Blake Strode won the inaugural US Open National Playoffs.
TALLAHASSEE, Flor., April 1, 2012 - The 20th Annual Tallahassee Challenger at the Forestmeadows Tennis Complex concluded all qualifying rounds in singles action during Sunday’s schedule of play. No. 5 seed Blake Strode won two matches during the day to advance past the qualifying rounds, while ATP Tour doubles specialist Martin Emmrich enjoyed success on the singles court as well by also advancing into the main draw.
No. 5 seed Strode used an aggressive serve and strong baseline game to win both of his qualifying matches on Sunday, advancing into the main draw with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Catalin-Ionut Gard of Romania. Strode, currently ranked No. 400 in the world, is a two-time winner of the men’s singles event at the US Open National Playoffs, in which the winner receives a wildcard into the qualifying draw of the US Open.
In the surprise of the day, unranked Martin Emmrich of Germany used his serve-and-volley game to advance into the main draw by defeating No. 3 seed Daniel Kosakowski 6-4, 6-2. Emmrich is currently a doubles specialist ranked No. 83, but no longer has a singles ranking and needed a wildcard to get into the qualifying draw. He will be competing in the singles main draw of a challenger for the first time since September 2010. Emmrich is also the No. 1 seed in the doubles event with Andres Siljestrom of Sweden.
Other players to advance into the main draw include John Peers of Australia and Artem Sitak of New Zealand. Kosakowski and Gard also moved into the main draw via two "lucky losers" openings that were due to the injury withdrawals of No. 1 seed Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei and Alexander Kudryavtsev of Russia.
Main draw action kicks off on Stadium Court on Monday at 10:00am, with the first evening session of the tournament to be held at 6:00pm. No. 4 seed Tatsuma Ito of Japan will highlight singles action during the day session against Aussie qualifier John Peers, while the No. 1 seeded doubles team of Martin Emmrich and Andres Siljestrom will play the feature evening match against Ito and Yuichi Sugita of Japan. The evening session features all-Florida State University doubles team Dominic Cotrone and Anderson reed in action against the British pairing of David Rice and Sean Thornley, followed by an all-American battle pitting Tennys Sandgren against Brian Baker.
The Tallahassee Challenger is in its 20th year on the USTA Pro Circuit, making it the longest-running women’s event on the USTA Pro Circuit. Several former competitors at the event have gone on to win Grand Slam titles and reach the top 10 in the rankings. Past competitors include seven-time Grand Slam singles champion and Olympic gold medalist Justine Henin, three-time Grand Slam singles champion Maria Sharapova, two-time Grand Slam singles champion Mary Pierce, 2011 French Open singles champion Na Li, 2010 French Open singles champion Francesca Schiavone, and two-time Grand Slam doubles champion Anna Kournikova.
ABOUT THE USTA PRO CIRCUIT
With approximately 90 tournaments throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. The USTA launched its pro circuit in 1976 to provide players with the opportunity to gain professional ranking points, and it has since grown to become the largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, offering nearly $3 million in prize money. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from over 70 countries competed in cities nationwide. Andre Agassi, James Blake, Lindsay Davenport, Mardy Fish, Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova are among today’s top stars who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit.
The Tallahassee Challenger
A USTA Pro Circuit Event
Sunday, April 1
Forestmeadows Tennis Complex
Sunday, April 1 - RESULTS
Singles – Second round qualifying
Blake Strode, United States (5), def. Sekou Bangoura, United States, 6-1, 6-4
Artem Sitak, New Zealand (6), def. Olivier Sajous, Haiti, 6-4, 6-3
Catalin-Ionut Gard, Romania, def. Edward Corrie, Great Britain, 6-4, 6-2
Ty Trombetta, United States, def. Alexander Ward, Great Britain (2), 6-4. 6-4
Singles – Final round qualifying
Blake Strode, United States (5), def. Catalin-Ionut Gard, Romania, 6-2, 7-5
Artem Sitak, New Zealand (6), def. Ty Trombetta, United States, 6-4, 6-3
Martin Emmrich, Germany (WC), def. Daniel Kosakowski, United States (3), 6-4, 6-2
John Peers, Australia, def. Dennis Lajola, United States, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5
Doubles – First round qualifying
Adam El-Effendi, United States, and Darren Walsh, Great Britain (1), def. Mark Oljaca, United States, and Gerardo Azcurra, Argentina (WC), 6-7 (4), 6-1, 10-4
Monday’s April 2 – SCHEDULE
Stadium Court – starting at 10:00am
Stefan Seifert vs. Daniel Kosakowski (LL), followed by Tatsuma Ito (4) vs. John Peers (Q), followed by Martin Emmrich/Andres Siljestrom (1) vs. Tatsuma Ito/Yuichi Sugita (not before 4:00pm)
Stadium Court – starting at 6:00pm
Dominic Cotrone/Anderson Reed (WC) vs. David Rice/Sean Thornley, followed by Tennys Sandgren vs. Brian Baker (WC)
Court 14 – starting at 11:00am
Edward Corrie/Olivier Sajous vs. Artem Sitak/Blake Strode, followed by Adham El-Effendi/Darren Walsh vs. Corrie/Sajous or Sitak/Strode (not before 3:00pm)