published Friday, June 13th, 2014

Alabama duo do well in Tennessee Valley Open Championships openers

Natalia Maynetto might have broken a speed limit or two when she and University of Alabama teammate Carmen Blanco were driving to Chattanooga on Thursday for their first-round matches in the Tennessee Valley Open Championships.

They certainly were fast in dispatching their competition on the court.

Both have advanced to today's women's open singles quarterfinals at Manker Patten Tennis Club, and they are paired in the doubles draw as well. They were part of the Alabama team that advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA team tournament before falling to North Carolina.

Maynetto and Blanco, who both are taking summer classes in Tuscaloosa, thought the tournament began today. They left in enough time to get to Chattanooga about an hour early, but they had not had a chance to take in the city when they played Thursday.

"It seems really nice so far," said Blanco, a Venezuela native. "Everybody -- the crowd and the people -- are good, and it's been a pretty good tournament."

Blanco is a rising sophomore who was a member of the Venezuelan national team from 2007 to '13. She played for the Fed Cup team in 2013 and was ranked first nationally in three separate age groups. Maynetto will be entering her junior season at Alabama. The Naples, Fla., native went 15-2 overall playing No. 6 singles for the Crimson Tide.

It's also her first trip to Chattanooga.

"It's a really nice setting with beautiful scenery," Maynetto said. "The courts are good. It's a beautiful club in a cute area. The tournament has been good so far; there are a lot of college players and players so different ages, so it's been nice to meet a lot of different people."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.

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