Davis battles heat, deficit to win Party Rock Open title


As she was vomiting and wilting in the 100-degree-plus heat on Darling Tennis Center's stadium court, all Lauren Davis could think about was finishing what she started.

After dropping a first-set tiebreaker, the 18-year-old from Cleveland had a 5-2 lead over Shelby Rogers in the second set of the singles finals at the $50,000 Party Rock Open. Momentum was on her side, even if she felt miserable.

"I wasn't quitting," said Davis, the tournament's No. 2 seed. "The heat had gotten to me and I felt horrible. But I think my desire is what got me through."

She took the second set, broke Rogers in the first game of the third and rolled to a 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-2 win and her first $50,000 tournament win. More important, she gave herself an early birthday present by making it into the top 100 in the WTA rankings before she turns 19 on Oct. 9.

"That was a goal I set earlier this year, to get into the top 100 before my birthday," said Davis, who was ranked No. 115 when play began Tuesday and won $7,915 on Sunday. "It feels good to have done that."

Davis played a three-set semifinal Saturday night, and she didn't get to bed until about midnight. When she woke up Sunday morning, she was still feeling the effects of her win over Anastasia Rodionova, and between the heat and her inability to stay hydrated, she found herself in a bad way physically late in the second set.

But after a medical timeout and a 10-minute heat break, which are allowed under USTA rules when the heat index is above 92 degrees (it was 96 when the match began and got warmer as play went on), Davis was able to regroup physically.

"I've been in that situation before," said Rogers, who earned $3,900 as the runner-up. "I actually expected her to play better once we restarted the match."

Davis was consistent with her ground strokes and did a good job of exploiting Rogers' backhand. The two played a week ago in Albuquerque, N.M., with Davis winning a three-setter. So she was familiar with Rogers' game.

"I was trying not to beat myself," she said. "I had a lot of unforced errors (Saturday), and I knew I needed to cut down the number of mistakes."

Rogers said she expected a tough match.

"We were fighting for every point," she said. "Nothing's going to be easy when you play Lauren. She's going to battle you every point, and she played a great match."

Davis said she's going to take three weeks off, return to her current residence in Boca Raton, Fla., and physically regroup.

"I'm tired," she said. "This was my third straight week of traveling and playing, and I need a break. But this is a nice way to take some time off."

In the doubles final, Rodionova and her younger sister Arina defeated Elena Bovina and Edina Gallovits-Hall, 6-2, 2-6, 10-6

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

 

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