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Southern Section Well Represented Among US Open Wild Cards

August 21, 2002 12:06 PM

On August 15, the USTA announced the list of players that will receive wild card entry into the main draw and qualifying rounds of the 2002 US Open, which will be played at the National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York, from August 26 – September 8.

Several players with Southern Section ties will receive main draw wild cards, including Matias Boeker, Jack Brasington, and Brian Vahaly on the men’s side, and Ally Baker, Bea Bielik, and Ashley Harkleroad on the women’s side.

Boeker, 21, played his collegiate tennis at the University of Georgia, and was the first player since Mikael Pernfors to win the NCAA tennis singles crown in back-to-back seasons (2001-2002).

Brasington, 26 and a resident of New Orleans, turned professional in 2000 after graduating from the University of Texas with a degree in corporate communications. He won the USTA $50,000 Challenger at Joplin, Mo. earlier this year, and has advanced to the main draw through the qualifying rounds at each Grand Slam event this year.

Vahaly, 23, turned professional just over a year ago after taking home runner-up honors in singles at the 2001 NCAA Championships. He has won three Challenger and one Futures tournaments this year, and is currently ranked No. 116 in the ATP Entry System. An Atlanta resident for 19 years, Vahaly is featured in this month’s issue of Jezebel, as one of the 20 most eligible Atlanta residents.

Baker, 16, of Raleigh, North Carolina, turned professional in the spring of 2002, and won her first USTA Professional Circuit singles title at the Greenville, S.C., event. Baker reached the round of 16 in girls’ singles and also took home runner-up honors in girls’ doubles at Wimbledon this summer.

Bielik, 22, dominated the 2001-02 college tennis season as a junior at Wake Forest University, winning two of the three major singles titles. She set an NCAA Championship record for fewest games lost (21) en route to the Division I women’s singles title in May.

Harkleroad, 17, was raised in Flintstone, Georgia, and at No. 198 in the WTA rankings, is the youngest American in the top 200. She won her first professional title last month at the USTA $50,000 challenger in Los Gatos, Calif., and reached the girls’ singles final of the 2002 French Open juniors.

Players with Southern Section ties that will receive qualifying wild cards are: Bo Hodge (University of Georgia), Brandon Wagner (University of Georgia), Brian Baker (Nashville, Tenn.), Tanner Cochran (Dublin, Ga.), Cory Ann Avants (Gastonia, N.C.), and Kelly McCain (Duke University).




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