Lauren Davis is awarded a Wild Card in the 2014 W&S Open.
© Eric M. Spohn
Cleveland native Lauren Davis, who was an Ohio state high school champion in 2008, has been awarded a main draw wild card for the Western & Southern Open along with New Jersey's Christina McHale and Belinda Bencic of Switzerland.
The trio earns direct entry into the 56-player field for the tournament that will be held Aug. 9-17 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
"We are thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity to Lauren, Christina and Belinda," said tournament director Vince Cicero. "All three of these players are rising through the ranks and we are happy to add these young, talented players to our already very strong field."
Davis, a 20-year-old who was born in the Cleveland-suburb of Gates Mills, Ohio, comes into the Western & Southern Open at her career high ranking. This season, Davis has reached the quarterfinals at a pair of WTA events while also posting her career-best Grand Slam results by reaching the third round at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon. In 2008, Davis won the Ohio High School Division II singles title while playing at Gilmour Academy.
McHale, a 22-year-old from New Jersey, will be making her fourth appearance at the Western & Southern Open. Earlier this season she reached her first career final at the WTA event in Acapulco. She also reached the semifinals in Strasbourg this spring. One of the biggest victories of her career came in Cincinnati in 2011 when she upset World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki.
Bencic, a Swiss 17-year-old, finished 2013 as the No. 1 ranked junior player in the world after winning the junior title at both the French Open and Wimbledon. As a pro in 2014, she has improved her ranking to a career high No. 60, thanks in part to her first-ever WTA semifinal at Charleston as a qualifier. Bencic, who is coached by Melanie Molitor (mother of Martina Hingis), also reached the third round of Wimbledon this season.
Twelve more players will be added to the field through the two-round qualifying tournament that will be held this coming Saturday and Sunday.