TEMPLETON, California — Long Beach native Asia Muhammad, who now calls Las Vegas home, won her seventh ITF singles title of her career and third in 2018 at the Central Coast Pro Tennis Open at the Templeton Tennis Ranch Sunday.
The riveting USTA $60,000 Women’s Pro Circuit singles final stretched over two hours as Muhammad pitted her offensive playing style against counter-puncher Sesil Karatantcheva of Bulgaria for a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory. The 27-year-old Muhammad followed the singles victory up with a doubles final win after only 30 minutes rest. Muhammad and partner Maria Sanchez won the doubles title 6-7 (4), 6-2, 10-8, over former college players, Quinn Gleason (Notre Dame) and Luisa Stefani (Pepperdine).
Karatantcheva took the first set of her singles match 6-2 by forcing Muhammad to play groundstrokes from several feet behind the baseline. Muhammad lost her first two service games, but began to find her way into the match late in the first set. As she described the match: “In the beginning, a little dodgy.”
After holding serve twice at the end of that first set, Muhammad began the second set being broken again, but quickly equalized when she broke back in the second game. Each player would break the other again in the fourth and fifth games before Muhammad regained her momentum with a better feeling for the ball. Up 5-4 in the second set, Muhammad broke Karatantcheva a third time in a thrilling game that had two deuces before the American could close on her second set point.
Muhammad explained: “That match just kind of had to go three sets so I could work it out. I was just trying to use my slice more and trying to use my forehand more which at times was tough because that’s a lot more physical.”
Muhammad competed in the Braidy Industries $60,000 Women’s Tennis Classic at the Ashland Tennis Center in late July.