US teens earn Australian Open wildcards
Originally published on: 21/12/10 11:49
Rising American teenagers Ryan Harrison and Lauren Davis have both earned wildcards for next month’s Australian Open, which kicks off on January 17.
Harrison and Davis won the respective men’s and women’s wildcard play-offs in Georgia, securing their entry into the first Grand Slam of the year as a result – thanks to the reciprocal arrangement between Tennis Australia and the USTA.
Harrison, who made the semi-finals of the Australian Open juniors in 2008, has had a promising year in 2010. The Louisiana-born 18-year-old fought through qualifying before upsetting world No.17 Ivan Ljubicic in the first round of the US Open before taking 36th-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky to five sets in round two.
His steady rise has drawn praise from his peers, including compatriot Andy Roddick, who believes the youngster’s attitude has been significant in helping him to a career-high No.170 in the world earlier this year.
“My favourite thing about Ryan is he works,” said Roddick in March. “He already goes about his business as a professional.”
Fellow American Davis, 17, earned her wildcard into the women’s draw after winning all three of her play-off matches without dropping a set, including a comprehensive 6-2 6-2 defeat of 19-year-old Coco Vandeweghe in the final.
Davis’ win over Vandeweghe – who made the quarter-finals of two WTA Tour events this year in San Diego and Tokyo – was her 27th consecutive match win, having recently won two ITF Futures tournaments, the Junior Orange Bowl and the prestigious Eddie Herr Junior Championships.
Virginie Razzano and Benoit Paire have also benefited from a reciprocal agreement between their national governing body – the French Tennis Federation – and Tennis Australia.
Razzano came through qualifying to confirm her place in the main draw in Melbourne for the 11th time following an injury-interrupted 2010 season, while 21-year-old Paire – who ranks at No.152 on the ATP Tour – is set to make his Australian Open debut four months after qualifying for the US Open.