A year ago at the Coleman Vision Tennis Championships, Albuquerque’s Ivana Corley, 16, won just two games in a first round match of the USTA Pro Circuit’s qualifying tournament at Tanoan Country Club. Michaela Krajicek, 10 years Corley’s senior, rolled over her, 6-1, 6-1. Krajicek went on to the win the tournament. Corley went back to the practice court.
On Sunday morning, at the same event, Corley improved. She won five games. This time against Emina Bektas, ranked 873 in the world. Bektas prevailed, 6–3, 6-2.
“Too many unforced errors,” Corley, who is homeschooled but plays for Eldorado High School, said afterward. The two-time defending 6A state singles champion, Corley tried to stay in the match, buoyed by several fans. Among those cheering her on were her mother, Maria, her father, Eddie, her 15-year-old sister Carmen, and her twin 9-year-old sisters, Vivica and Vianca, plus several friends.
Bektas, 23, was born in Germany to a Bosnian family. She grew up in Indianapolis and attended John Newcombe’s academy in New Braunfels, Texas. Following a standout collegiate career at the University of Michigan, she turned professional. For a while she was nagged by a wrist injury but now seems healed.
The key Sunday, she said, was to attack Corley’s second serve. “She has a good first serve and she gets a lot of free points on it.”
Something you don’t often see following a professional tennis match: After shaking hands at the net with Corley, and then with the chair umpire, Bektas shook hands with the two officials who were calling the lines.
Phoenix’s Kylie McKenzie, a 17-year-old USTA wild card in the Coleman qualifier, came to Albuquerque fresh from the U.S. Open Junior Championships, in New York, where she reached the round of 16 in singles. McKenzie has a fine forehand, but couldn’t handle big-serving Anna Zaja, a German who is seeded No. 8 the qualifying event. Zaja, 23, won easily, 6-2, 6-0.
“I had a little trouble with the altitude and I didn’t stay in rallies,” McKenzie said. And then there was the hamburger smoke from the Tanoan grill that filled the air at the south end of Court 2.
Ludivine Burguiere, another wild card in Sunday’s qualifier, had her own set of troubles. A senior at the University of New Mexico, Burguiere, from Marseilles, France, suffers from shin splits and wears knee-high compression socks. The ailment stopped her from playing for most of the summer, she said.
The qualifying tournament of the Coleman Vision at Tanoan continues today at 10 a.m.