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Play progresses in U.S. Open National Playoffs Southern qualifying

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After three days of play, the U.S. Open National Playoffs Southern Qualifying Tournament is down to the quarterfinals in mens and womens singles play, along with the mixed doubles.

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Play began Monday, June 23 at Life Time Athletic in Norcross, GA.

Finding their way into the quarterfinals are top seed Ana Kharchenko of Florida, Maya Jansen, one half of the 2014 NCAA championship doubles team from the University of Alabama, Isabelle Boulais, a junior player from Marietta, GA and former touring pro Julie Ditty from Kentucky.

Ditty won the match of the day as she ousted second seeded and former Tennessee All-American Natalie Pluskota, 6-0, 6-3.

Ditty had played her first round match indoors due to inclement weather, but she made the quick adjustment to the outdoors courts along with the heat and humidity.

"I like the speed of the courts and I felt real solid today," said Ditty after the match. "I tried to be aggressive but stay in control, too."

In mens play, Maxx Lipman continued his winning ways. He defeated David Hopkins 6-3, 6-1. Other winners included defending champ Elliott Orkin of Marietta and Michael Kay of Alpharetta.

It's a deep field and at this point all the championships are up for grabs.

“This is a very exciting field that we will be hosting at Life Time Athletic at Peachtree Corners," explained tournament director Sanjay Jayaram. "We were the site of the first Southern Qualifying Tournament in 2010 and 2011 and are very pleased to bring it back.”

Play will continue throughout the week and many think the experienced players like Ditty have the advantage.

"My game is always there, it may be about the fitness," added Ditty. "It's nice to have the experience."

Finals are scheduled for Saturday, June 28 at 9 a.m., starting with women’s singles, followed by men’s singles and mixed doubles. Semifinals begin Friday, June 27 at 4:30 p.m.

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