ATLANTA – Former WTA Tour professional and ITA All-American Jewel Peterson will be competing in this year’s US Open National Playoffs Southern Sectional Qualifying Tournament, along with numerous high-caliber college and junior players.
This year’s tournament will be played at Sandy Springs Tennis Center in Sandy Springs and will run May 27-31. Like in years past, the tournament will feature both a Men’s and Women’s Singles draw, as well as a Mixed Double draw. The Women’s Singles final will take place on Thursday at 11 a.m., followed by the Mixed Doubles final. The Men’s Singles final will be played Friday at 11 a.m.
The US Open National Playoffs were started by the USTA to leverage the footprint of the US Open to cities nationwide by providing the opportunity for all players 14 years of age and older to earn a berth into the renowned US Open.
Tournament Director Turhan Berne is excited about this year’s tournament, given the quality of competitors. "There’s no doubt that this year’s US Open Qualifying Tournament will have some must-see matches," he said. "We’ve got a former tour player, top-notch college players and some talented juniors that will make for a fun but competitive tournament."
There are several names that headline this year’s women’s side. Along with Peterson, Sherazad Benamar, Kendal Woodard and Laura Patterson are some of the top players set to compete.
Peterson, of College Park, Ga., reached a career-high world singles ranking of No. 214 back in 2004. She was also a four-time ITA All-American at the University of Southern California. Peterson will be making her third USONP Southern Sectional Qualifying appearance this year.
Benamar is flying in from France, the country she plays for in pro tournaments. She regularly competes in International Tennis Federation tournaments and currently holds a No. 446 world ranking.
Woodard, a Stockbridge, Ga. resident, currently plays for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, while Patterson, of Roswell, Ga., is a "Blue Chip" 2014 recruit according to the Tennis Recruiting Network.
Not to be outdone, the Men’s side of the tournament contains a couple big names. Casey Kay, who plays for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, will be in this year’s action. He will also be competing alongside twin sister, Whitney Kay, in the Mixed Doubles draw. Whitney, who just finished up her freshman year playing for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, recently was awarded "Rookie of the Year" for this year’s Women’s Division I NCAA tennis. She was also the country’s number one ranked junior back in 2010. The Kays are from Alpharetta, Ga.
Recent University of Florida Gator commit and Marietta resident, Elliott Orkin, will also be in the mix. Orkin is the No. 6-ranked recruit for the 2013 class, and is coming off being tournament champion of this year’s USTA National Spring Championship in Mobile, Ala.
A player welcome party will be held on Sunday, May 26from 6-9 pm at Sandy Springs Tennis Center. One Love Tennis will host the reception, which will feature complimentary burritos provided by Chipotle Mexican Grill of Sandy Springs.
The US Open National Playoffs begin as a series of sectional qualifying tournaments, held this year in 13 USTA sections. The men’s, women’s and mixed doubles champions or top available finishers from each sectional qualifying tournament advance to the US Open National Playoffs – Championships. The Men’s and Women’s Singles Championships will be held August 16-19, and the Mixed Doubles Championship are slated for August 21-24. All three events take place in conjunction with the New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara, an Emirates Airline US Open Series event.
Mixed doubles winners advance to the US Open main draw. The two singles champions advance to the US Open Qualifying Tournament which consists of a 128-player draw with 16 players advancing to the main draw.