The young guns in both the ATP and WTA came out in full force Saturday, recording first round wins in the 2014 Western & Southern Open qualifying tournament.
21-year-old Nicole Gibbs kicked off play with an upset of Yaroslava Shvedova, defeating the No.10 seed 7-6(2), 6-2. The two-time NCAA champ and Cincinnati native broke Shvedova four times in their hour and a half match, and advances to the final round of qualifying to face 2010 French Open Champion Francesca Schiavone. The Italian defeated Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-2.
American Taylor Townsend followed suit, defeating fellow countrywoman and No.5 seed Alison Riske 6-3, 6-4 in just under two hours. In their first WTA meeting, the 18-year-old wild card broke Riske four times and saved 11 break points. Townsend moves through to the second round to face Silvia Soler-Espinosa.
Annika Beck, the 20-year-old German, dismissed American wild card Melanie Oudin 6-1, 6-3 in their 80 minute meeting. Oudin was able to fend off 13 of the 18 break points she faced, but it was Beck who captured the win to advance to the final round of qualifying for the second year in a row.
Other notable wins in the women’s draw include 22-year-old Brit Heather Watson d. Kristyna Pliskova 6-3, 6-4 and 20-year-old Monica Puig d. Tamira Paszek 6-4, 6-4.
On the men’s side, Aussie young gun Bernard Tomic faced a tough opponent in Farrukh Dustov. In his fourth trip to Cincinnati, 21-year-old Tomic defeated Dustov 7-5, 6-3, serving up 11 aces in their hour and 40 minute match. Tomic, who claimed his first ATP World Tour title earlier this summer in Bogota, will face fellow countryman Matthew Ebden for a spot in the W&S Open main draw. Ebden defeated UCLA sophomore Mackenzie McDonald, who successfully qualified for the main draw in 2013 as an unranked teenager.
Former NCAA champ from Baylor, Benjamin Becker, defeated Japan’s Tatsuma Ito 7-5, 6-1 in their first round match-up. The top seed saved seven of nine break points en route to the win and advances to the final round of qualifying for the third time in Cincinnati.
Other notable men advancing to the second round of qualifying include former Top 25 player Benoit Paire, 2013 NCAA champion Blaz Rola, former Ohio State player Chase Buchanan, and American Tim Smyczek.
The final round of qualifying will take place Sunday at 10am at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. For ticket information visit https://shop.cincytennis.com/.