Henderson Tennis Open Qualifier Parks Topples Top-Seeded Flipkens

Alycia Parks (photo: Cashman Photos)

HENDERSON, November 7, 2019 (by Steve Pratt)

In the biggest win of her young career, 18-year-old Floridian qualifier Alycia Parks upset No. 1-seeded Kirsten Flipkens from Belgium in three sets, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, as first-round main draw action continued on Wednesday at the Henderson Tennis Open taking place at the DragonRidge Country Club in Henderson.

Coached by her father Michael Parks in Boynton Beach, Alycia turned professional 13 months ago but has yet to sign with a big professional management agency.

“I just had to stay focused because a seed is just a number,” said Parks, who controlled the third set and had chances to serve out the match up 5-3, but the veteran Flipkens kept fighting back. “I just had to stay focused and be positive the entire match.”

Leading 5-6, 15-40 on Flipkens’ serve, Parks put an easy overhead into the net before Flipkens double faulted to end the match. “I love Vegas and this is when I play my best at the end of the year,” said Parks, currently ranked No. 410 in the WTA World Tour rankings. “If I stay focused I’ll go all the way through (to the finals).”

Former world top 5 player and one-time Wimbledon finalist Genie Bouchard and Hungary’s Fanny Stollar, the No. 2 seeds, took out Maria Gutierrez Carrasco and Stephanie Wagner, 6-3, 6-3, in first round of doubles. Bouchard said after the match that she won her first WTA doubles title earlier this year in Auckland, N.Z., with Las Vegas tournament alum Sofia Kenin. It was the first title in either singles or doubles in five years for the 25-year-old Bouchard, who called Las Vegas her “second home” and has been here training with former Andre Agassi and famed trainer Gil Reyes.

“I haven’t played a match in a while, singles or doubles, so I just wanted to come out and get some match play,” Bouchard said. “One match at a time, that’s what all the players say. I just want to come out and enjoy it and we had fun together.”

American Caroline Dolehide opened strongly as she defeated Vladica Babic, who played her college tennis at Oklahoma State, 6-0, 6-1, in just 51 minutes. Dolehide, 21, has won three $60,000-level events including titles at Concord, Mass., Charleston, S.C., and Harbour Beach, Fla. She trains full-time with the USTA in Orlando and won a gold in doubles and a silver in singles at this year’s Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. In 2018, Dolehide came through qualifying to play in the main draws of both the French Open and Wimbledon and won her first-round match at the French.

The 2010 Las Vegas winner knows it’s been nine years since she was last victorious here, but 33-year-old Varvara Lepchenko played like a younger version of herself beating 2015 NCAA singles champion and USTA wild card Jamie Loeb, 6-2, 6-0.

In other first-round singles action, qualifier and former University of Miami star Stephanie Wagner of Germany won for the third straight day as she beat Elitsa Kostova of Bulgaria, 7-5, 6-2.

Former US Open Girls’ Junior champion Alexa Glatch is now 30-years-old and has been a pro half of her life turning pro at age 15. Glatch, the 2011 singles runner-up in Las Vegas, has had multiple surgeries and has not been a tour regular, missing all of 2018 rehabbing from hip and knee surgery. Glatch beat fellow Southern Californian Charlotte Chavatipon, 7-6 (9), 6-4. A USTA qualifying wild card and playing in her first $60,000 event, Chavatipon is a 17-year-old high school senior who will play next year at the University of Texas. She trains with USTA coaches Erik Kortland and Maureen Diaz in Carson, Calif.

“My friend told me I was playing a legend who was at one time like Coco Gauff,” Chavatipon said of Glatch. “I knew she was from near where I live in Orange County. I was just glad to be here, really. I just wanted to keep it close and I was able to do that.”

USTA wild-card Grace Min fell to unseeded Ukranian Anhelina Kalinina, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. The 24-year-old Min trains full-time at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. In 2011, she teamed with Bouchard to win the Girls’ Wimbledon Junior Doubles title. The other USTA wild card Katerina Stewart had her first Henderson Tennis Open end on sad note as she rolled her ankle against No. 3 Ukranian Katarina Zavatska and was forced to retire.