Florida’s 20-year-old Samantha Crawford has earned a berth into the main draw of the 2016 Australian Open after clinching the USTA Pro Circuit Australian Open Wild Card Challenge series of tournaments. It will mark Crawford’s first appearance in a Grand Slam main draw outside the United States.
The Tamarac, Fla., native also earned a wild card into this year’s US Open by winning the USTA Pro Circuit’s US Open Wild Card Challenge. She secured the 2016 Australian Open berth by winning the USTA Pro Circuit’s $50,000 Copperwynd Pro Women’s Challenge in Scottsdale, Ariz. It was Crawford’s first career singles professional title, and boosted her ranking to a career-high No. 155 in the world.
Crawford won the US Open girl’s singles champion in 2012, and the 6-foot-2 former world Top 5-ranked junior has this year used her big serve and aggressive baseline game to advance to four USTA Pro Circuit singles finals (including Scottsdale), and to win two USTA Pro Circuit tennis doubles titles, giving her five doubles titles for her career.
The USTA and Tennis Australia have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the US Open and Australian Open are exchanged. The USTA first used the wild card tournament series format in 2012 to award wild cards into the French Open and US Open, and has been doing so ever since.
This year teenagers Frances Tiafoe and Louisa Chirico each won the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge for wild cards into the French Open, and Crawford and Bjorn Fratangelo earned US Open wild cards by winning the US Open Wild Card Challenge this summer.
For additional info go to www.procircuit.usta.com.