UCLA, USC alums highlight early play at the W&S Open

Darryl Nash / USTASoCal

Fri 21st, Aug, 2020

Main draw action is underway in New York as the relocated Western & Southern Open, a US Open Series event, kicks off four unique weeks of tennis on the east coast. As players from across the world descend on the Big Apple, all will settle into their very own big bubble while tennis fans yearning for pro sports watch from afar.

Novak Djokovic and Karolina Pliskova are the top seeds as play begins, with a collection of #TeamSoCal favorites in the hunt to capture the penultimate title ahead of the US Open.

On the Men’s side, Taylor Fritz meets Lloyd Harris of South Africa in the first round while Sam Querrey has his hands full with Canada’s Milos Raonic. But the most intriguing first round combination will be the meeting of two qualifiers with strikingly similar backgrounds. Mackenzie McDonald and Marcos Giron, both former NCAA champions under Billy Martin at UCLA, emerged from the tournament qualifier to reach the main draw. But as lady luck would have it, the two Bruins will face off for a shot at the W&S title. Giron enters as the #102 player in the world, having never played his college compatriot on the pro tour. McDonald comes in at #271 on the ATP Tour.

The winner of Giron/McDonald meets Russia's Daniil Medvedev in the second round.

UCLA alum Jennifer Brady is coming off her first WTA title at Lexington, and to move deep into the W&S Women’s draw she’ll need to overcome a plethora of familiar faces. Jessica Pegula represents Brady’s opening challenge, with names like Alison Riske, Amanda Anisimova, and CiCi Bellis in the surrounding draw.

Venus Williams meets the accomplished Ukranian Dayana Yastremska in Round One, while sister Serena enjoys a first-round bye with the potential for a third round meeting with young American upstart Coco Gauff.

In doubles, familiar faces include Asia Muhammad (Long Beach), plus Desirae Krawczyk (Palm Desert), USC alums Sabrina Santamaria (Los Angeles) and Kailtyn Christian (Orange), and former UCLA standout Ena Shibahara (Mountain View).

Brandon Nakashima (San Diego) and defending US Open doubles champion Robert Farah (USC) are among the competitors in Men’s doubles action.