It’s that time of year again, when American tennis takes the stage in Flushing Meadows at the US Open, this year celebrating its 50th anniversary. This week, #SoCalTennis hopefuls kick off the final Grand Slam of 2018 with the start of qualifying rounds.
The top local name in this year’s draws is Santa Monica’s Nicole Gibbs, seeded #10. The 25-year old currently ranks just outside the Top 100 on the WTA Tour, but a strong showing in New York could boost her closer to that century mark. Gibbs faces Croatia’s Tereza Mrdeza in the opening round, their first career meeting.
Danielle Lao, the USC Trojan from Arcadia, sits at #236 on the WTA Tour. She will face Poland’s Magdalena Frech (WTA #119), while Santa Barbara’s Kayla Day – fresh off a finals appearance at the Girls Nationals in San Diego – meets fellow American Jessica Pegula.
On the Men’s side, West Covina’s Ernesto Escobedo opened the 2018 campaign with momentum, reaching as high as ATP #114 after peaking at #67 last summer. But the season has taken its toll on the 22-year old, who has fallen below the Top 200 in recent weeks. He looks to cap his Grand Slam season with a run at the Open, still with a formidable task ahead – the top seeded qualifier, Josef Kovalik of Slovakia – in the opening round.
Yorba Linda’s JC Aragone is ranked #257 on the world tour, a career milestone for the 23-year old. The champion at Calabasas this year, Aragone is coming off a quarterfinal appearance in Vancouver. He meets the experienced Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker to open the qualifier.
#TeamSoCal’s top junior prospect, San Diego’s 17-year old Brandon Nakashima, meets Croatia’s Ante Pavic for the first time in round one. Martin Redlicki, the UCLA grad fresh off leading the Bruins deep into the NCAA Championships, draws Evgeny Karlovskiy of Russia (ATP #220). Redlicki, who turns 23 later this week, looks to celebrate in Grand Slam fashion with some success at Flushing Meadows.
The main draw brackets will be announced on Friday.
Follow the results from #USOpen50 at USOPEN.ORG.