2005 MEN'S & WOMEN'S
USTA NATIONAL OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
USTA National Tennis Center
Flushing Meadow, New York - December 27-30, 2005
Tuesday, December 27th-Day One
The Men's and Women's National Open Championships at the USTA National Tennis Center is one of my favorite tournaments. With over 200 players from age 14 to 40 there is a unique mixture of juniors, college players and professionals adding up to a lot of excitement.
Despite the temporary "bubbled" courts due to construction, there was great seating for spectators to view the matches. I've got a long two weeks of tournament coverage ahead of me so I know I have to pace myself -- just a few matches a day complete coverage of the finals before I pack for Tucson. Today I decided to check out the men's draw for some college and junior players.
Juniors Brian Wee and Alex Aksanov kept up the long ralleys through three and a half hours. I caught the last hour as the points, the games and the sets were all too close to call. Just when it appeared that Brian had the edge in a third set tiebreaker, Alex came back to take the match, 6-7(4),7-5,7-6(8).
Seeding in a tournament like this is very difficult when you have players from all different divisions, but tournament directors Bill Mountford and Greg Bolintsky did a pretty accurate job. In the men's singles draw there were no real upsets, with only two top 16 players not advancing in a 256 draw. The second-seeded Eric Scharf, a two-time finalist at this event, withdrew.
The women's singles got a late evening start and I plan to check out the college and junior players in that draw tomorrow. Stacia Fonseca, who has picked up three titles at this tournament in the last two years, withdrew, leaving the draw open for the No. 2 seed -- Orange Bowl finalist Gail Brodsky. The women's draw is much smaller so many didn't have to play today.
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