After four days of competition at Tennis Center at College Park (TCCP) where players dealt with extreme heat and torrential downpours, the USTA/Mid-Atlantic Section crowned its three champions on Tuesday in the US Open National Playoffs Mid-Atlantic Sectional Qualifying tournament. They are now one step closer to playing in the US Open.
Matt Brooklyn and Stephanie Wetmore of Washington, D.C., won the mixed doubles title, defeating the Annapolis, Md., area duo of former professional player Andrew Carlson and his student Olivia Gaudreault 6-3 6-1.
Brooklyn and Wetmore, who are originally from Great Britain and Canada, respectively, are a couple off the court as well, having met at UCLA in 2008 where they played tennis. For the past two years Brooklyn has worked as the assistant tennis coach for Georgetown University while Wetmore served as their volunteer assistant coach. Head coach Gordie Ernst was in the stands for the final. Later this month the team will head back to California where Wetmore will earn her masters at Stanford and Brooklyn will peruse another coaching job.
The mixed doubles title was redemption for Brooklyn, who failed to defend his men’s singles title earlier in the day, losing a tough match to Patrick Daciek 6-4-6-3. Daciek, a Virginia Tech alumnus and Severna Park, Md., resident, frequently trains at TCCP.
Like Brooklyn, Daciek will be making his second trip to the US Open National Playoffs. In 2011, Daciek partnered with current UCLA standout Skylar Morton to win the Mid-Atlantic’s mixed doubles tournament.
In the women’s final, defending champion Nika Kukharchuk defeated 14-year-old Raveena Kingsley 6-2 6-3. Kingsley, who trains at TCCP and is ranked in the National Top 50 of the Girls’ 14s, was unable to capitalize on the home court advantage and was overpowered by the experienced Kukharchuk, who is 12 years her senior.
"I was really nervous even when I woke up today. I really wanted to win," said Kukharchuk. "It’s usually the opposite and I get nervous at the end. I was tight throughout the entire match."
Her nerves didn’t show in the final game as she served out the match at love.
Kukharchuk is ranked 456 on the women’s professional tour and hails from Kaliningrad, Russia. She currently works as a teaching pro at Hardscrabble Club in Brewster, N.Y.
Brooklyn, Wetmore, Kukharchuk, and Daciek will play in the US Open National Playoffs Championships in their respective division during the New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara, an Emirates Airline US Open Series event (August 16–19 for singles, August 21–24 for mixed doubles). The winner of each Singles Championship (1 male, 1 female) will receive a wild card entry to compete in the 2013 US Open Qualifying Tournament (August 20-23) and the winner of the Mixed Doubles Championship (1 team) will receive a wild card entry to compete in the 2013 US Open Mixed Doubles Championship at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.