The US Open National Playoffs, held at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., came to a conclusion on Monday. Unseeded Caitlin Whoriskey prevailed in the Women's Singles Championship, while top seed Sanam Singh breezed through the draw in the Men's Singles Championship.
The women were up first, with Whoriskey struggling initially against 15-year-old Michaela Gordon. But after dropping the opening set, Whoriskey revised her game plan and had few problems for the rest of the match. She cruised through the final four games to win the title, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1.
"I may have been a little anxious and pressed a bit too much in the beginning, but that was also due to her playing really well," said Whoriskey. "I regrouped after the first set and knew I needed to be a bit more aggressive and execute on my shots, so I'm just glad that worked in the end."
A former standout player at the University of Tennessee, Whoriskey won her first career USTA Pro Circuit singles title in May at the $10,000 event in Hilton Head Island, S.C. She has also won seven USTA Pro Circuit and ITF-level doubles titles.
By winning the US Open National Playoffs, the world No. 526 Whoriskey also earned a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, which starts Tuesday at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
"It hasn't really sunk in yet. I'm just thrilled to have won this tournament yet," she said. "I went to the US Open three or four years ago as a spectator and loved every second of it, so I knew that I wanted to play on those courts just once."
In the men's final, Singh encountered little resistance againt No. 2 seed and defending US Open National Playoffs champion Jeff Dadamo, 6-2. 6-2. The No. 1 seed got off to an early lead in both sets and never let his opponent into the match.
Currently ranked No. 390 in the world, the former star player at the University of Virginia has won 14 USTA Pro Circuit and ITF-level titles. He competed in the US Open junior events in 2006, the same year he reached a career-high junior ranking of No. 4 in the world.
Now, after clinching a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament by winning the National Playoffs, Singh will make his Grand Slam debut as a professional.
"The last few years, I've come to the US Open just to practice," he said. "I told my buddy that the next time I go there, I want to be playing in the tournament. I'm really glad that I'll be able to do that."
The US Open Qualifying Tournament will be held from Aug. 19-22.