Kenin, Chirico Headline Field at First Central Coast Pro Open

Young Americans Sonya Kenin and Louisa Chirico will headline a strong field of up-and-coming professional women’s tennis players when the first annual Central Coast Pro Tennis Open takes place at Templeton Tennis Ranch Sept. 24-Oct. 1.

The Central Coast Pro Tennis Open, a USTA women’s $60,000 Pro Circuit event, gives young promising WTA Tour players a chance to earn valuable ranking points. Players ranked from No. 97 to No. 225 will compete in a 32-player singles main draw, and a 16-team doubles event will also be contested.

Kenin, 18, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., recently turned heads at the US Open after beating Americans Lauren Davis and Sachia Vickery to advance to the third round. Playing a night match on Arthur Ashe Stadium, Kenin fell to Maria Sharapova. She is ranked No. 112 in the world and expected to be seeded No. 2 at Templeton.

Currently ranked just outside the world top 150, Chirico has won three ITF singles and two doubles titles during her career. The 21-year-old from Morristown, N.J., is coached by the USTA’s Jay Gooding. Last October, Chirico reached career-high No. 58 world rankings.

The top-seeded player is expected to be Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck (No. 98). She will likely be followed in the seedings by Kenin, Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic (No. 106), Francoise Abanda (No. 122), and Great Britain’s Naomi Broady (No. 135).

Vickery, and former NCAA singles champions Jamie Loeb (Univ. of North Carolina, 2015) are also entered in the main draw, as are former college standouts Irina Falconi (Georgia Tech) and Danielle Lao (USC).

Another player to watch is 22-year-old Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia. Currently ranked No. 164 in the world, Schmiedlova has won 11 ITF singles and two WTA singles titles during her career. She reached a career-high singles ranking of No. 26 in the world in 2015, but has been beset by injuries.

In qualifying, Southern California juniors Ashley Kratzer and Claire Liu will compete. Newport Beach’s Kratzer won the USTA Hardcourt 18s Nationals in San Diego and played in the main draw of the US Open. Liu, from Thousand Oaks, won the Junior Girls’ Wimbledon title.

“This elite group of athletes, fresh off the courts at Arthur Ashe stadium at the US Open, are coming to Templeton Tennis Ranch to show us what world class talent looks like, up close and personal,” Templeton Tennis Ranch Director of Tennis Scott Cleere said. “The Central Coast Pro Tennis Open will alter the course of tennis in our area. We are so excited to be hosting this event and bringing this experience to tennis players, fans and our local communities. If you appreciate the finer things in life, you must attend. It will not disappoint.”

A Wild Card Tournament will be contested this weekend with the singles winner receiving a wild card into the qualifying tournament, and the doubles winner a wild card into the main draw.

Qualifying begins Sunday, the 24th, and concludes on Tuesday, when main draw play also begins. Sunday will feature a free Kids Play Day starting at 5 p.m. A Pro-Am will take place Tuesday with Breast Cancer Awareness Day and a BBQ on Friday, the 29th, with the Doubles semi-finals matches beginning at 6 p.m.  The doubles final will be Sunday, Oct. 1, at 1 p.m., followed by the singles final. In total 74 matches will be played over eight days.

Admission to watch the exciting pro tennis is free during the week’s early rounds. On Friday night, Saturday and Sunday for the semifinals and finals, tickets are just $10, or fans can purchase a three-day pass for $25. Children 12 and under are free.

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