The weeks following my tournament in El Paso were tough. I felt like I had played well in Sumter, but I didn’t feel too good about my game in Baton Rouge and El Paso. I had a week to train in Arizona and quickly got down to business. We made some changes to my backhand, which ended up not working out as well as I hoped. Nevertheless I was hopeful going up to California for the 50k tournaments in Stockton and Sacramento.
July 11-16 50k Stockton, CA
Due to the changes we made in my backhand, my wrist began hurting. I won my first round in qualifying pretty easily, but then lost to my doubles partner for the week, Gabriela Ce. I lost 6-2, 6-4 but had a few chances to go up in the second. In doubles we lost first round to Greet Minnen and Riko Sawayanagi 7-5, 6-4. It was tough hitting my volleys so I felt I wasn’t playing anywhere near my potential.
I took a couple days off to try to get my wrist better before the next tournament started. This is when I had a string of bad luck that brought me down a bit. I had signed up for the international WTA in Washington DC, but I was still on the alternate list. I signed in over the phone and ended up being the last person to not get into the draw. The same week there was also a premier WTA at Stanford, and since the sign in closed 3 hours later for that tournament I tried to sign in over the phone there as well. In order to sign up for a premier event you have to be top 375, (I was 415), so the only way I could get in was with an additional wild card if the draw didn’t fill up. The tournament director determines if additional wild cards are given. I was 40 spots away from being able to sign in and would’ve been the next person in, but the tournament director decided not to give the additional wild cards out. Instead she decided to have two byes in the qualifying draw, which was frustrating.
July 18-24 50k Sacramento, CA
I was left with the option of playing the 50k in Sacramento. I had asked for a main draw wild card, but was left as first alternate and of course didn’t get it. Instead I was the 4th seed in qualifying. I won my first round before falling to Maegan Manasse 6-3, 6-4. I had officially hit rock bottom. I wasn’t sure where to go from there and what the point was of playing. My wrist was hurting pretty badly and I wasn’t having fun out there.
I still had doubles to play with my good friend Jovana Jaksic. I knew I needed to be there for her as best as could and didn’t want to let her down. She really helped me at that point because I always have a blast playing with her. We had lots of laughs on court and played well together as usual. We won our first round 6-1, 6-3 and then got a walkover from our next opponents to get us into the semifinals. We lost an absolute heartbreaker 7-6(7), 6-7(4), 11-9. We gave it our all and fought off a ton of match points to even get it to the third. I don’t think I have ever played a closer doubles match.
Jovana and I were supposed to play together the following week in Lexington, but I needed a break. First off I needed to get my wrist better, but I also needed to get my mind right. We came to the decision that I needed to pull out of Lexington, and instead go back to Seattle for a week. I stayed in Sacramento an extra day to relax and explore the city before heading home.
Going back to my roots was exactly what I needed. I went and saw my old coach and he helped me with my game and life in general. I know I can always count on him to say the right thing, since he’s known me for a long time. Together we worked out a couple kinks and I changed my backhand closer to what it was in an attempt to get my wrist better. With each day in Seattle I felt better about my game. I was nervous going to my next tournament since I had no clue how it would go.
August 1-7 25k Fort Worth, TX
I was hesitant about playing the tournament, but decided to go when I moved into the main draw of singles. In addition Danielle Lao and I had the US Open playoffs coming up, and we wanted to get a couple warmup tournaments in beforehand to reconnect.
In the first round of singles, I played Tereza Mihalikova who made the finals of the Australian Open juniors earlier this year. I served great and did a good job moving forward to take advantage of the floaters and won 6-4, 6-3. In the next round I played fellow American, Ashley Weinhold. She’s a smart and crafty player so I was forced to make adjustments throughout the match. I started off coming forward, but by the end I was having to pick my moments to come in carefully. By the third set I felt that she was struggling physically because it was extremely hot and humid. I won 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. That put me into the quarters against Mayo Hibi. I lost 6-2, 6-3, but the score was deceiving. We had a lot of long games, but Mayo just didn’t miss that day. Every time I thought I had the point won, she would come up with ridiculous shots to get back into the point.
In doubles, Danielle and I began to find our rhythm again. Our break did wonders for us and our chemistry was back on point. First round we played Lorraine Guillermo and Catherine Harrison from the US. They started off well, but Danielle and I stayed steady and our tennis intuition helped us to a 6-4, 6-3 victory. In the second round we played Aussies Lizette Cabrera and Olivia Rogowska. We won 6-2, 6-4 to get us into the semis. Next we had Ashley Weinhold and Caitlin Whoriskey who had been winning a ton of titles all summer. They are a tough team with good volleys who come forward at every opportunity. We were on serve until we got the break to win the set 7-5. We used the momentum and ran away with the second 6-1 by playing smart points and choosing our times to strike at the net. We were both excited to be playing well and into the finals.
For our final match we played Chanel Simmonds and Connie Hsu who are both lefties. To be honest they weren’t a great match up for us with all of the lefty spin. I played terrible.. I must have used up all my good shots earlier in the tournament because I couldn’t make a volley throughout the first set. We lost 6-0 and I felt terrible for letting D down in the set. In the second we started piecing together a better game plan and gave ourselves a chance to get into the match, but we came up short losing the second 6-4. I let D down, but bad days happen and I at least knew she would never be upset with me for not playing well.
All in all it was a good week and nice to take a trophy home. I had an awesome housing family that took good care of me and supported me in all of my matches, and I also had the opportunity to meet some of the people who are involved in Inphorm. It was cool to finally put a face to the people who make my clothes and make sure I’m always well dressed.
August 7-14 25k Gatineau, Canada
The following day it was time to head to Canada for the next tournament. Gatineau is a cute city near Ottawa. Before the tournament started Danielle and I explored Ottawa, the capital of Canada. The parliament building was beautiful and looked like a castle.
In singles I drew Canadian Francoise Abanda who was the third seed. I started off slow in both sets going down 3-1, but I found a way to fight out each set. I won the first 6-4 and even fought off three set points in the second before taking it 7-6. I was excited to have taken out one of the favorites in the tournament. Everyone was cheering for her, but when I would hit a good shot it would be silent so it felt especially good to win. The next round I faced a qualifier who I beat 6-0, 6-2. That put me into the quarterfinals where I played Ellie Halbauer. It ended up raining most of the day of the quarterfinals, so it was late by the time I went on. We played the first set as it was getting dark before stopping to wait for a court with better lights to finish. I lost the set 6-3. As we were starting the second set it started pouring so then the match got cancelled for the night. The next day the weather didn’t improve so we moved inside. I took an early lead in the second, but wasn’t able to hold onto it. I ended up losing the second 6-3.
In doubles, Danielle and I won our first round 6-4, 6-4. We ended up not playing the second round because D had hurt her foot in singles and was forced to retire. It was a tough decision for her, but she told me that she didn’t think she could play doubles. I agreed that the playoffs were more important for her to be ready for, so she flew home to get some much needed recovery.
After I finished in Canada I had to fly to Chicago for a day to do a Korean visa since I had to do it in person. As it turns out Monday, August 15th was a holiday so I was forced to stay one more day in order to do it for my trip after the US Open. Going to play tournaments in Asia takes a lot of planning since it takes a while to get the visas.
With my passport submitted it was time to focus on the playoffs.