For many of the women who qualified for the H-E-B Women’s Pro Tennis Open main draw on Tuesday, the difference between winning and losing was literally a point or two. Five of the eight qualifying matches ended with 10-point championship tiebreaks.
Kylie Collins, a 2021 semifinalist and seeded second in qualifying, won by 6-1, 3-6 (11) when Kelly Williford (USA) double-faulted into the net on match point. Collins, now an LSU Tiger, won two NCAA team titles here at the University of Texas.
Vanda Vargova, a Baylor freshman from Slovakia, rallied from a set down and 0-4 in the second to defeat Alicia Herrero Linana of Spain, 3-6, 6-4 (10).
Three qualifiers won in less dramatic tiebreaks. Houston-native Rhiann Newborn defeated Anita Sahdiieva (Ukraine), 6-3, 4-6, (5). Jiangxue Han (China) rallied past Sara Daavettila (USA), 4-6, 7-5 (6). Tatum Evans (USA) survived, 6-2, 7-6 (5), over Kimmi Hance. Charlotte Chavatipon, Eryn Cayetano and Jante Tilbuerger advanced with straight-set wins.
In main draw matches, Jana Kolodynska won her first-round match, 6-2, 6-2, over Nicole Rivkin, a German playing in her first year for the Longhorn tennis team. But another UT freshman, Nicole Khirin, who plays for Israel, defeated Eva Guererro Alvarez of Spain, 6-4, 5-7, 6-1, in the final match of the night. Khirin next faces Samantha Crawford, the 2012 U.S. girls champion who upset seventh-seeded Ana Sofia Sanchez (MEX), 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
Before the evening session, Ashley Lahey was presented with the Women’s Catalyst Award, which was sponsored by Google, Austin Community Foundation’s Women’s Fund and the DropShot Series. Then the top-seeded doubles team of Fernanda Contreras Gomez and Catherine Harrison played a perfect final-set tiebreak as they rallied past Rasheeda McAdoo and Ayaka Okuno, 5-7, 7-6 (5) (0). Contreras Gomez was triumphant despite being jet-flagged from reaching the second round of a top event in Tokyo last week.
Liv Hovde, the 2022 Wimbledon girls champion, and Clervie Ngounoue, a 2022 Australian Open winner in junior girls doubles, teamed up to win their main-draw doubles match, 6-3, 6-0, over Alicia Herrero Linana (Spain) and Melany Solange Krywoj (ARG).
Story Credit: Ignacio Perez and Kathleen McElroy
Photo Credit: Kayla Thompson, UT Moody