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Dreaming Big: US Open National Playoffs Women's Championship Preview

July 23, 2010 04:18 PM
The inaugural US Open National Playoffs – Women’s Championships features players—16 in all—at various stages of their careers, from aspiring junior players to collegiate stars to USTA Pro Circuit standouts to veterans of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Each player, however, is chasing the same dream: A spot in the US Open Qualifying Tournament and, with it, a shot at the main draw of the 2010 US Open.
  
The players advanced to the Women’s Championships—held in conjunction with the Bank of the West Classic, a 2010 Olympus US Open Series event—through their respective Sectional Qualifying Tournaments, held in 16 different USTA sections throughout the country. Each of the women has braved challenging matches to win their Sectional Qualifying Tournament and now stands just four wins away from the US Open.
 
The competitors in the Women’s Championships hail from five different countries and range in age from 15 to 34, with teenagers composing half the field. Two competitors are former Top 100 players, eight are standout juniors, three thrived in college, two compete on the USTA Pro Circuit and one is now a teaching pro.
 
Of the 16 women, four are looking to make return trip to Flushing Meadows. Alina Jidkova has competed in 10 US Opens in all (either in qualifying or the main draw), and reached the second round of the main draw in 2006. Romana Tedjakusuma played in the US Open main draw in 1994, and 22-year-old Alexandra Mueller earned a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament as a teenager. In addition, Jessica Pegula, 16, competed in the qualifying of the US Open juniors a year ago.
 
Jidkova enters as the top seed and nominal favorite, having played all four Grand Slams in her career with past victories over current Top 10 players Serena Williams, Samantha Stosur and Jelena Jankovic. Mueller is also a legitimate contender, with four USTA Pro Circuit titles to her credit this year alone. And Tedjakusuma has the best Grand Slam result of anyone in the field, having reached the third round at the 1994 Australian Open.
 
Other players to watch include former USTA Girls’ 14s No. 1 Brittany Augustine, UCLA recruit Courtney Dolehide, Jan Abaza and Evangeline Repic, both 15, who are two of the youngest competitors (men or women) in the US Open National Playoffs, and former collegiate standouts Maureen Diaz and Megan Falcon.
 
The US Open National Playoffs are all about pursuing a dream, opening the doors of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to anyone and everyone, to all aspiring tennis players with a racquet and the desire to compete. From 373 women of all ages and abilities, it comes down to the final 16. However, only one will be the inaugural US Open National Playoffs women’s champion.
 
Click here to see profiles of all 16 women participating in the inaugural US Open National Playoffs – Women’s Championships.
 
To go to the US Open National Playoffs – Women’s Championships page, click here, and to see the results from the 16 Sectional Qualifying Tournaments, click here.
 
  
US Open National Playoffs – Women’s Championships at a Glance
 
What: The 2010 US Open National Playoffs – Women’s Championships
 
Where: The Taube Family Tennis Stadium at Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.
 
When: July 28 – August 1 (in conjunction with the Bank of the West Classic, an Olympus US Open Series event)
 
Who: The 16 winners of the US Open National Playoffs Sectional Qualifying Tournaments
 
The Seeds: Four players will be seeded, based on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour rankings as of July 19. The seeds are as follows: 1. Alina Jidkova; 2. Alexandra Mueller; 3. Brittany Augustine; 4. Courtney Dolehide.
 
Follow the Action: The final of the US Open National Playoffs – Women’s Championships will be broadcast live on Tennis Channel on Sunday, Aug. 1, sponsored by Olympus. The final will also be streamed live on ESPN3.com.
 
The Skinny: This is the inaugural year of the US Open National Playoffs. The US Open National Playoffs function as a series of tournaments held throughout the United States to make the US Open eligible to anyone and everyone 14-and-over with the passion to compete. More than 350 women competed in the 16 US Open National Playoffs Sectional Qualifying Tournaments, with the winners advancing to the Women’s Championships. The winner of the Women’s Championships earns a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, held August 24-27 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., the home of the US Open.
 
 

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