US OPEN PREVIEW: Fritz may be brightest hope as #TeamSoCal arrives in NYC

It’s been a challenging year for #TeamSoCal on the global stage. ­­Only two players of the local squad appearing in next week’s US Open main draw arrived in New York with upward momentum in the world rankings. Still, this is America’s Grand Slam, and the opportunities are endless for Southern California’s best and brightest to shine on a global stage.

Both Sam Querrey (Santa Monica) and Steve Johnson (Redondo Beach) enter the tournament unseeded. Querrey jumped nearly 40 ranking spots from June to July and looked impressive in his run with World TeamTennis’ Vegas Rollers. Johnson entered last year’s event at #34 on the ATP Tour but arrives in New York this year in the low 90s, and his first round draw is the enigmatic Nick Kyrgios.

Taylor Fritz.

The lone seeded male from Southern California is Taylor Fritz (#26). But his opening round opponent, Feliciano Lopez, has put together a strong summer campaign with wins over Milos Raonic, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Gilles Simon en route to a big ATP 500 title in Britain. Lopez also owns the lone meeting between the pair, a grass court win in 2015.

Former UCLA standout and NCAA champion Marcos Giron made waves at the BNP Paribas Open in March, propelling him inside the ATP Top 200. He comes into the Open at #155 and draws up and coming Yoshihito Nishioka. The Japanese youngster will be the favorite, but Giron thrives on the hometown crowd, and New Yorkers will throw their support his way.

Coming off a win at Boys Nationals in Kalamazoo earlier this month, San Diego’s Zachary Svajda will make his US Open debut as a wild card entry. Svajda will have his work cut out for him with two time Grand Slam finalist Kevin Anderson.

In other action, Poway native Bradley Klahn looks to put the brakes on a 2019 skid when he meets Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro in the first round. Ernesto Escobedo (West Covina) faces an undetermined qualifier to open his 2019 tournament.

Coco Vandeweghe

On the women’s side, #TeamSoCal will look to Coco Vandeweghe in hopes of a rebound following time off earlier this summer. Vandeweghe returned to action with World TeamTennis, and a win over #20 seeded Sofia Kenin would be a huge boost to Vandy’s US Open hopes.

The Williams sisters return to New York this year with Venus unseeded and perennial favorite Serena seeded at #8. Serena will be the talk of the town early next week, when her first round match with Maria Sharapova takes center stage – a match that may well define either player’s chances to advance deep into the tournament.

USTA Girls Nationals champion Katie Volynets, who won the crown in San Diego just weeks ago, meets Canada’s Bianca Andreescu, the #15 seed, in her US Open debut.

Follow #TeamSoCal coverage throughout the entire tournament (including the Junior US Open) on all social channels and at southerncaliforniatennis.org.

 

Editor’s Note: Both Nicole Gibbs and Asia Muhammad continue to move the qualifying rounds. At the time of publishing, each entered a decisive third set to determine whether or not they would advance to the main draw. 

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