Jamie Loeb .
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
NEW YORK – After an impressive run at the US Open Qualifying Tournament, 22-yearold Jamie Loeb fell just short of gaining entry to the main draw, losing 6-3, 6-4 to fellow American Sachia Vickery on Friday at Flushing Meadows.
Loeb, who is from Ossining, New York, and comes from a strong Jewish background, was coming off an enormous 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-4 triumph over former world No. 2 Vera Zvonereva in the previous round.
The 32-year-old Russian – currently ranked 742nd in singles – was attempting a comeback after nearly two years away from the tour. Her distinguished career includes reaching the French Open quarterfinals in 2003, the Australian Open semifinals in 2009 and a runner up in the 2010 US Open for singles.
She won a pair of Grand Slam women’s doubles titles – at the 2006 US Open, partnering Nathalie Dechy, and at the 2012 Australian Open, with Svetlana Kuznetsova. She also holds major titles in mixed doubles – with Bob Bryan at the 2004 US Open and with Israeli Andy Ram in 2006 at Wimbledon.
Loeb – ranked 156th in the world – acknowledged that she “had to battle” on court in a match which featured “interesting calls.” Loeb highlights “staying mentally strong” as the key to the match.
“It was a great win, and I am really happy to get through it!” Her determination to reach the main draw of her favorite tournament will have to wait at least until next year after being defeated by Vickery, who is also 22 and is ranked just one spot better than Loeb, at No. 155. Loeb easily defeated Na-Lae Han of Korea, 6-4, 6-2 in Round 1 of the qualifiers.
The youthful Loeb is just starting to show her potential.
She attended the University of North Carolina for two years before taking a break in 2015 to join the pro tour. In her sophomore season, she won the women’s Singles National Championship, earned ACC Player of the Year and helped lead a North Carolina women’s tennis team that won the ITA National Indoor.
In 2015, Loeb won the Stockton Challenger tournament and received a wildcard into the 2015 US Open women’s draw where she was quickly dismissed by Caroline Wozniacki. This year, Loeb was in the singles qualifying draw for both the Australian Open, where she lost in the second round, and Wimbledon, losing in the first round.
Loeb attributes much of her love of tennis to her family, who attended the US Open every year when she was growing up Unlike her siblings, who attended religious school at Congregation Sons of Israel in Briarcliff Manor, New York, her sister Jenna said that, “Jamie did not attend Hebrew school or celebrate her bat mitzvah – primarily due to a demanding tennis schedule.”
Jenna also said that Jamie has not yet visited Israel but “wants to go.”