2011 US Open National Playoffs Southwest Qualifying Tournament
April 14-15, 2011
Scottsdale Ranch Park - Scottsdale, Ariz.
Videos - Logan Hall | Kosakowskis | Sam Harrison
The quest for a shot at a potential Grand Slam appearance was on the line, April 14-15, as the US Open National Playoff Southwest Qualifying Tournament took place at Scottsdale Ranch Park.
The tournament, which brings the US Open to the local level, drew several competitors, many local and others from across the nation.
Players played matches over two days, competing in men’s singles, women’s singles and mixed doubles, hoping for the automatic bids that came with winning the men's and women's singles as well as mixed doubles titles.
When the smoke cleared, three new champions were crowned - Bojan Temunovic (pictured, above) in men's singles, Sylvia Kosakowski in women's singles and Sam Harrison and Nicole Melichar in mixed doubles.
Temunovic, a USTA Pro Circuit player and former USTA Southwest junior player who lives in Scottsdale, rolled through his three matches without the loss of a set, including back-to-back victories on Friday, taking out University of Arizona's Geoff Embry in the semiifinals 6-4, 6-2, then following it up with a final-round dispatching of Southwest junior player Jason Jaruvang in the final, 6-3, 6-2.
"I haven't played much this year, but I really wanted to give this tournament a try," said the 22-year-old Temunovic. "It's hard to come out here against good players and try to get back in shape, but I felt like my level was good today even if my fitness wasn't. I'm really excited about winning this tournament."
Kosakowski (right) also plowed through the competition, not dropping a set in any of her three singles matches. On Friday, the former Pepperdine University star from California got off to a hot start against Southwest junior Stephanie Vlad (Scottsdale) in the semifinals. She kept it on lock for a 6-4, 6-4 decision.
In the final, Kosakowski squared off against Kellie Schmitt, a coach at Topnotch Tennis Academy in Phoenix, and a former college star at Marshall. The two battled for two hours, but Kosakowski was up to the task with a 7-5, 7-5 win to claim the title. Like Temunovic, Kosakowski's court time hasn't exactly been of the playing sorts the last few weeks, even though she is a coach at Cerrritos Tennis Academy in the Los Angeles area.
"I've pretty much been feeding balls to juniors the last few months, so playing actual matches again took a little while to get used to," said Kosakowski.
In the mixed division, the teenage duo of Sam Harrison and Nicole Melichar won the title, defeating Jesse Ponwith and Jamie Buterbaugh in the final 6-3, 6-4 (all four finalists pictured below - champion on left, finalists on right).
Harrison, an 18-year-old London transplant who's been training in Phoenix the last couple of months, ahd Melichar, a 17-year-old who trains at the Nick Blackwood Tennis Academy, were excited at their new pairing.
"We haven't played much together, but we did seem to play really well when it mattered most," said Harrison of the pair's first ever matches. "We will practice a lot more and hopefully be ready for the next step."
That next step for all winners of the tournament is the US Open National Playoff tournament, featuring the champions from the other 16 USTA Sections besides USTA Southwest. The men's and women's singles tournament will take place August 18-21 in New Haven, Conn. running concurrently with the New Haven Open, a US Open series event for both the men and women.
Mixed doubles winners will play August 24-27, also in New Haven, Conn.
A special thanks goes out to event sponsors All About Tennis, Active Forever and Discount Tire. Another thanks goes out to Scottsdale Ranch Park and their staff, as well as to tournament director Sally Grabham.
The USTA Southwest tournament, was the first one out of the blocks this year for the USTA., along with the USTA Eastern tournament in New York City, which was also being held this weekend.
Good luck to our new champions in New Haven!
About The US Open National Playoff
The US Open National Playoffs is the gateway to the US Open for anyone and everyone 14 and over.
The US Open National Playoffs operate as a series of sectional qualifying tournaments, held in 16 sections throughout the country. The 16 men’s, 16 women’s and 16 mixed doubles champions from each sectional qualifying tournament will advance to the US Open National Playoffs – Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles Championships, held in conjunction with the 2011 Olympus US Open Series.
The winners of the men’s and women’s championships will receive a wild card into the 2011 US Open Qualifying Tournament, held the week prior to the US Open. The mixed doubles champion will receive a wild card into the main draw of the mixed doubles event at the 2011 US Open.
The sectional qualifying tournaments will be played throughout the spring and summer, are open to all players 14 and over—regardless of playing ability of prior experience—provided the competing player is a USTA member. The draw for the sectional qualifying tournament will be capped at 256 players for singles and 128 teams for mixed doubles. A USTA member may play in any sectional qualifying tournament—competitors are not required to play in their section exclusively—but can only compete in one sectional qualifier.
Click here for complete information on the 2011 US Open National Playoffs.