Touring Pros, College Stars in Southern's US Open National Playoffs

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June 18, 2015 05:51 PM
Caroline Price competes in New York.
Katilyn McCarthy has committed to play at Duke.
Jesse Witten competes at 2010 US Open but lost to Novak Djokovic.

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By Rick Limpert/Special to USTA Southern

An eclectic group of tennis players will take to the courts at Life Time Athletic at Peachtree Corners (Ga.) beginning Monday, June 22, for the US Open National Playoffs Southern Sectional Qualifying Tournament. Tournament play continues until Sunday, June 28.

A handful of players with world rankings, the current NCAA women's doubles champions and ranked junior players from mostly the South will be looking to earn a spot in the 2015 US Open National Playoffs - Championships, Aug. 21-29 in New Haven, Conn., during the Connecticut Open.

Jesse Witten, will be going for a "triple" as he's entered in the singles, doubles with Vahid Mirzadeh, a veteran touring pro from Lake Worth, Fla., who is currently ranked No. 398 in the ATP World Tour doubles rankings, and mixed doubles with Lauren Embree. In 2009, Witten, 32, of Naples, Fla., reached the third round of the US Open and lost a thriller to Novak Djokovic in four sets. Witten is currently ranked No. 825 in the world.

WOMEN

Embree, 24, a five-time All-American and three-time SEC Player of the Year at the University of Florida, headlines the women's field. The Naples, Fla. native is currently ranked No. 259 in the WTA rankings. Embree defeated former world No. 4, Kimiko Date-Krumm earlier this year at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Embree finished with a career singles record of 117-16 during her time as a Gator, and she holds two USTA Pro Circuit singles titles (Ft. Worth, Wichita) and two Pro Circuit doubles titles, both at Redding.

Caroline Price, 22, of Duluth, Ga., just completed her senior season at North Carolina earning All-American honors. The daughter of former Georgia Tech and Cleveland Cavaliers basketball legend Mark Price won her first professional title earlier this month at the USTA $25K in Charlotte. Price is entered in the women's doubles with former Georgia and Georgia Tech player Alexandra Anghelescu, and in the mixed doubles with former University of Alabama star Ricky Doverspike of Tuscaloosa. Doverspike won the 2014 mixed doubles event with Natalie Pluskota.

Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe are the two-time defending NCAA Women's doubles champions, and a senior and junior respectively on the Alabama Crimson Tide women's tennis team. Jansen, 21, from Valleyford, Wa., was a runner-up last year in singles at the USTA Southern qualifier losing to former touring pro, Julie Ditty. She is returning to Peachtree Corners to play singles and also doubles with Routliffe, 20, from Canada.

Kaitlyn McCarthy, 17, from Cary N.C., is the No. 1 high school recruit in the country for the class of 2015, and has given a commitment to Duke University. For most of 2015, McCarthy has been playing USTA Pro Circuit events around the South. She qualified and reached the round of 16 at the $25K in the Jackson, Miss. event this spring. She is currently ranked No. 821 in the WTA world rankings.

Andie K. Daniell, 18, from Douglasville, Ga., has signed to play college tennis at the University of Alabama and has long been regarded as one of the top junior players in the U.S. Daniell has won two USTA Pro Circuit doubles titles with partner Sophie Chang, including winning the Resortquest Pro Women's Open title in Bethany Beach earlier in June. Daniell is currently ranked No. 1176 in the WTA rankings.

Amy Yang, 18, of Alpharetta, GA., is heading to Connecticut to play her college tennis at Yale this fall, but she wouldn't mind arriving in "The Constitution State" a little early to play in the US Open Playoffs - Championships. Yang, a recent Northview High School graduate, was a 5-Star Blue Chip recruit and the recipient of the 2014 USTA Southern Bill Ozaki Junior Sportsmanship Award.

McCarthy, Daniell and Yang are members of the USTA Southern Girls' 18s team that competes against teams from other USTA sections.

MEN

Looking to prove that "coaches can still play," two coaches from Georgia State University including men's head coach, Brett Ross, have entered the qualifier. Ross is entered in the men's doubles with a former US Open Southern Section qualifier Marcus Hurtig, of Woodstock, Ga. Ross, a former Wake Forest standout will be joined by another former Demon Deacon player, his top assistant, Jonathan Wolff, who is entered in the singles draw.

Other players to watch include: Ja'cara Gillis, Aryn Greene, Austin Hussey, Eva Raszkiewicz and the Kay brothers -- Michael and Casey -- who are entered in the singles and will play doubles together.

As in the past, the US Open National Playoffs include both men’s and women’s singles and mixed doubles. This year a new event has been added, including men's and women's doubles.

The US Open National Playoffs men’s and women’s singles champions earn a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, held the week prior to the US Open. The US Open National Playoffs mixed doubles and men's and women's champions receive a wildcard into the main draws of the 2015 US Open.

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.

More information can be found on the USTA's US Open website.

 

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