Middle States

2021 French Open Preview

Middle States Players 


After a year of postponements, the 2021 French Open is a full go. Lighter COVID-19 restrictions are allowing more fans to attend during the two weeks at Roland Garros. On each of the three main show courts at Roland Garros, up to 1,000 people will be allowed into the stadium, while smaller courts will admit up to 35% capacity. Once the quarterfinals start, however, the attendance regulations will change. The three show courts will hold up to 5,000 spectators, while the smaller courts will be allowed to admit 65% capacity. 


American success at the French Open has been limited to a select few players. Over the history of the tournament, only nine American men and women have won, including Andre Agassi, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Serena Williams. In this year's tournament, the men’s and women’s brackets have at least 27 American players. The USTA Middle States section will be well represented on the women's side with Jennifer Brady, Ann Li, Madison Brengle and Varvara Lepchenko. Bjorn Fratangelo represents on the men’s side. 


Jennifer Brady burst onto the scene earlier this year with her run to the Australian Open final. A Harrisburg native, Brady turned pro in 2014 after two years at UCLA. Brady initially found success at the ITF level. She had her best year on the tour in 2020, capped off by a semi-finals run in the US Open. Now at No. 14 in the world rankings, Brady prepared for this year's French Open by competing in Madrid and Rome where she reached the second and third round, respectively. 


From the courts of Legacy Youth Tennis and Education to Rod Laver Arena, Ann Li has quickly climbed the ranks of professional tennis. Born in King of Prussia, Li has been known locally for years, but only recently has become a bit more of a household name. Li began the 2021 season with her maiden WTA title in the “Grampians” tournament held at Melbourne Park. She followed that up by reaching the third round of the Australian Open. Li competed in one tournament since Australia and opted to skip the clay court swing before the French Open. This year, Li will make her first appearance in the main draw of Roland Garros. She hopes to build on the clay court success she had a few years back when she won the USTA National Clay Court Championships title in 2016.



Madison Brengle, a 10-year veterans of the WTA tour, is set to compete in her eighth French Open. Born in Pittsburgh, Brengle has played more than 850 matches on tour. She’s earned seven ITF titles and is a three-time USTA pro circuit winner at the Koser Jeweler Challenge. Brengle looks to reach the third round for the first time of the French Open this year. 


Finally, Varvara Lepchenko makes her French Open return after a successful run through qualifying. The former top-20 player looks to regain momentum after seeing her ranking slip a bit over recent years, but enters this event with drive and solid form.  


On the men's side, Pittsburgh native Bjorn Fratangelo successfully moved through qualifiers, winning three straight matches. He has some great history in Paris, previously winning the French Open Boys’ title in 2011 — the first American male since John McEnroe to win the event. 


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