Some of the best tennis players in the world are battling it out this week on the courts of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, each one vying for a spot in the main draw of the 2014 US Open. It’s the 2014 US Open Qualifying Tournament – and it’s free and open to everyone.
The US Open Qualifying Tournament starts Tuesday, Aug. 19, and runs through Friday, Aug. 22, prior to the start of the US Open.
Here are the details:
Site/Prize Money: The US Open Qualifying Tournament is held on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the US Open, and offers more than $1.5 million in prize money.
What’s at Stake: The qualifying event consists of 128 men and 128 women attempting to win three matches to earn one of 32 berths (16 for men, 16 for women) made available to qualifiers in the main draw.
Who’s Competing: The US Open Qualifying Tournament typically includes players ranked between 105 and 250 in the world. In addition, the USTA awards qualifying wild cards to nine men and nine women. Two of those 18 wild cards are reserved for the men’s and women’s champions of the US Open National Playoffs, the series of qualifying events that opens the US Open to anyone and everyone 14 and over. The 2014 National Playoffs winners were former collegiate standouts Sanam Singh (University of Virginia) and Caitlin Whoriskey (University of Tennessee).
Those scheduled to compete in qualifying this year are 2009 US Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin, 2013 US Open women's doubles champions Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, former Top 30 player Michaella Krajicek, former Top 75 player Irina Falconi, former US Open girls' singles champions Samantha Crawford and Daria Gavrilova, rising star Ana Konjuh, former standout junior Michelle Larcher de Brito, three-time Grand Slam doubles finalist Ashleigh Barty, USTA Girls' 18s Clay Courts champion Katerina Stewart and up-and-coming young Americans Louisa Chirico, Allie Kiick and Sachia Vickery.
Men slated to play in this year's qualifying include former NCAA champion Somdev Devvarman, former Top 40 player Marc Gicquel, 2006 US Open boys' singles finalist Peter Polansky, American veteran and former Top 60 player Michael Russell and promising young Americans Chase Buchanan, Stefan Kozlov, Tennys Sandgren, Francis Tiafoe and Rhyne Williams.
Past Qualifiers: Several players who competed in the US Open Qualifying Tournament have posted strong results in the main draw. Notable past qualifiers include Zina Garrison (1980), Anna Kournikova (1996), Lleyton Hewitt (1998), Francesca Schiavone (2000), Svetlana Kuznetsova (2002), Marion Bartoli (2002), Agnieszka Radwanska (2006) and Kei Nishikori (2010).
In US Open history, only three qualifiers have ever advanced to the quarterfinals – Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller in 2008 and France’s Nicolas Escude in 1999 among the men, and the U.S.’s Barbara Gerken in 1981 among the women.
The top qualifier last year was Italy’s Camila Giorgi, who upset Caroline Wozniacki en route to the women’s round of 16. The top finishers among the men were Great Britain’s Daniel Evans and Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin, both of whom reached the third round.