Kenin Takes Early Lead At US Open Women’s Wild Card Challenge

USTA Press Release, July 25, 2017

The women’s US Open Wild Card Challenge kicked off this week with young American Sofia Kenin taking the early lead after winning both the singles and doubles title at the $60,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Stockton, Calif., this weekend.

Kenin, 18, earned 80 points in the challenge with the Stockton title—her first USTA Pro Circuit singles title of the year. She defeated fellow American Ashley Kratzer in the final, 6-0, 6-1.Kenin won last year’s US Open Wild Card Challenge to compete in her second consecutive US Open main draw after winning the 2015 USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships to earn a wild card that year. Kratzer is currently in second place in the challenge with 48 points, followed by Jamie Loeb, who reached the semifinals in Stockton to earn 29 points.

The men’s wild card challenge continued into its second week with hard-court events in Gatineau, Canada, and Astana, Kazakhstan. Tommy Paul, 20, who advanced to the semifinals of the $75,000 USTA Pro Circuit Challenger in Winnetka, Ill., two weeks ago to earn 29 ranking points, is now tied with Alex Sarkissian, 27, for first place. Sarkissian reached the semifinals in Gatineau.

The women’s US Open Wild Card Challenge continues this week with the $60,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Sacramento, Calif. The men’s challenge continues with the US Open Series event in Atlanta, a $100,000 Challenger in Granby, Canada, and the $75,000 USTA Pro Circuit Challenger in Binghamton, N.Y.

The men’s and women’s standings and schedule, as of July 24, can be found here (men’s standingswomen’s standings).

USTA Player Development will award a US Open main-draw wild card to the one American man and one American woman who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA ranking points in a series of hard-court events this summer. The men’s challenge began the week of July 10 and concludes the week of Aug. 7, while the women’s challenge began the week of July 17 and concludes the week of July 31. The men’s challenge will now include the best three results during the five-week time period. The women’s challenge will still consist of the best two results over a three-week period.

New this year for the men’s wild card challenge, USTA Player Development will consider all American players’ results worldwide for the wild cards. That means both USTA Pro Circuit tournaments and U.S. and international ATP World Tour events on any professional outdoor hard-court surface at the ATP Challenger-level and above will be included. New for the women’s wild card challenge, USTA Player Development will now consider American players’ results in both select $60,000 outdoor USTA Pro Circuit hard-court events (main draw only) as well as qualifying and main draw results from the WTA tournaments in Washington D.C., and Stanford, Calif.

Only Americans who did not otherwise earn direct entry into the US Open are eligible. In the event of a tie, the player with the best ATP (on Aug. 14) or best WTA (on Aug. 7) singles ranking will be awarded the wild card.

The USTA first used this US Open wild card format in 2012, when it was won by Steve Johnson and Mallory Burdette, both of whom reached the third round of the US Open. In 2013, Bradley Klahn and Shelby Rogers earned the wild cards, with Klahn winning his first-round match. And in 2014, Nicole Gibbs reached the third round of the US Open (her career-best Grand Slam result), while Wayne Odesnik earned the men’s wild card. In 2015, Bjorn Fratangelo made his Grand Slam main draw debut by earning the men’s wild card, while Samantha Crawford competed in the US Open as the women’s wild card.

And last year, Ernesto Escobedo and junior player Sofia Kenin made their Grand Slam debuts at the US Open by earning the wild cards, with Escobedo picking up his first Grand Slam win. The USTA also utilizes this wild card challenge format for the French Open and Australian Open.