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Monday, November 1, 2021

Wild Card Scott Ousts No. 3 Seed in WTA 125 Dow Tennis Classic First Round, Four Americans Advance to Main Draw

©Colette Lewis 2021--
Midland Michigan--

Seventeen-year-old Katrina Scott had only a few days' notice that she would be getting a wild card into the WTA 125 Dow Tennis Classic. But after losing in the second round of the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Austin last week, she made the trip back to the Midwest and made the most of her opportunity, defeating No. 3 seed Maddison Inglis of Australia 6-4, 6-4 in first round action today.

"I didn't know until Thursday afternoon, so we just decided to come here," said Scott, who is traveling with the USTA's Matt Cloer while her coach in Columbus adjusts to a new addition to his family. "It was a possibility, but we didn't know. I'm very grateful for the wild card and I'm excited."

Scott was down 4-2 in the first set, but got the break back, held for 5-4, then broke again for the set.

There were no breaks in the second set, and Scott really got her serve going, hitting five of her eight aces, including two in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. But in her next service game, at 4-all, Scott netted a couple of backhands and suddenly it was 15-40. Despite those previous two backhand errors, Scott didn't hesitate to go for a winner down the line at 30-40 and she made it, and after one more deuce, held to put the pressure back on Inglis.

"Obviously, I love my backhand," Scott said. "I have that trust in that shot. If I miss it, you know what, it's going to be the same thing as if I push it in and she hits a winner, so I'm going to go for it. I trusted myself and my training that it was going to go in when I needed it too. And I also served really well that game. It was a good hold. You never know how a set is going to go, and I could still be playing right now."

Inglis put herself in a precarious position with two errors to start the game, serving to stay in the match at 4-5. When Scott then cracked a forehand return winner, Inglis faced three match points, but she held steady in two long rallies to bring it back to 30-40, then put a volley away to climb back to deuce. Inglis hadn't made many errors in the second set until that last game, but a forehand long gave Scott her fourth match point, and she converted, forcing Inglis to send a backhand wide.

Scott, who is originally from California but has been training for two years at the Kass Tennis Academy in Columbus Ohio, has developed an affinity for indoor tennis.

"I had never played indoors up until I went to Columbus," Scott said. "I love it. Especially coming from Texas (last week's location), which was so windy, this is such a nice change. Everything's clean, the courts are fast and I like fast courts."

Scott will face the winner of Tuesday's first round match between Marcela Zacarias of Mexico and qualifier Catherine Harrison.

Harrison was one of four Americans to advance to the main draw with wins Monday. The former UCLA Bruin, the top seed in qualifying, defeated former Kentucky standout Aldila Sutjiadi of Indonesia, the No. 5 seed 7-6(5), 6-3.

Harrison failed to serve out the first set at 5-3, and then went down 5-1 in the ensuing tiebreaker, but she won the final six points with a combination of backhand winners and Sutjiadi errors.

"I was just making mistakes to get down 5-1, so I was like, all right, let's see what happens if you just put some balls in, make her earn it," Harrison said. "I was really happy with my mental toughness at the end of that set."

Harrison then went down 3-1 to start the second set, but again when on a run, taking the final five games of the match.

"I was like, this is your last tournament that counts toward Australia," said Harrison, who is currently 273 in the WTA rankings. "I had to just sprint to everything. You don't have control over the outcome, but just give it 100 percent, and I think that snapped me into a level of focus that I had let split in the tiebreak and the beginning of the second set. So I was really happy with that."

The 27-year-old from Tennessee, who plays both forehand and backhand with two hands, said she has been trying to add other facets to her game since she's been on the pro tour.

"I've changed it up a little bit, I've put some variety in my game," said Harrison, who now lives in Austin Texas. "I'm more patient than I used to be. Before it was see ball, try to hit winner. But that doesn't work in pro tennis. Everyone can hit the ball just as hard as you."

Ellie Douglas defeated No. 4 seed Katherine Sebov of Canada 6-2, 6-3 to reach the main draw; Dalayna Hewitt beat No. 2 seed Marie Benoit of Belgium 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 in her final qualifying match, and No. 3 seed Alexa Glatch advanced with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Sophie Chang.

In main draw matches today, top seed Madison Brengle, the 2018 Dow Tennis Classic champion, overcame a slow start to defeat Asia Muhammad 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. She will play Sachia Vickery in the second round, after Vickery beat wild card Ashlyn Krueger 6-4, 7-6(6).  Krueger, the 2021 USTA National 18s champion, trailed 4-0 in the second set, but she began to stay in the points, which were uniformly long, leaving both players frequently gasping for breath. Vickery had a match point serving at 5-4, but after the point had to be replayed due to an overruled line call, Vickery's backhand went wide and she lost the game when Krueger scorched a backhand winner on her first break point.

After Krueger was broken in the next game despite leading 40-0, Vickery had another chance to serve it out, and she had two match points in that game, before Krueger broke again. 

In the tiebreaker, Krueger made a handful of errors to go down 5-1 and then 6-2, but she brought it all the way back to 6-all, assisted by Vickery's netted forehands. But as was the case earlier in the set, Krueger couldn't capitalize once she fought back to even, and she found herself down an eighth match point when her volley went long. Vickery, who only showed minor irritation at all the chances she failed to convert, was rewarded for her patience when Krueger sent a backhand wide to end it.

In two other main draw matches on Stadium court, Danielle Lao(USC) defeated No. 8 seed Hailey Baptiste 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 and in the late match, Robin Anderson(UCLA) beat two-time DTC champion Tatiana Maria(2015, 2017) of Germany 7-5, 7-5.

The remaining ten first round matches are on Tuesday's schedule, beginning with three matches at 11 a.m.