Monday, February 4, 2019

McNally, 17, caps remarkable run in $100K Midland

   Seventeen-year-old wild cards aren't supposed to mow down veteran pros, some ranked in the top 100, and win $100,000 tournaments without losing a set.
   But that's exactly what Caty McNally did in the Dow Tennis Classic in Midland, Mich.
   The Cincinnati native and resident outclassed fourth-seeded Jessica Pegula of Boca Raton, Fla., 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday for her second consecutive title. McNally also won a $25,000 hard-court tournament in Lawrence, Kan., last November.
   "She didn't really start making any errors until about the end of the second set when I started coming back," the 24-year-old Pegula, who suffered her eighth consecutive loss in a WTA or an ITF singles final, told reporters. "She's playing with a lot of confidence and kind of no fear, (and it's) tough to play against someone like that who's young and doesn't really feel the pressure."
   McNally, who has won two doubles titles and reached one singles final in junior Grand Slam tournaments, never lost more than four games in a set in Midland. She knocked off four seeds: No. 7 Nicole Gibbs (Stanford, 2011-13) in the first round, No. 3 and defending champion Madison Brengle in the quarterfinals, No. 1 Rebecca Peterson in the semifinals and Pegula.
   Peterson was ranked No. 57, and Brengle was No. 80, marking McNally's first two victories over top-100 players.
   Brengle won the $60,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger last October, and Gibbs reached the final of the inaugural $60,000 Berkeley Challenger last July.
   McNally and Pegula, the daughter of Buffalo Bills and Sabres owners Terrence and Kim Pegula, reached the doubles quarterfinals before losing to eventual champions Olga Govortsova of Belarus and Valeria Savinykh of Russia.
   McNally soared 158 places to No. 253 in the world singles rankings and collected $15,239 for the title. The only younger players ranked ahead of her are 16-year-olds Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine at No. 195 and Whitney Osuigwe of Bradenton, Fla., at No. 220.
   Pegula improved 11 notches to No. 93, cracking the top 100 for the first time, and earned $8,147 as the runner-up. She reached the semifinals in Stockton last year and the final of the $50,000 Sacramento Challenger in 2012.

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