September, 2002
16 years old (Date of Birth: 4/10/1986)

Ally Baker What a difference a year makes. At the US Open last year, when I interviewed Ally Baker, I thought she was a player with enormous talent. She was a rising star in the junior ranks. She has proven to be much more.

Since she left Flushing Meadows last year, Ally's accomplishments at the juniors include the doubles finals at Wimbledon as well as titles on the Chanda Rubin ITF circuit and the Kentucky International Tennis Derby.

In 2001, Ally also began to compete in professional events. In November she became the youngest to ever win a USTA Professional Circuit event when she took the trophy in Greensville, South Carolina. She also went on to reach the finals at the Raleigh, North Carolina event and the semis in Louisville.

At this year's US Open, Ally received a wildcard into the main draw. Though she lost in the first round, she brought Russia's Elena Likhoutseva to three sets before falling, 6-4,2-6,6-7(3). She also partnered with Bethanie Mattek for doubles and challenged the No. 2 seeded Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paola Suarez before falling, 6-2,7-6(1). In the Junior Championships, Ally quickly eliminated her opponents until the quarterfinals, where she was stopped by eventual winner Maria Kirilenko.

The other thing that sixteen year old Ally Baker did at this year's Open was turn professional. After her loss to Maria, I sat down with Ally to talk for the last time about what is probably the end of her junior career.

by Marcia Frost


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