Coweta Sports Digest
Pluskota reaches first pro singles final
Natalie Pluskota continued a busy month by playing in her first professional tennis final to close this year’s $10,000 Koser Jewelers USTA Pro Circuit Challenge in Landisville, Pa.
The one-time Northgate High star and four-time All-American at Tennessee succumbed to Russian Alisa Kleybanova, a one-time Top-20 player in the world making her second appearance after battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in a 6-3, 6-0 loss on Sunday.
“There were several times I hit an unbelievable shot,” Pluskota told the Intelligencer Journal paper, “and she just came up with something way better. You can’t do anything about that.”
Pluskota, who has won three pro doubles titles since completing an impressive collegiate career with the Lady Volunteers, played some of her best singles tennis of the year while advancing to the tournament finals.
The 23-year-old rallied past 17-year-old Brooke Austin in the semifinals with a 7-6(5), 6-1 victory in a match that was moved indoors due to weather. Pluskota trailed 2-1 and 4-2 before reeling off three consecutive games.
It was her fourth consecutive singles win, having defeated Canada’s Charlotte Petrick 6-1, 6-2, American Alexa Graham 6-0, 6-2 and Russian Nika Kukharchuk 6-2, 6-2, the latter in the quarterfinals.
Pluskota and doubles teammate Emily Harman, out of Syracuse University, reached the tournament semifinals, winning two matches in straight sets before falling in a marathon 7-6 (6), 6-7 (8), 11-13 decision to a team of Austin and Aussie Brooke Rischbieth.
Up next are back-to-back $25,000 USTA tournaments in El Paso and Las Cruces, N.M., starting this weekend.
She was coming off tournaments in Raleigh, N.C. and Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., over the last two months.
SUMMIT YMCA TENNIS TEAM WINS USTA SOUTHERN CRESCENT 18-under Division: The Summit YMCA “Morris” Tennis team recently finished its spring season with a 7-2 record to finish first in the 18-under Intermediate division of the Southern Crescent Tennis Association.
The team advanced to the upcoming USTA Junior Team Tennis Championships for Georgia set for July in Macon for the third straight year.
MERRIMAN HELPS USTA ATLANTA MEN WIN SUPER SENIOR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: Sharpsburg’s Robin Merriman helped a men’s team from Atlanta representing the USTA Southern Section capture a national title at last month’s 9.0 Super Senior National Championships, held at the Surprise (Ariz.) Tennis and Racquet Complex.
The team, captained by Hugh Thompson, also featured players Stephen Duffel, Tom Smith, Dale Quigley, Roger Pierce, Marty Pearson and Larry Saheim. The group plays out of the Northeast Georgia Tennis Center.