It was a stellar day for the stars and stripes at the Family Circle Cup on Sunday as the qualifying draw wrapped up with four Americans booking spots in the main draw.
Mallory Burdette, the No. 2 seed, led the charge in qualifying with two straight-set victories, including a hard-fought win over compatriot Louisa Chirico, a 16-year-old wild card, on Althea Gibson Court.
Jessica Pegula, Vania King and Grace Min were all also winners, as were up-and-coming youngsters Caroline Garcia of France and Eugenie Bouchard of Canada.
Securing the final spots in the main draw were Natassja Burnett and Teliana Pereira.
“The past couple of days have been great,” said Burdette, the world No. 104 and a former Stanford standout. “I’ve actually really enjoyed just being here and enjoying Charleston. I was relaxed and as prepared as I could have been.”
It’s the first-ever main draw appearance for Burdette, who used third-round runs at the U.S. Open and Indian Wells in the recent past to move up over 400 ranking spots.
“It’s difficult to transition to the clay from the hard court season,” said the Georgia native, whose mother grew up in Charleston. “It’s good to have these qualifying matches to work my way into the clay.”
Pegula, King and Min, who is an Atlanta native, all worked their way nicely into the main draw as well, something Burdette says motivates one another to work harder.
“Everyone is eating lunch together and warming up together and it’s really great to have a group come up together,” she said.
“None of us feel like we are the only American out there because we have peers all working together. It’s great to see that.”
Bouchard and Garcia are also two to watch during main draw play this week on Daniel Island. Bouchard is a 19-year-old from Montreal who won junior Wimbledon less than a year ago.
As for Garcia, the fellow 19-year-old has been hailed as a star on the rise since nearly upsetting Maria Sharapova at the 2011 French Open.
As for Burdette, she looks forward to a week of continued improvement.
“I want to go out there and enjoy being on the court,” she said. “I want to give it my best shot no matter who I play. I’m just going to give it my best shot — that’s all I can do.”