25K Women's Champion Gets Direct Accept Wild Card into WTA 250 ATX Open - February 24-March 3, 2024

Thursday’s Recap: Cold-Hearted Matches

Ellie Douglas

Ellie Douglas knocked out the top remaining seed, No. 3 Grace Min by 6-4, 6-0 on Thursday at the H-E-B Women’s Pro Open. Douglas dominated the second set, using a drop shot and lob combo to break for a 5-0 lead at the Texas Tennis Center, where the morning weather was cool and misty.

“This is my last tournament of the year, so I want to finish strong,” said 23-year-old Douglas, pictured above. “I’ve been injured a while, so I’m glad to have this opportunity and make the most of it.” 

Amid the fluctuating weather, fourth-seeded Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva eased past Texas A&M player Mary Stoiana, 6-4, 6-0. Jimenez Kasintseva, now the highest remaining seed, has lost only five games in two matches going into the quarterfinals.  

“I was more nervous today – the conditions were difficult and certainly different than the past days,” Jimenez Kasintseva said. “I tried to keep consistent, and I was playing better than I started at the end.”  

Sixth-seeded Hanna Chang rallied to defeat Stefani Webb, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, to be the only other seed to reach the quarterfinals.  Webb won four consecutive games to win the first set, but Chang regained her momentum to advance. 

Martina Okalova ousted last year’s tournament finalist, Clervie Ngounoue, 6-2, 6-1. Okalova, a 26-year-old Slovak, played consistently throughout. She said she didn’t mind playing in the cool, misty conditions in the morning. 

“I think it was a little bit better honestly than a last couple of days because I just came back from Canada,” she said. So the weather is a little bit more similar than it was there, and it was kind of hot the last couple of days so it wasn’t that big of a factor for me.”  

Madison Sieg also scored an easy 6-4, 6-2 victory over Ava Markham, who was unable to stage a comeback as she had done earlier in the tournament. Sieg wasn’t troubled by the slower court conditions because of the weather.

“I didn’t realize until I got out here,” she said. “I think I liked it and I just had to adjust and that’s what happened sometimes.”

In Friday’s quarterfinals, she will face Catherine Harris, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over Mao Mushika. It was a straights-set win, but Harris scolded herself throughout the match.

“I’m always like that,” Harris said. “I could be winning super easy. I’m too hard on myself. But to her credit, she was frustrating me. Like, she would take the ball so early and redirect it. The defense was so good. Her anticipation was crazy. I was just like, ‘I cannot hit a winner on this girl.’ ”

Ashley Lahey defeated University of Texas player Nicole Rivkin, 6-3, 6-4. Lahey next faces Chloe Beck, a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 winner over Ayumi Miyamoto. Beck and Miyamoto each sliced and diced their way throughout the match.

Oh, my gosh, she has unbelievable slices and drop shots,” Beck said. “And I’m not used to playing girls who do that. Because usually, that’s what I do. And I make people uncomfortable doing that. So I kind of felt like I was playing myself sometimes. So she was great with that and it made it difficult to get the win, but I’m glad I made it through.”

Beck eventually took control.

“I think at the end of the day, it came down to who was more aggressive,” she said. And I think in the third set, I stepped it up. I tried to be the one attacking first and getting into the net and using my strengths. So I think that helped me pull out the third set.” 

Article and photograph by Bevo Video Productions, a division of Texas Student Media at UT-Austin’s Moody College of Communication. 

Check out the bios of the H-E-B Women’s Pro Open players.