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Carter Wins Doubles, Brady Surprises in Lexington

August 11, 2020 08:04 AM

With four Grand Slam winners with 33 titles, weekend matches at the inaugural Top Seed Open, presented by Bluegrass Orthopaedics, at the Top Seed Tennis Club outside Lexington, KY, were definitely going to be a star-studded events. 

Just like 2020 has proved to be unpredictable, the list of the winner and three semifinalists proved to be downright shocking. The singles titlist was American Jennifer Brady, who won her first WTA title by beating Switzland's Jil Teichmann. The weekend victims were players with Southern roots; Teichmann downed Charleston, SC's Shelby Rogers and Brady eliminated Coco Gauff, who played out of Atlanta for many years.

Tennessee native Hayley Carter (pictured on the left in above photo) and Brazil's Luisa Stefani, the fourth seeds, won the doubles crown over unseeded Marie Bouzkova and Teichmann.

The sting of accomplished players who didn't reach the weekend is shocking: No. 9 Serena Williams (winner of 23 majors), No. 11 Aryna Sabalenka, No. 14 Johanna Konta, and four in the top 30s including 2017 US Open champ Sloane Stephens. Former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka lost to former No. 1 Venus Williams, who lost to her sister.

Shelby Rogers. Photos by Haley Wilson/Top Seed Tennis Club

Shelby Rogers had one of the biggest wins of her career at Lexington, eliminating the No. 1 seed and arguably the greatest woman player of all time Serena Williams.

Rogers,of Charleston, SC, turned around the match after a slow start, downing Williams 1-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) in the quarters of the inaugural Top Seed Open, presented by Bluegrass Orthopaedics, at the Top Seed Tennis Club outside Lexington, KY. 

The victory was Rogers' third against a top-10 player. The loss was Williams' first to a player ranked outside the Top 100 since the first round of 2012 French Open.

Coco Gauff, 16, fought back after dropping the first set, downing Ons Jabeur of Tunsia 4-6. 6-4, 6-1 in her quarterfinal match. Gauff, who won the Georgia Girls' championship at the age of 12, will take on Swiss Jil Teichmann in Saturday's semifinal.

In a doubles semifinal,Tennessee native Hayley Carter and Brazil's Luisa Stefani prevailed over Russians Anna Blinkova/Vera Zvonareva. Zvonareva 7-5, 6-1. 

Serena Williams called her defeat of sister Venus one of the top five matches they have played. Strange that their 31st match was contested on a small court surrounded by car traffic in a tournament that wasn't a reality until five weeks ago. 

Serena escaped another first-set loss to comeback for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory in the second round of the Top Seed Open, presented by Bluegrass Orthopaedics, at the Top Seed Tennis Club outside Lexington, KY. Considering the long layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic and playing without the usual cheering crowds, the level of play was startling strong and competitive.

Shelby Rogers, of Charleston, SC, defeated Leylah Fernandez 6-2, 7-5 to set up a quarterfinal clash against top-seeded Serena. Their match is scheduled to be the second on Center Court and will start Friday not before 12:30 p.m. EDT. Rogers is pictured above in photo by Haley Wilson.

Atlanta product Coco Gauff will take Center Court in the last scheduled match of Friday versus Tunsia's Ons Jabeur.

The first match of Court 2 will include Tennessee native Hayley Carter and Brazil's Luisa Stefani against a pair of Russians, Anna Blinkova/Vera Zvonareva. Zvonareva is in the midst of a resurgence. She was the No. 9 singles player in the world 15 years ago and reached the finals of the 2010 US Open and Wimbledon.

Tennis' top sister act set for Lexington after Serena and Venus Williams won their first-round matches on Tuesday at the Inaugural Top Seed Open, presented by Bluegrass Orthopaedics, at the Top Seed Tennis Club outside Lexington, KY. They will face off in the second round on Thursday. All eyes in the tennis world will be on the match, scheduled to start not before 12:30 p.m. EDT. (Photo by Katelyn Conn)

With another important victory in her skyrocketing career, Coco Gauff downed second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-4 on Wednesday.The Atlanta product showed determination and grit prevailing in the 2-hour, 48-minute match. Gauff had a sloppy day with 10 double faults but Sabalenka was even more erratic with 14 doubles.

Thursday's lineup includes Shelby Rogers, of Charleston, SC, facing off against Leylah Fernandez in the last match on Center Court. Hayley Carter, who was born in Chattanooga, TN. will be playing doubles with Luisa Stefani against the formidable duo of Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Sloane Stephens.

In Tuesday's most anticipated duel of former No. 1 players, Venus easily downed Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-2.

Serena had a more demanding challenge. After losing the first set to American Bernarda Pera 6-4, the 23-time Grand Slam champion was down a break late in the second set. Serena found her stride and took the last two sets 6-4, 6-1.

Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens was eliminated by 17-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez 6-3, 6-3.

Two players with Southern connections advanced. Charleston, SC's Shelby Rogers was pushed into a final set but defeated Misaki Doi 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. Coco Gauff, who played much of her junior career while living in Atlanta, prevailed in two close set versus American Caroline Dolehide 7-5, 7-5.

Wednesday's top matches pit Gauff against second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka and the sixth-seeded Magda Linette of Poland against American Jennifer Brady.

Carter Wins Faceoff Against Fellow Tennessean Harrison

Hayley Carter, who was born in Chattanooga, and Luisa Stefani of Brazil, easily eliminated Quinn Gleason/Catherine Harrison 6-0, 6-2 in first-round action on Monday at the Inaugural Top Seed Open, presented by Bluegrass Orthopaedics, at the Top Seed Tennis Club outside Lexington, KY, August 10-17. Carter was an All-American at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and is pictured above (photo: Bill Kallenberg). Harrison, who as born in Memphis and grew up in Germantown, was a four-time All-American at UCLA.

Tuesday's lineup calls for a blockbuster day with four Grand Slam winners in action. Top billing goes to the match-up between former No. 1s Venus Williams and Victoria Azarenka. Also taking to the courts are one of the game's greats - Serena Williams - versus Bernarda Pera. Sloane Stephens will play young Canadian standout Leylah Fernandez. Charleston, SC's Shelby Rogers will play Misaki Doi and Atlanta-bred Coco Gauff will face American qualifier Caroline Dolehide. 

Carter, Harrison Set for Monday match

Two players with Tennessee roots are in action at the Top Seed Open, presented by Bluegrass Orthopaedics.

Hayley Carter, who was born in Chattanooga and spent much of her time training in Hilton Head Island, SC, will be in action. Carter, who is at her career high of No. 43 in doubles, is teamed up with Luisa Stefani of Brazil. The team is the fourth seed and won last year's Tashkent title. Carter was an All-American at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Carter/Stefani will take on Quinn Gleason/Catherine Harrison. Harrison, who as born in Memphis and grew up in Germantown, was a four-time All-American at UCLA.

Charleston, SC's Shelby Rogers is the fifth seed in singles and will face Misaki Doi in the first round. Coco Gauff, who lived in Atlanta for many years, will be competing in singles and doubles.

The two featured matches today are No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka vs. American Madison Brengle and No. 3 seed Johanna Konta vs. Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic. Serena Williams is the top seed.

WTA International Event Marks the Return of Women's Professional Tennis After a Five-Month Hiatus due to the Global COVID-19 Pandemic

Inaugural Top Seed Open to be Held at the Top Seed Tennis Club outside Lexington, Kentucky, August 10-17

Top Players Committed to Play
Serena Williams
Venus Williams
Sloane Stephens
Victoria Azarenka
Coco Gauff
Aryna Sabalenka
Amanda Anisimova

Octagon and the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) today announced the return to professional women's tennis in the U.S., with the staging of a new tournament, the Top Seed Open, presented by Bluegrass Orthopaedics. The inaugural tournament will join the WTA Tour schedule and be held at the Top Seed Tennis Club, August 10-17, in Lexington, KY. However, the club is located in Nicholasville, KY.

The Top Seed Open will be the first WTA tournament in the U.S., following a five-month hiatus due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament will play host to the world's best professional tennis players and feature a diverse mix of singles and doubles action throughout the course of the week, offering more than $225,000 in prize money to players.

To ensure the health and safety of players, staff, and the local community, the tournament organizers, including tournament director, Jonathan Sanders, are working with the Bluegrass Orthopaedics Medical facility & Labtox Labs to follow the strict WTA-developed health and safety protocols.

"We are very pleased to bring this tournament to Lexington as part of the re-opening of live sports this summer," said Phil de Picciotto, Octagon Founder and President. "We thank the WTA Tour and Top Seed for their unwavering collaboration, support and encouragement in working through the many unique complexities of these times."

"The WTA looks forward to welcoming our athletes to the Top Seed Open in Lexington next month," said Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO. "We are all eager for the WTA Tour's return, and we are pleased with the tournament's commitment to hosting a WTA event and providing a safe and welcoming experience for all."

"I am truly excited to host the return to WTA tennis at Top Seed Club in Kentucky," said Sanders. "At Top Seed, we are committed to the growth of the game at every level from grass roots to pro tennis, and so when I was given the opportunity to bring a WTA International to Lexington, I jumped at it."

A newly constructed state-of-the-art facility, Top Seed Tennis Club is currently home to tennis tournaments at all levels. The grounds include 21 total DecoTurf II courts (twelve indoor, nine outdoor), a 4,000 sq. ft. gym and yoga studio, player lounges and fully equipped locker rooms, a public full-service bar and lounge, among other amenities.