Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

ODA's Dailey Begins Bid for Third Wild Card

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

ODA's Dailey Begins Bid for Third Wild Card

Article excerpt

Twice, Caroline Dailey took a swing at winning a spot in a women's professional tennis tournament by competing in a wild card event at The Oaks Club.

Both times, Dailey's efforts were rewarded, as she won the wild card tournament to earn a spot in a USTA Pro Circuit women's event.

Should Dailey win the wild card tournament a third time, perhaps they should simply rename the event the Sweet Caroline Invitational.

"That would be pretty cool," Dailey said with a laugh.

Dailey, a senior at Out-of-Door Academy in Sarasota, kicks off her latest run toward earning a wild card when The Oaks Club $50,000 Women's Professional Tennis Tournament Wild Card Event gets under way today in Osprey.

Dailey may be listed as the top seed, but her path to a third title appears to be much more difficult this time around.

What began as a local event with a limited field has turned into a tournament that has attracted several players ranked on the Women's Tennis Association computer.

A record 22 players signed up for the wild card event and eight of those have a world ranking.

"This event has ramped way up," tournament director Tom Whitten said. "It is ridiculous how strong this wild card event has become."

So strong that two of the players who signed up -- Maria Shiskina and Katerina Kramperova -- won't even play in the tournament today.

They both made the main draw of a USTA $10,000 tournament in Gainesville, with Kramperova, ranked No. 341, earning the No. 3 seed. Both won Wednesday and are now in the quarterfinals at that event.

Dailey said she will take the same approach as she did the past two years -- looking at the tournament as a chance to get some extra match-play and not focusing on winning the event.

"I try not to think too much about (winning a third time) because if I do that it probably won't happen," she said. "The last two years I was just looking for extra match-play and I ended up winning. I am hoping I can do the same this year.

"I am playing really well this year, so we will see what happens."

Unlike last year, Dailey is in the middle of the high school tennis season. A year ago she skipped the high school season to concentrate on playing tournament tennis while going through the college recruitment process.

Dailey signed in November to play next year at the University of South Carolina. With her college choice out of the way, Dailey decided to play her senior season at ODA.

Though Dailey lost in the first round of the main draw after reaching the USTA Pro Circuit event the past two years, the experience has helped her grow as a tennis player.

Two years ago she took Japan's Erika Sema, who was ranked No. 91 in the world at the time, to three sets before losing 4-6, 6-1, 7- 5. Last year she fell, 6-1, 6-2 to Coco Vandeweghe.

"It was a really good experience to play against girls ranked in the top 100 and see where my game stacks up, and seeing that it is not that far off," Dailey said. …

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