Pro tennis returns to North Texas with two Challenger level events over the next six weeks, beginning with the Challenger of Dallas next week and the Dallas Tennis Classic in mid-March.The USTA Challenger of Dallas at T Bar M Racquet Club is shaping up to have one of its best fields in its long history. The indoor event begins with qualifying rounds at 10 a.m. Saturday. The main draw starts at noon Monday. The finals are scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday.Of the top 22 players on the acceptance list for the main draw, 11 recently competed in the draw of the Australian Open, including defending Challenger of Dallas champion Rhyne Williams, who is ranked No. 124. Also entered is former Dallas champion Alex Bogomolov Jr. of Russia, along with Americans Michael Russell of Houston and Tim Smyczek, both top 100 players. Other players to watch are Shreveport native Ryan Harrison, two-time NCAA champion Steve Johnson and former U.S. Open junior boys finalist Denis Kudla, and former U.S. Open semifinalist Robby Ginepri.Featured matches will be streamed live online at Challengerofdallas.com.Admission to qualifying rounds are free. Tickets for main draw action are available at Ticketmaster or by calling the box office at 972-385-3628. Tickets for children 3-13 are half price through the box office.Former No. 1-ranked Tracy Austin will be the special guest host of Pink Day on Thursday and will speak at a luncheon at 11 a.m. To attend, tickets must be purchased in advance by Monday. The Dallas Tennis Classic, an ATP Challenger event, is scheduled for March 10-16 at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Irving. Tickets are available at dallastennisclassic.com. Call 214-507-0157 for more information.
Rusty Hall, 817-390-7816 Twitter: @RustyHall10s