Western & Southern Open Qualifying Fields Feature Veterans and Rising Stars

Jul 27, 2023
Lauren Davis hits a serve

The qualifying-round matches at this year’s Western & Southern Open will feature some of the best players in the world including 22 ATP players ranked between 40-71, and 25 WTA players ranked between 39-73. Last year, Caroline Garcia became the first qualifier to win the title in event history. Just two years ago, current world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz played in the Cincinnati qualifying field.

The two-round qualifying tournament allows players to compete for entry into the main draw and highlights a busy opening weekend from August 12-13 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. Fans also can enjoy Kids Day, a tennis trivia contest and a silent disco in the Fan Zone as well as food, drink and retail shopping. Open player practices and player autograph sessions areanother big draw on opening weekend as the full tournament experience kicks off.

One of the women’s qualifying players who will have plenty of fans in the stands is hometown star Caty McNally. She has reached two WTA 125 finals in the last year, winning in Midland, Mich., and a WTA 250 quarterfinal in Mexico to gain entry into the field ranked No. 72. Another Ohio native to watch is 2008 state high school champion Lauren Davis from Gates Mills in the northeast part of the state. Davis won her second career WTA title this year as a qualifier in Hobart and returned to the top 50 for the first time in five years. She is currently ranked No. 52.

The competitive field includes 2022 Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins who was a two-time NCAA champion at Virginia. Emma Navarro carried on the Virginia dominance, winning NCAAs in 2021. She is now at a career-high world ranking of No. 53, exactly 100 spots better than a year ago. She made her French Open and Wimbledon debuts this year and has reached a semifinal and two quarterfinals. Another rising American, Alycia Parks, is one of four 2023 titlists playing in the women’s qualifying. With her powerful serve, she defeated world No. 5 and Cincinnati defending champion Garcia to win in Lyon. Ajla Tomljanovic, one of the players featured in the Netflix series “Break Point,” will play qualifying for the second year in a row after advancing all the way to the quarterfinals in 2022.

The men’s qualifying field features two Frenchmen on opposite ends of their careers: Richard Gasquet, 37, and Arthur Fils, 19. Gasquet has played the main draw of the tournament 15 times, tied for third in the Open Era. He started the year by winning his 16th career title and has just reached the final of an ATP Challenger event. With a career-high ranking of No. 7, he is currently 48. Fils won his first career title this year in Lyon as a wild card, becoming the youngest Frenchman to win a title since Gael Monfils in 2005. Two years ago, he was a junior French Open finalist. He is the only teenager in the men’s field.

Earlier this month, Roman Safiullin won four matches in his Wimbledon debut to reach the quarterfinals and cut his ranking by more than half. Last year he collected a win over world No. 4 and 2022 Cincinnati finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas. Now in the world’s top 50, he’ll try to qualify for his debut Western & Southern Open.

In total, 28 men and 32 women will compete in the qualifying draws, with seven men and eight women advancing out of the two-round qualifying tournament into the 56-player men’s and women’s main draws for the Western & Southern Open. 

Kids Day, presented by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, is open to kids of all ages and their families the first Saturday of the tournament, August 12. Activities begin at 9 a.m. on both Stadium 3 and in the Fan Zone, with tennis drill stations and various activities including face painting, balloon animals, mini tennis courts and more.

Fans also can join a dance party at a silent disco in the Fan Zone on Sunday from 5-6:30. What is a silent disco? Picture lots of people dancing in silence, because they’re each wearing headphones to listen to the music.

Fans can test their knowledge with tennis-themed trivia on Sunday from 2-2:30 in the Fan Zone. Spanning several rounds, the competition will test fans’ tennis expertise and the champion will win an official tournament T-shirt.

Here are the entries for the men’s and women’s qualifying tournament: