Mercer Tennis Classic
16 Singles Qualifying Matches Slated for Monday

USTA Pro Circuit 80K Event

**22 American Players Entered into Qualifying**

MACON, Georgia, (October 20, 2019) Professional women’s tennis is back in Macon this week for the Mercer Tennis Classic. The 2019 edition of the USTA Pro Circuit women’s 80K event runs Monday, Oct 21 through Sunday October 27 at Mercer.

Singles qualifying for the 80K USTA Pro Circuit event starts at 10am on Monday. 22 Americans are entered into the qualifying draw.

Angelina Gabueva of Russia is the top-seed in qualifying. Former Univ. of North Carolina star, Sanaz, Marand, is seeded two. WTA Tour vets, Irina Falconi and Alla Kudryavtseva highlight the qualifying draw with young American Peyton Stearns, who is coming off a big week at the 25K in Florence also in the draw.

Eric Hayes, Mercer Men’s and Women’s Head Tennis Coach and Tournament Director is always excited this time of the year.

“We’ve already had people out watching the players practice we’ve had media out here, so it’s once again, going to be a big week.”

Mark your calendars for a week of events.

Monday October 21 – Qualifying play begins with 32 players and main draws are made
Tuesday October 22 – Qualifying play wraps up, Main Draws begin, Pro Am in the evening
Wednesday October 23 – Main Draws of Singles and Doubles, Kids Day activities
Thursday October 24 – Second round matches
Friday October 25 – Quarterfinal matches
Saturday October 26 – Semifinal matches
Sunday October 27 – Finals at times TBD

20 players gain direct entry and 12 more will get in the main draw through qualifying or wildcards.

13 of the initial entry list players, played in this year’s US Open.

Two top-100 players were on the initial entry list. Also entered are 2018 singles champion, Varvara Lepchenko, young upcoming players like Whitney Osuigue and Ann Li. Also WTA Tour veterans Mandy Minella, Shelby Rogers and Johanna Larsson.

The women’s event will have a 32-person singles qualifying draw, 32 person singles main draw and a 16 team doubles draw featuring professional and top amateur junior players.

For 2019, the Tennis Channel will once again be in Macon. This year they will cover the first rounds on its online platform, and the semifinals and finals will be live on Tennis Channel

“It’s a testament to how much our event has grown and the quality of field we get each year that the Tennis Channel would want to come to Macon and show live coverage. This is unprecedented coverage and exposure for not only Mercer, but for the city of Macon and Middle Georgia.”

Now in its seventh year and third year as an 80K event, the Mercer Tennis Classic will once again feature a weeklong 32 player singles draw and 16 doubles teams in Macon. It’s seven days of fan friendly tennis and now the second biggest professional tournament in the state of Georgia in terms of prize money (ATP World Tour 250 event – BB&T Atlanta Open in July, is the largest). It is also the longest running professional women’s tennis tournament in the state of Georgia.

The Mercer Tennis Classic has featured players with major titles. 2014 Macon singles champ, Kateryna Bondarenko, of Ukraine, and her sister, Alona, teamed with to win the 2008 Australian Open Doubles title. The Bondarenko Sisters have played doubles in Macon. In 2017, 2010 French Open singles champ, Francesca Schiavone of Italy was the top seed.

Players come to Macon to play for $80,000 in prize money, valuable WTA ranking points and in the past, a spot in the first major of 2020, the Australian Open in Melbourne. A women’s wild card will be awarded to the American with the highest cumulative total of WTA singles ranking points earned from upcoming events. Only Americans who do not earn direct entry into the Australian Open are eligible. In the event of a tie, the player with the best WTA singles ranking, will be awarded the wildcard.

This year, a minimum of 21 former Macon participants were in the main draw at the first three majors

Highlights of the week include the Tuesday Pro Am and Player/Sponsor party, and an annual event with free lessons, food and more. Also the players will make visits to area schools to promote tennis as a lifetime sport and the professional event, along with surprises during the week!

Tournament volunteers are needed and any help is always appreciated. Call Mercer tennis coach and tournament director Eric Hayes at (478) 301-2269.

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