2011 U.S. OPEN NATIONAL PLAYOFFS: Blake Strode, Mashona Washington and Robin Anderson Into Semifinals
Saturday, August 20, 2011
L-R Mashona Washington, USA, Blake Strode, USA and Robin Anderson, USA
Defending US Open National Playoffs men's champion Blake Strode continued to dominate, advancing to the semifinals with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Tony Larson. Also reaching the semifinals were No. 2 David Martin, No. 4 Damon Gooch and Nathan Healey.
“The rallies were much longer today than in my first match yesterday,” said Strode. “He was hitting the ball really well and came out swinging from the first point. I was just able to hang in the rallies and come out on top for the most part.”
Strode has been in dominant form as of late, having dropped just four games in his two matches so far at the event. He also won his second USTA Pro Circuit singles title last week at a $10,000 event in Edwardsville, Ill., advancing through the draw without losing a set. Since winning the wild card into last year’s US Open Qualifying Tournament, he has climbed nearly 200 spots in the rankings to his current standing of No. 447.
“I think I’m doing almost everything better on the court than 12 months ago,” said Strode. “My forehand has more speed on it and my backhand has improved quite a bit. I’m happy with how things have progressed.”
Mashona Washington took a step closer to returning to the US Open on Day 2 of the US Open National Playoffs Men's and Women's Championships.
Washington's semifinal will pit her against No. 2 seed Yasmin Schnack, she beat No. 4 seed Amanda McDowell in straight sets. Washington is the only player remaining to have ever competed in the US Open with 13 previous appearances dating back to 1994, the most recent coming in the women’s doubles event in 2009.
Robin Anderson, who will be heading to UCLA this fall for her freshman year, continued her Cinderella run through the tournament after upsetting No. 1 seed Marie-Eve Pelletier in her first round match yesterday, putting on a clinic of counterpunching tennis as she dispatched Sylvia Kosakowski 6-3, 6-2.
“I’m just trying to view every opponent as equal out there and just play as well as I possibly can,” said Anderson. “I’m not thinking too much further than what’s in front of me.”