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Ashley Harkleroad Starts New Year With Great Showing at Midland

February 11, 2008 10:07 AM
Top seed Ashley Harkleroad from Rossville, GA advanced to the final at the Dow Corning Tennis Classic, a $75,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Midland, Michigan, before being eliminated by the No. 2 seed, Laura Granville in straight sets.

In doubles, unseeded Harkleroad and partner, Shenay Perry had a phenomenal run, making it to the finals. They knocked off the No. 2 seeds in the first round and the No. 4 seeds in the semi-finals, before coming up with a big win in the finals over the No. 3 seeds, Surina De Beer and Rika Fujiwara, 3-6, 6-4, (10-6).

The Dow Corning Tennis Classic, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is the longest consecutive running women’s event on the USTA Pro Circuit and attracts more than 15,000 fans each year. In 1989, the tournament began at the $25,000 level and, in 1996, became one of five USTA Pro Circuit tournaments to raise its prize money as part of the “Women’s $50,000 Challenger Series.” Three years later in 1999, prize money was raised again, this time to $75,000, the highest amount awarded by any one USTA Pro Circuit women’s event. The USTA Pro Circuit is the gateway to tennis stardom and the Dow Corning Tennis Classic has seen Grand Slam champions such as Maria Sharapova and Justine Henin pass through its historic courts. The tournament offers a variety of daily interactive events that reach out to community members at many different ages and skill levels.

The USTA Pro Circuit features 94 tournaments throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed on the USTA Pro Circuit for approximately $3.2 million in prize money and valuable ATP and WTA Tour ranking points. Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick, James Blake, Justine Henin, Nicole Vaidisova, Andy Murray and David Nalbandian are among today’s top stars that began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit. The USTA Pro Circuit is world-class tennis administered on the local level and played on local tennis courts as part of the fabric of communities nationwide -- an opportunity for current and new fans to experience the excitement and intensity of the professional game in their neighborhood.




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