Jewish-American tennis player Madison Brengle has shown that you don’t need to be 21 or younger to develop a career in pro tennis. At the Rogers Cup at Aviva Centre, Brengle, 25, of Delaware finished in the second round to continue her rise in the tennis rankings over the current season.
Brengle defeated Canadian Carol Zhao of Richmond Hill, Ont., 6-1, 6-1 before losing a close three-set match to 15th seed Sara Errani of Italy 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 in the second round to continue an impressive 2015 season, ranking 43rd on the women’s pro tennis circuit.
“It was tough losing to a top player like Errani, but knowing that I was competing with her from the start to the finish of the match, I feel that in each tournament I play that I continue to improve,” said Brengle following her loss.
In both of her Rogers Cup matches, Brengle showed a strong willingness to battle hard and she made few unforced errors in the two matches.
Brengle’s consistent ability not to beat herself with costly errors bodes well for a long career in pro tennis.
“Madison is one of the exceptional American players today because of her ability to think through with a strategy to win and not hurt herself with unforced errors. I am not surprised that her rankings have risen over the past year,” said former tennis great Tracy Austin, who worked as a television commentator at the Rogers Cup.
Had Errani not come up with winning shots on her forehand, perhaps Brengle’s run at the Rogers Cup would have continued.
“The third set was especially close. I had to play my best to have a chance to beat Madison. She always battles and makes few errors,” said Errani following her win.
Brengle was taught to play tennis by her mother when she was five, and won her first title at age 15 in Baltimore.
She continued her success in junior tennis by finishing as a finalist in the 2007 Australian Open junior girls division.
But her success in the pro circuit did not come easily.
Although Brengle won seven minor league titles in the International Tennis Federation circuit, her rankings never were above 140.
Her fortunes in tennis started to improve in 2014 when, at the U.S. Open, she defeated Julia Glushko of Israel in the first round to break into the top 100, and her rankings have been climbing steadily over the past year.
At the 2015 Australian Open, Brengle defeated 13th ranked Andrea Petkovic of Germany en route to a fourth round finish at the Grand Slam tournament.
She continued her rise by finishing as a finalist in Hobart, Australia, as well as upsetting No. 4 ranked Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic to finish as a semi-finalist at the Stuttgart, Germany tournament.
Brengle had her highest ranking at No. 35 in April.
“I am more confident and steady and believe that I can compete at a high level with any of the top pros. I look forward to continue my rise in tennis,” said Brengle.
Brengle is currently the second-highest ranking Jewish player on the women’s pro circuit, below Camila Giorgi of Italy, who is ranked 31st. An injury to Giorgi forced her to withdraw from the Rogers Cup.
Three other Jewish players, Sharon Fichman of Toronto and Israelis Julia Glushko and Shahar Peer all lost in the qualifying rounds.
At age 28, Peer is now ranked No. 128 and has lost the competitive form she had in her peak years in tennis. Peer was a quarter-finalist at the Rogers Cup in 2006 and had her highest ranking of No. 11 in 2011.
“I want to give at least one more year of playing tennis to regain where I once was,” said Peer following her opening round loss in qualifying.
Fichman has been out of action for close to two years because of a knee injury that required surgery. She felt buoyed just by playing again and finished as a quarter-finalist in the doubles tournament at the Rogers Cup.
“I am excited to be back playing again. It will take awhile to get back to my to form, but am glad to have many matches this week,” said Fichman.