King & Nemtsova fought a brilliant battle in the wildcard finals.
Orlando, Florida- 17 year old Stephanie Nemtsova formerly of Russia and now of #Plantation #FL won 2 thrilling tie breaks in yesterday's wildcard qualifier to advance into the 32 main draw of the USTA Pro Circuit $10,000 tournament in #orlando March 13-20. All the events are hosted by the City of Orlando Tennis Center.
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Nemstova won 4 straight matches to win the wildcard into the main 32 pro draw. She will earn valuable WTA world ranking points for her efforts, and even more if she wins the main pro event.
She defeated former defending champion Maria Shishkina (RUS) in a thrilling 6-3, 3-6, (10-8) in a super tie-break 3rd set.
In the finals, she faced veteran Alexis King of Gainsville FL. The 32 year old King was a former star player for UF's Gators (formerly last name Gordon) and en route to a successful pro career reaching a WTA world ranking of 345 but became a mother of 2 daughters which paused her pursuit. She is now a coach at 300 Swimming & Tennis Club in Gainesville.
The King/Nemtsova match was thrilling and saw huge momentum shifts. Nemtsova came out strong with a 6-2 win in the first set. And then the gritty King came right back with her own 6-2 win. King maintained the momentum with a 3-0 point lead in the final super tie-break. But Nemtsova showed heart as she climbed back to cut the deficit to 4-3. A few errors by KIng gave Nemtsova breathing room and she was able to catch her second wind and eventually won 10-6. The win gives her the ability to skip the 64 player qualifier , and directly play in the final 32 main event draw. Essentially, saving her 3 tough matches she won't have to play.
"When I was down 3-0 and then 4-1, I couldn't help but think I would lose. I said oh well, she's playing good. So after that I stopped caring and then was able to just play. Last year I lost in the first round of the 64 player qualifier, but this year I'm more fit and a much better player. And a bit taller, too!", explained Nemtsova.
Father Oleg very pleased with his daughter Stephanie's performance today.
"I've started back competing again to get my pro ranking back. This is my fourth event and I feel I've shaken off the rust. I enjoy the competition and just want to play more tennis", said King on her return to competitive pro level play. King earned a wild card spot into the 64 player field for her efforts. She will need to win 3 matches to qualify for the main event.
In the other side of the brackets, Ulyana Shirokova of Russia defeated Hilton Head Island, SC's Jacqueline Pelletier in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 to win the other wild card spot. She will join Nemtsova in the final 32 woman pro event March 13th in downtown Orlando Tennis Center.
"Over 20 countries are represented and we have over 200 women on the waiting list to get in. This is the only professional women's tournament in central Florida", explained Tom Sweitzer, the Director of the Orlando Tennis Center. Sweitzer is now in his 4th year of organizing the event and is the recipient of the OrlandoTennisNews.com Man of the Year Award which he will be honored by Mayor Buddy Dyer tomorrow.
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