Due to its placement on the calendar and the demise of the Luxilon Cup, I won't be at the Sony Ericsson this year. But I always follow the qualifying and the wild cards very closely, to see who's in IMG's good graces. The main draws were released today, and although there were no changes from the recent announcement of the men's main draw wild cards (Ancic, Isner, Levine, Kuerten, Nishikori), there are two women with main draw wild cards that weren't previously announced--Melanie Oudin (UPDATE: I'm told Oudin earned her wildcard in a tournament for that purpose against Nicole Gibbs, Lauren Albanese and Gail Brodsky) and New Zealand's Marina Erakovic, who had previously been given a qualifying wild card.
There were a couple of previously unannounced qualifying wild cards on the women's side in Anna Fitzpatrick of Great Britain and Gail Brodsky of the U.S. (Anyone else surprised that Asia Muhammad didn't get a qualifying wild card?) Both lost today, as did Sloane Stephens of the U.S. and 18-year-old Anna Tatishvili of Georgia, who created a stir two years ago when she upended Sania Mirza. Fifteen-year-old Tammy Hendler of Belgium did win her first round qualifying match, 4-6, 7-5, 6-0 over Ayumi Morita of Japan. NCAA Champion Audra Cohen, the sixth qualifying wild card, just finished off Olga Poutchkova of Russia in a late match.
In the men's qualifying, the only change was, as David mentioned in his comment, Ryan Harrison taking the wild card previously announced as going to Rhyne Williams. As with the women's qualifying wild cards, there was limited success, with only Ryan Sweeting's 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Robert Kendrick keeping them from being shut out. Gastao Elias, Ricardas Berankis, Philip Bester and Harrison all lost in straight sets today.
For complete results, visit sonyericssonopen.com.
The women's Pro Circuit is in Louisiana this week for a $25,000 event. Both the Gullickson sisters, Chelsey and Carly, qualified, as did Ashley Weinhold. Jamie Hampton got in as a lucky loser. Other U.S. juniors in the main draw are wild cards Kristy Frilling and Stacey Tan, as well as Madison Brengle. For complete draws, see the Pro Circuit home page.
Monday, March 24, 2008