The benefits of winning the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship just keeps coming for the Tar Heels.
Today is the start of the US Open, the last of the Grand Slam events for 2023. As it’s an Open, organizers run a qualifying tournament for a player to join the field of 128 players vying for the title of US Open Champion. Since she won her singles title over at the NCAA Tournament, Fiona Crawley got the opportunity to compete as an amateur in this qualifying event.
Weather made her trek difficult. In order to win she’d have to win three matches, and the second match saw the third set go into a tiebreak that Crawley would have to win 10-5 in order to advance. That match was interrupted by rain, creating an odd stop and start process that she managed to rally from. This was on Friday, and then she would have to immediately recover to play Saturday. However, she easily won in two sets over Australian Kimberly Birrell, who is ranked 112th in the world.
As you can imagine, the moment meant a lot:
All the feels.— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 26, 2023
Fiona Crawley is in the US Open main draw for the very first time. pic.twitter.com/uheTOSuLEI
Crawley was already going to be competing this week in Flushing Meadows with her partner, Carson Tanguilig, as they were the NCAA Doubles Champions. There’s no qualifying tournament needed for entry into that draw, but getting the opportunity to get onto the court in the single’s tournament is a whole other level.
Crawley will still compete as an amateur, and when the US Open run is over is expected to rejoin Carolina Tennis to defend their title.
First up, Crawley will face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Tuesday. ESPN has the sole rights to the US Open, and every match is available on ESPN+. She and Tanguilig will start their doubles journey on Wednesday.
Congratulations Fiona, and here’s hoping you can stay in New York and make some noise like you did a few months ago!