A Story from the U.S.Open National Qulaifier

By Ray Krueger

Ray Krueger is the deputy managing editor of the New York Times NewsService, the wire service of the New York Times, and has written about tennis and mixed martial arts both for the paper and its website. He is also one of the founding writer/editors of the Times’ tennis blog, Straight Sets.  These articles appeared in the Straight Sets blog and are about his playing in the U.S. Open National Qualifyer.

June 11, 2012, 7:32 PM

In U.S. Open Playoffs, a Mystery on the Other Side of the Net

Anyone 14 or older who is a member of the U.S.T.A. can compete in the national playoffs, including top college players, juniors and low-level touring pros looking to qualify for the United States Open.  It is possible to run into a Brian Baker, who was playing in local tournamentsin Tennessee last year before making his return to the ATP Tour andreaching the second round of the French Open.

When the draw came out, I saw I was playing Vincent Sun of Charlottesville, Va. My stress level rose. Charlottesville is the home of the University of Virginia, the 2011 and 2012 runners-up in the N.C.A.A. men’s tennis championships.  Read about his match with Vincent Sun – HERE

Battling a Big Hitter and an Age Gap in the U.S. Open Playoffs

The men’s and women’s singles champions of a tournament made up of the winners of 13 sectional events make it into the U.S. Open qualifying tournament. The winners in mixed doubles make it into the main draw of the U.S. Open.  I played against Prasanna Fernando of Wood Ridge, N.J., who also won his first round match, 6-0, 6-0.

He was tall, lean and hit the ball hard. I am short, less lean and like to grind out three-hour matches in 90-degree heat on clay.

I practice against a lot of big hitters so I was not intimidated, even though he was ranked 11th in the East in the men’s open division in 2011. I finished the year fifth in the East in the 45-and-over group. My goal was to see if I could find a weakness.  To find out more about this match – CLICK HERE


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