Twenty-year-old American Sophie Chang captured her first USTA Pro Circuit title on Sunday in Orlando, joined in the winner’s circle by the doubles team of former U.S. Junior Fed Cup members Caty McNally and Whitney Osuigwe, capping an all-American ending to the $15,000 event at the USTA National Campus.
Chang, the No. 3 seed from Maryland, raised the USTA National Campus Pro Tennis Classic trophy after defeating No. 6-seeded Astra Sharma of Australia, a senior at Vanderbilt, 6-3, 7-6(6) in the final.
“So excited to have won my first pro singles title here at the Home of American Tennis,” Chang said afterwards. “Feeling ecstatic and very blessed, thank you to all who have helped me get through this week.”
Chang improved to 1-1 in career USTA Pro Circuit finals. She made her debut last April in the final at Jackson, Miss., falling to Austria’s Barbara Haas 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-4. In Orlando the No. 3 seed did not drop a set, en route to the final beating No. 7-seeded American Katerina Stewart, then upsetting No. 2 Chanel Simmonds of South Africa in the semifinals. Sharma gained the final by defeating No. 8-seeded American Jessica Pegula 6-4, 6-4 in her semifinal.
Sharma, the 22-year-old who competed in the Australian Open doubles field in January after winning a wild card tournament, dropped to 3-2 in career ITF/USTA Pro Circuit singles finals. She won titles in Egypt in 2015 and Romania and Austria in 2017, all at the $15,000 level. Her most recent appearance in a final had been last October at the $25,000 event in Toowoomba, Australia.
The American teens McNally and Osuigwe, runners-up in the Wimbledon girls’ doubles last year, in the final claimed their first USTA Pro Circuit title as a team. The No. 3 seeds in the championship match upset the top-seeded duo of Ilona Kremen of Belarus and Dia Evtimova of Bulgaria 6-2, 6-3.
The 15-year-old Osuigwe is transitioning onto the USTA Pro Circuit after last year ending the year as the No. 1-ranked player in the world on the ITF junior rankings. For the 16-year-old McNally it was a second career doubles title after last October winning at Hilton Head Island with British partner Emily Appleton.
Net Generation, the kid-friendly format making it easier for kids and their parents to learn about tennis and get into the game in schools, parks and tennis clubs was also featured at the event throughout the week. Through Net Generation, local children at USTA Pro Circuit tournaments and other events are given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in pre-match coin tosses, be a player escort prior to matches, or play tennis during on-court Net Generation demonstrations.
With approximately 90 tournaments hosted annually throughout the country and prize money ranging from $15,000-$100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. John Isner, Angelique Kerber, Sam Querrey, Sloane Stephens, Kei Nishikori, Victoria Azarenka and Andy Murray are among today’s top stars who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit.
For more info on the USTA Pro Circuit go to www.usta.com/en/home/pro/pro-tennis-events/ProCircuit.html.