FORMER US OPEN CHAMPION MARIA SHARAPOVA;RISING STARS TAYLOR TOWNSEND, KAYLA DAY AND SOFIA KENIN;USTA GIRLS’ 18S CHAMPION ASHLEY KRATZER; AND NCAA CHAMPION BRIENNE MINOR HIGHLIGHT WOMEN’S US OPEN WILD-CARD RECIPIENTS !
Usue Arconada, Kelly Chen, Francesca Di Lorenzo, Victoria Duval, Ashley Lahey, Ann Li, Claire Liu, Whitney Osuigwe and Katerina Stewart Receive US Open Qualifying Wild Cards….
New York(SMI-WIRE., Aug. 16, 2017) – The USTA today announced that former US Open singles champion Maria Sharapova, young American Taylor Townsend, reigning US Open girls’ champion Kayla Day, 2017 US Open Wild Card Challenge winner Sofia Kenin, 2017 USTA Girls’ 18s national champion Ashley Kratzer and 2017 NCAA singles champion Brienne Minor have been awarded women’s singles main draw wild cards into the 2017 US Open. Also, Frenchwoman Amandine Hesse has received a wild card as part of the USTA’s reciprocal agreement with the French Tennis Federation. And as part of a reciprocal agreement with the USTA, Tennis Australia will award one additional main draw wild card to a player who will be announced at a later date.
The 2017 US Open main draw will be played Aug. 28-Sept. 10 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. Both the men’s and women’s singles champions this year will earn $3.7 million.
Townsend, 21, of Atlanta, ranked No. 134, became the No. 1-ranked junior girl in the world in 2012, after winning the Australian Open girls’ title; she was the first U.S. girl to hold the year-end No. 1 junior ranking since 1982. Townsend competed in the US Open main draw in 2014 and 2016, qualifying for the main draw last year. She advanced to the third round of the French Open in 2014 for her career-best Grand Slam result.
Day, 17, of Santa Barbara, Calif., ranked No. 123, is the reigning US Open girls’ champion and former world junior No. 1. Last year, Day earned a US Open main draw wild card as the USTA Girls’ 18s national champion and won her first-round match. This year, Day competed in the Australian Open, after winning the USTA’s wild card challenge, and advanced to the third round in Indian Wells.
Kenin, 18, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., ranked a career-high No. 141, won the 2017 US Open Wild Card Challenge. Kenin will be making her third consecutive wild-card appearance at the US Open after winning the wild card challenge last year and the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships in 2015. She also reached the singles final at the 2015 US Open Junior Championships.
Kratzer, 18, of Newport Beach, Calif., ranked No. 341, won the 2017 USTA Girls’ singles title in San Diego this past weekend. Kratzer will look to follow predecessors Day (2016), CiCi Bellis (2014) and Sachia Vickery (2013) as USTA Girls’ 18s national champions to win their first round matches. This summer, Kratzer reached back-to-back quarterfinals at $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit events and then reached the final at the $60,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Stockton, Calif.
Minor, 19, of Mundelein, Ill., won the 2017 NCAA women’s singles championship as a sophomore at the University of Michigan—the first-ever NCAA women’s singles title for the program. Minor also became the first African American woman to win an NCAA Division I tennis singles title.
Sharapova, 30, of Russia, ranked No. 148, won the 2006 US Open and reached the semifinals in 2005 and 2012. Sharapova also captured four additional Grand Slam titles in her career: Wimbledon in 2004, the Australian Open in 2008 and the French Open in 2012 and 2014. She holds 35 WTA singles titles and first became No. 1 in the world in August 2005.
Hesse, 24, of France, is ranked No. 206 and received her wild card through a reciprocal agreement with the French Tennis Federation that allowed 15-year-old Amanda Anisimova to make her Grand Slam main draw debut at Roland Garros this year. Hesse also received a wild card into the 2014 US Open.
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 Aug. 22-25 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Players receiving US Open qualifying wild cards are: former world junior No. 5 and 2016 Wimbledon junior doubles champion Usue Arconada (18, College Park, Md.); 2017 Girls’ 18s finalist Kelly Chen (18, Cerritos, Calif.); 2017 NCAA doubles champion and Ohio State All-American Francesca Di Lorenzo (20, New Albany, Ohio); former world No. 87 Victoria Duval (21, Bradenton, Fla.); rising Pepperdine sophomore Ashley Lahey (17, Hawthorne, Calif.); 2017 Wimbledon girls’ finalist Ann Li(17, Devon, Pa.); 2017 Wimbledon girls’ champion and world junior No. 1 Claire Liu (17, Thousand Oaks, Calif.); 2017 French Open girls’ champion Whitney Osuigwe (15, Bradenton, Fla.); and nine-time USTA Pro Circuit singles champion Katerina Stewart (20, Miami), who spent the last year enrolled at West Point.
ABOUT THE USTA:
The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level — from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. A not-for-profit organization with more than 715,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, one of the highest-attended annual sporting events in the world, and launched the US Open Series, linking seven summer WTA and ATP World Tour tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns approximately 90 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S. and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA’s philanthropic entity, the USTA Foundation, provides grants and scholarships in addition to supporting tennis and education programs nationwide to benefit under-resourced youth through the National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network.