Veterans, Rising Stars Make Run at Volvo Car Open Weekend

And then there were eight.

The singles draw has been a survival of the fittest this week at the Volvo Car Open, and a crop of tried veterans and rising WTA stars arrive for what will be an intriguing final weekend for Charleston tennis fans.

MORE: Friday’s Schedule | Updated Draws | Tickets | Thursday Wrap-Up  

Defending champion Andrea Petkovic is the top remaining player, the No. 3 seed going up against a 20-year-old qualifier named Danka Kovinic. Kovinic received a walkover into the quarterfinals when 2007 champion Jelena Jankovic withdrew due to a bum right foot.

It won’t be easy for Petko: Kovinic is a rising star on the WTA and has had a banner week, beating seed Belinda Bencic and talking about idolizing Jankovic as a youngster. While she didn’t get to battle the Serb, she could go toe to toe with the Cup’s defending champ.

Petkovic is due on court fourth during the day session, while No. 7 seed Madison Keys and compatriot Lauren Davis are set for the second match on Billie Jean King Stadium Court in an all-American battle that will be featured on ESPN2.

Keys and Davis, just a year apart, are former training partners and known one another’s games well.

“She’s been playing really well,” said Keys, 20, of Davis. “She’s always a tough player. I would think clay is probably one of her better surfaces, so it’ll be a tough match. Always hard playing someone you used to train with and know very well, but we’ll see how it goes.”

Davis is flying high: She stunned No. 1 seed Genie Bouchard earlier in the week and followed that up with a win over Mona Barthel Thursday.

No. 4 Sara Errani plays between Keys-Davis and Petkovic-Kovinic, the Italian former French Open runner-up battling Lucie Hradecka, a veteran who has worked her way through the draw this week as a qualifier.

Friday’s night session features plenty of star power, with former world No. 1 Martina Hingis pairing up with Sania Mirza in doubles in the evening’s second match. No. 5 seed Angelique Kerber opens the night session, the two-time Grand Slam semifinalist taking on No. 13 seed Irina-Camelia Begu.

Petkovic, back in the city where she played stand-out tennis a year ago, says she’s finding a balance on the court that is helping her achieve her best. Her first two matches were rather challenging. 

“I just play tennis and I try to be successful,” the world No. 10 said about her approach. “I think you need to have the balance in order to be really, really relaxed and have a great attitude on court and be really positive.”

She’ll be positively happy should she win another match on Friday. Will it be a day for her and the experienced seeds? Or do the rising stars spring me upsets?

Let’s just wait and see how the (tennis) day plays out.