Playing arguably the best tennis of her young professional career, American teenager Coco Vandeweghe advanced to the quarterfinals of the Toray Pan Pacific Open, a $2 million WTA Tour event in Tokyo. Vandeweghe’s straight-sets win against world No. 42 Julia Georges was her fifth victory over a top-100 player this week.
Ranked No. 172 entering the qualifying tournament in Tokyo, Vandeweghe defeated No. 75 Tathiana Garbin and No. 41 Jarmilla Groth to qualify and has knocked off, in order, No. 37 Klara Zakopalova, No. 18 Aravane Rezai and Goerges in the main draw. She faces world No. 11 Victoria Azarenka Thursday for a spot in the semifinals.
Vandeweghe, the 2008 US Open girls’ singles champion, has taken significant steps forward in her professional career this year. The 18-year-old from Rancho Mirage, Calif., won a USTA playoff to earn a main-draw wild card into the 2010 Australian Open, posted a 10-match winning streak on the USTA Pro Circuit while claiming her first two professional titles—at the $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Carson, Calif., and the $25,000 event in El Paso, Texas, this spring—and reached the quarterfinals of the Olympus US Open Series event in San Diego, defeating 2010 Wimbledon and US Open runner-up Vera Zvonareva en route.
Vandeweghe’s mom, Tauna, was an Olympic medalist in both swimming and volleyball, and her uncle is former NBA star Kiki Vandeweghe.