Congratulations to the winner of the 2015 USTA women’s French Open Wildcard Challenge, Louisa Chirico, who snatched the French Open main draw wildcard away from Katerina Stewart, the winner of the day’s first semifinal over Allie Kiick, by coming back from a set and a break down against Maria Sanchez to win 3-6 6-3 6-1.
The semis featured four Americans, three of whom (Chirico, Stewart and Kiick) had an opportunity to come out of the weekend with the prestigious free pass into the main draw at Roland Garros. In the day’s first match, Stewart and Kiick battled hammer and tong for two thirds of a set before a series of breaks coupled with some consistently strong serving put Stewart out in front for good. After a quick start, Kiick seemed to run out of gas, perhaps tiring from her run of eight consecutive wins over the past two weeks at Charlottesville and Indian Harbour Beach, after seemingly months of recuperation and rehabilitation from injury and illness. Kiick’s great return from injury shouldn’t be dampened by the loss to Kat Stewart, however, as Katerina has been on fire as of late, now making her third consecutive $50K final.
Her opponent in tomorrow’s final, for the second time in three weeks, will be Louisa Chirico, who dropped the first set and was down 0-2 in the second before turning things around in a hurry against Sanchez. After figuring out how to deal with Sanchez’ frequent, and beautifully executed drop shots, and finding the range on her own groundstrokes, Chirico began a run that saw her yield only two of the last 14 games. Sanchez did call for the trainer, after falling behind a break in set 2, but did not appear compromised as she won the first game of set three convincingly, before Chirico took control again and won the final six games, pumping her fist in celebration after she closed it out. The win was Chirico’s sixth of the week, including two rounds of qualifying, and second three set match of the week, all won with an enormous amount of kinesio tape on her shoulder.
You have to hand it to your 2015 French Open Wildcard Challenge winner–coming through qualifying to win it the hard way proves her worth as deserving recipient of her spot in the Roland Garros main draw. Good luck in Paris, Louisa!
And good luck to both Chirico and Stewart in tomorrow’s Revolution Technologies Pro Tennis Classic final!