General Buzz, Miscellany, Uncategorized

Good Luck Allie!

Qualifying for the 2017 US Open starts today and Floridian Allie Kiick continues her comeback story third match on court 11 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York against Olga Ianchuk of Ukraine. The two know each other well, having staged some tough battles on the United States Tennis Association Pro Circuit in the Spring of 2015, so it should be a great match.

In a day when women’s tennis is fraught with scandal, controversy, negative public perceptions, eating disorders, and players who’d seemingly rather be models than tennis players, Allie Kiick is a throwback in many ways. She comes across as very sincere, compassionate, generous with her time and likeable in an era when most people are totally self absorbed in their social media. Allie also appears to be determined, and fearless in her quest to succeed in the sport she loves, and approaches the game with an old fashioned hard work ethic that is very admirable. Perhaps this return to the Open is all the more special given the numerous medical issues Kiick has had to overcome in the past two yesrs, including skin cancer and multiple surgeries on both knees. If you can’t find something to like in that, there’s just something wrong with you.

So go Allie! Good luck in New Yahwk!!

General Buzz, Miscellany, Uncategorized

The Long Road Back

Allie Kiick’s return from injury and illnesses took another couple substantial leaps forward the past two weeks with appearances in the semifinals and quarterfinals of a pair of USTA Pro Circuit events in Evansville, Indiana ($15K) and Louisville, Kentucky (%60K). In the Women’s Hospital Classic in Evansville, Kiick knocked out Stephanie Nemtsova 6-0 6-1, Jada Robinson 6-2 6-3, and Kennedy Shaffer 6-4 4-6 6-3 before falling to Marcela Zacaria in the semifinal 0-6 4-6. In the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships in Lexington, Kiick beat Katie Boulter 7-5 6-3 and Chloe Paquet 6-4 7-5 before losing to Vera Lapko in the quarterfinals 1-6 4-6. After nearly two years away from the game suffering from a variety of ailments that included skin cancer, mononucleosis and not least of all, multiple surgeries on both knees, Kiick is getting the valuable match play she needs to regain her confidence that should eventually carry her back toward the top 100 in the rankings.

And oh by the way, it was nice to see Allie in action this summer as part of World Team Tennis, with the Springfield Lasers, getting complimented left and right on her “Federer-like” serve!

Keep up the hard work, Allie!

General Buzz, Miscellany, Tournament Match Reports, Uncategorized

The Comeback Kiick

You can officially start calling her The Comeback Kiick. It’s a little kitschy, sure, but you get the point. Down 1-3 in the third set of her second round match at the Palmetto Pro Open in Sumter, South Carolina today, Floridian Allie Kiick turned it all around and never looked back, winning the final five games of a 7-5 2-6 6-3 victory over Canadian Katherine Sebov, the tournament’s number 2 seed.

With the win, Kiick moves into the quarterfinals of just her second tournament in nearly two years after undergoing multiple surgeries on both knees. “Feel good” story? Yessir!

Way to go, Allie! Keep rolling!

General Buzz, Miscellany, Tournament Match Reports

Kiick Wins Opener in Sumter

A week after making her return to tennis in Bethany Beach, Delaware after being sidelined for nearly two years due to a multitude of injuries, illnesses and operations, American Allie Kiick is safely into the second round of the USTA Pro Circuit Palmetto Pro Open in Sumter, South Carolina. Kiick defeated Ellen Perez 7-6 6-4 in Tuesday’s first round, setting up a second round clash with either Katherine Sebov of Canada, the tournament’s number 2 seed, or American Sophie Chang. Sebov and Chang will play Wednesday, with the second round to be played on Thursday.

Good luck to Kiick, as she continues her journey back to the top!

General Buzz, Miscellany, Uncategorized

Kiick Set to Return to Court

Looks like American Allie Kiick, plagued by severe, career threatening knee injuries, among other ailments, the past two years, is finally set to resume her tennis career, entered in USTA Pro Circuit tournaments the next three weeks in Bethany Beach, Delaware, Sumter, South Carolina and Baton Rouge, Louisiana using her protected ranking.

The $25,000 clay court Resortquest Pro Women’s Open at Sea Colony starts Sunday June 4, 2017 in Bethany Beach.

Kiick, currently based in Orlando, Florida, has been preparing for her return at the USTA’s National Campus in Lake Nona, Florida.

Go Allie! ūüáļūüáł

Miscellany, Uncategorized

A Tennis Story

Like most bloggers, I feel I’m sometimes entitled to use the corner of cyberspace I’ve carved out for myself to share all kinds of written thoughts–be they tennis tournament reports, editorials, tennis related videos, miscellaneous “stuff” concerning the game, or, in this case, some literary junk I’ve been¬†writing which is “based on” true events encountered at tournaments.¬† If it bears no relevance or interest, then please disregard. The names have been changed to protect the guilty. ¬† This one I simply call “Leila: A Tennis Story”




At precisely two-thirty-seven P.M., the chair umpire,¬†Beatriz Ferreira, called another drop shot winner good.¬† A few in the crowd of about fifty, give or take, laughed.¬† The rest of us choked back some disgusted grunts or whistles.¬† Christ-in-a-manger, Eichmann’s game was annoying.¬† By my estimate, that was¬†about her¬†two hundred and ninety-third drop shot of the match.

I remember, it was Bea in the chair, because of the distinctive cadence in her voice, one that seemed like it had to be cultivated by years of schooling in one of those British prep academies for girls.   The ones where the students all wear the same plaid skirts and starched white blouses and look indistinguishable from one another.

I got curious after falling in love with the strangely hypnotic rhythm of her voice at the Sony down in Miami one year.¬† I always went to the first week of the Sony, each March.¬† Spending a week in that paradise was like a Rite of Passage each Spring for me by then, or at least, a way to escape for a few days each year.¬† Anyway,¬†I’d Googled¬†Bea¬†after just happening to catch her name on a tennis match broadcast on television, and learned she was Brazilian, but the voice that came out of her¬†sounded, to me anyway, as British as Moneypenny’s.

“Forty-Fif-TeYEN.”¬†¬†Another¬†drop shot.

It was a chilly sixty degree day, even in the January Florida sun, and I’d come to watch the rising stars¬†who played¬†the United States Tennis Association’s Pro Circuit at a challenger level event in Port St. Lucie, on Florida’s south central east coast.¬† The “Treasure Coast.”¬† Only, today, there was nothing so¬†rich and luxurious and golden about sitting on my hands in sixty degree weather in shorts and a t-shirt on chilly aluminum bleachers while my teeth chattered.¬† But the scritchy scratchy sound of the players’ feet¬†fluttering on the¬†green clay was warm and inviting, and¬†I was starting to wish¬†I’d brought my racquets.

January in Florida meant professional tennis held locally in and around Florida’s east coast, with three Pro Circuit events held on successive weeks, at Vero Beach, Port St. Lucie, and Daytona Beach.¬† I’d made arrangements to take time off of work to catch a few odd days of the tennis each week, here and there, as writing about the professional game was somewhat of a hobby for me.

Angela Eichmann, of Germany, was serving, trying to level her quarterfinal match at a set apiece after nearly two hours of play on¬†the Har Tru¬†on “Stadium Court”, the one normally known as¬† “Court 4”¬†at Tesoro Club.¬†¬†¬†Her first name didn’t sound like its Americanized counterpart, either.¬† I knew that from having seen her play a few times previously, in other tournaments.¬† The ‘g’ was hard, so it sounded like “ON-gay-la.”¬† For some stupid reason, I liked that better than “ANJ-e-la.”

Her mop of blond hair bobbed up and down as she bounced the ball repeatedly, doing her best impression of Djokovic, and trying to catch her breath in between serves.¬† An occasional “YAAAAAASSS!” emanated from deep within her, somewhere, after each of those triumphant drop shots of hers, really throaty too, like some sort of demon was possessing her.¬† It wouldn’t have surprised me, either.¬† No one could try that many drop shots in a match and claim to be sane.

At the other end of the court, Leila Niazy stood waiting.  I had to hand it to her, she looked more composed than I was.

“C’mon, Leila!”¬† My flinty shout broke the crisp,¬†dry afternoon air and I don’t honestly know why I yelled it.¬† Maybe I felt some overwhelming sense of offendedness at how Eichmann was managing to construct and win the vast majority of her points.¬† Or maybe it was because of all of those annoying “YAAAAAASSS!”s¬† ON-gay-la was screaming.¬† Or maybe it was something else.

Like any red-blooded American male, I was totally head-over-heels in love with Leila.¬† Well, you, know, “smitten”, I guess, would be a better word, since I didn’t actually know her and she definitely didn’t know me from Adam.¬† To my utter dismay, she wouldn’t have been able to pick me out of a crowd if I’d been on fire.

But I could recite by heart enough of the superficially important stuff about her.¬†¬† The lovely Leila stretched five feet eleven inches,¬†head to toe, hailed originally from¬†Egypt, though she’d lived in the U.S. since she was a child, had gotten her decidedly un-Egyptian name from her Mother, who had a love of Western films, and had the most¬†bewitching dark brown eyes¬†I’d ever seen.¬† Not to mention a completely beguiling smile with¬†unapologetically aligned, snow-white¬†teeth that made a perfect contrast to her dark, golden brown skin which you might dare call ‘camel-colored’ in a less politically correct day and time.¬† Topping all of this¬†off was¬†a mane of dark brown hair that would have made Diana Prince turn green with envy.¬† Leila was indeed tennis’ equivalent of Wonder Woman.¬† She was ethereally pretty, and I couldn’t imagine a heart she wouldn’t make skip a beat.

From the first time I saw her play I just couldn’t take my eyes off of her.

I guess¬†Leila heard me cheering because¬†she glanced over as she stepped considerably inside the baseline to¬†return serve, with just the faintest hint of a crease in the corners of her mouth that was trying hard not to be a smile.¬† And in that millisecond, I got more nervous than I’ve been in my life, as though whatever I did next was going to cause some major catastrophe.¬† The way a schoolboy sometimes¬†gets when he is around¬†a girl¬†that he likes.¬† I wondered if she could tell.


From a court and a half away, by my reckoning,¬†the score¬†is now 15-30.¬† It is hard to tell.¬† I’ve been taking a lot of pictures today.

Leila is struggling.  She started well enough, breaking Eichmann  twice in the first set to take a seemingly comfortable 4-2 lead, imposing her much more powerful game and bombarding her opponent with a number of aces and service winners.  But a series of wild returns coupled with a loose serve game knots this contest at 4 games all, shifting the momentum of the match, and, before you know it, Leila has lost the first set 4 games to 6 to the Drop Shot Queen.

A few more sketchy, hard fought serve games and Leila is on the ropes, down a break and serving at 2-4.¬† Eichmann, to her credit, has figured out a strategy to employ against the taller Niazy, whose frustration at moving forward to repeatedly chase down Eichmann’s forehand drop shots is showing.

It will be a long way back today, in the windy and drab, chill and gloom of early January on Florida’s Treasure Coast.

THWACK!  A thunderous backhand winner down the line and Leila draws even at 30-all in the Decisive Seventh Game of set two.

Leila’s next serve bounces off the tape, and dribbles aimlessly off the court and toward the stands where a handful of¬†hearty spectators–mostly coaches and fellow players, and…me…sit watching.¬† I’ve driven to Vero for the second time this week, some fifty miles each way, to see Leila play, and on this cold, wet Tuesday, I’d¬†say I am¬†about the only one who isn’t a player, coach¬†or administrator in attendance.

Eichmann’s coach starts toward the still rolling ball and then pauses, noticing that it is coming ever closer to me, at the other end of the bleachers.¬† Or maybe it is that he has seen me taking an undeniable interest in Leila with my camera and my cheers.¬† At any rate, he nods and I take it as tacit approval to be chivalrous, Leila’s knight in shining armor, at least for a moment, and retrieve her wayward serve for her, since there are no ballboys in an economizing $25K such as this.

Now, here is where it gets ugly, and fuzzy, and maybe that’s because I have tried to block out what can only be described as¬†the colossal fuck-up that comes next.¬† As I recall, I think what happens is that¬†I walk over to the edge of the court, which as luck would have it has no fence and is open on the side, and, without thinking,¬†casually roll the ball back to her end of the court, as would an actual, real, trained¬†ballboy, but this one¬†happens to carom off of a post and into play just as she is about to go into her service motion.

For about a second–and only a second–I feel gallant, like a hero, doing something nice for her, until I realize with horror that both Eichmann and the umpire are holding up their hands and Leila is¬† glaring at me like I am a complete moron, or dumbass, or in all likelihood something a lot worse than either.¬† You know when somebody says they feel about two inches tall?¬† Well, right about now, I feel exactly two inches tall.

Yes, I’m sure it is my fault. I¬†got intoxicated by Leila’s beauty and just screwed up. I’ve been over it and over it about nine hundred times in my head¬†in a matter of seconds, and that’s how I’ve rationalized and¬†come to accept it.¬†¬†I feel like a real dolt. So much so that after she loses the point, which costs her the break,¬†I sneak out on the next changeover, and go watch Caddy Kaylor’s match for a game or two, from behind a tree, trying to figure out how to leave the tournament grounds without being seen by anyone else, for by now I am sure the whole damn place has seen my big stinking breach of tennis etiquette.

It is only later, after having driven the fifty miles home, that I find out Leila has lost the next game and the match 4-6 4-6.  I feel like a heel.



Two points from victory now.¬† Leila had fought hard, for three sets, and though Eichmann had seemingly won hundreds of points off of her forehand drop shot, and had managed to win a close second set, Leila had dominated the match from the baseline and was clearly motivated to get her revenge for the previous week’s bitter loss.¬† At the hands of¬†her retarded ballboy.

When I arrived for the quarterfinals that morning, one of the tournament volunteers noticed me standing by myself, reading through a Pro Circuit program, and she approached me and started chatting about the day’s matches.

“Wait until you see this girl Leila who’s playing later today!¬† She’s from Egypt, originally, and is she beautiful!”¬† I think this lady was doing her best to market the event, and the day’s matches, and took one look at me and sized me up (typical guy) and knew straight away what (beautiful girl) and who (brunette bombshell Leila) I would be interested in watching.

I¬†practically could have knocked her over with a feather when I told her that Leila Niazy was¬†my¬†favorite player, reciting like word vomit the¬†innumerable career stats of Leila’s that I had committed to memory like any good tennis geek.¬†She grinned one of those “Your-secret-is-safe-with-me” kind of sheepish smiles and hurried off, before I could get another word in.¬†¬†I wasn’t even sure what, if anything, I wanted to say to defend my honor, and so I went back to skulking.

Another crunching forehand winner down the line brought Leila to match point.

“C’mon, Leila, first serve.”¬† It seems awfully dumb, now, to have yelled out something like that in that very moment, and honestly, I don’t even¬†think I know how I can think of stuff like that in that situation, because by that point my palms are sweating and¬†my fingers are usually¬†half covering my eyes like some sort of human latticework.¬† The point being, I get pretty damned nervous at times like that.¬† Whether she heard or not is irrelevant, I guess.¬†¬†She got her serve in, and after a short rally, Eichmann netted a backhand and it was over, about two and a quarter hours after it started.

I don’t know if she felt better, having dispatched Eichmann this week, but I felt a little better.¬† The uneasy, nauseating feeling that had been gnawing away in the pit of my stomach all week had all but evaporated.¬† I felt¬†marginally less guilty about my ball tossing blunder.

Leila had been a qualifier at Port St. Lucie, and six wins for the week was impressive.  She was now into the semifinal, and though it was an eighty mile drive, each way down and back, it never crossed my mind not to be there the next day to see her.


A seventh win wouldn‚Äôt be in the cards for Leila that week at Tesoro‚Äďshe lost to Parisian and close friend¬†Letitia Musson in the final in two sets, undoubtedly drained from a long week.

I wanted desperately to find a way to congratulate¬†her after her brilliant week, to say ‚Äúhello‚ÄĚ and something positively charming and memorable, but I let discretion play the better part of valor, figuring that between cheering and scoping her out with my camera at five of her matches that week, the only impression I‚Äôd likely make on Leila was one I‚Äôd probably¬†wish she sooner forget.¬† That, coupled with the Vero Blunder, and I figured that staying clear of Leila was probably the¬†only viable¬†thing¬†I could¬†do.

Even as my heart surely beat faster whenever I thought about her, I couldn’t possibly find myself worthy of intruding on her time.  How could I possibly find the words?  Were there even words?

With a lump in my throat I walked to my car and drove home, hoping that in any event, as low as I felt,¬†I might be cheered catching her playing a match or two at the circuit’s next local stop the following¬†week in Daytona, a few hours north along Interstate 95.


It must have been the dumbest coincidence of luck imaginable that the first ‚Äúcenter court‚ÄĚ match at Daytona the following week, on the day I picked to escape from work and take off to catch a ¬†day of main draw play at that week‚Äôs $25K¬†ITF was the classic three set clay court¬†tilt between Angela Eichmann and Nicholette Rogers.

The main stadium court was overlooked by a grandstand, capped by a shaded deck which led into the players‚Äô lounge, and this early in the week, with almost no one in attendance, the deck and lounge were open to all spectators, even the plebes.¬† Which was spectacular on a day like today, given that that it was about forty-five degrees, and windy as hell, which for Florida, in January, is pretty awful.¬† I know any Yank worth his or her salt is probably thinking, ‚Äúwhat the f___ is the matter with this p___y?¬† Forty-five is beach weather‚ÄĚ, but when you live in t-shirts and shorts year round, and get grouchy the minute your tan starts to fade, forty-five is pretty goddamned cold.

So anyway, in between sitting on my hands, shivering, guzzling barely lukewarm coffee, and making as many trips into the players‚Äô lounge as possible to soak up the heat in there (I never realized until that day just how boring the life of a tennis professional could be until I saw them all, sitting around in chairs, like zombies, doing all the usual social media¬†sort of shit on their smartphones‚Ķ.) I was sitting in the freezing shade on the deck, in my hoodie, counting all of Eichmann‚Äôs dropshots again, and feeling totally sorry for Rogers, who at one point in the third set threw up her hands in disgust and yelled out exactly what I was thinking:¬† ‚ÄúCan you POSSIBLY do ANYTHING else?!‚ÄĚ

About that time, I noticed Leila‚Äôs mother standing , oh, let‚Äôs call it three and a half feet to my right, wearing her traditional habib.¬† I‚Äôd seen her at some of Leila‚Äôs tournaments before, including the week previously at Tesoro.¬† The funny thing was, I had this picture of Leila as a glamorous tennis star, right, and yet I‚Äôd seen her Mom chiding her to make sure she ate her banana in between sets at Kiwi a couple of years prior.¬† I always smile at that memory when I think about the celebrity part of her.¬† You’d think someone as glamorous as Leila wouldn’t have to worry about being told to eat a banana but I guess moms will always be moms‚Ķ.

Leila joined her Mother a couple of minutes later.  She stood in between where her Mother was standing and where I was seated, about a foot away from me.  I wanted to be sick.  Not sick.  I…I just couldn’t breathe.  The two of them spoke in Arabic, and stood there, talking, watching, waiting, talking, lingering, for about an hour.  I was petrified.

At first, I thought maybe she, or they, were wanting to give me ‚Äėwhat for‚Äô for the ball tossing incident in Vero Beach, you know, maybe for costing her a match, which to a player is earnings, money, part of her income,¬†so¬†I was dearly hoping I hadn’t ruined her life and focused on¬†trying to keep my head down while praying that she didn‚Äôt notice me inside my hoodie.¬† Inside my shell.¬† Where I was safe.¬† Kind of like when the teacher is looking for somebody to answer a question in class and everyone has their nose in their book.

Then I decided I would get a little brave and try to indirectly impress her by letting her overhear my amazingly astute tennis knowledge, so I critiqued Eichmann’s limited and awful tennis game in a conversation with my own Mother, who was seated to my left.  The things an idiot will do to impress the girl he likes.

Shortly before Eichmann‚Äôs match finished, Leila and her Mom left the deck and walked down to court 7, where she soon played, and ultimately won her first round match against Katy Howard.¬† There was a nice lady in the stands who noticed my rooting interest in Leila, and when she saw me keeping score of the match in a notebook, she asked me a whole bunch of questions about Leila, which I happily answered.¬† Any excuse to talk about her‚Äďto think about her for a few minutes‚Äďwas welcome.¬† Leila‚Äôs Mother was at the other end of the bleachers, cheering her daughter on.¬† When¬†Leila walked off the court, rather than walk directly over to where her Mother was seated, she made a circuitous route behind the bleachers,¬†passing maybe¬†two feet from where I was sitting, but like a fool, rather than say, ‚Äúcongratulations!‚ÄĚ or something equally appropriate, I just looked at my notes, as though if I did actually look her, or saw her looking at me, I would explode or melt down like Chernobyl.

But it wouldn‚Äôt be the last time Leila and I would ‚Äúmeet.‚ÄĚ

That was three months later.


It was April 29.  My Birthday, of all days.  The Pro Circuit was in town, my hometown, at the Kiwi Club in Indian Harbour Beach.  Leila was in the draw, and come hell or high water, I was going to see her play, even though I had been off of work a number of days already, what with the Sony, and trips to Tesoro, and Vero and Daytona.  But my boss knew I liked tennis, and I never took vacation apart from going to tournaments, so when I told him I was going to take some time off to see a few matches the week of the Kiwi tournament, he had no problem with it.

Leila was playing doubles the first time I saw her that week.  With her best friend, Caddy.  It was a warm, muggy day at Kiwi and having come straight from work, I was wearing a long sleeve shirt and dress pants and had just taken a seat as the players were warming up, and was sitting there, minding my own business, when I felt a tug on the back of my shirt.

‚ÄúAren‚Äôt you hot in that?‚Ä̬† I turned around, and a woman, one of those obvious I‚Äôm-a-tennis-club-person-are-you? kind of ladies, smiled at me, and pointed at my shirt and again asked if I wasn‚Äôt feeling warm wearing a work shirt on such a humid day.

I laughed and told her I‚Äôd just come from work to see ‚Äúmy favorite player.‚Ä̬† That seemed to spark an interest from her.¬† She asked who my ‚Äúfavorite‚ÄĚ was and I told her it was ‚ÄúLeila Niazy‚ÄĚ, and as went on and on about all of the matches I had seen her play in person, her eyes sortof twinkled.¬† She politely waited for me to finish, and then offered up this gem that made me want to barf:

‚ÄúWell, you know, I‚Äôm hosting Leila and her doubles partner, Caddy for the week.¬† They‚Äôre staying with my husband and I at our home and‚Ķ.‚ÄĚ

I heard the rest of it, but I was so sick about then I don’t think I really understood what she said.  I started having nightmares, or daymares, about what the dinner conversation might surely be like that night at that house, not entirely because of all of the things I spilled to this woman (which I did), and not entirely because she was nursing a big pitcher of some type of beverage that definitely wasn’t water.

Not to mention all of the gazillion or two pictures I shot of Leila during the match.  With basically ringside seating, and the players making eye contact at almost every turn in between points, I imagine it wouldn’t be hard for Leila, Caddy and their hostess to put two and two together if they did start talking about it.

And, like a knucklehead, or maybe ‘glutton for punishment’ is a more appropriate term, I spent the entire week at Leila‚Äôs matches, cheering for her, taking as many photos of her as humanly possible while trying not to be (overly) obvious about it [FAIL] and generally hiding behind a post whenever in sight of her so as not to give her the impression that, you know, I had any interest in her.¬† Some things seem pretty stupid when you think about them in hindsight.


Though she had another fine week on the green clay, Leila left the tournament site a short time after losing her semifinal here at Kiwi.

It’s the last time I ever saw her.  She never returned to our tournament.

They say that life is a journey.  The places we go.  The things we do.  Regrets are the things we don’t do.

Every day I think about Leila.

About not having the courage to say ‚Äúhi‚ÄĚ to her.

Every day I live with that regret.

General Buzz, Tournament Match Reports

2015 Revolution Technologies Pro Tennis Classic May 9 – Chirico Paris Bound

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!