Tennis Tuesday: Stephens, Petkovic and Bertens Eye Strong Starts
By: Nick McCarvel
Dreams on Tennis Tuesday come in many different forms, and on this day that rings very true at the Volvo Car Open, as Sloane Stephens leads a whole crop of dreamers in their opening matches at this year’s event.
While Stephens dreams of a second title on Daniel Island, so, too, does fan favorite Andrea Petkovic, the German set to play first on Volvo Car Stadium against American Varvara Lepchenko.
The dream is also the same for Kiki Bertens, the defending champion and No. 2 seed who is looking to re-capture the glory she found on this very court a year ago.
But it’s a new dream of sorts for teenage sensations Amanda Anisimova and Emma Navarro, both 17 and both looking to make a big splash on the WTA. Much like Danielle Collins, who at 25, has had a breakout last 12 months, including the semifinals of the Australian Open in January, but is still searching for her first big title.
Anisimova, like Collins, made a deep run in Melbourne, advancing to the fourth round of the AO and reaching a career-high ranking of No. 59 in the world.
While she’ll look to channel that confidence onto the green clay of Charleston this week, it’s Navarro, who is a Mount Pleasant resident and attends Ashley Hall, who is flying sky-high: She won the prestigious Easter Bowl junior event this past weekend in Southern California, and earned her wild card into the event last summer when she won the USTA Clay Court National Championships at the Family Circle Tennis Center.
Navarro will take on Laura Siegemund in the first evening match Tuesday night, the crafty German a former semifinalist here in 2017.
Bertens will follow that clash, taking on qualifier Martina Trevisan.
After Petkovic-Lepchenko open the day, it’s Anisimova who will take on No. 16 seed Petra Martic. That match is to be followed by Stephens taking on Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain.
Collins closes out the day session inside Stadium, meeting fellow American Madison Brengle.
Elsewhere around the grounds, No. 15 seed Maria Sakkari will take on Conny Perrin in the third match on Althea Gibson Club Court, the hard-hitting Greek 23-year-old looking to continue her climb up the rankings.
Kaia Kanepi is another name to watch, second on Club Court, meeting Veronika Kudermetova of Russia.
Doubles features aplenty on Tuesday, with the all-American duo of Kaitlyn Christian and Abigail Spears taking on Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Alicja Rosolska in the last match on Club Court.
American Lauren Davis opens play on Court 3 against Ysaline Bonaventure, while the top seeds in doubles, Nichole Melichar of the U.S. and Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic play later on that court.