‘The Charleston bounce’: What Lowcountry success can do for career confidence
“Everything starts here,” Ons Jabeur, the world No. 5, said with a smile on her face. “My season starts in Charleston.”
You can’t blame Jabeur, who was just 4-4 this season when she arrived at the Credit One Charleston Open, for basking in the good vibes of Lowcountry, where she advanced to the final a year ago, finishing as runner-up.
While the Southern charm is felt across the player field each year, there is something about an inspiring run here that can jumpstart a career, and our 2023 quarterfinal line-up is a testament to that.
Jabeur made her way to both the Wimbledon and US Open championship matches in the months following her run here last year.
Do we call it the Charleston bounce?
“For me it was the start,” said Paula Badosa about her run here in 2021, when she beat both Belinda Bencic and then-world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty on her way to the semifinals. “Because from there I went up in my career. Charleston was the start of everything; that’s why I love this place.”
A “bounce” can come from a variety of factors. For Badosa it was her first Top 20 (Bencic) and then No. 1 (Barty) wins when she was ranked world No. 71, and for fellow quarterfinalist Daria Kasatkina it was her run to the title in 2017 at age 19. She’s won five more trophies since.
“I have a feeling of comfort here,” Kasatkina said. “It’s different.”
For Jessica Pegula, the top seed here this year, it wasn’t a major breakthrough of any sorts in Charleston, but more little moments of belief. Like when she beat eventual Grand Slam champion Garbiñe Muguruza here in the first round in 2013.
A year later, in 2014, a 17-year-old Swiss up-and-comer named Belinda Bencic made the semifinals as a qualifier. Later that year she would become the youngest US Open semifinalist in nearly 20 years.
“It’s just so nice to see how far I’ve come in these years,” said Bencic, who is now the defending champion. “It’s not just a tournament for me.”
Can 2023 spur something bigger for any of the remaining eight? Only time will tell… just how bouncy the bounce is, in fact.
Sun’s out, time to smile 😃@paulabadosa ☀️ #CharlestonOpen pic.twitter.com/RCI0QrPLTB
— Credit One Charleston Open (@CharlestonOpen) April 6, 2023
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