Flushing, N.Y. - While many of her classmates will spend the next week preparing to start their college careers, women’s tennis incoming freshman Kelly Chen will try to book her place in one of the biggest tournaments in tennis, the US Open. Chen will play in the US Open Qualifying tournament starting tomorrow with a chance to reach the main draw.
Chen will open the tournament against top seeded Su-Wei Hseih. The pair will be the second match on Court 13 with matches beginning at 11 am.
“To prepare for this week, I have been playing with the other pros that are playing in the qualifying tournament,” said Chen. “I have learned a lot about having to play with more assertiveness, especially at this level.”
Chen is one of 128 players who will take part in the qualifying tournament with the top 16 players advancing to the first round of the US Open. The US Open Qualifying Tournament typically includes players ranked between 105 and 250 in the world. In addition, the USTA awards qualifying wild cards to nine women. Chen earned one of these nine wild cards by reaching the finals of the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championship earlier this month.
Chen was seeded 33rd in the Girls’ 18s National Championship and won seven matches in order to reach the final. Chen did not drop a single set during her first five matches and beat the seventh, 10th, 11th, 12th, and 17th seeded players in her seven victories. In the final, Chen came up against third seeded Ashley Kratzer, who had not lost a set in her previous six matches. After Kratzer took the first set 6-2, Chen bounced back to win the second set six games to four to force a decisive third set. Kratzer won the first four games of the set, breaking Chen twice. Chen had erased the same deficit in the third set of the quarterfinals and once again she fought back to tie, using two break points of her own to tie the third set at four games apiece. However, Kratzer broke Chen’s streak by winning the next game and then added one more game to win the final set 6-4.
“It meant a lot to me that Coach Ashworth and Coach Manasse came to San Diego to watch and support me in the USTA Girls’ 18s,” Chen said. “It motivated me and made me want to train harder for the qualifiers.”
The Cerritos, California native will try to become the 11th wild card to reach the main draw and the first since 2015. Chen will need to win three matches during qualifying in order to reach the main draw. Chen will start with the match against Hseih who will be trying to reach her sixth US Open main draw.
“I have been trying hard to reach this tournament for a few years now. I was close but came up short,” said Chen. “This will be a new experience for me and I can’t wait to play my first round!”
The full schedule for the qualifying tournament can be found at usopen.org and will run from Tuesday until Friday.