US Open National Playoffs New England sectional qualifier winner Jesse Witten reached the third round of the 2009 US Open before losing in a tight match to Novak Djokovic.
© Getty Images
By McCarton Ackerman, USOpen.org
A pair of current pro tennis players showed why they are ranked among the world's elite, prevailing in the New England sectional qualifyinng tournament of the US Open National Playoffs. Jesse Witten and Caitlin Whoriskey won the singles titles, respectively, while Max Schnur and Riza Zalameda teamed up to breeze through the mixed doubles event at the Yale University Tennis Center in West Haven, Conn.
Witten, currently ranked No. 700 in the ATP rankings, didn't drop a set throughout the tournament and saved his best tennis for the final, defeating Anton Protsnenko, 6-4, 6-1.
The 31-year-old from Naples, Fla., reached the third round of the US Open in 2009 and peaked at No. 163 in the ATP rankings the following year. He has played on the USTA Pro Circuit periodically over the past few years, winning his first title in four years at the $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit Futures in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., last June.
In the women's singles final, Caitlin Whoriskey, 26, of East Sandwich, Mass., weathered the strong baseline play from Lena Litvak of Bronx, N.Y., before prevailing, 6-3, 7-6.
Whoriskey captured her first career USTA Pro Circuit singles title in May at the $10,000 event in Hilton Head Island, S.C., where she also won the doubles crown. She spent the first half of 2013 competing in Europe, where she reached back-to-back ITF singles finals in Turkey in May. She has also captured four ITF doubles titles.
Schnur, 21, of Richmond, Va., and Zalameda, 28, of New York, were in sync as a team from their very first match. They kept getting better with each round and ultimately won the title by defeating Witten and Jordan Vaughan of Naples, Fla., 6-2, 6-2.
Schnur recently finished his junior year at Columbia; he won the 2013 National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Zalameda peaked at No. 76 in the world in doubles in April 2010 and has competed in the US Open women’s doubles main draw five times, reaching the second round in 2004 and 2008; she has also played in the doubles main draw at the French Open and Wimbledon.
The winners or top available finishers from each of the 13 sectional qualifying tournaments held throughout the spring and summer advance to the US Open National Playoffs – Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles Championships, to be held during the Connecticut Open, an Emirates Airline US Open Series women’s event, in August.
The US Open National Playoffs mixed doubles champions receive a main draw wild card into the 2014 US Open, while the men’s and women’s singles champions earn a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament held the week prior to the US Open.