Junior U.S. Open champ in Troy Classic

Published 10:00 pm Monday, September 29, 2008

Coco Vandeweghe has gotten off to a good start at the USTA Classic of Troy. Vandeweghe, who is fresh off of a U.S. Open Jr. championship, will play in the semi-finals round of the qualifying portion of the tournament today at 10 a.m.

“Winning the junior grand slam was pretty awesome,” Vandeweghe said.

Vandeweghe’s successes so far in the tournament include winning her first two qualifying matches. She defeated Beatrice Capra on Monday 7-6(6), 6-3 and won again on Tuesday knocking out No. 7-seeded Mallory Cecil 6-3, 6-4.

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She will face Maria Mokh to try and earn a spot in the main draw.

“I’m still in it,” Vandeweghe said. “My first one was a tough match. I ended up pulling it out. I had a tough first set, but the second one went a little bit easier. My second match was a good match. It’s been real good so far.”

Overall, Vandeweghe has enjoyed her experience in the Troy Classic, and she looks forward to winning matches because she gets to stay and enjoy one of her new favorite restaurants.

“I have been eating at Santa Fe (Cattle Co.) a lot,” Vandeweghe said. “They’ve been feeding me some really good steaks. I love that place.”

Vandeweghe said she is ready to earn her next title at the USTA Classic of Troy. Vandeweghe comes from a family rich in athleticism.

Vandeweghe’s mother, Tauna, was an Olympian on the 1976 U.S. volleyball and swim teams. Her uncle, Kiki, is the general manager of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets. Her brother, Beau, is on the volleyball team at Pepperdine. Her grandfather, Ernie, played for the New York Knicks in one of the team’s best eras, the 1950s.

Coco’s sport is tennis, and she is quickly adding history to the Vandeweghe name on the courts.

Vandeweghe is just 16 years old and currently home-schooled as she travels the country living her dream.

“I play tennis every day except Sundays unless I’m in a tournament,” Vandeweghe said.

She said she enjoys hanging out with her younger brother and sister when she is not playing, and they go hang out at the beach nearby their home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

However, Vandeweghe is focused on the USTA Classic of Troy and what she wants to accomplish in this tournament right now.

“I would like to win it,” Vandeweghe said. “I’m just going to see how the tournament goes.”

Vandeweghe will play in her final qualifying match today, and hopes her practice at the Lunsford Tennis Complex pays off.

“This is my first time in the Troy tournament,” Vandeweghe said. “I enjoy the tennis complex. It is very nice. The head coach here is a very nice guy. He’s great. He help set me up some practice matches as soon as I got here, and I have gotten some good practice.”

That coach is Eric Hayes, the head tennis coach at Troy University. He plays a big role in organizing the Classic each year in Troy.

A tournament win in Troy will do nothing but boost the rising, right-handed star even further in her tennis career.

“I’m just sticking with my game plan and hoping to win more matches,” Vandeweghe said.

Vandeweghe said she is ready for the challenge that awaits her in the match today.