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Oudin, Ginepri Highlight AO Wild Card Playoff

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — USTA Player Development has announced the eight men and eight women invited to participate in the 2011 Kia Motors Australian Open Wild Card Playoff, being held for the third consecutive year at the Racquet Club of the South, a USTA Certified Regional Training Center in Atlanta, December 16-18. The winners will receive main draw singles wild cards into the men’s and women’s draws at the 2012 Australian Open through a reciprocal agreement with Tennis Australia where the two national tennis federations exchange wild cards for the 2011 US Open and the 2012 Australian Open.

The women’s field includes 2009 US Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin (Marietta, Ga.), who grew up training at the Racquet Club of the South and helped lead the U.S. to consecutive Fed Cup finals in 2009-10; and Coco Vandeweghe (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.), the niece of former NBA star Kiki Vandeweghe, who competed in the main draw of all four Grand Slam events in 2011 and won this event in 2009 to earn a wild card into the 2010 Australian Open.

In addition to Oudin, local favorites will include Grace Min (Duluth, Ga.), who captured the 2011 US Open girls’ singles title; and Taylor Townsend (Stockbridge, Ga.), the youngest player in either field at age 15, who reached the girls’ doubles final at the 2011 US Open and reached the semifinals at a USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 event in Carson, Calif., in April.

Rounding out the women’s field are Madison Keys (Boca Raton, Fla.), who won a similar playoff to earn a wild card into the 2011 US Open, where she subsequently became the youngest player to win a main draw match since 2005; Jamie Hampton (Auburn, Ala.), who won four USTA Pro Circuit titles in 2010 and qualified for the 2011 Australian Open; 2008 USTA Girls’ 18s National champion Gail Brodsky (Brooklyn, N.Y.); and Alison Riske (McMurray, Pa.), who reached the semifinals at the Wimbledon tune-up in Birmingham in 2010 to earn a wild card into the Wimbledon main draw.

Oudin, Keys, Min, and Townsend all currently train full-time at the USTA Training Center-Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., while Brodsky trains at the USTA Training Center-East at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

The men’s field includes local favorite Robby Ginepri (Kennesaw, Ga.), who reached the 2005 US Open semifinals and is the only active American male aside from Andy Roddick to appear in a Grand Slam semifinal; and 2010 US Open boys’ champion Jack Sock (Lincoln, Neb.), who also won consecutive titles at the USTA Boys’ 18s National Championships in 2010-11.

The men’s field also features local product Bobby Reynolds (Acworth, Ga.), the former Vanderbilt standout who won a similar event to earn a wild card into the 2011 US Open; and Denis Kudla (Arlington, Va.), who reached the quarterfinals at the ATP World Tour event in Newport, R.I., in July.

Rounding out the field are four current and former collegiate standouts including: 2011 NCAA men’s champion Steve Johnson (Orange, Calif.), who has also helped lead the USC Trojans to three consecutive NCAA team titles; Daniel Kosakowski (Huntington Park, Calif.) who turned professional after his freshman year at UCLA and won his first Tour-level match at the Olympus US Open Series event in Los Angeles; Rhyne Williams (Knoxville, Tenn.), the 2011 NCAA singles runner-up for the University of Tennessee, who turned pro after winning his second professional title in June at the USTA Pro Circuit Futures in Innisbrook, Fla.; and Jesse Levine (Boca Raton, Fla.), a former All-American at the University of Florida who reached the third round at Wimbledon in 2009 and has won four titles in six finals on the ITF Pro Circuit since September.

Seeding for the event will be based on the ATP World Tour and WTA Rankings.

In addition to the tournament, the event will also feature an exhibition match on Friday, December 16, that will be played in a World TeamTennis format, with U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier and USTA Player Development General Manager Patrick McEnroe serving as the team captains. For additional information including ticket pricing, please visit australianwildcard.com.

 

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