MACON, Georgia - Mercer University women's tennis team player Danielle Jones took a chance on Saturday afternoon and "signed in" for the ButlerCars.com Tennis Classic of Macon, a 25K women's professional tournament being held at Stratford Academy.
There was no guarantee she would get in the qualifying draw if enough players ahead of her in the world of tennis' pecking order also signed in, but Jones was granted one of the last spots in the singles qualifying that began on Sunday morning, and Jones made the most of the opportunity.
Taking on German player Jennifer Rink, Jones played inspired and smart tennis and took a 6-3, 6-1 upset victory over her German opponent.
"I played my game and played the big points," explained Jones, a sophomore that had to sit out last year as a transfer.
Jones credits new Mercer coach Eric Hayes, also the tournament director of the ButlerCars.com Tennis Classic for the emphasis on fitness he includes in team practice.
A beaming Hayes was proud of his young player.
"The last five weeks, her fitness level has improved enough to get her through a match like that, in the afternoon heat," said Hayes. "She was still fresh after the match."
Jones used her kick serve and forehand to keep Rink off balance throughout the match. After Jones too the first set, she seemed to step on the gas and jumped out on a big lead in the second over her frustrated foe.
Jones said she won't be intimidated against anyone she sees at this tournament.
"I know a lot of these players from juniors, but a lot of them, I've never seen before."
Next up for Jones will be former UCLA standout Elizabeth Lumpkin on Monday.