Top-seeded and University of Virginia senior Thai-Son Kwiatkowski rolled past his third opponent in three days in convincing fashion to capture the Third Annual American Collegiate Invitational at the 2016 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Kwiatkowski defeated the number four seed, University of Georgia’s Austin Smith, 6-2, 6-2, on Saturday to win the title and a spot in the 2017 U.S. Open singles qualifying tournament as a wild card.
Kwiatkowski from Charlotte, N.C., dropped just 10 games en route to the title.
“Being here a couple of weeks ago for qualies I was able to find a routine that I wasn’t able to find in past years,” said Kwiatkowski, who also played in the event last year. “It’s going to be a great way to start my career next year with a wild card in qualifying.”
Smith will hit the road in the coming weeks and compete on the men’s pro tour.
“He made me play shots I don’t like to play normally and his serve was unbelievable today and he had so many aces,” said Smith. “I’m playing at a higher level than I have all summer, so I’m just looking to take some of this momentum and look for the positives.”
On the women’s side, University of Virginia’s Danielle Collins officially ended her collegiate career on Saturday with a victory in the final. The second-seeded Collins, a recent graduate and from St. Petersburg, Fla., defeated University of Michigan’s Ronit Yurovsky of New Kingston, Pa., 6-2, 6-4, to capture the title and earn a qualifying wild card into next year’s U.S. Open women’s singles event.
A little less than two weeks ago, Collins lost in the first round of the women’s tournament at the Open, falling to Evgeniya Rodina in the first round. Collins earned the wild card by way of her 2016 NCAA singles title. She also won the title in 2014. At that year’s U.S. Open, Collins took a set off second-seeded Simona Halep in a first-round match played on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I was able to get off to a fast start and it’s something I’ve been working on,” Collins said. “I was aware that she has a tendency to start slowly.”
Yurovsky, who completed her collegiate eligibility in the spring at Michigan, is also excited to start her pro career. She had to call for a medical timeout near the near of the match for a strained abdomen.
“It was a little late there when I started to play better,” said Yurovsky, who went 117-38 in career singles matches, good for third all-time school history for wins. “Danielle plays really free and doesn’t get tight. It’s hard to get some free points from her and she just focuses really well.”
Collins will continue her training and continue her professional career under the guidance of legendary coach Nick Bollettieri at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. “I think I have the game to succeed on the WTA Tour,” Collins said. “I’m very confident with my game. I’m offensive, and defensive, and have a big serve. The tour is not for everyone. But I love to play tennis. This is fun for me. So I’m going to be doing this for a while.”
The University of Virginia’s Danielle Collins defeated the University of Michigan’s Ronit Yurovsky of New Kingston, Pa., 6-2, 6-4 to win the Third Annual American Collegiate Invitational (photo credit: Mike Lawrence/USTA)