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Oudin, Keys, Ginepri Among USTA Aussie Open Playoff; Jr. Orange Bowl Preview

December 1, 2011 08:42 AM
Oudin, Keys, Ginepri Among Completed Field for USTA Australian Open Wild Card Playoff

Madison Keys
USTA Player Development has announced the eight men and eight women invited to participate in the 2011 Kia Motors Australian Open Wild Card Playoff, being held for the third consecutive year at the Racquet Club of the South, a USTA Certified Regional Training Center in Atlanta, on Dec. 16-18, 2011. The winners will receive main draw singles wild cards into the men's and women's draws at the 2012 Australian Open through a reciprocal agreement with Tennis Australia where the two national tennis federations exchange wild cards for the 2011 US Open and the 2012 Australian Open. 
The women's field includes 2009 US Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin (Marietta, Ga.), who grew up training at the Racquet Club of the South and helped lead the U.S. to consecutive Fed Cup finals in 2009-10; and Coco Vandeweghe (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.), the niece of former NBA star Kiki Vandeweghe, who competed in the main draw of all four Grand Slam events in 2011 and won this event in 2009 to earn a wild card into the 2010 Australian Open. 
In addition to Oudin, local favorites will include Grace Min (Duluth, Ga.), who captured the 2011 US Open girls' singles title; and Taylor Townsend (Stockbridge, Ga.), the youngest player in either field at age 15, who reached the girls' doubles final at the 2011 US Open and reached the semifinals at a USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 event in Carson, Calif., in April. 
Rounding out the women's field are Madison Keys (Boca Raton, Fla.), who won a similar playoff to earn a wild card into the 2011 US Open, where she subsequently became the youngest player to win a main draw match since 2005; Jamie Hampton (Auburn, Ala.), who won four USTA Pro Circuit titles in 2010 and qualified for the 2011 Australian Open; 2008 USTA Girls' 18s National champion Gail Brodsky (Brooklyn, N.Y.); and Alison Riske (McMurray, Pa.), who reached the semifinals at the Wimbledon tune-up in Birmingham in 2010 to earn a wild card into the Wimbledon main draw. 
Oudin, Keys, Min and Townsend all currently train full-time at the USTA Training Center-Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., while Brodsky trains at the USTA Training Center-East at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. 
The men's field includes local favorite Robby Ginepri (Kennesaw, Ga.), who reached the 2005 US Open semifinals and is the only active American male aside from Andy Roddick to appear in a Grand Slam semifinal; and 2010 US Open boys' champion Jack Sock (Lincoln, Neb.), who also won consecutive titles at the USTA Boys' 18s National Championships in 2010-11. 
The men's field also features local product Bobby Reynolds (Acworth, Ga.), the former Vanderbilt standout who won a similar event to earn a wild card into the 2011 US Open; and Denis Kudla (Arlington, Va.), who reached the quarterfinals at the ATP World Tour event in Newport, R.I., in July.   
Rounding out the field are four current and former collegiate standouts including: 2011 NCAA men's champion Steve Johnson (Orange, Calif.), who has also helped lead the USC Trojans to three consecutive NCAA team titles; Daniel Kosakowski (Huntington Park, Calif.) who turned professional after his freshman year at UCLA and won his first tour-level match at the Olympus US Open Series event in Los Angeles; Rhyne Williams (Knoxville, Tenn.), the 2011 NCAA singles runner-up for the University of Tennessee, who turned pro after winning his second professional title in June at the USTA Pro Circuit Futures in Innisbrook, Fla.; and Jesse Levine (Boca Raton, Fla.), a former All-American at the University of Florida who reached the third round at Wimbledon in 2009 and has won four titles in six finals on the ITF Pro Circuit since September.
In addition to the tournament, the event will also feature an exhibition match on Friday, Dec. 16, that will be played in a World TeamTennis format, with U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier and USTA Player Development General Manager Patrick McEnroe serving as the team captains. For additional information including ticket pricing, please visit www.australinwildcard.com.

Preview: 50th Jr. Orange Bowl Tennis in Dec.

jr orange bowl logoThe world's best 14 & under and 12 & under tennis players will be coming down to Coral Gables for the 50th annual Junior Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship. This year's tournament has received a record 1,325 entrants from 75 countries, and 40 U.S. states. The qualifying matches will be held from Dec. 14-16, 2011, with the main draw taking place on Dec. 17-23.
Past participants of the Junior Orange Bowl Tennis Championship include 2002 U-14 winner and 2009 US open winner Juan Martin Del Potro, Andy Roddick, Caroline Wozniacki, Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, Chris Evert and Jim Courier.

Former professional tennis player and two-time Junior Orange Bowl Tennis Champion Mary Joe Fernandez will serve as the honorary chair of this year's championship. A new venue has been added to this year's tournament as the Girls 14 & under matches will be held at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne.

Twenty out of the 25 top-ranked U.S. 14 & under boys have entered the tournament, including No. 1 Cameron E. Klinger from San Jose, Calif., and No. 2 Stefan Kozlov from Pembroke Pines, Fla., who was the 12 & under Junior Orange Bowl runner up in 2009. The field also includes No. 3 Francis Tiafoe from College Park. Md.

Some impressive players from the state of Florida will also be competing in No. 7 Reilly Opelka from Palm Coast, No. 11 Chase Colton of Davie, and local standout from Coral Gables Alfredo Perez. Some prominent European players from the 14 & under group are attending, include top-ranked European Bogdan Borza of Romania, and No. 4-ranked European Alexander Zverev of Russia. The top 14 & under South American players attending include No. 1 South American Juan Pablo Ficovich from Argentina and the second-ranked South American from Brazil, Orlando Moraes da Luz.

Sixteen of the Top 20 American 14 & under girls are participating including local players No. 1-ranked Katerina Stewart from Miami, No. 3 Julia O'Loughlin and No. 7 Mia Horvit. Second-ranked Kaitlyn Harris McCarty from Cary, N.C., will also be competing. 

No. 1 Ana Konjuh from Croatia and No. 2 Iryna Shymanovich from Belarus are among the top European 14 & under girls attending. South American girls 14 and under standouts include No. 9 Julieta Lara Estable from Argentina and No. 17 Natalia de Ugarte Munoz from Bolivia.

Also attending are several of the top-ranked boys in the 12 & under division, including local favorite and No. 1 Alexander del Corral of Doral, Fla., and No. 2 Patrick Kpyson from Greenville, NC. Top-ranked girls 12 & under participants include No. 1 Catherine Cartan Bellis of Atherton Calif., and No. 6 U.S. player Anna Bight from Boca Raton, Fla.

This year's finals for the boys' 14 & under, girls' 14 & under, and girls' 12 & under will all be held at the University of Miami Tennis Center on Dec. 23 starting at 9 a.m. The finals for the boys' 12 & under will be held at Salvadore Park at 9 a.m. on Dec. 22.






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