TEMPLETON, September 27, 2019 (by Steve Pratt)
Former Duke University standout Maria Mateas won her fourth match in four days, upsetting top-seeded Vavara Lepchenko, 7-6 (6), 6-0, in the second round of the Central Coast Pro Tennis Open, a USTA Pro Circuit Women’s $60,000 event taking place at the Templeton Tennis Ranch.
A qualifier who last year lost 7-6 in a third set in the first round at this event, Mateas matched the former world No. 19-ranked WTA player Lepchenko stroke for stroke in the tight first set before running away with it in the second.
“I was just trying to hang in there,” said the 20-year-old Mateas, who was born in Romania and grew up in Massachusetts. “The body wasn’t feeling amazing but I was just trying to get to every ball and see what happened and hopefully something good would happen and it did.”
Lepchenko will next face fellow American Shelby Rogers in the quarterfinals on Friday on Stadium Court in the second match of the day session, which begins at 12 noon.
Seven of the eight women’s singles quarterfinalists call America their home country with Serbia’s Jovana Jaksic the only foreigner in the final eight. Additionally, the No. 6-seeded Jaksic is the only one of the eight who is a top-eight seeded player.
Tournament wild-card CoCo Vandeweghe will meet Hanna Chang in a second quarterfinal Friday on Court 2. The 2018 US Open doubles winner Vandeweghe needed three sets to take out former USC All-American Giuliana Olmos of Mexico, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-2.
“The wind really affected both of us out there,” said Olmos, who is ranked No. 354 in the world and has played doubles at both Wimbledon and the US Open. “We would both lose our serve on one side, and both hold serve on the other.”
Watched by impartial UCLA women’s coach Rance Brown, former UCLA star and qualifier Elysia Bolton won her fourth consecutive match in Templeton to advance to the quarterfinals. She beat former UCLA All-American Catherine Harrison, 6-3, 6-7 (0), 6-3. Originally from New York, Bolton was an ITA All-America selection in singles her freshman year and was named the Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year in 2019.
“I spoke to Coach (Stella) Sampras this morning and we really didn’t know what to expect,” Brown said. “We knew it would be highly emotional and highly competitive and the younger one was able to pull it out. I was definitely sitting on my hands there. I was a proud coach and a proud uncle out there just watching.”
Earlier in the day, Brown watched as another former Bruin qualifier, Pamela Montez, fell to Jaksic, 6-4, 6-1.
Later in the day, Harrison was close to staying in town for another day joining Bolton, but fell short in the doubles quarterfinals as Emma Bektas and Tara Moore, the No. 4 seeds, beat Harrison and Victoria Duval, 2-6, 6-3, 10-6.
Harrison, originally from Germantown, Tenn., won the ITF World Tennis Tour $25,000 event in Fort Worth, Texas, for her first career singles title and owns five ITF-level doubles titles. Duval said she plans to return to the University of Florida as a volunteer assistant coach for the women’s team as her playing schedule allows.
The doubles semifinals will be the night matches Friday night beginning at 6 p.m.
A day after taking out the top seeds, Olmos and current USC senior Angela Kulikov beat the Central Coast pairing of Kayla Day and Sophie Whittle, 6-3, 6-2. Olmos-Kulikov meet No. 3 seeds Vladica Babic and Caitlin Whoriskey in the second and final match of the day. In the other doubles semifinal, No. 4 seeds Emma Bektas and Tara Moore will meet Gabriela Talaba of Romania and Marcela Zacarias of Mexico in the first match at 6 p.m. Talaba/Zacarias beat the No. 2-seeded team of Rogers/Vandeweghe, 6-4, 7-5, in the late match.
Thursday’s Main-Draw Singles Scores
Maria Mateas (q), U.S., def. Vavara Lepchenko (1) (wc), U.S., 7-6 (6), 6-0
Elysia Bolton (q), U.S., def. Catherine Harrison, U.S., 6-3, 6-7 (0), 6-3
Hanna Chang, U.S., def. Irina Falconi, U.S., 7-5, retired
Jovana Jaksic (6), Serbia, def. Pamela Montez (q), U.S., 6-4, 6-1
Grace Min, U.S., def. Gabriela Talaba, Romania, 6-1, 6-0
Shelby Rogers, U.S., def. Katie Volynets, U.S., 6-1, 6-1
Emma Bektas, U.S., def. Hailey Baptiste (8), U.S., 7-5, 4-6, 6-4
CoCo Vandeweghe (wc), U.S., def. Giuliana Olmos, Mexico, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-2
Thursday’s Quarterfinal Doubles Scores
Vladica Babic, Montenegro/Caitlin Whoriskey (3), U.S., def. Deniz Khazaniuk, Israel, Alycia Parks, U.S., 6-1, 3-6, 10-8
Emma Bektas, U.S./Tara Moore (4), Great Britain, def. Victoria Duval, U.S./Catherine Harrison, U.S., 2-6, 6-3, 10-6
Angela Kulikov, U.S./Giuliana Olmos, Mexico, def. Kayla Day, U.S./Sophie Whittle, U.S., 6-3, 6-2
Gabriela Talaba, Romania/Marcela Zacarias, Mexico, def. Shelby Rogers, U.S./CoCo Vandeweghe (2), U.S., 6-4, 7-5