American Madison Brengle led three Jewish tennis players competing at the recent Rogers Cup women’s pro tournament, which took place from August 5-13 at the Aviva Center in Toronto, with a victory in the first round.
Brengle, the highest ranked Jewish player on the women’s tennis circuit at No. 74, defeated fellow American Asia Muhammad 6-4, 6-3, before losing to Ashleigh Barty of Australia 1-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the second round.
Other Jewish players competing in the qualifying rounds were Camila Giorgi of Italy, ranked 83, who defeated American Julia Boserup 6-1, 6-0, before losing to Sorona Cirstea of Romania 6-4, 6-4 in the second round, and American Jamie Loeb, ranked No. 156, who lost to Naomi Osaka of Japan 6-3,6-3 in the first round.
None of the Jewish players competing made the main draw of the Rogers Cup this year.
Brengle, known as a scrappy player who wins matches by not making costly unforced errors, was in fine form, breaking serve twice in her first match to defeat Muhammad.
She started her second match in command by breaking Barty to easily win the first set. However, her momentum was lost in the second set, as Brengle could not hold serve even once and lost both the second and third sets.
“Tennis is about building on your strength. I felt good in both matches, but somehow lost my ability to execute serves in the second and third sets of the match against Barty. I resolve to do better next time,” said the 27-year-old Brengle, who is from Dover, Del.
Although Brengle did not fare well at the Rogers Cup, she has had an outstanding season thus far in 2017.
Brengle scored the biggest victory in her career by defeating Serena Williams, who was ranked No. 1 in the world at the time, at a tournament in Auckland, Australia in January, as well as defeating 2014 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon in July.
“I am very proud to have wins over both Petra and Serena. Any time you beat a top-ranked player gives you lots of confidence,” said Brengle.
Although Brengle’s father is not Jewish, her mother (maiden name Gaby Gamburg) is and Brengle was raised Jewish.
“Whenever I compete, especially in New York and Toronto, lots of people know I am Jewish and (I) love the support I get from fans,” said Brengle.
Like Brengle, Giorgi has defeated top-ranked players over her career, such as former No. 1 players Maria Sharapova in 2014 and Caroline Wozniacki in 2013 and 2014. Giorgi represented Italy on the Fed Cup team from 2014-16.
At one time, Girogi was considering playing for Israel in the Fed Cup, but was selected for the national Italian team.
She is inspired by reading her favorite book, The Diary Of Anne Frank.
“The story of Anne Frank always inspired me, especially because I am Jewish. Given her courage and wisdom, I am reminded of the positive in life,” said the 25-year-old Giorgi.
Loeb, 22, from Bronxville, N.Y., won the American NCAA Collegiate Tennis singles title for the University of North Carolina in 2015, prior to turning pro. She has since won six titles on the international women’s tennis circuit for players ranked below No. 100.
To learn more about the players who competed at the Rogers Cup tournament, go to rogerscup.com