TOP SEED DART LEADS WAY IN VOLVO CAR OPEN QUALIFYING

TOP SEED DART LEADS WAY IN VOLVO CAR OPEN QUALIFYING

AMERICANS DOLEHIDE, MIN, KIICK, PARKS, MUHAMMAD, OSUIGWE, KRAWCZYK ADVANCE ON DAY 1 IN CHARLESTON

The clay-court campaign is officially here.

Seven of the top eight seeds advanced on Saturday as the qualifying rounds got underway at the 2021 Volvo Car Open in Charleston, S.C.

Top seed Harriet Dart of Great Britain, who last month upended countrywoman Heather Watson en route to the Round of 16 of the WTA 250 in Monterrey, was a 6-1, 6-2 winner over American wildcard Rachel Gailis. Ranked No. 148, Dart surrendered just four points on her first serve (23 for 27) in the efficient 52-minute effort.

No. 2 seed Kristina Kucova of Slovakia, who pushed World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty to three sets at the Miami Open only days ago, was trailing American Desirae Krawczyk by a set when she retired due to injury. No. 3 seed Xinyu Wang of China overcame a slow start to defeat former University of Georgia standout and LTP Mount Pleasant player Kennedy Shaffer in just under two hours, 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-0.

Kateryna Bondarenko, a US Open quarterfinalist in 2009, flashed her former Top-30 stuff in turning back an inspired challenge from former UCLA star Catherine Harrison. The 16th seed from Ukraine advanced via a 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 win.

Caroline Dolehide looks to be playing the kind of tennis that in 2018 landed her in the third round at Indian Wells, where she stunned Shelby Rogers and Dominika Cibulkova. On Saturday at the LTP Daniel Island Tennis Center, the 5th-seeded American defeated Swede Mirjam Bjorklund in convincing fashion, 6-4, 6-3.

Former US Open girls’ singles titlist (2011) Grace Min, the 14th seed, prevailed in an all-American matchup with Katerina Stewart, 6-2, 6-1, on Althea Gibson Court, while 2017 Roland Garros girls’ champ Whitney Osuigwe of the U.S., the No. 6 seed, took out Chile’s Alexa Guarachi, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

Russia’s Natalia Vikhlyantseva needed only 42 minutes to blank Georgian wildcard Oksana Kalashnikova, 6-0, 6-0. No. 13 seed Gabriela Talaba of Romania roared back from a set down to dispatch Mexico’s Fernanda Contreras Gomez, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.

American Allie Kick, the 10th seed, wasted little time asserting herself against Czech Lucie Hradecka, winning 6-0, 6-1 in 58 minutes. No. 12 seeded American Asia Muhammad dismissed compatriot Jamie Loeb, 6-4, 6-2.

Elsewhere, American Alycia Parks powered past 15th seed Ellen Perez of Australia, 6-2, 6-4; Canada’s Katherine Sebov was a surprise 6-2, 6-3 winner over No. 9 seed Varvara Flink of Russia; No. 7 seed Magdalena Frech edged American Katerina Scott, 7-6(3), 6-3; No. 8 seed Kurumi Nara of Japan topped American wildcard Whitley Pate, 6-3, 6-2; and No. 11 seed Storm Sanders of Australia defeated Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski, 6-3, 6-3.