Saturday, October 20, 2018

Volynets, 16, falls to Osaka's sister in semis of $25K

Katie Volynets, playing in the Stockton (Calif.)
Women's $60K two weeks ago, lost to Mari Osaka,
the older sister of reigning U.S. Open champion
Naomi Osaka, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in the semifinals of the
$25,000 Florence (S.C.) Open. Photo by Paul Bauman 
   Katie Volynets' run in her breakthrough tournament ended today.
   The 16-year-old qualifier from Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area lost to unseeded Mari Osaka of Japan 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in the semifinals of the $25,000 McLeod for Health Florence (S.C.) Open.
    Osaka's younger sister Naomi won her first Grand Slam title in the U.S. Open in September.
   Volynets, a 5-foot-6 (1.68-meter) amateur, shocked the Netherlands' Arianne Hartono, who won the NCAA Division I singles title as a Mississippi senior in May, in the final round of qualifying in the hardcourt tournament.
   Volynets then eliminated former collegiate All-Americans Anna Danilina and Emina Bektas and sixth-seeded Sherazad Reix of France before falling to Osaka.
   Danilina, a 23-year-old Moscow native who plays for Kazakhstan, reached the NCAA quarterfinals in 2017 and 2018 in her last two years at Florida. Bektas, a 25-year-old Indianapolis product, won a $80,000 tournament in Albuquerque, N.M., last fall. Reix, a 29-year-old left-hander, is ranked No. 287.
   Volynets had never won a main-draw match in three previous professional tournaments.
   Osaka, 22, will meet third-seeded Bianca Andreescu, 18, of Canada for the title. Andreescu routed eighth-seeded Maria Mateas, a 19-year-old freshman at Duke from nearby Chapel Hill, N.C., 6-1, 6-2.

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