Australians Rodionova, De Minaur make US Open debuts

Arina Rodionova and Alex De Minaur are both set for US Open main draw debuts when singles action serves up in Flushing Meadows on Monday …

Tennis Australia announced two additions to what is shaping up to be a solid contingency for the US Open once main draw action gets under way at Flushing Meadows on Monday.

Victorian Arina Rodionova kicked off the week with a US Open main draw wildcard after beating Lizette Cabrera of Queensland in the final of an eight-player tournament in New Haven, Connecticut over the weekend.

Arina Rodionova and Alex De Minaur in US Open 2017

The world No.134 and top seed Rodionova downed the 19-year-old second seed 7-6(5) 6-1 to join fellow Aussies Daria Gavrilova (VIC), Ash Barty (QLD) and Ajla Tomljanovic (QLD) in the women’s main draw, while 18-year-old Alex De Minaur (NSW) was awarded a men’s wildcard earlier this month.

The Sydney-born Spanish resident De Minaur joins Nick Kyrgios (ACT), Jordan Thompson (NSW), Bernard Tomic (QLD), John Millman (QLD) and Thanasi Kokkinakis (SA) on the men’s side.

For Rodionova, who is making her singles main draw debut at Flushing Meadows, the US Open wildcard makes for her second Grand Slam main draw in a row — and sixth overall — after qualifying for Wimbledon last month.

“It was a highly competitive three days [of qualifying],” said Tennis Australia’s Nicole Pratt. “The ladies also had the opportunity to play alongside the WTA Connecticut Open with some of the best players in the world competing.

"No matter what the score line, Arina kept trying to run down every ball. It’s her consistency and variety that forces her opponents into errors, her movement around the court is excellent and that draws her opponents into going for too much."

“With these matches under her belt combined with the positive results she has had this year there is no doubt Arina can win rounds in the main draw, she showed this at Wimbledon this year.”

For De Minaur, the US Open invite makes for his third Grand Slam this season after kicking things off at the Australian Open and most recently at Roland Garros.

De Minaur, who beat Austrian Gerald Melzer in a dramatic five sets during his Grand Slam debut before falling to American Sam Querrey in round two, saw his world ranking climb from 351 to a career-high of 186 last week.

He reached his first ATP Challenger final in Spain in early August and won his first professional title, an ITF Futures, in Portugal last month.

“This is a fantastic opportunity and I’d like to thank Tennis Australia for the wildcard,” said De Minaur. “I can’t wait to play at the US Open for the first time and will give it my best.”

Rodionova will open the round of 128 against Dutchwoman Richel Hogenkamp, while De Minaur opens against No. 6 seed Dominic Thiem of Austria, as Kyrgios squares off against Millman in an all-Aussie matchup.

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