Some of the top professionals in men’s tennis will be stopping off in the Metroplex next week to compete in the Irving Tennis Classic, which kicks off Monday at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas.
The $125,000 ATP Challenger event runs through March 20 and features the highest-ranked players to annually compete in the Metroplex, thanks to the tournament’s special exemption that allows for players ranked outside the top 10 to accept wild cards into the event, including players eliminated in the early rounds this week at the BNP Paribas Open, the Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells, Calif.
The Irving Tennis Classic released an acceptance list last month, but because of the exemption and the fact that the tournament overlaps the Indian Wells event, it’s best to check a day or two before the main draw begins to find out who will be in the field.
Tournament director Zoltan Papp said Thursday that former top-20 player Dmitry Tursunov of Russia has already accepted a wild card. The seven-time ATP Tour champion is coming back from a foot injury. The early entry list also includes five players ranked in the ATP Tour’s top 50, and 18 of the top 100.
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Among the players entered are 18-year-old Alexander Zverev of Germany, who was named the 2015 ATP Star of Tomorrow, No. 33-ranked Thomaz Bellucci, a four-time winner on the ATP Tour, along with past Irving champions No. 50 Lukas Rosol (2014) and defending champion Aljaz Bedene, ranked No. 51. The top Americans entered are No. 66 Denis Kudla and No. 75 Donald Young.
“We are extremely pleased with the depth and diversity of the player acceptance list,” Papp said. “These players provide a super strong and competitive field and promise to make for an exciting and entertaining 2016 ITC event.”
Tickets are available at Irvingtennisclassic.com and at the front gate, located at the north end of the Four Seasons Resort complex. Monday’s qualifying is free. General admission tickets start at $20 on Tuesday and increase daily. Saturday’s semifinals are $60 and Sunday’s finals are $55. A tournament pass is $100. Upgrades are available.
Krueger comes close
Aledo’s Mitchell Krueger came within a set of qualifying for the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., on Wednesday, falling to 2014 NCAA runner-up Alexander Sarkissian of Pepperdine 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in the second round of the qualifying. Krueger won his first-round qualifying match, beating No. 145-ranked Alejandro Gonzalez 7-6 (4), 6-1.
Southlake Tennis Center has been named the USTA Texas Organization of the Year “for its exceptional contribution to the growth of tennis within Texas.” General manager Mia Gordon-Poorman accepted the award at the joint USTA Texas and USPTA Texas Division awards banquet in Horseshoe Bay. STC currently serves 3,000 players a year.
U.S. Open playoff
The USTA Texas announced that the Arlington Tennis Center will again host the U.S. Open National Playoffs Texas Sectional Qualifying tournament June 20-25. Players 14 and older can advance to the U.S. Open in Flushing, N.Y., in men’s and women’s singles and doubles and mixed doubles. Registration opens Tuesday at www.USOpen.org/NationalPlayoffs. Entry fees range from $45-$100 per event. All players competing must have a current USTA membership valid through Aug. 29, 2016.
Rusty Hall: 817-390-7816; @RustyHall10s