Sunday, June 30, 2013

Give me a break: Lawrence, 19, wins bizarre match

   GOLD RIVER, Calif. -- Tennis fans thought they had seen everything when John Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set in the first round at Wimbledon three years ago.
   Not quite.
   Sunday's second-round qualifying match between sixth-seeded Jessica Lawrence and wild card Yasmin Schnack in the $50,000 FSP Gold River Women's Challenger began with 18 consecutive service breaks and featured 25 total.
   The players held serve only seven times in the match, won by Lawrence 6-7 (7), 7-5, 6-2 at the Gold River Racquet Club in the Sacramento area.   
   The USTA Pro Circuit record book does not include service breaks, but the tournament supervisor, Billie Lipp of the USTA, said she couldn't recall so many in a row or total. She has held her position for 24 years.
   Lawrence, a 19-year-old professional from Lake Worth, Fla., converted 77.5 percent of her first serves and double-faulted three times. Schnack, a 25-year-old former pro from Sacramento, put in only 42.9 percent of her first serves and committed six double-faults. 
   "I feel like I have a good serve, but today my serve was not on," said the 5-foot-10 (1.77-meter) Schnack, who won the doubles title in last year's inaugural Gold River Challenger with Asia Muhammad before retiring in November. "I wasn't serving well, and her serve is not a strength. She has kind of a weak second serve, and her first serve doesn't do any damage, so I felt I could really control and dictate off the returns.
   "She was doing the same on my serves. I wasn't getting a high percentage of first serves in, and my second serves were too weak, so it just led to break after break after break."
   The match began at 10:10 a.m. and ended 2 hours, 48 minutes later, including a 10-minute break after the second set because of extreme heat. The temperature peaked at 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.6 Celsius) at 3:25 p.m., and Monday's predicted high is 110 (43.3).
   Schnack served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but -- surprise! -- was broken. She lost the last three games of the set and the first five games of the second set as she wilted in the heat.
   Until an easy victory Saturday, the former UCLA All-American hadn't played singles since early November.
   "I just wasn't in shape to play a three-set match in his heat," admitted Schnack, a teaching pro at the Rio del Oro Racquet Club in Sacramento who plans to attend nursing school in the fall. "I was trying really hard not to get to the third set, but she was tough. She made me work for it, and ultimately took the momentum and got the 'W.'
   "She played really well. She was solid and didn't make many unforced errors. I had to go out there and win it. I tried, but it didn't go my way today."
   The heat didn't seem to bother Lawrence. After actually holding serve for 3-0 in the third set, she jogged to her chair.  
   "I train a lot of hours, and I think that really helped me," said the 5-foot-4 (1.63-meter), 125-pound (56.7-kilogram) Lawrence, who wore baggy capri pants in the match. "I felt fresh. I was ready to go and play another few sets,"  she added with a laugh.
   Lawrence will face Elizabeth Profit, 16, of Bellflower in the Los Angeles area on Monday for a berth in the main draw. Profit, who has Type 1 diabetes, plays with an insulin pump attached to the waistband of her tennis skirt. She upset third-seeded Jacqueline Cako, who finished an All-America career at Arizona State in May, 6-4, 6-4.
   Cako, the Pac-12 Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year, graduated in three years with a degree in biological sciences and a 3.68 grade-point average. She plans to attend medical school after playing professionally. 
   Alisa Kleybanova, who reached No. 20 in the world in 2011, continued her comeback from Hodgkin's lymphoma with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Malika Rose, an All-Big 12 Conference selection as a senior at Oklahoma State this past season.
   Kleybanova will play top-seeded Julia Boserup of Newport Beach in Southern California. Boserup, playing her first tournament since early November after recovering from a bulging disc in her back, defeated Csilla Borsanyi of Hungary 6-2, 6-3.   
   $50,000 FSP GOLD RIVER WOMEN'S CHALLENGER
At Gold River Racquet Club in Gold River, Calif.
Singles qualifying
Second round
   Julia Boserup (1), United States, def. Csilla Borsanyi, Hungary, 6-2, 6-3.
   Robin Anderson, United States, def. Keri Wong, United States, 6-1, 7-5.
   Jessica Lawrence (6), United States, def. Yasmin Schnack, Sacramento, 6-7 (7),
7-5, 6-2.
   Anne-Liz Jeukeng (7), United States, def. Parris Todd, United States, 6-1, 6-3.
   Alisa Kleybanova, Russia, def. Malika Rose, United States, 6-2, 6-2.
   Elizabeth Profit, United States, def. Jacqueline Cako (3), United States, 6-4, 6-4.
   Mary Weatherholt, United States, def. Dianne Hollands, New Zealand, 7-5, 6-2.
   Nicole Robinson (8), United States, def. Daria Kulbikova, Russia, 6-2, 6-4.
Monday's schedule
(Beginning at 10 a.m.)
Stadium
   Julia Boserup (1) vs. Alisa Kleybanova (final round of qualifying).
   Emily Webley-Smith vs. Madison Brengel (5).
   Victoria Duval (8) vs. Mayo Hibi.
Court 3
   Elizabeth Profit vs. Jessica Lawrence (6) (final round of qualifying).
   Sanaz Marand vs. Ashley Weinhold.
   Julie Coin and Keri Wong (3) vs. Robin Anderson and Lauren Embree.
Court 4
   Robin Anderson vs. Anne Liz Jeukeng (7) (final round of qualifying).
   Ivana Lisjak vs. Natalie Pluskota.
Court 5
   Mary Weatherholt vs. Nicole Robinson (8) (final round of qualifying).
   Allie Kick vs. Brianna Morgan.
   Macall Harkins and Zoe Scandalis vs. Dianne Hollands and Kady Pooler.

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