Friday, February 25, 2011

Josie Kuhlman wins SMASH Junior Cup, gets Charleston qualifying wild card

15-year-old Josie Kuhlman of Ponte Vedre Beach, Florida has been awarded a wild card into the qualifying rounds of the 2011 Family Circle Cup. Kuhlman, who was unseeded at the SMASH Junior Cup at the Family Circle Tennis Center , defeated 5th seed Leyla Erkan 6-1, 6-3 in the final on Tuesday. Kuhlman did not even find out about the tournament until the last minute, and thought she had waited too late to register. She lost 15 games in six matches, and now she will play in her first professional event. Kuhlman was given a wild card into last year's Ponte Vedre Beach event, but an injury caused her to withdraw.

The SMASH Junior Cup, presented by Dunlop Sports, is one of only two tournaments in the U.S. in which players compete for a wild card into a WTA Tour Premier event. Last year's winner was Shelby Rogers, who lost in three sets to Christina McHale in the first round of qualifying. Rogers, who is from Daniel Island, also played in an exhibition match, and enjoyed a lot of fan support.

Past SMASH Junior Cup winners include Mallory Cecil and Alison Riske.

Dunlop Sports also sponsors the annual Club Doubles Championship, which will be held during the Charleston tournament. This year, for the first time, there will be preliminary tournaments in eight cities.The Club Doubles Championship is a mixed doubles event.

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