Re: Kelly Liggan Cheering Thread
found a great article on Kelly...
Liggan having time of her life
At 28, she gains first finals berth
Down, 3-1, in the final set, Kelly Liggan won the last five games to beat Chanelle Scheepers and advance to this morning's final. (JOHN TLUMACKI/GLOBE STAFF)
By Mike Lipka, Globe Correspondent | July 15, 2007
Kelly Liggan will be the first one to tell you that her tennis story hasn't been typical.
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Sign up for: Globe Headlines e-mail | Breaking News Alerts The daughter of an Irishman and an Englishwoman, she's lived in Spain her whole life, in a southern coastal city (Marbella) that she said is not known for its tennis. She didn't start playing until she was 13, and even then, she only did it as "something to do on the weekends."
"I started playing, and I just was like, 'I really like this. I want to be a professional,' " said Liggan, now 28. "Everyone was like, 'Are you serious? You can't even hit the ball and you're already 15.' I was like, 'So what? Dreams become a reality, you know?' "
Yesterday, her biggest dreams moved a step closer to reality, as the unseeded Liggan showed resilience in winning the final five games of her semifinal match at the inaugural US Pro Circuit Women's 50K Challenger Tournament at the Sportsmen's Tennis Club in Dorchester, coming from behind to beat Chanelle Scheepers, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.
Her first finals appearance in a 50K event will be against top-seeded Varvara Lepchenko of Uzbekistan this morning at 11, the highlight of a long road back from a slipped disk that sidelined Liggan for four months last fall.
But as badly as she wants to win the title and the $7,315 top prize, yesterday's breakthrough wasn't bad, ensuring Liggan -- ranked 243d in the world entering the event -- a spot in the US Open Qualifying Tournament based on the ranking points she earned. And despite her relatively advanced age, she's still optimistic about bigger breakthroughs.
"I think she's a very young 28-year-old," said her coach, Bill Belser, who's worked with Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Andy Roddick. "I think her dream right now is to try and get herself in the top 100, and give herself a year. I can see that happening."
Yesterday, she must have felt like she was on the court for a year, especially after her three-set, three-hour quarterfinal win Friday left her with tight, heavy legs.
But in a battle of contrasting styles -- Liggan's fiery, emotional play against the stoic, stone-faced South African -- Liggan dug deep in the fifth game of the third set to turn the match.
Down a break, 3-1, after having lost the second set, 6-1, Liggan held serve through three break points and five deuces, then went for the kill, seizing 16 of the next 21 points, the next four games, and the match.
"She definitely had me on the ropes," said Liggan, who'd fallen to Scheepers in straight sets in their only previous meeting, a year and a half ago. "I just hung in there and kept fighting and tried to give some of that Irish blood, kind of fiery temperament that I have out there."
She'll need some more of it today against Lepchenko, who cruised past Indonesia's Sandy Gumulya , 6-2, 6-2, and hasn't dropped a set all tournament.
The doubles final will follow the singles match. Yesterday, Canadian Maureen Drake and American Lindsay Lee-Waters had two match points up, 5-3, in the second set, but they eventually fell to the second-seeded pair of Hungarian Melinda Czink and South African Natalie Grandin, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Czink and Grandin will face the top-seeded tandem of Ipek Senoglu of Turkey and Liga Dekmeijere of Latvia