RISING AMERICAN STAR SLOANE STEPHENS ENTERS FAMILY CIRCLE CUP PLAYER FIELD
World No. 16 Commits to 2013 Tournament
DANIEL ISLAND, S.C.-Sloane Stephens, World No. 16, has committed to the 2013 Family Circle Cup, March 30th - April 7th in Charleston, SC. At nineteen, Stephens is currently the youngest player in the top 20 WTA rankings, and the only teenager.
Indisputably playing her best tennis yet, Stephens recently had a major career breakthrough at the 2013 Australian Open when she upset World No. 1 Serena Williams in the quarterfinals, becoming the youngest American to ever defeat Williams.
“After watching Sloane perform so well in the Australian Open, we are excited to see her game continue to mature at the Cup,” said Eleanor Adams, Tournament Manager. “The fans love watching her play, so Charleston could be a place for her to really shine.”
The 2013 Family Circle Cup will mark Stephens’ third appearance in Charleston.
“I’ve put a lot of hard work in over the past year and it’s starting to pay off,” said Stephens. “I’m looking forward to returning to the Family Circle Cup as it’s our first clay court tournament of the year. Charleston is a beautiful city with great tennis fans”
Stephens has seen success in the Grand Slam singles tournaments. She made it to the third round of the 2011 and 2012 US Open, the third round of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships, the fourth round of the 2012 French Open and the semifinals of the 2013 Australian Open.
She joins Williams, Samantha Stosur, Venus Wiliams, Sara Errani and Mona Barthel in a world-class player field assembling in Charleston for the Family Circle Cup, featuring three of the world’s top 10 players.
For more information about the tournament or to purchase tickets, visit FamilyCircleCup.com.
Sam Stosur is Wonder Woman. After completing more than half of last night’s match this morning against Voskoboeva, she went on to knock off Venus Williams in the quarterfinals only hours later. Tomorrow, Stosur will go for the Williams Exacta in attempting to knock off both Williams Sisters in successive singles matches. That will be known as the Real Final, with the 2 seed and the 5. The other semi, between the 14 and 9 seeds, will see Polona Hercog against Lucie Safarova. It was this close for Hercog to be picked as Tennis East Coast Dark Horse to Win it All, but Wickmayer was settled upon at market close. I swear.
It will be interesting to see what Safarova does tomorrow. Will she be tomorrow’s Wonder Woman, or will the conventional wisdom of “singles before doubles” rule the day?
ORDER OF PLAY – SATURDAY, APRIL 07, 2012 STADIUM start 11:00 am A Medina Garrigues (ESP) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) vs N Grandin (RSA) / V Uhlirova (CZE)
Not Before 1:00 PM  S Williams (USA) vs  S Stosur (AUS)  P Hercog (SLO) vs  L Safarova (CZE)  L Huber (USA) / L Raymond (USA) vs [WC] A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) / L Safarova (CZE) – After suitable rest
Day 1 winners include Benesova, the Pliskovas, Domachowska, Duque-Marino, Brengle, Craybas, Amanmuradova, Uhlirova, Ormaechea, Rogers, Lucic, Cabeza Candela, Larcher de Brito, Garcia, Hlavackova, Rampre, Chan and Giorgi. Five matches are still being played. More details to follow, including tomorrow’s Order of Play.
Seven of the women playing today in the Sony Ericsson Sweet 16 are headed to Charleston next week for the Family Circle Cup. Of the Charleston top seeds, only Vera Zvonareva, Jelena Jankovic and Julia Goerges have been eliminated from contention in Miami. Zvonareva looked terrible in a career-low loss to Muguruza-Blanco and Jankovic lost to Mona Barthel last week after having been bounced from Indian Wells two weeks earlier by Jamie Hampton. At least Julia Goerges doesn’t have to hang her head low after suffering defeat from Kim Clijsters in Key Biscayne. Based on their most recent past performances, we’re definitely not picking Bepa or Jelena in our Family Circle Cup bracket.
It’s early, but I’d look for a Sony Ericsson semi-finalist to win it all in Charleston. Too often the winner (or finalist) of a two-week tournament is too weakened to make another run to raise a second consecutive trophy.
Sam Stosur, Marion Bartoli and Agnieszka Radwanska should all be able to make deep runs at Charleston given their recent play. Our wild card will be Yanina Wickmayer. She’s had her ups and downs of late, but it is good to see her playing in the second week of a tournament for the first time in a long time. Besides, she could put those 470 WTA points for the winner to the best use of all the contenders.
The main draw selection show for Family Circle Cup will be covered at this site and tweeted @TennisEastCoast next Saturday from 3:00 p.m. EDT on the Grand Lawn of the Family Circle Tennis Center.
Tennis Maryland is pleased to announce that we’ll be providing on-site coverage of the first half of the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina from March 31-April 3, 2012. We’ll be there for all 36 qualifying matches and the first two days of main draw play. If there’s a player you’d like to see featured, speak up now. The draw ceremony will also be covered next Saturday afternoon.
Unfortunately, Anna Chakvetadze, Romina Oprandi and Bethanie Mattek-Sands have withdrawn from the tournament due to injuries. Chakvetadze was also forced to throw in the towel at Indian Wells and Miami due to back pain and Oprandi previously took a pass in Miami with a right knee injury. Mattek-Sands announced her intention to withdraw on Twitter last week due to a “hip/back injury”.
In the case of Mattek-Sands, she was a Tennis Maryland interview waiting to happen. Alas, it will not. She was even set to take part in a charity auction whereby one lucky bidder would practice with her, lunch with her, toss the coin at her first match and walk off with a signed racquet. All proceeds were to benefit MUSC Children’s Hospital in Charleston. There’s been no word yet on whether Mattek-Sands will be replaced by another WTA player in the charity auction.
The withdrawals don’t exactly weaken the field. 16 of the top 35 players in the world remain in the draw, including notable top 20s Agnieszka Radwanska (#4), Sam Stosur (#5), Marion Bartoli (#7), Vera Zvonareva (#10), Serena Williams (#11), Sabine Lisicki (#13), Jelena Jankovic (#15) and Julia Georges (#17).
The grandmother of women’s tennis tournaments begins in just ten days time. The Family Circle Cup is not only the longest running tennis event with the same sponsor, it is also the first women’s professional tennis tournament to have offered $100,000 in prize money.
East Coast tennis fans have been fortunate to have such an event for forty years. So much has changed in that time (Virginia Slims, anyone?), but the Family Circle Cup is still the premier women’s event on the East Coast.
The Family Circle Cup’s stadium on Hilton Head Island was the very first tennis stadium that I ever saw, way back in 1989. Since 2001, the Cup has resided on Daniel Island in the City of Charleston.
The qualifying draw was expanded from 32 to 48 for 2012, with 12 women qualifying for the main draw.
That means a very exciting first weekend, with 24 saturday matches and 12 on Sunday. Also on Saturday, the main draw will be selected from the grounds of the tournament. It will be open to the public and held during a match day, which is unusual and very welcome news to fans.
Agnieszka Radwanska is expected to be the top seed. 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur, Grand Slam Queens Serena and Venus Williams, and former world #2 Vera Zvonareva headline a very competitive main draw. Venus was the recipient of a wild card as was Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Three wild cards remain for the main draw.
On the qualifying side, Americans Sloane Stephens, Jill Craybas, Julia Cohen, Coco Vandeweghe, Jamie Hampton, Varvara Lepchenko and Alison Riske are expected to compete. Riske, who lives in Hilton Head, should be a crowd favorite. We can’t say she’ll be a bigger crowd favorite than 16 year-old Hayley Carter from South Carolina, who nabbed the first qualifying wild card. Five more qualifying wild cards are up for grabs.
You can check out the entire field in this handy police-style photo array compliments of the Family Circle Cup. Click on the Family Circle Cup logo at the top of this article to purchase tickets.