2013 US Open Preview – College Players in Singles Main Draw

2013 US Open Preview – College Players in Singles Main Draw

College Players at 2013 US Open

A formidable group of former college tennis stars will try to make some noise in singles action at this year’s US Open. Main draw action kicks off on Monday, August 26th.

Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of the action at Flushing Meadows.

WOMEN: 
Nicole Gibbs (Stanford) – USA
The recent Stanford standout of Santa Monica, CA, was handed a main draw wild card, and will face Italian Flavia Pennetta in the first round. Pennetta, a three-time US Open quarterfinalist and former top 10 player, is currently ranked 86. Gibbs won her second straight NCAA singles title last spring before turning pro this summer and was honored last weekend as a member of the ITA All-Star team. She’s currently ranked 171 on the WTA Tour. 

Mallory Burdette (Stanford) – USA
Gibbs’ former doubles partner also drew a tough opener at the US Open in former US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. The Russian 29th seed is a two-time champion but has been struggling with an abdominal injury since her run to the quarterfinals of the French Open.  Burdette, from Jackson, GA, is currently ranked No. 97 on the WTA Tour and is looking to improve on her third round finish in the 2012 US Open.

Maria Sanchez (USC) – USA
Sanchez was also given a main draw wild card, and the USC grad from Modesto, CA, faces former top 5 player Daniela Hantuchova in round one. The Slovakian is ranked #46 but hasn’t had a singles win at the US Open since 2010. Sanchez was a three-time All-American in singles and double and was the ITA Senior Player of the year in 2012. Sanchez is currently ranked No. 113 on the WTA Tour.

MEN:
Kevin Anderson (Illinois) [17] – RSA
Anderson matches up against Daniel Brands in the first round. The South African has never played Brands, who has a 19-17 record in 2013. Anderson advanced to the Round of 16 in the first two Grand Slams of the calendar year, and then made the third round at Wimbledon before falling to former finalist Tomas Berdych. At Illinois, Anderson won the 2006 NCAA Doubles Championship.

Benjamin Becker (Baylor) – GER
Becker will begin his tournament with a match against Lukas Rosol, who he holds a 2-0 record against, with both wins coming this year. The former Baylor Bear reached a career-high ranking of No. 38 in 2007, and is currently ranked No. 88. He was a three-time All-American at Baylor, leading the Bears to its first NCAA Team Championship and capturing the NCAA Singles Title. Becker is best known for defeating Andre Agassi in his final professional match in the third round of the 2006 US Open before falling to Andy Roddick in the Round of 16.

James Blake (Harvard) – USA
Blake will face a qualifier in the first round, having been given a wild card into the main draw. The former Top 5 player from Harvard recorded his signature win of the season in Cincinnati, knocking off 14th-ranked Jerzy Janowicz, who was fresh off a run to the semifinals of Wimbledon. Blake previously reached the quarterfinals of the US Open in back-to-back seasons (2005-06).

John Isner (Georgia) [13] – USA
Isner is the highest-seeded former collegiate player in the men’s singles draw, and will take on Filippo Volandri in the opening round. Isner turned in an incredible summer, with a title in Atlanta and runner-up finishes in Washington, DC and Cincinnati. The former Bulldog is in the same quarter as Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Isner has never played Volandri, who is making his first Grand Slam main draw appearance since exiting in the first round of the Australian Open in January.

Steve Johnson (USC) – USA 
Johnson will play Tobias Kamke in the first round at Flushing Meadows. Johnson has never faced Kamke, who is 13-18 this season. The former Trojan has suffered heartbreaking five-set losses in each of the Grand Slams this season. Johnson, a two-time NCAA Singles Champion, advanced to the third round of the US Open last season, upsetting both Rajeev Ram and Ernests Gulbis. 

Bradley Klahn (Stanford) – USA
Klahn will match up with Kenny De Schepper in the opening round. Klahn has never played De Schepper, who is 5-10 thus far this year. The Stanford graduate and 2010 NCAA Singles Champion has reached the finals in three of his last five events at the Challenger level, taking home the title in Aptos, CA.  At last year’s US Open, Klahn upset No. 36 Jurgen Melzer in the first round.

Rajeev Ram (Illinois) – USA
Ram faces 16th-seeded Fabio Fognini in the first round. Ram is the highest ranked American who did not receive direct entry into the US Open at the entry deadline, but was awarded a wild card. He owns one singles title (Newport, 2009) and seven doubles titles on the ATP World Tour and has been ranked as high as No. 78 in singles. His first-round opponent won two straight singles titles earlier this summer, but has lost his last two matches. 

Michael Russell (Miami) – USA
Russell has the toughest first round opponent in eighth-seeded Richard Gasquet, who he has never faced. Russell, the 1997 USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Singles Champion and NCAA Rookie of the Year, has been ranked as high as No. 60 in the world, and currently sits at No. 92. The former Miami Hurricane reached the semifinals in Newport and the quarterfinals in Memphis this season.

Rhyne Williams (Tennessee) – USA
Williams will take the court in round one against Nikolay Davydenko, who he has never played. The recent graduate won the 2010 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Singles Championship, becoming the first Tennessee player to triumph since Paul Annacone in 1984. Williams won a Challenger event in Dallas, defeating Rajeev Ram, Frank Dancevic and former US Open semifinalist Robby Ginepri in the process.

Somdev Devvarman (Virginia) – IND
Devvarman made his way through qualifying to earn a spot in the main draw, where he’ll face Lukas Lacko in the first round. The former Cavalier has never played Lacko, but he’s coming off a strong showing in Washington, DC. He ousted Rhyne Williams and Alexandr Dolgopolov before losing a tight two-set match to John Isner in the third round. The two-time NCAA Singles Champion is in Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych’s quarter.

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