Five Teens Lead Youth Movement In New York
Tommy Paul, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Elias Ymer and Yoshihito Nishioka advance to the US Open main draw
The teen revolution at the 2015 US Open is in full force after Friday's final round of qualifying.
Borna Coric, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Hyeon Chung, Frances Tiafoe and Jared Donaldson were joined by qualifiers Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Yoshihito Nishioka, Elias Ymer and Tommy Paul in the main draw. Ten teenagers in the US Open main draw are the most since 1990, doubling last year's total of five.
Paul is the lone American to emerge from qualifying, beating Marco Chiudinelli 6-1, 6-4. "It's unbelievable," the 18 year old told ATPWorldTour.com. "It was great, especially having it in New York at the US Open at our home slam.
Paul held a set and double break lead in the second, before Chiudinelli stole a break back. When asked how he kept his composure down the stretch, Paul gave two words: "Larry Lauer. He's the one who works on my mental game. We talk about that kind of stuff all the time. When I was on the changeover after I got broken, I think about what Larry told me." Lauer is the USTA's mental skills specialist.
All seven teens in the Top 150 of the Emirates ATP Rankings will compete in Flushing Meadows, with World No. 198 Rublev, No. 275 Tiafoe and No. 430 Paul as well.
Zverev fell in the second round of qualifying last year, but turned around his fortunes this week, edging Ivan Dodig 7-6(4), 7-5. Rublev, 17, will make his Grand Slam debut after overcoming Peter Gojowczyk 7-5, 2-6, 6-4. Nishioka qualified for his second consecutive US Open main draw, surviving a second set bagel to beat fellow young gun Kyle Edmund 6-2, 0-6, 7-5.
Paul opens against Andreas Seppi, Ymer faces Diego Schwartzman, Zverev battles countryman Philipp Kohlschreiber, Rublev takes on Kevin Anderson and Nishioka duels against fellow qualifier Paul-Henri Mathieu.
Mathieu - the top seed in qualifying - defeated Alejandro Falla 6-2, 3-6, 6-1. He is one of four players aged 30 and older to qualify, increasing the total to 40. Michael Berrer, 35, reached his first main draw in New York since 2011 after downing Aslan Karatsev 6-1, 6-3.
"I'm very happy, it's the third time I've qualified for the main draw of a Grand Slam this year," said Berrer, who returns to the US Open for the first time since 2011. "I didn't play for two or three years here.
Berrer had doubts when asked if he is still planning on hanging up his racquet following the 2015 season. "We will see about that. I'm playing good so for the moment I think I'm in a good position to be back in the Top 100 (of the Emirates ATP Rankings). I can't speak against playing again and living my dream. It's awesome to play the big tournaments. I qualified six times for ATP level tournaments (this year), so I'm there, I have the level and am healthy. We'll see about it. I just had two kids, so you always have to evaluate what's better."
"I had a great week last week in preparation and this week has been good as well," Smith said. "I was a little tired coming from the west coast (playing the Vancouver Challenger). Nothing ideal with the schedule but it worked out really well."
Smith opens against 2006 and '10 semi-finalist Mikhail Youzhny.