Christina McHale in action at the 2008 Dunlop Orange Bowl.
Americans John Isner and Christina McHale earned wild card entries into the 2009 Australian Open men's and women’s singles main draws after winning USTA wild card tournaments at the USTA Training Facility in Boca Raton, Fla., Dec. 15-21.
Isner, 23, of Tampa, Fla., finished 2008 ranked No. 144 in the world. He appeared in the main draw of all four Grand Slams in 2008, and lost in the first round of the 2008 Australian Open to France’s Fabrice Santoro. The former University of Georgia standout won his second career USTA Pro Circuit Challenger title at $50,000 Lubbock, Texas, in September.
Mchale, 16, of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., who will be appearing in her first Grand Slam main draw, began the year ranked No. 712 and is currently No. 377 in the world. Playing mainly on the USTA Pro Circuit this year, she reached the semifinals at $25,000 Augusta, Ga., in October, and also reached the quarterfinals of $50,000 events in San Diego and Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. In junior events, McHale reached the Girls’ 18s final at the Dunlop Orange Bowl two weeks ago, and was a leading member of the U.S. Junior Fed Cup championship team in September. McHale works full-time at the USTA Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla.
The women’s competition featured Lauren Albanese, Madison Brengle, Gail Brodsky, Mallory Cecil, Vania King, McHale, Asia Muhammad, and CoCo Vandeweghe. The eight-player field was split into two round robin groups, with the winner of each to play each other for the wild card. McHale defeated Brodsky in the final 6-1, 6-0 after advancing with a perfect 3-0 record in round robin (Brodsky advanced with a 2-1 record).
Isner, Jesse Levine, Wayne Odesnik, and Donald Young were the four players invited to compete for the men’s wild card. They also played a round robin format and Isner finished with a 2-0 record, defeating Young and Levine. Odesnik lost in his first two matches, rendering the final round robin match unnecessary.
The USTA and Tennis Australia have a reciprocal agreement in which wild card entries into the main draw at the 2008 US Open and the 2009 Australian Open are exchanged. The 2009 Australian Open will be played January 19-Febuary 1 at Melbourne Park.