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Winston-Salem Open Holds Draw

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - World No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is the top seed, world No. 7 Tomas Berdych is the second seed, and No. 10 John Isner is the third seed in the second annual Winston-Salem Open, which will start with qualifying on Saturday at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex.

Tsonga, Berdych and Isner, the defending champion, are three of 16 players who were seeded and will receive first-round byes in the 48-player Main Draw.

The field includes 24 of the top 50 players in the latest ATP rankings, with 19 players in the field who have won ATP World Tour singles titles at some point in their careers. The draw ceremony was conducted on Friday afternoon at Bridger Field House.

“I think it’s a really strong tournament,” said world No. 16 and fourth seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, who participated in the draw ceremony. “There are a lot of wildcards that were not supposed to play. The top 50 guys, half of them are here, so it’s going to be really tough. You have strong players from the first round, so it’s going to be interesting.”

After Tsonga, Berdych and Isner, the seeds were, in order: Dolgopolov (4), Andy Roddick (5), Marcel Granollers (6), Sam Querrey (7), 2011 runner-up Julien Benneteau (8), Feliciano Lopez (9), Viktor Troicki (10), Denis Istomin (11), Kevin Anderson (12), Jurgen Melzer (13), David Nalbandian (14), Pablo Andujar (15) and Jarkko Nieminen (16).

There were some interesting draws, including a potential second-round matchup between Roddick and James Blake, who were teammates and stars on U.S. Davis Cup teams that played three ties at Joel Coliseum. Roddick, the No. 5 seed, will play the winner of the match between Blake and Albert Ramos.

“That takes the poker game out of play for them this week, I suspect,” tournament director Bill Oakes quipped.

Tsonga, a recent Wimbledon singles semifinalist and Olympic silver medalist in doubles, will face the winner of the first round matchup between Thomasz Belluci and Marcos Baghdatis.

Berdych will play the winner of the first-round match between Malek Jaziri and Alex Bogomolov Jr.

Isner is in the half with Tsonga and will play the winner of the match between Benoit Paire and Martin Klizan. Dolgopolov will play the winner of the amtch between Lukas Lacko and Yen-Hsun Lu.

Oakes assured that everyone in the Main Draw was good to go for the coming week, dispelling the notion that any players might withdraw. Roddick, for example, suffered back spasms in a first-round loss at Cincinnati earlier this week, but is feeling better.

“I keep getting the question, ‘How’s Andy Roddick?’” Oakes said. “Well, he’s on property practicing at the Wake Forest Indoor Tennis Center right now. So he has arrived, John Isner and Jo Tsonga arrive tomorrow, so we don’t see any issues with any of the players in the Main Draw for playing here this week.”

Qualifying begins on Saturday at 10 a.m., with four qualifiers making it into the Main Draw. Spectators are urged to bring canned foods to help with the Lowe’s Food Drive, with donations going to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina. Fans bringing three or more cans or non-perishable food items will be given free admission to Saturday’s play.

“Hopefully many people will come for the qualifying tomorrow,” Oakes said. “Not only do you get to see a lot of the young up-and-coming players in qualifying, a lot of the tournament players will be practicing. So it will be a great opportunity to see them all up close.”

Tickets to the Winston-Salem Open are available online at www.winstonsalemopen.com, by calling (336) 758-6409 or in person at the Wake Forest ticket office located at Bridger Field House at BB&T Field.

About the Winston-Salem Open

The Winston-Salem Open, an ATP World Tour 250 event with a total purse of $625,000, will take place from August 18-25, 2012, with qualifying set for August 18. The tournament will be the final men’s event of the Emirates Airline US Open Series. For more information on the 2012 Winston-Salem Open, please go to www.winstonsalemopen.com.

About the Emirates Airline US Open Series

Now in its ninth season, the Emirates Airline US Open Series continues to serve as a true regular season of hard court tennis, linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. Fans follow the action throughout the summer during national broadcast coverage while players battle for $40 million, including a chance for bonus prize money at the US Open. The Series collectively reached a U.S. television audience of 39 million and drew more than 800,000 on-site fans in 2011. In 2012, Emirates Airline became the title sponsor of the Series, as well as the official airline of the US Open. The Emirates Airline US Open Series is also supported by sponsors American Express, Chase, Citizen Watch Company, Esurance, Evian and Gatorade.

Americans Mardy Fish and Serena Williams swept the 2011 Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s and women’s titles. In 2007, Roger Federer collected the biggest paycheck in tennis history - $2.4 million - for winning the US Open and the Emirates Airline US Open Series. In 2005, Kim Clijsters also captured both the US Open and the Series, winning $2.2 million - the largest purse in women’s sports history - and equaled that amount in 2010, winning the US Open and finishing the Emirates Airline US Open Series in second place.

 

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