The Oracle Pro Series made its way to the DFW Metroplex this weekend, with the women playing at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and the men at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. Although the site locations are just over an hour away from each other, fans at both tennis complexes were treated to a week of great tennis.
Oracle US Tennis Award recipient Jamie Loeb took the women’s title, defeating top-seeded Ukrainian Anhelina Kelinina in a back-and-forth match 6-0, 6-7(3), 6-0. The American didn’t face a game point in the first set, serving and returning flawlessly to win the first seven games of the match. Kelinina, however, stepped up her game in the second.
“She was a bit more aggressive in the second set,” said Loeb. “She put me on defense a bit more and I wasn’t able to control as much.”
But despite falling behind 2-5 and saving set points, Loeb rallied back to hold two match points at 6-5, 40-15 on her serve. Kalinina then won 11 of the final 14 points of the set to force a third. After a close first few games in the final set, Loeb again found her form to close it out.
“It was a sigh of relief,” said Loeb. “I had it in the second set – I had a couple match points and was right there. For me to run away with that third set and actually convert was really great.”
As an Oracle US Tennis Award recipient for 2019, Loeb received a $100,000 grant to help develop her tennis career.
“It has been a great opportunity – it has helped me throughout the year to travel and to have the right support team with. It takes a lot of pressure off, so I’m really fortunate to have received the Oracle Grant. They’ve done so much for me and other players and it’s great to see the success of other recipients, as well.”
Loeb fell in the doubles final on Saturday with partner Emily Appleton, 3-6, 4-6 to Olivia Tjandramulia and Marcela Zacarias.
On the men’s side in Fort Worth, Dutchman Jesper De Jong defeated No.3-seed Ryan Peniston 6-2, 6-0 in just over an hour.
“Everything went well for me today to be honest,” said De Jong. “I played the perfect match. I didn’t make many mistakes, and to win 6-2, 6-0 in the finals, you can’t ask for a better day. It’s a good feeling to win the Oracle Pro Series event, it’s my first M25 win and I would love to play in more of these.”
The doubles title went to the American Twin Tandem of Hunter and Yates Johnson, who incidentally played collegiately at SMU, the site of the women’s event. The duo defeated another American pair, Charlie Emhardt and Alfredo Perez, 6-2, 6-4.
“We came out strong with a couple breaks pretty quickly,” said Yates. “We took advantage of the breeze with great spin and placement on our serves. Before you know it, we were up 6-2.”
“We had to play the best tennis we could, like we had been doing all week, and it paid off,” added Hunter. “Oracle is doing a great job with the new Pro Series. They make the tournament much more professional, so being able to win one of these is great.”