July 23rd, 2018
Florida’s Kenin Beats Gibbs in All-American Berkeley USTA Pro Circuit Final
Florida’s Sofia Kenin (Pembroke Pines) defeated Nicole Gibbs (Los Angeles) 6-0, 6-4 in the all-American final at the $60,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Berkeley, Calif., played Sunday at the Berkeley Tennis Club. Kenin was the defending champion, winning the singles and doubles titles last year.
The top-seeded teenager did not drop a set throughout the week, en route to the final defeating Japanese qualified Haryna Arakawa, American Emina Bektas, No. 8-seeded Japanese Mayo Hibi, and No. 3-seeded Japanese Nao Hibini.
The 19-year-old Kenin has played mostly at the WTA tour level in 2018 after cracking the Top 100 for the first time, announcing her intentions in her first tournament of the year at the WTA stop in Auckland where she advanced to the quarterfinals before narrowly losing to top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Last month she had her breakout event at the WTA stop in Mallorca on grass courts, upsetting top-seeded and Top 10-ranked Caroline Garcia en route to the semifinals.
Kenin improved to 4-4 in career USTA Pro Circuit finals, her first appearance in a final since losing to fellow American Grace Min in Lexington, Ky., in August of last year. She rose to No. 65 on the WTA rankings, one position shy of her career-high No. 64.
The No. 2-seeded Gibbs is also on the upswing since cracking the Top 75 on the WTA rankings in 2016 then struggling with various injuries. She likewise did not lose a set until the final, beating Serb Jovana Jaksic, American Maria Sanchez, No. 5-seeded American and former NCAA champion Jamie Loeb and American Ashley Kratzer.
Appearing in her first USTA Pro Circuit final since July of last year, the 25-year-old Gibbs drops to 5-8 career in finals, and rises to No. 111 on the WTA rankings.
Gibbs and fellow American Asia Muhammad won the doubles title as an unseeded pairing, in the final defeating top-seeded Ellen Perez of Australia and American Sabrina Santamaria 6-4, 6-1.
With more than 90 tournaments hosted annually throughout the country and prize money ranging from $15,000-$125,000, 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. Andy Murray, Maria Sharapova, John Isner, Sloane Stephens, Kei Nishikori, Victoria Azarenka, and Sam Querrey and are among today’s top stars who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit.
For more info go to www.procircuit.usta.com.