Day 3 preview: Top seed Pegula returns to Carolina roots; Rogers, Bencic feature in evening
There is only one problem that tennis fans face on Wednesday at the Credit One Charleston Open: You can’t be in two places at once.
Eighteen matches are set on a wall-to-wall schedule, which is capped by a double-feature evening session beginning with Mt. Pleasant native Shelby Rogers taking on fellow American Caty McNally, followed by defending champion Belinda Bencic opening her 2023 campaign here against Katherine Sebov.
Someone pass the popcorn, please.
The day begins in earnest on Credit One Stadium with former world No. 2 Paula Badosa of Spain taking on Canadian youngster Leylah Fernandez, the 2021 US Open runner-up in what is their third meeting (2-0, Badosa).
2019 Charleston winner Madison Keys meets up-and-coming American Hailey Baptiste, before top seed Jessica Pegula, who grew up on Hilton Head Island, takes to the court against Anna Blinkova.
“Hilton Head is where I really learned how to play tennis,” Pegula said on Tuesday after she arrived from Miami, where she made the semifinals in singles and captured the doubles title with Coco Gauff. “I have a lot of ties down here [in this area].”
One of those ties includes spending time training on Daniel Island from 2013-15 as she struggled through injuries and a stop-and-start attempt at establishing herself on the WTA.
It would take until 2019 for Pegula to break into the Top 100.
“I feel like two different people,” Pegula said of the time she trained here to now. “I was going through an interesting phase, dealing with a hip injury, knee surgery. That was a much different Jessie. I’m much more confident now, but I definitely learned a lot in those couple of years I was here training, living on my own.”
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In total, four former champions are in action Wednesday, with Bencic and Keys joined by No. 3 seed Daria Kasatkina (first match on Althea Gibson Club Court vs. Madison Brengle), and No. 5 Veronika Kudermetova (first on Court 3 vs. Diana Shnaider).
American Caroline Dolehide, who took out another former champ in Sabine Lisicki in the opening round, meets Czech teen Linda Fruhvirtova in the second match on Club Court.
Doubles fans can glance Fernandez and her partner, lefty Taylor Townsend, in the final match on Court 3, the duo fresh off a run to the Miami championship match.
Order of Play (Wednesday Apr 5) 🗓️
— Credit One Charleston Open (@CharlestonOpen) April 4, 2023