May 21st, 2019

Florida’s Katerina Stewart Wins USTA Pro Circuit Naples Title

USTA Pro Circuit

Coral Gables’ Katerina Stewart, competing in her first event of the year, won the $15,000 Sanchez-Casal Florida Sponsored by Germain BMW of Naples tournament, in the singles championship defeating top seed and former University of Florida standout Belinda Woolcock of Australia 6-4, 6-3 in Naples, Fla.

For the No. 2-seeded Stewart it was a first USTA Pro Circuit/ITF World Tennis Tour title since March of last year. The 21-year-old Stewart did not face a seeded player until the final and did not drop a set throughout the week.

She improved to 11-3 in career pro circuit finals, winning her last six dating to 2015.

Stewart in 2016 left the pro circuit to enroll at the United States Military Academy at West Point, then left the military at the end of 2017 to again pursue professional tennis.

“My team and I are putting together a good plan,” she said at the time. “We are taking things slow, and we are not rushing anything,” she told Lancaster Online. “I see things different now than what I did before. Maybe I put too much pressure on myself before.”

The 24-year-old Woolcock, the 2017 NCAA singles finalist for UF, likewise did not face a seeded player until the final and rolled through the draw to the final without dropping a set. She fell to 1-2 in career finals after winning her first title in January in Burnie, Australia.

Woolcock captured the doubles title with former Purdue player Mara Schmidt. In the final the No. 2 seeds defeated unseeded 14-year-old Reese Brantmeier and 16-year-old Kimmi Hance 6-3, 5-7, 10-6. A wild card team, Brantmeier/Hance toppled the No. 4 and No. 1 seeds en route to the final, winning two matches in third-set super-tiebreaks.

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