, third in the Southern Section and 33rd in the nation in the girls 14 division. She trains at MWTennis Academy at the Family Circle Cup Tennis Center on Daniel Island.


(04/23/17) LTP French Open Challenge another treat for tennis fans
Local tennis fans are in for another big treat this spring. It will be like Volvo Car Open qualifying all over again, or maybe even better.

And it will all be free of charge and open to the public at LTP Tennis in Mount Pleasant, starting next Sunday. As a bonus, a wild card into the main draw of the French Open likely will be on the line.

The USTA’s U.S. Pro Circuit Women’s French Open Wild Card Challenge will conclude during the week of May 1-7 with the $60,000 LTP/Charleston.

Townsend entered

Big-hitting Taylor Townsend, who was the VCO’s No. 1 qualifying seed, is entered at LTP as she seeks to win her third French Wild Card Challenge in four years.

The LTP entries also include 2015 Australian Open round of 16 standout Madison Brengle as well as young star Kayla Day and VCO main draw qualifier Sofia Kenin. VCO round of 16 competitor Fanny Stollar also is scheduled to be back in town, but the talented Hungarian can’t win the wild card. The wild card is limited to Americans.

The four-tournament clay-court French Open Wild Card Challenge started April 10 at the $80K tournament in Indian Harbour, Fla., and is currently finishing up a $60K event in Dothan, Ala. The Challenge moves to the $60K event in Charlottesville, Va., this coming week before heading to Mount Pleasant.

15-year-old leader

Fifteen-year-old sensation Amanda Anisimova of Freehold, N.J., is the early Challenge points leader after finishing as runner-up at Indian Harbor where former WTA Tour flash Genie Bouchard lost in the first round as the top seed. Anismova also made the semifinals (vs. Kenin) at Dothan where top seed Brengle was upset in the first round by 2016 LTP $10,000 winner Nicole Coopersmith.

Coopersmith, like Kenin a teenager from Florida, should be back at LTP for the French Open Challenge event.

The American with the highest WTA Tour points total from the player’s best two results in the Challenge will receive the wild card.

In the case of a tie, the wild card will be awarded to the player who has the higher ranking as of Monday, May 8.

Local stars featured

Local interest will be high since 15-year-old Southern girls 18 No. 1 player Emma Navarro (U.S. No. 3 girls 16) has a wild card into the main draw, and Southern No. 5 girls 16 Kat Lyman won the local qualifying wild card into the LTP qualifying tournament. Navarro and Lyman are local juniors and both train at LTP. Former local junior Ellie Halbauer also is scheduled to compete in the $60K LTP.

LTP was added to the French Open Challenge this year when the USTA added a fourth tournament to the Challenge.

The Challenge, now in its sixth year, previously featured only three tournaments.

Charleston’s Shelby Rogers won the Challenge in 2013 and then notched her initial Grand Slam victory at the French Open.

Bleachers are being brought in to handle the expected large crowd at LTP.

“Court No. 6 will be like a stadium, and both (Nos.) 6 and 9 will have live screening online,” LTP tennis director Jerry Albrikes said.

Tournaments overlap

The LTP $60K will overlap the National Senior Women’s Tennis Association’s annual championships, the Anne Geier Cup, that will begin on Wednesday at LTP.

Albrikes will serve as tournament director for both tournaments, which will encompass a period of 12 straight days.

The senior tournament’s finals will be held on Sunday, April 30, the same morning that qualifying for the LTP $60K is scheduled to start at the Mathis Ferry Road complex.

“We have 23 players from the local area entered in the draw,” said local senior star Cindy Babb, who will compete in women’s 65 singles and doubles.

“There are 30 players entered from outside the Charleston area coming from 11 different states.”

Local former world No. 1 seniors Diane Barker and Brenda Carter will compete in doubles, Barker in 55s and Carter in 65s. Play will begin Wednesday at 8 a.m. in all age groups, 35-75 singles and doubles.


(04/23/17) Wando closing in on another region title
Wando once again is the class of its region in boys high school tennis. The Warriors (13-2,

12-0) are one win away from nailing down a 12th consecutive league title.

Coach Winde Ellenberg’s team has two Region 7-AAAAA matches to be played before the start of the state playoffs on Thursday. “We are hoping to go in as the No. 1 seed,” Ellenberg said. “All playoff matches will be played at Wando, assuming we hold onto our No. 1 seed.”

The Warriors aren’t led by all-stars such as Class AAA powerhouse Hanahan, but Wando does have experience on its side. The Warriors’ top four players — freshmen Alex Shaw and Will Bumgarner, sophomore Jack Johnson and junior Palmer Smyth — all played a year ago.

Summerville (12-4, 10-2) still has two region matches left, including one against Wando, but veteran Green Wave coach David Long calls Wando “the class of the region.” Summerville already has clinched second place in 7-AAAAA.

“We haven’t lost since March 16 to Wando,” Long said. “The other loss was to West Ashley 4-3, losing four third-set tiebreakers, and we avenged that loss on Friday (6-0).

“My team has improved greatly over the course of the season . . . Our depth has helped us win a lot of matches, but our top two players (juniors Stephen Wills and Taylor Reynolds) have played great at the top and have won quality matches.”

James Island and West Ashley will play Tuesday for third place in the region.

Long calls James Island’s Brendan Healey “clearly the best player in the region.”

West Ashley (9-4, 8-4) is led by a strong 1-3 in sophomore Ozzie Duarte, junior Stratas Anastopoulo and senior Ben Foster.

In Class 7-AAA, unbeaten Hanahan (7-0, 4-0) is in a league of its own. The Hawks have won 22 straight matches and appear ready to capture a second straight state title.

Junior Kerim Hyatt has lost only to Bishop England star Jared Pratt in splitting a pair of matches in a matchup of the last two Lowcountry players of the year. Chad Nash is undefeated at No. 2 and No. 3 Coy Simon hasn’t dropped a set.

No. 4 Reilly Wilson has lost only six games this season, and No. 5 Max Smith and No. 6 Mark Jones haven’t dropped a set.

“As long as they play up to their potential, we should go deep in the playoffs,” Hanahan coach Glenn Cobb said.

In the move up to Class AAA from AA, Bishop England has had an off season. The Bishops (4-6, 2-2) have a solid top four in Southern boys 18 No. 1 Pratt, Llleyton Dacuba, Zach Dacuba and Lukas Gosselin, but cannot compete with Hanahan’s depth.

“We are looking forward to the playoffs,” BE coach Kristin Fleming Arnold said about her second-place team.

The Bishops will play SCISA power Porter-Gaud on Monday and state playoff-ineligible Oceanside Collegiate on Tuesday.

Coach Chris Waters’ Oceanside team, which is ineligible for the playoffs as a first-year school, has lost only to Porter-Gaud in five matches while defeating Bishop England and handing Myrtle Beach its only two losses of the season.
Oceanside is led by 15-year-old freshman Stanley Waters, Luke Prendergast, Matthew Kirk, Mitchell Davies and Hanahan transfers Bradley Upshaw and JT Ramey.

In SCISA, Porter-Gaud (11-2) is a heavy favorite in the Class AAA state playoffs that will begin May 1.

Coach Jonathan Barth’s

Porter-Gaud team has lost only to Spartanburg in a tournament and Hanahan, and will take on Bishop England, Hanahan and SCISA Class AA power Hilton Head Prep this week.

“We look good so far going into our playoffs,” Barth said. “Brant Fenno is playing well for us at one. Manning Snyder, Malone Vingi are also playing well, and I expect that to continue into the playoffs.

“It’s hard to say what to expect with our playoffs as most of the teams are from the mid-state that we haven’t seen. I am hoping that we continue to play well and that we will be playing for our third state championship in three years on Friday, May 5.”


(04/22/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Tennis Development from the Heart opens second season
The Tennis Development from the Heart program at Doty Park ensures local kids who have an interest in tennis can pursue it.

The program provides free tennis lessons and activities to youth age 4 and older who live in the Summerville area. Participants meet at 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday at the Doty Park courts, where they receive instruction from a tennis pro and James Martin, who helped found the Summerville program in 2016. The instructors are USTA certified.

“We provide the racquets and everything else they need,” Martin said. “All they have to do is just show up. It’s great for kids who want to play tennis but can’t afford lessons and for those who think they would like tennis but have never tried it.”

Youth of all skill levels are welcome. The only stipulation is that anyone who is already paying for tennis lessons can’t participate because organizers don’t want to negatively impact others who teach the game.

The program was organized by Janitors for Jesus, which is based between two local churches ¬¬- Baum Temple AME Zion and Brownsville Community Church of God, with the goals of getting local kids outside and involved in healthy activities that might help them make friends while also keeping them off the streets.

“It gives kids in the community something to be involved with during the summer,” Martin said. “I’ve noticed that a lot of times there are kids just standing around and I feel this gives them an option.”

The program, which kicked off its second season earlier this month, will run through the summer. Martin said newcomers are always welcomed and need only to join the group on any Tuesday or Thursday.

For more information on the Summerville Tennis Development from the Heart program, email Martin at jt6000@aol.com.


(04/21/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Wave tennis team to open playoffs at home
The Green Wave Boys Tennis team picked up two key region victories last week to ensure a Top 2 finish in Region 7-AAAA.

“I am really proud of how we competed in both matches last week with the No. 2 seed on the line,” Summerville coach David Long said. “The team showed a lot of heart coming from behind to beat rival James Island.”

Summerville toppled the Trojans April 20 at Blanton Courts, gutting out a 4-3 victory. James Island only needed one more court to win the match and Taylor Reynolds was down a match point but fought back and won his court. Summerville’s No. 2 doubles team of Akhil Prathipati and Chris Edwards then picked up its court to tie the match at 3.

Summerville’s No. 1 doubles team of Stephen Wills and Taylor Reynolds won its first set and was leading in the second before darkness came and the match was moved to Pinewood Prep for completion under the lights. Wills and Reynolds finished off the comeback in straight sets.

The following day Summerville avenged a loss to West Ashley, which defeated the Wave 4-3 last month. The Wave came out strong and swept the match 6-0 in the blazing hot sun.

“My guys really showed some heart beating a good West Ashley team coming off the big win the night before,” Long said. “I preach positive thinking on the court using self-talk and it showed as the boys maintained their composure nicely.”

Summerville improved to 12-4 on the season with a 10-2 mark in Region 7-AAAAA with the wins. Wando, unless it stumbles, is expected to lock up the region championship later this week. But the worst Summerville can finish is in second place, which ensures the Green Wave home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Summerville will face Stratford Wednesday in a make-up match. Then it will likely host Spring Valley Thursday for a playoff match.

James Island and West Ashley will compete for the No. 3 seed. Stratford is projected to place fifth in the region and Ashley Ridge to place sixth. Fort Dorchester will place seventh, which means it can only make the playoffs with an at-large bid.

Green Wave Tennis Results

Summerville 4 James Island 3
Brendan Healey (JI) d Stephen Wills 6-2 6-2
Taylor Reynolds (S) d Josh Evans 3-6 6-3 11-9
Ben Alexander (JI) d Thomas McGinnis 7-5 6-3
Reginald Lewis (S) d Aaron Cox 6-1 6-1
Adren Cox (JI) d Rahi Gajjar 6-4 6-2
Wills/Reynolds (S) d Healey/Evans 7-5 6-3
Akhil Prathipati/Chris Edwards d Riley Kiser/Max Gentilin 6-4 6-2

Summerville 6 West Ashley 0
Wills d Duarte 7-5 7-5
Reynolds d Anastopoulo 6-4 6-3
McGinnis d Foster 6-3 2-6 10-3
Lewis d Lambert 4-6 6-4 10-3
Gajjar won by forfeit
Prathipati/Edwards d Dowd/Clontz 6-2 6-4


(04/20/17) Gamecocks on a roll entering SEC tennis tournaments
South Carolina's women's tennis players have had their own motivation to make their mark nationally. The success of the Gamecocks' basketball teams gave them even more reason to believe that anything is possible.

"It's very motivating to see our school having success. We want to have our own success and accomplish our goals, just using their success to inspire us," is the way South Carolina sophomore Ingrid Martins sized up the nationally 11th-ranked tennis team's hopes in postseason play.

Martins, a native of Rio de Janeiro, is one of the primary reasons the USC women earned the fourth seed in the Southeastern Conference tournament and the double-bye that goes with the seeding. They will open play on Friday evening in Nashville, Tenn., against either Mississippi or fifth seed Kentucky.

"It's great to see hard work paying off," said Martins, the runner-up in last fall's $10,000 U.S. Pro Circuit event at LTP Tennis in Mount Pleasant. "Work hard, passion and belief are a great combination. When I look at them (the basketball teams) I can see that. That so motivates me and my team to keep working hard with passion and belief."

Martins played Nos. 1 or 2 for coach Kevin Epley's team (17-7, 8-5) all season, and collected a win at No. 2 singles last weekend in a 4-3 win over Kentucky that gave the Gamecocks a program best eighth SEC win. Kentucky, now 19th nationally, swept doubles in that meeting in Lexington, Ky.

"We will come out ready in singles and doubles," said Martins, ranked 43rd in collegiate singles. "They (Kentucky) are pretty good, but we made some adjustments that will help us reach our potential, giving us a better chance to beat anyone.

"We are excited to play tomorrow (Friday). We have been working hard all season. We have to play our game and stay tough so then we will have chances against anyone. It's a great opportunity to make our statement and bring up everything. We've worked to play against the best teams in the country in the SEC (nation's top two women's teams, No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Vanderbilt, compete in the SEC."

Martins made the SEC all-freshman team last season, the first USC rookie since 2007 to make a season-ending all-conference team. She also made the SEC first-year academic honor roll and was an ITA scholar athlete.

Epley, in his fifth season as head coach, is happy that his team took fourth place in the regular season. "We are happy to be the fourth seed. That gives us a double bye," he said. "It doesn't matter who we're playing. We have to be firing on all cylinders every single match. This is a tough conference."

Local tennis fans also will remember sophomore Paige Cline, a Californian who plays No. 3 for the Gamecocks, from last year's Shape Invitational women's collegiate event at Family Circle Tennis Center. Mia Horvit, a freshman from Florida, also plays Nos. 1 or 2 for the Gamecocks.

Men ranked 19th

USC men's coach Josh Goffi is a chip off the old block when it comes to coaching tennis.

His dad, Carlos Goffi, was the tennis director at Seabrook Island back in the 1980s, and was selected as the world coach of the year in 1991.

Josh is in his seventh season as USC's men's tennis coach. He has the Gamecocks ranked 19th nationally and headed into next week's Southeastern Conference tournament in Knoxville, Tenn., as the No. 3 seed.

The tennis team (20-5, 9-3) has a tough act to follow after the school's basketball teams brought home a national women's title and an NCAA men's Final Four banner.

But the Gamecocks' men's tennis players also have their eyes on the sky after tying for the program's best regular-season finish in the SEC. The 20 wins are most by the USC men since 2005.

The Gamecocks also came up with their first win for Goffi over Mississippi State, which was ranked 17th at the time.

Unlike many colleges, the men's team has focused on American players. All but three of the Gamecocks' top 10 players are from the United States.

Goffi also has brought in three players from South Carolina, including former Wando star Scotty Cameron. The big catch from the state is senior Andrew Schafer, the Gamecocks' outstanding No. 3 player.

Schafer was a star high school player for SCISA powerhouse Hilton Head Prep and was practically unbeatable in singles against Porter-Gaud. Schafer posted a pair of victories in the Gamecocks' close win over Mississippi State.

The third state player for the Gamecocks is sophomore Wood Benton from Spartanburg's Dorman High School.

The Gamecocks' No. 1 player is junior Harrison O'Keefe from Salem, Va.


(04/18/17) PREP ZONE: Boys Tennis
WANDO 6, WEST ASHLEY 0
Singles: Shaw d. Duarte 6-4, 6-2; Johnson d. Anastopoulo 6-2, 6-1; Bumgarner d. Foster 7-5 6-3; Smyth d. Lambert 6-1, 6-0; Heindel d. Ancona 6-0, 6-1. Doubles: Shuman/Botos d. Dowd/Richardson 6-0, 6-0.

Record: Wando 13-2 (11-0). Next: Wando at Summerville on Tuesday.

JAMES ISLAND 4, STRATFORD 2
Singles: Healey (JI) def. Wong 6-0, 6-0; Evans (JI) def. Hoffman 6-1, 6-3; Alexander (JI) def. Yeung 0-6, 6-2, 10-2; Crawford (S) def. Aa. Cox 4-6, 6-1, 10-5; McCracken (S) def. Ar. Cox 7-5, 6-2. Doubles: Gentilin/Kiser (JI) def. Sides/Raines 6-4, 6-2.

Records: James Island 9-4; Stratford 5-6. Next: James Island at West Ashley on Tuesday; Stratford at Ashley Ridge on Tuesday.


(04/17/17) SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Legend Oaks Gives Back collecting used golf and tennis equipment
Legend Oaks Gives Back has launched its eighth annual Clubs-4-Kids and second annual Racquet Round-Up campaigns.

The charitable organization has a great track record collecting used golf clubs for the children served by the South Carolina Junior Golf Association so last year it also began collecting and donating used tennis racquets to the Professional Tennis Registry Foundation’s “Racquet Round-Up” program.

The second annual Legend Oaks Gives Back Used Tennis Racquet Drive began April 1. The month-long initiative invites all Lowcountry tennis facilities to collect and donate used tennis racquets for the needy. All racquets will be donated to the Professional tennis Registry Foundation, for use in their “Racquet Roundup” program.

The program collects used racquets for distribution to needy players and organizations. The racquets are refurbished with donated strings and grips and then disbursed to tennis programs throughout the US and around the world. The donation of racquets will enrich the lives of those in need.

The PTR Foundation is a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization. The mission of the PTR Foundation is to bring tennis instruction, education and equipment to children and adults for whom such opportunity would otherwise not be available to them. Through the foundation, tennis programs have been developed in low-income housing projects, after school latch-key programs, at risk youth programs and wheelchair tennis rehabilitation programs. As the sport of a lifetime, tennis can be beneficial in building a better future for these kids as well as a healthier lifestyle of wellness for all ages.

For more information on the drive, contact your local tennis facility or Kathy Chickarello at Legend Oaks Golf & Tennis Club, 843-821-4077 extension 113 or email kchickarello@legendoaksgolf.com.

The eighth annual Legend Oaks Gives Back Used Golf Equipment Drive also began April 1. This month-long initiative invites all Lowcountry golf facilities to collect and donate used golf equipment for the needy children of South Carolina. All equipment will be donated to the South Carolina Junior Golf Association, for use in the many programs they host annually for the youth of South Carolina.

Each year the South Carolina Junior Golf Association (SCJGA) collects and refurbishes more than 2000 used golf clubs to support their Clubs-4-Kids program. The clubs are used to provide equipment for schools, individuals, specialty programs and to any child needing clubs that participates in one of the many programs for junior golfers thru the SCJGA. These programs give boys and girls from all over South Carolina the opportunity to learn the game of golf by supplying them with clubs and instruction at no cost.

Through the generosity of many Lowcountry golf clubs and their members, the Legend Oaks Gives Back Used Golf Equipment Drive has donated more than 4,300 golf clubs, along with golf balls, bags, head covers and more over the last seven years. The used clubs are masterfully cut down, carefully re-gripped and placed in the tiny hands of future golfer, all through the generosity of volunteers.

For more information on the golf equipment drive, contact your local golf facility or contact Chickarello


(04/13/17) TENNIS ATLANTIC: TONY CALLAIO: Final Thoughts on 2017 @VolvoCarOpen and Remembering Bud Collins
Last week, I returned to the former site of the longstanding Family Circle Cup at Charleston where I had worked as the Media Center Manager for six years. In its second year, the Volvo Car Open has taken over the reins and even though the name has changed, the faces that have worked there for many years are still the same.

This year I had to opportunity to shoot photos and do some writing for Tennis Atlantic; thanks to Stephen Fogleman for allowing it to happen.

Going back to Charleston for me is like going back to my college for an alumni reunion weekend. It was so much fun seeing Tournament Director Bob Moran and Tournament Manager Eleanor Purcell once again. Each person I came across offered a warm greeting and a handshake or a hug.

When I first arrived on site in 2007, I was hired by then Communications Director Mike Saia. I had known Mike for many years when he lived in my hometown of West Pittston, PA, which is centered between Wilkes-Barre and Scranton.

When I received the invite in late 2006, I was still recovering from cancer surgery and was unsure about taking the job. After asking myself, “When will I ever get the chance to work behind the scenes of a world-class tennis tournament like the Family Circle Cup?” I said yes.

After all, when I was a much younger man just getting interested in playing and watching tennis, one of my favorite events was watching the Family Circle Cup on TV from its original location at Hilton Head Island.

Being a northerner, watching tennis at a warm climate was great for me after coming out of wintry conditions of the north. I mean, there were palm trees!

When I first got into tennis, it was towards the end of the tennis boom of the late 70s and early 80s. For the men, there was Borg, McEnroe, Connors, Gerulaitis, Nastase and Ashe. The women had Evert, King, Navratilova, and Goolagong.

Little did I know that years later I’d be working at the same tournament I grew to love watching on a chilly spring day with the likes of Bud Collins doing commentary.

When I arrived at the 2017 Volvo Car Open many of the names I was familiar with in recent years such as past winners like Jelena Jankovic, Sam Stosur, Caroline Wozniacki, Andrea Petkovic, and Venus Williams were still at it and entered. Defending champion Sloane Stephens was on site but due to injury did not play.

Mixing it up with the old guard were some of the rising stars of the WTA giving it a shot to be named champion alongside those above mentioned. Players like Charleston native Shelby Rogers, Naomi Osaka, Jennifer Brady, Fanny Stollar, Katerina Siniakova, Daria Gavrilova and of course the two 19-year finalists, Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia and eventual winner Daria Kasatkina of Russia.

I really enjoyed being a part of media instead of taking care of media in my former role. I don’t miss working on site for 11 days in a row with only 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night. Getting to the Tennis Center for 7 a.m. meetings was exhausting and somewhere during mid-week, I became completely numb to everything riding on fumes.

I did just about all I could with the exception of grooming the courts. I ran audio for special appearances at the Grand Lawn, I wrote content for the website and the event program called The Daily Slice. I even ran the handheld camera for on-court interview with match winners to be shown on Center Court’s big screen TV.

In 2008, I had my fondest memory in all the years I was a part of this great event; to work with Bud Collins for the entire week. I was designated Bud’s handler taking him to his appearances, going to lunch or dinner, and working with him during those on-court interviews.

Traveling with Bud was his wife Anita, who to this day has remained my friend even with Bud’s passing in 2016.

I got to see how the genius of tennis worked and how his mind was so sharp. His tennis knowledge was astounding and there were times when I had to pinch myself to see if I was not dreaming that I was with the legend himself.

Traveling around the site with Bud, our attention turned to other things like family and health. I found out that Bud was a month younger than my late father and he and I both were afflicted with prostate cancer.

After the tournament was over, I decided to purchase the Tennis Encyclopedia written by Bud. I wrote to Anita and within days, my copy arrived with a personalized message to me from Bud – I’ll always cherish it.

This year I had the opportunity to meet Mary Carillo, the award-winning broadcaster and former French Mixed Doubles Champion when she teamed up with John McEnroe. Mary is an absolute delight and I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet her. Mary is the closest thing to Bud Collins in a female form.

That’s the nice thing about a tournament the size of the Volvo Car Open held on Daniel Island: it’s intimate and you can get close to the players and personalities thought the site.

It’s amazing what Bob Moran and Eleanor Purcell Adams do with a nucleus staff of about 15 full-time employees who work daily at the Family Circle Tennis Center. To put on a major sporting event is a mammoth effort and it takes a village – approximately 400 volunteers help put on this event. From the ball crew, to vendors, to ushers to media center helpers to gate people to security; all pitch in to make the tournament a success.

No matter who sponsors the tournament at Charleston, it’s always going to be a first-class run organization featuring great southern hospitality, great weather and 56 of the top women tennis players in the world.

Thank you to Arielle Alpino and everyone at VCO Media Staff!


(04/12/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: Daria delivers!
Philip M. Bowman

Decisions, decisions. What’s a teenager to do?

Daria Kasatkina was crowned champion of the 2017 Volvo Car Open on a sun-drenched Sunday on Daniel Island. She raised the victor’s trophy to the sky, accepted a paycheck for $132,380 and then learned Lex Kerssemakers, Volvo’s senior vice president of the America Region and president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, had sweetened the pot. He offered the 19-year-old Russian the choice of one of three Volvos to drive free of charge for a year.

“The big one, the SUV I took,” Kasatkina revealed in the post-match press conference. “In Slovakia (where I train), not the best roads, not like in USA. So I have to take a big car, big safety car.”

The roads in Slovakia might be a bit bumpy, but the road to Paris and Roland Garros seemed to get a lot smoother as Kasatkina topped another 19-year-old rising star, Jelena Ostapenko, 6-3, 6-1 to claim her first WTA title. It was the first time in seven years that two teens played in a WTA final. Kasatkina played a smart match against the aggressive Ostapenko, moving her foe all over the court and then going for the corners. She also used her slice to force Ostapenko into numerous errors.

Kasatkina has an ever-improving resume. She owns back-to-back victories over World No. 1 Angelique Kerber, but those matches were played on hard courts. She’s now focused on the European clay court season, which climaxes with the championship on the red clay of Roland Garros on June 11.

The victory in the 66-minute match, witnessed by 7,491 fans, gives Kasatkina a 9-1 record in Charleston and pushed her record for the 2017 season to 12-8. The triumph increased her prize money this year to $300,632.

Kasatkina joined a small tennis sorority of Chris Evert, Tracy Austin, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis and Sabine Lisicki as teenage winners of the Volvo Car Open that began 45 years ago in Hilton Head as the Family Circle Cup.

A bigger than life-size poster of Kasatkina will hang outside Billie Jean King Stadium and will greet fans and competitors in next year’s event. But on Sunday, Kasatkina was just trying to let it all sink in.

“(It is) very difficult to describe my feeling now,” said Kasatkina, who reached the quarterfinals in Charleston last year before losing to 2016 champion Sloane Stephens. “I feel like I’m just sleeping and everything is not real. I’m so happy, really. I don’t (even) know what to say. When I won the last ball, everything like closed and I just feel like I am dreaming.”

Kasatkina could rise to World No. 28 when the WTA updates its rankings. Ostapenko, who competed in her first clay court final and third final overall, should crack the top 50.

Ostapenko reached the championship by beating fifth-seed Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals and 11th seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the semifinals.

Ostapenko defeated Kasatkina on grass in Eastbourne last year, but was no match against her foe on Sunday as she ran out of steam.

“I feel really great, like I was playing good all the days this week, “Ostapenko said. “I beat some great players, but today was really not my day, and I just didn’t feel the ball that well, and I was missing too much, and because she was only defending during the whole match. It was just probably not my day.”

In the doubles championship, American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Czech Lucie Safarova claimed the title with a 6-1, 4-6 (10-7) victory over the Czech team of Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova.


(04/09/17) TENNIS ATLANTIC: TONY CALLAIO: Daria Kasatkina Wins @VolvoCarOpen
The Volvo Car Open concluded where a new champion was crowned and a star is born. Daria Kasatkina, the 19-year old from Russia took her first WTA title away from another 19-year old seeking her first WTA title, Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, 6-3, 6-1.

Kasatkina played steady and seemed unnerved being in a WTA final. She played consistent, mixing up power and slice throwing off Ostapenko's power game.

The serve of Kasatkina was the key advantage over Ostapenko by winning 69% first serves points to 57% from Ostapenko. The match lasted one-hour-and-six-minutes.

Ostapenko said she wasn’t feeling the ball as well as she had been during the tournament. “It was just probably not my day,” Ostapenko said.

After the win, Kasatkina dropped to her knees on the green clay before rising with her mouth covered holding back the tears. That didn’t last too long as she wept in her chair just before the trophy presentation.

The tears kept flowing during her winner’s speech thanking all of her family and coaches in her player’s box.

“I don’t realize it yet, so I’m just enjoying it every moment, every second. And really, when I was on the court after the last point, I just wanted the moment to stop because it was one of the best moments in my life,” Kasatkina admitted in post-match press.

With a great week now behind the two teen stars, Kasatkina will jump into the Top 30 while Ostapenko will reside in the Top 50 as they both look forward to the European clay court season leading up to the French Open.

The World’s No. 1 doubles team and the tournament’s No. 1 seed Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova downed 4th seed team of Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova in a third set, super tiebreak 6-1, 4-6, 10-7 to win their first Volvo Car Open coupled together as a team.


(04/09/17) At Volvo Car Open, Daria Kasatkina won the mind game
They'll meet again. Maybe at another enticing location.

Surely, they will. They are 19-year-olds.

And maybe the third encounter between newly crowned Volvo Car Open champion Daria Kasatkina and Jelena Ostapenko will be like the first one, a three-setter last year in England.

But this time, it was no contest once Kasatkina put Ostapenko's awesome groundstroke assault in the six-deuce sixth game out of her mind.

It was 3-3, and Kasatkina had learned her lesson a day earlier when she waited until the second set to change her game in a three-set semifinal victory. She knew it was time to buckle down and play mind games with the powerful 5-10 Latvian. It was the only way.

Winners go away

Ostapenko nailed six outright winners while breaking Kasatkina in that sixth game alone, but she managed only one winner in the next three games as Kasatkina walked off with a 6-3, 6-1 victory.

The new champion of Daniel Island has quite a future ahead of her, especially on clay. But Kasatkina's back-to-back wins over current world's No. 1 Angelique Kerber both came on hard courts. Of course, Kerber is a thinker and not nearly as powerful as Ostapenko.

Kasatkina didn't really have to call on her quick-striking power in the 66-minute final. She allowed Ostapenko to self-destruct.

Softer approach

Poor Jelena went into over-hit mode and played right into Kasatkina's hands. The Russian knew exactly what to do. She started playing the mind game with a softer, less aggressive approach.

Ostapenko continued to go for broke, whether she was in position or not. By then, she was lunging into what she hoped would be winners, not errors. Balls flew everywhere.

It got even worse when Kasatkina went into a semi-moonball attack, bringing back memories of Andrea Jaeger in 1982. But in that final, Jaeger's moon balls didn't work against the super-talented Martina Navratilova.

Of course, Ostapenko clearly isn't in the class of Navratilova now, and probably never will be.

Off-stride mistakes

Kasatkina's blooping balls bounced short and didn't come up high on the clay. They caught Ostapenko off stride as she floated balls over the baseline. Kasatkina then would put the ball in a corner, and Ostapenko would lunge into her forehands or backhands, hitting them wildly.

It was quite a change from the first six games of the match. To complicate matters, Ostapenko never really got her big serve working.

Obviously, Ostapenko's weakness is mobility, and adjusting to different types of balls and different paces. As long as the pace is rapid, she's in her zone.

A crowd that was looking for another thriller saw this 45th edition of the tournament end far too soon. That was the danger of having two young unseeded upstarts in the final.

First title special

Kasatkina leaves town with a dream fulfilled. Not only did she finally make a final, she won it. That has to be special to a 19-year-old, or even a 30-year-old. Winning a WTA Tour title is something many touring pros never experience.

The champion appears to be headed even higher. She should wake up Monday morning ranked among the world's top 30 players. And she has a flashy new Volvo SUV to drive around for the next year. A pretty good week, not to mention the $132,000 payday.


(04/09/17) JEFF HARTSELL: Volvo Car Open Notes: Tennis Channel a boon to tournament
Bob Moran's cell phone is usually a busy place. After all, the guy runs the Volvo Car Open, one of the premier women's only tournaments in professional tennis.

But this week, Moran's phone has been more slammed than normal. The reason, he says — the Tennis Channel.

"My phone has not stopped with people watching the tournament and seeing it on the Tennis Channel," said Moran, the director of the Volvo Car Open. "I really think it has upped who we are, covering every singles match, the doubles final. They have been an incredible partner."

This week marked the first of an eight-year deal between the Volvo Car Open and the Tennis Channel, replacing the tournament's previous TV deal with ESPN. The Tennis Channel brought first ball to last point coverage to the tournament for the first time, as well as daily coverage featuring tennis stars such as Tracy Austin, Sloane Stephens, Lindsay Davenport and Paul Annacone.

The Tennis Channel aired more than 50 hours of coverage, with 100 more hours available online at Tennis Channel Plus, and the cable network airs almost 70 percent of the tennis seen in the U.S. That also means that a lot of people got a good look at Charleston this week.

"It's been unbelievable," Moran said. "They started us giving us promotional pieces during the Australian Open (in January) right through Miami last week. Two promotional spots every 30 minutes promoting the tournament, they took an ad out in the Wall Street Journal. The exposure has been great."

Moran said the Tennis Channel helped attendance this year, even though one session was wiped out due to weather. But the real impact will be felt next year, he said.

"My financials show that we are up everywhere, even losing a session," he said. "I don't think we'll see the true result of the Tennis Channel until next year. We started seeing some ticket sales the last couple of weeks from parts of the country we'd never seen before. That is absolutely a result of the Tennis Channel."

Moran also said the Tennis Channel does a good job of introducing the public to new players, such as VCO champ Darina Kasatkina.

"We desperately need that," he said. "We can't depend on Serena and Venus and Maria forever. We need to develop these young players and personalities, and Tennis Channel does a great job of that."

As far as the tournament's title sponsor goes, this is the second year of a three-year deal with Volvo, which also has an option for two more years after three years. Moran said conversations about an extension have begun.

Doubles winners

The top-seeded doubles team of American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Czech Lucie Safarova claimed the Volvo Car Open doubles title with a 6-1, 4-6 (10-7) win over the fourth-seeded team of Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova, both of the Czech Republic.

The winning doubles team collects $41,650, with $22,055 to the runners-up

Attendance watch

Attendance for Sunday's final was 7,491, bringing the total for the week to 85,553, including last weekend's PowerShares event and a rainout of Wednesday night's feature match with Caroline Wozniacki.


(04/09/17) JEFF HARTSELL: Teen Queen: Daria Kasatkina claims Volvo Car Open crown
The Volvo Car Open has a long history of teenage champions, starting with Chris Evert in 1974. Tracy Austin, Steffi Graf and Martina Hingis also won this tournament before hitting their 20s.

Daria Kasatkina added her name to that distinguished list on Sunday, taking a 6-3, 6-1 victory over fellow 19-year-old Jelena Ostapenko on a brilliant afternoon at Volvo Car Stadium. It was the tournament's first all-teen final since 2009.

Kasatkina, known as "Dasha," dropped to her knees on match point, and tearfully dashed over to her player's box to hug her coach and friends.

Kasatkina, a Russian ranked No. 42, took her first WTA Tour singles title and earned $132,380 for the victory, nearly doubling her winnings for this year. The sixth teen to win in Charleston, she'll likely break into the top 30 in the world as the tour heads to Europe for the clay-court season.

Kasatkina will also get her choice of one of three Volvo models to drive for her year as Volvo Car Open champ.

Ostapenko, from Latvia and ranked No. 66, was disappointed with her effort in the final, calling it "one of my worst matches here." She'll earn $70,460 as the runner-up, but she's now 0-3 in WTA Tour finals.

"Today was really not my day," Ostapenko said. "I could not feel the ball that well."

With Charleston's Shelby Rogers knocking out top-seeded Madison Keys earlier in the week, this week marked the first Volvo Car Open final without a seeded player since 2002. Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki, other top seeds, were knocked out by Laura Siegemund and Ostapenko, respectively, and No. 2 seed Johanna Konta had to withdraw with a shoulder injury after winning in Miami last week.

Rogers electrified the hometown fans with a run to the quarterfinals. She was hobbled there by a strained abdominal muscle and fell in three sets to No. 11 seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.


(04/09/17) TENNIS ATLANTIC: TONY CALLAIO: Youth Serve Notice: We’ll Take @VolvoCarOpen Trophy
Youth served notice at the 2017 Volvo Car Open when two 19-year-olds square off for their first WTA Tour victory of their career.

Russian Daria Kasatkina will improve on her world ranking of 42 with the successful run she’s had at Charleston. She will be facing fellow teen Jelena Ostapenko of Latvian who will also gain spots from her current world ranking of 66.

First up on Stadium court was Laura Siegemund of Germany as she faced Kasatkina. Siegemund was having a career tournament making it to the semis at 29-years old before going down to Kasatkina 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 in a two-hour-and-eighteen-minute match.

Siegemund was the tournament’s seed-slayer when she downed No. 3 Venus Williams, No. 15 Lucie Safarova, and No. 8 Anastasija Sevastova before losing to Kasatkina in the semi-finals.

Against Siegemund, Kasatkina played steady tennis even though she dropped the first set. Siegemund successfully used the drop shot the entire tournament but went to the well too many times before the patient Kasatkina marched through the second and third sets.

“So it was a tough, tough match,” Kasatkina said in post match press. “It was more about mental than about the game.”

Eleventh seed 35-year old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni squared off with the second teenager of the day in 19-year old Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, who dismissed No. 5 Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals on Friday.

The veteran Lucic-Baroni took out China’s Shuai Zhang, the 7th seed Kiki Bertens and local hometown favorite Shelby Rogers before facing Ostapenko in the semis.

Lucic-Baroni pushed the teen sensation losing a close match 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 that took a little over two-hours.

Ostapenko had a chance to close out the match in two sets when she was up 5-3 in the second but emotions crept in opening the door for Lucic-Baroni. “I actually was quite emotional in the second set when I was 5-3 up and I couldn’t finish the set, but she liked when I was emotional,” Ostapenko said. “It kind of gave her confidence ’til then.”

Ostapenko collected herself in the third set by keeping her emotions in check gunning it out with the ever battling Lucic-Baroni and finally taking the third set 6-4.

Kasatkina and Ostapenko will face each other at 1 p.m. following double duty by the Latvian Ostapenko. She and her doubles partner Raquel Atawo face the world No. 1 doubles team of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova at 10:30 a.m. for the Volvo Car Open doubles title.


(04/08/17) Fans reap more than a consolation prize at Volvo Car Open
The hometown favorite and other favorites all had gone their way. It wasn't the perfect semifinal Saturday at the Volvo Car Open.

It was even cold, especially cold out of the sunshine that finally revealed itself at mid-afternoon.

But the tennis fans reaped a consolation prize: two three-setters. Everyone appeared to be happy. Of course, they missed Shelby Rogers, Caroline Wozniacki, Venus Williams and others.

But 19-year-olds Daria Kasatkina and Jelena Ostapenko did their best to keep the crowd entertained. In the end, it came down to 35-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni and drop-shot girl Laura Siegemund not being able to keep the ball in play often enough to advance to Sunday's final.

Sunday's crowd?

It's anyone's guess as to what size of crowd will be on hand for the final to watch two unseeded teenagers with a combined world ranking of more than 100. But the crowd turned out big time on Saturday, 9,091 strong.

Fans might have recorded the final round of the Masters and found a way out of Easter egg hunts to watch Wozniacki or Shelby, and Venus, but this is relatively new ground for the tournament on Daniel Island.

It reminds you of the second Family Circle Cup played here when Iva Majoli defeated Patty Schnyder. Or maybe finalist one-time wonders Leila Meskhi (1991) and Barbara Paulus (1996) of Hilton Head Island days.

Girls have potential

But these two girls, Kasatkina and Ostapenko, have a chance maybe to one day shine brightly long term on the WTA Tour, especially Kasatkina.

The Russian might falter in this final, but probably not unless Ostapenko is having a huge day serving. That might be the only way Kasatkina loses.

Kasatkina plays the game almost effortlessly. Forehands and backhands seem to fly off her racket, hitting the deepest corners with high velocity. Hey, she owns two victories over Angelique Kerber.

She had trouble with Laura Siegemund's drop shots in the first set Saturday, but that didn't last in her 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 win over the injured Siegemund. By the second set, Kasatkina was dictating the style of the match.

Dangerous player

Kasatkina also plays intelligent tennis. She plays solid defense, then turns on the pace instantly.

As Siegemund said about Kasatkina on Friday, "It's dangerous if people are very solid and very aggressive at the same time."

That's Kasatkina in a nutshell. She might be playing a patient clay court-style of game one shot, then kick up her left leg and pound a two-handed backhand down the line for a clean winner. Yes, she's dangerous.

She was a quarterfinalist here last year, but is ranked only No. 42 in the world.

And Ostapenko? She's difficult to size up, other than her power. When the Latvian of Russian origin tosses the ball up and makes a funny twist of her face, the opponent better be ready.

Lucic-Baroni was ready as always, but it often didn't make any difference in her 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 loss to Ostapenko.

Lucic-Baroni may have the earliest service return setup on the tour. She's ready to receive the next serve before the server even steps to the line.

5-10 powerhouse

Ostapenko hits great groundstrokes, but not always, judging by her No. 66 ranking. But then again, she's just a kid coached by her mother, who started Jelena out in tennis when she was only 5 years old. The mother (who isn't coaching Jelena here) must be a great coach.

Jelena has grown into a 5-10 powerhouse. Once she learns to keep the ball on the court a little more consistently, the sky's the limit.

A favorite? I pick Kasatkina. Of course, in three sets.


(04/08/17) JEFF HARTSELL: Hey 19! Teen queens Daria Kasatkina, Jelena Ostapenko make Volvo Car Open finals
Daria Kasatkina is not the first teenager to suffer a case of nerves before an important life event — a first date, a driver's test, the prom. Turns out the Volvo Car Open semifinals are no different.

The 19-year-old Russian was so anxious before Saturday's semi against German veteran Laura Siegemund that she felt "frozen" early in the match.

"I was so nervous during the match and before the match," Kasatkina confessed. "Because even though you are trying not to think about these things, they are coming to your head anyway."

With benefit of a stern mid-match lecture from her coach, Kasatkina calmed her nerves long enough to earn her first WTA Tour finals berth with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory.

"Finally, I'm in a final," a relieved Kasatkina told the sun-splashed crowd at Volvo Car Stadium.

Kasatkina was joined in the final by fellow 19-year-old Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, who took out 35-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. Kasatkina, born a month earlier than Ostapenko in 1997, will be the elder in the VCO championship match at 1 p.m. Sunday on Daniel Island.

Ostapenko, ranked No. 66, has faced No. 42 Kasatkina twice as pros, defeating her on clay in 2015 and on grass last year in three sets.

"I think she's kind of defensive player, and I think clay is her favorite surface," said Ostapenko, who will be in her third WTA final. "But I'm just going to try to stay consistent and be aggressive at the same time and just play my game."

Kasatkina wasn't sure who her opponent would be when she met the media, but said it didn't matter.

"It's absolutely same style of play," she said of Ostapenko and Lucic-Baroni, both big hitters. "So whoever wins wins. It doesn't matter. Same style. I don't mind."

Ostapenko, from Latvia, defeated a player in the 11th-seeded Lucic-Baroni who won her first WTA title in 1997 — when she and Kasatkina were born. She suffered her nerves in the second set, as she blew a 5-3 lead to let the 35-year-old Lucic-Baroni back in the match.

"I actually was quite emotional in the second set when I was 5-3 up and I couldn't finish the set," said Ostapenko. "But she liked when I was emotional. It kind of gave her confidence. In the third set, I was just trying to be calm because I think it was tougher for her (when) I didn't show any emotions. It helped me, so I won the third set."

Kasatkina, twice a winner over No. 1 Angelique Kerber this year, demonstrated composure beyond her years against Siegemund, who describes her game as "crafty shots and courage."

The 29-year-old Siegemund demonstrated both in a 3-hour, 3-set win over Venus Williams this week, fighting off two match points. But her array of slices and drop shots did not have staying power against Kasatkina, who is 4-0 in her career against Siegemund, ranked No. 37.

The turning point came when Kasatkina called for her coach after dropping the first set. Tennis Channel cameras picked up Vladimir Platenik urging her on, saying, "You're getting killed!" Kasatkina slammed down her towel, but took the words to heart.

"When I'm frustrated and at a loss on the court, I call him and say, 'Put me on the right way,'" said Kastakina, who knows she needs some tough love at times.

"He's starting to be more tough on me," she said. "Before, I was able to do a lot of things I shouldn't do. Now I'm not able to do this at all."

Kasatkina began mixing up her shots, taking some pace off her usually aggressive groundstrokes and chasing Siegemund around the court. Kasatkina had five break points in the sixth game before getting to the net for a put-away volley and a 4-2 lead, then broke Siegemund again to force a third set.

"She just played it clever," Siegemund said. "She didn't have solutions in the first set, and then the coach came out, obviously gave her some good advice, playing moon balls. And she played really clever. I have to give that credit to her."

Kasatkina rocketed to a 4-0 lead in the third set (winning eight straight games) before Siegemund called for a trainer. Siegemund laid down on a towel as the trainer worked on the back of her right leg. Kasatkina was annoyed at the timing of the medical timeout — before she was set to serve — and hit some serves to stay loose.

Her leg heavily taped, Siegemund immediately earned three break points, but a glaring Kasatkina came back from 0-40 to hold serve, win her ninth straight game and take a commanding 5-0 lead.

“I was down 0-40 on my serve and I thought, 'Okay, your plan worked,'" Kasatkina said.

"I was surprised she was able to call a physio on 4-0 before my serve," she said. "Usually it shouldn't happen. But okay. And I called (my coach) because I was feeling like something's gonna happen now, and it was 0-40 on my serve after that. But I just keep myself in my hands, and it was good."

It's a good bet both teenagers will be nervous on Sunday.

"I don't know what will happen (Sunday)," Kasatkina said. "Never have been in the final. So we will see."


(04/08/17) JEFF HARTSELL: Volvo Car Open Notes: For Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, second career rewarding
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni lost in the Volvo Car Open semifinals on Saturday, but that takes none of the shine off the "second career" the WTA Tour veteran from Croatia is enjoying.

Check this out: Lucic-Baroni will make her debut in the WTA top 20 next week — at age 35.

"It's an amazing accomplishment for sure, especially at this stage of my career and life," she said after dropping a three-set match to 19-year-old Jelena Ostapenko on Saturday. "I'm very proud of my hard work and everything that I've achieved and just want to keep my head down, keep working hard and hopefully just keep improving."

Lucic-Baroni made the semifinals at Wimbledon in 1999 at age 17. Amazingly, she made the semis of another Grand Slam event, the Australian Open, earlier this year at 34.

"I'm really blessed that I'm mature enough and smart enough and have family around me that I was able to get through everything that happened in my life, everything that stood in my way," said Lucic-Baroni, who has won three WTA titles and $3.8 million in her career. "And on top of that, to remain a healthy young adult and to have a successful life, meaning off the court to have a good marriage, happy family and happy and healthy relationships. That's the most important thing of all. And on top of all that to succeed like I'm doing right now, I am really a very lucky girl."

After that Wimbledon semifinal in 1999, Lucic-Baroni's career flatlined. She made the second round of a WTA event only once from 2003 to 2009, and did not play at all in 2006.

Hitting the wall

German veteran Laura Siegemund has a degree in psychology, but her mind could not will her body over the finish line Saturday against 19-year-old Daria Kasatkina.

Two three-hour matches during the week took their toll on Siegemund in Saturday's semifinals. The 29-year-old wilted late in a three-set loss to Russian teenager Daria Kasatkina, losing 10 of the last 11 games.

"The difference is that I had two matches over three hours and she didn't, I think," said Siegemund, who finished the match with her right leg heavily taped. "I just couldn't move anymore.

"The week is a long week, and I'm a really fit player, I think, but she just started giving me no pace at all, and I just started to miss here and there," she said. "My serve started to go down. So in my opinion, that has a physical aspect to it. Very frustrating for me because I was playing really well, and it was like someone unplugging my energy."

Shelby says good-bye

Charleston's Shelby Rogers signed autographs at Volvo Car Stadium before Saturday's semifinals, and said good-bye to her fans on Twitter after a memorable run to the quarterfinals this week. She won three matches before a strained abdominal muscle and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni derailed her run.

"Hate that it had to end this way. I will never forget this week!," she posted. "#Charleston y'all are the best! Time to heal & continue a great clay season!"

Family Time

Like a lot of tourists, Lucic-Baroni finds Charleston a great place to bring your family. She's got her husband, niece and nephew with her this week.

"Charleston is super relaxing and super beautiful," she said. "Altogether, it is the perfect tournament to bring your family. And we're really having a good time outside the court. I play, do my job, and then we go hang out together. So we're having a great time."

Attendance watch

The Volvo Car open drew 6,937 fans for Friday's day session and 7,102 for the night matches, a total of 14,039. That's ahead of last year's total of 13,115 for the same day.

Saturday's semifinals drew 9,091 fans, the best Saturday at the VCO since Serena Williams faced sister Venus in 2013 before 9,538 fans. Last year's Saturday semis drew 8,526 fans.


(04/08/17) BASELINE: VANS SLAS: Return Winners: A look at the 1986 Hilton Head final
One of the sport’s greatest players faced one of its brightest prospects in a history-making match.The Setting

For more than a decade, no one on the women’s tour—or the men’s, for that matter—could match the success that Chris Evert enjoyed on a clay court. In 1985, Evert won the sixth French Open title, extending her dominance on the dirt. Her preparation for a title defense in Paris included the Family Circle Cup in Hilton Head, S.C. By 1986, Evert had won that event eight times since the tournament started in 1973. The top seed breezed through to the final without the loss of a set.

On the other side of the draw, Steffi Graf, the 16-year-old German who’d been storming up the rankings in her brief time as a pro, also made it to the title match without the loss of a set.
The Final

Graf, playing in her seventh career final, had yet to win a tournament. At the onset, it looked like that dubious streak might continue as Evert took a 3-2 lead in the first set. However, relying on her already-dangerous forehand and steady backhand, Graf rallied to take the first set 6-4.

Early in the second set, Evert’s legendary steadiness and resolve—especially on clay—paid off, as she took a 4-0 lead. When it seemed the American was on the verge of pushing the match to a deciding set, Graf took the next five games for a 5-4 lead. Evert managed to tie it at 5-all, but Graf won the next two games after that to clinch the first title of her career, 6-4, 7-5. Not only that, the teen notched her first win against Evert on her best surface.
Notable Numbers

62
Of Evert’s career singles titles up to this 1986 final, 62 came on clay. That alone would place her at No. 7 among most singles titles won from 1973 until now on the WTA Tour.

12
Until the first set of this final, Evert had won 12 consecutive sets from Graf over six matches.

6
In 1983, Graf made her rankings debut at No. 124 as a 13-year-old. By the end of 1985, she was ranked No. 6.


(04/08/17) PREP ZONE: Boys Tennis
ACADEMIC MAGNET 5, WOODLAND 2
Results: Moon, Smith, Nofsinger, and Martin won singles matches. Lehman and Santi won number two doubles.

Records: Academic Magnet remains undefeated in region play. Next: Academic Magnet plays Whale Branch, James Island, and Palmetto Christian the week after spring break.


(04/08/17) TENNIS ATLANTIC: TONY CALLAIO: Veterans vs. Teens: Game On at @VolvoCarOpen Semifinals
From 16 seeds down to one as another day of upsets continued on the clay courts at the Volvo Car Open on Day 5.

Windy conditions again hampered play as two teenagers and two veterans emerged to make it into the semi-finals on Saturday. Eleventh seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, the 35-year old veteran, continues to have a resurgence in her career as she overcame local hometown favorite Shelby Rogers 6-7(7), 6-1, 6-1. Rogers grew up playing on the same courts she battled Lucic-Baroni in the quarterfinals.

Rogers played even with Lucic-Baroni as she took the first set in a tiebreak. “I thought I played really well in the first set, was super patient, kind of weathering the storm,” Rogers said. In post match press, Rogers said she pulled an abdominal muscle the night before against Naomi Osaka.

Lucic-Baroni took over in the second and third sets getting stronger as the match went on. “I really didn’t focus much on her,” Lucic-Baroni said. “I stepped it up a lot and I got really mad at myself after losing that set because I felt like I was there.”

The upset of the day happened when 19-year old Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, ranked 66 in the World, took out the highest seed left, No. 5 Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-4. Ostapenko, making her first trip to Charleston had 40 winners against 26 unforced errors.

“Yeah, I was trying to no make so many unforced errors and still stay aggressive,” Ostapenko said. “That’s the way I play usually and yeah, I think I served pretty well today.”

Germany’s Laura Siegemund continued her hot streak at Charleston by taking out Latvian Anastasija Sevastova 6-2, 6-4 in difficult conditions catapulting her into the semis.

Nineteen-year old Daria Kasatkina took out the 10th seed Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania 6-4, 6-1.

Semi-final action beings on Stadium court at 1 p.m. where Kasatkina will face Siegmund followed by Lucic-Baroni and Ostapenko.

RESULTS – APRIL 7, 2017
Women’s
Singles – Quarterfinals
J. Ostapenko (LAT) d [5] C. Wozniacki (DEN) 62 64
L. Siegemund (GER) d [8] A. Sevastova (LAT) 62 64
D. Kasatkina (RUS) d [10] I. Begu (ROU) 64 61
[11] M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) d S. Rogers (USA) 67(7) 61 61

Women’s
Doubles – Quarterfinals
[1] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE) d J. Brady (USA) / A. Riske (USA) 63 62
A. Groenefeld (GER) / K. Peschke (CZE) d A. Spears (USA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) 75 62

ORDER OF PLAY – SATURDAY, APRIL 8, 2017
VOLVO CAR STADIUM start 1:00 pm
L. Siegemund (GER) vs D. Kasatkina (RUS)
[11] M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) vs J. Ostapenko (LAT)
[1] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE) vs A. Groenefeld (GER) / K. Peschke (CZE)
[4] L. Hradecka (CZE) / K. Siniakova (CZE) vs R. Atawo (USA) / J. Ostapenko (LAT)


(04/07/17) At Volvo Car Open, Lucic-Baroni and injury throw curve at Shelby Rogers
Tennis is a game of bounces like most sports. One day, the ball bounces your way, the next it doesn't.

The ball looks like a basketball one day and a ping pong ball the next. Or even the next set.

Shelby Rogers was seeing the tennis ball like a basketball her middle two matches in the Volvo Car Open. She was hitting the ball as well or better than anyone in the tournament.

Obviously, something changed in Friday's quarterfinals. Apparently, it was a strained abdominal muscle.

But the way Marjana Lucic-Baroni hit the ball or the way the ball came off her racket might have played a role, too.

Lucic-Baroni's quick strokes in Roger Federer fashion may have been part of the reason for Rogers' downfall in the quarterfinals. The way her strokes hug the net with such velocity has to make it difficult on her opponents.

The ball surely had a different look to Rogers on Friday than it had the night before against powerful Naomi Osaka, and even the evening before that against top seed Madison Keys. Rogers dug fastball after fastball out of the clay in those two matches.

But Lucic-Baroni threw curveballs, and Rogers didn't hit them well, especially the last two sets.

First set not pretty

To be truthful, neither player played well in the first set, except for spots, sometimes on big points. Rogers seldom nailed big shot after big shot or her big serve the way she had earlier in the week.

Then it happened, a reversed line call against Rogers in the second game of the second set that changed what would have been a double-break point against Lucic-Baroni to 30-30. Rogers dropped the next 11 games in a 6-7 (7), 6-1, 6-1 loss.

And the court suddenly went shaded from afternoon shadows. By the time the shadows lifted a bit, Rogers was in the land of no return. Her energy appeared to wither away, while her 35-year-old opponent obviously sensed it was her time to take charge.

Of course, Rogers wouldn't blame her loss on not being able to see the ball well or being injured. It was what it was, a loss. A win, in Lucic-Baroni's case.

Even with her heavy sunglasses, Lucic-Baroni said it was difficult to see. But she admitted the sunglasses helped with the glare.

Of course, the shadows didn't seem to affect the Croatian the last two sets.

Fan support

This loss doesn't take anything away from Rogers' great week. Who would have dreamed that a player from Charleston could actually challenge the best players in the world and win all the way to the quarterfinals of the Volvo Car Open?

I don't think I had seen a stadium of fans on Daniel Island come together in the way the crowd came together for Rogers in her comeback first-round victory. It was great.

This tournament will be remembered as the one Shelby Rogers made the quarterfinals. That is, until the hometown girl takes it one step farther and makes the semifinals or final. Or even wins this event. She's close.

Teen party

And now, Lucic-Baroni goes against a player just over half her age, 19-year-old Jelena Ostapenko. And maybe another 19-year-old in the final, Daria Kasatkina of Russia. And don't forget the drop-shot girl, Laura Siegemund.

Of course, it could be just a teen party in the final. No seeds allowed.

At any rate, it will be a Volvo Car Open to remember.

Don't forget the big thunderstorms on Monday and Wednesday nights. I'll never forget being evacuated with the rest of the media from the media tent during Wednesday night's storm and interviewing Shelby Rogers on the stadium concourse as a heavy rain soaked the stadium court.


(04/07/17) JEFF HARTSELL: Charleston's Shelby Rogers, No. 5 seed Caroline Wozniacki out at Volvo Car Open
As she left stadium court, Shelby Rogers turned and blew a kiss to her hometown fans, a wistful look on her face.

Rogers' dream of winning her hometown professional tennis tournament ended Friday.

But just for this year.

Rogers, a Charleston native who once served as a ballgirl at this tournament, certainly proved that she can win the Volvo Car Open one day. Fighting a strained abdominal muscle, the 24-year-old took a tense first set in Friday's quarterfinals before bowing to veteran Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who won 6-7 (7), 6-1, 6-1 at Volvo Car Stadium.

The crowd gave Rogers a supportive cheer as she left the court, having won three straight matches in the best performance at this tournament in her career. She'll pocket $17,858 for the week, and she didn't even need a hotel room.

"I'm happy to share these moments with my hometown," a tearful Rogers said. "I'll be back."

Saturday's semifinals will be a generational battle, with teenagers taking on veterans. Jelena Ostapenko, a 19-year-old Russian who upset fifth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, will face 35-year-old Lucic-Baroni. The other semifinal pits Germany's Laura Siegemund, 29, against Russian teenager Daria Kasatkina.

Ostapenko, ranked No. 66, ripped off 40 winners in a 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 12 Wozniacki, ending a hot streak for the world's former No. 1 player, who made the finals in Miami last week, her third final of the year. Ostapenko converted her fourth match point with an ace, her third of the match.

"If she played like this every day, then I mean she would be No. 1 in the world," said Wozniacki, who had just four unforced errors. "Everything was going in. She was hitting the lines. Everything that could go her way today was going her way."

Said Ostapenko, "I was just trying to not make so many unforced errors and stay aggressive. That's the way I play."

As for Rogers, she fought through a nerve-wracking first set, warding off one set point and finally converting her own third set point in the tiebreak.

"The fans definitely helped me through that first set," Rogers said. "I had some chances, a couple of set points that I didn't get right away, and they kept my energy up. They kept me going. It's unbelievable."

Even with the fans behind her, an ailing Rogers couldn't keep up the pace. Lucic-Baroni, seeded No. 11 and ranked No. 23, cruised through the second and third sets.

"It was beautiful in a way," said Lucic-Baroni, a Croatia native with three tour titles. "It was difficult playing against the crowd, because I mean Shelby is from here. It's normal. It's always tough, but I felt they were very respectful. They were cheering for their home girl."

That Rogers wasn't at her physical best for the fans was frustrating.

"It sucks," she said. "There's no other way to put it really. I fought as hard as I could, but there's not much you can do at that point."

Rogers can add this week to a highlight reel that already includes a quarterfinal run at the French Open, a win over then-No. 4 Simona Halep at the Australian Open and a U.S. Fed Cup team appearance as she heads to Europe for the clay-court season. And the odds that will include a Volvo Car Open title one day are increased.

"That would be amazing one day," she said. "I think last season and matches in the past I've proved to myself that I can play with the top girls in the world. So this is my job, this is what I do. I love it, and I'm going to keep fighting every match, every week."

Rogers is not the only player who made a breakthrough this week.

Siegemund entered the Volvo Car Open with one match victory this year, having lost her opening match in eight of nine events.

After a 6-2, 6-4 win over Anastasija Sevastova at Volvo Car Stadium on Thursday, the 37th-ranked Siegemund is two wins away from her second WTA Tour title. She's won four straight matches here, including a three-set, three-hour battle with Venus Williams.

"That was there all the time," said Siegemund, who toiled for years in tennis' minor leagues. "And I'm really happy that now at this point of my career I can really show what's inside of me."

Kasatkina, 19 and ranked No. 42 in the world, defeated Irina-Camelia Begu 6-4, 6-1 to make her third WTA Tour semifinal. She's seeking her first singles title on tour after making the third round in three Grand Slam events last year.

Kasatkina realized that she needed to change her game last year at the Volvo Car Open, when she lost in three sets to eventual champion Sloane Stephens. At the time, she said "they're going to kill me at the high level" if she didn't change.

"Now I can say that my game is play with the spin and slowly move inside the court, because before I was trying to play really defensive," she said Friday. "I was a defensive player. Now I'm trying to play more aggressive, because the women's tennis is moving this way, so I have to adapt and get used to it."


(04/07/17) JEFF HARTSELL: Volvo Car Open Notes: Shelby Rogers learns to play at home
The home court advantage doesn't always apply in tennis.

Just ask WTA Tour stars Samantha Stosur and Eugenie Bouchard.

Stosur, winner of eight WTA Tour titles, more than $16 million in prize money and the 2011 U.S. Open, has never made it past the fourth round in her "hometown" tournament, the Australian Open. She's lost in the first round the last two years.

Bouchard, from Montreal, has won more than one match in her hometown tournament just once in five appearances. In a 2014 appearance in Montreal, she was memorably hammered by Shelby Rogers, 6-0, 2-6, 6-0.

The pressure and distractions of playing at home often are difficult to overcome.

After crashing out of the Australian Open in 2012, Stosur explained the pressure she feels at home.

“There’s not any other word for it but a total disappointment,” she said. “I really, really wanted to do well here and over the summer. For sure it affects you physically, that’s probably the easiest sign for the outside people to see. You tighten up, your shoulders do get tight, you don’t hit through the ball.”

Rogers, who grew up in Charleston and was a ballgirl at this tournament when it was the Family Circle Cup, has felt that pressure here on Daniel Island. Yet she's made the home court advantage work for her this week in a run to the Volvo Car Open quarterfinals.

"It's been great. The support is so nice," Rogers said. "I get to sleep in my own bed. My family is here. I get home-cooked meals, I mean things that we don't get all year long. We're in a different hotel, a different city every single week. So I'm a little bit spoiled. It's almost too nice. I gotta really focus and stay motivated, yeah."

Learning to play well at home has been a process, she said.

"You know, it's always been a little bit tough for me to play here, and so it's all been worth it," she said. "I've learned a lot; the experience has been great, and I've matured a little bit and now I get to enjoy it."

Things that might have been distractions — such as friends wanting tickets — have become a joy.

"I just love my family and friends so much, and they're texting me every day, 'if you have tickets, please leave me some,'" she said. "I'm like, oh, my gosh, of course; come out and watch me. I want you to be there with me. And I just love it. They stayed through the cold and the late nights. I mean it's humbling."

In like a lion

After beating Shelby Rogers on Friday, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni spoke to the fans and compared the swirling winds at Volvo Car Stadium to the king of the jungle — or something like that.

"I was trying to say I would rather play in normal conditions with a lion running around than playing in this much wind," she said. "I don't know. In my head it made sense. I was trying to be funny. I'm not funny. My husband says I'm not."

Scouting report

Laura Siegemund is 0-3 against her semifinal opponent, Daria Kasatkina. Her scouting report on Kasatkina, a 19-year-old Russian:

"She's very solid," Siegemund said. "It's dangerous if people are very solid and very aggressive at the same time, like they're aggressive but they don't miss. So that's a bad combination. For her it's a good combination. For the opponent it's tough."

Barry White of tennis

Fans at the Volvo Car Open want to know — who is that referee with the voice?

That would be Frenchman Kader Nouni, known in some quarters as the "Barry White of tennis."

Nouni's deep voice reminds some of White, the soul singer known for hits such as "Can't Get Enough of Your Love."

Nouni grew up in southern France and by 16 was a linesman at the French Open. He's been a professional referee on the WTA and ATP tours since 2005, and is often asked for autographs by star-struck fans.


(04/07/17) PREP ZONE: Boys Tennis
STRATFORD 4, FORT DORCHESTER 3

Singles: Wong d. Varner 6-1, 6-0. Shope (FD) d. Hoffman 6-1, 6-4. Ho (FD) d. Crawford 7-6 (0), 6-3. McCrackin d. C. Westbrooke 5-7, 6-4 (6). Sides d. Tran 6-2, 6-3. Doubles: Wong/Sides d. C. Westbrooke 6-4, 6-0. N. Westbrooke/Nguyen (FD) d. Rains/Moorer 6-3, 6-3.

Records: Fort Dorchester 4-10 (1-9). Stratford 5-5. Next: Fort Dorchester at Goose Creek April 18th. Stratford hosts James Island April 17th.

WANDO 5, JAMES ISLAND 1
Singles: Healey (JI) d. Shaw 6-2, 6-0. Johnson d. Evans by forfeit. Bumgarner d. Alexander 6-1, 6-0. Smyth d. Aa. Cox 6-2, 6-0. Williams d. Ar. Cox 6-2, 6-0. Doubles: Brahen/Daniel d. Gentilin/Kiser 6-2, 6-0.


(04/07/17) TENNIS ATLANTIC: Big Day for @Shelby_Rogers_ & @LauraSiegemund as @VolvoCarOpen Field Pared to Eight
Big Day for @Shelby_Rogers_ & @LauraSiegemund as @VolvoCarOpen Field Paired to Eight
Tony Callaio and Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic

After a wacky Wednesday with lots of upsets, top remaining seed Caroline Wozniacki had to win twice in one of the windiest days in Charleston memory, which was impressive enough. But the real surprises continued to come from homegrown hero Shelby Rogers and the breakout Laura Siegemund, who advanced to the quarterfinals of the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, South Carolina.

A day after beating Venus Williams in three sets the day before, Siegemund made short work of Lucie Safarova, 6-2, 6-3 in 80 minutes. The punchy German came out swinging and never let up. “I wanted to be aggressive right away…I think she was surprised how aggressive I came out”, she told Tennis Channel immediately after the victory. She’ll face 8 seed Anastasija Sevastova in the second match after 1:00 p.m.

Shelby Rogers also made short work of her opponent, Naomi Osaka, in the nightcap. Rogers advanced to the Volvo Car Open quarters in 89 minutes in a 6-4, 6-2 home-court win. The venerable Mirjana Lucic-Baroni awaits Rogers in a match to be played after the conclusion of the Siegemund-Sevastova contest.

Begu upended Stosur 7-5, 6-3 when the winds kicked in creating rough conditions for the players. Stosur commented on the conditions in her post match press, “I mean if it’s like this at home, I don’t hit or go outdoors because it’s very hard to get any sort of rhythm.”

Conditions stayed gusty all afternoon into the evening with windy conditions promised for Friday’s action.

Wozniacki ended up doing double duty on the day when she had her regularly scheduled round of 16 match had to be played after she dispatched Beck in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1. She took on qualifier Anastasia Rodionova defeating her soundly 6-2, 6-3.

In other action, Sevastova d. Jabeur 7-5, 7-6(6); Ostapenko d. Stollar 6-1, 1-0 ret.; Lucic-Baroni d. Bertens 7-6(5), 6-4; Kasatkina d. Gavrilova 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.

ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, APRIL 7, 2017
VOLVO CAR STADIUM start 10:45 am
A. Groenefeld (GER) / K. Peschke (CZE) vs A. Spears (USA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO)

Not Before 1:00 pm
[10] I. Begu (ROU) vs D. Kasatkina (RUS)
[8] A. Sevastova (LAT) vs L. Siegemund (GER)
S. Rogers (USA) or N. Osaka (JPN) vs [11] M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO)

Not Before 7:00 pm
J. Ostapenko (LAT) vs [5] C. Wozniacki (DEN)
[1] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE) or [WC] E. Halbauer (USA) / S. Kenin (USA) vs J. Brady (USA) / A. Riske (USA)


(04/06/17) JEFF HARTSELL: Volvo Car Open Notes: Players struggle with wind
After Wednesday night's storms blew through the Lowcountry, players at the Volvo Car Open found a new opponent Thursday on the courts of the Family Circle Tennis Center.

Wind. And lots of it.

Gusting breezes played havoc with shots Thursday, as 2010 VCO champ Samantha Stosur can attest.

Stosur, seeded sixth here and ranked No. 17, could not handle the wind as well as her opponent, Irina-Camelia Begu, at Volvo Car Stadium. Begu, ranked No. 33, took a 7-5, 6-3 victory in the players' first meeting to advance to the third round.

"That's probably as hard as it gets," said Stosur, a 33-year-old Aussie. "I mean if it's like that at home, I don't hit or go indoors, because it's very hard to get any sort of rhythm. And obviously it's hard for both of us, but yeah, I just felt like she was able to get the ball through the court a little bit more and really have me on the back foot, which made life really difficult."

During Stosur's match, one wind gust was so intense that it blew down the Tennis Channel sign on the front of the photographers' box while kicking up big dust from the clay court.

Daria Kasatkina survived the wind for a three-set win over her good friend, Daria Gavrilova.

"Today was very tough to play," she said. "You go on court, you are tossing the ball for the serve and it goes in the (stadium). It was very difficult and I was playing against my very good friend, so it was like double portion of toughness."

Laura Siegemund reached into her German vernacular to describe the conditions after a straight set win over Lucie Safarova.

"It was very hard. How can you deal with that?" she said. "I mean it was unpredictable today. The wind was changing in that kettle. That's how we say it in German. And yeah, you kind of have to accept a lot of weird things happening."

Psych job

Siegemund has a degree in psychology, and one day hopes to be a sports psychologist. The 29-year-old should have plenty of clients if she can teach the kind of mental toughness she showed in Wednesday's upset of tennis legend Venus Williams.

Siegemund backed up that win with a 6-2, 6-3 dismissal of No. 15 seed Safarova to make the quarterfinals.

"It helps you to understand things better, maybe," she said of her degree from the University of Hagen in Germany. "But you know, what you use in a match like that, the pressure you feel, the doubts you have, all that kind of stuff, that's really very tennis specific also. I think that comes from experience more than from, you know, reading books. That's really knowing yourself and how you did in good matches and how you did in matches that didn't go so well."

Doubles duty

The wild-card team of former Charleston junior Ellie Halbauer and fellow teen Sofia Kenin of Pembroke Pines, Fla., lost to the top-seeded doubles team of Lucie Safarova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 6-3, 6-2, out on the Althea Gibson Club Court.

Rodionova and WTT

Anastasia Rodionova was not only the last qualifier and the second-oldest player still standing late Thursday afternoon in the Volvo Car Open, the Australian was one of the stars of the last World Team Tennis match at Family Circle Tennis Center in 2012. She played for the Washington Kastles when they capped a second straight unbeaten season with a WTA title.

Rodionova played for the Kastles on the same Billie Jean King Court where she played Caroline Wozniacki in the round of 16 on Thursday. Rodionova is now 34 years old, second only to 35-year-old quarterfinalist Mirjana Lucic-Baroni among the round of 16 participants.

Of course, the oldest player in the main draw was 36-year-old Venus Williams, who happened to be the WTT Finals MVP that year. Rodionova and Williams teamed up for the key doubles win in the those finals.

Daria twins

Daria, meet Daria. Daria Kasatkina of Russia and Daria Gavrilova of Australia not only share the same first name, they are doubles partners and they faced each other in Thursday's round of 16.

Kasatkina won that matchup, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0, over her good friend to advance to a quarterfinal meeting on Friday against 10th seed Irina-Camelia Begu of Rhodesia. The two Darias also play similar baseline styles.

Attendance Watch

Wednesday's day matches drew 6,333 fans, down from last year's figure of 7,005 for the day session, but not bad considering the dire forecast. Wednesday's night session was canceled due to weather.

On Thursday, the VCO drew 6,360 fans for the day session and 6,145 for the night session, the total of 12,505 ahead of last year's total of 12,017 for the same sessions.


(04/06/17) Caroline Wozniacki does double duty to advance to Volvo Car Open quarterfinals
Caroline Wozniacki might not be quite the poster girl of women's tennis she was six years ago when she won the Family Circle Cup.

But only a little has changed in the tennis game that carried the blond-haired Dane to the world's No. 1 ranking, even though she's now ranked 12th in the world.

Wozniacki, at No. 5 the highest seed remaining in the tournament, did double duty Thursday to advance to the Volvo Car Open quarterfinals, winning twice on a windy Thursday at Volvo Car Stadium.

After polishing off unseeded Annika Beck of Germany, 7-5, 6-1, at midday, she came back under the lights and won the first four games against 34-year-old No. 669 Anastasia Rodionova of Australia before ending the dreams of the tournament's last qualifier, 6-3, 6-3.

Wozniacki is the only one of the top seven seeds left in the VCO field, and the only one of five former champions.

Wozniacki also jumped out to a 4-0 lead against Beck. The only moments of concern for Wozniacki in either match came when the score went to 5-5 against Beck. The Denmark star then held service at 40-15 and broke Beck at love to wrap up the first set.

"It was tough conditions to play in this wind, a little chilly tonight as well and then playing someone who doesn't give you any rhythm," Wozniacki said about the night match against Rodionova.

"I missed a few opportunities to kind of break her or hold serve, and then it got a little bit closer than it should have. I think when it's windy like this, it definitely evens out the playing field."

Wozniacki doesn't think the two matches in one day will have any effect on the way she plays in the quarterfinals. She said she took a half-hour nap in the players' lounge between matches.

"I think I am well prepared for tomorrow. I got some clay tennis in today and feel like I'm just going to go out there and have fun and do my best and see how it goes," she said.

Wozniacki has played a lot of tennis this year. The VCO is her eighth tournament, and she's made three finals, including last week in Miami.

"I don't want to think about it too much because I think once I start thinking about it, I'm going to mentally get really tired and drained," said Wozniacki, who has won 25 career titles. "So right now I just keep pushing through, and I know I'm going to have a break after this, so that's nice to think about. So I'm just going to give it all I have for this tournament, try and go all the way, and then I can take a well-deserved break after."

It was a nightmarish day in the wind for 2010 champion Samantha Stosur, the sixth seed this time. She lost by 7-5, 6-3 to No. 10 seed Irina Camelia Begu. And that came after such a sharp display in a night match on Tuesday.

But the Aussie's game depends heavily on precision, thunderous serves, heavy top-spin forehands and slice backhands. None of those worked consistently in the stiff wind that had the flag overhead flying straight out.

"I'd feel like I'd hit it really well and it would go two meters long," Stosur said. " I just felt like she was able to stay on the baseline more today than what I was, and really kind of push me back and then be in more control."

Begu, more of a flat-ball hitter, had some trouble with the wind, but nothing like Stosur. Stosur did have a chance to win the first set after taking a 5-4 lead, but the former U.S. Open champion netted a hard forehand that could have sent the 10th game to deuce. Begu, who has been a quarterfinalist in her only two appearances here, survived the long 11th game to break Stosur, and then served out the set at love.

Stosur was broken in the first game of the second set, and never recovered.

"I'm obviously pretty disappointed not to have gotten through it, even so . . . there are only a few things that you can take from it and not necessarily think I had a bad day today," Stosur said. "It's just tough in the conditions. But there are obviously things that you need to be able to do better when it's like this."

It also was a bad day for another pair of qualifiers, who played back-to-back on the Althea Gibson Club Court. Lucky loser Ons Jabeur of Tunisa had the misfortune of playing No. 8 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Lativa after winning two rounds in the main draw. Sevastova prevailed, 7-5, 7-6 (6).

Ostrapenko reaped the benefit of a retirement by big-serving qualifier Fanny Stollar of Hungary after Ostrapenko had taken a 6-1, 1-0 lead.

Drop-shot happy Laura Siegemund, the talented German who less than two months ago retired from a Fed Cup dead rubber doubles match against Shelby Rogers because of a bad right shoulder, frustrated 15th-seeded left-hander Lucie Safarova with drop shots for a rather easy 6-2, 6-3 victory.

The unseeded Siegemund now faces Sevastova in the quarterfinals.

"I don't think I played so many drop shots," said the scrappy Siegemund. "I don't think (they were effective). I mean I'd have to look at the video. But I don't think today I played so many, and I don't think it worked so well, but maybe I'm wrong.

"In general I think I played very aggressive today and put a lot of pressure on her at the beginning of the points . . .and the drop shot, of course, is always a weapon. Yeah, but today I really dominated."

No. 11 seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia also advanced to the quarters with a 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over seventh seed Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, while in a stadium court battle of unseeded players, 19-year-old Daria Kasatkina of Russia defeated doubles partner Daria Gavrilova of Australia, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.


(04/06/17) JEFF HARTSELL: Charleston's Shelby Rogers sails into Volvo Car Open quarterfinals
When Shelby Rogers was a kid, simply practicing on the stadium court at the Family Circle Tennis Center was a thrill. The promising junior would hit balls on the green clay, stare up at the seats and dream of winning her hometown tournament.

Suddenly, Rogers is just three matches away from making that dream come true.

The Charleston native advanced to the quarterfinals of the Volvo Car Open — where she served as a ballgirl when the tournament was known as the Family Circle Cup — with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Japanese teenager Naomi Osaka.

"I remember even just getting to practice on stadium court was the coolest thing ever," the 52-ranked Rogers said Thursday night. "I'd visualize myself being in the tournament, and I think moments like that are really cool. I hope I'm inspiring other kids here to really dream big and want to do that themselves."

The 24-year-old Rogers will face No. 11 seed Maria Lucic-Baroni, a 35-year-old from Croatia, in Thursday's quarters. They've played only once, with Lucic-Baroni claiming a 6-4, 6-4 victory earlier this year on hardcourts in Acapulco.

Lucic-Baroni, ranked No. 23 with three WTA Tour titles to her credit, was one of the veterans who took Rogers under her wing when she first appeared on tour. Lucic-Baroni has played well this year, losing to Serena Williams in the Australian Open semifinals and making the semis at Acapulco.

"She's so confident right now. She's enjoying it," Rogers said of her foe. "She's the most amazing person off the court. I respect her so much. I remember first coming on tour and kind of meeting her, and I remember her being so welcoming and just honest and just a great personality."

On a cold and breezy night at Volvo Car Stadium, Rogers started well against Osaka, jumping to a 3-1 lead. The 5-11 Osaka, a hard-hitter who followed her older sister into the game just as Rogers did, hung in to get to 5-4. There, Rogers fought off a couple of break points and took the set when Osaka missed long.

Rogers broke Osaka's serve early in the second set for a 2-1 lead. She warded off a break point in the fourth game, held with a service winner for 3-1 and closed out the second set at 6-2, throwing her racket in the air at match point.

For the match, she had 32 winners and just 14 unforced errors, saving seven of eight break points and winning 68 points to 56 for Osaka.

"I knew it was going to be windy, so I was trying to keep first serve percentage high, hit big targets," Rogers said. "She's a really tricky player. I had to do a lot of defending and digging out some really tough balls."

Rogers' history at this tournament dates back to when she was a ball girl at the Family Circle Cup, a tournament won four times by her tennis idol, Steffi Graf. Once, she received a kiss on the cheek from Jennifer Capriati.

"It was just like this Cinderella story, and I didn't wash my face," Rogers said. "No, I'm kidding."

Rogers won the Junior Family Circle Cup in 2010 when she was 17, which got her into qualifying for the big tournament. She lost to Christina McHale, and failed to qualify again in 2012 and 2013. In 2011 and 2014, she received wildcards into the main draw, but lost to Jill Craybas and Daniela Hantuchova.

The first breakthrough came in 2015 with her first main-draw win on Daniel Island, a 6-3, 6-1 win over Silvia Soler-Espinosa. In the second round, she fell to another Spainiard, Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Then came the disappointment of last year's first-round loss to Lara Arruabarrena. Rogers was so distraught that she left stadium court without acknowledging her cheering fans, later apologizing to them.

There was no need for apology Thursday, as Rogers' third victory this week thrilled the hometown fans.

"It's still kind of hard to believe. I don't think it's sunk in quite yet," she said. "It's so special. I mean I've been trying for years, coming here, trying my hardest — like too hard, I think. You know, it's always been a little bit tough for me to play here, and so it's all been worth it."


(04/06/17) TENNIS ATLANTIC: TONY CALLAIO: Wild Wednesday as @FannyStollar Shocks Vesnina, @Shelby_Rogers_ Rocks Keys at @VolvoCarOpen
It was a day when the rain never came, until it did. Many higher-ranked players and Americans probably prayed for the rain to come to the Volvo Car Open in the second and third sets of their matches to allow them to regroup mentally, but it didn’t.

The result? What tournament officials would privately consider a disaster: Americans Venus Williams, Madison Keys and Bethanie Mattek-Sands bowed out, as well as fan favorites Monica Puig and 2016 runner-up Elena Vesnina. The rain finally came, postponing the night session and dropping penny-sized hail nearby.

There were at least two silver linings in those storm clouds. Fanny Stollar, virtually unknown before the weekend, was the player to beat Vesnina and enter the round of 16. Having qualified for her first WTA tour event over the weekend, Stollar has now beaten Asia Muhammad and world #13 Elena Vesnina and will face Ostapenko today. And she really didn’t have any time to soak it in.

A jubilant Stollar of Hungry walked into the Media Center for post match press all smiles as she had just completed the biggest victory of her career when she knocked off No.4 seed Russian Elena Vesnina in a stunning upset 7-6(7), 7-6(3).

Stellar, ranked 282 in the world, dispatched Vesnina in the 2:05 match.

“It really feels good (to win), but it’s still not done, so I can’t be so happy about it because the next one is coming up,” said Stollar. “I just felt really calm and confident right now. So I don’t have any pressure on me at all. I’m just having fun and playing.”

Though local fans would surely lament the loss of Madison Keys to the tournament, if someone had to do it, let it be Shelby. They got their wish as the hometown girl at her home tournament, dubbed “Ms. Roger’s Neighborhood” by Bethanie Mattek-Sands, made the most of the home-court advantage. Despite offering Keys chances to stick around, the listless top seed was no match for Rogers in a 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 runaway train ride. Rogers gets Naomi Osaka today and the winner gets Lucic-Baroni or Bertens. There is a real opportunity for Rogers to advance deep into her own neighborhood.

If you listened to Keys and Williams at their press conferences on Monday, neither seemed to have a lot of fire in their belly. For Keys, it’s a slow recovery. For Venus, it’s just the grind of the tour. She jokingly(?) said it was her third time in Charleston, when it was actually her ninth. A senior moment?


(04/05/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: Volvo Car Open ...The Showdown Continues!
Fun Facts About The Volvo Car Open
By: Jim Edwards

What does it take to put on Daniel Island’s biggest show of the year? Before any of the 70 plus international tennis players taking part in the Volvo Car Open hit the courts, or the 90,000 spectators take their seats, about 12 months’ worth of planning is needed to prepare for North America’s largest women’s only tennis tournament. Here’s a look at the event - “by the numbers.”

• 4 miles of phone and Internet wiring is used to operate the tournament
• 9 miles of ticket stock is required to print all of the tickets
• 400+ racquets will be strung/restrung for players
• 500+ volunteers assist with running the event
• 7,200 tennis balls are used throughout the tournament
• 12,000 feet of string will be used on player racquets (2 ¼ miles of string)
• 35,000 sq. feet of tented area is constructed on-site
• 375+ hours of practice will occur on the practice courts
• 2,000+ t-shirts sold
• 1,000+ gallons of draft beer, 450+ gallons of wine, 1,000+ gallons of bottled water, 3,000+ gallons of soda, 300+ gallons of coffee, 100+ gallons of Bloody Mary mix sold
• 300+ pounds of popcorn sold
• 500+ feet of hot dogs sold
• 7 tractor trailers of food
• 34,000 pounds of ice
• 200 food and beverage/retail employees are hired to work the event
• 3,800 chicken sandwiches or 950 pounds of chicken breasts
• 4,000 burgers or 1,000 pounds of burger meat
• 3,200 salads or 102,400 ounces (by volume) of salads.


(04/05/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: The grind behind the glamour
Volvo Car Open stars share insights about the life of a traveling tennis pro
By: Charlie Morrison

The life of a female professional tennis player can be pretty glamorous stuff. The flights, the exotic international tour dates, the camera-toting media members at their tournaments - all signals to the casual sports fan in America that to make the tour is to live a life of glitz, fortune, and fame. And for the world’s best players, to some extent it is.

When the top seeds of the Volvo Car Open sat down with reporters at an “All Access Media Hour” on Monday at the Daniel Island Club, the subject of social media status and celebrity was a topic of discussion. Over the years, Daniel Islanders and Charleston area residents have certainly joined their global counterparts in feeding the celebrity fire with energized fans seeking autographs, snuggling up with players for selfies and stalking their social media feeds for the next potential “chance” encounter.

But for the players we spoke with on Monday, the VCO represents only one chapter, be it a pretty one, of what is the epic tale of adventure they experience each season on the international tour.

“It’s not easy, especially I think in women’s tennis and women’s sports,” said WTA tour member and Volvo Car Open No. 4 seed Elena Vesnina of Russia. “It’s not easy for us because we’re changing countries, adjusting to things like the jet lag and the different surfaces. I think tennis is the only sport in the world where we change the countries we’re playing in, the surfaces we’re playing on and the cities we visit.”

“We play in super-hot conditions, then we go to dry conditions like Indian Wells, then we go to Miami where it’s humid,” Vesnina continued. “Then we go to Charleston where it’s green clay, a different surface your body needs to address from different movements. So yeah, it’s not easy.”

“It can be exhausting,” said top-ranked Volvo Car Open player Madison Keys of the U.S. “Last year, at the end of Singapore I could not wait to get on a plane to go home and not look at a tennis racket for a while… but it’s what we do.”

For Dutch-born pro and VCO No. 7 seed Kiki Bertens, time spent with those she loves is what matters most.

“I don’t get home much but if I’m home I’m always visiting my parents first,” said Bertens. “My friends and family are really important to me. I really appreciate things when I’m home. My friends are starting to have kids now, that’s also something I really want, not right now but in the future. If your people around you are going to have that you really think about it…And also you want to see them a little bit more, see how the kids are growing up. But right now, I’m still happy to be on tour and playing.”

Russian-born rising star Daria Gavrilova has already mastered her best defense from a life lived from city to city - her personality.

“I’m pretty easy-going so I don’t get depressed, ever,” said the World No. 27 player of Australia. “I guess I find positives in everything. But I do hate packing, that’s all. And I don’t like planes, but it’s only a few hours after which I can get pretty good food at a pretty good hotel.”

Last week’s Miami Open winner Johanna Konta said she likes travel the least and the competition the most. She also said that when she is home in Great Britain, she prefers to eat home-cooked meals.

“I just like being at home,” said Konta, who had to bow out of the Volvo Car Open before starting play due to a shoulder injury.

For 15-year WTA professional Samantha Stosur, long flights are just a simple fact of life in the world of pro tennis. Then again Stosur, a native of Australia, has never known anything different.

“We know that for us being from Australia, every single time we go away it’s going to be a long flight, you’re going to have the jet lag and everything else to deal with,” she said. “I’ve been doing that since I was 15, so it’s one of those things you don’t start complaining about - otherwise what are you going to do?”

“You know, a lot of unexpected things will happen,” said American tennis hero and Volvo Car Open No. 3 seed Venus Williams. “It’s fun to play in the States, because there’s not as many opportunities as there used to be. It’s always nice to get home and have the home crowd. I relish that moment.”


(04/05/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: A memorial tribute to long-time VCO fan Heda Van Deventer
By: Deborah Bailey

For 26 years, tennis fan Heda Van Deventer was a fiery, funny fixture in the stands of the Volvo Car Open tournament, formerly known as the Family Circle Cup. Unfortunately, this year Mrs. Van Deventer will be missed. Mrs. Van Deventer or “Heda Tennis” as she was known to her family, passed away in January at age 89.

The Washington D.C.-area native began attending the tournament when it was known as the Virginia Slim’s Classic in 1980. Over the years, Heda followed the event to all of its venues throughout the South from Richmond, VA to its current Daniel Island home.

“She never missed a year,” said her daughter Anne Wheeler of Myrtle Beach. “Even if she had to watch the finals from her wheelchair, my mother was front and center, laughing and living it up at this tournament.”

Van Deventer was a fierce competitor in her own right, says her daughter Emily Anstead of Maryland.

“She began playing tennis in her early 40’s as a way to escape her six children,” Anstead joked. “It quickly became her passion. She played tennis like she did everything in her life, with joy, verve and dedication.”

Heda played competitively for more than 40 years until her last double’s match at age 85.

“Three weeks prior to her death, my mother expressed regret that she would not be using her tickets to the Volvo Car tournament,” said Anstead. “It was sad, but also wonderful that her passion for tennis - and this event - remained undiminished until the end.”

Anstead continued, “I have no doubt my mom is cheering for her favorite players from heaven right now.”


(04/05/17) JEFF HARTSELL: Volvo Car Open Notes: Charleston's Shelby Rogers steps into fashion world
When does a rising young player realize she's made it on the WTA Tour?

A quarterfinal run in the French Open? A Grand Slam victory over the No. 4 player in the world? Playing for your country in the Fed Cup?

Those are all great milestones, but perhaps the moment comes when a player starts talking fashion at post-match press conferences. If that's the standard, then Charleston's Shelby Rogers has made it.

Rogers, 24, modeled an eye-catching jacket after her three-set victory over Veronica Cepede Royg on Tuesday, and was happy to plug her new sponsor.

"So this is from my new sponsor, Diadora," she said. "I have a couple different colors. Earlier on court, I was wearing a blue one. But it's an Italian company; they're coming back in tennis. I signed with them this year in January."

The sparkling black and white jacket was definitely fashion-forward for Rogers, who upset top-seeded Madison Keys on Wednesday to make the VCO's third round.

"It's a little out of my comfort zone, but I'm liking it," she said. "I'm getting used to it.

"But no, fashion is fun. I think when we step on court, it's another chance for us to show our personality a little bit, so I'm happy to be working with Diadora, and you'll see a few more fun things later this year."

It's just another sign that Rogers, ranked No. 52 with almost $1.5 million in career earnings, has progressed from hoping for a Tour career to living one.

"I feel like I belong here. I feel like this is my job," she said. "This is what I do. And every week, I'm going to fight to win that next match. I don't feel like I'm trying to break through anymore. I've been in the Top 50. It's just a matter of getting to the next level, taking care of those little details and being more consistent through the whole season.

"So far this year it's been really good. I haven't lost first round in any of my events. I've beaten some great players, and I feel like I know exactly how I want to play. I've established the kind of player I am. So yeah, I think I've matured a lot. I think I've come a long way. But still, a long way to go. I mean Roger Federer is still getting better. So we all have things to improve upon."

The doubles team of Andrea Petkovic and Jelena Jankovic, both former singles champions at this tournament, had to withdraw from the Volvo Car Open on Wednesday. They withdrew due to a left knee injury suffered by Petkovic, according to tournament officials.

Petkovic won the tournament in 2014, and Jankovic was the champ in 2007.

Travelogue

What is life like for a promising young tennis player? If Fanny Stollar is an example, you travel.

Rising star Stollar, an 18-year-old from Hungary ranked No. 282, explained her early training itinerary after her upset of No. 14 Elena Vesnina on Wednesday.

"Well, when I was 13, I went to California," she said. "From there, went back to Hungary, and then I trained at The Netherlands. Then I was with IMG already, so I decided to go (to Florida), and I was there like two and a half years, and then I decided to move to Boca, so that's where my base is right now."


(04/05/17) Charleston's Shelby Rogers upsets No. 1 seed Madison Keys at Volvo Car Open
Shelby Rogers demonstrated again on Wednesday that she belongs on the big stage of women's tennis.

The hometown girl is for real. Just ask Volvo Car Open top seed Madison Keys.

Rogers completely dominated the big-hitting Keys in the last two sets for a 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory in Volvo Car Stadium. The win advanced Rogers, ranked No. 52, into her first round of 16 appearance in the Daniel Island tournament — where she once served as a ball girl — on Thursday night against No. 49 Naomi Osaka of Japan.

Rogers even seemed to control the weather. Rain started falling almost immediately after she left Volvo Car Stadium, as play was suspended for the night in the face of heavy rain and a thunderstorm.

"It's pretty incredible. I am so happy that I get to come back and play another match," said Rogers, 24. "I felt like I played a lot better tonight. She (Keys) is aggressive and a strong, powerful player. She always goes for it."

"I felt like in the first set I had the right game plan. I did what I needed to do and it worked. I was constructing points pretty well. I was executing pretty well. I had that weird line call right there (serving at 40-15, up 4-3 in the first set). I let it get away from me. I had to stop and reset. I said 'Okay, you are doing things right. Keep working it'."

Rogers was in control of most of the 96-minute match. She actually out-hit the always go-for-broke Keys, one of her good friends on the WTA Tour.

Rogers, who grew up near the Family Circle Tennis Center, went on a 10-game winning streak after the second game of the second set until the sixth game of the final set.

The difference was Rogers' consistency, even while out-hitting the 11th-ranked Keys.

Keys served up four aces, but she also had seven double faults. Rogers didn't have a single double fault.

Rogers only experienced trouble when Keys put her first serve into play. When she didn't, Rogers won 79 percent of the return points.

Unlike the dramatic ending to her two-day, two-tiebreaker, three-set first-round victory over Veronica Cepede Royg, Rogers was relatively calm after her second-round success. After hugging Keys at the net, Rogers ran across the court to hug her parents and coach. She said she also had an uncle, cousin and her sister Sabra in attendance.

Later, she took a selfie video with a throng of cheering fans to post on Twitter.

Rogers leads Osaka, 19, by 2-0 in head-to-head meetings, but both straight-set wins (one on clay and one on hard surface) came in U.S. Pro Circuit events in 2013 and 2015.

"It's a great win, but ultimately you've got to reset and look forward to the next one. The atmosphere will be great. I'm playing Osaka and she's another powerful player. I have to do a little defense," Rogers said.

After Rogers allowed Keys to recover from a 0-3 start and eventually win the first set, the Charleston touring pro yielded only the second game in the second set. After that, she was lights out all the way to 5-0 in the third set.

In that final game, she clinched the victory on her second match point when Keys blasted a forehand service return long and then netted a forehand.

Rogers has pulled off several big wins in the last year, including making the quarterfinals at last year's French Open and then defeating then No. 4 Simona Halep in this year's Australian Open.

"I've had some great wins against top players like that. But it's not easy in front of your home crowd. It's pretty special. Friends and family were here, my first real night match here," she said.

Keys had nothing but praise for her Rogers.

"I mean she was all over my serve today," Keys said. "So I felt like that let me down, and I think she served well. And I feel like I just stopped doing what I should have. I feel like I did a pretty good job to get back in the first set, and I feel like I just stopped doing it, and then it kind of all slipped away from me pretty quick."

Can Rogers go all the way and win her first WTA title?

"I think so,” Keys said. “I think she's playing really well, and if she returns like she did today, she definitely can.”


(04/05/17) JEFF HARTSELL: Venus Williams ousted, teenager Fanny Stollar surprises at Volvo Car Open
In the end, Venus Williams could only smile and shrug.

One drop shot too many from her sturdy foe, German veteran Laura Siegemund, made the difference at the end of a three-hour battle. Venus pushed her return long, and for the first time in her career, she had lost her opening match on Daniel Island.

"Could be the best match she'll ever play in her life, honestly," the seven-time Grand Slam champion said after Siegemund, ranked No. 37, took a 6-4, 6-7 (3), 7-5 win at Volvo Car Stadium. "I basically won the match, but still lost."

The crowd gave Williams, who won here in 2004, a rousing cheer as she departed — at age 36, who knows if Venus will be back again to play in Charleston?

But on the same day, a new name burst onto the world's tennis stage.

Teenager Fanny Stollar, ranked No. 282 in the world, pulled off a shocker with a 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3) upset of No. 14 Elena Vesnina on an outside court. Later, Charleston's Shelby Rogers pulled off another upset, knocking out No. 1 seed Madison Keys by 4-6, 6-1, 6-1. Play was suspended due to weather before No. 5 seed Caroline Wozniacki's night match against Annika Beck.

Stollar, 18, is a qualifier from Hungary who has won all of $5,390 on the WTA Tour this year, and $35,696 for her career. In Vesnina, Stollar knocked off a player who won at Indian Wells just last month for her third WTA title, and who has earned more than $10 million in her career.

Stollar, so new to the scene that the WTA Tour website didn't have a picture of her Wednesday, took the biggest win of her career so far in stride.

"It feels really good, but it's still not done," said Stollar, who is 5-foot-8 and known for a powerful serve. "So I can't be so happy about it because the next one is coming up."

Stollar has trained at the famed IMG Academy in Florida, and won the junior Wimbledon doubles title in 2015. She's also played Fed Cup for Hungary.

Despite her youth, Stollar displayed a mature self-confidence in out-dueling Vesnina in a match that lasted two hours and five minutes. Stollar pounded out 13 aces and won 68 percent of her first-serve points against Vesnina, who herself came out of qualifying to make the VCO finals last year.

"If I can believe it, you know, like in the first game, I really had to believe it that I can beat her," said Stollar, who already has earned almost as much at the VCO ($4,738) as she had all year. "So I could, and it helped me a lot."

Her tennis idol? As with many teenagers on Tour, it's Serena Williams.

"It was always Serena for me, my idol, and still is," Stollar said. "It's just amazing like the amount of work she puts into everything, how she fights. It's just really amazing, you know."

With her father, Richard, sitting in the front row, Venus showed every bit of the famed Williams' fight against the 29-year-old Siegemund, who has one career WTA title and has never cracked the top 25. But Siegemund's court coverage was superb, and she tested Williams' legs with constant drop shots.

"She had a lot of great moments in the match," said Venus, whose five aces were offset by five double faults. "And I didn't really do anything wrong. I did the right things, played aggressively, and played great points. I can't look back and say, wow, I did the wrong things.

"I had a lot of great shots that came back," she said. "You know, it's just all credit to her. Not a lot of errors, and she played the best match."

Siegemund sprinted to her player's box to hug friends and family after the upset.

"I tried to make her work for every shot," Siegemund said. "If you can say you beat Venus ... I'm proud of that."

Siegemund, who entered the VCO with a 1-7 match record this year, didn't seem to agree with Venus' "best match ever" assessment.

I didn't think I played outside of this world," she said. "I know in my aggressive game I can do better than this. But I did a really good job today in defending, and I was covering the court really well. And I got a lot of sneaky points where she thought she had won the point already and I got it back."

Also Wednesday, Olympic champion Monica Puig was ousted by Russia's Daria Kasatkina in three sets. Former VCO champ Andrea Petkovic was eliminated by No. 8 seed Anastasija Sevastova, 6-3, 6-4. Other seeds to move on were No. 7 Kiki Bertens, No. 10 Irina-camelia Begu and No. 11 Marjana Lucic-Baroni. No. 13 seed Shuai Zhang lost by 6-4, 6-4 to Naomi Osaka.

Qualifier Ons Jabeur, who entered the main draw as a lucky loser, is into the third round after a 6-4, 6-4 win over Magda Linette.


(04/05/17) JEFF HARTSELL: Volvo Car Open upset: Teenager Fanny Stollar takes out No. 4 seed Elena Vesnina
Looks like the Volvo Car Open is launching another rising star.

Teenager Fanny Stollar, ranked No. 282 in the world, pulled off a shocker Wednesday, taking out 14th-ranked Elena Vesnina of Russia by 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3) in a second-round match on Daniel Island.

Stollar, 18, is a qualifier from Hungary who has won all of $5,390 on the WTA Tour this year, and $35,696 for her career. In Vesnina, Stollar knocked off a player who won at Indian Wells just last month for her third WTA title, and who has earned more than $10 million in her career.

Stollar, so new to the scene that the WTA Tour website didn't have a picture of her Wednesday, took the biggest win of her career so far in stride.

"It feels really good, but it's still not done," said Stollar, who is 5-foot-8 and known for a powerful serve. "So I can't be so happy about it because the next one is coming up."

Stollar has trained at the famed IMG Academy in Florida, and won the junior Wimbledon doubles title in 2015. She's also played Fed Cup for Hungary.

Despite her youth, Stollar displayed a mature self-confidence in out-dueling Vesnina before an enthusiastic crowd on an outside court in a match that lasted two hours and five minutes. Stollar pounded out 13 aces and won 68 percent of her first-serve points.

"If I can believe it, you know, like in the first game, I really had to believe it that I can beat her," she said. "So I could, and it helped me a lot."

In other action Wednesday, Olympic champion Monica who took gold at the Rio Olympics last summer, was ousted by Russia's Daria Kasatkina in three sets at Volvo Car Stadium.

Puig, a Puerto Rican ranked No. 40, fought off three match points before No. 42 Kasatkina took a 6-0, 6-7, 6-2 victory in a second-round match.

Former VCO champ Andrea Petkovic was eliminated by No. 8 seed Anastasija Sevastova, 6-3, 6-4, on the Althea Gibson Club Court.

Later Wednesday, Venus Williams is slated to take on Laura Siegemund of Germany, while Charleston's Shelby Rogers faces top-seeded Madison Keys on stadium court. Caroline Wozniacki faces Germany's Annika Beck in the night match.


(04/05/17) LCTA e-Newsletter: April 2017
Hello all,

This is being written live from the USTA tent at the Volvo Car Open. It has been wonderful to see many of you and catch up. The tent volunteers are doing a terrific job. The member appreciation gifts have been extremely popular - so popular in fact the first 800 went by noon Monday! More were delivered Tuesday afternoon and were gone within 2.5 hours.
Mixed Doubles Registration
Registration closes for mixed doubles this Friday night. Be sure to have your team registered and 3 eligible partnerships. Teams without the required partnerships will be moved to an "extra players" group. Your registration can be transferred to another team or league (combo, singles, or fall). You will not be eligible for a refund.
Playoffs
Playoffs are starting next week. Your Coordinators have been working hard. If your schedule has not been published, it will be soon.

Teams advancing from the local playoffs to the State Championships will be REQUIRED to submit the $250.00 deposit. In the past, this was not required but events and time cause change.
Important USTA SC League Dates

2017 Playoff Dates

40 & over - TBD;
18 & over - 2.5, 3.5, and 4.5 April 10 -18 at Mt. Pleasant Rec.
Note: MPR will be closed April 14, 15, and 16. Matches on those dates may be relocated or played on April 17 or 18.
18 & over - 3.0 and 4.0 April 19 - 23 at Charleston Tennis Center

Dates may be moved depending on number of teams registered and weather conditions.

2017 South Carolina Adult Championship Dates

April 27-29 Adult 70 & Over, Hilton Head - Levels 3.0, 3.5, 4.0
April 29-May 1 Adult 55 & Over, Hilton Head - Levels 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 9.0
May 6-8 Adult 40 & Over, Florence - Levels 3.0 3.5, 4.0, 4.5+
May 19-22 Adult 18 & Over, Aiken - Levels 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0+
Sept.8-11 Mixed Doubles, Florence - all age divisions
October 19-23 Combo Doubles, Hilton Head

Please Note: We do not have any information on wild card invitations to State. We will notify the coordinators as soon as we have information.


(04/05/17) TENNIS ATLANTIC: Interview with Alison @Riske4Rewards from @VolvoCarOpen
Alison Riske joined us on Monday after her win at Volvo Car Open to discuss her match against US Open Junior champion Kayla Day, the progression of her career, and her engagement to Stephen Amritraj. And she was kind enough to do all of this in harsh conditions with a rain-soaked malfunctioning microphone.

Kayla Day drew the poker chip that set up the match against Alison Riske during the draw and looks up to Riske.

After the win, it was Riske’s turn to return the serving of admiration:

It’s really easy to be complimentary towards Kayla Day. I think she has a really bright future ahead, that’s for sure. She’s an awesome player. Obviously, I respect her as a person, too. She’s come on tour with no sort of air about her even though she’s achieved so much even though she’s only 17 years old. I think the sky’s the limit for her and it will be exciting to see what the future holds. Hopefully, I don’t have to play her too many times.

On her slow and steady rise up the WTA rankings:

It’s definitely been a process. Everyday is a challenge and poses something different. I think the best is yet to come. I hope I can keep achieving new career-high rankings. Hopefully, fingers-crossed, I’ll stay healthy.

On her engagement:

Yes, it’s definitely exciting… I am engaged and it’s been wonderful. He’s so supportive of my tennis which is what really makes it work. Obviously, tennis is my first love.

She agreed that it was only fitting for her to be paired up with another tennis junkie. Her dad, described alternately by her as Robert DeNiro and Fox’s “American Dad” is “totally cool with this.”

On a future after tennis:

Tennis has been so good to me, so I would love to be able to give back, somehow, I’m not sure how yet. I see myself still in the sport. I don’t think I could ever have a life without tennis.

On her decision to live in the South, from Florida to South Carolina to Tennessee:

Judging from this rain right now, I’m not sure if it’s because of the weather. Definitely weather is part of it…and the charm definitely has something to do with it. I feel like you just come here and you relax. Your mind relaxes, your body relaxes and you just want to hang out. I don’t know if that’s conducive to playing a tennis tournament. It’s a great place, it’s a special place. I definitely think I’ll have a place here one day in Charleston.


(04/04/17) MOULTRIE NEWS: FRANKIE MANSFIELD: Charleston's Shelby Rogers pulls off marathon win at Volvo Car Open
First she tossed her racquet. Then came a hunched double fist pump with an exultant scream. Finally, Shelby Rogers raised both arms toward the sky in a conquering pose as Volvo Car Stadium erupted around her.

The hometown hero is moving on.

Rogers defeated Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay, 6-7(1), 6-3, 7-6, in the first round of the Volvo Car Open Tuesday on Daniel Island. It’s just the second time in eight appearances that Rogers, born in Mount Pleasant and raised on Daniel Island, has made the round of 32 in the Charleston tournament she once worked as a ball girl.

“I’m so happy to get the win,” Rogers told the Tennis Channel after her match. “The crowd was amazing. They helped me through that, just to find that whatever it was that helped me win today. So I owe them everything.”

Rogers entered Tuesday trailing Cepede Royg 3-1 in the first set after rain and lightning interrupted their match Monday evening.

“I feel like last night I was rushing,” Rogers said. “I knew it was going to rain and it was a little bit of a snowball effect because I knew we weren’t going to have much time.”

Rogers reset Tuesday with a more aggressive attack and rallied back to force a tiebreak at 6-6. Cepede Royg hung on though, squeezing the set-winning shot past Rogers, who was jammed close to the net.

“At that point, down 5-1, you’re like ‘OK, she’s playing well so you can't really get much worse,” Rogers said. “‘Go for your shots. Go for your play.’ And I got all the way back. I was playing well.

“I felt like I knew what I wanted to do. Going for the ball in that moment (on the tiebreaker) gave me momentum for the rest of the match I think."

Rogers played her best tennis of the match in the second set. She won 73 percent of her first-serve points, 83 percent of her second and saved both of her break points in the convincing 6-3 win.

“I felt like I was more aggressive,” she said. “I was moving forward better.”

Rogers appeared primed to take the match, up 5-1 in the decisive third set. But Cepede Royg fought back to even the set at 6-6 and then came within a game of winning the match, up 6-5 in the tiebreaker.

“Don’t we all think ‘Don’t blow this’?” Rogers said. “She definitely raised her level and she was not missing at all. She was not giving me anything.

“But I kept saying 'Move forward, be aggressive.' And even if I wasn’t doing it the last couple points I think I did, so eventually it paid off.”

Rogers took the next two games, finishing Cepede Royg with a backhand out of the corner that flew just out of reach before breaking out in a relieved celebration after the two-day, nearly three-hour match.

“That was amazing,” Rogers said of the final shot. “I was actually surprised it went over because a lot of the balls were hitting the tape, so I was like ‘Oh thank God.’”

Now Rogers, ranked 52nd in the world, has the unenviable task of facing No. 10 Madison Keys in the second round on Wednesday.

“Hopefully we’ll give the crowd a good show,” Rogers said. “She’s having a pretty good year. She’s back healthy now. So she probably feels rejuvenated and ready to go, so it’ll be a tough battle, for sure. But hopefully a good one.”


(04/04/17) JEFF HARTSELL: Charleston's Shelby Rogers makes Volvo Car Open "#MsRogersNeighborhood"
Underneath her sparkly new Diadora jacket, Shelby Rogers sported a red T-shirt, a gift from her friend and fellow pro Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Daniel Island and Volvo Car Stadium were definitely Ms. Rogers' neighborhood on Tuesday. Rogers — who grew up in Charleston and once served as a ballgirl at this very tournament — showed the hometown folks just what kind of tennis player she's become.

In a match interrupted by rain on Monday night, the 52nd-ranked Rogers battled from behind for a 6-7 (1), 6-3, 7-6 (6) victory over Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay in the first round of the Volvo Car Open.

When her backhand winner on match point skipped safely inside the line, Rogers dropped her racket, pumped both fists and screamed. It was just the second time she's won a main-draw match here.

Over the past year, the 24-year-old Rogers has made a breakthrough run to the quarterfinals of the French Open, beaten the No. 4 player in the world (Simona Halep) at the Australian Open and played for the U.S. Fed Cup team. But this win, in the first round over a qualifier ranked No. 117, stands with any of Rogers' other tennis memories — because of where it happened and who witnessed it.

"It's definitely really special," she said. "Having my family and friends in the crowd going through that battle with me today is extra special. I've had so many great wins in my career, and I cherish every single one of them. But doing it where I grew up, where I learned how to play tennis and with all the people that have gotten me to this point in my career, I think it's a little extra sweet."

And it was a battle, for two hours and 42 minutes. Rogers was already down 3-1 when the match play at noon Tuesday under warm and humid conditions at Volvo Car Stadium. But the overnight break gave her a chance to rethink her game plan.

"I felt like I was rushing a bit last night," she said. "I knew it was going to rain. I wanted to get kind of ahead early, but the exact opposite happened, actually, because I was rushing and kind of making it difficult for myself. So I think was able to reset."

Rogers came from 1-5 down in the first set to force a tiebreak, dominated by Cepede Royg. Rogers, who had eight aces for the match, closed out the second set at 6-3 with an ace. Down 3-0 in the third, Cepede Royg called for her coach and seemed near tears. And when Rogers jumped to a 5-2 lead, it seemed she had the match in hand.

But then Rogers seemed to tighten up. She served for the match three times, and was two points away from victory in the 10th game, but couldn't get there. With the crowd pumping her up, Rogers was two points away again in the 12th game, but netted a backhand before Cepede Royg painted the sideline with a winner to force the tiebreak.

"She raised her level unbelievably," Rogers said of her foe. "She didn't miss a ball in the third set, you know. I broke back, though, to try to serve it out again, and then she came up with some great shots. It got a little windier as well. The conditions changed. It was a bit more difficult to kind of hit off the court."

But with the crowd on her side, Rogers ripped a backhand past Cepede Royg on match point.

"They were absolutely amazing today, and especially when I didn't have my A game," Rogers said of the fans. "That kind of helped me through it today."

Rogers will face her good friend, top-seeded Madison Keys, in the second round. They've only met once before, with Rogers winning by 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 on clay in 2012 in Charlottesville, Va.

"It was a super windy, kind of misty day," she said of that match. "We both played terribly. So hopefully tomorrow is a little better quality. It can only get better I think than the last match. But (Keys) is healthy now. I think she's going to come out real excited to play. She's got a really powerful game. That's going to be tough, but hopefully we put on a good show."

Earlier Tuesday, American Lauren Davis, seeded No. 14, fell to Maria Sakkari by 7-5, 6-4. Another American, Jennifer Brady, lost by 7-5, 6-4 to Mona Barthel.

Qualifier Anastasia Rodionova took out China's Ying-Ying Duan, 7-6, 6-2; Fanny Stollar beat American Asia Muhammad in a battle of qualifiers, 6-3, 7-5; and No. 11 seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni defeated qualifier Aleksandra Krunic, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.


(04/04/17) PREP ZONE: Boys Tennis
James Island 5, Fort Dorchester 1
Singles: Healey (JI) d. Shop 6-0, 6-0; Ho (FD) d. Poore 6-3, 6-0; Alexander(JI) d. C. Westbrooke 6-3, 6-3; Aa. Cox (JI) d. J. Nguyen 6-3, 7-5; Ar. Cox (JI) d. Ninci 7-5, 6-4 Doubles: Kiser/Gentilin (JI) d. N. Westbrooke/P. Nguyen 7-5, 6-2

Records: FD 5-8, James Island 8-2. Next: FD hosts Stratford Thursday, James Island at Wando Thursday.

West Ashley 6, Goose Creek 0
Singles: Anastopoulo d. Mickler 6-0, 6-0; Foster d. Coleman 6-0, 6-0; Lambert d. Lawrence 6-0, 6-0; Dowd d. Williams 6-0, 6-0; Clontz d. Bennett 6-0, 6-0 Doubles: Richardson/Redmond d. Trapp/ Eraula 6-0, 6-2

Record: West Ashley 8-2, 7-2. Next: WA at Summerville Wednesday.


(04/04/17) Samantha Stosur tops Jelena Jankovic in Volvo Car Open in matchup of former champions
There was one happy former champion Tuesday night at the Volvo Car Open.

Samantha Stosur was almost ecstatic after her 74-minute 6-1, 6-3 blitzing of 2007 champion Jelena Jankovic.

Did the big-hitting Australian dream she could win so easily?

"Probably not, but I'll take it," Stosur said in the tunnel leading out of the stadium where a crowd of her fans were waiting.

Does Stosur have a chance to repeat her 2010 title here?

"Of course, but probably 30 other girls think the same," said Stosur, who is making her 11th appearance on Daniel Island.

At any rate, No. 6 seed Stosur is far ahead of most of the field, already owning a spot in Thursday's round of 16.

Stosur came out on fire with an ace on the first point of the match and a second ace in the same game. She won three of the first four games at love and never looked back.

Delivering her serve with accuracy, and following it up with top-spin forehands while always ready to hit one of her patented always turning slice backhands, Stosur played brilliant tennis in her first match on the green clay at Family Circle Tennis Center this year.

On the other hand, Jankovic didn't appear to benefit from her strong performance in the opening round of her 12th appearance here. Jankovic won only nine points in the 24-minute first set.

The colorful Serbian won more points than that in the third and fourth games of the second set alone as she took a 3-1 lead. But, Stosur broke right back and then held service at love to even the set as she ran out the match by winning the last five games.

Jankovic demonstrated more energy in the second set, but she never seemed to figure out Stosur's big game.

How did Stosur play so well coming straight off the hard courts of the Miami Open where she made the round of 16?

"I had four days of practice two hours a day," she said. "That's eight hours of practice. I really played well. I like the way I started. I know I've got a really good serve when I hit my spots. But we've had some long matches in the past."

She was just happy this wasn't one of those days


(04/04/17) JEFF HARTSELL: Volvo Car Open Notes: Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki weigh in on Maria Sharapova's return
Maria Sharapova's return to the WTA Tour is a popular subject among tour players, with some players more supportive than others.

Sharapova is set to return from a 15-month drug suspension, receiving a wildcard in Stuttgart, Germany, later this month. Her ban ends on April 26, and she'll play that in the main draw.

Venus Williams, playing on Daniel Island at the Volvo Car Open this week, has generally been supportive of Sharapova.

"I feel like I have perspective in life, and sometimes things happen," she said this week. "I just think one single thing in life doesn't define you."

Wozniacki has taken a different tack, calling the circumstances of Sharapova's return "disrespectful" to other players.

“I think it’s very questionable, allowing - no matter who it is - a player that is still banned to play a tournament that week,” Wozniacki said recently. “I think it’s disrespectful to the other players and the WTA.”

I think everyone deserves a second chance, and I think that she’s going to come back and she’s going to fight her way back,” Wozniacki said. “I’m sure she’s going to play well. But at the same time, I feel like when a player is banned for drugs, I think that someone should start from the bottom and fight their way back, because it’s different from an injury where someone is out because they had hurt themselves.

“When someone has been banned for drugs and something that is performance enhancing, I think that you deserve a second chance like everybody else," she said. "People make mistakes. But I think you should fight your way back from the bottom.”

Sam's town

Samantha Stosur has played a lot of tennis matches in her career — 922 on the WTA Tour heading into Tuesday night's showdown with Jelena Jankovic, to be exact.

But one she'll never forget is her win the 2010 final here on Daniel Island, in what was then the Family Circle Cup.

Stosur rampaged to a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Vera Zvonareva in the final, and still says it's the best match she ever played.

"I don't remember too many of my matches before the final," said Stosur, now 33 and ranked No. 17. "But I still think that final is the best match I ever played. I couldn't do anything wrong. It was just a perfect day, perfect play and I won pretty easily in the end. It was only my second title, so I have many good memories here."

Stosur now has eight career titles, including the 2011 U.S. Open.

Attendance Watch

The Volvo Car Open's attendance continued to top last year's marks on Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday night's attendance of 4,542 topped last year's total by 16, while the Tuesday day session of 7,874 was well ahead of the same session in 2016 (7,124).

The rainy Monday session of 6,431 also was 102 higher than in 2016.

Coaching coaches

Professional Tennis Registry director of development Brian Parkkonen and MWTennis Academy CEO Jeff Wilson used the Volvo Car Open as a site for leading a USTA South Carolina coaching education program on Tuesday. Coaches from all over the state were invited, and 10 took part in the program.

The program was a first-time initiative, but Wilson said, "Hopefully, next year we'll have 20 or 30."

Glenn Cobb, coach of the undefeated Hanahan Hawks, was one of Tuesday's participants.

Kids Day

On Sunday, Wilson's non-profit S.C. Tennis Foundation served as host for about 130 juniors in Volvo Car Stadium as part of Junior Team Tennis Kids Day. The foundation exposed its 11 ambassadors from all over the state to helping teach the JTT kids.

The ambassadors represented the Charleston area, Florence, Belton and Greenville. The ambassadors and areas have raised $6,000 since January to support initiatives in those areas. The money raised stays in the areas.

Switching to clay

The Volvo Car Opens marks the start of the clay court season that culminates at the French Open. The switch from hardcourts in Miami to the green clay of Daniel Island can be tricky.

"It's always really hard to play your first match on clay, especially after only having a couple of days to get ready for it," No. 11 seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni said after a three-set victory over qualifier Aleksandra Krunic on Tuesday. "It's really tough to get a feel for the surface, and the little movement changes you need to make during the points."

Lucic-Baroni, a 35-year-old Croatian ranked No. 23, said clay requires more patience.

"I didn't really change my gamestyle much, but there are a few little changes you have to make," she told WTA Insider. "You have to be more patient, try to open up the court a bit more, you're sliding around. But I don't stray too much from my style on this surface."

James Beck contributed to this report.


(04/04/17) TENNIS ATLANTIC: Withdrawn from @VolvoCarOpen, @JoKonta91 Reflects on @MiamiOpen Win and Future Plans
Jo Konta withdrew from the Volvo Car Open due to a right shoulder injury sustained during her run to the title at the Miami Open last week. The 25-year-old from Eastbourne reached a new career high ranking of #7. Konta was kind enough to meet with the press following the announcement. She did not commit to a return date on the tour.

Two years ago, Konta was playing tennis in the South. ITF Tennis, that it is, marching through Pelham and Dothan, a long way from the green clay of this premier level event.

“On paper, it may look a little overnight success, but it’s been many, many years,” she said about her career trajectory. “It wasn’t a light-bulb moment. That was one of the best trips I had in terms of personal growth and self-awareness on how I wanted to be on-court and how I wanted to be off-court.”

“I’m really sad I’m not playing here,” she said. “Ever since I knew I was coming to the event last year, I was so looking forward to coming to this tournament. I’d been here once previously many, many years ago, and my dad really, really wanted to come here as well. He’s always wanted to visit the South in the US and he hasn’t been able to yet, so I think next time when I come back, one, I would really love to be playing and two, I think it will be a family affair.”

On court on Monday, former Charleston champions Jelena Jankovic and Andrea Petkovic advanced, and Alison Riske defeated Kayla Day in an all-American first round match. Play was suspended due to rain and will resume at 10:00 a.m.


(04/03/17) TENNIS.com: Court Report: With Stephens 'sidelined,' favorites roll in Charleston
With the South Carolina Gamecocks’ championship-game victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Sunday, the Palmetto State is the women’s basketball capital of the United States. This week, it’s also the women’s tennis capital of the U.S., with Charleston hosting the Volvo Car Open (formerly the Family Circle Cup) for the 35th consecutive year.

There will be a new champion this year, as defending champion Sloane Stephens remains sidelined after undergoing foot surgery. (She’s aiming to return by Wimbledon.) But “sidelined” is a relative term for Stephens, who will still feature prominently at the tournament as a reporter for Tennis Channel. The 24-year-old is laying the groundwork for a future career, even if her current career is on hiatus.

What Stephens and the fans in Charleston saw yesterday, aside from some inclement weather, was the favorites taking care of business. Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig advanced via retirement while leading 4-1 in the third set, Jelena Jankovic and Andrea Petkovic went through in straight sets, and Alison Riske topped fellow American Kayla Day—a promising youngster, as we’ve seen in this young season—7-5, 4-6, 6-0.

On Tuesday, assuming the weather cooperates, Americans Lauren Davis, South Carolina native Shelby Rogers, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Varvara Lepchenko will all compete on Billie Jean King Stadium Court. The day’s play will be highlighted by the last match, pitting two former Charleston champions, Jankovic and Sam Stosur, against one another.
That’s something to chew on.

· Starting Monday, Tennis Channel and Tennis Channel Plus will be showing LIVE Volvo Car Open from the first ball to last ball, all the way through the finals.

· For the Ultimate Complementary Fan Experience, watch all of the best action — Live and On Demand — on any screen — anywhere — only on Tennis Channel Plus!

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(04/03/17) WCIV-TV: SCOTT EISBERG: 1st round of Volvo Cup Open postponed for rain, sees withdrawal of Konta
Monday was a day of naughts for tennis fans at the Volvo Car Open.

It was learned the Volvo Car Open 2-seed Johanna Konta would not be playing in the tournament due to a shoulder injury. Several matches also would not be played as they were suspended for rain.

Konta won the Miami Open Saturday in what's been described the biggest title of her career. She was apologetic to fans in Charleston over the decision to withdraw.

"I’m very sorry to have to withdraw from Charleston, this is a great tournament and I was really looking forward to taking part," said Konta, the world No. 7. "I was battling a slight shoulder injury and sickness during Miami which has taken hold since the end of the tournament."

Konta is replaced in the tournament by 22-year-old Grace Min of Atlanta

As far as what could not happen because of the weather, local favorite Shelby Rogers' match was one of several postponed.


(04/03/17) WCIV-TV: SCOTT EISBERG: 1st round of Volvo Car Open begins today
The first round of the Volvo Car Open kicks off at noon on Daniel Island today, and Lowcountry native Shelby Rogers plays the fourth match on the stadium court.

You might remember Rogers' magical run to the quarterfinals of the French Open last year.

Organizers are hoping Rogers and the other stars lead to big sales. She will face Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay.

"I think that the rate we're going now, we'll reach over 95,000 ticket patrons. It's just a beautiful environment to be in. Daniel Island is such a special place."

Families were out checking out the qualifying round Sunday. Our ABC News 4 family will be at Volvo Car Stadium today.


(04/03/17) Charleston's Shelby Rogers off to slow start at suspended Volvo Car Open
Shelby Rogers got off to a rough start on Monday in the first round of the Volvo Car Open. And then things got really bad as heavy rain, thunder and lightning hit the Family Circle Tennis Center on Daniel Island.

The 24-year-old from Charleston was down, 3-1, 15-15, to qualifier Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay when a thunderstorm struck Volvo Car Stadium, suspending play for the day.

Play will start again at 10 a.m. Tuesday, with Rogers' match set to resume "not before noon" on stadium court. American Lauren Davis, the No. 14 seed, will open play in the stadium at 10 a.m. against Maria Sakkari of Greece.

Rogers was broken at love in the second game to fall behind 2-0, but quickly broke back. A light rain started to fall as Rogers served the fourth game, but she quickly faced double break point. The dampness appeared to affect her grip as she double-faulted into the net to trail 15-30. She fell behind 3-1 when a forehand sailed long.

At 15-15 in the fifth game, play was immediately stopped after a loud crash of thunder got everyone's attention, sending fans scattering to cover.

The winner of the match had been scheduled to oppose top-seeded Madison Keys in the Tuesday night headliner, but former champions Samantha Stosur of Australia and Jelena Jankovic will take the spotlight at 7 p.m. for a second-round encounter. It will be the sixth-seeded Stosur's first match, while Jankovic won her opener on Monday.

Earlier Monday, the clay-courters were back in the form of former champions Andrea Petkovic and Jankovic. And both were up to the challenge of green clay, posting relatively easy opening matches.

Petkovic, the 2014 champion, blasted past 65th-ranked Lara Arruabarrena of Spain, 7-5, 6-2.

"I think I played well. I was playing really well in the second set," said Petkovic, now ranked 75th. "But I always feel comfortable on clay. I love the sliding. I know I am one of the fittest players on the tour, so I don't worry about having to play three sets."

And in the first set of her match, Jankovic looked like the 2007 champion and 2013 runner-up all over again as she won a love set before finishing off a 6-0, 6-4 victory over 86th-ranked Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia.

"I'm hitting the ball pretty well, but it's my first match on clay (this year)," Jankovic said. "I really enjoy coming to Charleston. It was beautiful this morning."

Then came the wind when Jankovic took the court.

"The balls were moving around in the wind. I was just trying to hit and move my feet," said Jankovic, a former world's No. 1 now ranked 53rd. "The ball was moving everywhere."

It brought back memories of 2007, when Jankovic fought through a windstorm to defeat Dinara Safina in the final.

"We almost couldn't get to the court," she said about a day that had a tornado watch in force on Daniel Island. "It wasn't easy, but you can play under any conditions."

In another key match on the Althea Gibson Club Court, former Junior Family Circle Cup champion Alison Riske persevered through a tight second set against 17-year-old wild card Kayla Day of Santa Barbara, Calif, for a 7-5, 4-6, 6-0 victory.

Day, a left-hander, played a brilliant second set, only to see Riske dominate the third. The youngster nailed winners from every angle, demonstrating huge power in that second set.

"I was more aggressive in the third set," Riske said. "The points were quicker, and I think her legs got a little slower."

Riske was impressed by Day's play.

"The sky's the limit for Kayla. Her attitude will set her apart on the tour," said the 38th-ranked Riske, who plays out of Nashville, Tenn.

Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig of Puerto Rico scored an upset over 16th-seeded Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic when the Czech retired trailing 4-6, 6-2, 4-1, with a lower back injury.

Qualifying lucky loser Ons Jabeur of Tunisia was still having luck as she turned back Marina Erakovic of New Zealand 6-4, 6-1.

Jelena Ostapenko of Lativa advanced to the second round with a 6-4, 6-2 win over qualifier Ana Bogdan of Rhodesia, while 49th-ranked Naomi Osaka of Japan upended Johanna Larsson of Sweden 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-2.

Germany's Laura Siegemund defeated Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 6-7 (6), 6-2, 7-6 (4), while Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine scored a 6-4, 7-5 win over Evgeniya Rodina of Russia.


(04/03/17) LIVE5NEWS: Volvo Car Open draws tennis stars and fans from across Lowcountry
Tennis fans from all over the Lowcountry are flocking to Daniel Island for the Volvo Car Open this week.

In its 44th year, the tournament draws some of the top women tennis players around the world.

For many of the stars, the Volvo Car Open is a game changer in their season, requiring them to switch over from a hard surface court, to clay.

“You can practice and practice and practice, but until you get out there in a match it’s always a little bit different,” said 2010 Volvo Car Champion Samantha Stosur.

Stosur said the Volvo Car Open is one of her favorite tournaments to play in, not only because of the clay court, but also the area.

“The food is amazing,” Stosur said. “This is a place where I’ve had success before, and I feel really comfortable,” So hopefully I can draw on a little bit of that experience this time around.”

“It’s always nice to come back to a tournament you’ve done well at,” said Madison Keys, the number one seed in the tournament. “I definitely feel a little bit more at home here. It’s one of the few tournaments in the states, and I just love being here. I love the fans, I definitely love the food.”

Stosur and Keys aren’t the only stars returning this year.

Fan favorite, and 2004 Champion Venus Williams is back and ready to go all the way with the support of Charleston area tennis fans.

“[They’re] so supportive!” Williams said. “There are times when you’re a little bit down, a little bit out, and you can hear them. [That’s when] I say ‘okay I gotta do this for the crowd, I gotta get this up.’ It’s that little extra motivation outside of yourself.”

While stars from all over the world have traveled here to Charleston, one fan favorite didn’t have to come too far.

Shelby Rogers is appearing once again in the tournament. Her match in the first round was suspended due to rain Monday night.

“I’ve got my fingers crossed,” said tennis fan Jennifer Anderson. “She’s definitely the one I’m rooting for because we’d love to see her go far, and it would be great if she could win this tournament.

“I think Shelby has obviously been playing really well,” Keys said. “She’s had some really good results. I’ve known Shelby for a really long time… we used to share rooms out on the tour.”

The pros add supporting each other is important in this tournament also, because of the way it’s set up, women’s only, and it’s one of the few tournaments stateside.

In 2016 more than 92,000 people attended the matches during the week-long tournament.

Final matches are set for Sunday. Tickets are still available.


(04/03/17) VALVEL: WTA Charleston: Volvo Car Open preview
The WTA tour bids farewell to the first phase of the 2017 season as it now begins its transition to the dirt, with the French Open now just less than two months away. South Carolina, The Palmetto State, plays host to the tour’s sole tournament played on green clay, the Volvo Car Open. The tournament kicks off usual proceedings as the first Premier-level clay court tournament of the year.

The clay court season has arrived and the Volvo Car Open, as always, headlines the opening week of tennis action on the dirt. The tournament boasts a decent line-up with six of the world’s top 20 players headlining the field this year. 2015 runner-up Madison Keys, is projected to be the top seed in this year’s draw, with the likes of former winners Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Samantha Stosur and former finalists Elena Vesnina and Lucie Safarova, all present as well.
Focus on Charleston

Founded in 1973 in Hilton Head, South Carolina, also the same year WTA’s founding, as the Family Circle Cup, the tournament stands out as the only tournament played on the unique green clay. In its early years, the tournament proved to be a happy hunting ground for local players as the first 13 editions saw an American storm to the title with Chris Evert taking home a total of eight, which is also a tournament record for most titles won. Steffi Graf then broke that feat in 1986 by defeating Evert in the final. In last year’s edition, Sloane Stephens won her biggest title to date, thus becoming the eighth American to lift the trophy.

From its inaugural edition till 2000, the tournament remained in Hilton Head, save 1975 and 1976 when it moved down south to Amelia Island, Florida. The tournament relocated to its current location Charleston, two-hours north of Hilton Head, in 2001. Just last year, the tournament was rebranded, for the first time in its history, as the Volvo Car Open when the car manufacturer became its title sponsor. Similar to its fellow Premier event in Stuttgart, the champion now takes away a car as part of her winnings. The tournament’s 56-player draw will witness its top eight seeds receive byes into the second round.

The Family Circle Tennis Centre will host tennis action throughout the week in Charleston, its main stadium being the Volvo Car Stadium. It is located on Daniel Island, a stone’s throw away from the city, by the Wando River. The area is also famous for its many creeks, harbours and beaches.

First quarter

22-year-old Madison Keys takes her spot at the top of the draw as the tournament’s number one seed, the first time she is the top seed at a tournament. The American is set for her fifth consecutive appearance in Charleston, finishing runner-up in 2015 and making the last eight on her debut appearance in 2013 and an all-American derby is on the cards as fellow compatriot Shelby Rogers is a probable opponent in her opening match. Also present in Keys’ eighth are the dangerous Japanese player Naomi Osaka, who opens against Swede Johanna Larsson as well as 13th seed Zhang Shuai who plays Misaki Doi.

Across the quarter sits seventh seed Kiki Bertens. The Dutchwoman’s form off-late has not been encouraging and her draw does not get any easier with the likes of the 11th seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, Mona Barthel and Kateryna Bondarenko in her eighth. Lucic-Baroni, who just made the last eight of Miami, looks like the decent pick to make it through and continue her superb start to the year. The Croat made the last 16 a year ago, her best result here thus far and it will not be a surprise to see her do better this time around.

Keys launched her comeback from wrist surgery at Indian Wells a month ago and did fairly well by reaching the round of 16, this was followed by a third round exit in Miami last week. Still a tad undercooked, the top seed should be able to sail through her first couple matches but against Lucic-Baroni in the last eight, the Croat, who is in much better form, should upset the American for a place in the last four.

Prediction: Lucic-Baroni d. Keys

Second quarter

Last year’s runner-up Elena Vesnina, seeded fourth this year, headlines the second quarter. The Russian played inspiring tennis that eventually took her to the title in Indian Wells, her biggest title to date. A runner-up in 2011 as well, it was here last year when she began her ascent up the rankings. The Russian faces either Asia Muhammad or Fanny Stollar in her first match of the week but her road does not get any easier with big-hitter Jelena Ostapenko and the feisty 14th seed Lauren Davis looming in the third round.

Fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Vesnina in the 2011 final, is on a quarterfinal collision course with the Russian this time around. Fresh from a runner-up finish in Miami, her third such result in her last four tournaments. The Dane is definitely playing her best tennis in a while and looks to break the feat of those runner-up finishes as she eyes her third title in Charleston. Wozniacki’s eighth sees the likes of ninth seed Daria Gavrilova take on clay court specialist Sara Errani, the only Italian in the draw, in her opening match while Lousia Chirico and Annika Beck face off for a spot to play Wozniacki in the second round.

Wozniacki could be fatigued after a hectic past two months while Vesnina has the pressure of defending runner-up points from last year. Meanwhile, Errani, a multiple quarterfinalist here, looks to make up for lost time after missing out the Middle-Eastern swing with an injury. The Italian will be relieved to be finally back on her favourite surface and looks poised for another deep run once again. However, against double runner-up Vesnina in the last eight, the Russian’s love affair with Charleston could see her deny Errani a place in the semifinals.

Prediction: Vesnina d. Errani

Third quarter

The resurgent Venus Williams, seeded third this year, begins her campaign against one of Lesia Tsurenko or last year’s quarterfinalist Laura Siegemund. Should Williams win that match, a last 16 epic is on the cards as 15th seed Lucie Safarova could clash with the American. The Czech however must get past Varvara Lepchenko in her opener first and then see off either qualifier Sofia Kenin or wildcard Bethanie Mattek-Sands in order to book a date with Williams.

On the other side, eighth seed Anastasija Sevastova plays either Spaniard Lara Arruabarrena or 2014 champion Andrea Petkovic in her opener. Also present in the Latvian’s eighth are 12th seed Yulia Putintseva, last year’s quarterfinalist and Marina Erakovic. Putintseva and Erakovic face Magda Linette and lucky loser Ons Jabeur in the first round respectively.

Putintseva looks poised for another quarterfinal run this year, the Kazakh clearly loving the surface. In addition, Williams’ form in 2017 has been commendable, with one runner-up, one semifinal and one quarterfinal appearance to her name already. The only name in the American’s eighth who stands a chance of toppling the American is Safarova and if the American manages to squeak past the Czech, it will be a rematch against Putintseva after their clash in the round of 16 last year which saw the Kazakh upset the American. With Williams playing much better tennis time, it could see a turnaround in the result.

Prediction: Williams d. Putintseva

Fourth quarter

British number one Johanna Konta is playing her most consistent display tennis ever. Seeded second in Charleston, the Brit is now one of three players to have won multiple titles in 2017 after capturing her biggest career title to date in Miami last week. Konta’s quarter is the only quarter in the draw to not feature a qualifier and the Brit is guaranteed an American opponent in her first match of the week as Alison Riske plays wildcard Kayla Day. Seeded to meet Konta in the third round is 16th seed Katerina Siniakova, the Czech facing reigning Olympic champion Monica Puig in her opener. Meanwhile, Daria Kasatkina and Danka Kovinic face off in their opener with a chance to play Siniakova or Puig next.

Sixth-seeded Samantha Stosur has had a rather quiet 2017 thus far, the Aussie going winless on home turf January and has since won back-to-back matches on just three occasions, most recently in Miami last week. This year marks her 11th overall appearance at the tournament and her first opponent of the week being either former runner-up Jelena Jankovic or rising Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova. Other players present in the Aussie’s eighth are 10th seed Irina-Camelia Begu who faces Turk Cagla Buyukakcay in her opener while Slovak Kristina Kucova takes on qualifier Sílvia Soler Espinosa.

Konta’s results on clay are nothing much to shout about but the confident Brit should keep up her momentum from Miami by winning a couple matches here. Although Begu’s results have been sprawling downwards since winning Florianopolis last August, now back on her favourite surface and a two-time quarterfinalist in Charleston, expect the Romanian to upset the likes of Stosur and Konta en route to a third quarterfinal showing in a row here.

Prediction: Begu d. Konta

Semifinals: Vesnina d. Lucic-Baroni, Williams d. Begu

Both Vesnina and Williams last met as recent as Indian Wells a fortnight ago where Vesnina stormed past the American in the last eight in a three-setter en route to claiming her biggest career title to date. After dropping her opening match in Miami last week, Vesnina will be rested and ready to go in Charleston where she seeks to go one win better than a year ago. For the Russian, this will no doubt be familiar territory as she aims to win her first title on the green clay on her third attempt.

On the other side of the net, the 36-year-old Williams eyes for revenge and will have the home support behind her. A former champion in 2004, the American will also be gunning for her first title on home soil in more than ten years since winning Memphis in 2007. Williams will not go down without a fight but it will be third-time lucky for the 30-year-old Vesnina, currently the oldest WTA tournament winner of 2017, who looks set to keep that feat going.

Final: Vesnina d. Williams


(04/03/17) TENNIS.com STEVE TIGNOR: Week in Preview: Wozniacki, Keys shift to clay in Charleston
The tours are in transition this week. After Indian Wells and Miami, the ATP takes a break for Davis Cup, which will hold its four quarterfinals over the weekend. The WTA, meanwhile, take its first step—or slide—into the clay season. Before the players get knee deep in European red dirt, though, they take a test run on the green (gray, really) stuff in Charleston. Here’s a look ahead at this week’s Volvo Car Open, formerly known as the Family Circle Cup, and the WTA’s last hard-court gasp, in Monterrey, Mexico.

*****

Volvo Car Open

Charleston, S.C.
$776,000; Premier
Green clay
Draw is here

Charleston has lost its top seed from last season, and its 2015 champion, Angelique Kerber, who decided to go west this year to Monterrey. That means Madison Keys takes over as No. 1 seed, a rare occurrence so far for the 22-year-old. Is she ready, after two tournaments in 2017, to play that role at a prestigious event? Can she get used to the idea? We’ll find out more soon enough. She could play fellow hard-hitting American Shelby Rogers, who is always capable of pulling an upset, in her opener. A Charleston native, Rogers won their only pro meeting, at a $50,000 event in Virginia in 2002. If Keys wins that, she could face Shuai Zhang, who has won three of their five meetings.

But if Keys is the top seed by ranking, the favorite in terms of current form is Johanna Konta. The Brit is coming off the best week of her career, in Miami, and is having the best season of her career; she’s 19-3 in 2017 and currently ranked No. 7. Last year, Konta spent this week in Monterrey, so the green clay may feel a little unfamiliar to her. Her presence is good news for tournament officials; now they just have to hope she doesn’t have a letdown after Miami. Konta will start against either Kayla Day or Alison Riske of the U.S.

[Editor’s Note: Konta withdrew from the Volvo Car Open on Monday afternoon, due to illness and a shoulder injury.]

Also here: Venus Williams, Elena Vesnina, Caroline Wozniacki, Lucie Safarova

Wozniacki has reached three finals this season, and is on her way back into the Top 10. But she has also played 30 matches over the first three months of 2017. With three Slams still to go this year, you have to wonder: How much it too much? With Wozniacki, it’s a question we’ll never stop asking.

First-round matches of interest:

—Riske vs. Day
—Monica Puig vs. Katerina Siniakova
—Louisa Chirico vs. Annika Beck: Can Chirico match her impressive clay-swing results from last season? A large portion of her ranking points will ride on the answer.
—Jennifer Brady vs. Mona Barthel
—Naomi Osaka vs. Johanna Larsson

*****

Abierto GNP Seguros

Monterrey, Mexico
$250,000; WTA International
Hard court
Draw is here

With the No. 1 ranking comes...a chance to increase your appearance-fee rate? Rather than remain on the east coast and start her transition to clay at the Premier tournament in Charleston, as she has traditionally done, Kerber has flown to the Pacific Coast to play on a hard court at a $250,000 International event in Monterrey. There she’ll start against Francesca Schiavone. After a slow start to the season, Kerber has shown signs of settling in recently. Her first title of 2017 would be a boost.

Also here: Anastasia Pavluchenkova, Caroline Garcia, Carla Suarez Navarro

First-round match of interest:
—CiCi Bellis vs. Naomi Broady


(04/03/17) JEFF HARTSELL: Volvo Car Open Notes: No. 2 seed Johanna Konta withdraws
Rising British tennis star Johanna Konta, winner last week at the Miami Open, has withdrawn from the Volvo Car Open on Daniel Island.

Konta, the second seed at the VCO and ranked No. 7 in the world, said she's suffering a "slight shoulder injury."

“I’m very sorry to have to withdraw from Charleston, this is a great tournament and I was really looking forward to taking part," said Konta, who defeated Caroline Wozniacki in the Miami Open final. "I was battling a slight shoulder injury and sickness during Miami which has taken hold since the end of the tournament."

Konta was on Daniel Island on Monday, and attended the players' party on Sunday.

With Konta out, the highest seed without a bye — No. 9 Daria Gavrilova — takes the vacated seed position, and qualifer Grace Min moves into the main draw.
'Fearlessly GIRL'

Like most 22-year-olds, Madison Keys spends a lot of time on social media. She's not always happy with what she sees there.

But unlike most 22-year-olds, Keys — the 11th-ranked women's tennis player in the world and the top seed this week at the Volvo Car Open — has a platform to do something about it.

That's one reason Keys has lent her name and voice to "Fearlessly GIRL", a group that aims to empower girls. She held a "girl summit" last week in Miami, and has announced a partnership to combat bullying on social media.

"One of my goals (this year) is just being more comfortable in myself," she said. "Part of that has been being more vocal about certain things on Twitter, and things like that. I just think if we're all quiet and don't talk about things, then nothing is going to get better.

"That's where I've taken a stance that we can have different opinions, but as long as we talk about them respectfully, that's a big thing I'm trying to do."
Venus' pants

Elsewhere on social media, Serena Williams has taken to teasing her older sister about Venus' apparent aversion to pants. On a recent Snapchat post, Serena posted a picture of Venus in pants and said, "I haven't seen her wear pants in years."

"The trust level has gone down, it's really affected our relationship," Venus laughed. "But everybody seems to love it. I don't like pants, what can I say?"

For the record, Venus was wearing pants Monday.

Best weekend

The second VCO on Daniel Island got off to a fast start with the best first weekend since the tournament (formerly the Family Circle Cup) moved here from Hilton Head Island in 2001. The weekend got a big boost from the best qualifying Sunday attendance on Daniel Island as fans took advantage of sunny weather on a day filled by highly competitive, close matches.

Sunday's attendance of 7,641 edged the 2016 total of 7,467, which had been the top Sunday total. Added to Saturday's 5,878 total, the qualifying weekend hit a new attendance high of 13,519 for Family Circle Tennis Center.

Saturday night's attendance for legends John McEnroe, Andy Roddick and company's Powershares Series were not included in the weekend attendance figures.

James Beck contributed to this article.


(04/03/17) JEFF HARTSELL: At 36, Venus Williams still rising at Volvo Car Open
Why, somebody asked Venus Williams on Monday, does she still keep coming back to Charleston and the Volvo Car Open?

"I love South Carolina," said Williams, who has played on Daniel Island in four of the last five years, and eight times overall. "I think I could live here someday."

Williams, 36, wouldn't be the first person to retire in the Palmetto State after a successful career. But at the rate the tennis superstar is going — knocking off world No. 1 Angelique Kerber last week in Miami and routinely defeating youngsters half her age — Williams is a long way from a rocking chair on the front porch of a Charleston single house.

"I go by Olympic cycles," said Williams, who is seeded No. 3 this week at the VCO. "I would love to play in the Olympics in 2020. After that, I don't know, I might try to have some kids. That could be in the cards, who knows?"

Venus has won four Olympic gold medals, just another checkmark in a story — the saga of sisters Venus and Serena Williams — that's one of the greatest in sports history.

The sisters, taught to play tennis by their father on public courts in Compton, Calif., have combined to win 121 WTA singles titles and more than $120 million in career prize money, including 49 titles and more than $36 million for Venus.

Somehow, all of that winning hasn't quenched Venus' thirst for success.

"I love winning titles," said Venus, who has won six Grand Slam singles titles, including five at Wimbledon, and reached the finals at the Australian Open in January. "I have the ability to win titles, and I think I have a lot to give. It satisfies me to still play, and that's important, too."

The sustained success of Venus, Serena and Roger Federer, who won at Miami last week at age 35, has younger players in awe.

"I'm not surprised at their success," said Madison Keys, 22 and the top seed at the Volvo Car Open. "Playing Serena, I'm not surprised. Playing Venus, I'm not surprised. And Federer is Federer.

"I would be surprised if all three of them quit tennis in the next two or three years, because they all three truly love the game. I don't think they would retire (soon) even if they weren't winning as much. Part of the reason they are so successful is that they all truly love the game, and they are all playing very free."

Venus is pleased to see older players doing well, and not just because she's one of them.

"It means that tennis can hold on to some of its best assets for longer," said Williams, who won this tournament, then the Family Circle Cup, in 2004. "You want to see Roger Federer stay around, and Serena as well. It's a plus for tennis when legendary athletes don't have to say good-bye. Back in the day, Steffi Graf retired at age 27. Think of what it would have meant if she played for 10 more years. So this is beautiful news."

Venus also is interested in issues outside of tennis. She and Serena have formed the Williams Sister Foundation, and one of their first projects is Yetunde Price Resource Center in Compton.

Named for an older sister who was a victim of gun violence, the center will connect victims of violence with resources they need.

"I see it as going full circle, remembering where you came from and being a part of something that's bigger than yourself," she said. "You see those young people and you say, 'This is my life. I lived here, too.' They are having that same experience, and I can completely relate."

Meanwhile, Venus is looking forward to helping sister Serena with her wedding plans; Serena is engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. And her father, Richard, who reportedly suffered a stroke last year, plans to be on Daniel Island this week.

"This tournament makes him super happy," she said.

So if Venus has her way, she'll be playing tennis until 2020, when she turns 40.

"Clearly, I love it," she said. "Because it's a lot of work, a lot of sacrifice to any kind of normal life.

"Normal's over-rated, anyway."


(04/03/17) TENNIS ATLANTIC: NICK CLARKE: 2017 @VolvoCarOpen Preview, Predictions
After a compelling month of Premier mandatories in Indian Wells and Miami, the WTA moves to Charleston and down the border to Monterrey.

Here’s your CHS.

The tour once again returns to the Green clay of Charleston. There is no tournament like this in the calendar, and it promises to be another exciting edition of the Volvo Car Open with a wide open draw.

Top Quarter:
Madison Keys enters Charleston as the top seed but not the favourite given the surface. With her big serve and flat groundstrokes, clay can often nullify power players, but this is a faster clay court than the red clay of Europe, so Keys will be dangerous to anyone in the draw. The top seed gets a BYE into round two where she could face fellow American Shelby Rogers. There could be an interesting quarter final against Naomi Osaka on the cards, providing the Japanese gets past Johanna Larsson and Shaui Zhang. Keys defeated the Japanese teenager handily in Indian Wells, and whilst I expect a closer match this time around, I expect the American to prevail.

As a former Roland Garros semi finalist, Kiki Bertens knows what it takes to succeed on clay. Can she have more success in Charleston? Bertens will be expected to make it to the quarter finals where she could face Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. The Croatian has been in good form this year, but despite that she can be streaky. However she is the most reliable prediction in the section to make the last eight given how good her form has been. Keys in front of a home crowd could prove too powerful for Lucic-Baroni in the quarter finals.

Prediction: Keys def. Lucic-Baroni

Second Quarter:
Elena Vesnina put in a career best performance to win the Indian Wells title, but suffered a hangover in Miami where she lost in round two. Will she get back to form in Charleston? The Russian has a good draw to the quarter finals as her second round match will be against a qualifier. Jelena Ostapenko or Lauren Davis will provide a tough test in the third round, but I expect Vesnina to make it through.

Caroline Wozniacki had a good fortnight in Miami but unfortunately for her it ended in final defeat to Johanna Konta. Can she make up for it in Charleston? Clay has never been her most successful surface, but the Dane is in good stead heading into the tournament. She will be expected to get past Louisa Chirico or Annika Beck, but Daria Gavrilova could pose a tough challenge in the third round. I have Wozniacki making the last four and setting up a great match against Keys.

Prediction: Wozniacki def. Vesnina

Third Quarter:
2004 champion Venus Williams enters Charleston as one of the favourites, but she has a tough draw ahead if she is to make it to the last eight. Laura Siegemund or Lesia Tsurenko will await in the second round, but the third is where it really heats up against former French open finalist Lucie Safarova. This is a close match to call as the Czech is naturally more suited to clay, but Venus is in better form and in front of a home crowd so I will pick the American.

This quarter features another ex champion, Andrea Petkovic, who is a potential second round opponent for the eighth seeded Anastasija Sevastova. The German has lost her way though and could lose in the opening round to Lara Arruabarrena. It should come down to the two seeded players in this section, and I am picking Yulia Putintseva over the Latvian. However Venus should have too much in the quarter finals for the Kazakh.

Prediction: Venus def. Putintseva

Fourth Quarter:
The bottom half is headlined by Miami champion Johanna Konta who enters Charleston fresh off her biggest title to date. Clay has not been the best surface for the Brit in the past, but the faster version of Charleston coupled with her confidence means that Konta may just be the pre-tournament favourite. She will open her campaign against Kayla day or Alison Riske before moving on to what could be a difficult third round. Daria Kasatkina, Monica Puig and Katerina Sinakova are all capable of an upset, and given the potential fatigue that could very well happen.

That could leave the door open for a god run from Sam Stosur. The Aussie is a former French Open finalist and her game suits the clay with the heavy top spin forehand being her biggest weapon. Stosur could face former world number one Jelena Jankovic In the second round, Irina Begu is the projected third round opponent. I can see Stosur getting through this quarter and making the semi finals despite the tough draw.

Prediction: Stosur def. Kasatkina

Semi Finals:
Keys def. Wozniacki
Venus def. Stosur

Wozniacki may feel the effects of her Miami Open run so may end up losing to Keys. Venus vs Stosur is difficult to call but I am saying Venus makes the final.

Final:
Venus def. Keys

Experience will prevail in this All-American final.


(04/02/17) Kenin among eight qualifiers for Volvo Car Open main draw
Eighteen-year-old Sofia Kenin has been on a hot streak for much of the last year, and the streak got hotter on Sunday when she qualified for the main draw of this week's WTA Tour Volvo Car Open.

With her dad, Alexander, sitting at courtside coaching her, Kenin cooled down hard-hitting French woman Fiona Ferro to take a 7-5, 6-2 victory and earn a berth in the VCO main draw.

"I knew what I had to do. I had to play steady to win," said the online-schooled teenager.

Ferro came out on the Althea Gibson Club Court punishing the ball with her forehand, and Kenin appeared to be in trouble when she fell behind 3-2 against Ferro's thundering serve and aggressive groundstrokes. But Kenin's penetrating groundstrokes and overall court savvy eventually wore down Ferro, allowing Kenin to take charge of the match after a tight first set.

Moscow-born Kenin moved to the United States as a baby and resides in Pembroke Pines, Fla., where her dad coaches her. Kenin picked up tennis at age 5 and has been on a rapid rise ever since.

Kenin got her first big break last July when she won a $50,000 event in Sacramento, Calif., which lifted her world ranking nearly a 100 spots into the 200s. Sunday's success should advance her rankings into the 190s.

Kenin, who will face American wild card Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the first round of the main draw, was one of nine players to qualify for the main draw on Sunday.

The qualifiers included 24-year-old Serbian Aleksandra Krunic, who advanced through qualifying at Family Circle Tennis Center for the second straight year. Fourth-seeded Krunic overcame hard-hitting Czech Jesika Maleckova in a tense third-set tiebreaker for a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory.

Maleckova, an erratic server who employed a great backhand, took a 5-3 lead in the decisive tiebreaker but committed three straight errors on loose strokes to hand Krunic the match.

"She (Maleckova) was a different type player," said Krunic, who trains at FCTC in her off weeks and eliminated former Charleston junior Ellie Halbauer in the first round. "She was trying to go for it, and I was just trying to win. I was tired. We both deserved to win."

Krunic wasn't disappointed that she drew 11th seed Marjana Lucic-Baroni and not Shelby Rogers in the main draw. "I don't want to play Shelby . . . she's the home girl," Krunic said.

Rogers was assigned the task of taking on gritty qualifier Veronica Cepede-Royg of Paraguay in Monday's all-day session in the last match in Volvo Car Stadium.

No. 7 seed Cepede-Royg was extremely fortunate to escape qualifying where Great Britain's Amanda Carreras twice held match point in the second set before Cepede-Royg enforced her will on the smallish British player for a 2-6, 7-6 (9), 6-4 victory. Carreras double-faulted away the first match point.

The other qualifiers were No. 2 seed Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Spain, Anastasia Rodionova of Australia, Fanny Stollar of Hungary, No. 3 Ana Bogdan of Zimbabwe and No. 9 Asia Muhammad of Long Beach, Calif. Fifth-seeded Tunisian Ons Jabeur, who suffered a 6-2, 6-2 loss to Muhammad, also advanced into the main draw as a lucky loser.

Muhammad, a tall 26-year old, will take on fellow qualifier Stollar in Monday's main draw on the same Club Court on which Stollar scored a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over six-seeded American Grace Min on Sunday.


(04/01/17) JIM PARKER: Daniel Island at a glance
Location: Berkeley County
Total homes: 2,500

Look and feel: For decades a wooded preserve and open fields, Daniel Island changed almost overnight when the Guggenheim Foundation decided to develop the 4,000 acre property in the mid-1990s through the local Daniel Island Co. A few businesses such as Blackbaud computer software company and enterprises such as Bishop England High School were among the first to move there. The first residences were built in 1996; more than 10,000 people now live on the island. Daniel Island developed within a family-friendly format showcasing more than a dozen "park" neighborhoods -- Barfield Park, Codner's Ferry Park, Smythe Park and the newest, Edgefield Park -- built around open spaces with playgrounds. The Park area north of Interstate 526 evolved into a luxury district with million dollar homes and two championship golf courses. More recently, Daniel Island opened up its nightlife with restaurants and small clubs along Seven Farms and Daniel Island drives near Volvo Car Stadium. People walking their pets, riding bikes and jogging and youngsters playing in yards or at schools are common sights in the outsdoorsy community. Neighboring areas such as St. Thomas Island and Clements Ferry Road associate with Daniel Island in real estate proximity and as neighbors. Homes run from the $400,000s and up, townhomes and condos in the $300,000s and apartments in the $1,500 a month range and up.

Homes for sale: 325
Square footage: 664-7,720
Prices: $147,000-$3,895,000

Schools: Daniel Island Elementary, Phillip Simmons Elementary; Phillip Simmons Middle; Phillip Simmons High School (opens in the fall); Bishop England High School (private).

Fun facts: The island's two sports and entertainment center's changed names in the past two years -- Volvo Car Stadium was originally Family Circle Cup Center and MUSC Health Stadium was Blackbaud Stadium before that; annexed into the city of Charleston two decade ago, Daniel Island's closest point by land to the city is at its extreme south end near the split of the Wando and Cooper rivers.

Schools: Daniel Island Elementary, Phillip Simmons Elementary; Phillip Simmons Middle; Phillip Simmons High School (opens in the fall); Bishop England High School (private).

Fun facts: The island's two sports and entertainment center's changed names in the past two years -- Volvo Car Stadium was originally Family Circle Cup Center and MUSC Health Stadium was Blackbaud Stadium before that; annexed into the city of Charleston two decade ago, Daniel Island's closest point by land to the city is at its extreme south end near the split of the Wando and Cooper rivers.


(04/01/17) Krunic's drop shots doom Halbauer
Take away Aleksandra Krunic's drop shot, and anything might have been possible for Ellie Halbauer on Saturday morning in the Volvo Car Open's qualifying tournament.

But the drop shot was the fourth-seeded Krunic's bread and butter. No matter if Halbauer got to the ball and no matter the quality of the return she made, Krunic always - except maybe once - had the answer with her quickness and delicate hands in a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Halbauer.

And there were what seemed like dozens of drop shots by the slender 5-4, 119-pound Serbian, who incidentally is no stranger to the clay courts at Family Circle Tennis Center. She trains out of the facility when she's in the United States, and MWTennis Academy CEO Jeff Wilson helped prepare Krunic for the match.

When the 125th-ranked Krunic didn't follow up the drop shots with well-directed groundstroke passes with Halbauer stuck at the net, Krunic would flip a gentle lob over the frustrated Halbauer's head. And on damp clay at mid-morning, both shots were deadly.

Halbauer couldn't help herself. She had to openly laugh at some of her bad luck - Krunic's almost ridiculously good shots off the drop-shot setup.

"I don't think I was completely ready for the match. It was my first match back," said Halbauer, who had been sidelined for more than two months by a right rib injury. "She did hit a lot of drop shots. But she's good . . . she got to the round of 16 of the (2014) U.S. Open. I'm just trying to hit harder and be a little more aggressive."

Of course, Halbauer, a former local junior, didn't climb more than 300 spots in the world rankings to No. 279 in the past two years not to accept this clay court defeat for what it was and to go on with her career, and to keep moving up in the rankings.

By next year, Halbauer might even be skipping the qualifying tournament, which has dealt her only defeats four straight years, and headed to the real thing, the Volvo Car Open main draw.

The athletic 19-year-old has come that far, and has that much potential.

BLAKE TRIUMPHS

It was all fun and games in the Saturday nightcap at the Volvo Car Open. The legends cast of Americans John McEnroe, Andy Roddick and James Blake, and Australian Mark Philippoussis put on a lively show before Blake was crowned the Powershares Series champion of Charleston.

The final went to a tiebreaker before Blake pulled out a 7-6 (7) victory over Philippoussis as a crowd of 4,249 watched in Volvo Car Open Stadium.

The championship match was set up by two semifinal matches. Blake defeated McEnroe, 6-4, in one semifinal, and Philippoussis handled defending champion Roddick by the same score.

"It was really great to play in this world class venue," Roddick said. "The fans are second to none and Charleston truly is my favorite city in the world. Hopefully I'll get another chance to play here next year."

REILLY HITS WITH PROS

Young Reilly Wilson always has a great time at the Volvo Car Open. This year is no different from last year.

The 16-year-old son of MWTennis' Jeff Wilson, Reilly serves as a hitting partner for the players. He said he even beats them. Don't mention it to former U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur.

"I beat her. We play a best-of-seven match . . . no serves," said Reilly, a high-ranking junior.

Wilson was the hitting partner for nine days last year for Sloane Stephens during the American's march to the VCO crown.

"I like doing it for the experience," Reilly said.

Of course, the experience doesn't hurt the unbeaten Hanahan Hawks. Wilson plays No. 4 on what he calls a "super team." The Hawks have dropped only one position in six matches and appear headed for a second straight Class AAA state title.

Hanahan teammates Kerim Hyatt and Chad Nash also serve as hitting partners for the VCO girls.

EMMA WINS EASTER BOWL

Here's more good news for Charleston tennis. LTP Tennis' 15-year-old Emma Navarro won a major national singles championship on Saturday as the South's top junior girl walked off with the girls 16 crown in the USTA's prestigious Easter Bowl at Indian Wells, Calif.

Navarro's 7-6 (8), 6-0 win over Fiona Crawley of Texas in the final improved Navarro's 2017 record to 30-0 in singles, while winning five major Southern or national titles. She has won 60 of the 61 sets she has played this year in singles.

Also, Mount Pleasant's Allie Gretkowski won a silver ball in girls 14 doubles as a finalist.


(04/01/17) Rogers could face top-seeded Keys in second round of Volvo Car Open
Shelby Rogers sits atop the Volvo Car Open qualifying. No, she doesn't have to qualify, but she will play one of the eight survivors of this weekend's qualifying event in the opening round of the WTA Tour tournament's main draw.

Who does she play? "Don't tell me if you know," the world's 61st-ranked player said Saturday as she breezed around the grounds of Family Circle Tennis Center in street clothes before rushing off to her sister's baby shower.

No one knows who Rogers will play. But everyone who has seen the 56-player draw that was revealed on Saturday is that the winner of Rogers' first-round match gets the unenviable task of taking on top-seeded Madison Keys of the United States in the main draw's second round in Volvo Car Stadium.

Rogers-Keys would be the perfect match for this tournament, local sensation vs. national star.

Elsewhere in the main draw, No. 2 seed Johanna Konta of Germany has a first-round bye and will face the winner of the first-round match pitting wild card youngster Kayla Day and former Family Circle Junior champion Alison Riske in a battle of American crowd favorites.

In first-round qualifying on Saturday, Russian-born 18-year-old Sofia Kenin had a big day as she posted the first victory of the day for an American.

Now a resident of Pembroke Pines, Fla., Kenin outhit and outplayed big-hitting left-handed top seed Taylor Townsend of Atlanta 6-4, 6-3 on the Althea Gibson Club Court.

"I played really well. I knew I just had to play well," said the 215th-ranked Kenin after her display of big groundstrokes and high-energy play in the upset of the world's 111th-ranked Townsend. "I am so happy with my game."

Kenin now needs only a win over France's Fiona Ferro in Sunday's second round to earn one of the eight qualifying berths in the VCO main draw that starts on Monday.

The only other American to advance to the second and decisive round of qualifying was Grace Min of Atlanta, who turned back wild card American Michaela Gordon, 6-3, 7-5.

A year ago, Samantha Crawford was injured during a first-round victory over veteran Patty Schnyder in the VCO qualifying and didn't get to play for a spot in the main draw the next day. As a result, Cindy Burger of a Netherlands got the free pass into the 2016 main draw.

This time, Crawford was no match for Tena Lukas of Croatia, suffering a 6-1, 6-1 loss.

Now ranked No. 160, the 6-2 Crawford has been a darkhorse the last two years and a threat to defeat almost anyone. She has been ranked as high as 98th.

But back to what might have been called her second home a couple years ago when she trained at Family Circle Tennis Center, Crawford had no answer for the 21-year-old Lukas, ranked 332 in the world.

Burger fell to Jesika Maleckova of the Czech Republic 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6). Maleckova will be Aleksandra Krunic's opponent in the second round. Krunic, the No. 4 seed who trains at FCTC in her off weeks, drop-shot former Charleston junior Ellie Halbauer into submission 6-2, 6-2.

No. 2 seed Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Spain scored a 7-5, 6-1 win over American Jennifer Elie to earn a berth in the second round against Lukas.

FCTC junior academy player Cameron Morra, a wild card from Rockville, Md., who hits two-handed from both sides, suffered a 6-4, 6-3 loss to Bulgaria's Sesil Karatantcheva.

Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay, Amanda Carreras of England, No. 3 seed Ana Bogdan of Rhodesia, Anastasia Rodionova of Australia, Alexandra Dulgheru of Rhodesia, American Asia Muhammad, Ons Jabeur of Tunisia and Fanny Stollar of Hungary also advanced to the second round of qualifying.


(04/01/17) JEFF HARTSELL: Volvo Car Open: Five to watch
Venus Williams
Age: 36. Rank: 12.
This year: The ageless wonder has won 49 singles titles, seven Grand Slam trophies and more than $35 million in her career — and is still getting it done. Venus made the finals at the Australian Open this year and it wouldn't shock anyone if she added a title this week to the one she won on Daniel Island in 2014.

Caroline Wozniacki
Age: 26. Rank: 14.
This year: The former world No. 1 has been in good form this year, making the finals in Doha and Dubai before making another deep run in Miami last week. "Woz" has made the finals in Charleston twice, winning in 2011.

Madison Keys
Age: 22. Rank: 9.
This year: A 2015 finalist in Charleston (when she lost to world No. 1 Angelique Kerber), Keys has been slowed this year by off-season wrist surgery. She made her comeback at Indian Wells in March, winning a reassuring two matches before losing by 6-4, 6-4 to Caroline Wozniacki. She made the third round in Miami.

Shelby Rogers
Age: 24. Rank: 61.
This year: Charleston's own tennis star has made steady progress, streaking to the quarterfinals at the French Open last year and getting selected for the U.S. Fed Cup team this year. Still seeking her first WTA Tour title, Shelby made the third round in Miami, losing to world No. 1 Angelique Kerber.

Johanna Konta
Age: 25. Rank: 11.
This year: Konta is Great Britain's rising star, rocketing from No. 150 in 2014 to the top 10 last year, and to her current No. 11. She won WTA Tour titles at Stanford last year and at Sydney this year, beating then No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska in the finals. Her only previous appearance in Charleston was in 2011 qualifying, when she was ranked No. 246.


(04/01/17) JEFF HARTSELL: 2016 champ Sloane Stephens back at Volvo Car Open, but in a new role
Turns out Sloane Stephens is a natural, and not just with a tennis racket in her hand.

Unable to defend her 2016 Volvo Car Open title due to a foot injury, Stephens will be on Daniel Island this week in a different role — as correspondent for the Tennis Channel, covering the WTA Tour's stop in Charleston.

Stephens, who just turned 24, has been working for the Tennis Channel while rehabbing from surgery on her left foot. With a winning smile and fun sense of humor, Stephens has shown a knack for getting personal with fellow tennis stars.

Hair-care tips from dreadlocked Dustin Brown; the love life of world No. 1 Andy Murray-defeater Vasek Pospisil; an undercover trip to Tennis Warehouse; the heretofore little known rap skills of Charleston's Shelby Rogers — all are fair game on the Tennis Channel's "Off Court with Sloane Stephens" segments.

"It's been fun, so much fun," said Stephens, who knocked off Angelique Kerber — currently ranked No. 1 in the world — on the way to last year's Volvo Car Open title, her fourth WTA singles title.

"I'm really enjoying myself," she said recently. "It's given me something to do at a time when I'm not able to do much. I'm on a walker right now and I'm not very mobile, so things in my life are pretty slow right now. I go to work and go to rehab, so it's given me some purpose while I've been out."

Being on set and in the booth also has given Stephens, who's been ranked as high as No. 11, a new vantage point on the game, her fellow players and on herself.

"It definitely has," she said. "I get to talk about tennis with people who know tennis. I can bounce ideas off people like Paul Annacone and Lindsay Davenport — how is this player playing, what are they doing differently.

"That's the biggest upside. I get to be around tennis all day, still be in a tennis environment and still involved, and that's helped me a lot."

Stephens' insider status helps her pull honest reaction from interview subjects. Rogers, for example, had to perform a rap as part of her initiation as a Fed Cup rookie in February.

"I got hazed a little bit," Shelby told Sloane. "It was so embarrassing."

Stephens suffered a stress fracture in her left foot last summer after the Rio Olympics. She traveled to Australia earlier this year ready to play, but didn't feel right and opted for surgery instead. She hopes to return by Wimbledon this summer.

"It's doing better, and I'm doing rehab every day," she said. "It's just a lot of waiting, a long process of doing rehab and recovering slowly."

It also means she can't play this week in Charleston, one of her favorite tour stops, even though she struggled here until last year's breakthrough. In five previous appearances, she had been 1-5 in main-draw matches.

"I'd never really done well in Charleston," she said. "And it was tough to go back every year, even though I love the tournament so much. It was a hump I needed to get over and being able to overcome that was a really big step for me, not only in tennis, but personally.

"And then, obviously, there was the car."

Ah, the car. The look of shock on Stephens' face when an electric blue Volvo V60 Polestar rolled out on the court at Volvo Car Stadium after last year's final remains priceless.

“You guys, I just got a car!” Stephens told the cheering crowd.

It's not easy to drive a car with a boot on your left foot, but Stephens still loves the Volvo.

"It's at my house right now," she said. "I drive it all the time."


(04/01/17) WCIV-TV: ABC News 4: Volvo Car Open working with Sloane Stephens to fight poverty
Attention anyone with a closet: Those shoes you no longer want are desperately needed to fight the human tragedy of global poverty.

That’s the message being delivered by American tennis star, Sloane Stephens and the Volvo Car Open, which has launched a drive to collect 5,000 shoes to help achieve positive change, both humanitarian and economic, via Soles4Souls. Starting now, used and new shoes can be dropped off at the Family Circle Tennis Center, 161 Seven Farms Drive, and all O2 Fitness Clubs located in the Charleston area. During the Volvo Car Open, April 1st – 9th donation boxes will be at the front gates.

For each person that donates a pair of shoes, the Volvo Car Open will provide a voucher redeemable at its box office for two general admission tickets during the tournament.

The shoes that Sloane Stephens collects will be delivered to Soles4Souls, an international anti-poverty organization that monetizes used shoes and clothing to create sustainable jobs and fund direct relief efforts, including distribution of new shoes and clothing. Founded in 2006, the organization has distributed more than 26 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries.

Stephens has partnered with the Nashville-based charity to collect new and used shoes and clothing and redistribute to people in need through direct donations and micro-enterprise partners.

Since its inception in 2006, Soles4Souls has distributed over 26 million pairs of shoes to the underprivileged in 127 countries, including Kenya, Thailand, Nepal, and Haiti, as well as all fifty U.S. states.

The connection between poverty and shoes is well documented. The World Bank estimates that approximately 400 million children worldwide – more than the entire U.S. population – live in pronounced poverty. Millions of these children will grow up never having had a pair of shoes, resulting in significant ramifications for their health and well being. Lacking proper footwear, countless children will not be able or permitted to attend school. And tens of millions of these poverty-stricken, barefoot boys and girls will be infected with soil-transmitted parasitic diseases like hookworm, causing lasting suffering and lifelong debilitation.

“The simple truth is that almost anyone with a closet has shoes they don’t wear, or an old pair that will just end up in a landfill,” said Stephens. “Give those to us, and know that you are taking a step to making the world a better place for all of us.”

“Sloane and Volvo Car Open are supporting Soles4Souls because it is the definition of a social enterprise where solid business practices are used to create positive change in people’s lives,” said Bob Moran, Volvo Car Open Tournament Director. “Sloane is a strong supporter of Soles4Souls’ anti-poverty mission, and we hope to take a big step in providing the organization with the used shoes they require to keep making a difference for people in need.”

To donate to Soles4Souls in Charleston, South Carolina, bring your shoes to:

• The Volvo Car Open, 161 Seven Farms Drive Charleston, SC 29492

• O2 Fitness Clubs in Charleston County

Tickets for the 2017 Volvo Car Open are now on sale. For more information on tickets, call 800.677.2293 or visit http://www.volvocaropen.com. Patrons can purchase single session tickets, or choose from a variety of ticket and travel packages.


(04/01/17) CHARLESTON MAGAZINE: Stephanie Hunt: Shelby Rogers Holds Court
After her run to the French Open quarterfinals last summer and a recent win over No. 4 seeded Simona Halep at the Australian Open, the hometown tennis phenom returns to take on Volvo Car Open.

It’s one of those glorious Charleston winter days when it feels more like late spring—frisky birds are chirping, azaleas are budding, and biking and jogging trails are full, as are these public tennis courts by Daniel Island Elementary School, where third-graders on recess are running around the playground in full spring-fever throttle. But their shouts and laughter aren’t even registering on the focused Shelby Rogers. While an elderly couple hits soft, easy lobs on the court beside her, Rogers is dancing around the baseline, rocket-launching ground strokes that go whizzing over the net. Strong, steady, fast, precise.

“So, can Shelby just wipe you off the court?” I ask her hitting partner, Christian “Chip” Hand, a local professional tennis coach who also happens to be Rogers’s brother-in-law. “She took a set off me once,” Chip replies, and I’m thinking he’s just trash-talking. She blasts a wicked cross-court forehand in reply.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Shelby Rogers has killer charisma. She’s a Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) darling for good reason—the five-foot-nine blonde delivers charm like an overhead slam barreling straight at you. Start with that knockout smile—big and grinny and totally authentic. Add those bright ocean-blue eyes. Then gloss on the upbeat “all’s good; you got this” vibe she naturally emanates, and the combo is a sure ace.

Rogers’s wholesome, all-American appeal hasn’t gone unnoticed by the media, or by the hundreds of zoom lenses banked court side during major tournaments, or by her 11,000-plus Twitter followers. She’s photogenic, cheerful, approachable, articulate. But charisma alone hasn’t powered the 24-year-old Mount Pleasant native to the elite limelight of women’s professional tennis. Her unrelenting competitive instinct and fierce work ethic have.

“Shelby’s the complete package,” her former coach, Bryan Minton of Daniel Island’s MWTennis Academy, confirms. As the one who helped hone Rogers’s dangerous backhand and deadly down-the-line forehand in her formative years (from age seven to 17), Minton knows what he’s talking about. But tennis aside, she’s nice to boot. “Oh, absolutely, and thoughtful too,” Minton says, recounting how she brought him back some red clay from the famed Roland Garros stadium in Paris, where Rogers reached the quarterfinals of the 2016 French Open. Of course, she is plenty nice and fun to be around, as long as you don’t have to return her 105-plus mph serve.

Rogers is indeed a fan favorite among the cadre of top women’s players at tournaments across the world these days. Now in her eighth year on the women’s tour, she’s maturing and finding not only her strokes but her stride. And she’s anticipating another strong season on the heels of her best year yet on the tour. In the first few weeks of 2017 alone, the No. 59-ranked Rogers upset No. 4 Simona Halep in the Australian Open, then hopped over to Taiwan for a tournament, and played on the USA’s Fed Cup team in Hawaii, to the delight of international audiences. But when she comes to Daniel Island this month to compete in the Volvo Car Open, she’s more than a world-ranked player; she’s the hometown girl. And as nice as it is to have your family and friends and all of Charleston cheering you on, “it’s also tough,” Rogers admits. “I don’t want to disappoint them.”

Playing to adoring crowds on Daniel Island is a welcome pressure for Rogers, who as a wee young player crouched court side during the Family Circle Cup (since renamed the Volvo Car Open) in ready ball-girl stance, running down missed balls and rolling them back to the likes of Jennifer Capriati and Steffi Graf, players she idolized. Capriati gave her a hug and a kiss once, perhaps bestowing a prescient blessing. In 2010, soon after Rogers turned pro, she walked on to a Family Circle Cup court as a 17-year-old competitor, not just a starry-eyed ball girl—a pinnacle moment. “The crowd that showed up to support me was unbelievable. Stepping on that club court and hearing everyone cheering for me was the greatest feeling I’ve ever had,” said Rogers in an interview. The same year, she won the 18s National Championship and was named the USTA’s Junior Girl Player of the Year. Walking out of the women’s locker room and almost running into Roger Federer in the hall at the US Open ranks as a high second, she notes.

Lived & Breathed It

Born and raised in Mount Pleasant, Rogers began playing tennis on her Snee Farm neighborhood courts at age four, thanks mostly to the fact that her sister, Sabra, four years her senior, played. “I wanted to be just like her,” says Rogers, who remains “super close” to her only sibling. Though neither her mother, Starley, nor stepfather, Jim Gabrish, are tennis players, there’s plenty of athleticism in the family. Gabrish was an All-American Citadel football player and Hall of Famer, who spent three years in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns.

Sabra played varsity tennis at Bishop England High School, where she was captain of the team and in 2005 was named South Carolina’s High School Player of the Year and represented South Carolina on the Junior Fed Cup/Davis Cup team, and then went on to be an All-American tennis player at Emory University. Though Shelby certainly succeeded in emulating her sister’s tennis prowess, she followed a less traditional path, opting to focus on intensive training and junior circuit tournaments across the state rather than competing on her First Baptist high school team. And instead of college, she gambled on her dream of turning pro. In 2009 at age 17, Rogers left Charleston and headed to the USTA National Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida, to give it a go.

“That was always our goal,” says Coach Minton. “It was evident early on. I remember watching Shelby just crack a backhand when she was like nine years old and realizing, ‘Wow, hey, this kid has something really special.’ But what’s unique about Shelby is that she really wanted it. She was always very coachable, always wanted to learn, and she lived and breathed tennis,” Minton says.

Rogers’s gamble has paid off. She reached the quarterfinals in her very first event after turning pro and, between 2012 and 2014, won four event titles. In 2013, she earned wild-card entry to that year’s French Open, where she won her first-round match and her first-ever victory in a Grand Slam. In 2014, she was a nominee for the WTA Tour’s “most impressive newcomer” award, having jumped nearly 50 spots in her world rankings to reach No. 72 that year. Then came a disappointing, injury-besieged 2015, when Rogers was hampered by a torn MCL (medial collateral ligament) and never quite got her groove. She lost 17 first-round matches that season. “That’s tennis. More days than not you fail,” she says. “Only one person ends up winning a tournament.”

But Rogers feels stronger and healthier than ever now, especially after coming off her best season yet. Her 2016 highlights included toppling two-time Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitová at the French Open to reach her first career Grand Slam quarterfinal. “I had to keep reminding myself to play one point at a time and that this was just another tennis match,” says Rogers, then seeded No. 108 and up against the No. 10-seeded Kvitová. Rogers’s prize money from the 2016 French Open was $326,722.93, nearly half as much as she had previously earned cumulatively on tour.
Those close to Rogers are extremely proud, but not surprised by her success. “She was so determined and was always willing to sacrifice and do what it took,” Minton says.

Now six years in, what it takes is pro packing skills on top of everything else (i.e. mental toughness, robust fitness, that 105-mph serve). Rogers is on the go every few weeks, and her large duffle bag looks like it gets as much of a workout as she does. “It’s called being ‘on tour’ for a reason,” she laughs, digging into her duffle to pull out two tees—a navy-and-white striped one and a “USA” shirt—as photo shoot options, then casually turning aside to change into the stripes. No modesty, no pretension—welcome to the locker room.

You Belong Here

But as glamorous as it may seem to jet set to matches in Australia, Taiwan, and Hawaii in a matter of three weeks, it’s not easy. “I try to take advantage of the incredible places I get to visit, but I can’t exactly go on a three-hour hike the day before a match,” says Rogers, whose home base, such as it is, is her apartment in Fort Lauderdale. Between travel, training, resting, and managing the increasingly busy business side of her career, there’s not a lot of downtime. When she does get to relax, Rogers loves watching movies (warning: she cries readily at comedies or good chick flicks); following ice hockey (she grew up going to Stingrays games and particularly loved cheering for Gomez, “the guy who always stirred things up,” and today is a huge Tampa Bay Lightning fan); and staying in touch with her Charleston friends, including Mallory Rourk, one of her pals since elementary school.

“Shelby is super laid-back and so funny,” says Rourk, who confesses to knowing next to nothing about tennis but loves watching her friend play, especially at the Volvo Car Open. “We grew up crabbing and going to the beach and just being goofy and active outside, enjoying the sunshine.” They still do, heading to Sullivan’s Island to hang out when Rogers comes home to visit. In middle school, the two collaborated on a school project about the Spanish island Mallorca, “and I said, ‘If you ever play tennis there, I want to go’,” Rourk recalls. So when Rogers was invited to play at that very locale in 2015, she sent Mallory a ticket as a college graduation gift. “That’s the kind of person she is—she remembers some little comment I made in middle school.”

Another comment Rogers remembers is one she kept telling herself as she progressed, round after round, in the French Open last summer, and as she overcame a much-higher seeded Halep in the Australian Open this year: “you belong here, you belong here, play your game.”

And Rogers, with her Charleston-bred charm and charisma, clearly does belong center court, playing against the top women in the world. “She’s proven she can beat the best of the best, and on any given day, she can,” says Hand. “Shelby’s grounded and level-headed, and her game’s always been there. Now she’s gained mental toughness and is learning more about herself.” Learning that, yes, she does belong—on courts at Grand Slam tournaments and specifically here in Charleston, where she feels most at home. Here, where in the broader Lowcountry tennis scene, many young future Shelby Rogerses are watching as she takes to the practice courts on Daniel Island, whizzing forehands and backhands back and forth with steely focus and impressive power, and realizing they too can aspire to one day belong.


(03/31/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Athletes of the Week
Athletes of the Week are chosen by the Journal Scene staff based on the players’ sportsmanship, spirit and other contributions to their sport.

Athlete: Cooper Seale
Sport: Tennis
Ashley Ridge High School
Coach: Chi-Chi Hurley
Position: Singles

Player Notes: The junior, who normally plays at No. 5 singles, stepped into the No. 3 singles spot March 21 due to injuries and earned a 5-7, 6-3, 10-5 victory to help Ashley Ridge earn a region victory over Fort Dorchester.


(03/31/17) Halbauer making fourth bid to earn berth in main draw at Volvo Car Open
Ellie Halbauer is only 19 years old, but it might be difficult to find anyone who has competed in more WTA Tour qualifying tournaments at Family Circle Tennis Center than the former Charleston junior.

Halbauer will be making her fourth bid to earn a berth in the main draw this weekend on Daniel Island. She believes she's ready this time to win two matches on the clay courts at FCTC and capture one of the eight qualifying berths into next week's WTA Tour Volvo Car Open.

So far, Halbauer is 0-3 in the qualifying tournaments on Daniel Island, the first two in the Family Circle Cup qualifying event after earning wild cards into qualifying by winning back-to-back Dunlop Junior Cup titles in 2014-15. She was awarded a wild card last spring into the inaugural VCO qualifying tournament.

Now ranked 279th in the world, she received another wild card, but she doesn't need it this time. She moved into the qualifying draw on her own merits on Friday.

"It's great because I've worked really hard and it's exciting to see how every year I keep getting better," Halbauer said Friday after learning of her move from wild card to direct entry. "I feel like I've earned my right to be in it this year."

Halbauer finally won a set in the first round of last year's qualifying event before losing to Jana Cepelova, the runner-up to Andrea Petkovic in the 2014 Family Circle Cup.

After Halbauer didn't need the wild card this weekend, a qualifying wild card opened up Friday for MWTennis Academy player Cameron Morra of Rockville, Md., a University of North Carolina recruit.

Morra has trained at the Family Circle-based academy for the past two years, and MW CEO Jeff Wilson said, "She has as good of a chance as anyone (of winning two matches in qualifying and advancing to next week's VCO main draw). She can rip the ball."

Halbauer will open her bid on Saturday at 10 a.m. in the opening match on the Althea Gibson Club Court against fourth seed Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia, while Morra is scheduled for the fourth match on court three against Bulgarian Sesil Karatantcheva. Krunic trains at the Family Circle complex in her off weeks.

This year's qualifying tournament will be especially competitive with the likes of 89th-ranked Monica Barthel of Germany, Marina Erakovic of New Zealand, Taylor Townsend of Atlanta, Grace Min of Boca Raton, Fla., Atlanta's Samantha Crawford and 29-year-old Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak, a former 21st-ranked player who is currently ranked 314th in the world.

Meanwhile, Halbauer is just happy to be back in Charleston, and with a new coach, Australian Tom Downs.

"It's always nice to come back here where it feels like home with all my friends and family," said Halbauer, who now resides in Alpharetta, Ga., but will switch to Orlando, Fla., in June to train at the USTA training site.

"We (Halbauer and Downs) started working in January this year and he (Downs) has really helped me. We've been working really hard and I'm happy with my results. I'm excited to see what the rest of the year has in store."

Halbauer started tennis at eight years old in Ohio, but didn't get serious about the game until she moved to Charleston and trained under Bryan Minton and Fritz Nau, mostly at the Players Club, now LTP Tennis, but also at FCTC.

What about following in the footsteps of VCO main draw player Shelby Rogers? "I have always looked up to Shelby, but I think everyone has their own path, so I just focus on myself and improving every day."

Two wins at Family Circle Tennis Center during the next two days would fit right into that philosophy.

McENROE, RODDICK COMPETE

Local tennis fans are excited about having the chance Saturday night to see legends John McEnroe and Andy Roddick compete with James Blake and Mark Philippoussis for the title of Powershares Series champion of Charleston.

Former U.S. Open and world's No. 1 Roddick will defend the title he won a year ago at Volvo Car Stadium. Blake, a former world's No. 4, played last year and is happy to be back.

"I had a great time in Charleston last year,” Blake said. "The crowd was great and the fans were having a lot of fun. That made it a great experience for the players."

This will be the legendary McEnroe's first Powershares event in Charleston. "McEnroe is so unique. He has a different style of play than anyone else on tour. It’s fun to play against someone who is different and has such an amazing skill set," Blake said.

The fast-fire format event, which is set for 7 p.m., will include two semifinals and then a championship match pitting the two winners. The players will be mic’d while calling their own scores.

"We put on a great show for a set or two," Blake said. "The fans also get to see more of our personalities. On (ATP) tour, we were laser focused and not engaged with the fans as much. It’s fun to be able to engage more with the fans in these condensed events."


(03/31/17) PREP ZONE: Boys Tennis
WANDO 5, FORT DORCHESTER 0
Singles: 1. Alex Shaw (W) d. Will Shope, 6-0, 6-0; 2. Will Bumgarner (W) d. Philip Nguyen, 6-0, 6-0; 3. Palmer Smyth (W) d. Hendrick Ho, 6-1, 6-0; 4. Nick Heindel (W) d. Connor Westbrooke, 6-1, 6-0; 5. Ryan Daniel (W) d. Steven Tran, 6-1, 6-2. Doubles: Evan Burgess/Parker Snyder (W) vs. Westbrooke/Nguyen, rained out.

WEST ASHLEY 6, ASHLEY RIDGE 0
Singles: 1. Duarte (WA) d. Rabon, 6-0, 6-0; 2. Anastopoulo (WA) d. Morris, 6-2, 6-0; 3. Foster (WA) d. Leo, 6-2, 6-2; 4. Lambert (WA) d. Jones, 6-1, 6-2; 5. Richardson (WA) d. Seeale, 6-2, 5-7, 10-4. Doubles: 1. Dowd/Clontz (WA) d. Plyler/Johns, 7-5, 6-4;

Record: West Ashley 6-2 (5-2).


(03/29/17)  WALTERBORO PRESS AND STANDARD: CINDY CROSBY: Cougar Tennis gets region win over Stags
The Colleton County Boys Tennis team had three matches last week, including a region win over Berkeley High School. The Cougars took losses against region opponent Hilton Head High School and non-region Woodland High School.

“It was heartbreaking loss against Woodland as we lost three set tie-breakers on courts two, three and four,” said Coach Jaymie Strickland. “We came back strong the next day to pick up our first region win of the season against Berkeley – winning five of six courts.”

The Cougars traveled to Stall on March 28, hosted Battery Creek on Wednesday and will play region foe Cane Bay at home on Thursday.

March 21: Hilton Head 6, Colleton County 0
Singles
Matt Oliver (HH) d. Trey Bowman (CC) 6-0, 6-0
Cooper Steinour (HH) d. Thomas Warren (CC) 6-1, 6-0
Michael Oliver (HH) d. Adam Buckner (CC) 6-2, 6-2
Alex Ihenbach (HH) d. Joe Sanders (CC) 6-0, 6-0
Moses Grant (HH) d. Nick Fanchette (CC) 6-2, 6-2
Doubles
#2 Gabe Matos/Nate Anderson (HH) d. Mackel Bowman/Legrier Cooper 6-0, 6-0

March 22: Woodland High School 4,
Colleton County 2
Singles
Tyree Miller (WH) d. Trey Bowman (CC) 6-2, 6-0
Dante Allen (WH) d. Thomas Warren (CC) 6-4, 3-6, 10-7
Tromaine Cobbs (WH) d. Adam Buckner (CC) 6-7, 6-4, 10-4
Najohn Hodges (WH) d. Joe Sanders (CC) 2-6, 6-3, 10-1
Nick Fanchette (CC) d. Nicholas Behrick (WH) 6-1, 6-4
Doubles
#2  Mackel Bowman/Legrier Cooper (CC) d.  Carl Behrick/Edward Taylor (WH) 6-3, 6-1

March 23: Colleton County 5, Berkeley 1
Singles
Trey Bowman (CC) d. Hugh Huxfort (BH) 6-3, 7-5
Thomas Warren (CC) d. Ridge Baggett (BH) 6-1, 6-2
Adam Buckner (CC) d. Gabe Wadford 6-2, 6-1
Joe Sanders (CC) d. Wonyae Cameran (BH) 6-1, 6-2
Nick Fanchette (CC) d. Aaron Santiago (BH) 6-4, 4-6, 14-12
Doubles
#2 Graham Jones/Michael Simmons (BH) d. Makel Bowman Legrier Cooper 6-2, 6-3

(03/29/17) PREP ZONE: Boys Tennis
PORTER-GAUD 4, WANDO 3
Singles—1. Brant Fenno (PG) d. Alex Shaw (W) 6-2, 6-2; 2. Manning Snyder (PG) d. Jack Johnson(W) 6-2, 6-4; 3. Will Bumgartner (W) d. Malone Vingi (PG) 7-6, 7-5; 4. Palmer Smyth (W) d. Zach Blais (PG) 2-6, 7-6, 10-4; 5. Alex des Francs(PG) d. Nick Heindles (W) 6-0, 5-7, 10-3. Doubles—1. Snyder/Fenno (PG) d. Shaw/Bumgartner 8-3; 2. Schemer/Williams (W) d. Acevedo/Kammerer 3-6, 7-6. 11-9

(started Tuesday, concluded Wednesday)

STRATFORD 7, GOOSE CREEK 0
Singles—1. Jeffery Wong (S) d. Revis Mickler 6-1, 6-1; 2. Parker Hoffman (S) d. Mateo Coleman, 6-1, 6-2; 3. Zach Crawford (S) d. Jules Exciminiano, 6-0, 6-0; 4. Quincy Moorer (S) d. Julian Lawrence, 6-0, 6-0; Garrett Lind (S) d. Malik Williams, 6-0, 6-0. Doubles—1. Garett Sides/Mason Raines (S) d. Mickler/Lawrence, 8-2; 2. Dre Robinson/Bryce Teems (S) d. Michael Trapp/John Eraula, 6-0, 6-1.

Team Record: Stratford 4-4. Next Match: Stratford hosts James Island, Thursday.


(03/29/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: VCO courts fans with solid player field and new ways to 'get in the game'
They are some of the best female athletes in the world. And you know several of them by their first names alone - Venus, Madison, Caroline, and Sam. They all work hard at their craft, they travel thousands of miles each year to grit it out on tennis courts around the globe, and beginning this weekend, they will put their top-notch talents to the test on Daniel Island under the watchful eyes of some 90,000 spectators.

It’s the 45th year for the Volvo Car Open, North America’s largest women’s only tennis tournament. Formerly known as the Family Circle Cup, the event is in its 17th year on Daniel Island, after moving to Charleston from Hilton Head in 2001. The 2017 competition officially kicks off with “Family Weekend” this Saturday, April 1 and Sunday, April 2, as qualifying rounds get underway. Main draw play begins on Monday, April 3.

The top ten seeds taking part are be Madison Keys (USA, World No. 9), Johanna Konta (United Kingdom, World No. 11), Venus Williams (USA, World No. 12), Elena Vesnina (Ukraine, World No. 13), Carolina Wozniacki (Denmark, World No. 14), Sam Stosur (Australia, World No. 19), Kiki Bertens (Netherlands, World No. 21), Anastasija Sevastova (Latvia, World No. 25), Darla Gavriola (Russia, World No. 26), and Irina-Camelia Begu (Romania, World No. 28). All total, 56 players will compete in the singles draw, 32 in the qualifying rounds, and 16 in the doubles showdown.

“We’ve got our commitments and we’re thrilled with our draws,” said Eleanor Adams, VCO tournament manager. “It’s very strong, particularly with numbers 10-25, where a match can go either way depending on how they’re playing that day.”

While she is enthusiastic about all the VCO participants, Adams is especially stoked about Konta’s return to the tournament roster.

“The last time Johanna played here she was in the qualies,” said Adams. “And now she’s ranked in the top 10! So we’re very excited about her being here.”

When it comes to the American players, Adams believes the talent level is at a new high.

“The USTA has worked hard on their player development,” she said. “What I love to see more than anything is the support they are giving each other. There was a time when players were really concentrating solely on themselves. And now, particularly the Americans, they’re really a close-knit group and they are being led by the likes of Serena (Williams), Bethanie Mattek-Sands...they are like the ‘elders.’ They are setting a good example and they are being inclusive of these girls, off the court as well.”

VCO FAN-FARE!

So what can fans expect when the big show arrives? Plenty of opportunities to engage in the action, both on and off the court, according to Tournament Director Bob Moran. There are events happening for all ages throughout the VCO, including a pants giveaway at the Lisette L Montreal pop-up shop, the “Blue Lizard Family Zone” for a little family-style tennis complete with junior rackets and mini-nets for youngsters, a Ban Challenge Court to test your skills, MUSC Health pickleball clinics, Special Olympics demonstrations and tennis drills, programs for local adult and junior tennis teams, and more. Plus, each night Tuesday through Friday will have a different theme to offer fans (see page 22 for details).

“Outside the court, we’re trying to engage the customers all the time,” noted Moran. “It’s not just about coming and watching tennis. It’s about being active with us and participating. That’s important to us.”

And speaking of watching tennis – that is an area where Moran expects the VCO to score big this year. For the first time in the history of the tournament on Daniel Island, much of the event will be broadcast live by its new media partner, The Tennis Channel.

“We’ve been with ESPN for as long as we’ve been here,” said Moran. “But we made a shift this year to the Tennis Channel...We basically have a network for a week. They’re going to cover our first ball on Monday to our last ball on Sunday. Every singles match.”

That will translate into about 64 live hours and another 54 in replay hours, compared to the seven to 10 live hours they received on ESPN in 2016. Plus, every match broadcast “linear-wise” on The Tennis Channel will also be available digitally, said Moran, so fans can watch on their TV sets at home, their smartphones, their iPads, and more.

“It’s really unbelievable,” he added. “We will be in 174 countries. So our international broadcast will continue to grow...For us and for the market, it’s an enormous boost in coverage. We’re really excited about what that means...The Tennis Channel is a true partner for us. And what we’ve seen is our ticket holders are coming from all over.”

A quick glance at the rundown of ticket sales reveals fans are in fact traveling from all across the U.S. to take part in the VCO. A few of the states listed include Tennessee, Missouri, Colorado, Texas, California, Louisiana, and, of course, both North and South Carolina.

“It’s pretty fun to see,” added Moran.

And so far, ticket sales have been netting good numbers for this year’s event.

“It’s interesting,” Moran continued. “When everyone had that lull back in 2008-2009, and even into 2010, everyone saw everything go down. So I would say since 2010, we’ve seen that number come back up and continue to grow. We’re nicely tracking ahead for this year, compared to last year, which is our expectation.”

Another game changer has been the influx of even more international players to the event.

“We’re not 20 or 22 countries anymore,” said Moran. “We’re like 50 countries represented every year. That’s where tennis is different – it’s truly a global sport!”

And having an active and engaging presence on social medial helps spread the word among both players and fans.

“Just the way people consume their media - how we can reach every part of the globe - is amazing I think,” added Moran. “...You may want to be quiet, but you can’t. It’s very important that our response rate on Facebook is very, very fast. That our response rate on Twitter is very, very fast.”

“The players use their social media to talk about being on Daniel Island, and about the fans, and about enjoying Charleston” added Adams. “I think that’s a dramatic difference from what it was 16 years ago.”

And both Moran and Adams go to great lengths to keep the players busy, entertained and well fed during their time in the Holy City. There are visits to favorite restaurants (Sam Stosur is a fan of FIG, Lucy Safarova likes Wasabi, and Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki are said to enjoy Hall’s Chophouse), the relatively new Player Dining Hall (first erected on site in 2016) featuring catering by Hamby’s, and, of course, the Annual Player’s Party at the Aquarium.

“That will be fun,” said Adams, noting that this year’s party will feature a light-up dance floor, the traditional candy bar, and a new ice cream bar with player-inspired flavors. “It’s always just a great night for everyone to just relax and have fun before competition begins.”

The players will also be taking part in a variety of charitable activities, such as visits to the MUSC Children’s Hospital, hosting clinics for kids at the Jack Adams Tennis Courts downtown, championing WTA charities, and supporting 2016 defending VCO Champion Sloane Stephens’ Soles4Souls campaign - all in a city and atmosphere many of them have come to love, noted Moran and Adams.

“Coming here is so much easier for them,” said Adams. “Because they know what to expect – they see the same faces.”

“We do the little things,” added Moran. “We’re picking them up at the airport. We’re trying to be there, as much as we can. Because when they come from Miami, it’s that Latin South Beach feel, it’s high energy. It’s a different vibe. And when they get here, they see us and it’s like this smile comes across their faces. And they take a deep breath and say ‘Ok, we can relax a little bit, we’re in Charleston. They know they are going to be comfortable, they know they’re going to be taken care of.”


(03/29/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: VCO players come 'home' to Daniel Island
By: Kate Maas

Residents and visitors to Daniel Island refer to the community as “charming,” “peaceful,” and “beautiful,” among other positive qualifiers.

Over the next 10 days, as tennis professionals take center court in our island town during the Volvo Cup Open, Daniel Islanders will extend an exuberant hand of welcome to these talented visitors, and their support teams, from all over the world. It’s also a perfect time to tip our hats to the 23 Charleston families who go the extra mile, year after year, to offer free bed and board, a “home away from home,” to many of the players. While off the courts, players have a chance to recharge and regroup, sharing meals and good conversation...and even a few tennis tips with their “adopted” host families, with whom the players often form strong bonds.

Volvo Cup Open Tournament Manager Eleanor Adams observes, “Players who have taken advantage of that in the past never leave their host family situation. They keep going because they feel so comfortable and it’s familiar. And after all those weeks, usually it’s about six weeks on the road before they get to Charleston, being in a home just makes such a difference to them. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s a qualies player or a main draw player. Someone like Sam Stosur has stayed with a host family (in Charleston) probably for 16 years!”

We recently talked with two Daniel Island families who welcome VCO tennis guests year after year. In this week’s issue you’ll meet the Ramey family, and next week we will feature Rosie and Don Compton of Daniel Island Park.

Dr. John Ramey and family

Daniel Island resident Dr. John Ramey of Smythe Park, his wife, Mikki, and children JT, (9th grade Oceanside Collegiate), Will (5th grade at DIS), Kaitlin, (3rd grade at DIS) and 3-year old Ali Anne are about to open their home for the fifth consecutive year to Volvo Car Open tournament players. The first year, they hosted Arantxa Rus of Holland, then Varvara Lepchenko of Uzbekistan. The past three years (including 2017), the Rameys have enjoyed sharing their home with Laura Siegemund of Germany. Laura is currently ranked 39 in the world and won the Wimbledon mixed doubles title last year. She also played on the German Olympic team. Dr. Ramey and son Will talked with The Daniel Island News about some of the perks - for guests and hosts - of sharing a Daniel Island house for a week.

What do you think your guest, Laura Siegemund, appreciates most about staying at your house during the tournament?

John Ramey (JR): The life of a professional tennis player can be difficult. They travel a lot, which is in itself challenging. It can get lonely sometimes because most players don’t travel with family or friends. Volvo is the last tournament on the U.S. tour; because players don’t know when they will finish a tournament, it can be hard to book a flight home in advance. I think a lot of players, like Laura, really appreciate staying in a home with a family and getting to know someone new. Staying in hotels can get expensive and also lonely if the player is traveling alone, not to mention all the other fees they must be responsible for. For players who aren’t as highly ranked yet, there’s a big financial investment to participate in these tournaments. Staying with a family for a week can save some of the hotel expenses.

Where do the guests stay? A room in your house or in your FROG?

JR: We open up the whole third floor of our house, with a private bedroom and bathroom, to our guests. We also have a separate room on another floor if a player brings their coaches along.

Do you find you need to adjust your daily routine in any way or make any kind of special accommodations?

JR: Sometimes Laura will come down to breakfast with us before the kids go to school. But more often, we just let her rest. She starts the day off early practicing tennis. She will then lift weights and work with a trainer. She often doesn’t get back home until 7 or 8 at night. These players train really hard all day and they are wiped out! They are more relaxed when the tournament ends. We can talk a little more then.

Any special dietary requests?

JR: The players tend to eat very healthy foods. Lots of yogurt, protein, and fruit.

But Laura does love my wife’s brownies!

What do you and your family enjoy most about having Laura - and other players - stay with you?

JR: We enjoy having guests and the opportunity to meet professional tennis players who ultimately become good friends. We make it a point to go to the Tennis Center and watch as many matches as we can. We love to cheer Laura on! Laura even invited us to come watch her at the US Open this year. It’s also been great to follow her career in the three years we’ve known her; she used to rank 180. Now she’s ranked 39!

What do you enjoy best about having Laura stay with you?
JR: The kids love having Laura around because it’s like having a big sister.

Will Ramey: She’s really nice. And fun. When she’s not too busy, we get to go out and hit balls with her on the courts behind the school.

Have you learned any special tennis tips from Laura?
Will Ramey: She teaches us about using the correct grip! That’s really important!


(03/29/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: Volvo Car Open serves up fun for fans!
In addition to the matches playing out on the Volvo Car Open courts each day during the tournament, there are number of FAN-tastic activities taking place throughout the week. Check out the list below to find out the best way to ace this year’s action both on and off the clay! For more information, visit www.volvocaropen.com.

DAILY HAPPENINGS

Saturday, April 1 - Sunday, April 9
Lisette L Montréal Pants Giveaway
Visit the Lisette L Montréal pop-up shop on-site all week. When you try on a pair of their pants, you will be entered to win a free pair. Drawings will take place every hour.

Ban Challenge Court
Stop by the Ban Challenge Court and test your skills! Equipment provided. Just bring your A-game! Players of all abilities welcome.

Blue Lizard Family Zone
The FamilyZone will feature mini-nets and junior rackets so little ones can practice their strokes!

Saturday, April 1 - Sunday, April 3 

Family Weekend • 9:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Experience two fun-filled days of balloon art, face painting, magicians, jump castles and more. All activities are family-friendly and can be enjoyed around the grounds while taking in world-class tennis matches. Children under 15 are free and adults are just $10.

Saturday, April 1

Draw Ceremony
3:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Be a part of Volvo Car Open history as player names are drawn to determine who will battle it out on the courts. Interact and take photos with WTA players.

Monday, April 3 - Sunday, April 9
MUSC Health Pickleball Clinics
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Hop on the short courts and play some pickleball! This sport combines elements of tennis, ping pong and badminton. Beginners and experts welcome

Tuesday, April 4
Lisette L Montréal Ladies Day • 9:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Join the VCO for a special day of tennis with your best girls! For the cost of a Tuesday ticket, enjoy giveaways, shopping, wine and cheese tastings and loads of activities, all while watching world-class women’s tennis. Rally up the ladies and make a day of it!

Travels, Trivia & Triumphs • 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m
Tennis stars Tracy Austin and Lindsay Davenport, as well as mother-daughter duo Lisette Limoges and Kathryn Small, team up to hose this Ladies Day Luncheon. Includes catered and interactive lunch. Tickets are $60 each (VCO day session ticket also required). Visit www.volvocaropen.com or call (800) 677-2293 for more information.

Wednesday, April 5
Doubles and Bubbles Luncheon
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
An afternoon of tennis and champagne presented by Moët & Chandon, featuring some of the best tennis players in the world. Tickets are $60 each (VCO day session ticket also required). Visit www.volvocaropen.com or call (800) 677-2293 for more information.

Special Olympics Demonstration • 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Tennis players from local Special Olympics chapters will conduct drills on improving skills, court work, and overall play! A Wheelchair Olympics Demonstration will take place from 4 to 5 p.m. featuring adult handicapped tennis players from South Carolina. With an on-court emcee, learn the rules and regulations of the sport while watching a set in action.

NIGHTLY ACTIVITIES

Saturday, April 1
PowerShares Series
 • 7:00 - 10 p.m.

The 2017 PowerShares Series tour, a competitive tennis circuit featuring legendary icons and world-renowned champions. The event features the four champions playing two semifinals, with the winners meeting in a championship match. The event will showcase John McEnroe, former World No. 1 and eight-time Grand Slam winner; Andy Roddick, former World No. 1 and US Open winner; James Blake, former World No. 4 and Davis Cup winner; and Mark Philippoussis, former World No. 8 and eleven-time title winner. For tickets, visit www.volvocaropen.com.

Tuesday, April 4 - Saturday, April 8

Happy Hour! • 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Nightly on the Volvo Car Stadium grounds.

Tuesday, April 4
Dunlop Sport/Antigua Performance Apparel
7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Be one of the first 2,000 fans through the gate on Tuesday night and receive a special gift. In addition, the merchandise tent will offer special pricing on all Antigua clothing. After the first match, two lucky USTA teams will compete head-to-head on court.

Wednesday, April 5
Cancer Awareness Night • 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.

Presented by MUSC Health. Honor your loved ones affected by cancer during cancer awareness night.

Thursday, April 6
Military Appreciation Night • 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
In honor of the men and women who serve the U.S. in the Armed Forces, the Volvo Car Open, on behalf of Prudential, is proud to host military appreciation night – giving active-duty and retired military and their families., complimentary admission.

Friday, April 7
SunTrust Night • 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Join SunTrust on Friday when they host an interactive on court activity – the annual ball toss. A true fan favorite!


(03/29/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: Madison Keys leads the player field in the 2017 Volvo Car Open
By: Suzanne Detar

While 2016 Volvo Car Open champion Sloane Stephens will not be defending her title, due to injury, a field of top-ranked players will be vying for this year’s VCO title prize in the first clay tournament of the season. Three of the top five seeds in this year’s VCO have reached the quarterfinals in the Miami Open, currently underway.

The top seed in the 2017 tournament is American Madison Keys. Keys, an Illinois native who currently resides in Florida, is ranked No. 9 in the world. In recent play, Keys advanced to the round of 16 at Indian Wells where she was defeated by Caroline Wozniacki, who is the No. 5 seed in Charleston. Indian Wells was Keys’ first tournament of 2017, having missed the beginning of this year’s season due to wrist surgery. This week at the Miami Open, playing just her second tournament of the year, Keys was ousted by No. 72-ranked Lara Arruabarrena, 7-5, 7-5.

Keys’ career high rank was No. 7, which she achieved in October of 2016. In 2015, Keys was the runner-up in Charleston, losing to Angelique Kerber.

Second seed Johanna Konta of England is ranked No. 11. Konta had a strong start to this season, winning at the Sydney International and having a fine showing at the Australian Open, losing to Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. The Australian born Brit was knocked out in the round of 32 at Indian Wells earlier this month and, as of our print deadline, was still alive at the Miami Open, having survived a second round scare to qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovic and then improving markedly with her third round victory over Pauline Parmentier. Konta defeated Arruaberena in the fourth round and secured a berth in the quarterfinals (she was set to play on Wednesday – after we went to print).

Third seed Venus Williams, a former champion here in Charleston and a former World No. 1, is currently ranked No. 12 in the world. Williams’ best finish this year was runner up in the Australian Open, losing in the finals to her sister Serena. Venus Williams lost a three-set match at Indian Wells in the quarterfinal, her second best finish of the year.

Williams is currently playing well at the Miami Open, breezing through her second and third round matches and then defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova in the fourth round to reach the quarterfinals. Venus is set to face World No. 1 Kerber on Wednesday.

Russian Elena Vesnina, ranked No. 13 in the world, is the fourth seed. Vesnina had a surprise victory at Indian Wells, winning the finals against Kuznetsova, but was dismissed in the second round of Miami this week by a qualifier. Prior to her win at Indian Wells, Vesnina was playing average tennis, competing in six tournaments and making it as far as the quarterfinals only once.

Former Charleston champion and former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark has started the season strong. Having played six complete tournaments to date, the Dane has increased her world ranking to No. 14 (up from her No. 19 ranking at the end of 2016) and is the fifth seed in this year’s tournament. In those six tournaments, she has made the finals twice, and the quarterfinals three times.

As of our print deadline, Wozniacki was still going strong in Miami, cruising into the quarterfinals again having won her first three matches in straight sets and her fourth round match after her opponent was forced to withdraw. She was scheduled to play Dominika Cibulkova in the quarterfinals on Tuesday night after the paper went to print.

Other crowd favorites in this year’s player field include: former champions Sam Stosur, Jelena Jankovic, and Andrea Petkovic, reigning Olympic Champion Monica Puig and former Daniel Island resident Shelby Rogers.


(03/29/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: VCO 2016 Champ Sloane Stephens wants your soles!
Soles4Souls to target global poverty

Attention anyone with a closet! Those shoes you no longer want are desperately needed to fight the human tragedy of global poverty.

That’s the message being delivered by American tennis star Sloane Stephens and the Volvo Car Open. A collection drive has been launched to amass 5,000 shoes to help achieve positive change, both humanitarian and economic, via Soles4Souls. Starting now, used and new shoes can be dropped off at the Family Circle Tennis Center, 161 Seven Farms Drive, and all O2 Fitness Clubs located in the Charleston area. During the Volvo Car Open, April 1st – 9th donation boxes will be at the front gates.

For each person that donates a pair of shoes, the Volvo Car Open will provide a voucher redeemable at its box office for two general admission tickets during the tournament.

The shoes that Sloane Stephens collects will be delivered to Soles4Souls, an international anti-poverty organization that monetizes used shoes and clothing to create sustainable jobs and fund direct relief efforts, including distribution of new shoes and clothing. Founded in 2006, the organization has distributed more than 26 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries.

Stephens has partnered with the Nashville-based charity to collect new and used shoes and clothing and redistribute to people in need through direct donations and micro-enterprise partners.

Since its inception in 2006, Soles4Souls has distributed over 26 million pairs of shoes to the underprivileged in 127 countries, including Kenya, Thailand, Nepal, and Haiti, as well as all fifty U.S. states.

The connection between poverty and shoes is well documented. The World Bank estimates that approximately 400 million children worldwide – more than the entire U.S. population – live in pronounced poverty. Millions of these children will grow up never having had a pair of shoes, resulting in significant ramifications for their health and well-being. Lacking proper footwear, countless children will not be able or permitted to attend school. And tens of millions of these poverty-stricken, barefoot boys and girls will be infected with soil-transmitted parasitic diseases like hookworm, causing lasting suffering and lifelong debilitation.

“The simple truth is that almost anyone with a closet has shoes they don’t wear, or an old pair that will just end up in a landfill,” said Stephens, who is recovering from an injury and will be taking part in this year’s VCO as a commentator for The Tennis Channel. “Give those to us, and know that you are taking a step to making the world a better place for all of us.”

“Sloane and Volvo Car Open are supporting Soles4Souls because it is the definition of a social enterprise where solid business practices are used to create positive change in people’s lives,” said Bob Moran, Volvo Car Open tournament director. “Sloane is a strong supporter of Soles4Souls’ anti-poverty mission, and we hope to take a big step in providing the organization with the used shoes they require to keep making a difference for people in need.”

To donate to Soles4Souls, bring your shoes to:
• The Volvo Car Open, 161 Seven Farms Drive Charleston, SC 29492
• O2 Fitness Clubs in Charleston County
For more information on Soles4Souls, visit www.soles4souls.org.


(03/29/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: Volvo Car Open partners with SunTrust to offer juniors 15 and under free tickets to tournament
The Volvo Car Open has continued its mission to grow the game of tennis. For the third year in a row, the WTA Premier event has partnered with SunTrust to offer juniors, 15 and under, free admission all week into the Volvo Car Open, which will be held April 1 – 9 on Daniel Island.

“We want the name Volvo Car Open to be synonymous with growing the game of tennis,” said Bob Moran, Volvo Car Open tournament director. “We value our partnership with SunTrust to offer juniors unparalleled and complimentary access to our tournament. We hope to touch the lives of thousands of youth and inspire the next generation of tennis players and fans. This is possible because of SunTrust’s commitment to our tournament. Through this program, together we’ve already provided nearly 20,000 youth access to an international, world-renowned tennis tournament.”

“This is our 10th year supporting the community through our partnership with this world-class event, and we are incredibly proud to be able to inspire the next generation to reach for their dreams,” said Mark Lattanzio, SunTrust Region President. “It’s how we live our purpose to light the way to financial well-being for our clients and communities. And it helps us share the ‘onUp’ movement to start a conversation about how financial confidence can put them on the right track to achieve their dreams.”

SunTrust will also sponsor the City of Charleston’s Tennis in the City event, an annual one-day inner-city youth tennis clinic held at the Jack Adams Tennis Center in downtown Charleston during the Volvo Car Open. Since its inception in 2003, this event has made a profound impact on thousands of local, Charleston children. This occasion brings WTA tennis players, tennis pros, as well as high school and college teams together to introduce the game of tennis to local children, in turn helping them learn basics of the game in an exciting environment.

Complimentary junior tickets can be redeemed via www.VolvoCarOpen.com, by calling 800.677.2293 or via the Box Office, located at 161 Seven Farms Drive Charleston, SC 29492.


(03/29/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Swamp Fox tennis team tops Patriots
The Ashley Ridge boys tennis team defeated cross-town rival Fort Dorchester last week.

The Swamp Foxes earned a 5-1 victory over the Patriots in The Swamp to improve to 3-4 on the season. Zachary Rabon, Cameron Jones, Cooper Seale and Daniel Shmedeke all won singles matches for Ashely Ridge and the doubles team of Dylan Johns and Hampton Plyler notched a victory for the Swamp Foxes.

The Swamp Foxes had several starters return this season, but moved into a tough region that includes Wando, James Island and Summerville. Garrett Morris returned as the Swamp Foxes No. 1 singles player, but was out with an injury last week. Exavier Leo, Rabon and Seale also returned to the Swamp Fox starting singles rotation. The doubles teams of Jacob Gamble/Miller Johnson and Johns/Plyler are also back this season.

Jones, a senior, worked his way into the No. 4 singles spot and Will Price and Shmedeke are also trying to break into the starting rotation.

Ashley Ridge coach Chi-Chi Hurley says the inner-squad competition is making all her players stronger.

“I believe my team is getting better and better every match,” Hurley said. “We have had some really close matches going to the third set, which is played to a 10 point tie-breaker. I am very proud of how well the boys are doing so far and how they are improving every day. As long as we stay healthy, we may surprise some teams in the second round of region play.”


(03/28/17) LIVE5NEWS: Volvo Car Open features family events, legends and world-class tennis
Some of the top women's tennis stars in the world will hit the court at the 45th Volvo Car Open on Daniel Island.

The tournament begins its 17th year in the Lowcountry with qualifying matches Saturday and Sunday. Play in the main draw continues Monday through the finals on Sunday, April 9. About 90,000 spectators are expected over the nine days.

Five former champions are scheduled to return to the Lowcountry. Venus Williams (2004), Jelena Jankovic (2007), Sam Stosur (2010), Caroline Wozniacki (2011) and Andrea Petkovic (2014) are all looking to win the tournament for the second time.

The Volvo Car Open also includes plenty of activities away from the court for fans to enjoy. Family Weekend activities from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday include balloon art, face painting, jump castles and more. Admission to the grounds the first two days is only $10 for adults and free for anyone 15 and younger.

Another highlight of the first day is the Draw Ceremony from 3 to 4 p.m. outside the stadium court.

In prime time, legends and former men's champions will take the court for the PowerShares Series from 7 to 10 p.m. John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, James Blake and Mark Philippoussis will pair off in semifinal matches with the winners to meet in a championship match. Tickets for the PowerShares Series are $30 and are sold separately from the daily grounds pass.


(03/28/17) PREP ZONE: Boys Tennis
SOUTH AIKEN 5, BISHOP ENGLAND 1
Singles: A. Skilzovic (SA) def. L. Dacuba 6-2, 4-6, 10-8; Z. Dacuba (BE) def. A. Skilzovic 3-6, 6-4, 10-7; T. Tiffany (SA) def. Gosselin 6-3, 6-1; Rowan (SA) def. Meyer 4-6, 6-0, 10-6; Rogesson (SA) def. Flathman 7-5, 6-3. Doubles: Regerson/Pleger (SA) def. Bollinger/Rentas 6-3, 6-0.

SUMMERVILLE 5, PINEWOOD PREP 2
Singles: Simonas Zukavkus (PP) def. Stephen Wills 6-0, 6-0; Taylor Reynolds (S) def. Ben Diffley 6-2, 6-0; Thomas McGinnis (S) def. Canon McConnell 6-2, 6-3; Reginald Lewis (S) def. MacGregor Mann 3-6, 6-2, 10-4; Rahi Gajjar (S) def. Grayson Mann 6-4, 6-4. Doubles: Zukavkus/Diffley (PP) def. Wills/Reynolds 7-5, 6-4; Akhil Prathipati/Chris Edwards (S) def. Kyle Taxewell/Matthew Tanner 7-5, 6-4.

Records: Summerville 7-4 (5-2); Pinewood Prep 7-1 (3-1). Next: Summerville at Fort Dorchester on Tuesday.

FORT DORCHESTER 5, BERKELEY 2
Singles: Will Shope (FD) def. Hugh Huxford 6-1, 6-2; Ridge Baggett (B) def. Philip Nguyen def. 7-5, 4-6 (7); Gabe Wadford (B) def. Hendrick Ho 2-6, 6-4 (9); Connor Westbrooke (FD) def. Wonyea Cameron 6-0, 6-4; Steven Tran (FD) def. Aaron Santiago 6-0, 6-0. Doubles: C. Westbrooke/Shope (FD) def. Baggett/W. Cameron 8-4; Nathan Westbrooke/Jone Nguyen (FD) def. Graham Jones/Michael Simmons 6-2, 6-1.

Records: Fort Dorchester 4-6; Berkeley 1-4. Next: Summerville at Fort Dorchester on Tuesday; Cane Bay at Berkeley on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.


(03/26/17) Charleston's Rogers falls to No. 1 Kerber at Miami Open
Charleston's Shelby Rogers pushed world's No. 1 Angelique Kerber to the end on Sunday in the third round of the Miami Open before suffering a 6-4, 7-5 loss to Kerber.

Rogers jumped out to early leads in both sets, 3-0 in the first set and 4-2 in the second, before Kerber played up to her ranking. The 29-year-old German held service in the last game of each set.

After taking a 4-2 lead in the second set, Rogers was broken in consecutive serving games to allow Kerber to take a 5-4 lead. Rogers came up with a break for 5-5, but was broken right back to send Kerber into the 12th game to serve for the match.

Rogers, who should climb approximately 10 places from her 61st ranking as a result of her two victories in Miami, was also broken in consecutive service games in the first set as Kerber won five straight games to rebound from a 3-0 deficit.


(03/25/17) LTP to stage $60K event; Navarro, Pratt South's best
The Volvo Car Open is only a week away, but local tennis is hitting on all cylinders this spring.

The big news is that Mount Pleasant's LTP Tennis and Swim Club has added a rather significant event to its busy lineup by putting on a $60,000 U.S. Women's Pro Circuit tournament in early May. LTP already has a national senior women's tournament scheduled for April 26-30.

That's not all. For probably the first time ever, the Charleston area is the home of the top-ranked girl and boy in the South. Ashley Hall star Emma Navarro has used a spectacular string of 24 straight singles victories (23 in straight sets) and four consecutive titles in major junior tournaments in 2017 to leap into the No. 1 ranking among girls 18 players in the Southern Section, while Bishop England's Jared Pratt remains No. 1 among boys 18 players in the South.

Navarro also played with different partners to win doubles titles in three of the four tournaments.

By the way, Navarro trains out of the club her dad Ben Navarro owns, LTP. The Mathis Ferry Road facility still plans to hold the $15,000 Women's U.S. Pro Circuit tournament that it originated in 2016 again this fall. Of course, LTP staged the USTA National Boys 12 Clay Courts last summer.

Halbauer in VCO qualifiers

Former LTP and Family Circle Tennis Center junior Ellie Halbauer also has produced some good news by receiving a wild card into next weekend's Volvo Car Open qualifying tournament. Still just 19 years old, Halbauer has climbed more than 300 spots in the last two years to No. 279 in the WTA Tour rankings.

She has been sidelined the last few weeks by a rib injury.

"I did receive a wild card (into the VCO qualifying)," Halbauer said. "I'm two out (of direct entry into qualifying) without it (the wild card), so hopefully I'll get in on my own."

If that isn't enough, Shelby Rogers is doing quite well on the WTA Tour. She made it to the second round at Indian Wells by defeating red-hot Jennifer Brady, who upended Rogers twice in less than two weeks last spring. Rogers then was unfortunate enough to run into eventual Indian Wells champion and 2016 VCO runner-up Elena Vesnina in the second round.

Rogers already has pulled an upset of 31st seed Daria Kasatkina and scored two wins in the super tournament Miami Open where she is scheduled to play top-ranked Angelique Kerber on Sunday. Rogers is a direct entry into the VCO singles main draw.

Navarro in $60K event

Some high school observers might have felt that Emma Navarro received a wild card into last fall's U.S. Pro Circuit event at LTP because the event was held at her dad's place. Then she went out and practically carried Ashley Hall to a state championship.

Now, as a mere 15-year-old, she tops all junior girls in the South. She is No. 1 in the Southern rankings in both girls 16 and 18 singles.

Veteran Ashley Hall coach Mary Gastley probably has her fingers crossed that Navarro will be back with the Panthers in the fall.

Navarro has been awarded a wild card into the $60,000 event that will be held May 1-7 at LTP, according to the namesake of LTP's Randy Pate Academy. A wild card event for the $60,000 tournament will be held April 7-10.

Pate also is proud of the six players from his local academy who have signed or committed to major college tennis grants. That's girls Chelsea Sawyer to Tennessee, Peyton Pesavento to Wake Forest, Meredith Roberts to TCU and Kylie Duckworth to Tennessee, and boys Tristan Smith and Collin Shick to North Carolina State.

Four of the six players study online at LTP, while Sawyer is a senior at Wando and Duckworth travels back and forth from Augusta, Ga., where she attends school.

VCO offers free tickets

For the third consecutive year, Charleston's WTA Tour tournament is teaming with SunTrust to offer 15-and-under junior players free admission all week during the April 1-9 VCO.

"We want the name Volvo Car Open to be synonymous with growing the game of tennis," VCO tournament director Bob Moran said.

"We value our partnership with SunTrust to offer juniors unparalleled and complimentary access to our tournament. We hope to touch the lives of thousands of youth and inspire the next generation of tennis players and fans.

"Through this program, together we’ve already provided nearly 20,000 youth access to an international, world-renowned tennis tournament."

Local notes

Former Wando girls tennis coach Becky Williamson is winning again. Williamson, who directed the Warriors to six consecutive state titles, captained a 55-and-over women's 7.5 combo team to a Southern championship earlier this month in Auburn, Ala.

A 5.5 team from the Daniel Island Club captained by Christopher Whitaker was runner-up in the 18-and-over Southern combo competition held in Mobile, Ala.

The sixth annual Legend Oaks Gives Back Tennis Tournament raised $7,1000 to support Lowcountry needs. The biggest winner was the ARK Alzheimer's Family Support Services.


(03/22/17)  WALTERBORO PRESS AND STANDARD: CINDY CROSBY: CCHS Tennis earns win over Battery Creek
Colleton County Cougar Tennis recorded region losses last week against Cane Bay and Beaufort High School and earned a non-region win over Battery Creek to sit at 1-2 overall and 0-2 in Region 8-AAAA.

The Cougars are scheduled to host two region matches this week with Hilton Head High School on Tuesday March 21 and Berkeley High School Thursday March 23.

Results from last week:
Colleton County 4, Battery Creek 3 – March 7
Singles
Trey Bowman (CC) d. Clinton Taylor (BC) 6-4, 7-6
Julius Thompson(BC) d. Thomas Warren (CC) 2-6, 6-4, 8-10
Adam Buckner (CC) d. Lydasia Prather (BC) 6-2, 6-4
Joe Sanders (CC) d. Dillan Morris (BC) 4-6, 6-4, 10-8
Phillip Hooper (BC) d. Nick Fanchette (CC) 3-6, 2-6
Doubles
#1 Trey Bowman/Thomas Warren (CC) d. Clinton Taylor/Julius Thompson (BC) 6-4,6-4
#2 Jadyn Spiegel/Amante Singleton(BC) d. Makel Bowman/Legrier Cooper (CC) 2-6, 2-6

Cane Bay 5, Colleton County 1 – March 14
Singles
Jordan Howell (CB) d. Trey Bowman (CC) 1-6, 6-4, 2-10
Melvin Tejaer (CB) d. Thomas Warren (CC) 6-7, 1-6
Adam Buckner (CC) d. Don Keyes (CB) 7-5, 6-4
Andrew Zhuo (CB) d. Joe Sanders (CC) 4-6, 2-6
Andrew Dodd (CB) d. Nick Fanchette (CC) 2-6, 4-6
Doubles
#2 N. West/ Carter Hinkle (CB) d. Makel Bowman/Legrier Cooper (CC) 0-6, 1-6

Beaufort 6, Colleton County 0 – March 16
Singles
Mitchell Russell (BC) d. Trey Bowman (CC) 1-6, 2-6
Jaro Neimond (BC) d. Thomas Warren (CC) 0-6, 0-6
Merritt Patterson (BC) d. Adam Buckner (CC) 1-6, 1-6
Chris Hoosonboom (BC) d. Joe Sanders (CC) 1-6, 0-6
Paul Windland (BC) d. Nick Fanchette (CC) 0-6, 1-6
Doubles
#2 L Ben Straut/Bodie Daniel (BC) d. Makel Bowman/Richard Cartier (CC) 1-6, 2-6


(03/22/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Green Wave tennis team has lofty goals
The Green Wave Boys Tennis team suffered two key losses last week, but its goals for the season are still attainable.

Summerville fell to West Ashley and Wando in region matches March 14 and 16. However, the Wave is still out to a 4-4 start with a 3-2 mark in Region 7-AAAAA matches. Two of the region wins for Summerville came over cross-town rivals Fort Dorchester and Ashley Ridge. The other was over Goose Creek.

Summerville is having to replace the starters at the No. 1, 3 and 4 singles slots who led the Wave to the 2016 Region 8AAAA Championship. The trio finished last season with a combined singles record of 40-10. Making the loss that much harder for Summerville coach David Long is the fact that he not only lost three starters, but one of them is his son. Walker Long, a four-year Green Wave starter, two-time team captain and three-time team MVP, now plays the No. 6 spot for Coker College.

“This year will have a different feel to it without my son Walker on the team and due to the fact we are not as strong as we have been,” Coach Long said. “We do have a couple of returners at the top of the lineup and some very good younger kids ready to step up this year.”

Summerville joins a new region this season that is expected to be highly competitive. Despite the losses to graduation, Coach Long believes the Wave can compete for a Top 3 finish in Region 7-AAAAA.

Juniors Stephen Wills and Taylor Reynolds will take over the top singles spots, respectively, after playing the No. 2 and No. 5 spots last year. Both have been on the team since middle school.

Wills has been in the team’s Top 3 since ninth grade and entered the season with a record of 35-12.

Reginald Lewis, the only senior on the squad, is also in the singles lineup, which is rounded out by eighth-grader Thomas McGinnis and seventh-grader Rahi Gajjar.

Juniors Akhil Prathipati and Chris Edwards have been playing No. 2 doubles for Summerville this season. Also vying for time on the court are junior Winnie Pfeiffer, sophomores Dontrell Whetsell and Kordell Whetsell and freshmen Cole Huckaby and Shepard Mobley.

Long is in his fourth year as the Wave’s head coach and fifth year overall with the team, which has placed first or second in its region since he joined the staff. He has earned two Region Coach of the Year Awards.

Summerville looks to get back on track this week with matches at James Island and Stratford. The Wave will then host a match with non-region opponent Pinewood Prep at 4:30 p.m. March 27.


(03/15/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: Pickleball craze hits Daniel Island
After Daniel Island resident Carol Mason finished a day of skiing in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, she was introduced to a game she had never heard of — pickleball. As she played the game indoors on a badminton court, she knew she had to pursue bringing the sport to Daniel Island. Thanks to efforts by the City of Charleston and the Family Circle Tennis Center, with input from Carol, it is now a reality.

Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in America and can be played by almost everyone. Invented almost 50 years ago in Seattle, Washington, pickleball is a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. It is played with a paddle and a whiffle ball on a court about quarter the size of a tennis court. It appeals to older players because it is fast paced and competitive, without requiring them to run too far.

Ex-tennis player Carol says, “it’s a game anyone can play. I have a bad shoulder and two fake hips, and I just love it.”

According to the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), the unusual name has two possible origins. The inventor’s wife claims she started calling the game pickleball because “the combination of different sports reminded me of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.” Her husband, however, said it was named after the family dog “Pickles,” who would chase the ball and run off with it.

The rapid growth of the sport continues to attract new players across the nation. In 2003, there were 39 places to play in North America. Today, there are nearly 5,000. According to the USAPA, the number of participating players in the U.S. is now over 225,000. There are now a total of four places to play on Daniel Island.

In 2015, at a series of public hearings on Daniel Island’s recreational needs hosted by the City of Charleston, many local seniors expressed an interest in bringing pickleball to the island. City staffers approached Nancy Heinz at the Family Circle Tennis Center about the prospect. Nancy then worked with Facilities Director Rob Eppelsheimer to make it happen - with insights and assistance from Carol along they way.

They found that a pickleball court overlaid perfectly on each of the four existing junior tennis courts, so they were able to create dual-use courts by adding pickleball striping. It was a win-win outcome for both the juniors, the pickleballers and the tennis center. Scheduling preference goes to the juniors, but for now there is enough scheduling flexibility to accommodate both groups.

Once the courts were ready, Carol called a few of her friends, who invited others. Soon they were maxing out the four courts with four players, four times a week. Anyone asking about pickleball at the tennis center is referred to Carol by Nancy.

“We teach the basics to new players and let them play for half the session with players of their own ability, and then we integrate them into games with the more advanced players so they can experience what it’s like to play a ‘real’ game,” says Carol, who works to make absorbing new players into the group as easy as possible.

To play pickleball at Family Circle Tennis Center you do not need to be a member and some equipment is available at the desk.

If you are interested in joining Carol and her friends and learn the fast-growing sport, call Carol Mason at (843) 452-7772.


(03/15/17) PREP ZONE: BOYS TENNIS
WANDO 4, JAMES ISLAND 2
Singles: Healey (JI) d. Shaw 6-4, 6-1. Bumgardner d. Evans 6-4, 6-2. Smyth d. Alexander 6-4, 6-1. Ragkil d. Aa. Cox 6-0, 6-0. Barhen d. Ar. Cox 6-2, 6-4. Doubles: Gentilis/Kiser (JI) win by forfeit.

Records: James Island 3-1. Next: James Island hosts West Ashley Thursday. Wando hosts Summerville Thursday.

STRATFORD 6, FORT DORCHESTER 1
Singles: Wong d. Varner 7-5, 6-2. Yeung d. Shope 7-5, 4-6, 10-5. Hoffman d. Nguyen 6-2, 6-3. Crawford d. Westbrooke 6-4, 6-2. Sides d. Ho 6-2, 6-2. Doubles: Varner/Shope (FD) win by forfeit. McCracken/Lind d. Westbrooke/Wang 6-1, 6-3.

HANAHAN 5, BISHOP ENGLAND 0
Singles: Hyatt d. Pratt 6-4, 4-6, 10-7. Nash d. L. Dacuba 6-2, 7-5. Simon d. Z. Dacuba 6-0, 6-2. Wilson d. Gosselin 6-1, 6-0. Jones d. Meyer 6-0, 6-1.

WEST ASHLEY 4, SUMMERVILLE 3
Records: West Ashley 1-0 (1-0). Summerville 4-3 (3-1). Next: West Ashley at James Island Thursday. Summerville at Wando Thursday.


(03/11/17) Hanahan Hawks may be state's best team
Defending Class AAA boys state champion Hanahan looks like the cream of the crop in area high school tennis for 2017 as well as possibly the entire state.

Coach Glenn Cobb's Hawks are working on a 17-match winning streak that easily could expand into the 30s by the end of the spring. If Hanahan was strong a year ago, the Hawks are super strong this time around.

Bishop England is the only challenge for Hanahan in Region 7-AAA, and that's mainly due to the presence of Southern No. 1 junior Jared Pratt in the Bishops' green uniforms. But the Hawks can go deep with six excellent singles players, led by 2016 All-Lowcountry players Kerim Hyatt and Chad Nash.

"Our challenge in our conference is to get by BE," Cobb said. "Every team's goal is to win the conference, lower state and state. Those are our goals as well. If the players play up to their potential we have a good shot."

The road to state gold might be easier for the Hawks than it was in 2016 now that lower state runner-up Hilton Head High and state runner-up A.C. Flora have moved out of the way and up to Class AAAA, along with perennial power Myrtle Beach.

Hanahan, which also has 2016 unbeaten Mark Jones back, has added junior tournament standouts Coy Simon, Reilly Wilson and Max Smith.

Cobb still has a very young team. Crafty left-hander Hyatt was only a sophomore last season when he not only went unbeaten, but didn't drop a set. Nash, Simon, Wilson and Jones are only sophomores now. Smith is an eighth-grader.

The Hawks shouldn't have to lose any sleep this time about defending Class AA state champion Academic Magnet possibly being hailed as the Lowcountry's best team as was the case in 2016 when both teams went undefeated.

MAGNET LOSES TOP 4

Academic Magnet is off to an 0-2 start (losses to Wando and Pinewood Prep) to snap the Raptors' 14-match winning streak from 2016, but coach Andrea Langley thinks her team has the potential to again challenge for supremacy in lower state Class AA.

That may happen, due to the weakened down effect in Class AA with the shift to Class AAA by Bishop England and perennial power Waccamaw. However, this year's Academic Magnet team doesn't appear to be in the class of last year's team in terms of talent.

High caliber junior tournament players Jacob Jahn, Sam Kavarana and Earl Navarro are all bypassing this high school season after leading the Raptors to the 2016 success, even though all three are still underclassmen. Fellow standout sophomore Vinod Pandey also is taking the season off.

Chris Moss, last year's No. 5, has moved up to No. 1 and captain as a senior, while No. 2 doubles standout Andrew Demetre last season as a sophomore is now the No. 2 singles player. The Raptors also have juniors Michael Pi and Jack McFee, and freshman Kyle Smith back to fill the other singles spots.

7-AAAAA INTERESTING

The new Class AAAAA region in the area (Region 7) will be interesting to watch with Wando, Summerville and James Island all in the same league. A year ago, Wando was the 7-AAAA champ and Summerville won 8-AAAA.

Coach Winde Ellenberg's Wando team is off to a 3-0 start, with two wins in region play

"Our goal is to win a 12th consecutive region title. And as always, we would like to go a round or two further in the playoffs," Ellenberg said.

The Warriors have their top four players back, led by freshmen Alex Shaw and Will Bumgarner. Jack Johnson is a sophomore and captain Palmer Smyth is a junior.

Coach David Long's Summerville boys also are gunning for Wando.

"Our biggest challenge this year is replacing lost players (Nos.) 1, 3 and 4 from Region 8-AAAA champions," Long said.

Juniors Stephen Wills and Taylor Reynolds hold the top two singles posts after playing Nos. 2 and 5 in 2016. Eighth-grader Thomas McGinnis and seventh-grader Rahi Gajjar round out the singles lineup along with senior Reginald Lewis.

"We will know where we stand in the region when we travel to Wando Thursday. Wando is always the team to beat in tennis in the new 5A region," Long said.

Standout junior Brendan Healey, who went 10-0 in region play at No. 1 singles a year ago, is back at James Island, giving the Trojans a chance to make things interesting for Wando and Summerville.

THE PRATT THREAT

Bishop England remains a threat in Class AAA with Pratt. Still just a junior, Pratt can virtually assure half of the four points needed to win any SCHSL match.

Pratt is backed up by junior star Lleyton Dacuba at No. 2, but coach Kristin Fleming Arnold's Bishops have a difficult time matching up with Hanahan after the No. 1 position.

The Bishops also return senior Ben Meyer and sophomore Rafe Flathman, while adding newcomers Lukas Gosselin (eighth grade) and Zachary Dacuba (freshman).

FENNO BOOSTS P-G

In SCISA, Brant Fenno's return to the Porter-Gaud tennis program practically assures the Cyclones of a third consecutive Class AAA title. After making All-Lowcountry three straight years, Fenno took his sophomore season off in 2016, but he has returned to take the place of the departed Cross Tolliver at the top of the lineup.

Porter-Gaud has junior Manning Snyder back, along with seniors Malone Vingi, Jack Kammerer and Luke Harvin back to go with junior newcomer Alexandre Des Francs. That should be enough talent to take the Cyclones to their 17th state title in the last 23 years. The word also is to keep an eye on tiny, but talented sixth-grader Lucas Acevedo.


(03/10/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Clay Court Classic is this month
Looking for a great weekend of food, fun, entertainment and lots of tennis?

Whether you're watching or playing, the Azalea Clay Court Classic tennis tournament offers something for everyone. The USTA Level 2 Tennis tournament is scheduled for March 24-26 at Pine Forest Country Club. Registration is now open.

The USTA program with the most players entered will win $150. Divisions include Men’s and Women’s Singles (3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5 and Open), Men's and Women's Doubles (3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5 and Open), Mixed Doubles (6.0, 7.0, 8.0, 9.0 and Open) and Senior (50 plus) Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles.

Junior players are welcome in the open divisions.

In other Pine Forest Country Club news, club tennis director Andy Steingold recently played in the Super Category II National Tennis Tournament at the Sterling Oaks Club in Naples, Florida. There were more than 300 players in the tournament and more than 54 in his 65 Plus draw alone.

Steingold won four rounds of singles play before losing in the finals to Larry Turville, the top seed and former US and World No. 1.


(03/10/17) USTA SOUTHERN: COMMUNITY TENNIS NEWS e-Newsletter
Wanted: Nominations
for SC Tennis Patrons Foundation Hall of Fame

Nominees for the South Carolina Tennis Patrons Foundation Hall of Fame must have been South Carolina residents at least 10 years. Nominations must be received by June 1, 2017, and any nominations received after that will be considered the following year. Submit nominations online or by mail.

College Scholarships Available through SCTP Foundation
Four college scholarships are available through the South Carolina Tennis Patrons Foundation and are awarded annually. Criteria for selection includes:

Academic achievement
Character and sportsmanship
Extracurricular activities and community service
Notable tennis achievements
Applicant Essay: "The Impact of Tennis on My Life"

Applications must be received by June 30, 2017.

Grant! Grants! Grants!

Don't miss an opportunity to apply for a grant that can benefit your community. Some imminent deadlines are highlighted below. To be in good standing when you apply for USTA funding, your CTA/NJTL registration must be renewed.

March 15: South Carolina Tennis Patrons Foundation Youth Program Grant

New money
USTA National is making a new pool of money available for innovative programs that engage and attract millennials to tennis. The Young Adult Program Grant is available to providers who want to run events and programs for 18-39 year old players.

Programs could be offered in a variety of ways: Tournaments, Social Leagues or Drop-In Play. This is a great opportunity to attract new players and increase participation.
Tournaments

1/2 day to single day
Non-elimination draw format
Pick from Fast 4; Best of 3 tie breaks or timed matches scoring format
NTRP divisions
TennisLink required

Social Leagues

4-8 week program
Organizer determines league format
Any skill level
TennisLink required

Drop-In Play

4-6 week program with drop-ins welcome
Tennis pro to organize instruction and play
All skill levels

Contact YAP@usta.com for additional information.

Facility Assistance Program
Grants are available from USTA for facility assistance in several categories. Additional information and forms are available.

Tennis on Campus

Club tennis teams from Clemson, Furman, College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina joined hundreds of college players from across the region for the Tennis on Campus USTA Southern Championship Feb. 24-26 in Auburn, Alabama.

Congratulations to all the South Carolina teams who participated. A special shout out to USC, which will send a team to nationals. Check out some of the pictures from the USTA Southern Championship. If a college in your town is interested in starting a Tennis on Campus team, please contact Sheryl McAlister.

World Tennis Day News

The Charleston Post & Courier featured two of our many extraordinary South Carolina volunteers who are making a difference in their local communities. Read 'Two Women Who Put Love in Tennis.'


The Newberry Observer highlighted the groundbreaking of a new tennis complex at Oakland Park.
School Tennis

School Grants

School grants are available for 2017 and provide essential tennis equipment to aid program organizers and teachers. Available grants include: PE Equipment Grant, Kids' Tennis Club Equipment Grant and High School Tournament Equipment Grant. The youth programs are feeders to the USTA flagship program, Junior Team Tennis. For more information, click here.

Awesome Athlete of the Month
Mary Blake Hand is our pick for Awesome Athlete of the Month. Mary Blake was nominated by Mehdi El-Kheddiwi from The I'On Club in Mount Pleasant. To nominate a young tennis player, contact Pamela Banks.

No-Cut Coach Spotlight
Greenwood High School Coach Howard Green is a dedicated No-Cut high school coach. His young team has shown a willingness to listen, work hard and learn more about the game. Congratulations to Coach Green and Greenwood High School for being part of a growing tennis program.

Tennis Apprentice

USTA's Tennis Apprentice program is a great way to introduce tennis to a new group of players, no matter the age. If you're interested in learning more about Tennis Apprentice, contact Sheryl McAlister. If you have already scheduled a Tennis Apprentice Program in your area, contact Emily Russell for assistance with marketing.


(03/10/17) PREP ZONE: Boys Tennis
JAMES ISLAND 4, FORT DORCHESTER 2
Singles: Brandon Healey (JI) d. Joseph Varner 6-0, 6-0; Josh Evans (JI) d. Will Shope 6-3, 6-0; Ben Alexander (JI) d. Philip Nguyen 6-1, 6-2; Aaron Cox (JI) d. Nathan Westbrooke 6-2, 6-3; Adren Cox (FD) d. Hendrick Ho 6-3, 6-1. Doubles: Connor Westbrooke/Winson Wang (FD) d. Riley Kiser/Max Gentilin 4-6, 6-0 (6).

Records: James Island 3-0; Fort Dorchester 1-3. Next: Fort Dorchester at Stratford on Tuesday.

BERKELEY 6, MANNING 1
Singles: James Giannelli (B) d. Harrison (M) 6-1, 6-0; Joshua Giannelli (B) d. Richardson (M) 6-2, 6-0; Huxford (B) d. Devitt (M) 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5), 10-7; Wadford (B) d. Thomas-Burgess (M) 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 12-10; Epps (M) d. Jones (B) 6-1, 6-2. Doubles: Giannelli/Giannelli (B) d. Harrison/Richardson (M) 6-1, 6-0; Baggett/Cameron (B) d. Gibson/Pugh (M) 4-6, 6-1, 10-6


(03/10/17) State Report: Shelby Rogers holds on in opener at Indian Wells
Charleston’s Shelby Rogers rediscovered her serve just in time to fight off a determined Jennifer Brady for a 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory on Thursday in the opening round of the mega WTA/ATP tennis tournament in Indian Wells, Calif.

Rogers nailed an ace to send the second set into a tiebreaker, then connected on her fifth ace of the one-hour and 48-minute match to take a 2-1 advantage in the tiebreaker. The world’s 59th-ranked player, Rogers came up with a mini break on the eighth point of the tiebreaker for a 5-3 advantage. She closed out the match by winning her last two service points.

The 24-year-old Rogers faces a tough test in the second round against 14th seed Elena Vesnina of Russia.

Charleston’s Shelby Rogers rediscovered her serve just in time to fight off a determined Jennifer Brady for a 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory on Thursday in the opening round of the mega WTA/ATP tennis tournament in Indian Wells, Calif.

Rogers nailed an ace to send the second set into a tiebreaker, then connected on her fifth ace of the one-hour and 48-minute match to take a 2-1 advantage in the tiebreaker. The world’s 59th-ranked player, Rogers came up with a mini break on the eighth point of the tiebreaker for a 5-3 advantage. She closed out the match by winning her last two service points.

The 24-year-old Rogers faces a tough test in the second round against 14th seed Elena Vesnina of Russia.

Men’s tennis

Citadel sophomore Michael Anzalone and freshman Isaac Stolar grabbed a 7-5 win for the Bulldogs in the doubles competition at No. 2 against Stetson’s Angus Bradshaw and William Shkrob on Thursday, but the Hatters won the match, 6-1.

The Bulldogs (8-15) will host Richmond (10-2) for a doubleheader on Saturday at the Earle Tennis Center. The first match is set for 9 a.m.


(03/08/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: Five past champions to play in Volvo Car Open
The Volvo Car Open will welcome back at least five of its past champions for its 2017 tournament, to be held April 1 – 9 at the Volvo Car Stadium in Charleston, South Carolina.

Currently in the field are Venus Williams, 2004 Champion; Jelena Jankovic, 2007 Champion; Samantha Stosur, 2010 Champion; Caroline Wozniacki, 2011 Champion; and Andrea Petkovic, 2014 Champion.

“Our patrons have rallied behind our Charleston champions year-after-year, and have become their lifelong fans,” said Eleanor Adams, Volvo Car Open tournament manager. “We wish each champion the best of luck in the competition and can’t wait to welcome them home.”

Williams will make her ninth appearance in the Charleston player field, where she holds a 20-7 record. The World No. 13 recently made the finals of the 2017 Australian Open.

This year will mark Jankovic’s 13th time in the Volvo Car Open draw. In addition to winning the tournament in 2007, she reached the finals in 2013. She holds a 21-11 Charleston record.

Stosur has played the Volvo Car Open ten times, where she boasts a 15-9 record. The U.S. Open winner made the quarterfinals in Doha and Taiwan already in 2017.

The 2017 Volvo Car Open will be Wozniacki’s fifth appearance in Charleston where she holds a 14-3 record. In addition to her 2011 title, she made the finals in 2009. The World No. 14 has started 2017 strong. She’s reached the quarterfinals in Auckland and Sydney, as well as the finals in Qatar and Dubai.

Petkovic joins the 2017 player field with an 11-3 record. She will compete in Charleston for her fifth time this year. After winning the tournament in 2014, she made the semifinals in 2015.

The nine-day Volvo Car Open is the largest women’s-only tennis tournament in North America, attracting an average of 90,000 attendees and 70+ of the top tennis players.

Tickets for the 2017 Volvo Car Open are on sale. Patrons have the option to choose from individual tickets, ticket packages and travel packages. Ticket prices range from $25 for an individual session to $525 for the all-inclusive weeklong package. The Volvo Car Open will provide six special ticket packages in 2017, each offering more tennis at a greater value.

New in 2017, the tournament will roll out the Ace Club, an exciting membership program for box and ticket package holders. The Ace Club is a recognition program providing unparalleled amenities and benefits during the tournament. In addition, members have the option to receive access into the Ace Lounge, an exclusive hospitality tent providing first-class accommodations including, live entertainment, air-conditioning, elevated food options and more.

For more information on the tournament and ticket options, visit volvocaropen.com or call (800) 677-2293.


(03/08/17) PREP ZONE: Boys Tennis
Porter-Gaud 9, Pinewood Prep 0
Singles: Vingi d. Diffley 6-1, 6-0; Blais d. McConnell 6-0, 6-0; Kammerer d. M. Mann 6-0, 6-0; Acevedo d. Diffley 6-1, 6-0; L. Harvin d. G. Mann 6-0, 6-1; A. Harvin d. Tazwell 6-1, 6-1. Doubles: Vingi/Acevedo d. Diffley/McConnell 8-6; Pope/Brutzer d. M. Mann/G. Mann 8-2; Joye/Jimenez d. Diffley/Tazwell 8-5

Next: Porter Gaud hosts Oceanside on Thursday.

Fort Dorchester 5, Cane Bay 1
Singles: Howell (CB) d. Varner 7-6 (2), 6-4; Shope (FD) d. Tejada 7-5, 6-2; Nguyen (FD) d. Keyes 6-3, 6-1; N. Westbrooke (FD) d. Zhuo 6-2, 7-5; Ho (FD) d. Dodd 6-0, 6-1. Doubles: C. Westbrooke/Wang (FD) d. HInkle/Kramer 6-4, 6-1.

Records: FD 1-1, CB 0-1. Next: FD at Wando Wednesday; CB vs. Colleton County Tuesday.

Hanahan 7, Berkeley 0
Singles: Hyatt d. Ja. Gianetti 6-2, 6-2; Nash d. Jo. Gianetti 6-2, 6-0; Simon d. Huxford 6-0, 6-0; Wilson d. Hadford 6-0, 6-0; M. Jones d. G. Jones 6-0, 6-0. Doubles: Wilson/Simon d. Ja. Gianetti/Jo. Gianetti 8-3; Vong/Smith d. Baggett/Cameron 6-2, 6-1.


(03/07/17) PREP ZONE: Boys Tennis
JAMES ISLAND 5, ASHLEY RIDGE 1
Singles: Healey (JI) d. Morris 6-1, 6-0; Evans (JI) d. Rabon 6-3, 6-1; Leo (AR) d. Alexander 3-6, 6-2, 10-4; Aa. Cox (JI) d. Jones 6-4, 6-2; Ar. Cox (JI) d. Seale 6-3, 6-3. Doubles: Kiser/Gentilis (JI) d. Price/ Schmedeka 6-3, 7-5.

Records: James Island 1-0; Ashley Ridge 0-1. Next: James Island hosts Stratford Wednesday, Ashley Ridge at West Ashley Wednesday.

STRATFORD 7, GOOSE CREEK 0
Singles: Wong (S) d. Wickler 6-2, 6-2; Yeung d. Exciminiano 6-1, 6-0; Hoffman d. Coleman 6-0, 6-1; Crawford d. Williams 6-1, 6-0; Sides d. Lawrence 6-0, 6-0. Doubles: McCracken/Lind d. Exciminiano/Coleman 8-1; Raines/Moorer d. Eraula/Segura 8-1.

Records: Stratford 1-0; Goose Creek 0-1. Next: Stratford at James Island on Wednesday; Goose Creek at Summerville on Wednesday.

SUMMERVILLE 6, FORT DORCHESTER 0
Singles: Varner d. Wills 6-0; 6-0; Shope d. Reynolds 6-0, 6-0; Nguyen d. McGinnis 6-1, 6-1; Tran d. Lewis 6-4, 6-3; Ho d. Gajjar 6-3, 7-5. Doubles: Westbrooke/Wang d. Prathipati/Whetsell 6-4, 7-6 (4).

Records: Summerville 1-0; Fort Dorchester 0-1. Next: Goose Creek at Summerville Wednesday; Fort Dorchester at Cane Bay Tuesday.


(03/06/17) LCTA March Newsletter
Mixed Doubles Registration

Open for all age groups and will remain open through April 8. You must have 3 eligible partnerships registered for your team by the close of registration to have a valid team. Have your players sign up early so they will not have to scramble at the last minute.

2017 Volvo Car Open Tent
We are looking for volunteers to assist with the USTA Tent at the Volvo Car Open, April 1 - April 9, 2017.

LCTA Volunteers play an invaluable role in the operations of the tent, and we hope that you will find this to be a great opportunity to meet people and promote the LCTA and USTA. The primary objective is to connect with the local tennis community, and answer questions about all aspects of USTA. We will also be distributing gifts to USTA members similar to what we've done in the past. Nancy Pitcairn or Steve Wilson will be on-site during the event to assist you.

All we ask is that you take a few minutes to review some basic training materials that will be available before the event, and come with a smile, ready to share your love of tennis.

If you are interested in helping with the USTA tent, please click here to select your shift.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.
http://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080c4caeaa2da1f85-usta

Emily Allen Russell, Director of Marketing and Communications, USTA South Carolina
803.781.2574 / russell@sctennis.com

Important USTA SC League Dates

Tentative 2017 Playoff Dates

40 & over - TBD;
18 & over - 2.5, 3.5, and 4.5 April 10 -18 at Mt. Pleasant Rec.
Note: MPR will be closed April 14, 15, and 16. Matches on those dates may be relocated or played on April 17 or 18.
18 & over - 3.0 and 4.0 April 19 - 23 at Charleston Tennis Center

Dates may be moved depending on number of teams registered and weather conditions.

2017 South Carolina Adult Championship Dates

April 27-29 Adult 70 & Over, Hilton Head - Levels 3.0, 3.5, 4.0
April 29-May 1 Adult 55 & Over, Hilton Head - Levels 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 9.0
May 6-8 Adult 40 & Over, Florence - Levels 3.0 3.5, 4.0, 4.5+
May 19-22 Adult 18 & Over, Aiken - Levels 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0+
Sept.8-11 Mixed Doubles, Florence - all age divisions
October 19-23 Combo Doubles, Hilton Head

Please Note: We do not have any information on wild card invitations to State. We will notify the coordinators as soon as we have information.

Ratings
There have been questions about ratings. Here is a link to How Ratings are Calculated.
Another link with important information is The Code. The most important thing to remember is Principle 1 - Courtesy is expected. Tennis is a game that requires cooperation and courtesy.
Volvo Car Open LCTA Team Night
Tuesday night, April 4 is LCTA Team Night at the VCO. There is a special LCTA Team Promo. Two teams will be randomly selected to participate in an on-court challenge after the first match. Winners will choose between Antigua and Dunlop Sport Prizes. Mention LCTA and your team name to receive a discounted $20.00 terrace level ticket for April 4th (night session (minimum six tickets) and be entered into the LCTA team promo. See Flyer for additional details.


(03/03/17) SHERYL McALISTER: COMMENTARY: Two women who put 'love' in tennis
The beating heart of two tennis communities in South Carolina doesn’t come from the constant thud of a small yellow ball against the strings of a medium-sized racquet. The heart of these two towns comes from a couple of retired septuagenarians who have used the sport of tennis to transform the soul of their communities.

Seriously, what Bonnie Sue Duncan in the foothills and Barbara Jones in the Lowcountry have done is nothing short of spectacular.

Jones returned to South Carolina a few years back to be closer to family and to build her dream home. As a tennis enthusiast, she attended matches at nearby Daniel Island and took a private lesson or two. But then something happened that transformed the way Jones and the St. George community viewed tennis. Jones used the sport as a vehicle for positive change, as a symbol of public policy and as a way to offer an alternate perspective on the world. Tennis — and Jones — changed the culture of a small Southern town.

The Barbara and Grady Jones Tennis Center is an oasis in rural St. George. Its doors are open to anyone. Everything donated inside has a plaque attached thanking the donor. Not 200 yards away sits a subsidized housing complex. Some folks in town thought it was a bad idea to try to repair the old courts that sat in this place — that “those people” would never use them. So Jones went door to door and asked them to play. A few did, but most were just proud to be included. A mirror inside the women’s bathroom was donated by a previous resident. Jones guards the mirror like the crown jewels.

She has used tennis to help move kids from poverty to opportunity, to provide kids a feeder system to play high school tennis. She has bridged a racial divide in an otherwise polarized town. The county cuts the grass. The city pays the light bill. Everybody has a role, and Jones is its beating heart.

In Greer, Duncan is the leader of a strong team of volunteers and tennis players who live a very different life than some of the folks in rural South Carolina. There are not a lot of have-nots in this bunch, but there are a whole lot of generous people. And Duncan has led the way. She takes care of everybody. She makes sure people are well fed. She looks after her team captains because they have the most difficult volunteer job. She has always maintained the position that the league should support the local community and local youth. People trust her.

These two towns could not be more different. And yet, they are strangely similar. Their partnerships make them work. The trust and teamwork these women leaders have fostered get things done. Their leadership makes the difference.

Tennis is uniquely suited for all players of all ages and physical abilities. Wheelchair tennis is as common as professional play. And the United States Tennis Association’s sole mission is to get people playing and keep people playing.

In larger cities where tennis reigns supreme, tens of thousands of players take the courts for league play, recreation or collegiate competition. The competition can be fierce. Access to quality courts and instruction are critical to the game’s survival.

Imagine the impact a single tournament could have on a community with that kind of backing. The annual U.S. Open, the bastion of tennis talent from every conceivable location around the world, continues to be the primary funder for tennis programs all over the country. Grants available through USTA South Carolina, USTA Southern and USTA National are made every year and find their way into schools, after school programs and local communities.

League play is open to anyone from beginner to the advanced. The Tennis on Campus program is wildly popular with kids who may have played in high school but weren’t ready for collegiate tennis. Junior programs focus on kids.

Monday is World Tennis Day, and we are advocates for a sport that is open to everyone. In some communities, public courts can rival private ones. In other communities, the courts are in bad shape.

Tennis has offered sanctuary to many people for many reasons. One passionate advocate said her tennis community and her church community saved her when her husband died unexpectedly.

Duncan is a retired police officer, and Jones is a retired nurse. I don’t know either of them well enough to know what their life’s plans were or whether their passionate commitment to tennis and all it offers them was a part of those plans. What I do know is that they each came from a selfless profession. St. George and Greer are lucky to have them.

Find your Duncan and Jones in your community. Contact us at the USTA South Carolina, even if you’ve never picked up a racquet. If you want to play, we’ll help you get there.

Sheryl McAlister is Director of Community Development for USTA South Carolina.


(03/01/17) LIVE5NEWS: KEVIN BILODEAU: Sloane Stephens out, 3 former champions in at Volvo Car Open
Reigning Volvo Car Open champion Sloane Stephens will not be back on Daniel Island to defend her title in 2017 the tournament officially announced on Wednesday.

Three other former champions will make their return to the Lowcountry though as Jelena Jankovic, Sam Stosur and Andrea Petkovic have all committed to take part in the event.

Stephens announced in February that she would have to take time off from the WTA Tour to recover from a foot injury. At that time VCO officials said she hadn't officially dropped out of the event as of yet. Her foot injury has caused her to miss both last year's U.S. Open and this year's Australian Open.

Jankovic will return to Daniel Island for the 13th time in her career. She won what was then knows as the Family Circle Cup in 2007 and also reached the finals in 2013. Overall she's gone 21-11 in Charleston.

Stosur is the champion from 2010 and will be back in the Lowcountry for the 10th time. The Former U.S. Open winner is 15-9 overall here.

Petkovic became a fan favorite in the area when she became the unlikely champion in 2014. She also made the semifinals in 2015 and is 11-3 overall in Charleston.

The trio, along with 2004 winner Venus Williams and 2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki, put the number of former champions attending this years tournament at 5.

The Volvo Car Open will kick off on April 1st.


(02/26/17) PINE FOREST CC: Monthly e-Newsletter: Congrats Andy!
Andy Steingold, Tennis Director at Pine Forest Country Club, recently played in the Super Category II National Tennis Tournament in Naples, FL. There were over 300 in the tournament and 54 in his 65+ draw alone. Andy won 4 rounds of singles before losing in the finals to the number 1 seed and former US and World #1 Larry Turville. The week-long tournament was played at the Sterling Oaks Club in Naples. Way to go Andy!

From the Tennis Shop

Mark your calendars for Sports Camp dates:
SUMMER SPORTS CAMP DATES
JUNE 12, JUNE 26, JULY 10, JULY 24, AUGUST 7

The Ladies Tennis Association
They always starts off with a fun Winter Party Fundraiser to celebrate a new Spring USTA season! The party was also a great time for the LTA to recognize twenty-two USTA and CALTA captains for the 2016 seasons. Thanks captains for time and energy in managing these teams. They were rewarded with a personalized Pine Forest throw blanket especially designed for our captains.

Thanks to everyone that attended and supported our fundraising raffles and auctions. The LTA Party Committee made it a very fun night with festive décor and the attendees in their 80's attire.

The following ladies were re-elected to another term for the 2017 LTA Board. Shirley Hunter, President, Kelley Johnson, Vice President, Gloria Odom, Treasurer, Jean Craig and Sally McGinnis, Co-Secretary.
Here's to a successful and fun 2017 tennis year at Pine Forest!


(05/25/17) Award-winning Farrelly a fixture in volunteering
Meg Farrelly just happened to be on a collision course with tennis. When the two collided, neither could or wanted to escape the other in their love affair.

“When I was 25, I drove with my aunt to check out a new tennis team for her. I sat up on a hill in Atlanta reading a book while she hit with the girls. That was a 3.5 team, and I am proud to say that 25 years later I am still a 3.5 player,” Farrelly said.

Between then and now, Meg has become a fixture on the local tennis scene as a volunteer. As a result, the Professional Tennis Registry has selected Farrelly as South Carolina’s volunteer of the year. She picked up the award recently during the PTR International Tennis Symposium at Hilton Head Island.

Farrelly is everything from a Lowcountry Tennis Association board member and Lowcountry Youth Tennis Association board member to a USTA national referee, to an International Tennis Federation White Badge chief umpire, to an Intercollegiate Tennis Federation chair umpire.

Meg and her husband, John, are among the driving forces in the local LYTA. They met in New Orleans and moved to Charleston in 1994. Meg is a native South Carolinian, while John is from England.

“He (John) was in the Royal Air Force and decided he wanted to study music, so we moved here and he went back to college to study Music Education at CSU (Charleston Southern),” Meg said. “My husband and I had gone to Hilton Head Island to watch our first tennis tournament at the Family Circle Cup. I thought, ‘how hard can it be to call lines?’

“Next thing, I became a line umpire. I had been calling lines for four years, and Dewey Caulder (Family Circle Tennis Center pro) asked if I could help him with a junior tournament. I said to myself, ‘how hard can it be to work juniors?’ ... I work ATP. I spent the first day with a pad of paper writing down all the questions I did not know the answers to.”

Meg’s heart is in the National

Junior Tennis and Learning program, the LYTA that provides programs for at-risk kids locally and other grass-roots programs such as the area’s elementary and middle school league.

“Peggy Bohne at Charleston Tennis Center has been a big influence on me,” Meg said. “She is in the middle of putting together the start of the elementary/middle school league. So far, 138 teams have signed up.

“The greatest joy I have is watching that first group of NJTL kids who started out seven years ago, turning around and giving back at the age of 15-16 by being a junior camp counselor at the same ACE summer camp they went to, or when you read their Arthur Ashe Essay and you see the impact that tennis has had on their lives.”

The NJTL network provides free or low-cost tennis and education programming to more than 225,000 under-resourced youth through the help of numerous non-profit development organizations.

Meg is excited about having the opportunity to serve on the board of the new South Carolina Junior Tennis Foundation, which “promotes academic and community excellence, and assists players in their growth and development.” The foundation is headed by MWTennis Academy CEO Jeff Wilson.

Looking back at her many years of volunteering, Meg said, “I feel privileged that someone reached out and asked me to help with kids in the Charleston area.”

Local notes

Defending Class AAA High School League boys state champ Hanahan is even more loaded this time around. In addition to having All-Lowcountry players Kerim Hyatt and Chad Nash back, coach Glenn Cobb’s team has added top juniors Reilly Wilson, Coy Simon and Max Smith to round out an all-star lineup.

Local singles division winners in last week’s STA L3 Dunlop Junior Tennis Championship at Family Circle Tennis Center included: Reilly Wilson (boys 16), Ian Rasheed (boys 14), Jake Smith (boys 12), Otto Sewell (boys 12), Kat Lyman (girls 18), Allie Gretkowski (girls 16) and Carri Hayes (girls 16). Matthew Baty (boys 12), Margaret Navarro (girls 16) and Sydney Mims (girls 12) were division runners-up.

Pine Forest Country Club tennis director Andy Steingold recently was a finalist in the 54-draw men’s 65-plus Super Category II National Tennis Tournament in Naples, Fla.

The Azalea Clay Court Classic is scheduled for March 24-26 at Pine Forest. Competition will be held in men’s/women’s singles and doubles 3.0-4.5 and open as well as mixed doubles and senior 50-plus for men, women and mixed.

The Mount Pleasant Rec Junior Challenger SC L4 event is set for next weekend for ages 10-18. Register online (tournament #700039017) through Monday. Contact Matt Hansen (mhansen@tompsc.com).

Summerville will stage a 10-and-under orange L2 tournament next Saturday. Registration online (#700053117) is through Wednesday. Contact tournament director Nancy Sumersett (843-270-1017 or nsumersett@gmail.com).

Charleston Tennis Center has scheduled a Lowcountry Junior Challenger SC L4 ages 10-18 tournament for March 24-26. Entries online (#700028417) are through March 20. Contact tournament director Peggy Bohne (843-766-6944 or bohnep@charleston-sc.gov).


(02/22/17) GULF NEWS.com - TENNIS: Davis upbeat on future of US women’s game (link)
Quarter-finalist on Dubai debut has big dreams along with 17 US women in top-100 rankings

Dubai: Fast-improving Lauren Davis is thrilled at the future prospects of American women’s tennis.

The 23-year-old Davis, who continued her dream debut in Dubai with her first win in three meetings against Russian Ekaterina Makarova for an entry in the quarter-finals, is one of 17 players from the US currently featuring in the top-100 of the WTA rankings.

The seasoned ones such as world number one Serena Williams and sister Venus (No.12) have managed to hold on to their own so far. But it is youngsters like Davis – now ranked No. 46 – along with others such as Madison Keys (No.9), CoCo Vandeweghe (No.20), Alison Riske (No.38), Christina McHale (No.43) and Sloane Stephens (No.52) who have shown a definite difference in American tennis for women.

“For sure, I don’t know how many exactly, but there’s quite a few American women in the top 100, which is — I think the most ever – it’s like a domino effect. It’s really great to see. We challenge each other and encourage each other and train with each other,” Davis told media.

Davis, who is bound to climb up when fresh rankings are announced next Monday, has had a solid start to the season while winning her first-ever WTA title in Auckland in January. However, a famous on-court incident way back in her debut year in 2011 in Charleston nearly put her back in her tennis dream.

Waiting to be interviewed for a corporate sponsor at the Family Circle Cup tournament in April 2011, Davis suffered severe head trauma after being struck by a piece of lighting and video equipment. After undergoing intensive treatment for the injury, the American sued the events company for damages in Berkeley County Court.

Nearly six years later, Davis could reflect: “I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe that happened for a reason. It was quite a while ago. I think 2011 it happened when I first turned pro. But it really only set me back like two-and-a-half months, so I don’t think it’s made much of a difference,” she noted.

Another incident, now deemed ‘funny’ by the player herself, followed two years later in 2013 when a wasp stung Davis on her backside during her defeat in three sets to Alize Cornet in their third round match at the Sony Open in Florida.

“Oh, my gosh. He thinks that’s so funny, my coach,” Davis recounted pointing to her coach Mark Schanerman at the back of the media room. “No, no, I know the picture is really funny. That’s funny. Yeah, but that hurt,” she smiled.


(02/22/17) HANNAH RASKIN: Tennis pro doubles up on protein
Charley Rasheed is a tennis instructor. He lives in Mount Pleasant.

I had a piece of cinnamon raisin toast with scrambled eggs for breakfast. We have one of those cappuccino machines, so I started with that. But I have two of those big SmartWaters throughout the day; I put those electrolyte tablets in. And I have a protein bar in the morning. It’s just whatever I grab: Usually like a PowerBar type of thing.

And then for lunch I had two ham and chipotle-flavored-chicken breast sandwiches that I made. It’s just sliced meat with cheese.

Then for dinner I had Chinese from a little hole-in-the-wall place called Great Wall. I had a dish called Happy Family, with a little bit of everything: The seafood, the meats and rice. I always eat extremely heavy at night, and I try to keep it relatively light during the day, just because I’m moving on the courts. I don’t need any extra weight, or to be feeling lethargic.

This time of the year, I’m on the court probably four or five hours a day, which is very small. But it’s going to start ramping up to seven, eight, nine hours a day during peak season. So fuel is good.

— as told to Hanna Raskin


(02/17/17) THAD MOORE: Jimmy Buffett's Charleston show sells out in 18 minutes, highlighting challenge to anti-scalping efforts

The countdown timer on his computer ticked down to zero, the clock struck 10 a.m., and yet when Charles Carmody tried to buy a ticket to see Jimmy Buffett, they were already gone.

He wasn’t alone. The instant they went on sale last Friday, there were more requests for tickets than Volvo Car Stadium can seat, the venue says.

Fans were locked out virtually immediately, and by 10:18 a.m., every last ticket had been paid for – all 6,000. Some fans figured that it might have been the relatively small venue, or maybe it was out-of-town Parrot Heads, as the fans are known, snapping up seats.

But Carmody had seen this before.

The director of the Charleston Music Hall is sure that resellers, fueled by automated bots, took many of those tickets. He’s seen them at work on shows at the John Street venue he runs, and he’s been on a quest to block them.

"There is something messed up when you're immediately not able to get tickets, and at the same time, you're immediately seeing tickets go on sale for $800,” Carmody said.

Sure enough, plenty of tickets can still be bought for Buffett’s May 11 performance on Daniel Island. Listings on Craigslist seek $250 a pop, and on resale sites like StubHub, a prime floor seat costs at least $350. Front-row tickets run north of $1,000.

Ticket scalping is hardly a new phenomenon, but the growing use of software that automatically claims seats for resellers has intensified a practice that’s long been a scourge for concertgoers and venues. And even as it has drawn more attention from lawmakers and regulators, it’s shown little indication of letting up.

The New York Attorney General’s office published a report last year saying it’d found evidence of hundreds of thousands of tickets bought by bots. In one case, it said, one managed to buy more than 1,000 tickets to a U2 concert in one minute.

Bob Moran, general manager of Volvo Car Stadium, said the venue restricted how many tickets each customer could buy – four – to try to keep bots out, but they flew out all the same. He says it’s the fastest sellout the stadium’s ever had, though bands like Hootie and the Blowfish sometimes ask to that patrons show up in person to pick up their tickets.

“Every time you figure something out, they're trying to beat the system,” Moran said. “It went very, very fast.”

Carmody feared a similar result when comedian Dave Chappelle visited Charleston earlier this month, so the Charleston Music Hall set out to stop bots however it could.

The venue set aside hundreds of tickets to sell in person at its box office, and it limited online sales to customers near Charleston. It limited sales by IP address, and it voided tickets from suspected scalpers, blocking them from buying again.

"We’re catching people daily," Carmody said. "It’s exhausting and tiring, and not what we should be focusing on."

Lawmakers have tried to curb the practice somewhat. Congress voted in December to make it illegal to circumvent the measures ticket sellers take to keep bots out, and former President Barack Obama signed it into law.

But in statehouses, lawmakers in several states – including South Carolina – have backed off of anti-scalping laws, meaning many of the sky-high Buffett tickets on sale now may well be legal.

"These tickets are definitely more than face value," one upset fan wrote on Craigslist earlier this week. "Thought that was illegal? Guess not."

In fact, it’s not. The General Assembly voted in 2006 to change the state’s scalping law to make it legal to resell tickets online, while ramping up punishments for selling fake tickets. The only exception it set aside was for events like football games hosted by colleges and universities.

Economists sometimes argue that loosening scalping laws is a good thing, since it lets the open market decide what a ticket is really worth. And concert organizers like Carmody and Moran say they don't expect to stop seeing tickets selling for hundreds of dollars above face value until concertgoers stop buying them.

Gil Borrero, for one, decided that the higher cost wasn't worth it. The 59-year-old Charlotte man was planning a Charleston trip for the Buffett concert. He called the idea of paying $300 to get in "a joke."

After seeing the rapid-fire sellout here, he said, he decided to drive up to Buffett's Virginia Beach show instead.

Others were undeterred. Even though he couldn't get tickets when they went on sale and even though his Craigslist plea for a ticket had gone unanswered, Brian Barber said he'd go anyway - no matter that after seeing Buffett several times, it was the hardest time he'd had getting a seat. He and some friends plan to tailgate with drinks in plastic coconut cups, "tickets or not."

Borrero and Barker were far from the only fans to get shut out, said Kris Moore, president of the Lowcountry Parrot Head Club, a local fan group.

She heard from several who were frustrated, and she described scalpers turning a quick profit as at odds with the laid-back lifestyle that Buffett promotes.

Moore, though, was lucky. She said she was able to land floor seats first-hand, and at $137 apiece, they were far cheaper than the offerings online now.

"You are kidding me," she said, on hearing about the handsome profit she could perhaps get for her tickets. "Being a true Parrot Head, they're not for sale."


(02/13/17) Shelby Rogers successful in her first Fed Cup match
Charleston's Shelby Rogers was in a celebratory mood Sunday after seeing her first Fed Cup women's tennis action and notching a doubles victory with world's No. 1 doubles player Bethanie Mattek-Sands in Maui, Hawaii.

The fact that the win came in the dead rubber doubles match after the U.S. team had sailed to a unbeatable 3-0 lead over Germany in singles, or that the German doubles team retired early against Rogers and Mattek-Sands, didn't take anything away from Rogers' thrill of a week in Hawaii as a member of the U.S. Fed Cup team and a 4-0 win over Germany.

In front of a Tennis Channel audience, Rogers served first and last, and held service impressively both times as the pair jumped out to a 4-1 lead over Germany's Laura Siegemund and Carina Witthoeft. Rogers ended her first service game with an ace down the middle.

After Rogers easily held service a second time, the Germans retired due to an arm injury that limited the talented Siegemund's service motion. Siegemund had held service with her somewhat soft serve for the Germans' only win in the doubles match.

Mattek-Sands had been scheduled to play the doubles match with CoCo Vandeweghe, but U.S. coach Kathy Rinaldi inserted Rogers into the lineup after Vandeweghe had nailed down the clinching singles win for the U.S. women.


(02/11/17) LTP a beacon for high-level national events
Mount Pleasant's LTP Tennis and Swim is becoming a beacon for attracting high-level USTA tournaments.

Last summer, the state's first USTA national junior championship found its way to the outstanding clay-court complex on Mathis Ferry Road for a week of exceptional boys 12 tennis.

This time, it's senior women's tennis. The national category II Anne Geier Cup will be held at LTP from April 26-30. The tournament will feature 35, 45, 55, 65 and 75-and-over competition in singles and doubles.

The Charleston area is home to some of the top senior women's players in the country. Former world No. 1 seniors Diane Barker and Brenda Carter lead a group that includes Cindy Babb, Susie Peiffer and others.

"This national category II tournament has been held in Virginia in previous years and draws the top women players from throughout the United States," Peiffer said.

"I know there will be lots of local women playing in this tournament."

Registration is available online (tournament No. 700116217). Contact tournament director Jerry Albrikes (860-334-7721).

WEATHER FACTOR?

There's something about being able to play outdoors almost year-around at night in shorts and short-sleeved shirts that makes Charleston such a great tennis area. Of course, this carries over to USTA league tennis which is thriving in the area.

The abundance of sunshine and good weather surely is among the reasons the Lowcountry Tennis Association ranked fifth nationally in 2016 for the total number of $12 registrations (13,945). The area ranked 16th nationally in real (unique) numbers with 3,604 players, but is in the top five for the number of teams local players averaged joining in 2016.

Charleston's league tennis players love to play and be members of multiple teams at the same time. Examples of that are Allison Pickhardt and Gloria Prindle, each of whom registered for 20 different local teams in 2016.

Overall, LCTA players averaged registering for 3.87 teams each during the past year.

Weather conditions must matter. For instance, Philadelphia had 4,937 unique players, but averaged only 1.78 registrations during the year.

All sunshine areas aren't as serious about league tennis as Charleston. As a comparison, the Duval, Fla., area averaged only 2.18 registrations for its 2,517 league players.

While much smaller than the LCTA's 3,604 unique player total, according to USTA data another Southern city led the nation for major tennis towns in the ratio of registrations as the 1,214 unique league players in Huntsville, Ala., in 2016 averaged 4.85 registrations each.

Columbus, Ga., which averaged 4.64 registrations per player, and Birmingham, Ala. (3.97), are the only other top 50 most active tennis areas with a higher registrations number per player than the LCTA.

PRATT TOPS 18S

Bishop England junior standout Jared Pratt has climbed to No. 1 in the Southern boys 18 rankings after winning singles in an 18-and-under level 1A tournament in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Pratt finished 2016 at the No. 5 player in the nation in boys 16.

BISHOPS' CHALLENGE

Pratt is gearing up for another high school tennis season for the Bishops. Bishop England has moved up to Class AAA to join powerful defending state champion Hanahan, which makes the Bishops' challenge a little more demanding.

After winning the Class AA state title in 2015, the Bishops were upended by the 1-2-3-4 punch of Jacob Jahn, Sam Kavarana, Earl Navarro and Vinod Pandey in 2016 as Academic Magnet sailed to its first state title. That quartet of stars doesn't plan to play high school tennis this school year, according to Magnet coach Andrea Langley.
Video10 to one: Angelique Kerber's rise

Hanahan apparently is adding standout Reilly Wilson to a list of players that includes All-Lowcountry stars Kerim Hyatt and Chad Nash.

At Porter-Gaud, crafty left-hander Brant Fenno has rejoined the Cyclones as a junior after missing the 2016 state championship season. In SCISA Class AAA, the presence of the three-time All-Lowcountry performer might be enough to ensure that the Cyclones will sweep to a third consecutive state title.

Although the Cyclones lost Cross Tolliver to graduation, they have veterans Manning Snyder, Malone Vingi and Jack Kammerer back. Also, keep an eye on talented newcomer Alexander des Francs.

DUNLOP NEXT WEEKEND

Two years ago when then 846th-ranked Ellie Halbauer won a second straight Dunlop Junior Championship, she fully expected to be back in 2016 to defend her title and shoot for another wild card into the Family Circle Cup's qualifying.

Of course, a lot has happened in those two years. The Dunlop dropped its wild-card present to its girls 18 champion in 2016, and the Family Circle became the Volvo Car Open. Halbauer played a satellite event elsewhere while the 2016 Dunlop was being held, but was awarded a wild card into the VCO qualifying tournament.

If you don't think a wild card into the qualifying tournament for a big-time WTA Tour event such as the VCO doesn't mean anything, just ask Halbauer, who by the way as a 19-year-old has climbed to No. 273 in the world. Not bad for a former local junior.

"I'm about to go to Brazil for the $25Ks there," Halbauer said Thursday. "Hopefully, I'll get the wild card again into the qualifier of the Volvo Car Open . . . this year, I'm ready to win."

The Dunlop Junior is scheduled for next weekend at Family Circle Tennis Center.


(02/10/17) Charleston's Shelby Rogers enjoying 'absolute paradise' while on Fed Cup roster in Hawaii
Playing tennis can offer a large number of perks, even for a touring professional ranked just out of the world's top 50.

Shelby Rogers played in the Australian Open in January, then traveled to Taipei City to play in the Taiwan Open. She lost in the second round 10 days ago. So, where was she off to next?

"Absolute paradise," in the words of the 53rd-ranked Rogers. Otherwise known as Hawaii.

"I flew directly here from Taipei and will play in Acapulco next."

Rogers has been in Maui, Hawaii, preparing for this weekend's World Group Fed Cup tie between the United States and Germany.

Of course, "The weather is great here."

The 24-year-old from Charleston is thrilled. "Yes I am so honored and excited to be in Maui playing for team USA," she said.

“There are a lot of firsts happening for me this week. My first time in Hawaii ... my first time playing Fed Cup. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to be a part of. These girls are so fun and it has been exciting to have Kathy (Rinaldi) as captain for her first time."

Rogers didn't expect the trip to paradise.

"I was surprised to be asked (to play Fed Cup), but when Kathy approached me at the Australian Open I started tearing up because this has been something I've dreamed about since I was a little girl. There is nothing better than competing for your country."

At Friday's Fed Cup draw at the Royal Lahaina Resort, Rogers was not listed on the pairings that will pit 40th-ranked Alison Riske against Germany's Andrea Petkovic in the first singles match on Saturday, and 20th-ranked CoCo Vandeweghe against Germany's Julia Goerges in the second match.

On Sunday, the singles pairings will be reversed, followed by a possible decisive doubles match featuring world's No. 1 doubles player Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Vandeweghe against the German team of Laura Siegemund and Carina Witthoeft.

If the tie is decided prior to the fifth match, there is the possibility that Rogers might be inserted into the lineup with Mattek-Sands, since Vandeweghe is scheduled to have already played twice in singles by that time.

During the week leading up to Saturday's tie, Rogers took the traditional rookie speech one step further by requesting the beat from the theme song for the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to be played. She came prepared with a sheet of the lyrics and told the gathering about how she happened to arrive in Maui.

The Tennis Channel will televise the matches live, beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.

The winner will advance to face either the Czech Republic or Spain in the World Group semifinals, April 22-23. The losing nation will compete in the World Group playoffs in April to remain in the World Group for 2018.

The United States, which won the last of its record 17 Fed Cup titles in 2000, is competing in the World Group for the first time since 2014.


(02/07/17)  SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Sports Briefs: Sports Briefs
Tri-county Elementary Tennis

The Summerville division of the Tri-county Elementary Tennis League launched March 6. Children in grades 3-5 from Summerville are participating in the league for the first time this spring season, which lasts eight weeks.

Summerville Elementary, Beech Hill, Newington Elementary, Summerville Catholic, Sandhills Elementary and Rollings Middle School all have teams. Matches are scheduled from 3-6:45 p.m. on Mondays at Doty Park Tennis Center.

The league utilizes a six-game pro set format with tie breakers played at 5-5 using an orange compression ball and shortened court in an effort to assist beginners in learning scoring, serving and various tennis skills. For more information, call Bryant McKee at (843) 291-3989.


(02/07/17)  SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Sports Briefs: Doty Park Tennis Oyster Roast
Registration is open for the Town of Summerville’s fourth annual tennis social and oyster roast scheduled for Feb. 11 at the Doty Park Tennis Facility.

The event will feature a variety of food and refreshments, as well as a chili cook-off, music, ping-pong and corn hole. Tennis is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. and oyster shucking is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Registration is $25 per person prior to Feb. 8 and $30 the day of the event. To register or for more information, visit www.summervillesc.gov/tennis, email nsumersett@gmail.com or stop by the Town of Summerville Parks and Recreation office.


(02/02/17) DERREK ASBERRY: Venus Williams' Australian Open performance has Charleston tennis fans wanting more at Volvo Car Open
The fact that she lost a competitive match against Serena Williams in the Australian Open women’s final didn’t matter to many tennis fans.

They were just glad to see Venus Williams, Serena’s older sister, in a Grand Slam singles championship match for the first time since 2009.

“Her play has really resurrected over the past couple of years,” said Bob Moran, the general manager and tournament director of Charleston’s Volvo Car Open.

The local tournament is one of more than 20 Women’s Tennis Association’s Premier events that are played in between the four Grand Slams: Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open.

Venus, 36, committed in October to attend this year’s Volvo Car Open, scheduled for April 1-9.

“I love Charleston,” Venus said when she committed. “It is one of my favorite stops throughout the year, where the fans always support and push me. I have so many wonderful memories and can’t wait to come back to play again in April.”

Venus won the Charleston tournament – called the Family Circle Cup at that time – in 2004, a year before she captured her fifth Grand Slam title by beating Lindsey Davenport at Wimbledon.

“She has a love affair with the City of Charleston and I think she really looks forward to playing here,” said Moran, adding that tournament officials are talking to Serena about player here. The 35-year-old has not confirmed whether or not she’ll play.

A week ago, Venus lost to Serena, 6-4, 6-4, in the Australian Open final. It was the ninth time the Williams sisters have faced off in a Grand Slam final. Serena holds a 7-2 record in those matches, but just a 10-9 edge in non-finals matches.

Moran said Venus's performance in Australia, which included six matches to reach the final, proves that she is still capable at competing against the best in the world.

In 2011, Venus was diagnosed with Sjorgen’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that causes muscle pain and fatigue. That year, Venus dropped to No. 110 in the world, according to CoreTennis.net. Today, she’s ranked No. 11.

“Her sustainability is unbelievable,” said Moran. “She’s a superstar, period – on and off the court.”

He said the same about Serena, who has three tournament championships in Charleston, the last one in 2013.

Moran said the audience for this year's Volvo Car Open will be the biggest ever. The Tennis Channel is covering the tournament from start to finish, broadcasting roughly 100 hours of tennis from Charleston. Moran added that 174 partners around the globe are also picking up the matches

“It does great things for Charleston and our strong tennis base here loves to see all of the players, including Venus,” he said. “She’s done so much for tennis, for women. Her and Serena have made contributions that resonate across multiple platforms.”


(02/01/17) Shelby Rogers named to Fed Cup team after upset loss at Taiwan Open
Charleston touring tennis professional Shelby Rogers was upset by big-serving 181st-ranked qualifier Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, 7-5, 6-2, on Wednesday in the round of 16 in the $250,000 Taiwan Open in Taipei City. But Wednesday was still an exciting and career breakthrough day for the 24-year-old Rogers.

The loss was tempered by news that the 48th-ranked Rogers has been named to the U.S. Fed Cup team for its World Group first-round tie against Germany on Feb. 11-12 In Maui, Hawaii

The American team will be made up of No. 20 CoCo Vandeweghe, No. 38 Alison Riske, Rogers and world No. 1 doubles player/2017 Australian Open women’s doubles champion Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

"I can’t be happier to have CoCo, Shelby, Ali and Bethanie on my team for my first Fed Cup," said Kathy Rinaldi, who is making her debut as U.S. Fed Cup Captain. "CoCo has entered the top 20 for the first time and had a fantastic Australian Open (making the semifinals).

"Shelby recently upset world No. 4 Simona Halep in Australia and Ali had a top 10 win over Agnieszka Radwanska earlier this year, so both ladies are playing great tennis. It is also a huge advantage to have the top-ranked doubles player in the world with Bethanie.

"We look forward to competing against Germany, who also brings a strong team. It will be an exciting tie and we are thrilled to bring tennis back to Hawaii and play in front of our home crowd. Hawaii is a perfect place to start our year and my captaincy."

Germany Fed Cup captain Barbara Rittner named No. 36 Laura Siegemund, No. 52 Andrea Petkovic, No. 57 Julia Goerges and No. 77 Carina Witthoeft to face the U.S. team.

Against Rogers, Jabeur served up 11 aces in her 10 service games. She broke Rogers, the tournament's seventh seed, in the 11th game and then saved a break point to take the first set. Jabeur pulled off two service breaks in the second set.


(02/01/17) PINE FOREST COUNTRY CLUB: FEB. eNEWSLETTER: Azalea Clay Court Championships
Looking for a great weekend of food, fun, entertainment, and lots of tennis?
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March 24-26, 2017

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Senior (50+) Doubles for Men, Women & Mixed

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(01/31/17) Shelby Rogers rolls in opener at Taiwan
Charleston touring professional Shelby Rogers defeated 256-rankedYa-Hsuan Lee 6-3, 6-4 on Monday in the first round of the $250,000 Taiwan Open in Taipei City.

Rogers, ranked a career-high 48th in the world, will go against 181st-ranked Ons Jabeur of Tunisia in the round of 16

Jabeur, a 22-year-old, beat American Nicole Gibbs in the first round.


(01/28/17) VCO making a push to promote girls high school tennis
The focus will be on maximizing the tennis future of area high school girls teams. The special luncheon event, which will be complimentary to teams, will be held at the VCO hospitality suite. VCO tickets also will be provided to the teams.

All local girls high school teams can contact event director Rob Eppelsheimer (843-849-3121) to register for the event that will include several speakers (College of Charleston women's coach Angelo Anastopoulo, USTA national coach Stephen Amritraj, Wando High School principal Sherry Eppelsheimer and a WTA Tour player).

To top off the day, girls state championship teams Ashley Hall and Bishop England will be honored on court that day at VCO.

WILSON'S NEW NON-PROFIT

Just what does it take to become a Shelby Rogers or even a college tennis player? The path not only is a long and difficult one filled with many road blocks, it's also expensive. Only a limited number of potential junior players can afford the trip.

Jeff Wilson, the CEO of Family Circle Tennis Center's MWTennis Academy, is taking aim at this issue. He has received IRS approval to form the non-profit South Carolina Junior Tennis Foundation, which he will serve as executive director.

"Our mission statement is identifying and funding the advancing player in need," Wilson said. "We all have a responsibility to do good things."

The route to college tennis might not always require expensive travel to national tournaments, but even participation in local lower-level tournaments can be expensive.

A local lower-level junior event might cost one junior as much as $50 for singles and an additional $25 for doubles, not including USTA membership fees, transportation, lessons, etc.

The Junior Tennis Foundation already has taken off and is pointing to the Sunday, April 2, VCO/Junior Tennis Kids Day at the VCO qualifying tournament with 10 junior ambassadors from around the state participating (one boy and one girl each from Charleston, Florence, Greenville, Belton and Lexington).

STATE JR. GIRLS SWEEP

Charleston area girls swept the top spots in all of the 2016 year-end USTA SC regulation-court age group state rankings for juniors. And that didn't even include nationally 10th-ranked girls 16 standout Emma Navarro, who didn't play enough state tournaments to qualify for a final ranking.

Alice Otis (12-and-under), Sophie Williams 14s), Kat Lyman (16s) and Jenna Vroman (18s) all ended 2016 as the state's No. 1-ranked girls. Local boys Huntley Allen (16s) and Jared Pratt (18s) also earned No. 1 rankings. Pratt also was ranked fifth nationally in boys 16.

In top 60 nationally in girls 12, Carri Hayes was No. 24, Maggie Navarro No. 31, Whitley Pate No. 33 and Sophie Williams No. 58, while Allie Gretkowski was No. 54 in girls 14 and Lyman No. 58 in girls 16. Sam Kavarana was No. 60 in boys 16.

Navarro recently won girls 18 singles and doubles titles in one of the Southern's two 2017 Level 1 tournaments.

STATE JUNIOR RANKINGS

Boys 12 led the way with 11 Charleston area players ranked in the top 20, while local boys swept the top three positions in 16-and-under.

Girls 12 (top 20): Alice Otis (1), Gigi Hinson (3), Perrin Rogers (8), Sydney Mims (9), Margaret Allen (12), Ashton Loring (14), Francis Drake (15), Breeze Simon (17), Grace Baker (19) and Lily Zimmermann (20).

Girls 14: Sophie Williams (1), Shianna Guo (4), McKenzie Davis (14), Logan Voeks (16), Josephine Drake (18) and Carri Hayes (19).

Girls 16: Kat Lyman (1), Lauren Quinn (3), Emily Elliott (7), Anna Ross (8), Rebecca Spratt (10), Emma Smith (12), Eleanor Campbell (19) and Jill Morse (20).

Girls 18: Jenna Vroman (1), Eilleen Rickert (10), Quinn (12) and Tyler Kirk (16).

Boys 12: David Nawabi (2), Jacob Smith (3), Carson Baker (5), Otto Sewell (6), Matthew Baty (8), Zade Hyatt (10), Sawyer Severance (11), Lucas Acevedo (12), Garrett Brooker (15), Henry Hyden (19) and Carter Pate (20).

Boys 14: Mitchell Deames (7), William Baly (11), Ian Rasheed (12), Zach Blais (14), Michael Ross (16) and Zach Zacuba (20).

Boys 16: Huntley Allen (1), Reilly Wilson (2), Kerim Hyatt (3), Callen Hein (8), Manning Snyder (9), Brendan Healey (15), Osbaldo Duarte (18) and Jack Sequerth (19).

Boys 18: Jared Pratt (1), Kerim Hyatt (8), Chad Nash (10) and Sequerth (12).

Girls 10 (top 5): Mia El-Kheddiwi (2); Boys 10: George Hyden (4).

LOCAL NOTES

-- Family Circle Tennis Center will hold another Dunlop Junior Championship Feb. 17-19, with Feb. 12 the entry deadline (online registration No. 704140617). This will mark the second year that the Dunlop event has not offered a wild card into qualifying for the Volvo Car Open. In 2016, the wild card was designated for use by the Shape Magazine Invitational, which will not be held this spring.

-- Shelby Rogers' victory over Simona Halep in the first round of the Australian Open might advance the Charleston pro into the world's top 50 from her current No. 52. Rogers is playing this coming week in the $250,000 WTA Tour event in Taiwan.

-- Former Charleston junior Ellie Habauer followed up a runner-up finish in a $25,000 ITF event in Daytona Beach, Fla., with a semifinal berth in a $25,000 tournament in Orlando, Fla., to advance to a new career high ranking.

-- Family Circle Tennis Center will hold the MWTennis Rising Stars Tournament on Feb. 11 (tournament ID 700129217). Entries will close on Feb. 7. Contact Cole Donley (706-340-4428).


(01/18/17) Shelby Rogers falls in second round of Australian Open
Shelby Rogers ran into a buzz saw on Wednesday night at the Australian Open, two days after the Charleston touring professional shocked the tennis world with a dominant straight-set victory over world's No. 4 Simona Halep.

This time, one-time junior Phenom Ashleigh Barty turned the tables on Rogers with a blend of talent, quickness and power for a 7-5, 6-1 upset of Rogers in the second round of the Down Under Grand Slam.

Rogers struggled through the first set to stay even on serve before finally suffering a service break in the 12th game to allow Barty to take a one-set lead. Barty, still just 20 years old and a world junior champion at age 15, dominated the second set by winning the last five games after Rogers held service in the second game.

Rogers finished with 22 unforced errors to just 11 for Barty.

Barty thrilled the home crowd in the first night match of the day in Margaret Court Arena with the kind of shot-making and power that carried the 5-5, 137-pound Aussie to the top of junior tennis five years earlier and then to three Grand Slam doubles finals at age 17. After taking 18 months off to play cricket, Barty returned to tennis in 2016.

Now ranked No. 232, Barty nailed 28 winners and seven aces against the sometimes frustrated appearing Rogers in the 69-minute match. Rogers delivered 19 winners and five aces.

The real key was that Rogers won only seven of 20 second service points, while Barty came through on 15 of 19 second service points

Rogers entered the match ranked 52nd in the world and leaves Melbourne, Australia, with a $58,000 paycheck. Rogers has made the second round of three of her last four Grand Slam tournaments.


(01/17/17) DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: Rogers steamrolls opponent in opening match of Australian Open!
By: Philip M. Bowman

Shelby Rogers had one of the most stunning performances of 2016, shocking just about everyone but herself, by reaching the quarterfinals of the French Open.

The Daniel Island native’s success at Grand Slam events has carried over to the new year. The unseeded Rogers breezed past fourth-seed Simona Halep, 6-3, 6-1, in an opening match of the Australian Open, which was contested on center court at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.

Rogers was unfazed when she first saw the draw in Melbourne. She also was unfazed about the outcome.

“It's no surprise to me,” the 24-year-old Rogers said during a post-match press conference. “I have had some tough draws in the slams, so I'm kind of used to that, playing the seeds and playing big matches right off the bat.”

“But it's always fun,” she continued. “You know you're going to play on a good court. You know you're going to get the atmosphere. It can be tough sometimes to play on the outer courts, not too much going on.”

Rogers steamrolled the Romanian Halep. Ranked No. 52 in the world, Rogers needed only 75 minutes to pull of the first major upset of the year’s first major tournament. And, she did it in style. She won 71 percent of her first-serve points and 63 percent on her second serve. She faced only one break point, which she saved, and broke Halep’s serve four times.

“I think I played great today, trying to be aggressive going out there. My game plan worked. Just move forward, hit your shots, be really aggressive. When I'm doing that, I am playing well. Very happy with how I did today.”

Rogers’ effort might just be the crowning achievement of her career. She sent out notice of her Grand Slam potential last May at Roland Garros when she reached the quarterfinals, despite a world ranking of 108. She lost to eventual champ Garbiñe Muguruza. She built on that success in Paris and it showed in Melbourne.

“The biggest thing I took away from that was just that I can compete with the top players in the world and I'm good enough, you know. And little things here and there I need to work on, but I'm here. I need to believe in myself. So I have definitely carried that away from the French Open and just been enjoying it a little bit, I think there has been a lot of positive feedback, which has been nice; just trying to keep that going.”

Halep blasted Rogers in the third round of the 2015 U.S. Open in their only previous meeting.

Halep, a two-time quarterfinalist at the Australian Open, lost in the first round at Melbourne for the second straight year. She lost to Chinese qualifier Zhang Shuai last year.

Rogers is playing in her third tournament in Australia this year. She reached the quarterfinals in Hobart and the Round of 16 in Brisbane in preparation for Melbourne.

Rogers was scheduled to play wildcard entry Ashleigh Barty of Australia in the second round of the Australian Opens, which concludes with the championships on Jan. 29.


(01/15/17) SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: Legend Oaks prepares to give back
The annual Legend Oaks Gives Back USTA Level 2 Tournament is scheduled for Jan. 26 through Jan. 29.

Hosted by Legend Oaks Golf and Tennis Club, the tournament is open to all adult men and women holding a current USTA rating and will include draws for Men and Women’s Singles, Men and Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles. The annual dinner and silent auction held in conjunction with the tournament is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 28.

“FAN” packages are available for non-players wanting to view excellent Lowcountry tennis competition or for those wanting to attend the dinner with silent auction. Proceeds will benefit The ARK Alzheimer’s Family Support Services in Summerville.

The winter charity tournament is a premier fundraising event of Legend Oaks Golf & Tennis Club in its effort to “give back” to the community that surrounds it. Now entering its ninth year, the Legend Oaks Gives Back initiative, Legend Oaks Golf & Tennis Club and their generous sponsors, members and neighbors, have provided more than $305,800 in monetary and tangible donations to many charitable organizations in Summerville and the Lowcountry area over the last eight years.

Founded in 2008, the year-around initiative includes a golf tournament, a 5K run on the back nine, a used golf club and tennis equipment drive, a back-to-school supplies drive, a turn the course pink campaign and a Christmas toy drive, in addition to the annual winter charity event.

Past beneficiaries of Legend Oaks Gives Back include: The Alzheimer’s Association, The ARK Alzheimer’s Family Support Services, Dorchester Children’s Center, Meals on Wheels of Summerville, MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, MUSC Children’s Hospital, One80 Place (formerly The Palmetto House), Professional Tennis Registry Foundation, South Carolina Junior Golf Association and Susan G. Komen Lowcountry Race for the Cure.

For additional information about the 2017 event, or to add your company to the list of sponsors, visit the “LOGB” page at www.legendoaksgolf.com (under the “About Us” tab) or call 843-821-4077, extension 103.


(01/15/17) Charleston's Rogers upsets No. 4 seed Halep at Australian Open
Shelby Rogers played probably the match of her life Monday morning in the opening match in Rod Laver Arena at tennis’ Australian Open in Melbourne.

Yes, even better than the 24-year-old Charleston player’s round of 16 win at the 2016 French Open.

This time, the 52nd-ranked Rogers played almost flawless tennis and completely overpowered world’s No. 4 Simona Halep of Romania, 6-3, 6-1, to advance to the second round of the Australian Open.

Rogers’ win opened up her section of the draw some in that now she will face either unseeded Ashleigh Barty of Australia or unseeded German Annika Beck in the second round in Melbourne.

“It’s pretty incredible,” Rogers said after the 75-minute upset. “It’s extra special to be back in Australia.”

The victory was Rogers’ third in the first round of her last four Grand Slam tournaments. She did not play in last year’s Australian Open.

For Halep, it was the 25-year-old’s second straight first-round exit in the Australian Open. She simply couldn’t match the 5-9 Rogers’ powerful ground strokes. Halep is only 5-6, 132 pounds.

Rogers nailed 26 outright winners to 18 for the normally consistent Halep, who committed 19 unforced errors. Halep had defeated Rogers in straight set in the 2015 U.S. Open’s round of 32.

The ninth-ranked American women’s player, Rogers also took care of her serve throughout the match. She saved the only break point she faced. That came in the third game of the match.

Rogers sealed the victory by breaking Halep in the Romanian’s last three service games. Halep’s only service hold in the second set came in the first game.

“I’m happy to get through, definitely. There are no easy matches at this level. Some are tougher than others. I’m definitely taking confidence from what I’m doing,” Rogers said.

Rogers sailed through the sixth game of the second set with a 40-15 service hold when Halep committed an error to move to within one game of victory. At 30-30 in the last game, a Rogers forehand hit the tape and fell across the net for a winner and a match point. Halep then netted a backhand to end the match.

Halep appeared to be almost helpless against Rogers’ powerful ground strokes most of the televised match, especially off the forehand side. Rogers seemed to have an answer for all of Halep’s shots as Halep played erratically.

Halep called the trainer out after the first set to check out a lower leg issue. But then she had to go back out and face Rogers’ near-perfect serves and ground strokes.

In the 46-minute first set, Rogers’ controlled the court with her power. Rogers closed out the set with a love ninth game. After Halep committed a forehand error to give Rogers triple set point, Rogers came up with a service winner to take the set.

Rogers got the service break she needed to take command of the first set in the sixth game as Rogers survived the six-deuce game for a 4-2 advantage.


(01/14/17) Rogers excited about big early test against Halep
Shelby Rogers won't have to wait around to learn her early fate in the Australian Open.

The Charleston pro will be first up in Rod Laver Arena on Monday morning (7 p.m. Sunday, Charleston time) against fourth seed Simona Halep.

"I'm really excited about my first match in the Australian Open," the 24-year-old Rogers said. "It's a tough draw, but they're all tough matches at this level. I didn't play here last year, so starting off on Rod Laver Arena is an extra special welcome back."

Rogers is off to a good start in 2017 after making the quarterfinals this past week in Hobart, Australia. She's not concerned about the heat.

"Conditioning feels great. I've had a lot of three-set matches already and have played a lot of top 50 players this year already," she said. "I've had a great couple of weeks leading into Melbourne."

Rogers is zeroed in on returning to the world's top 50, but it could be difficult in the Australian Open to make that move in her ranking (57th on Saturday and expected to improve a couple of spots as a result of her success in Hobart).

But as Rogers has demonstrated in the past, she is fully capable of springing a surprise.

Barths' video on basics

Most pros probably don't teach tennis the way it used to be taught. But longtime Kiawah Island pro Roy Barth has changed very little in his basic tennis philosophy.

Barth still teaches the basics of the game: "Freeze your eyes and head at the point of impact on every stroke." Or: "You must watch the point of impact until you finish your follow through on every stroke." Or: "You can't be too low."

His philosophy: "To be successful in tennis, as in life, you must be focused and pay attention to the details."

Kiawah's first and only director of tennis (since 1976), Barth is among the nation's best teachers of the game. He still goes to work every day.

Barth recently released a terrific video and accompanying training book entitled "Tips for Better Tennis." Every tennis player, especially juniors, should watch the video, particularly the volleying tips.

No one teaches volleys better than Barth. And that's a part of the game that the majority of today's juniors and league tennis players have virtually forgotten. A pounding ground game and athletic overheads absorb most of their training and matches.

Barth learned from the best on the West Coast, and his hometown of San Diego. Former Wimbledon doubles champion Les Stoefen taught Barth touch and volley, and Maureen "Little Mo" Connelly taught him efficient strokes. Barth was an All-American while playing for Glenn Bassett at UCLA, learning the importance of conditioning.

Barth used all of the tips and training to rise to the top 40 in the world of professional tennis, while competing against the likes of Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg.

Halbauer making move

Will this be a year that former Charleston junior Ellie Halbauer makes another huge jump in the WTA Tour's world rankings? After leaping 135 spots in 2016 and 148 spots in 2015, the 19-year-old has played her way into a top 300 position for the first time.

Halbauer is projected to rise to approximately No. 275 after winning a third-set tiebreaker over Illinois 18-year-old Caroline Dolehide on Saturday to advance to the final of a $25,000 ITF clay-court event in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Halbauer grew up playing on the clay courts of the then Players Club (now LTP Tennis) and Family Circle Tennis Center, and has been playing the pro circuit for more than three years.

Greats to play early at VCO

Jim Courier's Powershares Series was a big hit on the main draw semifinal Saturday night at last year's first Volvo Car Open.

The Powershares Series will take center stage again this spring at the VCO, but a week earlier, even before the Monday, April 10 start of the main draw. Courier's group will headline the Saturday, April 8 first day of qualifying with a 7 p.m. session that will feature four former greats.

In last year's Powershares semifinals, Andre Agassi defeated Mardy Fish and Andy Roddick turned back James Blake. Roddick defeated Agassi in the final.

Local Notes

-- The Volvo Car Open is looking for volunteers for the April 8-16 tournament on Daniel Island. The tournament needs 200 ball crew members and a total of approximately 500 volunteers, according to tournament officials. Positions range from golf cart drivers to tournament ambassadors.

-- The College of Charleston has announced plans for its annual Alumni Tennis Weekend on Jan 27-28. It all starts on that Friday with the Cougars' women's match at 2 p.m. against USC Upstate. The Alumni event will resume the next day at 10:45 a.m.

-- Legend Oaks Golf and Tennis Club will hold the sixth annual Legend Oaks Gives Back charity Level 2 tournament Jan. 26-29. The tournament is open to adult men and women owning a current NTRP rating. Contact Legend Oaks or visit www.legend oaksgolf.com.

-- Sunday (today) is the deadline for entering St. Andrew's Point Quest Junior (SC L3) tournament that is scheduled for Jan. 20-22 at the Playground Road complex. Registration is available online (tournament ID 700040317). Contact Phil Burke (843-345-2895).

-- The S.C. Junior State Open Championships (STA L4, SC L2) are scheduled for Jan. 27-30 at LTP Tennis in Mount Pleasant. The entry deadline is Jan. 23 (tournament ID 700058217). Contact Jerry Albrites (860-334-7721).


(01/12/17) Shelby Rogers loses in quarterfinals of WTA event in Australia
Charleston touring tennis professional Shelby Rogers served at six points from victory in the second set on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the WTA Tour's $250,000 tournament in Hobart, Australia, but 27-year-old Ukrainian Lesia Tsurendo overcame the obstacle and dealt Rogers a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 loss in a hard-fought two-hour and 23-minute match.

Rogers, a 24-year-old ranked 57th in the world, served at 6-4, 4-3, deuce in the second set, but was broken as Tsurendo won the last three games of the second set. Tsurendo, ranked 61st, came up with a key service break at 15-40 for a 4-2 lead in the decisive set, then served out the victory to extend her unbeaten record against Rogers to 3-0.

Rogers served up five aces, but also had nine double faults.


(01/08/17) Rogers upsets No. 2 seed Sevastova in Hobart, Australia
Charleston touring pro Shelby Rogers upset second-seeded Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, 6-2, 1-6, 6-4, on Sunday in the opening round of the $250,000 WTA Tour tournament in Hobart, Australia.

Rogers is currently ranked 57th in the world, while Sevastova is 35th.


(01/05/17)  ROGER LEE: SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: All-region tennis list released
Ashley Ridge and Summerville both landed two players on the 2016 Region 7-AAAAA Girls Tennis All-region team.

Ashley Ridge sophomores Arianna Brim and Kate Schmedeke and Summerville sophomores Paige Reynolds and Lizzie Naval are among 12 players who received all-region honors. Others named to the team are Wando’s Lily Conant, Abby Sinclaire and Adelia Phillips; West Ashley’s Madison Clayton and Katie Lowe; James Island’s Gigi Hinson and Elizabeth Snyder; and Stratford’s Kyleigh Gregg. None of those players are seniors.

Conant was named the Region Player of the Year for Girls Tennis after leading the Warriors to a 14-0 sweep of the region.

Summerville’s David Long was named the Region Coach of the Year after leading the Green Wave to an 11-3 mark in region play and a No. 2 playoff seeding.

James Island also finished at 11-3 in the region to place third. Trailing in the final region standings of the year were Ashley Ridge (8-6), West Ashley (6-8), Stratford (3-11), Fort Dorchester (3-11) and Goose Creek (0-14).


(01/03/17) LCTA January 2017 Newsletter
Happy New Year to everyone! 2016 was a great year for LCTA; let's make 2017 even better!

Important Reminders
The 2017 Captains' meeting will be held this Wednesday, January 4, 2017. The meeting will be at the Charleston County Library, Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC., starting at 6:00 p.m. Captain's gifts will be distributed while supplies last. We will also present the major changes to the USTA Regulations.

Registration for 2017 Spring leagues closes Friday, January 6, 2017. For teams that do not have the required number of players registered at deadline for a particular league, the league coordinator will move the effected players to another LCTA team or move them to an "Extra Players" flight to hold for future play in other leagues, i.e. Mixed, Combo, etc. Refunds will not be given to players when their team did not have enough players registered at the deadline. Spring league play for divisions with playoffs will have to be complete by March 31, 2017, due to USTA-SC playoff scheduling.

Tentative 2017 Playoff Dates
40 & over - TBD
18 & over - 2.5, 3.5, and 4.5 April 10 -18 at Mt. Pleasant Rec.
Note: MPR will be closed April 14, 15, and 16. Matches on those dates may be relocated or played on April 17 or 18.
18 & over - 3.0 and 4.0 April 19 - 23 at Charleston Tennis Center

Dates may be moved depending on number of teams registered and weather conditions.

South Carolina 2017 Adult Championship Dates
April 27-May 1 Adult 70 & Over, Hilton Head - Levels 3.0, 3.5, 4.0
April 29-May 1 Adult 55 & Over, Hilton Head - Levels 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 9.0
May 6-8 Adult 40 & Over, Florence - Levels 3.0 3.5, 4.0, 4.5+
May 19-22 Adult 18 & Over, Aiken - Levels 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0+
Sept.8-11 Mixed Doubles, Florence - all age divisions
October 19-23 Combo Doubles, Hilton Head
Date TBA 75 & Over Invitational, Hilton Head - Levels 3.0, 3.5, 4.0
Date TBA Adult 65 & Over, Hilton Head - Levels 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 9.0
Nov. 11-13 Singles League, Aiken - all age divisions


(01/03/17) Charleston's Shelby Rogers loses to Elina Svitolina in Brisbane
Charleston touring pro Shelby Rogers went to the wire with 14th-ranked Elina Svitolina of Ukraine on Tuesday before suffering a 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 loss to the sixth-seeded Svitolina in the round of 16 in the $890,000 WTA Tour event.


(01/01/17) Charleston's Shelby Rogers opens new year with win
Charleston touring pro Shelby Rogers started the new year in a big way on Sunday in Brisbane, Australia, by outlasting former world's No. 5 Genie Bouchard, 6-2, 2-6, 6-1, in the midday heat Down Under.

The victory extended Rogers' record against the Canadian star to 3-0. Rogers started the new year ranked 59th in the world. Bouchard is ranked 46th.

Rogers opened the match blazing hot, taking a 4-0 lead. She held service in the eighth game to win the set.

Play was suspended briefly due to the heat after Bouchard evened the match by winning the second set.

In the 32-draw, $890,000 Brisbane event, the 24-year-old Rogers will face either Monica Puig or Elina Svitolina in the round of 16.


(01/01/17) USTA S.C.: USTA SC Welcomes Emily Russell
Emily Russell joins the USTA of SC as the Director of Marketing and Communications. Emily attended Columbia College and has previously handled communications for the South Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants and the Lexington Chamber & Visitors Center.

Hometown: Lexington, South Carolina
Tennis experience: I can't wait to enroll in a Tennis Apprentice program!
Fun fact: I love to ride horses, and during college I spent a lot of time SCUBA diving.
What are you most looking forward to about working for USTA South Carolina? I am looking forward to learning as much as I can about tennis, and to passing those skills along to my two young children.




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