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Townsend, Min headline US Open women’s wild cards

By E.J. Crawford
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

They are former US Open junior champions, NCAA champions and rising stars. Now all will have a chance to compete in the main draw of the 2014 US Open.

The US Open has announced the eight women who will receive wild cards into the main draw of this year’s women’s singles event. Leading the list of recipients is Taylor Townsend, the 2012 year-end junior No. 1 and US Open girls’ doubles champion who has excelled in her first full year playing professionally. The 18-year-old from Chicago is currently ranked No. 125 in the world after winning the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge to earn entry into the French Open, where she reached the third round, and notching victories at top-tier WTA events such as the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., and the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

She is joined by another former US Open junior champion, Grace Min, who won the girls’ singles title in 2011. At No. 106 in the world, the 20-year-old from Atlanta barely missed out on direct entry into the main draw. Earlier this year, she reached her first WTA semifinal at the event in Bad Gastein, Austria, and she has also won two USTA Pro Circuit events.

Nicole Gibbs, 21, earned her wild card by claiming the 2014 USTA Pro Circuit US Open Wild Card Challenge, winning the $50,000 event in Carson, Calif., and reaching the final of the $50,000 tournament in Lexington, Ky., to earn more WTA ranking points than any other American women at select USTA Pro Circuit hard-court events this summer. This will be the third consecutive main draw for Gibbs, who received wild cards in 2012 and 2013 after winning the NCAA singles title while competing for Stanford. She is currently No. 141 in the world rankings.

This year’s NCAA champion, Danielle Collins of Virginia, also received a wild card into the main draw. In taking this year’s title, the 20-year-old became the first woman in the program’s history to win an NCAA crown.

At 15 years old, CiCi Bellis will likely be the youngest player in this year’s main draw. The world junior No. 2 earned her main draw entry by winning the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships earlier this month.

Rounding out the 2014 wild cards are American Madison Brengle, currently No. 115 after a stellar season on the USTA Pro Circuit; Australian Jarmila Gajdosova, a former world No. 25 who has reached the fourth round at both the French Open and Wimbledon and the third round at the US Open; and 21-year-old Frenchwoman Amandine Hesse. Gajdosova and Hesse received their wild cards through reciprocal agreements the USTA holds with Tennis Australia and the French Tennis Federation.

To read more on the 2014 US Open women’s field, click here.

In addition to the eight US Open women’s singles main draw wild cards, the US Open has also awarded eight wild card entries into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, which will be held Aug. 19-22 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. One additional US Open qualifying wild card will be awarded to the winner of the 2014 US Open National Playoffs – Women’s Championship, taking place Aug. 15-18 in New Haven, Conn.
 
Players receiving US Open qualifying wild cards are: Tornado Alicia Black (16, Boca Raton, Fla.), the 2014 USTA Girls’ 18s and 2013 US Open girls’ singles runner-up; Jennifer Brady (19, Boca Raton, Fla.), the Pac-12 singles champion who helped lead UCLA to the 2014 NCAA team title; Samantha Crawford (19, Atlanta), the 2012 US Open junior champion; Asia Muhammad (23, Long Beach, Calif.), who recently reached the semifinals of the $100,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Vancouver, B.C.; Bernarda Pera (19, North Haledon, N.J.), who has won five ITF Pro Circuit singles titles in the last two years; Maria Sanchez (24, Los Angeles), formerly the top-ranked college singles player while at USC and a USTA Pro Circuit standout; Katerina Stewart (17, Coral Gables, Fla.), the USTA Girls’ 18s National Clay Courts champion; and France’s Fiona Ferro (17, Valbonne, France), who earned her qualifying spot through a reciprocal agreement with the French Tennis Federation.

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