One battled through a couple three set matches and then a hard fought semifinal, the other had a walkover and two straight set wins.
It doesn’t matter at this point as Laura Patterson and Allison Miller, top junior players hailing from the Metro Atlanta area will meet on Thursday in the finals of the USTA Southern U.S. Open National Playoffs at the Sandy Springs Tennis Center.
Patterson, a 16-year old from Roswell took down a French professional player in Sherazad Benamar 6-3, 6-2 on Wednesday to make the finals. Miller, from Norcross, a Notre Dame commit who will be a senior in high school this year, defeated former Austin Peay player Jessica Hawk 6-1, 6-3.
Patterson has had a breakout tournament defeating a former WTA touring pro in Jewel Peterson, a Georgia Tech player in Kendal Woodard, and Benamar, ranked No. 466 in world in consecutive matches.
I asked Patterson how she survived three matches against opponents with much more experience.
“I was able to play more free,” offered up Patterson. “I was much more loose.”
Patterson and Miller are close friends and both are looking forward to Thursday’s encounter.
“We are good friends, and we’ve played many times,” added Patterson. “I have no idea what my record is against her, but it’s gone back and forth.”
Miller is having a good time making a run in this year’s event after losing early here last year.
“Yeah, it’s fun- last year I lost to a girl who was an All-American at Alabama,” explained the future Notre Dame player. “It’s going to hopefully be a good contest tomorrow- I’ll have to pick my shots a little better and play a little smarter.”
The men’s semifinals will also be played on Thursday along with the mixed doubles final.
Whitney McCray and Danie ven den Heever play the Georgia Tech duo of Nathan Rakitt and Kendal Woodard for the trip to New Haven in August.
The US Open National Playoffs are sectional qualifying tournaments, held this year in 13 USTA sections. The men’s, women’s and mixed doubles champions or top available finishers from each sectional qualifying tournament advance to the US Open National Playoffs – Championships. The Men’s and Women’s Singles Championships will be held August 16-19, and the Mixed Doubles Championship are slated for August 21-24. All three events take place in conjunction with the New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara, an Emirates Airline US Open Series event.
SF Allison Miller d. Jessica Hawk 6-1; 6-3
SF Laura Patterson d. Sherazad Benamar 6-3; 6-2
Q Elliott Orkin d. Rob Galloway 6-1; 6-4
Q Danie van den Heever d. Ben Horst 6-3; 6-2
Q Nathan Rakitt d. Sam Edwards 6-2; 6-3
Q Trevor Gotkowski d. Kyle Craig 6-1; 6-1
SF McCray/van den Heever d. Miller/Orkin 6-1; 6-3
SF Rakitt/Woodard d. Miller/Patterson 6-7(4); 6-3; 1-0(4)