The week that was: Charleston delivers another to remember
There’s always a sense of anticipation that swirls around Daniel Island as the Credit One Charleston Open arrives. It travels across the grounds and doesn’t land until Sunday evening, when the trophy is once again hoisted – with countless stories told in between.
This past week has been no different, and has delivered a smattering of dramatic and compelling tennis in the lead-up to championship weekend, with 56 singles players and 16 doubles teams fighting for those coveted spots.
“Charleston is a nice place for us,” said 2017 champion Daria Kasatkina. “I love Charleston; the people who work here, the atmosphere, the city, everything… The green clay is between red clay and hard court, so it’s a very nice transition.”
With eight of the top 20 and four top 10 players here, the competition was set to be fierce from the start, and it proved just that.
The opening few days belonged to the Americans: Former champs Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens winning through, and home hope Shelby Rogers completing not one come-from-behind win but two, making the third round for the first time in six years.
“A lot of emotions for me – on and off the court,” the Mt. Pleasant native said after a third-round loss to Belinda Bencic. “Every time I come back I’m able to create so many new and special memories.”
We were introduced to new storylines: 19-year-old Diana Shnaider, a freshman at NC State, missed the Wolfpack’s showdown with UNC because she was busy… playing Paula Badosa for a spot in the Charleston quarters.
And we got to witness some of the ones we’ve been watching from afar: Victoria Azarenka making her first Lowcountry appearance in 13 years.
It’s Kasatkina, Bencic, Jessica Pegula and Ons Jabeur who have emerged as the final four, the first top four seeded players to do so in 23 years at the event — and for the first time in Charleston.
The doubles never disappoint, particularly at this venue. Fans packed Court 3 for Shelby’s match with Bethanie Mattek-Sands on Day 1 and didn’t stop supporting the doubles draw from there, with top seeds Giuliana Olmos and Ena Shibahara set to meet the American duo of Danielle Collins and Desirae Krawczyk for the trophy.
Whoever, in the end, does emerge as champions, this much is clear: It’s been a great week of women’s tennis.