John Isner At Winston-Salem Open
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.- The Winston-Salem Open at Wake Forest University announced today the player field for the tournament taking place August 18-25, 2012. As of today's announcement, 38 of the 48 slots have been filled in the men's singles competition through the ATP's tournament acceptance process plus James Blake as the first wild card player.
According to the ATP, the 39 players slated to compete to the Winston-Salem Open are all ranked in the top 68 in the world. By comparison, last year's players ranked in the top 81. Twenty-two of the players competing in the Winston-Salem Open are ranked among the ATP top 50. The tournament will add 9 additional players through additional wild cards and several slots that will be determined from qualifying play prior to the tournament. There will be an additional field of 16 doubles teams to be named closer to the tournament.
"With the exception of perhaps one other tournament, the Winston-Salem Open has the strongest field of contenders of any tennis tournament in America this summer. The work that everyone associated with the Winston-Salem Open did last year really has paid off," said tournament director Bill Oakes. "We also believe our field of players is exceptionally strong because many of them will want playing time on a surface like ours between competing on Wimbledon's grass courts during upcoming Olympics and the U.S. Open, which has a surface like the Winston-Salem Open."
"The players who came to Winston-Salem last year loved playing here and loved our city. Almost immediately after the conclusion of last year's tournament, several of the players expressed a desire to return in 2012," he added. "Our expectations for having a world-class professional tennis tournament in Winston-Salem have been fulfilled this year, and I'm thrilled with the field of players who will be competing next month. It's going to be a great event by all measures."
Oakes said that he expects the Winston-Salem Open will draw additional strong players through the wild card and qualifying process.
The newly announced players join Kevin Anderson, Julien Benneteau, James Blake, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Marcel Granollers, John Isner, Andy Roddick, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Donald Young who committed earlier this spring and summer.
Highlights of the player field include:
Feliciano Lopez is currently ranked No. 29, after getting as high as No. 15 in January. He is making his second visit to Winston-Salem after playing doubles for Spain in the Davis Cup matches at Joel Coliseum in 2007. He and Fernando Verdasco lost to the Bryan brothers in four sets. Lopez has two career ATP World Tour titles, the latest at Johannesburg in 2010. Lopez reached the fourth round of the Australian Open this year and was a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon last year.
Viktor Troicki is best known for winning the decisive point in the final match of the 2010 Davis Cup finals between Serbia and France, giving Serbia its first Davis Cup title. He also was part of the Serbian team that won the World Team Championship in Dusseldorf earlier this year. Troicki is currently ranked No. 31 after getting as high as No. 12 last June and has one title in Moscow in 2010.
Denis Istomin is currently ranked a career-high No. 34, after reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon. He has one of the most-powerful serves in tennis. He reached his first ATP World Tour final earlier this year in San Jose, losing to Milos Raonic. He also reached the fourth round at Indian Wells with a victory over world No. 5 David Ferrer.
Pablo Andujar is currently ranked a career-high No. 35. He won the Casablanca title for the second straight year earlier this year and also reached the fourth round at Indian Wells.
Jurgen Melzer is currently ranked No. 36, after reaching a career-best No. 8 in April of 2011. He won earlier this year at Memphis and owns four ATP World Tour singles titles. Has also won 12 doubles titles, including the 2011 US Open with Philipp Petzschner. At the time he reached No. 8 in singles, he was the only player on tour to be ranked in the top 10 in both singles and doubles.
Carlos Berlocq is currently ranked No. 38, after being a career-high 37 two weeks ago. The Argentine reached his first ATP World Tour final at Vina Del Mar in February, losing to Juan Monaco. He also reached the doubles final at Vina Del Mar.
Jarkko Nieminen is currently ranked No. 39, after being as high as No. 13 in 2006. The lefty from Finland got his second career title earlier this year, going through qualifying and eventually beating Julien Benneteau in the finals at Sydney.
Marcos Baghdatis is one of the most-entertaining players on the ATP World Tour. He lost to John Isner in the third round of last year's Winston-Salem Open but said he had a blast here and was one of the first players to commit this year. Currently ranked No. 40, he has been as high as No. 8 back in 2006, the year he reached the finals of the Australian Open. He owns four career singles titles and one doubles title.
Robin Haase was a semifinalist at last year's Winston-Salem Open, losing to Julien Benneteau in a third-set tie-break that was probably the most-exciting match of the tournament. He is currently ranked No. 42. He claimed his first career ATP World Tour title last year at Kitzbuhel.