Thursday, April 4, 2013

American players make strong showing in Charleston

Seven American players have advanced to the third round in Charleston. That's the most since 1993 when nine Americans made it to round 3. At least three Americans will make it to the quarterfinals this year (the most since 1982, when six Americans made it that far) on account of two upcoming (if it ever stops raining) USA vs. USA matches.

The seven players are: Mallory Burdette (upset 2009 champion Sabine Lisicki), Madison Keys, Varvara Lepchenko, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Jessica Pegula (upset 8th seed Mona Barthel), Serena Williams (defending champion and 2008 champion), and Venus Williams (2004 champion).

Burdette entered the top 100 for the first time this week.

As of today, Serena Williams has won her last eleven matches in Charleston. She won the event in 2008 and did not return until last year, when she won it again. She had a bye in the first round of this year's tournament, and won her second round match. 

For the past two years, the same player who ended the tournament as the singles runner-up also emerged as the doubles champion. In 2011, it was Elena Vesnina (lost to Caroline Wozniacki in the final), and in 2012, it was Lucie Safarova (lost to Serena Williams). This situation could occur a third time in a row if either Safarova or Julia Goerges makes it to both finals; they are the only remaining players who are still in both draws.

In the third round, Goerges gets Stefanie Voegele. Should she win that match, she would play Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals; Wozniacki received a third round walkover from Andrea Petkovic. Safarova will play 11th seed Sorana Cirstea in the third round. A win would likely have her facing Serena Williams again--this time, in the quarterfinals.

It's 4:50, Charleston time, and the sun has finally come out, after what I hope was one last big downpour. It looks like there will actually be some tennis played this evening.

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