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Donald Young and John Isner head list of US Open wild cards

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The USTA today announced that a talented group of young Americans consisting of John Isner (Greensboro, N.C.), Alex Kuznetsov (Tampa, Fla.), Jesse Levine (Boca Raton, Fla.), Wayne Odesnik (Weston, Fla.), Ryan Sweeting (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), Donald Young (Atlanta) and 2007 USTA Boys’ 18s champion Michael McClune (Irvine, Calif.) as well as Australian Alun Jones, have been awarded men’s singles main draw wild card entries into the 2007 US Open Tennis Championships, which will be played August 27 – September 9 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

Both the men’s and women’s US Open singles champions will earn $1.4 million with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money (for a total $2.4 million potential payout) based on their performance in the US Open Series. In addition, both US Open singles champions will receive a new Lexus automobile.

Isner, 22, is currently ranked No. 192 in the world. Two weeks ago at the Legg Mason Classic in Washington, D.C., his second career tour-level appearance, Isner notched wins over Tim Henman and Tommy Haas en route to the final where he lost to Andy Roddick. Isner set new ATP records by winning five straight matches in a third-set tiebreak and serving 144 aces throughout the week, the highest total in a non-Grand Slam event since the tour started keeping stats in 1991. He turned professional in May after leading the University of Georgia to the NCAA team title and ending his four-year collegiate career by reaching the final of the NCAA singles championship.

Jones, 27, earned his wild card through a reciprocal arrangement with Tennis Australia, which will grant a men’s singles main draw wild card into the 2008 Australian Open to a player designated by the USTA. He is currently ranked a career-high No. 123 in the world. The South-African born Aussie played the role of Tom Cavendish in the movie “Wimbledon” opposite Kirsten Dunst.

Kuznetsov, 20, is currently ranked No. 182 in the world. He qualified for the Australian Open in January where he reached the second round before losing to James Blake. He improved nearly 300 places in the rankings in 2006 through strong play on the USTA Pro Circuit after suffering a broken leg in a car accident in May 2005. He was the 2004 French Open boys’ singles runner-up.

Levine, 19, is currently ranked No. 483 in the world. Levine just finished his freshman season at the University of Florida with a 24-1 record and ranked No. 3 in the country. He earned All-American honors in singles and doubles and was named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Rookie of the Year. At the tour level, Levine qualified for Delray Beach in January (winning two matches) and Newport in July.

McClune, 17, earned his wild card by winning the title at the 2007 USTA Boys’ 18s National Championship last weekend in Kalamazoo, Mich., less than two weeks before his 18th birthday. He was a finalist at the Mansfield (Texas) Futures last October, and recently attempted to qualify at the US Open Series event in Los Angeles. He is currently ranked No. 615 in the world.

Odesnik, 21, is currently ranked a career-high No. 153 in the world. He qualified for two US Open Series events thus far this summer, reaching the third round in Washington, D.C., and the second round at Montreal last week. The South African born American has won seven career Futures titles in 14 final appearances. He improved his year-end ranking for the fifth consecutive year in 2006.

Sweeting, 20, is currently ranked No. 250. He reached a career-high ranking of No. 230 in July after reaching the quarterfinals at three of the four USTA Pro Circuit Challengers he entered. The 2005 US Open boys’ singles champion became a U.S. citizen in 2006 (from Bahamas). He has served as a practice partner for the U.S. Davis Cup team in the 2006 World Group Semifinal against Russia in Moscow and 2007 first round at the Czech Republic.

Young, 18, is currently ranked No. 232 in the world. The 2007 Wimbledon boys’ champion won his first professional singles title at the Little Rock (Arkansas) Futures in April as a wild card and his first Challenger title at Aptos, Calif., in June – he is currently second in prize money earnings on the USTA Pro Circuit this season. He finished 2005 as the world's No. 1 ranked junior, the youngest ever to accomplish that feat at 16 years, 5 months. Young earned wild cards at the US Open in 2005 and 2006 as the USTA Boys’ 18s champion.

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