Mallory Burdette has earned a wild card into the 2012 US Open.
© Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Stanford University standout Mallory Burdette has earned a main-draw wild card into the 2012 US Open. This year, the USTA awarded one women’s singles main-draw wild card into the US Open to the American who earned the most WTA Tour Ranking points at two of three USTA Pro Circuit hard-court events—$50,000 events in Yakima, Wash., and Lexington, Ky., and a $100,000 event in Vancouver. Burdette earned a combined 158 points with her best two results, winning the title in Vancouver and reaching the second round in Lexington.
Burdette, 21, of Jackson, Ga., secured the wild card by defeating Jessica Pegula in the Vancouver final this weekend. The victory in Vancouver comes after Burdette's first career pro tournament title in July at the $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Evansville, Ind. She has climbed up the rankings to a career-high No. 245 in the world after starting the summer unranked and is competing this summer as a member of the USTA Collegiate Team, an elite training program for the top American collegiate tennis players. The USTA Collegiate Team is designed to provide college players with valuable exposure to the USTA Pro Circuit in a team-oriented environment.
Last month, Burdette won her first WTA match at the Bank of the West Classic, an Emirates Airline US Open Series event in Stanford, and lost to No. 10 seed Marion Bartoli in the second round.
At Stanford, the rising senior captured the 2012 NCAA doubles title with Nicole Gibbs and the 2011 NCAA doubles title with Hilary Barte. Burdette and Gibbs also faced off in the 2012 NCAA singles final, where Burdette had the chance to win the NCAA title and a US Open wild card, but Gibbs prevailed in three sets. It was the first all-Stanford final since 2001 and the first time in NCAA men's or women's tennis history that teammates squared off in the singles final before later pairing up in the doubles title match.
The USTA first used this tournament-based wild-card format for its 2012 Roland Garros 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.
2010 US Open boys’ finalist and former world junior No. 3 Denis Kudla is atop the standings for the US Open men’s wild card after winning the $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit Challenger in Lexington last month. The USTA will award one men’s singles main-draw wild card into the 2012 US Open to the American man who finishes with the best combined results in two of the following four USTA Pro Circuit hard-court events—$50,000 Challengers in Binghamton, N.Y., and Lexington and $100,000 Challengers in Vancouver and Aptos, Calif., which concludes this week. Michael Yani is in second place.