Most tennis fans remember Lauren Davis as the young American who suffered a lopsided first round loss to Samantha Stosur at the 2011 Australian Open.
That match did not do much to turn heads, but her most recent win at the 2012 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells just might.
The 18-year-old Davis, standing at only 5’2’’, earned her first WTA main draw victory when she defeated Croatia’s Petra Martic in the first round at Indian Wells. Ranked a career high No. 221 in the world, Davis defeated her more experienced and higher ranked opponent – Martic is world No. 55 – in straight sets 6-2, 7-6(7). She will play the 30th seed, Nadia Petrova of Russia, in the second round.
The win is a significant milestone for Davis. She turned pro in January 2011 but has struggled on the WTA Tour. Besides playing in the 2011 Australian Open, Davis’ only other Grand Slam experience was when she earned her way into the 2011 U.S. Open main draw by claiming the USTA Girls’ 18 National title. She put up a much stronger fight in Flushing Meadows than in Melbourne, eventually falling to surprise semifinalist Angelique Kerber in two close sets.
Born in Cleveland, the daughter of a heart surgeon and a nurse, Davis attended Gilmour Academy in Gates Mill, Ohio until her sophomore year. She relocated shortly after to the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Fla, where she still trains.
Despite her small stature, Davis had an extremely successful junior campaign. In addition to the National Girls’ 18 title, Davis is a two-time USTA 16-and-under champion and won the Orange Bowl and Eddie Herr junior tournaments in 2010. Her professional titles reach back to 2010 and include three ITF 10ks (2010 Williamsburg, 2011 Buffalo, and 2011 Atlanta) and two ITF 25ks (2010 Bayamon and 2012 Plantation.)
Among her recent accolades, Davis was named one of the most interesting people of 2012 by her hometown publication, Cleveland Magazine.
And Davis, who has a Twitter account but seldom tweets, proudly tweeted about her Indian Wells victory shortly after the match.