Lucie Hradecka isn’t some tennis newbie. At 29, she’s been a pro since 2002, known best for doubles: 17 WTA titles, including the 2011 French Open and 2013 U.S. Open.
As a singles player, Hradecka is ranked No. 110 in the world. She had to qualify last weekend for the Family Circle Cup main draw. But the clay-court specialist upset No. 4 seed Sara Errani in the quarterfinals on Friday, winning 6-2, 6-4, to set up a semifinal match with Madison Keys.
It was her sixth match in seven days.
“I arrived here at 1 p.m. (from Miami on Saturday) and at 4 p.m. I played a match,” said Hradecka (hra det ska), who is from the Czech Republic. “I was joking with my coach, ‘I hope it will not be like from plane to car and from car to plane to go home.’ And one week later, I’m still here. And that’s awesome.”
Errani owns seven career singles titles, but dropped out of the WTA top 10 (to No. 14) for the first time since June of 2012 after last week’s Miami Open.
Semifinalist Madison Keys, the child of a black father and white mother, was asked about Walter Scott, shot to death last week by a North Charleston policeman.
“I’ve heard a little bit about it,” Keys said. “Condolences to Walter Scott’s family and it’s obviously tragic. I mean, it’s a tragic thing and it shouldn’t happen.”
With a forecast calling for rain Friday night and early Saturday morning, the Family Circle Cup pushed back Saturday play to 1 p.m. Gates will open at 10 a.m. Keys will face Hradecka at 1 p.m. on Stadium Court, followed by the second semifinal.
A total of 6,856 fans attended Friday’s day session, with 6,972 at the night matches. That pushed the week’s total to 70,237.
Fans might be evenly divided if the popular Keys meets defending champ Petkovic, whose father played tennis at the University of South Carolina, in Sunday’s final.
“I mean, everyone loves Petko,” Keys said. “You can’t not love Petko. So I feel like she’s a crowd favorite wherever she plays. I mean, she’s funny.”
Keys even took a picture of a picture in the morning paper and sent it to Petkovic.
“I thought it was really flattering,” she said. “I told her it should be her new profile picture. So we’ll see if she takes my advice on that.”