Jessica Failla, the top seed in the women’s draw of the USTA National Open Hard Court Championships, will play her opening match at 9 a.m. (PDT) on Thursday at the Balboa Tennis Club. The 18-year-old Failla received a first-round bye and will face unseeded Brooke Biddle of Dallas in a second-round match.
Failla, a resident of Ramona, Calif., captured the San Diego Section CIF singles title in 2013 and recently completed her freshman year at the University of Southern California. The 18-year-old posted a 23-13 record in singles and finished at 20-5 in doubles for the Trojans.
In men’s singles action earlier today, top seed and defending men’s singles champion Emmanuel Mensah of Imperial Beach, Calif., overcame a strong challenge against unseeded Ryan Kreis of Hoffman Estates, Ill., but advanced to the fourth-round with a 6-4, 6-3 victory. Mensah will take on ninth-seeded Jared Thompkins on Thursday.
“I had to play a close one today. The competition is getting tougher. I tried to play a little aggressive, but he (Kreis) was just solid. I took a step back and relaxed and everything started flowing,” Mensah said. “I’m taking it match by match and having fun. Winning the title again would be a very good accomplishment.”
The 27-year-old Mensah is a tennis teaching professional who played Davis Cup for Ghana from 2006 to 2013 and represented his native country in 25 Davis Cup matches in his career. He is ranked No. 6 in Southern California in the men’s singles Open Division according to the latest USTA rankings.
In other third-round action, second-seeded Nicholas Kamisar of Sammamish, Wash., easily advanced to the fourth round as he swept past unseeded Srikar Kuchibhotla of Mason, Ohio, 6-0, 6-0. The 24-year-old Kamisar, who played collegiate tennis for the University of Washington, will go up against ninth-seeded Derek Miller of San Diego on Thursday.
Third-seeded Jacob Brumm of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., also moved into the fourth-round with a 6-0, 7-6 (3) victory over unseeded Ignacio Martinez of Weston, Fla. Brumm, who reached last year’s singles final, will play ninth-seeded Xavier Smith of Chula Vista, Calif., in his next match.
For a complete list of seeded players and updated men’s and women’s singles draws, go to:http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=162217
Matches will begin each day at 9 a.m. (PDT) from Thursday, June 2 through Saturday, June 4. The men’s and women’s singles finals are slated for noon on Sunday, June 5. Admission for spectators is free and open to the public. On-site parking is free.
The winners of each division of the USTA National Open Hard Court Championships will be awarded a USTA gold ball, while the runner-up will be awarded a USTA silver ball. There will also be a 3rd/4th place playoff for the USTA bronze ball. Prize money will be distributed to both finalists as well as third and fourth place finishers in each division.
The men’s singles champion will receive a wild card into the qualifying draw for this year’s USTA Men’s $10K Pro Futures tournament in Laguna Niguel, Calif., while the women’s singles champion will earn a qualifying wild card for next year’s $25,000 Morgan Run Women’s Open at Morgan Run Club & Resort in Rancho Santa Fe.
The USTA National Open Hard Court Championships, which was voted, “2011 Tournament of the Year” by the San Diego District Tennis Association, has had several distinguished participants in past events. Current American men’s tennis star Jack Sock, who is currently No. 25 in the ATP World Tour singles rankings (as of 5/23/16), won the tournament singles title in 2010. Coco Vandeweghe, a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon last year, earned a USTA bronze ball at the 2007 Hard Court Championships. Former WTA touring professionals Gretchen Rush and Ros Nideffer won the Women’s Open Doubles title seven times and Alison Bradshaw won the singles title in 2007.
NOTE: Copy provided by tournament press aide Fred Sidhu.