Sports

Francesca Schiavone happy to be back on the court in Macon

Francesca Schiavone won Tuesday in the W.L. Amos Sr. Tennis Classic.
Francesca Schiavone won Tuesday in the W.L. Amos Sr. Tennis Classic.

Francesca Schiavone was just glad to be playing competitive tennis again.

The 2010 French Open winner had not played since the U.S Open in early September due to a leg injury but was back on the court in the W.L. Amos Sr. Tennis Classic on Tuesday and started her play with a 6-2, 6-3 win over qualifier Ashley Weinhold.

“It was OK for the first time out,” said Schiavone, who is currently ranked 81st in the world and seeded first in this tournament. “It was a beautiful day, and it gave me an opportunity to push my leg, and I have to continue to work to get it healthy. Hopefully it will feel a little better on Wednesday.”

Schiavone’s stop in Macon is mainly to test her injury, and it is the first time that she has played in a USTA Pro Circuit even in many years. The difference in USTA events from WTA events, the top level of women’s events, were barely noticed by Schiavone.

“The time in between points was much longer, and there were a few times where I almost forgot that I had to pick up my own balls,” Schiavone said with a quick smile. “I realized that I really miss someone getting the balls, but it was OK.”

Seeded players had a hard time coming up with wins as three of the top four seeds went down. No. 2 seed Kateryna Bondarenko, who is ranked 87th, lost to qualifier Ashley Kratzer 6-4, 6-1. Kratzer, who is ranked 359th, had to play three qualifying matches to even make it into the main draw.

No. 3 seed Nicole Gibbs was defeated by Danielle Rose Collins in three sets. Collins, who won two NCAA championships while at Virginia and was a finalist here last year, is ranked 153rd. Grace Min knocked off fourth-seeded Sachia Vickery 7-5, 6-3.

“We had a large group of fans that came out (Tuesday), and they were treated to some great tennis,” tournament director and Mercer head coach Eric Hayes said. “We can’t say how happy we are to have Francesca Schiavone playing in Macon, and it really takes this tournament to a new level.”

Play will be non-stop Wednesday with eight singles matches and eight doubles matches being played. The action starts at 10 a.m.

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