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$1 Million US Open Qualifying Tournament Kicks Off Free Week of Tennis at the USTA National Tennis Center

August 24, 2004 09:32 AM

The USTA announced that the 2004 US Open Qualifying Tournament, offering $1 million in prize money, will be held free to the public at the home of the US Open, the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., August 24 - 27. The US Open Qualifying Tournament consists of 128 men and 128 women competing for the final 32 entries (16 men and 16 women) in the 2004 US Open, August 30 – September 12.

The US Open Qualifying Tournament kicks off a week of free tennis events at the National Tennis Center that culminates with Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, presented by Hess, Saturday, August 28 and the second annual US Open Practice, Sunday, August 29.

The US Open Qualifying Tournament’s purse is the ninth richest for a tennis tournament in the United States this year. Play begins each day at 11 a.m. First round matches will be played Tuesday, August 24 and Wednesday, August 25. Second round matches will be held on Thursday, August 26, with final round matches scheduled for Friday, August 27.

Among the notable players expected to compete in this year’s US Open Qualifying Tournament are: former Top 25 player Bohdan Ulihrach; 2001 US Open boys’ singles champion Gilles Muller, who defeated Andre Agassi en route to his first US Open Series and ATP final appearance this past weekend in Washington, D.C.; former NCAA Champion Lilia Osterloh, who reached the fourth round at the 2000 US Open and has been ranked as high as No. 41 in the world; Mykyta Kryvonos, 17, of Flushing, N.Y., the No. 4 player in the USTA Boys’ 18s who trains at the National Tennis Center throughout the year; and a talented group of 15-year-olds -- Nicole Vaidisova, who won her first WTA Tour title in Vancouver earlier this month; Sesil Karatantcheva, the reigning French Open girls’ singles champion who extended Maria Sharapova to three sets in the third round of Indian Wells this year; and American wild cards Donald Young and Alexa Glatch.

Numerous players who compete in the US Open qualifying event have posted strong results in the main draw the year they qualified and have also gone on to impressive professional careers. 2002 US Open champion Lleyton Hewitt advanced through qualifying in 1998 to make his US Open debut. Former Wimbledon runner-up David Nalbandian made his Grand Slam tournament debut as a qualifier at the 2001 US Open and reached the third round of the main draw before losing to No. 7 seed Yevgeny Kafelnikov in four sets. In 1996, Anna Kournikova reached the round of 16 in the main draw as a 15-year-old qualifier.

Other free events at the USTA National Tennis Center leading up to the US Open include:

Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, presented by Hess -- Saturday, August 28, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, presented by Hess, is the official kick-off event of the 2004 US Open. The ninth annual day-long festival of kids’ tennis activities – including interactive games, musical entertainment, free clinics and the World TeamTennis finals – will take place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Tickets are available to purchase for the Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day stage show, which begins at noon. R&B sensation JoJo, rock soul singer/songwriter Gavin DeGraw and French singing sensation Cherie will join tennis stars Andy Roddick, Serena and Venus Williams, Roger Federer, the Bryan Brothers and other top players to headline Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess. Tennis great Steffi Graf, Champion Ski Racer Bode Miller and basketball icon Dick Vitale will also participate in the festivities. The event is co-hosted by MTV VJ Quddus and WB “Reba” Star JoAnna Garcia.

US Open Practice, -- Sunday, August 29, 12 noon - 6 p.m.
At this free, six-hour session, fans can watch their favorite tennis stars up close and personal as they prepare for the toughest two weeks in tennis and also enjoy a fun, free entertaining day within the context of the US Open.




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