The DME Sports Women’s Pro Tennis Championships narrowly missed out on a first American winner when Orlando’s 23-year-old Grace Min fell to top seed and defending champion Anhelina Kalinina of the Ukraine 1-6, 7-5, 6-0 in the final of the USTA Pro Circuit event in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The 20-year-old Kalinina has yet to lose a singles match in Daytona, last year beating American Ellie Halbauer in the final.
“I started the match very bad, making a lot of unforced errors and Grace was playing so strong and moving so well around the court,” said Kalinina of the 1-6 first set loss in chilly conditions. “The conditions were really tough — but I was just trying to focus on my game, do my shots, and hit my game. Then a few balls started going the right way. I think this is a very good beginning of the year. I am so happy I could win every match this week, and I am really happy I could come back and win.”
Kalinina in the semifinals needed three sets to get by qualifier Anna Danilina of the University of Florida. Min in the second round upset No. 2 seed Ulrikke Eikeri 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(1), and in her semifinal eased past wild card Alexandra Perper 6-4, 6-1.
Min fell to 9-8 in career USTA Pro Circuit finals and was looking to win her first title since August 2017 at Lexington, Ky., where she beat fellow American Sofia Kenin in the final.
“I played about as well as I could in the first set, mixing up my shots, coming in when I needed to and playing aggressively,” Min said. “In the second set, she really raised her level and we had a really tight second set and then she ran away with the third.”
It was Kalinina’s fourth consecutive win in a ITF/USTA Pro Circuit final after going 3-0 last year in finals at Daytona Beach, Wesley Chapel (Fla.), and Darmstadt (Germany). She improved to 7-5 in career finals.
In the doubles championship the No. 2-seeded team of American Usue Maitane Arconada and Chile’s Alexa Guarachi defeated Norway’s Ulrikke Eikeri and Belarus’ Ilona Kremen 6-3 6-4.
Former Daytona Beach singles and doubles champs:
2018 — Anhelina Kalinina (UKR), Usue Maitane Arconada (USA)/Alexa Guarachi (CHI)
2017 — Anhelina Kalinina (UKR), Robin Anderson (USA)/Anhelina Kalinina (UKR)
2016 — Ons Jabeur (TUN), Natela Dzalamidze/Veronika Kudermetova (RUS)
2015 — Darya Kasatkina (RUS), Jan Abaza/Sanaz Marand (USA)
2014 — Anna Tatishvili (GEO), Nicole Melichar (USA)/Teodora Mircic (SRB)
The DME Sports Women’s Pro Tennis Championships was the first USTA Pro Circuit women’s event of 2018 and the first of three consecutive $25,000 claycourt women’s events to kick off the season, all in Florida. Players head to Orlando next week for the USTA National Campus Pro Tennis Classic.
For more info go to www.usta.com/en/home/pro/pro-tennis-events/ProCircuit.html.