TALKING WITH... ALLY BAKER
September 7, 2001
15 years old (Date of Birth: 4/10/1986)

Ally Baker
It has been quite a Summer for Allison Baker. First, Ally (as she is better known) made her way up the Girls' 18s as a quarterfinalist at the Super National Clay Courts. Next, she was a finalist at the Super National Hard Courts. Her next stop was at the U.S. Open where she played Qualifying Women's Singles & Doubles as well as Junior Singles & Doubles, taking a break between the two events to qualify -- and upset the No. 2 seed -- at the Canadian Internationals. Now, Ally has just won the doubles event at the Kentucky Tennis Derby (formerly the Sugar Bowl) as well as making it to the quarterfinals in singles there.

All of these accomplishments would make for an impressive resume for any player, but what makes this one even more special is that last year she was playing the 14s. As hard as it is to believe, Ally Baker, with the powerful serve and volley, the tournament wins and the huge smile, is only 15 years old.

Despite her amateur status, Ally Baker stood out among the professionals from the first day of the U.S. Open qualifying. Unlike many of her peers, she won her first round match in singles and was ready to do the same in doubles. Unfortunately, her partner Jamea Jackson was injured and Ally played and lost doubles with an excellent partner -- Tara Snyder -- but not one she was used to. In the junior events, she used her wildcard to win a round before dropping a three-setter to No. 3 seed Gisela Dulko in singles and then won another round in doubles with Bethanie Mattek.

Ally Baker drew the crowds at the U.S. Open even though she did not advance far in any of the events she played. Her strokes were impressive and the talent was clear. I was one of those in awe and could not leave the tournament without speaking to this talented young lady.

by Marcia Frost

* * *

Q: Although you didn't win in the end, you had a great showing here. How did it feel to play so many events in a Grand Slam Tournament?

A: "It was so exciting, especially the qualifying events. It was just a great experience. I've absolutely loved it."

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