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US Open Wild Card Challenge kicks off for USTA Pro Circuit players

July 11, 2016 03:12 PM

By Sally Milano, USTA.com

Now that Wimbledon is over, only one Grand Slam tournament remains in 2016: the US Open. Starting this week, players competing on the USTA Pro Circuit have a chance to earn a main-draw wild card into the year's final major by competing in the USTA Pro Circuit's US Open Wild Card Challenge.

In the US Open Wild Card Challenge, the American man and American woman who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA ranking points at two of three select USTA Pro Circuit hard-court events this summer will earn main-draw wild cards into the US Open. Only Americans who do not earn direct entry into the US Open are eligible.

The challenge kicks off for the women this week at the University of the Pacific $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit Challenger in Stockton, Calif., while the men begin their hunt for the wild card the week of July 18 at the $50,000 Levene Gouldin & Thompson Tennis Challenger in Binghamton, N.Y.

In addition to Stockton, the other women's tournaments comprising the challenge are the FSP Gold River Women's Challenger in Sacramento, Calif., which takes place the week of July 18, and the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships in Lexington, Ky., which will be held the week of July 25.

Besides Binghamton, the men's challenge events include the $50,000 Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships in Lexington, scheduled for the week of July 25, and the $100,000 Nordic Naturals Challenger in Aptos, Calif., set for the week of Aug. 8.

The USTA first used the US Open wild-card format for its 2012 wild cards, won by Steve Johnson and Mallory Burdette, both of whom reached the third round of the US Open. In 2013, Bradley Klahn and Shelby Rogers earned the wild cards, with Klahn winning his first-round match, and in 2014, Nicole Gibbs reached the third round of the US Open (her career-best Grand Slam result), while Wayne Odesnik earned the men’s wild card.

Last year, Bjorn Fratangelo (pictured above) made his Grand Slam main-draw debut by earning the men’s wild card, while Samantha Crawford competed in the US Open as the women’s wild card.

The USTA also utilizes this wild-card challenge format for the French Open and Australian Open.

All tournaments will be streamed live on www.procircuit.usta.com. The events can also be followed on the USTA Pro Circuit’s smartphone app by searching “procircuit” in the app store, and information on the US Open Wild Card Challenge can be found on Twitter through @USTAProCircuit.

The 2016 US Open main draw will be held Monday, Aug. 29, to Sunday, Sept. 11.