PRO TENNIS

Eight qualifiers earn way into first round of today's singles draw in Palmetto Pro Open

BY DENNIS BRUNSO
dennis@theitem.com
Posted 6/13/18

Maria Jose Portillo Ramirez and Hailey Baptiste found themselves on different ends of the spectrum in the singles qualifying draw of the Palmetto Pro Open beginning on Sunday.

Each needed three victories just to get to the main draw, but Portillo …

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PRO TENNIS

Eight qualifiers earn way into first round of today's singles draw in Palmetto Pro Open

Posted

Maria Jose Portillo Ramirez and Hailey Baptiste found themselves on different ends of the spectrum in the singles qualifying draw of the Palmetto Pro Open beginning on Sunday.

Each needed three victories just to get to the main draw, but Portillo Ramirez was the No. 2 seed among the 64 in the qualifying draw while Baptiste was unranked.

However, both will moving along to the 32-player main draw along with six others who won qualifying singles final matches on Tuesday at Palmetto Tennis Center.

Baptiste defeated No. 3 qualifying seed Genevieve Lorbergs 6-3, 6-3 and Portillo Ramirez topped Gianna Pielet 6-2, 6-3 to advance. The six other qualifying final winners were No. 1 Olga Govortsova, Abigail Forbes, No. 5 McCartney Kessler, No. 6 Gail Brodsky, Rhiann Newborn and Nicole Mossmer.

They move on to play in the first round of the singles main draw today. All 16 of the first-round matches will be played today on four courts with the first matches beginning at 9 a.m.

The No. 1 main draw seed, Taylor Townsend, will play on Court 1 beginning at 9. Townsend, who is ranked No. 71 in the world, will meet Astra Sharma.

Portillo Ramirez will be going up against No. 2 seed Alize Lim, No. 3 Shilin Xu will meet Angelina Gabueva, No. 4 Usue Maitane Arconada will face Alexa Graham, No. 5 Robin Anderson will take on Emma Navarro, No. 6 Maria Mateas will go up against Shelby Talcott, No. 7 Marcela Zacarias will take on Kessler and No. 8 Chieh-Yu Hsu will face Mossmer.

Also, defending PPO champion Ashley Lahey will take on Tori Kinard.

This is just the fifth USTA Pro Circuit event for the 16-year-old Baptiste, and this is the fourth time she has advanced into the main draw. She's advanced to the quarterfinals in two of those events, meaning she won two matches in the main draw in each event.

Baptiste said she was actually happy to play in the qualifying for the $25,000 PPO since it's a hard court facility and she has been used to playing on clay.

"This helped me get used to the hard court again," said Baptiste, who is from Washington, D.C., but trains in Orlando, Florida.

Baptiste defeated No. 9 qualifying seed Andie K. Daniell 6-1, 1-6, 6-1 in her first match and followed it with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Rebecca Shine.

"I feel like I'm playing pretty well right now," said Baptiste, who will face fellow qualifier Newborn today in the first round.

Portillo Ramirez wasn't as lucky as she gets No. 2 Lim today. However, she is happy with the way she is playing.

"I like the way I played today," said Portillo Ramirez, who is from Mexico but trains in San Antonio. "I think I've gotten better each day."

She had to rally to win her first qualifying match against Savannah Broadus, losing the first set 1-6 before winning the final two 6-4, 6-4. In Monday's second round, Portillo Ramirez defeated Peyton Stearns 7-6(0), 7-6(5).

The first round of the 16-team doubles main draw began on Tuesday as well, and each of the four seeds won their matches.

No. 1 seed Chieh-Yu Hsu and Zacarias defeated Angelina Gabueva 6-3, 7-5, No. 2 Arconada and Ashley Weinhold topped Alice Garcia and Lauren Proctor 6-2, 6-3, No. 3 Astra Shara and Luisa Stefani topped Emily Fanning and Gabriela Talaba 6-3, 6-1 and No. 4 Julia Elbaba and Shilin Xu topped Ashley and Anastasia Nefedova 6-1, 6-4.