Tennis: Ann Arbor’s Karina Miller calls professional event a “great experience”

 

Across the pond at Wimbledon, Coco Gauff became the youngest competitor to qualify at the All England Club in the professional era. The 15-year-old then showed the poise and power of a much older, much more experienced player, pulling off a 6-4, 6-4 victory in the first round over Venus Williams, who at 39 was the oldest woman in the field.

Youth is being served on the tennis court – on both sides of the pond.

Ann Arbor’s Karina Miller, a two-time state champion for Pioneer at one singles at the MHSAA State Meet, had played only one ITF Pro Circuit match before this summer – she lost in the first round of qualifying at the $100,000 Dow Tennis Classic in Midland last year.

But Miller used the experience to improve her game and took that knowledge into last month’s women’s $15,000 WTT tournament at the USTA’s National Campus in Lake Nona, Fla. The 2020 University of Michigan recruit won her first five matches, including two qualifying matches. Miller, who needed a wild card into qualifying, moved into the semifinals when 16-year-old Connie Ma retired trailing 6-4, 3-0.

While Miller lost to No. 2 seed Tori Kinard in the semifinals, it was another learning experience for the local standout tennis player.

“I learned a lot about the incredibly high level of play and preparation that is part of a professional tournament,” she said following the event. “It was a great experience for me.”

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