Main Draw play kicked off today in Tuesday’s edition of the 2015 Revolution Technologies Pro Tennis Classic, a $50,000 women’s USTA Pro Circuit event at the Kiwi Tennis Club in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida. The tournament is the third and final leg of the three tournament Wildcard Challenge that decides which American woman will be awarded a main draw wildcard into the French Open later this month. Talented young American prospects Louisa Chirico and Allie Kiick won the first two tournaments in the Wildcard Challenge, at Dothan, Alabama, and Charlottesville, Virginia, respectively, the past two weeks, each titlist defeating fellow American Katerina Stewart in the final. Based on the points awarded in each tournament, Stewart currently leads the Challenge heading into Indian Harbour Beach, but realistically, any of the three can still snare the main draw wildcard with a deep run this week.
Chirico, who withdrew from Indian Harbour on April 19, re-entered as a qualifying wildcard, and today, completed her run through qualifying with a comprehensive 6-2 6-2 win over fellow American Sofia Kenin. Chirico has a big game, and in her qualifying match today never appeared threatened by the diminutive Kenin. Louisa’s serve has always been a strength, and appears to be getting even better. Whenever she gets in even a hint of trouble, she seems to be able to serve her way out of it, a promising sign for a young player. She’s also got a howitzer forehand, and a one of the prettiest backhands you’ll ever see. There’s a lot to like about this young American’s game, and hopefully, her vast potential will be fulfilled, sooner rather than later.
Kiick was practicing early this morning, fresh off of her big win in Charlottesville, and it’s easy to see why she has made such strides as of late. Her game is a lot more powerful. Whatever the reason, she’s really getting some real pop on her strokes these days. Watching her practice, she looks like she belongs at a different level than slogging it out in $25K and $50K ITFs. With her injuries behind her, hopefully she’ll find her way back up the rankings again.
Sanaz Marand beat Alexandra Morozova 7-5 6-3, in a fairly tight match that had plenty of entertainment value. Morozova has all the makings of a new hybrid of Anastasia Rodionova and (the 16 year old version of) Belinda Bencic, if not in talents, then in temperament. In a span of less than five minutes, Morozova hurled her racquet from the baseline to the net after disagreeing with a line call, cursed in (I think) Russian, (or something else from that part of the world), and called herself an idiot. Later, she threw her racquet down on the ground again several more times, yelled repeatedly in the same foreign language, and gestured a bunch. Marand just banged her racquet against the back fence a few times in frustration and yelled “c’mon” a couple of times–rather pale by comparison–but she survived the Morozova Meltdown with her lefty spins and slices and moved into round 2 with a little more trouble than she probably expected.
Samantha Crawford torched Tornado Ali Black in straight sets, 6-2 6-4, in a match that wasn’t that close. Crawford dropped four rather meaningless service games in the match, given that Black could only hold serve once, and had two match points at 6-2 5-1, before surrendering three straight games. Even so, Crawford was dominant, compiling a heap of winners and aces, and dictating play from the start. Black could handle Crawford’s pace for a few shots in the rallies, but seemed to have no gameplan, ultimately being forced into an error or moved out of position by Crawford to set up an easy winner.
Chiara Scholl beat Maria Shishkina 6-3 6-4.
Taylor Townsend, the tournament’s top seed, was scheduled to play the night session.