In front of a packed crowd on Court 13 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, New York’s Jamie Loeb advanced to the third and final round of U.S. Open qualifiers Thursday, holding off former world number two and 2012 finalist Vera Zvonareva of Russia 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-4.
“It was a battle,” said Loeb afterwards. “I’m just happy to get through that one.”
It indeed was a battle. The two were on court for more than three hours, but it was Loeb who, behind the support of her hometown crowd, many of whom made the trip from the John McEnroe Tennis Academy at Sportime Randall’s Island where she trained, stood tall in the end.
In the third set, Loeb led 5-3 and at 30-30 in that game, Zvonareva hit an overhead smash that appeared to sail well deep of the baseline. The ball was called in, and Zvonareva would go on to hold serve in that game to force Loeb to serve things out.
In the ensuing game, Loeb would hold serve, outlasting her Russian opponent in a long deuce game to close things out and move within one win of a spot in the main draw.
Loeb will take on fellow American Sachia Vickery, who defeated Kateryna Bondarenko of the Ukraine, 6-1, 6-4 in her match Thursday.
Another all-American matchup was set up as Allie Kiick will take on Vicky Duval on Friday. Kiick defeated Japan’s Riko Sawayanagi 6-4, 6-3, while Duval fought back to beat Yafan Wang of China 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Credit all photos to Brian Coleman
American Sachia Vickery, who defeated Kateryna Bondarenko of the Ukraine, 6-1, 6-4
American Allie Kiick defeated Japan’s Riko Sawayanagi 6-4, 6-3 to advance at Day Three of the 2017 U.S. Open Qualifiers
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.