Martin and McDowell Advance Take The Next Step To US Open

January 26, 2011 02:09 PM
David Martin
Martin and Pusano
Amanda McDowell
The Top Seeds Take The Next Step To The US OPEN
The USONP Southern Sectional Qualifying tournament is now complete. In both the men's and women's singles tournaments the top seeds dominated the field. The winners of the men's and women's singles as well as mixed doubles will move on the play the other sectional champions at Yale University later this summer. The winners of the singles at the tournament will then move on to the qualifying at the US Open and the mixed doubles winner will receive a Wild Card into the main draw at the US Open.
On the men's side. David Martin, who has competed on the ATP World Tour and has been ranked as high as World No. 38 in doubles, finished the tournament without dropping a set. The finals consisted of an interesting matchup between offense and defense. Gomez was a young scrappy, defensive player whereas, Martin a much more aggressive player and as a doubles specialist he was constantly looking to close the net. It became a battle between Gomez's passing shots and lobs against Martin's volleys and attacking game. The first set was tight with no breaks the entire set and relatively few opportunities. Once it reached the tiebreak, Martin's experience paid off and he took the breaker pretty handily. In the second set, Martin got up an early break and dominated the set 6-2.

Martin did not stop with just a singles title, but gave himself an additional chance to play in the US Open by winning the mixed doubles title as well. Along with his partner and former WTA player, Christina Fusano, the two dominated the field without dropping a set en route the the Championship. In the finals they faced the local, crowd favorite team of Frank Solona and Jennifer Sinclair. Despite, the homefield advantage, Solona and Sinclair were overmatched by the two pros.
On the women's side, Amanda McDowell dominated the field throughout the tournament. She lost only 9 games the entire tournament. Her powerful baseline attack overpowered her opponents in all of her matches. In the finals, McDowell won the first set 6-1, but her opponent, 15 year old Jeukeng, raced off to an early 2-0 lead in the second set. McDowell quickly responded and booked her trip to the national playoffs winning the next 6 games.
Click here to the tournament on Tennis Link for complete results.
The USTA Southern Section announced today that the Windward Lake Club in Alpharetta, Ga. will host the US Open National Playoffs USTA Southern Sectional Qualifying Tournament, July 1-6. Earlier today, the USTA announced the return of the US Open National Playoffs to expand the footprint of the US Open by providing the opportunity for all players 14 years of age and older to earn a berth into the US Open. This year, the tournament will now include mixed doubles in addition to men’s and women’s singles. The US Open National Playoffs mixed doubles champions will receive a main draw wild card into the 2011 US Open. The US Open National Playoffs men’s and women’s singles champions again earn a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, held the week prior to the US Open.
The US Open National Playoffs will again operate as a series of sectional qualifying tournaments, held in 16 USTA Sections throughout the country, including Alpharetta. The 16 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, an Olympus US Open Series event. The US Open National Playoffs – Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles Championship will be held August 18-21. The US Open National Playoffs – Mixed Doubles Championship will be held August 24-27.
Adding to the excitement will be a Kick-Off the 4th/Welcome Players Party on Fri., July 1 after the first-round matches. Players and their guests will be invited to a "Taste of Windward Lake Club" which will feature cuisine from the Alpharetta area. Club members will serve up a pig roast and/or shrimp boil along with many other custom potluck dishes inspired by the theme of "Southern Hospitality." In addition, there will be DJ music and allow unlimited access to our 18-acre Aquatic Center to enhance the experience.
Registration for each of the 16 sectional qualifying tournaments begins on March 15 at . The entry fee for each of the sectional qualifying tournaments is $125 for singles and $150 for each mixed doubles team ($75 per player). All players competing must have a current USTA membership valid through August 29, 2011.
"We again expect the top junior players, collegians, teaching professionals, ‘weekend warriors’ and other recreational players to come out in large numbers to compete this year in singles and now mixed doubles," said Jim Curley, Chief Professional Tournaments Officer & US Open Tournament Director. "The New Haven Open at Yale will be a great host for the championships and the winners will be close to New York for the US Open."
A player may only enter and compete in one sectional qualifying tournament during a calendar year; players competing in men’s singles or women’s singles and mixed doubles may opt to compete at different sectional qualifying tournaments (one for singles and one for mixed doubles). The draw size at each sectional qualifying tournament will be a maximum of 256 for each singles event and a maximum of 128 teams for mixed doubles. Participants can be of any playing level, from aspiring novice to seasoned professional, giving everyone an equal opportunity to advance.
In all, 1,232 players (859 men, 373 women) competed in the inaugural edition of the US Open National Playoffs last year, ranging from experienced professionals to recreational players of all talents and walks of life (including Olympic skier Bode Miller, former Major League Baseball player Todd Walker and Rabbi Gregg Ackerman of Long Island, N.Y.).
In the end, Blake Strode, a former top-ranked collegian from the University of Arkansas who learned the game at an NJTL chapter in his hometown of St. Louis, Mo., and Alexandra Mueller, a 22-year-old from Abington, Pa., who competes regularly on the USTA Pro Circuit, emerged as the US Open National Playoffs champions and earned wild cards into the 2010 US Open Qualifying Tournament.
The US Open Qualifying Tournament will be held August 23-26 and the US Open Mixed Doubles Championship begins August 31 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The 2011 US Open begins on August 29.
Notable Players
Meghan Blevins, from Norh Charleston, Nc., is a Blue Chip recruit who will be playing at Oklahoma State next year.
Guillermo Gomez, received a wild card into the Atlanta Tennis Championships singles qualifying. Gomez, a graduating senior at Georgia Tech and three-time Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-American from Alicante, Spain, has been ranked as high as No. 3 among collegiate tennis players
Catherine Harrison, of Germantown, Tn., is a rising high school senior. She is currently a Blue Chip recruit and ranked in the Top 10 in the country.
Luke Jensen, of Atlanta, Ga., and his brother, Murphy, won the French Open doubles title in 1993. Jensen was also a two time All-American at USC and is presently the women’s tennis coach at Syracuse University.
Kevin King, from Peachtree City, Ga., was part of a dynamic Georgia Tech duo that took out the No. 7 and No. 1 doubles teams en route to the NCAA Doubles Championships semifinal, where they lost a tight match to the eventual champions from Texas A&M. King will pair up with UGA’s Drake Bernstein getting a doubles main draw wild card into ATC.
Amanda McDowell, of Atlanta, Ga., played for Georgia Tech, where she was the 2008 All-American Doubles Champion, 2008 ITA National Player of the Year, 2008 NCAA Singles Champion, and 2008 US Open participant.
Jewel Peterson, of Atlanta, Ga., currently runs the Peterson School of Tennis, Inc. She was a four time All-American at USC and competed on the WTA Tour. Peterson also played team tennis professionally for the Newport Breakers.
Natalie Pluskota, of Newnan, Ga., was a five star recruit and currently plays for Tennessee. She is a two-time doubles All-American.
Hannah King, of Alpharetta, Ga., plays out of the host site Windward Lake Country Club. She has competed in numerous USTA Pro Circuit events as well as ITF tournaments.
 Phillip Eilers, 25, of Evansville, Ind., who won the USTA Intermountain Sectional Qualifying Tournament last year and formerly played for the University of Utah
Zach Fleishman, 31, of Playa Del Rey, Calif., who peaked at No. 127 in the world in 2007 after reaching the quarterfinals of the Olympus US Open Series event in Los Angeles; he has competed in qualifying for the US Open and has qualified for both Wimbledon and the Australian Open
Christina Fusano, 31, of Plymouth, Calif., who competed for the University of California and holds 12 career USTA Pro Circuit doubles titles
Alexa Guarachi, 20, of Destin, Fla., who finished her sophomore year at the University of Alabama and was named the ITA Southern Region Player to Watch; she played in all four Grand Slam events as a junior
Alexandra Hirsch, 26, of Atlanta, Ga., who played at Wake Forest and now competes on the USTA Pro Circuit.
Michael Rardon, from Zionsville, In, is a summer intern at the Atlanta Tennis Championships. He plays number 1 singles for DePauw University and is the recipient of the 2011 Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award. Rardon will also be keeping a blog throughout the tournament.