Usue Maitane Arconada and Hailey Baptiste are familiar with the Palmetto Pro Open at Palmetto Tennis Center, having played the event before. However, they are not familiar with being the top seeds, Arconada at No. 1 and No. Baptiste.
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Usue Maitane Arconada and Hailey Baptiste are familiar with the Palmetto Pro Open at Palmetto Tennis Center, having played the event before. However, they are not familiar with being the top seeds, Arconada at No. 1 and No. 2 for Baptiste.
Arconada, who is ranked No. 281 in the world according to the World Tennis Association, is happy to be the No. 1 seed in the tournament.
"It's good to be," she said. "It's always nice coming out to the tournament and being the 1 seed."
Arconada, who is originally from Argentina but moved to Florida when she was young, likes having a few extra days to prepare compared to those who have to qualify for the tournament.
"I think everyone kind of likes a little extra (few) days of preparation," she said. "Especially now, since a lot of people are coming from clay, especially me. So yeah, it's always nice to get a couple more days."
Arconada is no stranger to this tournament. She's played in it twice before, most recently last year when she lost in the second round to Ashley Lahey.
She also has a few tournaments already under her belt this year.
"I played, actually, last week, at another 25K ($25,000 like the PPO) in Delaware and I played a lot of 60Ks and 80Ks around the states," she said.
Arconada appreciates Sumter's efforts to put on this tournament.
"It's just lovely that Sumter is throwing this tournament for all of us," she said. "It means a lot to us, and we just love coming here and getting to experience the courts here and the amazing tournament."
Arconada will play American Jada Robinson on Wednesday in her first match. Robinson was one of eight players to make the main draw by winning two qualifying matches.
Like Arconada, Baptiste is happy to be going into the tournament highly ranked, although it does come with a little extra baggage.
"It's one of the higher seeds I've been the last few tournaments I've played," Baptiste said. "I guess it adds a little bit more pressure, but I'm not really thinking about it much."
Also like Arconada, Baptiste, who is from Washington and trains in Orlando, Florida, had a few extra days to prepare for the tournament.
She has played in it before, falling in the quarterfinals a year ago.
"I mean, I got to practice on the courts a little bit, but I played here last year so I had a bit of an idea of what it was gonna be like," Baptiste said.
However, unlike last year, this year Baptiste didn't have to make the main draw through qualifying matches.
"I guess it takes off a little bit of pressure," she said. "Like, I'm already in the tournament, so (I can) kinda just focus match by match. But like, when you're in the qualies, you have to try and focus on actually winning two matches to actually get in the tournament."
Baptiste will take on Andrea Renee Villarreal for her first action of the tournament on Wednesday.
"(I'm) just hoping to get a couple matches under my belt and just do the best I can," Baptiste said.
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