Mallory Burdette did not win her third-round Family Circle Cup match with Serena Williams Friday. But the experience competing against the world’s No. 1 female tennis player was invaluable.
Admitting she didn’t expect to win going into the match, Burdette managed to give Williams quite a tussle before falling, 6-4, 6-2. Williams had to turn up the heat and win the final four games before putting the 22-year-old away.
“If I played her tomorrow, I would definitely walk out there and feel a little bit more confident. That would probably be one of the biggest things I would change,” said Burdette, whose mother (the former Judy Bernat) grew up in Charleston.
“I don’t think you ever walk out on the court and say ‘I’m going to beat Serena today.’ You just go out there and do your best on each point and you work hard. Typically, that’s how I try to approach each match, especially when you’re playing such a great player. Winning is not always the ultimate goal. You just have to go out there and work hard and see what happens.”
Burdette, who turned pro last September, said Williams definitely turned up the intensity in the second set.
“But it was awesome to play out there. I love playing against the top players to see how you match up,” Burdette said. “You always see things that they do a little bit — a lot better — than you do. You see a lot of things that you can work on going forward, so in that way it was an invaluable experience.”
500 and counting
Jelena Jankovic’s quarterfinal win over Eugenie Bouchard was the 500th of her career. Only seven active players on the WTA Tour have that many.
“I don’t know what it feels like; I had no idea how many wins I had,” said Jankovic, the 2007 Family Circle Cup champ. “I’m really bad with statistics. But in order to have 500 wins, you have to have a pretty long career, be pretty consistent.”
The semifinal match between the Williams sisters is scheduled to be broadcast from 1-3 p.m. on ESPN2. Former tennis stars Cliff Drysdale and Pam Shriver will call the match.
After a rainy Thursday and an overcast start to Friday, sunshine has finally become the norm. But the players still may find it a little on the chilly side with a high of 66 forecast today.
Seven of the 16 players in the third round of this year’s Family Circle Cup were American, the most American players to make it that far since 1983, when nine Americans advanced. Martina Navratilova beat Tracy Austin for the 1983 title.
After a total of just 1,849 for Thursday’s rain-plagued matches, the Family Circle Cup rebounded with 8,012 for the day session Friday, boosted by the Venus-Serena-Venus-Serena schedule on Billie Jean King Court. A total of 5,846 made the night match, boosting attendance to 59,860 for the week.