Kristie Ahn defeated Danielle Collins 6-4 6-4 to win the RBC Pro Challenge, an $80,000 USTA Pro Circuit Event in front of a great crowd of more than 500 spectators at the Tyler Athletic and Swim Club. With the win, Ahn(Upper Saddle River, NJ) earns 115 WTA ranking points and $12,161 in prize money.
"In the final there's always going to be nerves," Ahn said. "It was a tight first set all the way through; we had some great points. I think it came down to who was going to be that little bit more aggressive. I think that was me today."
Ahn made the final of a $60,000 event a year ago this week in Scottsdale, but came up just short. Ahn's victory Sunday is the biggest title of her career, and moves her into pole position in the USTA's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge. Additionally, she will move to a career high of no. 106 in the world when the newest edition of the WTA rankings are published Monday.
"I really wanted this tournament this week not only for the Australian Open wild card, but also for myself," Ahn said. "I've been through ups and down this year, so to be able to finish the year on a note like this is amazing."
Collins(St. Petersburg, FL) came up one step short after a great week in Tyler. Her performance this week places her in a tie for second in the Wild Card challenge, with one more tournament remaining in Waco.
"This has been the greatest tournament of my career," Collins said. "I've never made a final of an $80K until now, and I'm going to take a lot of confidence from this to help me down the road."
Both players mentioned their appreciation of the Tyler community throughout the week, with great crowds daily supporting the tournament.
"I would love to come back every year," Ahn said. "It's not only that the facilities are top notch, it's also the people here; they've been nothing short of amazing. All the players have been talking all week about how awesome of an event this is, especially as a first year (tournament)."
Tournament proceeds from the Inaugural RBC Pro Challenge will benefit ACEing Autism, a non-profit organization that connects children on the autistic spectrum to tennis. Proceeds will be used to towards establishing a new ACEing Autism program at the Tyler Athletic and Swim Club, owned and managed by Cliff Drysdale Management.