Twins capture Fort Worth tennis title after opponent treated for heat illness

Posted Saturday, Aug. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Fort Worth Pro Tennis Classic Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center, TCU Singles final: No. 2 Lauren Embree, Marcos Island, Fla., vs. No. 5 Miyu Kato, Japan, 9 a.m. Sunday

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Despite reaching the semifinals in women’s doubles last year at the Fort Worth Pro Women’s Tennis Classic, twins Roxanne and Sierra Ellison almost didn’t return to Fort Worth for this year’s event.

It’s a good thing their parents had other ideas.

The San Diego State products survived the 100-degree-plus heat Saturday to win their first professional title with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over University of Georgia duo Lauren Herring and Mia King in the $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament at TCU.

“We are so excited,” Roxanne Ellison said. “The tournament before this we wanted to go home because we didn’t do as well as we wanted. We talked to our parents about it and they said, ‘No. Get to that tournament and you’re going to do really well.’ So, we got rid of our egos; checked them at the door. And, as luck would have it, we ended up winning the tournament.”

The twins, who now live in Orange County, Calif., almost won the title without stepping on the court. Herring had to be treated by Fort Worth Fire Department paramedics after suffering a heat-related illness during her semifinal singles match against No. 2 seed Lauren Embree.

Herring had lost the first set of the singles semifinal 6-0 but rallied to take a 5-1 lead in the second set. But after dropping two games, Herring called for a trainer. She was treated on the court for several minutes before emergency personnel arrived.

After receiving fluids and cooling down, she decided to play in the doubles final, which began around 2 p.m. She showed no signs of the earlier difficulty.

“We knew that when we heard [Herring] wanted to play, she was going to get on the court and play [hard],” Roxanne Ellison said. “We geared ourselves up for that.”

Herring, who had advanced through qualifying, was playing her eighth singles match in eight days, not including four doubles matches.

“It was so hot down there,” said Embree, who first reached the finals of the Fort Worth event as a 16-year-old in 2007. “It was just a matter of time before someone [had trouble]. It’s hot in Florida and Georgia, but this is a different kind of hot. It’s probably 10 or 15 degrees hotter than Florida.”

Embree, now 22 and a graduate of Florida, where she recently competed a stellar career, advanced to the singles final against No. 5 seed Miyu Kato of Japan, who defeated Catherine Harrison of Germantown, Tenn., 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.

Sunday’s final has been moved up two hours to 9 a.m. to avoid the noon heat.

Rusty Hall, 817-390-7816 Twitter: @RustyHall10s

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