Alexa Glatch (Photo by Craig Glover)
By Steve Pratt
LAS VEGAS, Nev., (Sept. 30, 2011) – Get ready for a battle in the first semifinal of the third annual Lexus of Las Vegas on Saturday. Top-seeded Italian Romina Oprandi knows she’ll be in for one.
Oprandi beat University of Florida junior and USTA Vegas wild card Allie Will in the quarterfinals on Friday, 7-6 (6), 6-1, to advance to the semifinals at the third annual event, a $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit event, taking place at the Red Rock Country Club in Summerlin.
Oprandi meets Japan’s Kurmuri Nara ion Saturday in a rematch of their second-round qualifying match at the recent US Open which Oprandi eventually won in a three and a half hour battle. Oprandi went on to qualify for the Open and won a main-draw round at the year’s final Grand Slam in New York City.
The Open was the first tournament back for Oprandi since breaking her hand after slipping at a grass court event a week before Wimbledon that put her in a cast for eight weeks.
Oprandi was impressed with the play of Will. “She was playing me very differently in the first set, doing a good job slicing and hitting a lot of looping, high balls to my forehand,” she said. “She moves very well and I had many chances at 4-3 in the first set with many break chances but she hung in there. It was important for me to win the tiebreaker. In the second set I just stepped forward a little bit and was able to return a lot better.”
In the other semifinal, Alexa Glatch of the U.S. will face unseeded Russian Regina Kulikova. Glatch put on a powerful display dispatching wild-card Maria Sanchez, 6-1, 6-1.
Oprandi said there’s not a lot of pressure on her being the top-seeded player. “There’s no pressure on my being the top seed because next week I know I won’t be so it doesn’t really matter,” she said.
The unseeded Nara played a solid match in her quarterfinal win over No. 8 seed Jamie Hampton of Auburn, Ala., 6-1, 6-4. “I just tried to be consistent,” said Nara, who had lost both her previous meetings against Hampton. “I knew she had the power but I just tried to stay in there and keep up with her power.”
The day was ended early by rain as the second semifinal doubles match was put off until Saturday at 11 a.m., with Varvara Lepchenko and Melanie Oudin of the U.S. leading fellow American’s Macall Harkins and Ahsha Rolle, 6-4, 3-0.
In the other doubles semifinal that was completed, Glatch and Mashona Washington beat Sanchez and Yasmin Schnack, 3-6, 7-5, 10-8.
Follow on Twitter for live results at @lvprocircuit. Also, visit the tournament website at: www.lexuslvopen.com.
The Lexus of Las Vegas sponsors include: Lexus of Las Vegas (title), Nevada Orthopedic and Spine Center (presenting), Gold sponsors: Neil Fineman Executive Wealth Strategies, Hand Surgery Specialists of Nevada, Cox Communications, Marquis and Aurbach Attorneys at Law, AceBuilder, San Pelligrino, Acqua Panna and Perrier water; Silver sponsors: USTA Nevada, IMI Marketing, 10sBalls.com, Galen Schutt Attorney At Law, New Belgium Brewery, Ryan Wolfington and American Printing. The tournament is powered by CourtThink and Agent Atleta.
Friday’s quarterfinal Singles Scores
(wc: wild card; q: qualifier)
Kurumi Nara, Japan, def. Jamie Hampton (8), U.S., 6-1, 6-4
Regina Kulikova, Russia def. Anna Tatishvili (2), Georgia, 6-3, 7-5
Alexa Glatch, U.S., def. Maria Sanchez (wc), U.S., 6-1, 6-1
Romina Oprandi (1), Italy def. Allie Will (wc), U.S., 7-6 (6), 6-1
Friday’s Semifinal Doubles Scores
Alexa Glatch, U.S.-Mashona Washington (3), U.S., def. Maria Sanchez, U.S.-Yasmin Schnack, U.S., 3-6, 7-5, 10-8
Varvara Lepchenko, U.S.-Melanie Oudin, U.S., lead Macall Harkins, U.S.-Ahsha Rolle, U.S., 6-4, 3-0 (match to be completed Saturday at 11 a.m.)
Saturday’s Schedule of Play
Stadium Court starting at 11 a.m.
Resumption of Lepchenko-Oudin vs. Harkins-Rolle doubles semifinal
Not before Noon: Romina Oprandi (1), Italy, vs. Kurumi Nara, Japan
Not before 2 p.m.: Regina Kulikova, Russia, vs. Alexa Glatch, U.S.