UTR Pro Tennis Tour Players to Keep an Eye on at the 2022 US Open

UTR Pro Tennis Tour Players to Keep an Eye on at the 2022 US Open

4 min read

The US Open is upon us with qualifying matches beginning on Tuesday and the draw ceremony for the main draw being unveiled on Thursday. With so much exciting action ahead of us, it’s time to put several UTR Pro Tennis Tour (PTT) players on the radar and two breakout college stars.

Liv Hovde

Just 16 years old, Liv Hovde (UTR Rating 11.43) won the Wimbledon junior girls’ title and will be a favorite in the junior US Open event as the No. 3 seed. She was awarded a wild card into the qualifying of the pro event, which will mark her biggest tournament to date. She has played just four ITF Tour tournaments and won her first pro matches on the PTT, playing in Newport Beach and Atlanta last summer.

Liv Hovde was the top seed at the All England Club where she won her biggest junior title. (Courtesy of Liv Hovde)

Taylor Townsend

Taylor Townsend (12.28) chose the PTT Bradenton in March as her comeback tournament after 18 months away to welcome her son Adyn (born in March 2021). On the PTT, the 26-year-old won all six of her matches and went on to win an ITF title a few weeks later and reach the Roland Garros semifinals with Madison Keys. Townsend enjoyed a breakthrough at the 2019 US Open where she upset Simona Halep on her way to the fourth round. She's in the main draw next week thanks to her protected ranking.

Learner Tien

California’s Learner Tien (13.82) has played two PTT events in Newport Beach, making his best run in January by appearing in the semifinals. This summer, the 16-year-old reached the Junior Wimbledon quarterfinals and won the hard court USTA Boys' 18 National Championships in Kalamazoo. The prestigious national title earned him a main draw wild card into the US Open, where he will be the youngest player in the field since Donald Young in 2005.

Ben Shelton

University of Florida standout Ben Shelton (14.87) has shot up the ATP rankings highlighted by a stunning performance last week in Cincinnati where he upset Casper Ruud. Shelton reached the final of a PTT last year at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. He won the individual NCAA title this year to secure his main-draw wild card at the US Open.

Peyton Stearns

Like Shelton, Peyton Stearns (11.78) won the NCAA individual championships to book her place amidst the best of the best in New York. The 20-year-old turned pro after her sophomore season at the University of Texas and just picked up her first WTA Top-100 win in the qualifying of Cincinnati last week. She’ll play her first Grand Slam main draw match on either Monday or Tuesday next week.

"I've tried this whole summer to really just focus on my tennis, what I can do to get better and loosen up because last year, I was really nervous when I came out on the court," Stearns told Universal Tennis in Cincinnati. "A lot of people watching me that I knew since I was growing up, but I think this year I'm much better prepared."

Juniors to Watch

Alex Michelsen (13.74) is on his way to the University of Georgia next month, but first, he’s looking to leave his mark in New York City. He started his 2022 season by winning his first PTT title in Newport during the first week of January. At Wimbledon, he teamed up with Sebastian Gorzny (13.44) to win the junior boys’ doubles title.

Alex Michelsen started his season off strong by playing on the PTT.

Both Michelsen and Gorzny are entered in the junior event along with Wimbledon finalist Michael Zheng, Kalamazoo champion Tien, Aidan Kim, Cooper Williams, and more young rising stars.

Stay tuned for more coverage from the US Open right here all Grand Slam long.

For more information about the PTT and to see the schedule and results, click here.

About the UTR Pro Tennis Tour

The PTT is open to players with a UTR Ranking of 200-2000, and wild cards can be awarded to those players with a UTR Ranking of 1-199 or above 2000. Every PTT event creates matchplay opportunities for up-and-coming, collegiate, and pro players thanks to a unique round-robin format. At every event, a group round-robin stage is followed by a World Cup-style playoff, guaranteeing multiple matches and counting all results towards the UTR Rating, the most accurate rating system in tennis. Every PTT event offers 4-5 matches and a minimum of $20,000 in prize money with an earnings guarantee for every participant.

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