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Awards & Achievements, May 2013

May 23, 2013 03:30 PM
Natalie Pluskota
Shelby Rogers has risen to No. 71 in the world.
Harlon Matthews runs a wheelchair clinic
Southern players and organizations are constantly making their mark in the world of tennis. Here's a list of recent awards, achievements and news in May 2013.
Pluskota Reaches Koser Jewelers Final
By Matt Hacker/USTA Southern
Sharpsburg, Georgia native – Natalie Pluskota – had an impressive showing in this year’s $10,000 Koser Jewelers USTA Pro Circuit Challenge in Landisville, Pennsylvania. With an exciting run to the singles finals, Pluskota came up short to Russia’s Alisa Kleybanova in a 6-3, 6-0 loss. Back in 2011, Kleybanova attained a Top-20 world ranking.
Pluskota was a four-time ITA All-American for the Tennessee Volunteers, and has since captured three pro doubles titles. She was also the winner of last year’s U.S. Open National Playoff Southern Sectional Qualifying Tournament singles draw. Pluskota has been playing some of her best tennis of the year recently, and will look to capitalize on her play as the year progresses. 
Rogers Claims USTA French Open Wild Card
USTA Player Development announced that Shelby Rogers, 20, of Charleston, S.C., has earned a main draw wild card into the 2013 French Open by winning the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge. The USTA awarded one women’s singles main draw wild card into the French Open to an American player based on her results on the USTA Pro Circuit. The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2013 French and US Opens are exchanged.
The winner of the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge was determined by the player who accumulated the greatest number of WTA ranking points at two of three USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 clay-court events: the Dothan Pro Classic in Dothan, Ala., the Boyd Tinsley Clay Court Classic in Charlottesville, Va., and the Audi Melbourne Pro Tennis Classic in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla.
Rogers rose to the top of the standings by winning the Charlottesville title, reaching the quarterfinals in Dothan and the round of 16 in Indian Harbour Beach. Rogers clinched the wild card on Saturday when Alison Riske, the only player who could have overtaken Rogers, by winning the Indian Harbour Beach title, lost in the semifinals.
After her title in Charlottesville, Rogers, who trains at the USTA National Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., is currently ranked a career-high No. 190. Rogers claimed one additional singles title on the USTA Pro Circuit in 2012, beating US Open junior girls’ champion Samantha Crawford in the final of the $50,000 event in Yakima, Wash. Despite missing much of the spring and summer of 2011 due to injury, Rogers managed to reach the quarterfinals at three USTA Pro Circuit events that year. As a junior player, she won the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championship to earn a wild card into the main draw of the 2010 US Open for her only appearance in a Grand Slam main draw.
Matthews honored by PTR
Harlon Matthews, of McDonough, Ga., has been named PTR Wheelchair Professional of the Year. This award is presented to a PTR wheelchair teaching professional who has demonstrated exceptional efforts to grow the sport of wheelchair tennis.
Matthews serves on the USTA Southern Wheelchair Subcommittee. He is the Chair of the USTA Georgia Wheelchair Tennis Committee, and assisted in creation of Grand Prix Georgia Wheelchair Tennis Series, a tournament that received the 2012 USTA Georgia Wheelchair Event of the Year Award. He is the Tournament Director of The Geranium Festival, a wheelchair event in McDonough. He is a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist for Henry County Parks and Recreation.  
A PTR?Wheelchair Tennis Clinician, Matthews is also a fierce competitor on the court. He is in the Top 10 USTA?Wheelchair Men’s A division, and competes in USTA, ALTA and Visionary Tennis Leagues with and against able-bodied opponents. In 2007, he was the first instructor using a wheelchair to serve an on court tennis teaching internship with Van Der Meer Tennis Academy on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Sandgren wins doubles crown
In doubles at the Tallahassee Tennis Challenger, a $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit event., the No. 1 seeds Tennys Sandgrenm, of Gallatin, Tenn, and Austin Krajicek stayed true to their ranking with a well-earned 1-6, 6-2, 10-8 victory over Greg Jones of Australia and Canadian Peter Polansky.



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