Pro Circuit

2012 US Open wild card to be decided by results in USTA Pro Circuit events

July 5, 2012 04:11 PM
Brian Baker finished the 2012 season ranked No. 61 in the world, up almost 400 spots from his 2011 year-end ranking.
USTA Player Development announced that it will award wild cards into the 2012 US Open to the American woman and the American man who earn the most ranking points at select USTA Pro Circuit events this summer. The USTA first used this format for its 2012 French Open wild cards, won by Melanie Oudin and Brian Baker, rather than a traditional wild-card playoff tournament. By using USTA Pro Circuit results, players competed in more matches to develop their games and were also given the opportunity to earn valuable ranking points, whereas the previous playoffs were invitational single-elimination tournaments that did not offer ranking points. This format also allowed all Americans a chance of earning the wild card, rather than a limited field/draw.

After earning the French Open wild cards, Baker and Oudin both are on the cusp of breaking into the top 100. Baker subsequently reached his first ATP Tour final at the French Open tune-up event in Nice, France, as a qualifier and advanced to the second round of the French Open and the fourth round of Wimbledon. Oudin reached the second round of the French Open and then won her first WTA title at the Wimbledon warm-up in Birmingham, England.

The USTA will award one US Open women’s singles main-draw wild card to the American woman who earns the most WTA Tour Ranking points at two of the following three USTA Pro Circuit events:
  • $50,000 Yakima, Wash. (week of July 9)
  • $50,000 Lexington, Ky. (week of July 23)
  • $100,000 Vancouver, BC (week of July 30)

The USTA will award one US Open men’s singles main-draw wild card to the American man who earns the most ATP Tour Ranking points at two of the following four USTA Pro Circuit events:
  • $50,000 Binghamton, N.Y. (week of July 16)
  • $50,000 Lexington, Ky. (week of July 23)
  • $100,000 Vancouver, BC (week of July 30)
  • $100,000 Aptos, Calif. (week of August 6)

Baker, 27, of Nashville, Tenn., earned the USTA’s main-draw wild card into the 2012 French Open by being the American to earn the most ranking points at two USTA Pro Circuit clay-court challengers—a $100,000 event in Sarasota, Fla., and a $50,000 event in Savannah, Ga. After earning the wild card, Baker qualified for the French Open tune-up event in Nice, France, and subsequently reached his first ATP World Tour final. In the French Open, Baker won his first-round match over world No. 77 Xavier Malisse and pushed No. 12 seed Gilles Simon to five sets in the second round. He also reached the fourth round of Wimbledon in his best career result and will crack the top 100 for the first time in his career in next week’s rankings. Just a year ago, Baker, ranked No. 752 in the world, started his comeback by competing in the $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit Futures in Pittsburgh, which is taking place this week, and won the title. Baker underwent five surgeries for a series of ailments from 2005 to 2008, including Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in February 2008. He was the French Open boys’ singles runner-up in 2003 and was ranked as high as No. 2 in the ITF World Junior Rankings.

2009 US Open quarterfinalist Oudin, 20, of Marietta, Ga., earned the main-draw wild card into the 2012 French Open based on her results at two of three USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 events, including a title at the event in Charlottesville, Va. At the French Open, she reached the second round. Following the French Open, Oudin won her first career WTA title at the Wimbledon tune-up event in Birmingham, England, where she won eight matches as a qualifier and upset No. 5 seed Jelena Jankovic in the final. Subsequently, Wimbledon decided to award her a wild card. Oudin trains full-time at the USTA Training Center-East at the home of the US Open in Flushing, N.Y.

The 2012 US Open main draw will be held Monday, August 27, through Sunday, September 9.
 

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