Thursday, October 18, 2018

Volynets, 16, reaches first quarterfinal in pro tourney

Katie Volynets, a 16-year-old qualifier from Walnut
Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area, beat Emina
Bektas, a 25-year-old former All-American at Mich-
igan, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of a $25,000
tournament in Florence, S.C. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Qualifier Katie Volynets, a 16-year-old amateur from Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area, knocked off her third consecutive former collegiate All-American today to reach the quarterfinals of a professional tournament for the first time.
   Volynets, 5-foot-6 (1.68 meters) and 123 pounds (55.8 kilograms), dispatched unseeded Emina Bektas, a 25-year-old American who starred at Michigan, 6-2, 6-3 on a hardcourt in the $25,000 McLeod for Health Florence (S.C.) Open.
   Bektas won an $80,000 tournament in Albuquerque, N.M., in September 2017.
   Volynets shocked the Netherlands' Arianne Hartono, the reigning NCAA Division I singles champion from Mississippi, in the final round of qualifying and eliminated Moscow native Anna Danilina, who reached the NCAA quarterfinals in 2017 and 2018 in her last two years at Florida, for her first main-draw victory in a pro tournament.
   Volynets, who's playing in her fourth pro tourney, is scheduled to face sixth-seeded Sherazad Reix, a 29-year-old left-hander from France, on Friday at 7 a.m. PDT. Reix, ranked No. 278, defeated wild card Salome Devidze of Georgia 6-1, 6-4 after edging American Sophie Chang 6-7 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (5) in the first round.
   Volynets, coached by Mark Orwig, is reminiscent of CiCi Bellis. Both are petite Bay Area products. Bellis, though, stunned 12th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of the 2014 U.S. Open at age 15.
   Bellis turned pro in September 2016 at 17 and climbed to a career-high No. 35 in August 2017 to earn the WTA Newcomer of the Year award. She is recovering from wrist surgery.

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