Nadja Gilchrist, who trains at Smith Stearns, upset the No. 1 seed and 477th-ranked player in the world, Elise Mertens of Belgium, on Thursday at the $10,000 USTA Palmetto Pro Open in Sumter.
Gilchrist, who made her way through the draw as a qualifier, will now face 745th-ranked Kateryna Yergina of the Ukraine in the quarterfinals Friday.
Gilchrist played her college tennis at the University of Georgia but hadn't played in a professional tournament since 2008.
AREA WELL REPRESENTED AT PALMETTO CHAMPIONSHIPS
The 58th Palmetto Championships open Friday and continue through Tuesday in Belton and Anderson. The Palmetto is the national qualifying tournament for junior players in South Carolina.
A record 442 players entered this year's tournament. Championships will be determined for boys and girls in singles and doubles in five age divisions, 10's, 12's, 14's, 16's and 18's.
Hilton Head leads the way with 14 players seeded in the top eight, including three top seeds. Sara McClure (Girls 12) from Bluffton is also a No. 1 seed.
Matthew Mendez of Hilton Head is the top seed in Boys 18 singles. He was the 2010 16 singles champion. Other top seeds form the area are Elizabeth Williams (Girls 16) and Jade Lewis (Girls 18).
Area No. 2 seeds include Carolina Lewis (Girls 18), Mary Armistead (Girls 12), Harrison Luba (Boys 10) and Michaela Hegarty (Girls 10). Lewis, Armistead and Luba are from Hilton Head. Hegarty is from Bluffton
USTA PRO TOURNAMENT COMING TO VAN DER MEER
Qualifying begins Saturday for the USTA Pro Circuit Head/First Federal Women's $10,000 tournament, and the main draw will begin at 9 a.m. May 27 at the Van Der Meer Tennis Center. The event is free and is open to the public.
JERRY KIRK CONCLUDES FRIDAY
Play concludes Friday morning in the Jerry Kirk Memorial Tennis Cup, which hosts some of the top senior tennis players from around the country.
The tournament, held at Port Royal Racquet Club, began Wednesday and finishes with three more team matches Friday. The event features players aged 60 or older, with a 4.5 or higher rating, representing six different regions, including a team representing Hilton Head island.
Named for former player Jerry Kirk, the tournament format has each team facing off in three doubles matches.
Friday's play begins at 8 a.m., with Southern vs. Northern and Florida vs. New England, and the tournament closes with Hilton Head Island's final match, against Middle Atlantic, at 10 a.m. Admission is free.
Standings entering Friday's play are Southern 4-0; New England 3-1; Florida 3-1; Northern 1-3; Middle Atlantic 0-4; Hilton Head Island 0-4.
PRO LEAGUE CONCLUDES ROUND 4 PLAY
The Pro League of Hilton Head Island finished up Round 4 matches May 16.
The competition, featuring some of the island's standout players, is in its fourth season.
Players World of Sports remained in first place with a 2-1 win over second-place Merrill Lynch. Island Family Dental and Spinnaker Resorts are third and fourth, respectively. Moss Creek Country Club is the site of fifth-round play at 6 p.m. Friday.
Round 4 Results
Koenke/Sutcliffe (IFD) defeated Holyoak/Wadehra (SR) 6-2, 4-6, 1-0
Pollard/Stevenson (IFD) defeated Ellison/Oliver (SR) 6-2, 6-3
Watanabe/Child (SR) defeated Dumas/G. Sheaffer (IFD) 6-0, 7-6
Sullivan/Array (PWOS) defeated Coley/Wuller (ML) 6-7, 6-4, 1-0
Ruth/Leal (ML) defeated Van Aswegan/Mason (PWOS) 6-2, 6-3
Jilly/Rankin (PWOS) defeated Silvan/M. Sheaffer (ML) 6-3, 3-6, 1-0
VAN DER MEER HOSTING CLINIC, EXHIBITION
Van Der Meer Tennis is hosting a free adult clinic and pro exhibition from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Van Der Meer Tennis Center featuring former 27th-ranked ATP pro and Academy director Marcos Ondruska, former 40th-ranked ATP doubles pro Tommy Shimada, Van Der Meer teaching pro Peter Bella and former French Open doubles champion Luke Jensen.
The clinic runs from 5:30 to 6:15 followed by an exhibition. Van Der Meer Tennis is asking for donations to the American Stroke Association in honor of Dennis Van Der Meer.
HHI TEAM WINS AT 40 AND OVER CHAMPIONSHIPS
A team from Hilton Head Island captured one of eight titles on Monday at the USTA S.C. 40 and Over State League Championships in Aiken. Captained by Jeff Borth, the men's 3.0 team defeated Columbia Tennis League. They will now have the opportunity to compete at the USTA Southern Sectional Championships held Aug. 22 through 24 in Mobile, Ala.
IULO, BASS CAPTAIN 75-OVER TEAM TO TITLE
The Port Royal Team of 75 Old Bones co-captained by Chris Iulo and Dottie Bass won the 75-and-over 3.5 state championship May 5 at Palmetto Dunes.
The team went 5-0 against Grand Strand, Lowcountry, Piedmont, Upstate and another Hilton Head team. The roster included Iulo, Bass, Ginny Carter, Anne Clemmitt, Mary Ellen Arboe, Sandra Armstrong, Janet Palmer, Brenda Hand, Catherine Haight and Ann Rafferty. Doreen Kelly did not participate because of an injury.