Jacqueline Cako and Danielle Lao are headed to the US Open after taking the title on Tuesday at the US Open National Playoffs – Women’s Doubles Championship,held at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale in New Haven, Conn.
The American duo earned a wild card into the US Open women’s doubles draw after prevailing in the championship match over top seeds Ashley Weinhold and Caitlin Whoriskey, 6-2, 7-5.
“My first emotion was disbelief. It’s been a tough few months trying to string together solid performances. [But] the second emotion was pure happiness,” wrote Lao on her blog. “It was awesome to share an exciting moment with someone who wants it so bad.”
Their journey to the US Open began by winning the Southern California sectional qualifier to advance to the US Open National Playoffs. Cako and Lao endured several tough battles to reach the championship match, including a marathon quarterfinal win over Gabriela Porubin and Julia Schiller that ended with an 18-16 match tiebreak.
Cako has a WTA ranking of No. 230 in women’s doubles, while Lao is ranked No. 266. They have teamed up regularly throughout the year on the USTA Pro Circuit, winning the doubles title at the $25,000 Challenger this February in Surprise, Ariz. Cako has won eight USTA Pro Circuit doubles titles in her career, while Lao has won three.
Cako won the 2014 US Open National Playoffs – Mixed Doubles Championships with Joel Kielbowicz, earning a wild card that year into the US Open mixed doubles draw. This will be Lao’s first appearance in the US Open.
There were 200 women’s doubles players who competed in the US Open National Playoffs, playing in one of 15 Sectional Qualifying Tournaments held throughout the U.S. The US Open National Playoffs are designed to bring the spirit of the US Open to cities and sections across the country, making entry into the US Open eligible to anyone and everyone 14 and over with the passion to compete, regardless of playing ability or nationality.