Play begins on Monday at the Sandy Springs Tennis Center in Sandy Springs for the USTA Southern Section’s U.S. Open National Playoffs, and will run through May 31. This is a qualifying tournament that will feature both a men’s and women’s singles draw, as well as a mixed doubles draw.
The US Open National Playoffs were started by the USTA to bring the footprint of the US Open to cities across the country by providing the way for all players 14 years of age and older to earn a berth into the last grand slam tournament of the year, the US Open.
Tournament Director Turhan Berne can’t wait for the play to start.
“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.”
On the women’s side, Jewel Peterson once again leads the way.
Peterson, known throughout Atlanta, reached a career-high world singles ranking of No. 214 back in 2004. She was a four-time ITA All-American at the University of Southern California, and she’s making her third USONP Southern Sectional Qualifying appearance.
Joining Peterson, the draw will feature world No. 446 Sherazad Benamar, Georgia Tech’s Kendal Woodard, and a couple junior players including Allison Miller of Norcross. Miller has given a verbal commitment to Notre Dame.
The men’s side of the tournament might be even stronger. Casey Kay, will be in this year’s action. Casey currently plays for the University of Georgia Bulldogs. Along with Casey, a couple of Marietta residents will be in action. Nathan Rakitt, who just completed his freshman campaign at Georgia Tech going 22-14 is in the draw along with recent University of Florida commit, Elliot Orkin, who will also be in contention. Orkin is the No. 6-ranked recruit for the 2013 graduating class, and is coming off being tournament champion of this year’s USTA National Spring Championship in Mobile, Ala.
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 will advance to the US Open National Playoffs – Championships right before the U.S. Open. 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.
In Sandy Springs, 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.