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Tennis Briefs: US Open Wildcards Announced; Fla. Teens in China

August 14, 2014 01:47 PM
Floridians Receive US Open Wild Cards
Danielle Collins (photo: zootennis.com)

Two-time USTA Florida 'Bobby Curtis' Junior State Championships winner (Girls' 18s-2011, Girls' 12s-2006) Danielle Collins of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Ft. Lauderdale’s Wayne Odesnik were named as recipients of wild cards for the US Open when the final Grand Slam of the year in Flushing Meadows begins Aug. 25, 2014.

The 20-year-old Collins, who will be a junior at the University of West Virginia, last year became the program's first NCAA singles champion. She went 37-10 in singles last year (21-5 against ranked opponents) to earn Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-America honors.

The 28-year-old Odesnik earned his wild card as the top American points earner at select USTA Pro Circuit events this summer, reaching the final of the $50,000 event in Binghamton, N.Y., and the semifinals of the $50,000 tournament in Lexington, Ky.

Other American women receiving main draw wild cards were former world No. 1 junior Taylor Townsend (18, Chicago), 2011 US Open junior champion Grace Min (20, Atlanta), two-time NCAA singles champion Nicole Gibbs (21, Santa Monica, Calif.), former Wimbledon and Australian Open junior finalist Madison Brengle (24, Dover, Del.), USTA Girls' 18s National Champion CiCi Bellis (15, of Atherton, Calif.), Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova, and France's Amandine Hesse.

Additional American men receiving main draw wild cards were world No. 43 Ryan Harrison, world No. 93 Tim Smyczek, top 17-year old Jared Donaldson, 2014 NCAA singles champion Marcos Giron, and 2014 USTA Boys’ 18s National Champion Noah Rubin. Receiving wild cards through reciprocal agreements between the USTA and their national tennis associations were Australia’s Bernard Tomic and France’s Michael Llodra.

Florida teen girls receiving wild cards into the qualifying draw were Tornado Alicia Black (16, Boca Raton), the USTA Girls' 18s runner-up who also reached the US Open junior final last year; Jennifer Brady (19, Boca Raton), the Pac-12 singles champion who helped UCLA win the NCAA team title this year, as a freshman; and Katerina Stewart (17, Coral Gables), the USTA Girls' 18s National Clay Court champion.

Other American women receiving qualifying wild cards are Samantha Crawford (19, Atlanta), the 2012 US Open junior champion; Asia Muhammad (23, Long Beach, Calif.), who recently reached the semifinals of the $100,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Vancouver, B.C.; Bernarda Pera (19, North Haledon, N.J.), who has won five USTA Pro Circuit singles titles in the last two years; Maria Sanchez (24, Los Angeles), formerly the top-ranked college singles player while at USC; and Fiona Ferro (17, Valbonne, France), who earned her qualifying spot through a reciprocal agreement with the French Tennis Federation.

Florida’s 2014 Wimbledon and Australian Open junior finalist Stefan Kozlov (16, Pembroke Pines) leads the U.S. males receiving qualifying wild cards, joined by Collin Altamirano (18, Sacramento, Calif.), the 2014 USTA Boys’ 18s runner-up; Ernesto Escobedo (18, West Covina, Calif.), who reached the quarterfinals or better at four straight USTA Pro Circuit events this summer; Mitchell Frank (21, Annandale, Va.), a top college singles player at the University of Virginia who has won 14 of his last 15 pro matches, capturing two USTA Pro Circuit Futures titles in the last month; 2014 Wimbledon junior semifinalist Taylor Fritz (17, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.); Mackenzie McDonald (19, Piedmont, Calif.), a 2014 NCAA singles quarterfinalist as a freshman at UCLA; 2014 Easter Bowl champion and former world No. 2 junior Francis Tiafoe (16, College Park, Md.); and France’s Mathias Bourgue, 20, who received his wild card through a reciprocal agreement with the French Tennis Federation.
Two additional US Open qualifying wild cards will be awarded to the men’s and women’s winners of the 2014 US Open National Playoffs Championships, taking place Aug. 15-18 in New Haven, Conn.
The 2014 US Open will be played from Monday, Aug. 25 through Monday, Sept. 8. Tickets can be purchased at www.USOpen.org. For more info go to www.usta.com.

Florida’s Kenin, Rybakov Comprise U.S. Tennis Team at Youth Olympics Games in China

Sofia Kenin this year at Wimbledon (photo: Art Seitz)

It will be an all-Florida representation for the U.S. at the Youth Olympic Games when Sofia Kenin of Pembroke Pines and Alex Rybakov of Coral Springs take to the courts for the United States on Aug. 16-28 at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games tennis event in China. 

Thirty-eight countries are represented in the boys’ and girls’ events that comprise 32 players in singles, 16 pairs in doubles, and 32 pairs in mixed doubles. The Youth Olympic tennis event is for players age 14-18, with all players taking part in all three events.

The event will welcome approximately 3,800 athletes competing in 28 sports.

The 15-year-old Kenin is ranked No. 29 in the world and is rolling in international competition after competing in the junior French Open and Wimbledon events for the first time in 2014, and on the U.S. Junior Fed Cup team.

“I’m really, really excited,” Kenin told the ITF website. “I’m looking forward to meeting different athletes and competing for my country. It’s an incredible honor. You’re competing and there’s so many different things going on around you. I played in Canada earlier this year and we won. It was incredible. I made a ton of new friends, we all supported each other and it really, really helped me.”

Kenin says what could pose the biggest challenge is her food choices.

“[China is] big, has a different culture, obviously different foods,” she said. “I’ll have to adjust to the food. I’m kind of a picky eater but I’m going to have to change that.”

The 17-year-old Rybakov and Kenin will following the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games return to the U.S. to compete in the US Open juniors events.

For more info go to www.itftennis.com/juniors/home.aspx.







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