And now, one of the 1992 tournaments you've all been waiting for: The OTB Open from Schenectady, New York!!!!!
SO MANY PLAYERS, SO FEW SPOTS
The Times Union
Saturday, August 22, 1992
Starting this morning, 64 wannabees from as far away as China to as close as Castleton begin their musical chairs march toward the big time. Only eight will get there.
Just four spots in both the men's and women's main draws of the $255,000 OTB Open tennis tournament are left to be claimed. That makes the two-day qualifying tournament at Central Park a dogfight preceding a wolf attack. And those that survive get to do it all over again, only against tougher competition.
Regardless, this morning's opening matches will feature some of the upcoming talents in the sport, despite an absence of lofty computer rankings. Such past OTB Open champions as Marius Masencamp of South Africa and Anke Huber of Germany have come out of the qualifiers here to win it all.
Then there are former international stars that have fallen on hard times and are now looking for that route back to the top. For example, Andrea Temesvari of Hungary, No. 7 player in the world in February 1984, will be among the 32 female qualifiers today trying to win her way into the main draw, which kicks off Monday and runs through Sunday, Aug.30. Temesvari was in the main draw at the OTB Open last summer but lost a close three-setter in the opening round.
Bettina Fulco-Villela of Argentina is the top seed among the women's qualifiers. Ranked as high as 23 in the world in October 1988, Fulco-Villela was a quarterfinalist at the Italian Open last year and reached the second round of the French Open. A shoulder injury has set back her career, but she appears to have recovered and comes into this tournament a heavy favorite to reach the main draw.
Audra Keller of Memphis, Tenn., is the No.2 women's seed in the qualifiers. She is a former top-ranked junior and tour veteran who climbed to 83rd in the world in November 1990.
Although there are three participants from China and two from Japan in the field, there are none from the Capital District. Amy Tarkelson of Voorheesville, a former top 60 player in the early 1980s, received a wild card but had to withdraw due to an injury.
Camille Benjamin, the 1987 OTB Open women's champion, will also be trying to qualify this weekend. She will face Sarah Loosemore in a first-round match beginning at 9:30a.m.
Travis Boyd of Castleton will be the only area representative in the tournament. He earned a wild card into the men's qualifiers by winning the Bolton Landing Open last weekend. Boyd, a veteran of the USTA satellite tours and former state champion from Columbia High School, will face Marten Renstron of Burlington, Vt., another wild card entry, in a first-round match at 9:30a.m. on the Grandstand Court.
Richard Fromberg of Australia is the top seed in the men's qualifiers. Fromberg made the main draw here last summer, beating Jimmy Arias in the first round before losing to Andrei Cherkasov in the second round. Fromberg will meet Ivan Baron on Court 2 today at 9:30 a.m.
Val Wilder of Westfield, Mass., winner of the first OTB Open 11 years ago and former member of the world's top 100, was a no-show for today's matches. Wilder earned not one but two wild cards into the qualifying tournament by winning the Schenectady County Open in July and a tournament in Utica one week later.
Wilder is presently in Texas and sent word he would not be able to participate due to personal reasons. The 33-year-old's two wild-card spots in the qualifiers were filled by Otis Smith and Shige Kanroji.
World-class players on the OTB Open acceptance list who failed to make the main draw and declined to compete in the qualifiers included Ronald Agenor, Thierry Guadiola, Chris Pridham and Todd Witsken.
Today's second round of matches will not begin before 3 p.m. Those players winning both of their matches will move on to Sunday's competition.