Qualifying Tournament Begins Saturday

Can young Mackenzie McDonald qualify for the main draw for the second year in a row?
American Melanie Oudin will compete in qualifying for a spot in the main draw.
Bernard Tomic will be back at the W&S Open qualifying.

With the 2014 Western & Southern Open kicking off tomorrow at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, more than 70 players take the court in the hopes of advancing past the two round qualifying tournament.

On the men’s side, 28 players will compete for seven spots in the ATP main draw. The qualifying draw is highlighted by up-and-comers like 2014 Wimbledon semifinalist Nick Kyrgios and fellow Aussie Bernard Tomic, as well as three Ohio State University alumni.

Kyrgios makes his way to Cincinnati for the first time, coming off his incredible run in London where he defeated then World No.1 Rafael Nadal. The 19-year-old is joined by fellow countryman Tomic, a two-time title winner, who is coming off a big win in Bogota just a month ago.

The 2014 qualifying draw also boasts three former Ohio State players, including 2013 NCAA champion Blaz Rola. Rola is competing in the qualifying draw for the second year in a row and is joined by his college doubles partner, Chase Buchanan. The two won the NCAA Doubles Title in 2012 together. Devin McCarthy, who finished his college career at Ohio State in 2013 with a 22-match win streak, also joins the W&S Open qualifying field for the first time thanks to a wild card.

19-year-old Mackenzie McDonald will compete in qualifying for the second year in a row, after making his ATP World Tour debut at the 2013 Western & Southern Open as the first unranked teenager to successfully qualify for ATP World Tour Masters 1000 even since 1995. McDonald, who begins his sophomore year at UCLA in the fall, is an amateur and cannot accept prize money. Last year, he asked the W&S Open to donate his prize money from qualifying to the tournament’s charity partner, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

On the women’s side, 48 players take the court for only 12 spots in the WTA main draw. The field is highlighted by seven American women, including Alison Riske, Taylor Townsend, and Shelby Rogers, as well as 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone.

Coming off third round appearances at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon, 24-year-old Riske makes her third trip to Cincinnati, in the hopes of qualifying for the main draw for the first time. She takes on fellow American and former junior World No.1 Townsend. She enters the W&S Open at a career high ranking after reaching the third round in her Grand Slam debut at the French Open.

21-year-old Rogers, who reached her first career WTA final in July in Bad Gastien, comes to Cincinnati off a huge win against World No.8 Genie Bouchard in Montreal. She is joined by Cincinnati-native Nicole Gibbs, a two-time NCAA singles champion, who has already secured a main draw wild card into the US Open with her summer success at ITF events.

Qualifying kicks off Saturday at the Lindner Family Tennis Center at 10 am, with tickets starting at just $10. For full ATP and WTA qualifying draw visit www.cincytennis.com.