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Harrison, Smyczek lead US Open men's wild cards

Men's Wild Cards
By McCarton Ackerman
Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Reigning Grand Slam junior champions, NCAA champions, rising stars and seasoned veterans have all been given a chance to make their mark in the final Grand Slam of the year.

The US Open has announced the eight men who will receive wild cards into the main draw of this year’s men’s singles event. Leading the list of recipients is Ryan Harrison, who reached a career-high ranking of No. 43 in 2012 and represented the U.S. in the 2012 London Olympics. The 22-year-old has come through qualifying this year at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon, in addition to reaching the second round of four other ATP events.

He will be joined by Tim Smyczek, who will look to do even better than his third-round showing at last year’s US Open. The 26-year-old has entered the world’s Top 100 after an outstanding summer in the Emirates Airline US Open Series, where he reached the third round of the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., and qualified and reached the second round of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

Noah Rubin, the USTA Boys’ 18s National Champion, made world headlines last month by winning the Wimbledon junior title. The 18-year-old is a protégé of John McEnroe’s at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in Randall’s Island, N.Y. He will attend Wake Forest University in the fall.

Seventeen-year-old Jared Donaldson is the youngest men's wild card recipient this year. The teenager won 15 straight matches this June in capturing three consecutive Futures titles on the USTA Pro Circuit, in addition to qualifying for the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. Donaldson was the top seed at this year’s USTA Boys’ 18s National Championships, where he reached the quarterfinals, and trained with Roger Federer in Dubai last December.

This year’s NCAA singles champion, Marcos Giron of UCLA, also received a wild card into this year's main draw. The 21-year-old, who turned pro shortly after capturing the NCAA title, has excelled on the USTA Pro Circuit over the last 12 months, winning three Futures singles titles.

Rounding out the 2014 wild cards are Wayne Odesnik, the winner of this year’s 2014 USTA Pro Circuit USOpen Wild Card Challenge; Australian Bernard Tomic , a former world No. 27 and 2011 Wimbledon quarterfinalist who won the ATP event last month in Bogota, Colombia; and 34-year-old Frenchman Michael Llodra, a former world No. 21 who has won five ATP singles titles throughout his career. Tomic and Llodra  received their wild cards through reciprocal agreements the USTA holds with Tennis Australia and the French Tennis Federation.

In addition to the eight US Open men’s singles main draw wild cards, the US Open has also awarded eight wild card entries into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, which will be held Aug. 19-22 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. One additional US Open qualifying wild card will be awarded to the winner of the 2014 US Open National Playoffs – Men’s Championship, taking place Aug. 15-18 in New Haven, Conn.

Players receiving US Open qualifying wild cards are: Collin Altamirano (18, Sacramento, Calif.), the 2014 USTA Boys’ 18s runner-up and 2013 USTA Boys' 18s champion; Ernesto Escobedo (18, West Covina, Calif.), who reached the quarterfinals or better at four straight ITF Pro Circuit events this summer; Mitchell Frank (21, Annandale, Va.), a top college singles player at the University of Virginia who has won 14 of his last 15 pro matches, capturing two USTA Pro Circuit Futures titles in the last month; 2014 Wimbledon junior semifinalist Taylor Fritz (17, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.); 2014 Wimbledon and Australian Open junior finalist Stefan Kozlov (16, Pembroke Pines, Fla.); Mackenzie McDonald (19, Piedmont, Calif.), a 2014 NCAA singles quarterfinalist as a freshman at UCLA; 2014 Easter Bowl champion and former world No. 2 junior Francis Tiafoe (16, College Park, Md.); and France’s Mathias Bourgue, 20, who received his wild card through a reciprocal agreement with the French Tennis Federation.