Wild Cards Ahn, Muhammad, Robson, Venus and Smyczek Advance to Second Round in US Open Qualifying; ESPNews Airs Draw at Noon Thursday
The first round of qualifying for the US Open is complete, and wild cards enjoyed more success on Wednesday than they did on Tuesday.
Fifteen-year-old Laura Robson of Great Britain, who was something of a surprise wild card, started off the morning with a 7-5, 6-1 win over No. 21 seed Stephanie Foretz of France. Although Ken Thomas of radiotennis.com called the Court 11 match, I wasn't able to listen, but later in the day, he mentioned that Foretz "went away" in the second set. I was able to log in for the next match, in which wild card Alex Domijan lost a 7-6(4), 7-5 decision to Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico, and I stayed close to the computer for most of the remaining matches.
Wild card Asia Muhammad posted an impressive 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 victory over Jorgelina Cravero of Argentina, ranked 181, and another wild card, Kristie Ahn, kept her US Open qualifying record perfect with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Nathlie Vierin of Italy, ranked 221. Ahn, who qualified as a wild card last year, only to draw Dinara Safina in the opening round, stopped by to talk with Ken Thomas while he was calling the Julie Ditty loss to Anna Lapushchenkova. She revealed that she's still planning on college, most likely Stanford, but will be moving temporarily to the USTA Training Center in Carson to work with National Coach Tom Gullikson and others. Ahn said it was currently a three month trial. I'm not sure, but I think I heard her say she isn't going to play the US Open juniors this year. She is still showing in the acceptances as of Monday, however.
The only other U.S. woman reaching Thursday's second round today was No. 27 seed Angela Haynes, who beat Lindsay Lee-Waters 6-3, 6-2. In all, there are seven U.S. women still alive, with three of them--Lauren Embree, Ahn and Muhammad--wild card entries.
In addition to Mike McClune, who reached the second round late Tuesday evening, two other wild cards earned another match today: Tim Smyczek and Michael Venus. Smyczek beat former ATP Top Ten player and Australian Open finalist Arnaud Clement of France. Smyczek, who is at a career high of 282, beat 20th seeded Clement 7-6(6), 6-4. Venus, the former LSU standout, had a similar scoreline, in dismissing Marcel Felder of Uruguay 7-6(5), 6-4.
Two-time Kalamazoo champion Donald Young also won a tight two-setter, taking out Marco Crugnola of Italy 7-6(2), 6-4 and former Duke star Michael Yani had a convincing 6-1, 6-3 victory over No. 29 seed Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France. Kentucky wildcat alum Jesse Witten also had an easy win over Go Soeda of Japan 6-2, 6-1; Steve Pratt wrote this story about Witten's victory. There are eight U.S. men remaining, three of them wild cards.
In addition to Marcia Frost, who is covering the qualifying for College Tennis Examiner, other mainstream media has checked in. Peter Bodo of Tennis Magazine and tennis.com, wrote about 2007 US Open Junior finalist Jerzy Janowicz in his TennisWorld post today, and Tennis Week's Scoop Malinowski is also out checking out practice and qualies. He is particularly enamored of 2008 US Open Junior champion Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, who faces No. 1 seed Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil in the second round of qualifying Thursday.
For complete Thursday schedule, see usopen.org.
And don't forget to watch ESPNews at noon EDT Thursday for the US Open draw. I'm particularly eager to see who the NCAA champions and 18s champions will play next week.