NORCROSS, Ga. December 17, 2011 Semifinal matches wrapped up Saturday’s play in the 2011 Kia Motors USTA Australian Open Wild Card Playoff taking place at Racquet Club of the South. Madison Keys, Gail Brodsky, Robby Ginepri and Jesse Levine all punched holes in finals tickets. Each trying to earn wildcard spots in the year’s first slam event -2012 Australian Open.
Keys, who claims dibs on the youngest player to ever compete in World Team Tennis, knocked out opponent, Alison Riske(No 2 seed) in three sets, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Keys began the match hitting balls right to Riske’s strike zone. “She likes balls that are lower around her waist,” said the 16-year old teenager. But then Keys made adjustments. She put more spin and height on the ball during the second and third sets. The strategy worked to her advantage.
In addition, Keys gave Riske’s backhand a workout. “I was having problems with my footwork,” said Riske, “and getting adjusted.”
Riske, currently 136 on the WTA, tour heads to New Zealand on the 26th. “I want to keep improving,” she said. “I want o (keep) enjoying the competition.”
Gail Brodsky, No. 5 seed, took out No 1 seed, Coco Vandeweghe 6-3, 3-6, 9-7. Brodsky, who’s been training at the Billie Jean King tennis Center in flushing, New York recently completed a rigorous five-week pre-season training session. “It was hard core fitness,” Brodsky said whose body has undergone noticeable physical changes due to the regiment.
In men’s action, the number two seeded player, Jesse Levine defeated Denis Kudla, No. 3 seed in straight sets, 7-5, 6- 2.
Levine’s start was slow. “I had a few break points,” he said, “but couldn’t convert.”
“Denis is a great player,” Levine said. “I expect great things from him.”
Robby Ginepri took care of business beating Rhyne Williams in two sets 7-5, 6-2. “It was a big revenge win for me,” Ginepri said. Williams beat Ginepri in straight sets several months earlier at the Aptos Challenger. “He’s a talented player,” Ginepri said. “He goes through steaks where he is unbelievable. Ginepri knew if he could weather Williams’ hot streaks he’d be okay. “I felt like he used the chip shot to neutralize my balls,” Ginepri said. “I just had to stay patient and wait for my opportunities.”
Saturday’s Semifinal Scores
WOMEN- No. 5 Gail Brodsky (Brooklyn, N.Y.) def. No. 1 Coco Vandeweghe (Newport Beach, Calif.), 6-3, 3-6, 9-7No. 6
Madison Keys (Boca Raton, Fla.) def. No. 2 Alison Riske (McMurray, Pa.), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1
MEN – No. 4 Robby Ginepri (Kennesaw, Ga.) def. No. 8 Rhyne Williams (Knoxville, Tenn.), 7-5, 6-2
No. 2 Jesse Levine (Boca Raton, Fla.) def. No. 3 Denis Kudla (Arlington, Va.), 7-5, 6-2