Sarah Taylor has been asking herself the question, "Should I or shouldn't I?" for the past several months. William and Mary University has offered the 18-year-old from North Carolina the keys to a higher education. But then tennis is offering her the keys to fame and fortune. She's being looked on as one of the bright, rising stars.
She admitted Wednesday that she's leaning towards a scholarship, but with a qualifier.
"I'm going to defer my schooling for one year and play tennis . . . yes, as an amateur," she explained.
Her opening round win in the Bank One USTA Challenger on Wednesday didn't help with her struggle. The young amateur upset No. 6 seeded Samantha Reeves rather handily, 6-3, 6-2. Then, a few hours later, with partner Karen Miller, she beat Daphne Van de Zande of Belgium and Visnja Voletic of Yugoslavia in doubles.
"With every match I'm improving," she continued. "Even today. I learned I can play the big points well. She made a run at me, but I kept my concentration."
By that she means she lightened up on her booming service and hard-hit forehands and didn't beat herself. In the thin Salt Lake air, serves and returns that fall into courts in California fly into the fence.
Taylor lightened up, kept the ball in play and waited for opportunities.
Other players struggled in the thin air. In Taylor's doubles match, for example, a number of returns by the opponents flew long on key points, especially in the second set when the losing duo tried to make a mid-set rally.
The final score in doubles was 6-1, 6-3.
Aside from Taylor's win, there were no big surprises in the second day of the $75,000 tennis event at the Snowbird Canyon Racquet Club. No. 4 Wynne Prakusya of Indonesia beat Wendy Fix of the United States, 6-2, 6-2. On Tuesday, top-seeded Louise Latimer of Germany wasn't so lucky. She lost to unseeded Allison Bradshaw, a 19-year-old from San Diego, 6-4, 7-6.
Utah's only link to the tournament couldn't survive the barrage of winners delivered by the No. 3-seeded duo in doubles play. Kim Kelly and Megan Dorney, longtime doubles partners, lost to Dawn Buth and Evie Dominikovic, 6-1, 6-2.
Matches continue through the week, starting daily at 10 a.m. The semifinals will be Saturday and the finals Sunday. Tickets are available at the tennis club.