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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

USTA Men's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge Begins in Late October; Qualifying Complete at Three Women's USTA Pro Circuit Events, Men's $15K in Albuquerque

The USTA's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge for women begins this week and extends through the week of October 24th, as announced earlier this month. The USTA Australian Open Wild Card Challenge for men was just announced, with its first week October 24th and its last week November 14th, which is a four-week stretch, while the women's is five weeks. For both genders, it's the best three results in the designated weeks from any events at the $25,000 level and above on hard courts, indoor and out. The men's Challenge also includes any tournaments on carpet. Although there is no restriction on country--ATP and WTA points earned at any tournament in the world count--below I've included a table of the men's tournaments in the United States during that four-week stretch. There are also two Challengers in Canada the last two weeks.

Last week there were three men's and two women's events on the USTA Pro Circuit; this week those numbers are reversed. The men have the ATP Challenger 80 in Charleston South Carolina and a $15,000 tournament in Albuquerque New Mexico; the women have a $60,000 tournament in Templeton California, a $25,000 tournament in Austin Texas and a $15,000 tournament in Hilton Head South Carolina.

Although there usually isn't much in the way of pro tennis in New Mexico, or perhaps because of that, the qualifying draws were full in Albuquerque. Americans advancing to the main draw: Max McKennon(Arizona State), Chad Kissell(Valparaiso), Michael Shabaz(Virginia) and Ryan Dickerson(Duke/Baylor). Wild cards were given to Jaycer Lyeons(Tyler JC) and three New Mexico players: senior Rafael Abdul Salam of Venezuela and sophomores Ryoma Matsushita of Japan and Arda Azkara of Turkey.  Emil Reinberg(Georgia) is the top seed.

The only Americans to qualify in Templeton were 18-year-old Robin Montgomery and 33-year-old Alexa Glatch. Pepperdine junior Janice Tjen of Indonesia, who received a qualifying wild card, reached the main draw with a 6-3, 6-0 win over No. 7 seed Urszula Radwanska of Poland. 

US Open girls champion Alexandra Eala of the Philippines received a main draw wild card, as did Maria Mateas(Duke), Whitney Osuigwe and Vicky Duval. Madison Brengle, who won last week's $60K in Berkeley, is the No. 1 seed again this week, and Yue Yuan of China, the runner-up in Berkeley, is again the No. 2 seed.

Three Americans qualified for the main draw at the Austin $25K: former University of Texas star Kylie Collins, now at LSU; Eryn Cayetano, a senior at USC, and 17-year-old Tatum Evans. The other five qualifiers are all currently on D-I rosters: Baylor sophomore Anita Sahdiieva of Ukraine, Baylor freshman Vanda Vargova of Slovakia, UCF sophomore Noel Saidenova of Russia, UCF freshman Jantje Tilbuerger of Germany and USC sophomore Snow Han of China.

Three of the wild cards went to current Texas players: junior Malaika Rapolu, who won the Texas Regional title on Monday; sophomore Sabina Zeynalova of Ukraine and freshman Nicole Rivkin of Germany. 

US Open girls quarterfinalist Clervie Ngounoue received the fourth wild card and will play fellow 16-year-old Liv Hovde, the reigning girls Wimbledon champion, who received a special exemption into the main draw after winning the $15K in Lubbock Sunday. They are playing doubles together this week and won their first round match today.

2022 NCAA champion Peyton Stearns returns to Austin as the No. 6 seed; Fernanda Contreras(Vanderbilt) of Mexico is the top seed. 

The qualifying at the Hilton Head $15K was completed yesterday, and the first round was played today. Top seed and University of Georgia sophomore Mell Reasco of Ecuador advanced with no problem, as did Georgia freshman Anastasiya Lopata of Ukraine, who received entry via the ITF Junior Reserve program. 

Wild cards were given to Mia Horvit(South Carolina), Kelly Keller(Arkansas), high school junior Madison Hill and high school sophomore Mia Yamakita. Keller beat Hill in the first round, Horvit got past 17-year-old Qavia Lopez 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 and Yamakita lost to No. 4 seed Paris Corley(LSU) 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. UCLA recruit Ahmani Guichard, a Junior Reserve entry, lost to qualifier Tenika McGiffin(Tennessee) of Australia 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.