Townsend Will Play USTA Girls Nationals in San Diego; Girls 16s and 18s Wild Cards Named; Gibbs, Christian Harrison Fall Just Short in Pro Events
A couple of weeks ago, when the acceptance lists for the USTA Nationals were published, I mentioned that Taylor Townsend was not included in the Girls 18s field. Because she had said she was going to play it, and with a US Open main draw wild card on the line, I was surprised by her absence, but until the wild cards were announced, there was obviously a still a chance she would compete in San Diego next month.
As it turns out, she should have been on that initial acceptance list due to her ITF ranking, but an administrative error occurred and she was overlooked. If someone didn't drop out who received entry via the National Standings List, she would have received a wild card, but since someone did, a wild card wasn't necessary, and she is now in the field and playing doubles with Gabby Andrews.
With Townsend and the 12 wild cards below, the field is even more impressive than it was two weeks ago.
Girls 18s Wild Cards:
Two-time NCAA champion Nicole Gibbs played her second round match against No. 4 seed Jamie Hampton today at the WTA Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, and Hampton scraped through with a 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-3 win. Hampton, who hadn't played since the first day of Wimbledon, looked a little rusty, especially on serve, but Gibbs held her own and was even back on serve after trailing 4-0 in the third set before losing, a comeback that would surprise absolutely no one who knows her. For more on the match, see the Stanford website.
Christian Harrison continues to make his case for a US Open main draw wild card (his older brother Ryan also will need one), after taking top seed John Isner deep into the third set before losing 7-6(9), 4-6, 7-5 in the second round of the BB&T Atlanta Open tonight. Isner got 70 percent of his first serves in, had 29 aces, and still barely squeezed by the 19-year-old. Harrison, ranked 373, had defeated No. 83 Alejandro Falla of Colombia 6-1, 6-7(7), 6-2 in the opening round, his first ATP tour win. Last year in the Cincinnati Masters qualifying, Harrison had lost 6-3, 6-3 to Falla, then ranked No. 54.
Ken Thomas called the match at radiotennis.com, and despite Isner's roots in Georgia, it was obvious that the underdog Harrison had captured the affection of the crowd. They roared louder on each match point he saved, three in all, before Isner finally served out the match.
Isner will play James Blake in the quarterfinals Friday. Kevin Anderson, the No. 2 seed, also needed three sets to advance to the quarterfinals, beating qualifier Matt Ebden of Australia 6-7(7), 6-2, 6-2. He will play Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan Friday.