Every Monday, The Tennis Island will be recapping the week that was on the ITF Circuit – the oft-ignored “minor leagues” of tennis.
On Wednesdays We Wear Reebok
Nicole Vaidisova. How do I even begin to describe Nicole Vaidisova?
The Czech prodigy, who went from top 10 at 17 to retired at 20 to divorcee at 25, made her long-awaited return to professional tennis last week at the $75,000 ColemanVision Tennis Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Comeback rumors swirled for years ever since the Czech retired officially in 2010 citing a lack of interest in tennis. Her first match in nearly five years came against Sesil Karatantcheva, whom Vaidisova trained with at the Bollettieri Academy. The two were the brightest of the WTA’s rising stars nearly a decade ago, and no one could have predicted the paths their careers have taken since.
At times, it seemed like the childhood friends were back on the courts of Bradenton; the two traded groundstrokes with reckless abandon, as Vaidisova’s attack provided the perfect compliment to Karatantcheva’s dogged defense. In the end, the Czech held nine of her 10 service games and broke serve three times en route to a 6-3, 6-4 win. It was far from its vintage best, but the Vaidisova forehand was still firing.
Vaidisova’s stay in New Mexico was short-lived, as she fell to No. 3 seed Johanna Konta in the second round, 1-6, 6-1, 6-4. Her comeback continued this week at the $50,000 Red Rock Pro Open in Las Vegas, which was once not-so-affectionately referred to as the Party Rock Open.
We often joke about the US Open’s seemingly endless weather delays, but this year’s tournament was interrupted by rain just once. Halfway around the world, things were a whole lot worse. At the $25,000 event in Telavi, Georgia, only one round was completed before rain washed out play on Thursday, Friday AND Saturday.
Skies cleared Sunday to fit in the second round, but the remaining players were forced to play not one, or two, but THREE matches on Monday in a shortened format to end the event. Rather than completing three tiebreaks sets, the final set of each match was decided in a match tiebreak. 17-year-old wildcard Darya Kasatkina, the junior Roland Garros champion out of Russia, was the last woman standing amongst the carnage, defeating 18-year-old qualifier Jasmine Paolini of Italy to claim her second career title.
Oh, and the doubles tournament?
With six walkovers in a 16-team draw, they…gave up on it.
“Look ma, no hands!”
Jarmere Jenkins might’ve won this semifinal match, and later the title, at last week’s Futures event in Costa Mesa, Calif., but he didn’t stick this landing. Shoutout to the quick-thinking USTA umpire who came to his aid, because this is definitely *not* something they cover in class.