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PRO TENNIS

Top seed Townsend to face second seed Lim; Sharma, Stefani win PPO doubles championship

BY DENNIS BRUNSON
dennis@theitem.com
Posted 6/17/18

The Palmetto Pro Open had a rarity in the first round of the singles main draw when each of the eight seeds advanced to the second round.

On Saturday, it had another rarity occur. The Nos. 1 and 2 seeds won their semifinal matches and will play …

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PRO TENNIS

Top seed Townsend to face second seed Lim; Sharma, Stefani win PPO doubles championship

Posted

The Palmetto Pro Open had a rarity in the first round of the singles main draw when each of the eight seeds advanced to the second round.

On Saturday, it had another rarity occur. The Nos. 1 and 2 seeds won their semifinal matches and will play today in the championship match at Palmetto Tennis Center.

Top seed Taylor Townsend defeated qualifier Gail Brodsky 6-2, 7-6(4), while No. 2 Alize Lim knocked off defending PPO champion Ashley Lahey 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.

Townsend and Lim will face off today at 1 p.m. on Court 1, the Hodgin Stadium Court.

The doubles championship was decided on Saturday. The No. 3 team of Astra Sharma and Luisa Stefani defeated the No. 4 team of Julia Elbaba and Shilin Xu 2-6, 6-3 [10-5].

Sharma and Stefani were playing together for the first time as a doubles team. "We'd played against each other in college," said Stefani, who attended Pepperdine while Sharma went to Vanderiblt.

The two decided to pair up when they arrived in Sumter and the rest is history. They got off to a slow start on Saturday, but began to kick it into gear in the second set.

"They were being very aggressive early," Sharma said. "We began to get into our game and do the same thing. We began to establish ourselves and we gained the momentum."

Winning the doubles title was a bit of retribution for both players as they lost tough matches in singles. Sharma lost to Townsend, ranked No. 71 in the world, in a tough first-round match. Townsend won by the scores of 7-6, 7-6(7).

Stefani had to retire in her second-round match against Lim because of cramps. Stefani won the first set 4-6 beore Lim won the second set 7-5 and was leading 4-3 when Stefani had to stop.

In the singles matches, Townsend had an easy go of it in the first set against Brodsky, who was playing her seventh match in seven days after having to win three qualifying matches just to make the main draw.

In the final set, Brodsky was up 6-5 with Townsend serving. However, Townsend was trailing 0-40 before rallying to win a deuce game. She won the tiebreaker 6-4.

"I felt confident with myself serving, but she had three great points to begin the game," said Townsend, who won the Sumter Pink Open last October. "I was able to straighten things out though and come back and win.

"You're always happy to get to the championship round, but you always want to hold the trophy."

Brodsky was playing in her sixth tournament after taking a 4-year hiatus to have two children. At one time ranked in the 180s, this was Brodsky's deepest run in her comeback.

In the other semi, Lahey jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first set. However, Lim won five of the next six games to win the set 6-4.

Lahey, who won last year's PPO as a wild card, rallied to win the second set 6-3. It was nip and tuck in the final set with the players holding serve. However, Lim led 4-3 when she broke Lahey and then held her serve.