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Two WTA Tour Pros, All-Americans to Vie for Shot at US Open

June 21, 2012 09:06 AM
Lindsay Lee-Waters continues to play after having a child.
Natalie Pluskota
Click here for draws and more information. All matches in the tournament are free to the public.
 
Former WTA Tour pros Lindsay Lee-Waters and Jewel Peterson will join two All-American college players and multiple high-ranking juniors in this year’s US Open National Playoffs Southern Sectional Qualifying Tournament.
 
For the second year in a row the Windward Lake Club in Alpharetta, Ga. will host the tournament, which will run from June 29 to July 3 and will again include both men’s and women’s singles and mixed doubles. The USTA created the US Open National Playoffs to expand the footprint of the US Open to cities nationwide by providing the opportunity for all players 14 years of age and older to earn a berth into the US Open. USTA Southern will be the last of 13 sections to hold qualifying.
 
With the promising talent among this year’s field, Tournament Director Torrey Hawkins believes this will be another great tournament. "This year's US Open Qualifying event promises to be another great one. The first thing that jumps out at me is that we have loads of both top juniors as well as current college players entered," he said. "There are a few former tour players as well as a few teaching pros who are coming out of retirement as well. So, this helps to round out a field of players that looks very deep compared to last year's draw."
 
Colleges and junior players in draws
Several big names headline the field this year. Along with Lee-Waters and Peterson, Natalie Pluskota, Mary Anne Macfarlane, Mia King, Alexandra Anghelescu, Alexandra Clay and Whitney Kay are some of the top players set to compete in the women’s field.
 
Lee-Waters has won 11 singles and 21 titles on the USTA Pro and ITF Women’s Circuits The mother from Alpharetta has advanced to the second round of the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in her career and was ranked a career best No. 33 in the world in 1996.
 
Peterson, of College Park, Ga. is a former tour player who made it to the Round of 16 in last year’s qualifying tournament. Ranked a career high of world No. 214 in 2004, she was a three-time letterman at the University of Southern California.
 
Pluskota was named a 2012 All-American in singles and doubles for the University of Tennessee. A top recruit from Northgate High School, the Newnan native was ranked No. 7 in doubles and No. 37 in singles by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association this year. Additionally, she was named to the 2011 First Team All-SEC team and was selected an ITA Doubles All-American in 2009 and 2010.
 
Macfarlane, who plays for the Alabama Crimson Tide, was named a 2012 ITA All-American and to the All-SEC First Team. Anghelescu has ties all around Georgia. From her hometown of Johns Creek, she ventured to the University of Georgia to play collegiate tennis. This past season she transferred to Georgia Tech and earned a bid to the NCAA Doubles Championships. Clay, from Grayson, is a junior at the University of Alabama and now a two-time letterman for the Crimson Tide.
 
The Kay family is well represented as all three juniors from Alpharetta will compete. Whitney, 18, is set to play for the North Carolina Tar Heels this fall. Her two brothers, Casey, 18, and Michael, 16, will also take the court for a bid to the US Open. Casey will begin his career for the Georgia Bulldogs in the fall.
 
In the men's field
Hunter Reese is another Tennessee Volunteer in the field. The freshman from Kennesaw was named to the All-SEC Second Team in his first year on the collegiate court.
 
The US Open National Playoffs men’s and women’s singles champions earn a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, which takes place one week prior to the 2012 US Open. The US Open National Playoffs mixed doubles champions receive a main draw wild card into the 2012 US Open.
 
The US Open National Playoffs begin as a series of sectional qualifying tournaments held in 13 USTA Sections throughout the country, including Alpharetta. The 13 men’s, women’s and mixed doubles champions from each sectional qualifying tournament will advance to the US Open National Playoffs Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles and Mixed Doubles Championship. All three tournaments will be held in conjunction with the New Haven Open at Yale, a US Open Series event, presented by First Niagara. The US Open National Playoffs Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles Championship will be held August 17-20. The US Open National Playoffs Mixed Doubles Championship will be held August 22-25.
 
A player welcome party will be held on the patio at the tournament site on Friday, June 29. Complimentary hamburgers, hotdogs, brats and non-alcoholic drinks will be provided. Additionally, each player will receive a badge that will allow access to the Aquatic Center during their stay.
 
Mixed doubles
Along with playing in the singles tournaments, Hunter Reese and Natalie Pluskota will be teaming up to take on the field in mixed doubles. The two Volunteers are top names at the University of Tennessee, and should make a tough combo in the qualifiers.
 
Whitney Kay will pair up with her twin brother Casey in mixed play. The siblings are up-and-comers as they have just began their college careers.
 
Lindsay Lee-Waters is set to team up with Marcus Hurtig of Woodstock as well.
 

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