American Min breezes into Family Circle Cup main draw
Grace Min didn't waste any time on Sunday in nailing down her spot in the main draw of the $710,000 Family Circle Cup.
While fellow young Americans Madison Brengle, Taylor Townsend and Victoria Duval struggled with the windy and chilly conditions at Family Circle Tennis Center, Min was able to take the afternoon off.
Min, a 19-year-old from Atlanta who played the 11 a.m. opening match on the Althea Gibson Club Court, needed only 63 minutes to upset qualifying tournament top seed Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan, 6-1, 6-2, to earn a berth in the main draw that starts Monday.
Winner of the 2011 U.S. Open junior girls title, the hard-hitting Min proved to be too consistent on the green clay for her opponent, who was playing her first match in the tournament. The unseeded Min had posted a three-set upset of another seeded player a day earlier while also playing the first match on the Club Court.
The other three Americans chasing the eight qualifying berths suffered losses.
Brengle, the 24-year-old 13th seed from Delaware, pushed fourth seed Michelle Larcher De Brito of Portugal to a third-set tiebreaker before losing, 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (3). De Brito will be Min's opponent in the main draw on Monday.
Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, the 11th seed, turned back 18-year-old Atlanta native Victoria Duval, 6-4, 7-5. Duval, the sixth seed, had knocked out former Charleston resident Ellie Halbauer in the first round on Saturday.
That left only 17-year-old Taylor Townsend of Boca Raton, Fla., in the last match of the qualifying tournament with a chance to join Min as American qualifiers and pad the number of U.S. players in the main draw to 12, but Townsend suffered a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3 loss to Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia.
The other four players to advance through qualifying into the main draw were No. 3 Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia, No. 7 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, No. 12 Saisai Zheng of China and No. 14 Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine.
Despite high winds all afternoon, Sunday's attendance was 7,056, upping the total to 12,758. That surpassed last year's qualifying attendance by more than 800.
Several pros from the Family Circle Cup will visit downtown on Monday for a free 4:30-6 p.m. clinic at Jack Adams Tennis Center for juniors. The College of Charleston tennis team also will assist with the clinic. Free dinners will be provided for the juniors, but space is limited and interested participants should contact Charleston Tennis Center at 766-7401.
Reach James Beck at email@example.com. See his columns on pro tennis at ubitennis.com/english.