World No. 125 Denis Kudla war awarded the USTA’s Australian Open Wild Card Challenge despite his inability to close out a quarter-final encounter at the Knoxville challenger event in Tennessee.
Faced with six match points to choose from, the 22-year-old was unable to close out his quarter-final match-up against qualifier Frederik Nielsen, eventually losing the match 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-2 in dramatic fashion.
However, according to the rules of the Australian Open Wildcard Challenge, Kudla was still awarded the wildcard into the season-opening Grad Slam event. He would have lost the opportunity to Marcos Giron, has he gone past the quarter-final round.
The rules explain that “in the Australian Open Wild Card Challenge, the American man and American woman who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA ranking points at two of three select $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit hard-court events during the fall will earn main-draw wild cards into the 2015 Australian Open.”
While the male wildcard was a surprising result, world No. 114 Irina Falconi won the women’s wildcard in a straightforward manner, as she finished with 109 points after winning the ITF event in New Braunfels, Texas on top of reaching the semi-final stage in Macon.