Mercer Tennis Classic: Qualifying Continues Monday Morning

USTA Pro Circuit 80K Event to be on Tennis Channel

MACON, Georgia, (October 21) Sixteen women advanced through the first round of singles qualifying at Mercer University for the 2018 edition of the Mercer Tennis Classic, a USTA Pro Circuit women’s 80K event running through Sunday October 28.

Hailey Baptiste, high school senior from Washington D.C. scored the biggest upset of Day 1. Using her serve and big forehand, she came back to down qualifying No. 1 seed, Chanel Simmonds of South Africa 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

In a battle of two American players, Jennifer Ellie outlasted Caty McNally, a high school junior from Ohio 7-5, 4-6, 6-1. Ellie used a consistent ground game to frustrate McNally, especially down the stretch in the third set.

The qualifying draw is comprised of 32 players. Players must win three matches in qualifying to reach the main draw,

Local player, Victoria Mulville was awarded a wildcard, but she fell to Hanna Chang in a match on Court 1.

In addition to the qualifying draw, there is a 32 person singles main draw and a 16 team doubles draw featuring players ranked in the top-100 in the world.

Sunday Results:

Hailey BAPTISTE (USA) def. Chanel SIMMONDS (RSA) [1] 3-6 6-3 6-3
Andie K. DANIELL (USA) def. Amanda RODGERS (USA) 6-4 6-2
Emina BEKTAS (USA) [3] def. Ana VESELINOVIC (MNE) 6-3 6-2
Giuliana OLMOS (MEX) def. Victoria MUNTEAN (FRA) 6-1 6-0
Sanaz MARAND (USA) def. Ingrid NEEL (USA) 6-1 6-3
Joelle KISSELL (USA) def. Jada ROBINSON (USA) 6-0 4-0 Ret.
Anastasia NEFEDOVA (USA) [6] def. Chieh-Yu HSU (TPE) 6-4 6-7(3) 6-3
Paula Cristina GONCALVES (BRA) def. Gabriela TALABA (ROU) [4] 6-2 7-5
Hanna CHANG (USA) def. Victoria MULVILLE (USA) 6-2 6-0
Jennifer ELIE (USA) [8] def. Caty MCNALLY (USA) 7-5 4-6 6-1
Salome DEVIDZE (GEO) def. Anna DANILINA (KAZ) [2] 6-2 Ret.
Louisa CHIRICO (USA) def. Rosalyn SMALL (USA) 6-0 6-0
Julia ELBABA (USA) def. Maria Lourdes CARLE (ARG) 6-3 6-3
Alexandra PERPER (MDA) [5] def. Luisa STEFANI (BRA) 2-6 7-6(5) 7-5
Peyton STEARNS (USA) def. Ellie DOUGLAS (USA) 6-4 6-3
Quinn GLEASON (USA) [7] def. Paige HOURIGAN (NZL) 6-4 6-4

Tennis Channel will cover the singles semifinals and finals live on air and its platforms.

“It’s a testament to how much our event has grown and the quality of field we get each year that the Tennis Channel would want to come to Macon and show live coverage. This is unprecedented coverage and exposure for not only Mercer, but for the city of Macon and Middle Georgia.”

Now in its sixth year and second year as an 80K event, the Mercer Tennis Classic will once again showcase a 32 player singles draw and 16 doubles teams in Macon. It’s eight days of fan friendly tennis and now the second biggest professional tournament in the state of Georgia in terms of prize money (ATP World Tour 250 event – BB&T Atlanta Open in July is largest). It is also the longest running professional women’s tennis tournament in the state of Georgia.

The Mercer Tennis Classic has featured players with major titles. 2014 Macon singles champ, Kateryna Bondarenko, of Ukraine, and her sister, Alona, teamed with to win the 2008 Australian Open Doubles title. The Bondarenko Sisters have played doubles in Macon. In 2017, 2010 French Open singles champion, Francesca Schiavone of Italy was the top seed and advanced to the second round.

Players come to Macon to play for $80,000 in prize money, valuable WTA ranking points and in the past, a spot in the first major of 2018, the Australian Open in Melbourne. A women’s wild card will be awarded to the American with the highest cumulative total of WTA singles ranking points earned from their best three results during four weeks, at three $80,000 USTA Pro Circuit women’s events (main draw points only) and one WTA $125,000 event (main draw and qualifying points).
Only Americans who do not earn direct entry into the Australian Open are eligible. In the event of a tie, the player with the best ATP or best WTA singles ranking on Nov. 19 will be awarded the wild card.

This year, a minimum of 20 former Macon participants were in the main draw at the first three majors

Highlights of the week include the Tuesday Pro Am and Player/Sponsor party, and an annual event with free lessons, food and more. Also the players will make visits to area schools to promote tennis as a lifetime sport and the professional event.

Media alert: On Monday night, October 22, a special ceremony and clinic will be held in honor of Robin Bateman. Bateman is the longtime tennis coordinator at Tattnall Square Tennis Center. The ceremony will be held at Mercer University’s Leroy Peddy Tennis Center, starting at 5:30 pm. Following the ceremony there will be drills with professionals in the USTA Pro Circuit events and pizza.

Tournament volunteers are needed and any help is always appreciated. Call Mercer tennis coach and tournament director Eric Hayes at (478) 301-2269.

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