CARLSBAD – Zoe Scandalis, the 17-year-old tennis talent, advanced in her first qualifying match at the Mercury Insurance Open tournament Saturday, winning 7-5, 6-1 against her opponent Kai-Chen Chang of Taipei on the stadium court in a match that lasted 1 hour 46 minutes.
Scandalis, a recent graduate of San Pasqual High School, admitted to some early nerves but said that it was mostly excitement she was feeling as she took to the court, playing in front of family and friends.
Scandalis showed an aggressive offense early against Chang, her serve reaching 114 mph at times. She knew she had to play good defense going into the game against Chang; the two had never played against one another before.
A key moment in the match came when Scandalis fell behind one game in the first set after holding a lead through most of the first half of the match. She had had a three breakpoint advantage before Chang came back evening the set to Deuce. Scandalis took the match on a double fault service by Chang.
“That was so sick,” she said. “You get so close, a lot of these players get so close but they can’t close it out.”
Scandalis said she was returning serve really well and playing really good defense. “(Chang) has a pretty big, flat ball…so I knew I had to play defense and spring into offense and my serve was doing pretty well, too.”
She appeared fully in control by the start of the second set.
This is the second time that she has played in a qualifying match, the first being the Pilot Pen tournament last year in New Haven.
“I played this type of event one other time and I was extremely nervous and I made my nerves be a bigger part of the match than my excitement, and this time I was just so ridiculously excited,” she said.
Scandalis added that the weather wasn’t a factor during the match, and that the humidity didn’t affect her at all.
Scandalis will either play Klaudia Jans-Ignacik or Julia Boserup for her next match July 31.
For full schedules and scores visit mercuryinsuranceopen.com.