Defending Champions Highlight Main Draw Field

Defending Champions Highlight Main Draw Field

FORT WORTH, Texas (July 29, 2017) – The USTA announced that defending singles champion Caitlin Whoriskey of the United States and defending doubles champion Chanel Simmonds of South Africa are two of the competitors that headline the main draw at the 2017 Fort Worth Pro Tennis Classic, a $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit Event at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center on the campus of TCU from July 30-Aug. 6.

The tournament is taking place in Fort Worth for the sixth consecutive year and is one of three USTA Pro Circuit women’s events taking place in Texas this year. The competition marks the fourth of five consecutive hard-court events to begin the summer hard-court season in preparation for the US Open.

Currently ranked No. 309, former Tennessee All-American Whoriskey is joined by No. 318 Simmonds as two of the 18 women who received direct acceptance into the 32-player main draw. Sixty-four players will compete in the qualifying tournament from July 30-Aug. 1, for the eight other berths. The tournament director, along with the USTA, determine the wild card entries that complete the field.

No. 254 An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium is the top seed for the main draw in Fort Worth with two WTA doubles titles under her belt along with six singles and six doubles ITF Pro Circuit titles. The No. 2 seed will also be a former Fort Worth singles champion as No. 278 Ulrikke Eikeri returns to Cowtown after taking the 2015 title. Since her victory two years ago, Eikeri has competed for the Norway Fed Cup team and won two singles and three doubles ITF Pro Circuit titles.

2017 NCAA Singles Champion and rising junior at Michigan Brienne Minor was awarded a main draw wildcard along with world No. 23-ranked junior Ellie Douglas and Florida sophomore Ingrid Neel. Douglas, a 17-year-old from McKinney, Texas, reached the doubles quarterfinals and singles third round at junior Wimbledon this year. Neel holds two USTA Pro Circuit singles titles as well as seven doubles titles and helped lead the Gators to the NCAA team championship in May.

Admission to the Fort Worth Pro Tennis Classic is free during every day of the competition with action beginning at 9 a.m., each day. Starting on July 30 with the qualifying tournament, professional athletes from around the world will be competing for $25,000 in prize money, as well as valuable WTA Tour Ranking points. For the second straight year, the tournament will benefit H.O.P.E. FARM, which will receive part of the proceeds from the event.

About the USTA Pro Circuit
With approximately 90 tournaments hosted annually throughout the country and prize money ranging from $15,000 to $125,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. The USTA launched its Pro Circuit 38 years ago to provide players with the opportunity to gain professional ranking points, and it has since grown to become the largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, offering more than $3 million in prize money. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed in cities nationwide. Andy Murray, Maria Sharapova, John Isner, Sloane Stephens, Kei Nishikori, Victoria Azarenka, and Sam Querrey and are among today’s top stars who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit.

By Abby Norman
Tournament Press Aid