Blake, Stephens, Giorgi receive Cincinnati Wild Cards

CINCINNATI (August 1, 2012) - The Western & Southern Open has awarded three more wild cards to James Blake for the men’s tournament and to Sloane Stephens and Camila Giorgi for the women’s tournament. The event will be held August 11-19 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
The American Blake joins countrymen Brian Baker, Ryan Harrison and Sam Querrey as wild cards for the ATP Masters 1000 event, while Stephens and Giorgi join Venus Williams as wild card entrants into the WTA Premier 5 event.

Blake reached the Cincinnati final in 2007, where he lost to Roger Federer. He has a 14-10 career record at the tournament, and also owns a doubles crown, having won it in 2002 with Todd Martin. In 2006, the former Harvard standout reached a career high ranking of No. 4 on the ATP World Tour.

The 19-year-old Floridian Stephens broke into the Top 50 in the rankings earlier this month after she advanced to the fourth round at the French Open and then the third round at Wimbledon. She will be making her second career appearance in the Cincinnati main draw.

Giorgi is a 20-year-old Italian who qualified for her second-ever Grand Slam at Wimbledon and reached the fourth round where she was defeated by eventual finalist Agnieszka Radwanska. That result propelled her into the Top 100 for the first time in her career.

An additional seven men and 12 women will earn a spot in the main draw through the qualifying tournament that will be held August 11-12. There will be a total of 56 players in the men’s singles field and 54 in the women’s field for the 2012 event. The current field includes 64 Olympians from 25 different countries


The complete player lists as well as ticket information for the Western & Southern Open can be found online at www.cincytennis.com.


Western & Southern Open Awards Wild Cards to Brian Baker, Ryan Harrison & Sam Querrey

The first men’s wild cards for the 2012 Western & Southern Open have been awarded to Americans Brian Baker, Ryan Harrison and Sam Querrey. Their countrywoman Venus Williams had previously been announced as the first women’s wild card recipient for the August 11-19 tournament at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.


Baker is enjoying success following a remarkable comeback from five surgeries that kept him from the game for six years. The 2003 French Open junior finalist, Baker underwent left hip surgery in 2005, a sports hernia operation in 2006, and in 2008 underwent Tommy John surgery in addition to operations on both his left and right hips. While rehabilitating, Baker served as an assistant coach at Belmont University in his native Nashville. He returned to pro tennis in 2011, and this season reached his first career final in Nice and the Round of 16 at Wimbledon to approach the Top 75 in the rankings.


Harrison travels back to Wimbledon this week to represent the United States in the 2012 London Olympic Games. The 20-year-old attained a career-high ranking this month after reaching three ATP World Tour semifinals this season – at Newport, Eastbourne and San Jose. Last year he was a two-time semifinalist during the Emirates Airline US Open Series. Earlier this year he played his first Davis Cup ties, and in April was the first US teenager to play a live rubber since Andy Roddick in 2001.


Querrey is a past quarterfinalist at the Western & Southern Open who began 2011 in the Top 20. Early last summer he underwent right elbow surgery, and his comeback from that injury was realized in June when he reached the semifinal at Queen’s Club prior to Wimbledon. This week he is competing at the Emirates Airline US Open Series event in Los Angeles where he is a two-time champion.


The addition of these three wild cards brings the men’s entries to 47 for the 56-player field. Williams is the 38th player named for the 54-player women’s field. Additional wild cards will be announced for both the ATP World Tour and WTA fields, in addition to further players being added to the fields via the qualifying tournaments that will be held August 11-12.


The complete player lists as well as ticket information for the Western & Southern Open can be found online at www.cincytennis.com.



Western & Southern Open Renews Title Sponsor Through 2014

The Western & Southern Open has extended its relationship with the Western & Southern Financial Group for three more years to keep the Cincinnati-based company as title sponsor of the city’s professional tennis tournament through 2014.

The parties did not disclose the specific terms of the three-year, multimillion-dollar deal. The Western & Southern Financial Group has been the tournament’s title sponsor since 2002.

“The Western & Southern Open is a world-class event that brings national and international recognition and incredibly positive economic impact to Cincinnati. We’re proud to continue our title sponsorship and help keep this terrific tournament such a valuable part of our community,” commented John F. Barrett, President, Chairman and CEO of the Western & Southern Financial Group.

As title sponsor, the company receives a number of benefits including tournament naming-rights, court signage and television broadcast elements. In recent years, the company has launched popular fan activation programs such as the Coin Toss where fans win the chance to flip the coin on court before a match, and the Western & Southern Experience, which presents fans with the opportunity to receive an autograph from a star player face to face.

“Western & Southern has been a true partner of the event for more than a decade,” remarked tournament Chief Executive Officer Elaine Bruening. “It’s a perfect marriage between an iconic Cincinnati company and our historic event, first played here in 1899.”

“The Western & Southern Open is the marquee event during the Emirates Airline US Open Series which brings the biggest names in the game to a passionate tennis audience,” said Gordon Smith, USTA Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director. “With such an active and committed title sponsor in Western & Southern, this great tournament is poised for even more success in the years to come.”

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is a majority owner of the Western & Southern Open, which is one of only five events in the world, outside of the Grand Slams, to host a top-tier men’s and women’s event during the same week at the same venue. The other events of this stature are in Indian Wells, Madrid, Miami and Rome. The tournament is played at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, OH, which is the only tennis facility in the nation outside of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to have four permanent stadiums. The facility is in the final year of a three-year, $24 million expansion.

The event is the nation’s oldest professional tennis tournament still played in its original city. Past champions include legends like John McEnroe, Virginia Wade, Bill Tilden and Margaret Court. More recently, Roger Federer, Andre Agassi and Maria Sharapova have captured titles.

“It’s always been one of the most important stops on the tour each year,” said 4-time champion Federer. “They have a great history and some of the most passionate and knowledgeable tennis fans in the world.”

Sharapova, the defending women’s champion, added: “”I’ve experienced great success in Cincinnati and I’m excited to see the event continue to grow.”