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Whitney Osuigwe wins 1st WTA title at $80k RBC Pro Challenge

Joey Hanf

By Editorial Team

Whitney Osuigwe has not stopped crushing the competition since her ascension to the world junior #1 ranking last year. After going deep in several $25k and $60k pro tour events this year, Whitney was able to cap her rookie year off with a major title win in Tyler, Texas today at the RBC Pro Challenge.

The road to the title was not easy at all given that every match was decided in 3 sets and also having to save match points against top ranked Belinda Bencic in windy conditions after defeating her doubles partner, Caty McNally. With all that tennis behind her she pulled it together today in the finals to beat Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-3, 6-4.

Whitney’s serve was the deciding factor all this week as she was able to keep her 1st serve percentage well over 50% while managing to eek out break points when it counted down the stretch. Coming off of such a mentally challenging match against Bencic, it would have been understandable for the 16 year old to show signs of let-up in the final match. However, she remained tough and took over the match from start to finish.

Whitney’s mental game is just as deadly as her consistency from the ground. She always seems to outlast her opponents during some of the most dire on-court conditions. Whitney was able to defeat Benic (former world #7) mentally as windy conditions made for unorthodox play as both players found it difficult to generate pace causing them to hit slice forehands to neutralize points. Whitney’s mental game was on full display this week as she was able to overcome all types of roadblocks under less than desirable court conditions.

In comfortable style, Whitney is now well within top 225 ranking territory coming into the year-end stretch so she does not have to worry about new ITF rule changes plus at age 17 she will be able to play more WTA events next season. Rather than gaming the new ranking system, she (like other players who have made a successful transition into the pros) took matters in her own hands and got the ranking needed to continue to pursue her dreams of winning a grand slam title.

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News

Stephens and Keys raise the bar in Fed Cup playoff

Ronald Cortes

By Editorial Team

The Fed Cup has come home for the US women’s team to the Alamo state with both Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys in the drivers’ seat.

After the early round defeat to Australia, Madison is anxious to redeem Team USA and position itself in the running for 2020. When asked about the status of the team and anticipation for the weekend, Keys stated,


“We’re playing to stay in World Group I. It’s obviously very important, We were all really bummed about the loss, and we’re looking to walk away with a win after this weekend.”

Chemistry is definitely in favor of the US team as the players and coaches are all very close off the court as friends, but against Switzerland its definitely a business trip.

Coming off a title win in Charleston, Madison is set to keep the momentum going full steam as she prepares to make a decent run toward the French Open later next month.

While title hopes are around the corner for Madison, Sloane is planning on regaining her rhythm and finding her strokes while she competes. Fans shouldn’t be surprised if Sloane goes deep in this year’s French Open as she is able to turn it around on a dime – noting last year’s final run in Paris.

USTA

Stable coaching appears to be Sloane’s biggest challenge now as she must find a suitable replacement after Fed Cup Captain, Kathy Rinaldi, has been filling in recently for Sly Black.

This Fed Cup match should a simple win for the deep high caliber of talent on the US team. Play is scheduled for April 20-21 in San Antonio, Texas with matches aired live on Tennis Channel.

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Pro Tour

Healthy, Tsonga takes on Edmund in Morocco

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is up against top seed Kyle Edmund tomorrow in the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca, Morocco.

Tsonga is having a good start to the season with the exception of an early qualifying loss in Miami. Playing on the red clay surface is definitely a new venture to Tsonga after being off seven months from competitive play.

After his first round win over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Tsonga commented on his form:


“It was my first match on clay in a while. So I’m happy that I won today. I did what I needed to do today and played well during the first set,” said Tsonga, whose last outdoor clay match came at 2017 Roland Garros. “It has been almost two years since I didn’t play on outdoor clay. It’s nice to be back on clay.”

ATP Tour

Perhaps this is the biggest test for Tsonga since his recovery. A win tomorrow could definitely put the Tour on notice while improving his ranking just before going into the red clay stretch and grand slam season.

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Pro Tour

Keys wins 4th title in Charleston

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By Editorial Team

Madison Keys was able to defeat the 5th seed Caroline Wozniacki 7-6, 6-3 today to win her 4th title and 1st tournament win in close to 2 years.

This win against top WTA Tour players is great for Madison’s confidence as she goes into the thick of the clay court season.

Red clay has not been that kind to Madison even after reaching the semifinals last year. 2019 could be the year for a grand slam title, but consistency and health will play a major role in that for Madison.

The first 3 months of this season have been dismal for Madison with little to show in term of wins, but at the Volvo Car Open – her favorite tournament – she was able to overcome major hurdles with big wins over Sloane Stephens and Caroline Wozniacki.


“It means so much,” Keys stated in her post-match press conference. “I’ve always loved Charleston. It’s always been one of my favorite tournaments, so to now be able to say that I’ve won the tournament and be on the trophy is really, really special.”
“It’s definitely been a really great week for me, especially after having some really tough losses the last couple of weeks,” Keys continued. “And to be able to really bounce back and have a really good week of training with my coach, Nacho, and then be able to come and win the tournament, it definitely is a very good springboard for heading over to Europe.”

Volvo Car Open

Is it Madison’s year? Fans will have to wait for the French Open and hope that a favorable draw propels her to the end of the second week.

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