Players Visit Local School and Veterans Have Mixed Results in Qualifying

MACON, Georgia, (October 20, 2014) When not playing tennis, the players at the Tennis Classic of Macon love giving back and promoting the sport of tennis, so it was no surprise when players raced to volunteer to visit local schools and talk about playing tennis for a living and why tennis is such a great sport.

Three players from the 2014 Tennis Classic of Macon made an early morning visit on Monday to Jessie Rice Elementary School in Macon to talk to the kids and demonstrate the basics of tennis. Asia Muhammad, Epiphany Turner and Dilara Yurtkurain almost enjoyed the morning more than the kids as they hit balls on short courts and showed that tennis can be the sport of a lifetime.

Following the school visit, play began at Stratford Academy with two WTA Tour veterans on the docket to play qualifying matches. Ukraine’s Kateryna Bondarenko with baby in tow and fresh off a good result in Mexico appears to be in top form as she quickly dispatched a young American in Rianna Valdes 6-0, 6-3. Nicole Vaidisova, makine a comeback after four years off the tour, struggled on Monday.

Bondarenko, a former world top-50 player, who also holds one career WTA singles title was dominant off the ground and with her serve. Valdes didn’t have an answer for Bondarenko’s power, but she fought back in the second set, before Bondarenko used her experience to close it out.

Former world No. 7 Nicole Vaidisova had a tough task today against former USC Trojan, Danielle Lao, who arrived in Macon late last night after playing the doubles final in Florence S.C. on Sunday.

But it was Lao who looked like the fresher and more complete player as she defeated the Czech star, 6-4, 6-2. Lao used her slice backhand to force error after error from the Vaidisova backhand to secure the two-set victory.

“I had to get my head right on the drive over here last night,” Lao said after the match. “I’ve been playing professional for about a year now, so I kind of know what to expect.”

Monday’s Results:
Kateryna BONDARENKO (UKR) [1] def Rianna VALDES (USA)WSQ 6-0 6-3
Despina PAPAMICHAIL (GRE) [7] def Angelina GABUEVA (RUS)WSQ 7-6(6) 7-6(2)
Ashley WEINHOLD (USA) [8] def Jacqueline CAKO (USA)WSQ 6-4 7-6(3)
Michaela GORDON (USA) def Gaia SANESI (ITA) [4]WSQ 6-2 6-2
Jasmine PAOLINI (ITA) [5] def Jan ABAZA (USA)WSQ 6-4 6-0
Petra RAMPRE (SLO) [6] def Natalia VIKHLYANTSEVA (RUS)WSQ 3-6 6-3 6-3
Danielle LAO (USA) [2] def Nicole VAIDISOVA (CZE)WSQ 6-4 6-2
Beatriz HADDAD MAIA (BRA) [3] def Andie K. DANIELL (USA

Qualifying matches continue at 10 am on Tuesday

Featured main draw matches on Tuesday include:
Ellie Halbauer vs. Conny Perrin
Lauren Embree vs. Grace Min

This is one of the three fall events where U.S. players can earn points for the USTA’s wildcard into the first major of 2015, the Australian Open.