Charleston-based Pegula Leads Qualifiers into Main Draw
Last Updated: 4/6/2015 11:15 AM ET
By: Nick McCarvel
Two years after she won her first WTA main draw matches at the Volvo Car Open, Jessica Pegula is back in the thick of things in 2015.
The 21-year-old American, who moved her training base to Charleston last year while battling prolonged injuries, was one of eight women to qualify for the main draw on Sunday. She won her second-round qualifying match, a 7-6(5), 6-3 victory over Lesley Kerkhove of the Netherlands. Pegula will face American wild card Sachia Vickery in the first round.
Veteran Kateryna Bondarenko was also a winner on Sunday, as well as youngsters Sara Sorribes Tormo, Danka Kovinic and Laura Siegemund. Kristina Kucova of Slovakia stopped the run of American Maria Sanchez while Lucie Hradecka and Sesil Karatantcheva were victorious, as well.
The eight qualifiers were slotted into the 56-player draw, which begins in full on Monday. Pegula had a magical run on Daniel Island in 2013, when as a qualifier she made the third round of the main draw, eventually bowing out to former champion Jelena Jankovic. The New York native now bases herself in Charleston and works with the MW Tennis Academy at the Family Circle Tennis Center.
Karatantcheva has the toughest draw of any of the qualifiers, taking on No. 9 seed Samantha Stosur, the 2010 Cup champion. Americans Alison Riske and Christina McHale also play qualifiers to open their campaigns, facing Bondarenko and Kovinic, respectively.
Sorribes Tormo will meet No. 14 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to start, while Hradecka gets Zarina Diyas, seeded 11th. Irina-Camelia Begu, the No. 13 seed, will meet qualifier Siegemund.
Last year as a qualifier, 17-year-old Belinda Bencic (seeded No. 12 this year), marched all the way to the semifinals, the best performance for a qualifier at the Cup since the tournament moved to Charleston in 2001.