Gauff gets chance at an­other mag­i­cal ride

Af­ter Wim­ble­don run, prodigy gets US Open wild card

Baltimore Sun - - SCOREBOARD - By Howard Fendrich

Coco Gauff will get a chance to try for an en­core: The 15-year-old from Florida re­ceived a wild-card en­try Tues­day for the U.S. Open’s main draw.

It will be Gauff’s sec­ond Grand Slam tour­na­ment. She made a mag­i­cal run to the fourth round at Wim­ble­don last month af­ter get­ting a wild card into the qual­i­fy­ing rounds there.

Ranked just 313th at the time, Gauff be­came the youngest player to qual­ify for Wim­ble­don, up­set five­time cham­pion Venus Williams in the first round and wound up los­ing at the All Eng­land Club to even­tual ti­tle win­ner Si­mona Halep.

Gauff is cur­rently No. 140 in the WTA rank­ings. She ini­tially made a mark at age 13 by be­com­ing the youngest U.S. Open ju­nior fi­nal­ist in his­tory; she won the French Open ju­nior ti­tle at 14.

Age re­stric­tions set up by the women’s pro­fes­sional tour limit the num­ber of tour­na­ments some­one who is 15 can enter and the num­ber of wild-card in­vi­ta­tions she can be of­fered — and Gauff al­ready has ac­cepted three wild cards else­where. But ac­cord­ing to the WTA, the U.S. Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion — which runs a Grand Slam tour­na­ment, and so is not over­seen by the WTA or ATP tours — essen­tially can choose to ig­nore the eli­gi­bil­ity rule and of­fer Gauff a wild card.

“I want to thank the USTA for the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in my home slam,” Gauff said in a state­ment emailed by her agent. “I look for­ward to play­ing my first main draw at the U.S. Open.”

Among the other play­ers re­ceiv­ing wild cards from the USTA on Tues­day for the women’s field at Flush­ing Mead­ows in New York City were 2011 U.S. Open cham­pion Sam Sto­sur — an Aus­tralian who was granted that coun­try’s re­cip­ro­cal berth — and 17year-old Caty McNally, an Amer­i­can who won the dou­bles ti­tle with Gauff and reached the sin­gles semi­fi­nals at the Citi Open in Washington this month.

Gauff and McNally have said they plan to play dou­bles to­gether at Flush­ing Mead­ows; that event’s wild-card en­tries will be an­nounced later. The pair won the U.S. Open ju­nior dou­bles tro­phy to­gether a year ago.

The draw for the U.S. Open is Aug. 22, and play in the year’s last ma­jor ten­nis tour­na­ment be­gins Aug. 26.

Other women’s wild cards went to Francesca Di Lorenzo, Whit­ney Osuigwe, Kristie Ahn and Katie Volynets of the U.S., along with 16-year-old Diane Parry of France, who got her coun­try’s re­cip­ro­cal in­vi­ta­tion.

Di Lorenzo, a 22-yearold from Ohio, is a past NCAA dou­bles cham­pion now ranked 128th. Osuigwe, a 17-year-old from Florida, won a French Open ju­nior ti­tle and is ranked 105th. Ahn, a 27year-old from New Jer­sey, fin­ished first in the USTA’s wild-card chal­lenge, while Volynets, a 17-year-old from Cal­i­for­nia, won the 18s na­tional cham­pi­onship.

Nine wild cards for women’s qual­i­fy­ing were also awarded, in­clud­ing to five­time Grand Slam dou­bles cham­pion Bethanie Mat­tek- Sands, 14- year- old Reese Brant­meier of Wis­con­sin, Vicky Du­val, Shelby Rogers and Pan Am Games medal­ist Caro­line Dole­hide.

Juan Martin del Porto, the 2009 U.S. Open cham­pion, pulled out of the tour­na­ment Tues­day be­cause he is still re­cov­er­ing from surgery on his right kneecap. That al­lowed De­nis Kudla, a 26-year-old from Vir­ginia who was the high­est-ranked man to miss out on mak­ing the field via di­rect ac­cep­tance, to get into the main draw just hours af­ter he was an­nounced as a wild-card re­cip­i­ent.

So the USTA an­nounced that Kudla’s wild card would now go to Chris Eubanks, a 23-year- old from Ge­or­gia. Oth­ers get­ting into the main draw in­clude Amer­i­cans Jack Sock, Bjorn Fratan­gelo, Mar­cos Giron, USTA wildcard chal­lenge win­ner Ernesto Es­cobedo and 18s na­tional cham­pion Zachary Sva­jda, along with An­toine Hoang, who got France’s re­cip­ro­cal en­try. The Aus­tralian fed­er­a­tion has not an­nounced who will get its men’s wild-card in­vi­ta­tion.

Men awarded wild cards for qual­i­fy­ing in­clude Se­bas­tian Korda, the son of 1998 Aus­tralian Open cham­pion Petr Korda, as well as last year’s 18s na­tional cham­pion, Jen­son Brooksby.

NICK WASS/AP

Af­ter ad­vanc­ing to the fourth round at Wim­ble­don last month, Cori “Coco” Gauff, 15, re­ceived a wild-card en­try for the U.S. Open main draw.

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