June 24, 2013
CINCINNATI, Ohio - Northern Illinois tennis player Nelle Youel (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake Central) advanced to the women's singles championship of the USTA's Midwest Sectional Qualifier Monday afternoon when she defeated Wake Forest's Kasey Gardiner, 6-2, 6-0, at Lindner Family Tennis Center.
Youel will compete in the championship tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m. Central against Syracuse's Maddie Kobelt for a chance to play in the US Open National Playoffs in New Haven, Conn. Aug. 16-19.
“Going in, I told myself to expect it to be a long day because (Kobelt is) a great player," said Youel after the match. "I stuck to my game plan to not give her any easy points and try to wear her down, and that’s what I did.”
Beginning Saturday June 22, Youel opened the tournament with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Ohio State's Nicole Flower in the round of 16 and would claim another 6-1, 6-1 victory Sunday in the quarterfinals over Ja'cara Gillis. Including today's victory, Youel has claimed all three of her matches in straight-sets.
"Nelle is a great ambassador for Northern Illinois University and college women's tennis. This is great. She works harder than anybody in the league and probably in the country and I'm not even exaggerating that," said Head Coach Ryun Ferrell. "She deserves everything she gets and I could not be happier for her right now.
"Anytime you beat someone from Wake Forest, an ACC team who plays and beats good competition week-in and week-out, that's just huge. I'm excited for her and I can't wait to see what she's going to do tomorrow."
"Anytime you can get out and play, it's a good thing," said Youel, "I wanted to take this summer to work on my game and get even better so that when I come back in the fall, I have more weapons that I can use in the MAC and whoever we play in preseason as a team."
When asked about the possibility of playing in the US Open after the match, Youel said “it kind of seems so far in the distance… It’s still really cool to be here and winning some matches. I just want to take another step tomorrow.”
With a win tomorrow, Youel will have the opportunity to play in the US Open National Playoffs at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. The tournament is by invitation only as only those who qualify from the respective sectionals and players invited by the tournament director are able to participate.
The US Open National Playoffs-Women's Singles Championship is the "second round" of the US Open National Playoffs. Players qualify by winning their respective Sectional Qualifying Tournament in cities across the United States from April through June. The winner of the Women's Singles Championship will earn a wild card entry to compete in the 2013 US Open Qualifying Tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, August 20-23