Wild Cards for Escobedo, Opelka Gives Field 10 U.S. Players

HOUSTON – There is an American theme at the 2017 Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship. Five of the eight seeded players represent the United States, and with the awarding of the final two wild cards to U.S. players, there will be 10 Americans in the field.

American Jack Sock, the 2015 champion at River Oaks and 2016 runner-up, will be the No. 1 seed. The 24-year-old will be the youngest top seed at this event since then 23-year-old Andy Roddick in 2006. This will be the first time Sock has been the top seed at an ATP event in his career.

Sock, who reached a career high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 15 this week, is 18-4 this season, good for second on the ATP World Tour behind Roger Federer (19-1) and Rafael Nadal (19-5) for match wins in 2017. Sock’s two titles are second-most on the ATP this season behind Federer’s three.

Joining Sock as a seed are fellow Americans No. 2 John Isner, No. 3 Sam Querrey, No. 4 Steve Johnson and No. 7 Donald Young. A pair of Spaniards – No. 5 Fernando Verdasco and No. 6 Feliciano Lopez – as well as a Frenchman, No. 8 Adrian Mannarino.

The five American seeds are the most at the U.S. Clay Court Championship since 2004.

The tournament has awarded its final two wild cards to a pair of rising Americans, 20-year-old Ernesto Escobedo and 19-year-old Reilly Opelka.

Escobedo debuted in the Emirates ATP Rankings Top 100 this week at No. 95. The winner of two Challenger titles from four finals in 2016, he has found success at the ATP level in 2017, recording opening round wins at both the Australian Open and Miami Open.

Opelka, the 2015 Wimbledon junior champion, burst onto the ATP scene in the summer of 2016 with a run to the semifinals in Atlanta. He returns to River Oaks where he made his professional debut last year.

These two join previously announced wild card recipient Bjorn Fratangelo and main draw direct acceptances Jared Donaldson and Frances Tiafoe to bring the total of U.S. players in the field to 10, marking the fourth time in five years a double-digit total of Americans have been in the tournament.

A listing of the full field can be found here.

There will be four players added to the field through a two-round qualifying tournament held this weekend River Oaks. Admission is FREE to the qualifying, which begins at 10 am on Saturday and 11 am on Sunday.

The main draw for the 2017 tournament will be made late Friday afternoon.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here