Flushing, N.Y. – Sydney Campbell lives on to fight another day, as the 2017 Vanderbilt women’s tennis graduate earned a three-set victory over Alexa Graham at the American Collegiate Invitational hosted at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center during the 2018 US Open.
“I was serving well and attacking her (Graham) forehand, which seemed to be the best decision for today,” said Campbell. “That became my game plan from the second set on. I loved the fact that I still get to represent Vanderbilt, but it was definitely weird to not have my teammates and our coaches out there with me. It’s a little lonely, but you just have to be really positive with yourself and not allow yourself to feel frustrated if a point isn’t going your way.”
Graham, a student-athlete at the University of North Carolina, escaped with the first set advantage, 6-4. However, with an NCAA Final Four appearance under her belt, Campbell knew she had the experience and ability to go the distance against her sophomore opponent.
With the opportunity to earn a wild card spot at the 2018 US Open on the line, Campbell, a three-time All-American, quickly rallied to take the match’s second set. Campbell took 30 of the set’s 46 points, broke serve twice and won 86 percent of her points on first serve to force a third set in a mighty comeback, 4-6, 6-1.
Much like the first set, both competitors battled neck-and-neck throughout the third and final set, which ultimately forced tiebreaker. At 6-all in the breaker, Campbell broke her opponent’s serve for the first time of set, taking the 7-6 advantage. With four aces under her belt, the Franklin, Tenn. native held serve and cemented her chance to represent Vanderbilt for yet another match.
On Friday, Campbell will face a familiar foe in former Florida Gator, Ingrid Neel, in ACI semifinals.
Campbell defeated the then-freshman in the Commodore’s SEC Tournament Championship match in three sets, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. Neel earned spots on the SEC’s first team and freshman team, was named the SEC’s Freshman of the Week four times and went 10-3 when facing ranked singles opponents.
“Friday’s match against Ingrid is going to be a grind,” Campbell continued. “She likes to come to the net a lot and I’m going to have come up with a game plan to combat that. But I just plan to go out tomorrow, have fun and play my best.”