open tennis championships

Defending Champions, Turkish Rookie First-Day Winners

NEW YORK – Defending champions Roger Federer and Serena Williams are in the second round of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships. So is Kim Clijsters, who is playing in the year’s final Grand Slam tournament for the first time since winning the women’s singles in 2005.
Also advancing to the second round on the hard courts of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center was Marsel Ilhan, who on Monday became the first Turkish player in the Open Era to play a Grand Slam tournament men’s singles match.

Where Federer, Williams and Clijsters took care of their first-round opponents in straight sets, Ilhan needed five sets to overcome Christophe Rochus of Belgium 3-6 6-3 3-6 7-5 7-5. Rochus served for the match at 5-4 in the fourth set and had a 5-3 lead in the fifth. Each time the 22-year-old Ilhan went on a tear, winning four straight games.
It doesn’t get any easier for the 6-foot-3 (190m) Ilhan. His second-round opponent will be American John Isner, who ousted 28th-seeded Victor Hanescu of Romania 6-1 7-6 (14) 7-6 (5) on Monday. That winner will more than likely face fifth-seeded Andy Roddick in the third round.
Federer began his march toward becoming the first man since Bill Tilden in 1925 to win six straight US championship titles, and just the fourth man in history to win the same Grand Slam title for six successive years. Richard Sears and William Renshaw also did it, but the Challenge Round was in existence when they played, meaning they only had to win one match to defend their titles.
Devin Britton, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) champion from the University of Mississippi, was the latest blip on Federer’s march into history, falling 6-1 6-3 7-3 before a huge crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I was just a little nervous,” the 18-year-old said, referring to not only his opponent but also the 23,700-seat arena, the largest tennis stadium in the world. “It’s just 100 times bigger than anything I’ve ever played in front of. It was a little overwhelming.”
Britton, runner-up in the US Open Junior Boys last year, barely had a chance to catch his breath in the opening set, which was over in 18 minutes. But once he settled down, he showed flashes of the game that made him only the fourth freshman to win the NCAA men’s singles as he twice broke Federer’s serve.
That, however, only awakened the Swiss superstar.

“He had some very good spells, and I had to make sure from my side that I stayed with him and come back, because I was down a break in the second and in the third,” Federer said. “So it was good to still get through in three sets.”

The top-seeded player makes history almost every time he steps onto the court. His first-round victory made Federer the first player to earn USD $50 million in prize money. He also is attempting to win both Wimbledon and the US Open in the same year for the fifth time; no other man in the Open era has achieved it more than twice.

If Federer wins America’s premier tennis event, it would be the third time in his career that he has won three consecutive majors and the fourth time that he has won three majors in a calendar year. If he is playing on the final day of this two-week tournament, it would mean he had become the first man in history to reach all four Grand Slam finals in the same year on three separate occasions, following 2006 and 2007.

“I think this is stuff you can talk about when my career is over,” Federer said.

Serena Williams needed a set to get her game in sync. Then it was an easy 6-4 6-1 win over fellow American Alexa Glatch. The tournament’s second-seed is seeking her third Grand Slam tournament title of 2009, having won the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Surprisingly, those are her only championships this year.

“The girl I played today,” Williams said. “She’s American and she’s actually a really good player. She can be really good.”
It was the fourth US Open for Glatch, but her first appearance as a direct entrant. She didn’t fold against her heavily favored foe, matching her game for game through most of the 32-minute first set. The second set took only two minutes less time to play, but there was no doubt about the outcome.

Clijsters made her first New York appearance since winning the title four years ago. Since then she retired, got married, gave birth to a daughter and unretired. Against Viktoriya Kutuzova, it looked as if Clijsters had never gone away.

The former world number one player pounded out a 6-1 6-1 victory to open this year’s Championships.

“Obviously the girl made a lot of mistakes today, but I really felt like I was able to do what I had to do and work on the things that weren’t going as well in Cincinnati and Toronto,” Clijsters said. “Now it’s a matter of trying to go keep this going.”

In other early men’s matches Monday, eighth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko beat Germany’s Dieter Kindlmann 6-3 6-4 7-5; 12th-seeded Robin Soderling stopped Spain’s Albert Montanes 6-1 3-6 6-1 6-4; and 14th-seeded Tommy Robredo eliminated American Donald Young 6-4 3-6 6-2 6-3.

Among the women winners Monday were eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenka, 6-1 6-1 over Romania’s Alexandra Dulgheru; 10th-seeded Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 6-0 over Romania’s Edina Gallovits; 12th-seeded Agnieszska Radwanska, 6-1 6-2 over Austria’s Patricia Mayr; 14th-seeded Marion Bartoli, 6-1 6-0 over Paraguay’s Rossana De Los Rios; and 15th-seeded Samantha Stosur, 6-4 4-6 6-4 over Japan’s Ai Sugiyama.

US Fed Cup Team Members Alexa Glatch And Vania King, USTA Girls’ 18s National Champion Christina McHale Among 2009 US Open Wild Card Recipients

FLUSHING, N.Y., August 20, 2009 – The USTA announced today that Gail Brodksy (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Mallory Cecil (Spartanburg, S.C.), Alexa Glatch (Newport Beach, Calif.), Vania King (Long Beach, Calif.), Christina McHale (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.), Kristina Mladenovic (France) and Olivia Rogowska (Australia) will join former US Open Champion Kim Clijsters (Belgium) as main draw wild cards at the 2009 US Open Tennis Championships, which will be played August 31 – September 13 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

Both the men’s and women’s US Open singles champions will earn $1.6 million with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money (for a total $2.6 million potential payout) based on their performance in the Olympus US Open Series.  In addition, both US Open singles champions will receive a new 2010 Lexus IS Convertible.

Brodsky, 18, of Brooklyn, N.Y., is receiving a wild card for the second straight year; she  earned a wild card last year with her victory at the 2008 USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships (she finished third at this year’s event).  In May, Brodsky reached the quarterfinals at the USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 event in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla.  She is currently ranked No. 415.

Cecil, 19, of Spartanburg,S.C., won the 2009 NCAA singles title as a freshman at Duke University.  She also helped lead the Blue Devils to the 2009 NCAA team title and was named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Player of the Year.  Cecil won back-to-back USTA Pro Circuit $10,000 titles last June, and last month she reached the quarterfinals of a $50,000 event in Grapevine, Texas.

Clijsters, 26, of Belgium, returned to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour this month after a two-year retirement.  The former world No. 1 earned the biggest paycheck in the history of women’s sports — $2.2 million — in 2005 when she won the US Open and Olympus US Open Series.  She has reached the final at four other Grand Slams, including the 2003 US Open, and won 34 singles titles in her career.

Glatch, 19, of Newport Beach, Calif., is currently ranked a career-high No. 102.  She made her debut for the U.S. Fed Cup team in April and won both of her singles matches to help propel the U.S. to the Fed Cup final for the first time since 2003.  This year, Glatch also competed at the French Open and Wimbledon and reached the third round at Indian Wells.  Glatch has won three singles titles on the USTA Pro Circuit.  She reached the second round at the US Open as a wild card in 2005, the same year she advanced to the US Open girls’ final in both singles and doubles (with Vania King).

King, 20, of Long Beach, Calif. is currently ranked No. 123, and has played in the US Open main draw in each of the last four years.  King has won seven Sony Ericsson WTA Tour doubles titles and reached the mixed doubles final at the French Open earlier this year.  She won her first career tour-level singles title in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2006.  King was a member of the U.S. Fed Cup team from 2006-08.

A full-time resident at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., McHale, 17, of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., earned her wild card by winning the 2009 USTA Girls’ 18s National Championship last weekend in Berkeley, Calif., where she also won the doubles title.  McHale also earned a wild card into the 2009 Australian Open by winning a USTA wild card playoff.  On the junior circuit, McHale won the 2009 Girls’ 18s Easter Bowl and the girls’ doubles title at this year’s Australian Open.  She also helped lead the U.S. to the 2008 Junior Fed Cup title.

Mladenovic, 16, of France, is currently the No. 1 player in the ITF World Junior Rankings. She received her wild card through a reciprocal agreement with the French Tennis Federation, which gave a 2009 French Open wild card to the USTA that was awarded to Lauren Embree.  Madenovic won the girls’ singles title at Roland Garros this year, and reached the girls’ singles and doubles finals at Wimbledon.

Rogowska, 18, of Australia, is currently ranked No. 167 and received her wild card through a reciprocal agreement with Tennis Australia, which will give a 2010 Australian Open wild card to a player selected by the USTA.  Rogowska has competed in the main draws of the 2009 Australian and French Opens.

In addition to the eight US Open women’s singles main draw wild cards, the USTA also announced the nine women who have been awarded wild card entries into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, which will be held August 25-28 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Players receiving US Open qualifying wild cards are: Kristie Ahn (17, Upper Saddle River, N.J.), USTA Girls’ 18s runner-up Lauren Embree (18, Marco Island, Fla.), Irina Falconi (19, Jupiter, Fla.), Nicole Gibbs (16, Manhattan Beach, Calif.),Asia Muhammad (18, Henderson, Nev.),Alison Riske (19, McMurray, Pa.), Laura Robson (15, Great Britain), Sloane Stephens (16, San Pedro, Calif.) and reigning US Open girls’ singles champion Coco Vandeweghe (17, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.)

Resurgent Taylor Dent, NCAA Champion Devin Britton, USTA Boys’ 18s National Champion Chase Buchanan Among US Open Wild Card Recipients

FLUSHING, N.Y., August 19, 2009 – The USTA announced today that a talented group of Americans consisting of Devin Britton (Jackson, Miss.),Chase Buchanan (New Albany, Ohio),Taylor Dent (Newport Beach, Calif.),Brendan Evans (Key Biscayne, Fla.), Jesse Levine (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Rajeev Ram (Carmel, Ind.), along with two international players including Australian Chris Guccione and a player to be named by the French Tennis Association, have been awarded men’s singles main draw wild card entries into the 2009 US Open Tennis Championships.  The 2009 US Open will be played August 31 – September 13 at the USTA Billie Jean King NationalTennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

Both the men’s and women’s US Open singles champions will earn $1.6 million with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money (for a total potential payout of $2.6 million) based on their performance in the 2009 Olympus US Open Series.  In addition, both US Open singles champions will receive a new 2010 Lexus IS Convertible.

Britton, 18, of Jackson, Miss., burst onto the tennis scene by reaching the 2008 US Open boys’ final as a qualifier.  After winning the doubles title at the Dunlop Orange Bowl in December, he enrolled at the University of Mississippi, where in May he became the youngest man ever to win the NCAA Division I singles title.  Britton then returned to junior competition this summer, sweeping the singles and doubles titles at Roehampton, a Wimbledon warm-up, and then advancing to the semifinals of the Wimbledon juniors.  He is currently No. 14 in the ITF World Junior Rankings.

Buchanan, 18, of New Albany, Ohio, earned his wild card into the 2009 US Open main draw by winning the USTA Boys’ 18s National Championships on Sunday.  Last year, he won the Easter Bowl singles title and the USTA Boys’ 18s doubles title (earning a wild card into the 2008 US Open men’s doubles main draw with partner Ryan Harrison), and peaked at No. 6 in the ITF World Junior Rankings after reaching the singles quarterfinals and the doubles final at the Dunlop Orange Bowl.  Buchanan went 17-7 (11-4 in singles) to help lead the Ohio State Buckeyes to the 2009 NCAA team final as a freshman.

Dent, 28, of Newport Beach, Calif., returned to the ATP World Tour briefly in 2008 after three back surgeries that forced him to miss two years and nearly ended his career.  This year, he played in the main draw at the 2009 Australian Open, advanced to the fourth round in Miami and qualified for Wimbledon.  Dent finished in the year-end Top 35 every year from 2003-05 and climbed to a career-high No. 21 in 2005.  He advanced to the bronze medal match at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, and was a member of the U.S. Davis Cup team and reached the round of 16 at the US Open in 2003.

Evans, 23, of Key Biscayne, Fla., is currently ranked a career-high No. 122.  He recently reached the quarterfinals at the ATP World Tour event in Newport, R.I.  Also this year, Evans has won Challengers in Noumea, New Caledonia, and Nottingham, England, and he reached the final at the $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Dallas and qualified for the ATP World Tour event in Indian Wells.  In 2004, Evans and fellow American Scott Oudsema teamed to win three of the four Grand Slam junior doubles titles, including the US Open.

Levine, 21, of Boca Raton, Fla., broke into the Top 100 earlier this year and is currently ranked No. 112.  He had his best Grand Slam showing at Wimbledon this summer, upsetting 14th-seeded Marat Safin and reaching the third round as a qualifier.  In 2008, Levine was a quarterfinalist at Pilot Pen in New Haven,Conn., an Olympus US Open Series event, and reached the second round at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon.  He played one year of college tennis, going 24-1 as a freshman at the University of Florida in 2007

Ram, 25, of Carmel, Ind., is currently ranked No. 121.  He won his first ATP World Tour title this summer at the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, in Newport, R.I., after receiving a “lucky loser” spot into the main draw, defeating Sam Querrey in the final and also winning the doubles title.  On the USTA Pro Circuit, he has won 20 doubles titles and two singles titles.  Ram played one semester at the University of Illinois in 2003 and won the NCAA doubles title.

Guccione, 24, of Australia, is ranked No. 124 and received his wild card through a reciprocal agreement with Tennis Australia, which will grant a men’s main draw wild card into the 2010 Australian Open to a player designated by the USTA.  On this year’s USTA Pro Circuit, he swept the singles and doubles titles at the $75,000 Challenger event in Aptos, Calif.

An eighth player will also receive a main draw wild card through a reciprocal agreement with the French Tennis Federation, which granted a men’s draw wild card at the 2009 French Open to John Isner. (Isner was forced to withdraw due to illness.)

In addition to the eight US Open men’s singles main draw wild cards, the USTA also announced the nine men who have been awarded wild card entries into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, which will be held August 25-28 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Players receiving US Open qualifying wild cards are: Lester Cook (25, Sherman Oaks, Calif.), 2008 US Open boys’ singles champion Grigor Dimitrov (18, Bulgaria), Alexander Domijan (17, Wesley Chapel, Fla.), Ryan Harrison (17, Bradenton, Fla.), Scoville Jenkins (turns 23 on Sunday, Atlanta), 2009 USTA Boys’ 18s runner-up Ryan Lipman (18, Nashville, Tenn.), Tim Smyczek (21, Milwaukee, Wis.), Blake Strode (22, St. Louis) and Michael Venus (21, Orlando, Fla.).  Strode and Venus are both members of the 2009 USTA Summer Collegiate Team.

The 2009 US Open will be held Monday, August 31 through Sunday, September 13.  Tickets for the 2009 US Open can be purchased four ways: 1) at usopen.org; 2) by calling Ticketmaster at 1-866­OPEN-TIX; 3) at all Ticketmaster outlets; or 4) at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center box office.  American Express is the Official Card of the US Open.