Women’s tennis returns with UTR Pro event

  • Matt Trollope

Alison Riske was the best placed of the four competitors at the UTR Pro Match Series women’s tournament in Florida before rain forced the event to be cancelled.

The world No.19 had advanced to the final with a 2-1 win-loss record and was awaiting her opponent to be determined when rain set in and prevented the tournament from being completed.

The match between Danielle Collins and Ajla Tomljanovic was poised at one set all – and would have confirmed the second finalist – when the rain began to tumble on Saturday and persist on Sunday.

Despite not officially concluding, the event – played at a private court in West Palm Beach – was the first professional women’s tennis to be played since the sport was suspended in early March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Read: UTR Explained

Riske lost her opening match to Australia’s Tomljanovic on Friday before rebounding to beat fellow American Amanda Anisimova later that day.

She then beat Collins in three sets on Saturday to improve her record to 2-1.

“(On Friday) I was pretty nervous, and played some scrappy tennis; Ajla obviously played really well and Amanda gave me a run for my money. So I was just looking to come out today and play my brand of tennis,” said Riske following her win over Collins.

“I think I handled it a little better today.”

The event featured strict protocols to ensure it could be carried out safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Measures included daily temperature checks, racquet taps to replace handshakes, players using their own individual set of balls, regular deep-cleaning of the court, plus no fans, minimal personnel and separate player areas on site.

The UTR Pro Match Series event was broadcast live on Tennis Channel and streamed on the Universal Tennis and Tennis Channel Facebook pages.

The results from the event count towards the players’ UTRs and came with prize money.

Meanwhile, all WTA Tour tournaments have been suspended until the week of 13 July.