Led by Blake, U.S. Open wild cards stay at home
Updated: Wednesday August 15, 2001 4:59 PM
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CNNSI.com) -- Young American James Blake has had a breakthrough summer on the ATP tour, and he'll get a chance to make an impact in his home country's Grand Slam event after receiving a wild card into the U.S. Open main draw Wednesday.
Blake is up to a career-best ranking of No. 96 after reaching the third round of the Masters Series event in Cincinnati last week before falling to Patrick Rafter. The Fairfield, Conn., native, who made it to the semifinals earlier this summer in Newport, R.I., is one of eight up-and-coming U.S. players granted entry into the main draw.
The others are Hugo Armando of Bradenton, Fla.; Alex Bogomolov of Miami; Bob Bryan of Camarillo, Calif.; Taylor Dent of Newport Beach, Calif.; Mardy Fish of Vero Beach, Fla.; Robby Ginepri of Marietta, Ga.; and Levar Harper-Griffith of Sarasota, Fla.
For the first time in years, the USTA decided not to award a wild card to the NCAA singles champion. Georgia's Matias Boeker, a native of Argentina who attended high school in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., became only the third player in history to win the NCAA "triple crown" (singles, doubles and team titles in the same year), but he will not play in New York.
Armando, the oldest of the group at 23, has spent most of the year playing challengers but reached the quarterfinals last month in Kitzbuhel.
Bryan also reached the second round at Wimbledon, but is known more for his doubles prowess. He and brother Mike have four ATP titles already this season -- at Memphis, Queen's Club, Newport and Los Angeles -- and are ranked No. 6 in the ATP doubles race.
Dent raised his profile with a thrilling five-set loss to Lleyton Hewitt in the second round at Wimbledon in June.
Fish made it to the quarterfinals in Scottsdale early this year but has struggled recently.
Ginepri has made huge strides recently, most notably with an upset of Karim Alami this week in Indianapolis. He lost to Andy Roddick in the boys' singles final at last year's U.S. Open.
Harper-Griffith and Bogomolov haven't played in a full ATP event this year.