For the rising stars, grizzled veterans and all the players in between preparing to compete in the 2018 US Open Qualifying Tournament, their quest for the year’s final Grand Slam begins Tuesday. Held Aug. 21-24 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the play-in tournament will whittle a field of 128 hopefuls down to 16 main-draw qualifiers for both the men’s and women’s singles draws by week’s end.
Three qualifying victories will be enough to secure a coveted spot in the US Open main draw and a guaranteed $54,000 in first-round prize money. While the main event is still a week away, there will be plenty of big names and stories to watch in the coming days.
Fourteen-year-old CoCo Gauff, former world No. 5 Eugenie Bouchard and 2016 US Open doubles champion Bethanie Mattek-Sands are among the big draws in the women’s qualifying field, while 18-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime, 2013 quarterfinalist Tommy Robredo and former ATP Top 20 players Ivo Karlovic and Bernard Tomic highlight the men’s competitors.
Gauff, a finalist in last year’s US Open girls’ singles event, received a qualifying wild card after showing off her tremendous potential over the past 12 months. The junior world No. 1 and reigning girls' French Open champion, who made her ITF debut in May, will be making her first senior Grand Slam appearance.
Bouchard, who has competed in the main draw of every US Open since her debut as a 19-year-old in 2013, will seek to continue that streak, while Mattek-Sands, a wild card herself, vies for her 16th career main-draw appearance.
Gauff and Mattek-Sands are among a large contingent of Americans in the field, joining Madison Brengle – the top-ranked American in the draw – Nicole Gibbs, Kayla Day and Caty McNally, among many others. Brengle and Gibbs have both advanced to the third round once in their US Open careers, while Day reached round two as a 16-year-old in her 2016 debut. McNally, 16, was the 2018 French Open girls' singles runner-up and doubles champion.
In the men’s draw, Auger-Aliassime seeks his first Grand Slam main-draw appearance just weeks after his 18th birthday. The precocious Canadian was the 2016 boys’ singles champion in New York and has since advanced to the second round of qualifying at the 2017 US Open and 2018 French Open.
Journeymen Robredo and Karlovic have each appeared in the singles main draw 14 times, though the Spaniard Robredo has not been active in New York since a third-round exit in 2015. Tomic, a talented 25-year-old Australian who was ranked as high as No. 17 in 2016, is in line for his eighth consecutive main-draw appearance.
Reilly Opelka, the highest-ranked American in the field, will be joined by more than a dozen of his compatriots, including wild cards Donald Young and Sebastian Korda. The 20-year-old Opelka has fallen in qualifying each of the last three years in New York, though he did compete in the Australian Open main draw in 2017. Young, the former world No. 36, has appeared in the main draw in every US Open since his debut as a 16-year-old in 2005, while Korda, the reigning Australian Open boys’ singles champion, will be making his senior-level qualifying debut.
The complete US Open Qualifying Tournament draw will be released on Monday evening.
The tournament serves as the anchor event of US Open Fan Week, a series of events and activations taking place both at the grounds of the US Open as well as at the US Open Experience at Brookfield Place in Manhattan.