Vania King has now done what many career tennis professionals fail to do--win a tour title. There have been many, many stories about her victory in Thailand the past two days, what with the general pessimism about women's tennis in the U.S., and the fact that she's the first 17-year-old from the U.S. to win a title since Serena Williams (although Serena's, the U.S. Open, was a bit more impressive than a Tier III in Bangkok with no Russians). But it's still a great result, and coming from a set down in the final against local favorite and former WTA Top Twenty player Tamarine Tanasugarn demonstrates serious mental fortitude. She and partner Jelena Kostanic also won the doubles, their second straight title in three consecutive finals' appearances.
This story about King's win features some interesting quotes, and I found this one particularly intriguing:
"I was never really a good junior player. Last year no one expected me to win a match, or to qualify [at the US Open, where she reached second round as qualifier].
"But you just can't let yourself be blown away by people who treat you badly," said the American, who hopes to be in the top 20 in the next two years.
King may not have been a great junior, but she was undeniably a very good one. She won two Grade 1s and reached the Orange Bowl quarterfinals in singles and her doubles record, which includes a runnerup finish with Alexa Glatch in last year's U.S. Open Juniors, was outstanding.
Who has treated her badly? That would be the second question I'd ask, if I run into her somewhere. The first? When did you know the WTA was a realistic goal and not the delusions of a mediocre junior?
Except for a couple of games of doubles at this year's US Open, when partner Amy Frazier couldn't make a serve or a return, I haven't seen King play since she made her move up the WTA rankings. I doubt even with this shot of confidence that she could dent players like Clijsters or Henin-Hardenne, both of whom annihilated her this summer. But as fast and as far as she's come in the past year, it would be foolish to think she's done improving at age 17.
Those of you wondering what happened in Tulsa, well, join the club. The ITF told me this morning they were chasing down results, that there had been computer "issues".
Here's what I do know, thanks to Faye in London:
Boys singles: Winner Mateusz Kecki and runner up Kellen Damico ( 7-5 / 6-3 )
Boys Doubles: Winners Kellen Damico & Johnny Hamui and runners up Jarmere Jenkins & Austin Krajicek (2-6 / 7-5 / 6-2 )
Girls singles: Winner Courtney Clayton and runner up Reka Zsilinszka (1-6 / 6 - 4 / 6 - 1)
Girls doubles: Winners Gabriela Paz & Reka Zsilinszka and runner up Madison Brengle & Kimberly Couts( 3-6 / 7-5 / 6-4 )
Monday, October 16, 2006