Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Vandeweghe Hits Stride

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Vandeweghe Hits Stride

Article excerpt

OSPREY

OAKS CLUB: Qualifying matches help her win opening round easily

There remains a lot of matches to play before any celebrations begin, but Coco Vandeweghe has already had a productive week of tennis.

Starting Sunday, Vandeweghe won three qualifying matches in three days just to get into the main draw of The 2012 Oaks Club $50,000 Pro Circuit Event being held here this week.

On Wednesday, she powered past local favorite Caroline Dailey 6- 1, 6-2 in her opening round of the main draw of the women's professional tournament at The Oaks Club. The win sets up a meeting today with third-seeded Alexandra Panova.

Is it too early to be going coo coo for Coco?

The 6-foot-1 big-hitting blonde won the U.S. Open junior title in 2008 without losing a set after getting into the tournament on a wild card but has struggled to advance to the top echelon as a pro.

"It's a very tough tournament here," Vandeweghe said. Ranked No. 169 in the world, she didn't expect to have to grind through qualifying to get a shot at winning a tournament title.

Making the best out of the situation, Vandeweghe said her run through qualifying helped against Dailey, a player she knew nothing about ... except that the 17-year old Out-of-Door student had a large contingent of fans to cheer her on.

"When you win (in qualifying) you already have those three under your belt," Vandeweghe said. "You go into the main draw and play somebody who hasn't had a match, I think that helps."

Also helping Vandeweghe is her latest coach, Jan-Michael Gambill, a former professional player who reached a ranking of No. 14 in the world on the men's tour.

The two have been friends for a long time but started to work together prior to the U.S. Open last fall. After the Open, Vandeweghe asked Gambill to officially become her coach, telling him, "I don't have anyone else I would rather trust than you."

Vandeweghe comes from an athletic background.

Her mother, Tauna, represented the U.S. at the Olympic Games in swimming (1976) and volleyball (1984). …

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