Keeler: Another strong field for Boyd Tinsley Classic

The Boyd Tinsley Clay Court Classic returns to Charlottesville next week with yet another strong women’s tennis field.

Many big name players have started out on the International Tennis Federation tour, and quite a few have had great tournaments in Charlottesville.

In the past 10 years players such as U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur and former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic have played in the Boyd Tinsley Classic.

There’s no doubt that one of the players in this year’s field could have that breakthrough tournament that really kickstarts their career.

This year’s event starts with qualifying on Sunday and runs all week, with the singles and doubles finals on April 27. The tournament is held at Boar’s Head Club in Charlottesville.
Shelby Rogers will be the top seed. The American is currently ranked No. 109 on the WTA Tour. Rogers has won two matches this year on the main tour, including a victory in the Indian Wells event, which is a premier mandatory event.

The second seed is Australian Olivia Rogowska. The third, fourth and fifth seeds are all Americans.

In 2009, Melanie Oudin advanced all the way to the U.S. Open quarterfinals, next week she will be the No. 3 seed in Charlotesville. Oudin, still just 22, has been ranked as high as 31 in the world in 2010.

Irina Falconi is the fourth seed. Falconi advanced to the third round of the U.S. Open in 2011. The former Georgia Tech standout is 6-7 on the main tour this year, including a first-round win at the Australian Open.

The fifth seed is 18-year-old Victoria Duval. The up-and-coming American is currently coached by the legendary Nick Bollettieri and has two main tour wins this season.
The qualifying draw has a strong field as well. Up-and-coming American Taylor Townsend is one of the biggest names. The 17-year-old is considered to have potential to be a star on the main tour, and is currently coached by former Top 10 player Zina Garrison.

Townsend is currently ranked 347th, but can only play a limited number of tournaments due to her age. She is 3-3 on the main tour this year, including a win at Indian Wells.

Another big name in the qualifying draw is former Wimbledon semifinalist Alexandra Stevenson. The American advanced to the Wimbledon semifinals in 1999, but the 33-year-old has struggled with her game ever since. She made a big splash at Wimbledon in 1999, when it was revealed that she was also former NBA great Julius “Dr. J.” Erving’s daughter.

Last year Emily Harman participated in the doubles tournament, and is likely to do so again this season. Harman trained for years at Stonebrook Racquet and Fitness Club in Winchester. She was a standout player at Syracuse, where she was coached by former doubles grand slam champion Luke Jensen.

She finished last year at No. 232 in doubles, and is listed as an alternate in singles for this year’s Boyd Tinsley Classic. Harman has won 48 career matches in doubles on the ITF tour, while still searching for her first win on the main tour.

The 22-year-old is 3-5 in doubles this season, mostly partnering with Mayo Hibi.

Last year Harman won her first ITF doubles title in June at a tournament in Buffalo, N.Y., partnering with Alexandra Mueller. She also made it to the doubles finals in an ITF tournament in Macon, Ga., in October with Elizabeth Lumpkin.

For anyone who is a fan of tennis the Boyd Tinsley Classic is a great event. A chance to see future stars, as well as some solid veterans. It’s a great time for every tennis fan.

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd