2013 US OPEN NATIONAL PLAYOFFS UPDATE
Southern, Mid-Atlantic Sectional Qualifying Tournaments finish with eight players advancing to the US Open National Playoffs
The USTA Southern and USTA Mid-Atlantic Sectional Qualifying Tournaments were completed in the past week, advancing eight additional players to the 2013 US Open National Playoffs – Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles Championships in August.
In the USTA Southern tournament in Sandy Springs, Ga., held at the Sandy Springs Tennis Center, Elliott Orkin, 18, of Marietta, Ga., cruised past Trevor Gotkowski, 18, of Cartersville, Ga., 6-1, 6-0. Orkin has signed a national letter of intent to play at the University of Florida this fall. He will be competing in the USTA Boys’ 18s National Championships later this summer.
Longtime friends Allison Miller, 17, of Norcross, Ga., and Laura Patterson, 17, of Roswell, Ga., faced off in the women’s final, with Miller grinding out a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, victory. Miller will be a high school senior this fall and recently committed to the University of Notre Dame.
In the mixed doubles final, Danie van den Heever, 30, of Cumming, Ga., and Whitney McCray, 27, of Houston, defeated Georgia Tech players Nathan Rakitt and Kendal Woodard, 7-6(4), 6-1. Van den Heever is a teaching pro and director of tennis in Georgia. He grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he was a top junior, and played for Georgia Southern University. Van Den Heever obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology from GSU. McCray played for Georgia Tech, where she earned All-America honors in doubles in 2007 and finished her career ranked second in school history with a .697 winning percentage in doubles.
In the USTA Mid-Atlantic tournament in College Park, Md., at the Tennis Center at College Park, Matt Brooklyn, 25, and Stephanie Wetmore, 25, of Washington, D.C., won the mixed doubles title yesterday, defeating the Annapolis, Md., duo of former professional player Andrew Carlson and his student Olivia Gaudreault, 6-3, 6-1. Brooklyn and Wetmore, who are originally from Great Britain and Canada, respectively, are a couple off the court, having met at UCLA in 2008, where they played tennis. For the past two years, Brooklyn has worked as the assistant tennis coach for Georgetown University, while Wetmore served as their volunteer assistant coach. Brooklyn won the 2012 US Open National Playoffs USTA Mid-Atlantic men’s singles title. Wetmore was part of UCLA’s NCAA title-winning team in 2008.
The mixed doubles title was redemption for Brooklyn, who was unable to defend his men’s singles title, losing to Patrick Daciek, 6-4, 6-3. Daciek, 23, Severna Park, Md., played for Virginia Tech and won the 2008 National Collegiate Clay Court Championships. Like Brooklyn, Daciek will be making his second trip to the US Open National Playoffs. In 2011, Daciek partnered with current UCLA standout Skylar Morton to win USTA Mid-Atlantic’s mixed doubles tournament.
In the women’s final, defending champion Nika Kukharchuk, 26, of Carmel, N.Y., defeated 14-year-old Raveena Kingsley, of Fulton, Md., 6-2, 6-3. Kukharchuk is ranked No. 456 in the world and hails from Kaliningrad, Russia. She currently works as a teaching pro at Hardscrabble Club in Brewster, N.Y., was a four-year letter winner for the University of Mississippi, and ascended as high as No. 3 in the Russian junior rankings. Off the court, she received a bachelor’s degree in finance at age 20 and earned her MBA at 21. Both of her parents are music teachers.
The winners or top available finishers from each of the 13 sectional qualifying tournaments held throughout the spring and summer advance to the US Open National Playoffs – Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles Championships, to be held during the New Haven Open at Yale, an Emirates Airline US Open Series women’s event, in August. The US Open National Playoffs mixed doubles champions receive a main draw wild card into the 2013 US Open, while the men’s and women’s singles champions earn a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament held the week prior to the US Open.
• The USTA Eastern Sectional Qualifying Tournament in Flushing, N.Y., takes place June 9-15, at the USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center—the home of the US Open.
TV actor Sendhil Ramamurthy, who was scheduled to compete in men’s singles and mixed doubles in Flushing, was forced to withdraw due to pneumonia. Ramamurthy, 39, who was a competitive junior tennis player in Texas, is best known for his role on “Heroes.” He recently appeared in “The Office” finale and is currently acting on the CW’s “Beauty and the Beast.”