Oct 17, 2022

2022 Mercer Tennis Classic: Mercer’s Ristic Advances, Main Draws Released for 10th Year

MERCER UNIVERSITY - John Drew Smith Tennis Center - OCT 17 - OCT 23, 2022

USTA Pro Circuit 60K Event

MACON, Georgia, (October 16, 2022) Qualifying began on Monday as professional women’s tennis is in Macon this week with the Mercer Tennis Classic held Oct. 17-23 at the John Drew Smith Tennis Center off I-75 in Macon.

Singles qualifying began on four courts, Monday morning.

There was even one upset by a local college player.

More than 30 players who have competed in the Macon event have gone on to compete for Grand Slams in 2022.

With a ranking of No. 49, defending champion, Madison Brengle is the highest ranked player to play in the Mercer Tennis Classic.

The women’s event features a 32-player singles qualifying draw, a 32-player singles main draw and a 16-team doubles draw with a field made up of WTA professional players as well as up-and-coming juniors.

Player field notes:

Two former Macon champions in the field - Brengle (Defending champ 2021), Rebecca Peterson (2015).

Brengle has been ranked as high as No. 35 in the world

Emma Navarro, from Charleston SC, is up to a career high ranking of 127

Most of these players played either the main draw or qualifying of the 2022 US Open

The 2002 singles qualifying draw features 21 Americans that will try and win two matches to reach the main draw.

Two Mercer student-athletes, Naya Tillet and Teodora Ristic were entered into the qualifying draw.

Tillet showed great form in taking on an experienced Alana Smith, who is a grad student playing for NC State. Tillet battled through two tough sets in falling to Smith 6-3, 6-4 in a match that went back and forth.

Ristic may have been the surprise of the day as the grad transfer on the Mercer Women’s Tennis Team from Serbia upset an experienced veteran player in Tori Kinard, 6-4, 2-6, (10-1).

Steady groundstrokes and good focus aided the new addition to Eric Hayes’ women’s squad.

“My thought going into the match was to keep the ball in play and stay consistent,” said Ristic after the match. “Hit heavy balls and try to stay out there a long time.

Playing a number of years in college, Ristic was familiar with the match tiebreak format.

“College tennis helps with the match tiebreak, every point is important and you have to run for every ball.”

On Tuesday, Ristic plays the second match on Court 13.

Monday’s Results:

Olivia LINCER (POL) [4] Sumvruta IYENGAR (USA) 6-0 6-0

Rhiann NEWBORN(USA) [6] Leela CLINE (USA) 6-1 6-1

Salma EWING (USA) [12] Dylan CLINE (USA) 6-2 6-1

Victoria HU (USA) [16] Lucie PETRUZELOVA (CZE) 4-6 6-3 [10-6]

Bianca Jolie FERNANDEZ (CAN) [9] Mia YAMAKITA (USA) 6-1 4-6 [11-9]

Carolyn ANSARI (USA) [10] Epiphany B TURNER (USA) 7-5 6-0

Mary LEWIS (USA) Liga DEKMEIJERE (LAT) [14] 6-1 7-6(5)

Shatoo MOHAMAD (USA) Sylvia SCHENCK (USA) 6-0 6-0

Lisa ZAAR (SWE) [2] Elena ECKER (USA) 6-1 6-0

Akasha URHOBO (USA) Micheline AUBUCHON (USA) 6-2 6-1

Alana SMITH (USA) [5] Naya TILLITT (USA) 6-3 6-4

Tamara BARAD ITZHAKI (ISR) [13] Alessandra CRUMP (USA) 6-1 6-0

Meisha KENDALL-WOSELEY (USA) Carol Young Suh LEE (USA) [8] w.o.

Victoria OSUIGWE (USA) [15] Elizabeth DANAILOVA (BUL) 6-1 6-1

Teodora RISTIC (SRB) Tori KINARD (USA) [7] 6-4 2-6 [10-1]

Ariana ARSENEAULT (CAN) [11] Fanny NORIN (SWE) 6-4 6-2

Main draw matches begin after qualifying is finished on Tuesday afternoon.

New for 2022 are three evenings of night matches during the week. (Please check the order of play each day for specific matches and times.)

Tuesday October 18 - Macon Night, High Performance Clinic

Wednesday October 19 - Honoring Randy Stephens Tennis Center for USTA Facility Award

Thursday October 20 - Mercer University Night

Now in its tenth year, the Mercer Tennis Classic will once again feature many of the best women tennis players in the world. It is the second biggest professional tournament in the state of Georgia in terms of prize money (ATP World Tour 250 event - Truist Atlanta Open in July, is the largest). It is also the longest running professional women’s tennis tournament in the state of Georgia. The event has been showcased on the Tennis Channel.

Tickets will be available onsite and online this year. $5 per day and $20 for the entire week.

The Mercer Tennis Classic has featured players with major titles, including 2014 Macon singles champ, Kateryna Bondarenko, of Ukraine, and her sister, Alona, who she teamed with to win the 2008 Australian Open Doubles title, and 2010 French Open singles champion Francesca Schiavone, of Italy, who was the tournament’s top seed in 2018.

Live streaming and radio information to be released soon.

Tournament volunteers are needed and any help is always appreciated. Call Mercer tennis coach and tournament director Eric Hayes at (478) 301-2269.

About the John Drew Smith Tennis Center

The John Drew Smith Tennis Center (JDSTC) is regarded as one of the top 25 public municipal facilities in the nation by Tennis Magazine and the United States Tennis Association. It has 24 tennis courts, 6 pickleball courts, a beautiful observation deck and pro shop. The facility is a haven for programming for juniors, adults, and everyone in the community. John Drew Smith Tennis Center is renowned for hosting local, state, and national tennis events. Tennis players not only from the state of Georgia but all over the country, are familiar with JDS. Almost every competitive junior player from the state of Georgia in the last 30 years has played at this renowned facility. The activity is so extensive and the atmosphere is so conducive to tennis that, in 2005, Racquet Sports Industry (RSI) named John Drew Smith Tennis Center the Municipal Facility of the Year.

About the USTA Pro Circuit

With approximately 90 tournaments hosted annually throughout the country and prize money ranging from $15,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. The USTA launched its Pro Circuit in 1979 to provide players with the opportunity to gain professional ranking points, and it has since grown to become the largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, offering nearly $3 million in prize money. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed in cities nationwide. Victoria Azarenka, Eugenie Bouchard, John Isner, Madison Keys, Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori, Sam Querrey and Caroline Wozniacki are among today's top stars who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit.