Saturday, August 20, 2011
Sloane Stephens, USA
Seven women have been awarded women’s singles main-draw wild-card entries into the 2011 US Open Tennis Championships: Americans Jill Craybas, USTA Girls’ 18s champion Lauren Davis, Jamie Hampton, Alison Riske and teenager Sloane Stephens, along with Australia’s Casey Dellacqua and France’s Aravane Rezai. The 2011 US Open will be played August 29–September 11 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
One additional wild card will be given to the winner of the 2011 US Open Wild Card Playoff, an eight-player invitational event held by USTA Player Development at the Junior Tennis Champions Center, a USTA Certified Regional Training Center in College Park, Md., this week.
Both the men’s and women’s US Open singles champions will win $1.8 million in prize money with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money (for a total potential payout of $2.8 million) based on their performance in the 2011 Olympus US Open Series. The US Open Women’s Singles Championship is presented by JPMorgan Chase.
Craybas, 37, of Huntington Beach, Calif., has finished in the WTA top 100 for each of the past 10 seasons and has competed in the main draw of every Grand Slam event since the 2000 US Open, a streak of 44 tournaments. In 2005, she beat Serena Williams en route to the fourth round of Wimbledon, her best showing at a Grand Slam event. The 1996 NCAA singles champion has represented the United States in the Olympics (2008 Beijing) and Fed Cup.
Davis, 17, of Gates Mills, Ohio, won the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships on Sunday to earn a wild card into the US Open women’s singles draw and will make her second career appearance in a Grand Slam event; she won a USTA Wild Card Playoff to earn entry into the 2011 Australian Open, where she lost to Samantha Stosur in the first round. Davis finished 2010 on a 32-match winning streak, capturing two USTA Pro Circuit singles titles and three international junior singles titles, including the Orange Bowl.
Hampton, 21, of Auburn, Ala., climbed more than 550 spots in the WTA rankings in 2010 by reaching the final at eight USTA Pro Circuit events, highlighted by four singles titles. In January, she successfully qualified for the main draw of the 2011 Australian Open and also qualified for WTA events in Indian Wells and Miami.
Riske, 21, of McMurray, Pa., enjoyed a breakthrough 2010, highlighted by a semifinal showing at the Wimbledon tune-up event in Birmingham, England, which earned her a main-draw wild card into Wimbledon. In October, Riske won three consecutive ITF Pro Circuit titles at the $50,000 level or higher in Europe, and earlier this year she reached the final of the USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 event in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. She has also competed in the main draws of both Wimbledon and the Australian Open thus far in 2011.
Stephens, 17, of Plantation, Fla., is currently ranked No. 110 in the world. She is coming off her first-ever win over a top-20 opponent (Julia Goerges) en route to reaching the quarterfinals of the Olympus US Open Series event in Carlsbad, Calif. – her best finish at a WTA event. She made her Grand Slam debut at the 2011 French Open as a qualifier and has also qualified for Indian Wells, Miami, Charleston and Estoril thus far in 2011.
Dellacqua, 26, of Perth, Australia, received her wild card through a reciprocal arrangement with Tennis Australia, which will grant a women’s singles main-draw wild card into the 2012 Australian Open to a player designated by the USTA. She achieved a career-high WTA ranking of No. 39 in 2008 and reached the fourth round of that year’s Australian Open, her best showing at a Grand Slam event. She won the mixed doubles title at the 2011 French Open.
Rezai, 24, of St. Etienne, France, received her wild card through a reciprocal arrangement with the French Tennis Federation, which granted a wild card into the 2011 French Open to a player designated by the USTA (Irina Falconi, who won a USTA playoff). Rezai reached a career-high ranking of No. 15 in 2010 and has won four career WTA singles titles. She reached the round of 16 in her US Open debut in 2006, which equals her best-ever showing at a Grand Slam event (2009 French Open).