An American Flavor Is Added To Next Year’s Credit One Charleston Open

Madison Keys (photo: Charleston Tennis LLC)

WASHINGTON, September 20, 2023 (by Michael Dickens)

Two top-ranked Americans, World No. 4 Jessica Pegula and World No. 12 Madison Keys, have been added to the 2024 Credit One Charleston Open field. They join defending champion and current No. 7 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia and No. 15 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, the 2022 champion, to give the WTA 500 green clay event four Top 15 player commitments ahead of next spring’s tournament, which takes place from March 30 through April 7.

The Credit One Charleston Open, which is held at the newly renovated and modernized Credit One Stadium on Daniel Island in South Carolina, is North America’s largest women’s-only tennis tournament and the WTA Tour’s annual kick off to the clay season.

Keys is the 2019 Charleston champion, who recently reached the semifinals of the US Open for the third time in her career. She is 20-9 lifetime in Charleston, where she has reached two quarterfinals, one semifinal and two finals. The 2024 Credit One Charleston Open will be her 11th time in the field, competing in every Charleston tournament since 2013.

Meanwhile, Pegula, ranked in the Top 10 in both singles and doubles, won the WTA 1000 crown in Montreal in August for the most recent of her three career titles. Her 2023 singles season has featured 11 quarterfinals or better finishes, including the Canadian title, a finals appearance in Doha and semifinal runs in Dubai, Miami, Charleston and Washington, D.C. She was also a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon. This will be her sixth Charleston main draw.

“Jessie and Madi are two of the biggest fan favorites in our sport, so we are delighted to bring them back to Charleston next year,” said tournament director Bob Moran in a statement. “Not only are they incredible tennis players but they are also remarkable women off the court, each founding their own nonprofit organizations and inspiring the next generation of players.

“With four Top 15 players already committed, we know that next year’s tournament will feature world-class competition right here in the Lowcountry.”

Great Britain books Davis Cup Final 8 berth in thrilling fashion

The 2023 Davis Cup Finals Group Stage wrapped up with a dramatic flourish Sunday evening in Manchester, England as Great Britain became the last of eight teams to secure their place in the Final Eight at Malaga, Spain in November.

Cheered by 13,000 fans, a record attendance for a British Davis Cup tie, Daniel Evans and Neal Skupski capped an exhausting but exciting day inside AO Arena in Manchester by capturing the winner-take-all tie-clinching doubles rubber, 1-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6), over Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. It rewarded Great Britain with a satisfying 2-1 victory over France.

Evans and Skupski saved four match points, including three on Evans’ serve from 4-5, love-40 in the final set. Then, they raised their level in the third-set tie-break of the two-hour, 50-minute thriller.

“I don’t know how we won that match,” Skupski said in an on-court interview. “Sheer fight. Evo produced an unbelievable performance to win in the singles and then to come back and win with me. It is an unbelievable effort from him.”

Evans admitted the doubles was chaos. “I just kept saying to Neal ‘we’ve got a chance. We both kept going and we stuck together,” he said.

“It was an amazing day, an amazing feeling. Emotional more than anything. You want to be with these guys in the Finals. You know what happens if you lose. … It’s not ideal at home as well. You feel that. It’s an immensely proud moment for me and the team.”

“It was bonkers,” added Great Britain captain Leon Smith at the end of the lengthy ordeal. “I don’t know what I just sat through for nine hours.”

Earlier Sunday, World No. 27 Evans, who was competing in his 25th Davis Cup tie, gave Great Britain a 1-0 lead with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Davis Cup rookie Arthur Fils of France. Then, Ugo Humbert leveled the tie with a 7-6 (5), 3-6, 7-5 win over Cameron Norrie, which set the stage for the doubles finale.

“Something with Davis Cup, it’s just never, never simple,” Evans admitted, who won seven games in a row against Fils from 3-1 down in the second set in the opening singles rubber and never looked back. “[The crowd] really helped me get through when I was a set and a break [down] and not feeling exactly how I wanted to be playing. It’s just amazing to get to play in front of such a big stadium again, and for the country. … It’s everything to me.”

On Tuesday, the quarterfinal pairings were drawn for the Final 8 in Malaga. On one side of the draw is Canada (Group A winner) versus Finland (Group D runner-up) and the Czech Republic (Group C winner) against Australia (Group B runner-up). On the other side of the draw, Italy (Group A runner-up) will oppose the Netherlands (Group D winner) and Serbia (Group C runner-up) will face Great Britain (Group B winner).

Guido Pella retires from professional tennis

Last Friday, former World No. 20 Guido Pella announced his retirement from professional tennis. The 33-year-old Argentine lefty from Bahia Blanca turned pro in 2007. Currently ranked 190th, Pella finished with a tour-level career win-loss record of 128-151 and four Top 10 victories. His only ATP Tour title came on clay at São Paulo in 2019. He played his farewell match against Lloyd Harris in the first round of the US Open last month.

Meanwhile, Pella enjoyed better fortune on the ATP Challenger Tour by winning 13 career titles, including 11 on clay, while compiling a 146-71 win-loss record.

By the numbers

When Colombia’s Emiliana Arango defeated No. 38 Sloane Stephens of the United States, 6-1, 6-2, in the second round of the WTA 1000 Guadalajara Open Tuesday afternoon, it marked the second straight Top-40 triumph for the 22-year-old from Medellin, who lives and trains in Bradenton, Fla., and is making her debut in a WTA 1000 main draw. On Monday, the 180th-ranked Arango knocked off No. 11 seed Anastasia Potapova of Russia, ranked 26th, 6-4, 6-3. Next, Arango will face American Taylor Townsend in the third round.

“Quotable …”

“I’ve said for years the two greatest things that Davis Cup had were the best-of-five sets, because it was the pinnacle of our sport, and the home-and-away format. Playing in front of 500 or 1,000 people, it’s not the same. But as I’ve told my team all the time, the pride comes in wearing the green and gold, so for us no matter what the format is, we’re still going to go out there and leave it all on the line. But do I agree this format is good? Not for a minute.”

– Australian Davis Cup captain Lloyd Hewitt, in remarks reported by the Australian Associated Press.