Cincinnati, Aug 9 : Women’s main draw wild cards for 2019 Western & Southern Open which will be held during August 10-18 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio, have been awarded to Svetlana Kuznetsova, Alison Riske and Bernarda Pera.
Men’s main draw wild cards will go to Andy Murray, Sam Querrey, Reilly Opelka and Juan Ignacio Londero.
In qualifying, women’s wild cards have been awarded to Kristie Ahn, CoCo Vandeweghe, Shelby Rogers and Destanee Aiava, while the men’s qualifying wild card recipients are Cincinnati’s JJ Wolf and John McNally as well as Sebastian Korda and Jack Sock.
Kuznetsova, a two-time Major champion, has been awarded the wild card that had previously been designated for Venus Williams. The withdrawal of Cici Bellis allowed Williams directly into the main draw. Kuznetsova has won 18 career titles, including the 2004 US Open and 2009 French Open. She is 10-8 in her career at the W&S Open, with quarterfinal showings in 2016 and 2017, both of which ended in defeat by the eventual champion.
Riske joins the field less than a month after reaching the Wimbledon quarterfinals. That run concluded a 14-2 grass court season. This year she has claimed the title in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and reached the final in Shenzhen. Just 10 days after playing in the Wimbledon quarterfinal, Riske got married in her hometown of Pittsburgh. She will be playing in Cincinnati for the eighth time.
Pera, a 24-year-old American, has reached three semifinals this season, including at back-to-back tournaments in in July, at Lausanne and Jurmala. In 2018, she reached the Australian Open third round and Charleston quarterfinals before reaching the Guangzhou semifinals in September. She will be making her W&S Open main draw debut after falling in qualifying last year.
Main draw wild cards had been previously announced for former W&S Open winner Maria Sharapova and Cincinnati native Caty McNally.
Murray is a two-time Western & Southern Open champion, having won the title in 2008 and 2011. He will be making his first singles appearance since undergoing hip resurfacing surgery following the Australian Open in January. In June, he returned action by playing doubles, and promptly won the title at London’s Queen’s Club with Feliciano Lopez in his first event. A three-time Major champion, the former No. 1 has won 45 titles in his career. The Scotland-born Murray was knighted in May.
Querrey has won 11 of his last 14 matches this season, having reached the semifinals in Houston, final at Eastbourne and quarterfinals at Wimbledon. It was the third time in four years he has reached the final eight at Wimbledon. A 10-time title winner on tour, Querrey will be making his 13th appearance in Cincinnati, with his best W&S Open result being a run to the quarterfinals in 2007.
Opelka reached a career high ranking after reaching the semifinals at the US Open Series event in Atlanta. In February, the 21-year-old claimed his first career title at the New York Open. As a junior, he claimed the 2015 Wimbledon boys’ title. He will be making his second main draw appearance at the W&S Open, having previously reached the second round in 2016.
Londero has reached two ATP finals this season, winning his first career title at Cordoba in February then finishing as runner-up in Bastad last month. The 25-year-old Argentine had not won an ATP match before winning five straight to claim that Cordoba title. He will be playing in Cincinnati for the first time.
In 2018, the Western & Southern Open attracted more than 194,000 spectators. The reigning singles champions are ATP No. 1 Novak Djokovic and WTA No. 5 Kiki Bertens. In addition to world class tennis, the W&S Open features more than 25 musical acts, 16 food vendors, six signature bar areas and a retail plaza for patrons to enjoy between matches.
The Western & Southern Open, a WTA Premier 5 and ATP Masters 1000 tournament, is part of the US Open Series. Started in 1899, the tournament annually supports a number of Cincinnati area charities.(UNI)