MERCER UNIVERSITY and John Drew Smith Tennis Center – OCT 19 – OCT 25, 2020
USTA Pro Circuit 80K Event
MACON, Georgia, (October 25, 2020) If there was any doubt who the two best players all week in Macon were, the lucky souls watching live in Macon while “social distancing” and the hundreds tuning in on the USTA love feed will tell you it was American Cici Bellis and Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine. The two squared off for the 80K Mercer Tennis Classic on Sunday and a close tough match was on tap. Bellis would take it 6-4, 6-7(4) 0-0 (ret).
Bellis took control in the eighth game of the opening set as she kept moving Kostyuk off the court. In a set where there were more service breaks than holds. An emotional Kostyuk committed three unforced errors towards the set, while Bellis rarely showed any emotion.
Kostyuk decided to up the aggressiveness in set No. 2 That meant taking chances and deeper balls to see how Bellis would react. It seemed to pay off for Kostyuk as she flew out to a 5-2 lead. Bellis wasn’t about to give in. She changed the pace on some backhands to again force errors from the 18-year old. Bellis went up 5-6 before Kostyuk calmed down to win a tight tiebreaker.
The brief third set ended when Kostyuk was forced to retire with cramps.
Bellis credited being more aggressive with the win and it’s her first ITF win in almost four years.
“There wasn’t much between us out there. I tried to be super aggressive and that paid off. Everyone is so good at this level and it’s a few points that make the difference.”
Kostyuk had been great all week and has been hot since tennis resumed over a month ago. The 18-year old from Ukraine upset the No. 1 seed in the quarterfinals and took out a tough customer in Magdalena Frech from Poland on Saturday.
Since tennis resumed in 2020, Kostyuk reached the third round at the US Open, falling in three sets to Naomi Osaka, qualified for the French Open and reached the quarterfinals in doubles at Roland Garros.
The Mercer Tennis Classic is the first USTA Pro Circuit event being held in the U.S. since professional tennis came to a halt in March.
Singles Final on Sunday at 1pm
Catherine Bellis USA def Marta Kostyuk (UKR) 6-4 6-7(4) 0-0 Ret
The women’s event features a 32-player singles qualifying draw, a 32-player singles main draw and a 16-team doubles draw. Now in its eighth year and fourth year as an W80 event, the Mercer Tennis Classic will once again feature many of the best women tennis players in the world. It is 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 the largest). It is also the longest running professional women’s tennis tournament in the state of Georgia. The 2019 event was showcased on the Tennis Channel.
The Mercer Tennis Classic has featured players with major titles, including 2014 Macon singles champ, Kateryna Bondarenko, of Ukraine, and her sister, Alona, who she teamed with to win the 2008 Australian Open Doubles title, and 2010 French Open singles champion Francesca Schiavone, of Italy, who was the tournament’s top seed in 2018.
The event will adhere to all government-mandated COVID-19 restrictions, including social-distancing, throughout the duration of the tournament.