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Ten Americans among Wild Card recipients for Cincinnati Open Qualifying Field

Ten Americans among Wild Card recipients for Cincinnati Open Qualifying Field

CINCINNATI– The Western & Southern Open has awarded 11 wild cards to its qualifying field, with 10 Americans – including one Cincinnatian – among the recipients.The five men and six women round out the 48-player qualifying fields. Two rounds of qualifying matches will be held August 20-21, with a dozen women and 12 men joining the main draws, which will begin August 22. All tournament action will take place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. Cincinnati native JJ Wolf, who played at Ohio State, will be joined in ATP Tour qualifying by Sebastian Korda, Mackenzie McDonald, Michael Mmoh and Brandon Nakashima. Ohio State standout Francesca Di Lorenzo joins the WTA qualifying field along with CiCi Bellis, Anna Kalinskaya, Ann Li, Shelby Rogers and Katie Volynets.  Wolf owns four career Challenger titles and has been victorious in three of his last five events dating back to last season. He was 14-2 with two titles during the first two months of this year before play was suspended due to the pandemic. Wolf turned pro in 2019 after going 35-2 and earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors as a junior at Ohio State University. A graduate of Cincinnati Country Day, the 21-year-old will play Western & Southern Open qualifying for the third time in his career. Korda is a 20-year-old Floridian who reached a pair of Challenger finals last season. In 2018, he was the Australian Open junior champion. His father, Petr, won 1998 Australian Open and was a two-time Western & Southern Open quarterfinalist (1992, 98).

McDonald, who owns a pair of Challenger titles, posted his best ATP result in early 2019 with a semifinal in Delray Beach. His season was then cut short due to a hamstring injury which kept him out of action until the start of the 2020 campaign. The former UCLA Bruin was the nation’s No. 1 collegiate player in 2016, a season he capped by winning the NCAA Singles and Doubles titles. Before enrolling at UCLA, McDonald became the third unranked player to qualify for an ATP Masters 1000 when he did so at the 2013 Western & Southern Open. This year the 25-year-old Californian is seeking his third main draw appearance at the tournament.

Mmoh owns five career Challenger titles, including last fall in Knoxville after he missed four months earlier in 2019 with injury. The 22-year-old Florida resident suffered the injury after a 2018 campaign that included quarterfinals at ATP events in Brisbane and Los Cabos along with a pair of Challenger titles. He was the USTA Boy’s 18s National Championship winner in 2016.

Nakashima burst onto the pro scene in February with a run to the quarterfinals at Delray Beach in his ATP debut. He has reached the semifinals at three ATP Challenger Tour events since turning professional in the summer of 2019. The 19-year-old Californian was named ACC Freshman of the Year last year while playing for the University of Virginia.

Di Lorenzo was a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and won an NCAA doubles championship during her career at Ohio State. As a professional, she has reached the second round at the US Open in each of the past two seasons. Born in Pittsburgh, the 23-year-old Di Lorenzo was raised in Columbus, Ohio. Her sister, Cristina, was a two-time All Big East honoree while playing tennis at Xavier University.

Bellis has reached the third round at three of the four Majors, most recently at this year’s Australian Open. The 21-year-old Californian is working her way back after undergoing four surgeries in 2018-19 on her right arm. The 2014 USTA Girl’s 18s National Champion, Bellis finished that year as the No. 1 ranked junior in the world.

Kalinskaya is a seven-time winner on the ITF Circuit. In the second half of 2019, she posted her best career WTA results with a semifinal at Washington, D.C., and a quarterfinal at Tashkent. The 21-year-old Russian’s parents were both professional badminton players.

Li reached five finals while posting more than 40 match wins on the ITF Circuit in 2019. Early this season she made her Grand Slam tournament debut as a qualifier at the Australian Open. In 2017, she finished as runner-up in the Wimbledon Girls’ Championship. The 20-year-old Pennsylvania native owns two career ITF Circuit titles.

Rogers has twice been a finalist at WTA events. The South Carolina native claimed her sixth career ITF Circuit title earlier this year in Midland, Michigan. A quarterfinalist at the 2016 French Open, Rogers battled knee injuries before undergoing an operation in 2018 that sidelined for over one year. As a junior, she was the 2010 USTA Girl’s 18s National Champion.

Volynets won the 2019 USTA Girl’s 18s National Championship and in doing so, earned a wild card into the US Open where she faced eventual champion Bianca Andreescu in the opening round. The 18-year-old Californian closed the 2019 season by reaching her first ITF Circuit final. As a junior, she reached the 2017 US Open quarterfinals.

The ATP qualifying field includes six past Western & Southern Open quarterfinalists, including 2019 semifinalist Richard Gasquet. The women’s qualifying field features a pair of former Western & Southern Open champions: Victoria Azarenka (2013) and Vera Zvonareva (2006).

By YS.Rana:

yadavindras@gmail.com

 

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