Crawford wins challenge, earns US Open wild card

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09: Samantha Crawford of the United States returns a shot during the junior girls' singles final against Anett Kontaveit of Estonia on Day Fourteen of the 2012 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 9, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood, of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA)
August 3, 2015 01:21 PM

By E.J. Crawford,

In 2012, Samantha Crawford rode a big serve and booming ground strokes to the US Open girls’ singles title as an unseeded player.

This year, she hopes to make her noise in the women’s singles main draw.

Crawford earned a wild card into the 2015 US Open by winning the US Open Wild Card Challenge, a three-week, hard-court event played out on the USTA Pro Circuit. The 20-year-old from Tamarac, Fla., finished the challenge with 49 points after reaching the final of the $50,000 Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships in Lexington, Ky., this past weekend. She also competed in the two other tournaments that comprise the women’s challenge – the $50,000 events in Stockton, Calif., and Sacramento, Calif., held the preceding two weeks.

Brooke Austin and Sanaz Marand finished second in the challenge, each with 30 points. Click here to see the full results.

In addition to competing in the US Open singles main draw in 2012, Crawford (pictured above) has played in the women’s doubles draw on three occasions – in 2011, 2012 and 2014. She rose as high as No. 5 in the world junior rankings in 2012 and has enjoyed success since embarking on a pro career, winning five USTA Pro Circuit doubles titles and advancing to three singles finals in 2015 alone. She is currently ranked No. 223 in the world in singles. 

The Wild Card Challenge awards US Open main draw wild cards to the American man and one American woman who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA ranking points in a series of USTA Pro Circuit hard-court events this summer. The men’s events are the $50,000 Challengers in Binghamton, N.Y., and Lexington, Ky., as well as the $100,000 Challenger in Aptos, Calif. The women’s tournaments are the $50,000 events in Stockton, Sacramento and Lexington. Only players who have not earned direct acceptance into the US Open are eligible for the wild card.

Bjorn Fratangelo currently has a commanding lead in the men’s challenge, which will wrap up this week in Aptos.

Past US Open Wild Card Challenge winners include Steve Johnson and Mallory Burdette, both of whom reached the third round of the US Open in 2012; Bradley Klahn, who advanced to the second round in 2013; and Nicole Gibbs, who last year reached the third round.

The 2015 US Open main draw will be held Monday, Aug. 31, to Sunday, Sept. 13.



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