7th seed Katie McNally continued her recent climb to lift her first WTA 125 Cup at the Dow Tennis Classic, defeating Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-3, 6-2 in the 1 hour 20 minute final.
McNally, 20, reclaimed a title she had previously won at the age of 18 and was the 2019 Midland champion, defeating Jessica Pegula in the final, when the tournament was an ITF W100 event.
The 111th-ranked American has won 15 of her 18 matches since the US Open, including reaching her first WTA 500 quarter-final in Ostrava – a string of results that will enable her to debut in the top 100 on Monday. . McNally previously reached No. 105 in September 2019, but in the following years, her success in the doubles outweighed the advancement of the singles. Last year, McNally reached her first major doubles final at the US Open alongside Coco Gauff, but her singles ranking dropped to No. 229 last June.
After stopping early in the final, McNally’s superb net skills were on full display as she beat Friedsam from the front yard. A superb heavy jab gave her the first half 5-3 in the first set; An impressive set of drop passes put her 5-2 double breaks per second. Overall, McNally landed 79% of her first serve, winning 71% of the points behind her.
McNally only lost one set over the course of the week, and needed to come 3-0 down in the third set to beat Sofia Kenin 6-3, 0-6, 6-4 in the quarter-finals. She hasn’t lost more than five matches in any of her other four matches, including a 6-3 6-1 first-round victory over doubles partner Alicia Parks at one point.
Former world number 45 Friedsam also dropped out of the top 200 earlier this year, but a semi-final round in Portoroz two months ago – where the German was Annoyed former US Open champion Emma Raducano – He indicated her reappearance. This week Friedsam, 28, didn’t drop a set en route to the final, including a 6-3 6-3 defeat of No. 5 seed Camila Osorio in the quarterfinals, 6-4 6-2 to Ann Lee. in the semi-finals.
She was a two-time runner-up at the Tour level, and this was also Friedsam’s third WTA 125 final – but she couldn’t add to Suzhou 2014, her only title at this level.
Kenin keeps coming back and takes out defending champion Pringle
Kenin, the former Australian Open champion, compiled a meager 4-13 Tour record over the course of the 2022 injury, dropping to No. 253 in the rankings from top No. 4. But the American shape is on the rise after dropping to a level in the past two weeks. Kenin was a semi-finalist at Tyler ITF W80 last week, and boosted that in Midland by displacing No. 2 seed and defending title Madison Pringle 6-1, 6-3 in the second round.
Nao Hibino was a former Top 100 player who went on to change her season in Midland. The former world number 56 scored her second win in the top 30 of the year with a 6-4 6-7 (4) 6-3 first-round victory over #1 seed Zhang Shuai, boosting her by knocking out last place. Runner-up Robin Anderson 7-6 (2) 6-3 in the second round.
Wild Card Peyton Stearns, 21, continued to make waves in her rookie season by reaching her WTA 125 semi-finals. The University of Texas graduate chose to turn professional this year, Making it her first appearance in a Grand Slam in the US Open. Since then, Stearns has amassed a 15-3 record, including back-to-back ITF W25 titles in Austin and Florence. This week, she defeated Ashlyn Krueger 6-2, 6-3 in the second round, followed by qualified Kathryn Sepoff 6-4, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.
The former world number one, Ann Lee, who was seeking a return to the top 100, had to fight hard for her place in the semi-finals. Ranked #147, Lee saved one game point in the first round before losing seed Varvara Gracheva 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3, then overturning from 5-1 down in the third set to advance past Magdalena Fritsch 5 -7, 6-2, 7-6 (5) in the second round. Lee beat Hibino 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 in the quarter-finals before losing 6-4, 6-2 to Friedsam.
Muhammed, Parks double title capture
No. 1 seed Asia Muhammad and Alicia Parks stormed the title with a 6-3 6-2 final victory over Friedsam and Nadia Kishinok. Both teams played for the first time as a team, and both were eliminated from the Tour Finals in their last tournament.
Muhammad, a seven-time WTA doubles champion, was the runner-up in Seoul six weeks ago alongside Sabrina Santamaria. Parks extended her winning streak in doubles to eight, adding the Midland title to the Ostrava Cup she collected four weeks ago with McNally.