Court Report: With Stephens 'sidelined,' favorites roll in Charleston

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Each day on TENNIS.com, we’ll feature Tennis Channel’s Court Report, a rundown of the day that was in the sport—along with our thoughts on what’s happening on the courts around the world.

With the South Carolina Gamecocks’ championship-game victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Sunday, the Palmetto State is the women’s basketball capital of the United States. This week, it’s also the women’s tennis capital of the U.S., with Charleston hosting the Volvo Car Open (formerly the Family Circle Cup) for the 35th consecutive year.

There will be a new champion this year, as defending champion Sloane Stephens remains sidelined after undergoing foot surgery. (She’s aiming to return by Wimbledon.) But “sidelined” is a relative term for Stephens, who will still feature prominently at the tournament as a reporter for Tennis Channel. The 24-year-old is laying the groundwork for a future career, even if her current career is on hiatus.

What Stephens and the fans in Charleston saw yesterday, aside from some inclement weather, was the favorites taking care of business. Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig advanced via retirement while leading 4-1 in the third set, Jelena Jankovic and Andrea Petkovic went through in straight sets, and Alison Riske topped fellow American Kayla Day—a promising youngster, as we’ve seen in this young season—7-5, 4-6, 6-0.

On Tuesday, assuming the weather cooperates, Americans Lauren Davis, South Carolina native Shelby Rogers, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Varvara Lepchenko will all compete on Billie Jean King Stadium Court. The day’s play will be highlighted by the last match, pitting two former Charleston champions, Jankovic and Sam Stosur, against one another. That’s something to chew on.


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