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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

BNP Paribas Wild Cards Announced; US Open Adds Main Draw Doubles Wild Cards to National Playoffs This Year; Pacific Coast Doubles Championships This Weekend; Smith, Bellis Features

The BNP Paribas Open, which begins next week in Indian Wells, announced its wild cards today.

Serena Williams had announced she was accepting a wild card last month. Women receiving main draw wild cards today are: Americans Nicole Gibbs(Stanford), Grace Min, Taylor Townsend, Louisa Chirico, Sachia Vickery and Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Croatia's Donna Vekic also received a main draw wild card.

Women's qualifying wild cards went to Julia Boserup, Maria Sanchez(Southern Cal), Alicia Tornado Black, Allie Kiick and Taiwan's Hsieh Su-Wei. Another will be given to the winner of the pre-qualifying challenge underway now.

Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro, returning from another wrist surgery, received a men's main draw wild card.  Americans received the other four wild cards: Austin Krajick(Texas A&M), Tim Smyczek, Ryan Harrison and Denis Kudla.

Men's qualifying wild cards were given to Yannick Hanfmann(Southern Cal), Mackenzie McDonald(UCLA) and junior Taylor Fritz. Last year five qualifying wild cards were awarded, so in addition to the pre-qualifying challenge winner, one more is still available.

The tournament's complete release is available here.

The US Open today announced its sixth annual National Playoffs, which provide any USTA member an opportunity to complete for a qualifying wild card through a sectional event that leads to a national playoff this summer.  Registration begins March 15th.

The big news in today's release is the addition of men's and women's doubles competition, which will earn the winners a main draw wild card. Mixed doubles competition, which also has awarded a main draw wild card to the winners the past five years, will continue.

The Pacific Coast Doubles tournament, one of the oldest tennis competitions in the United States, begins Thursday in La Jolla, California, with Southern Cal's Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz the top collegiate seeds and Denis Kudla and John Kelly are the top non-collegiate seeds.

Southern Cal head coach Peter Smith is seeded No. 3, with 2008 NCAA doubles champion Kaes Van't Hof, leaving his sons Riley and Tanner to find other partners.  This article by Josh Rey, on Smith and his family, includes the competition that exists between the teenagers to secure their father's services for the USTA Father and Son Nationals.

The draws can be found at the TennisLink site.

CiCi Bellis and her family have been wary of too much publicity surrounding her success at such a young age, but Doug Robson was able to uncover some of her strengths and challenges while going easy on the hype in this article for tennis.com.