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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Francesca Di Lorenzo, a junior on the Ohio State women’s tennis team, won the USTA American Collegiate Invitational title at the US Open Saturday. The tournament, which included eight of the top American collegiate women’s tennis players from 2016-17, was held at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
Di Lorenzo, two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and an All-American in singles and doubles, won her first two matches in straight sets. She topped Sara Daavettila of North Carolina in the quarterfinals, 6-1, 6-2, and defeated Ena Shibahara of UCLA, 6-4, 6-1, in the semifinals.
In the final against Ingrid Neel, who played at Florida last year, the Buckeye dropped the first set but won the next two for the championship, breaking to win both sets 6-4. She was down 3-0 early in the third set but won five games in a row to go ahead 5-3. Di Lorenzo was broken to put the set back on serve, but broke Neel to win the match.
"I knew it wasn't impossible. I stayed positive as much as I could and went game by game," Di Lorenzo said to the USTA after the match. "Once I [got on the board], I used that momentum a little bit going forward. I was pretty fresh on my part. I just kept going for my shots a little bit more than I was [earlier], and I think she gave me a few errors here and there.”
With the win, Di Lorenzo earns a wild card into the 2018 US Open, main draw or qualifying, depending on her ranking next summer. She also receives wild cards into three USTA Pro Circuit events.
"I just wanted to win so badly," Di Lorenzo said to the USTA. "I had lost two other finals this summer in [USTA] Pro Circuit events – I really wanted to redeem myself in a finals atmosphere, I guess you could say. She was hitting the ball, timing the ball really well, even in the second set – some returns were just untouchable.
"Ingrid has very good hands. She was playing well, and I just had to step up my game."