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First WTA Wins!!!

After the US Open it took me a couple days to come down from my high. Playing in the Open is what you dream about as a kid, and when it is your reality it takes a while to get used to it. I had a few days to train in Michigan before heading up to Quebec City to play in the WTA there. I played the tournament last year and it is an amazing city, so I was really looking forward to going again. It has a very European feel and everyone speaks french there since it is in the French part of Canada. I love walking down the cobblestone streets and checking out all of the beautiful architecture.

Quebec City Sept 10-18

I got there early to get adjusted to the very quick indoor carpet conditions. The ball skids and doesn’t bounce very high so it takes some getting used to. The first couple practices were tough because I was late on everything, but by the time singles sign in came around I was feeling good. Unfortunately the cut was much stronger than in the previous year, so I was the first alternate. I was very upset since I was playing well. What made it worse was the Bethanie Mattek-Sands pulled out after winning the US Open leaving a lucky loser spot in the main draw. I had a feeling she would pull out after the tournament had already started. I was sad, but it was out of my control. Instead I just trained and worked out until the doubles started.

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I spent some time in the city and took in the grandness of the Chateau Frontinac, which is the most photographed hotel in the world.

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One of the fans at the tournament drew pictures of all the pros, and I was fortunate to have him draw me as well. He is extremely talented.

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After the US Open I was excited to get back on court to play doubles with Danielle Lao again. We were playing well together so I felt we had a good shot to do well in the tournament. On Tuesday we finally had our first round match. We drew the fourth seeds Ysaline Bonaventure and Maria Sanchez. They are both big hitters so we knew it was going to be tough on those quick courts. In addition Bonaventure has a lot of lefty spin especially on her serve. We were the sixth and final match on court 1, and since matches went long we didn’t go on until around 9 pm. It was a very long day of sitting around and waiting. We started off a bit slow and lost the first set 6-3. In the second set, we started playing better and figured out the right strategy for them. I charged the net at every opportunity and D started junking them a bit. We hustled for every ball to put ourselves in a position to take the second, but losing a couple of tough deuce points hurt us. We lost the second set 7-6(3). I was upset by the loss but there was no time to sulk.

Losing made things complicated especially since it was 10:45 pm by the time we finished. I was accepted into the qualifying draw of the WTA in Seoul, South Korea, which was set to start on Saturday. It sucks to lose, but if we had won doubles I would not have been able to play singles in Seoul. A little bittersweet. Immediately following the match I had to get my flight, ride, and prize money sorted out before I could even head back to the hotel. I wanted to get to Seoul as soon as possible, so I booked a 6 am flight for the next morning. That meant that I had to be picked up for the airport at 4 am. Let’s just say it was a very long night because by the time I got everything situated, ate and packed, it was 2 am.

Seoul, South Korea Sept 17-25

My travel day was extremely long since I flew from Quebec City to Montreal to Vancouver to Seoul. I was fortunate to have a whole row of seats on the flight to Seoul so I could lay down and get some sleep. By the time I got to Seoul it was 2 pm on Thursday and I had been flying for 19 hours. Then it was another hour and a half bus ride to the hotel. I finally got to the hotel around 5 pm and I was relieved that I made it.

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Seoul is such a wonderful city with a lot to see and do. The tournament was held at the Olympic Tennis Center that was built for the 1988 Olympics so that was pretty cool. I was a bit tired from all the travel but for the most part I was ready for the tournament.
First up I played a Korean wild card named Yeong Won Jeong. I didn’t know anything about her, so I went into the match trying to feel her out. I served well and took her out 6-1, 6-2 without much difficulty. In the second round I played Russian Ksenia Lykina. I knew her from previous tournaments so I was prepared for her to hit hard and flat. I went down 3-0 right off the bat before coming back and taking the set 7-6(5). I didn’t play quite as aggressive in the second set and lost 6-4. The third set was close throughout, but I managed to get the break to go up 5-4 and serve out the match. I was pretty pumped with how I was playing, and with two rounds down, I only had one to go to qualify into the main draw.

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In my final match I played Arantxa Rus from the Netherlands. I started off a little slow and went down 3-0. She is a tall lefty and big hitter. I tried to change it up and get her off balance but I ended up losing the first 6-4. In the second set I went for broke and went after my shots more. I serve and volleyed a lot more and was always in the match. I eventually fell 6-4.

The following day I still had doubles with Emily Webley-Smith from England. She’s a good doubles player who plays doubles full time on tour, so I thought we would make a good team. We drew the number one seed, Eri Hozumi from Japan and Oksana Kalashnikova from Georgia. I knew they would be a tough team since Oksana is a big, tall lefty and Eri is a ninja up at the net. With no ad scoring, anything can happen. However, it wasn’t our day and we lost 6-4, 6-2. We had a bunch of chances but we lost pretty much every deuce game, which could’ve made a big difference.

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I was disappointed that I lost, but I was happy to get my first ever WTA wins! My two wins in qualifying ended up moving me to 365 in the world in singles, which is my new career high. It’s exciting to be moving up in the rankings and I still feel I have a lot of room to grow. I spent the next few days training in Seoul and exploring the city during my downtime.

I went to an active Buddhist temple, Gyeongbokgung Palace, and the North Seoul Tower. It was nice to experience the culture and learn about the history of Seoul.

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