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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, December 14, 2001

USTA Challenger returns to Waikoloa next month

Advertiser Staff

World class men's tennis will return to the Big Island next month with the third Hilton Waikoloa Village USTA Challenger. Andy Roddick won last January, and is currently ranked 16th in the world.

The $50,000 tournament is Hawai'i's only ATP-affiliated event. It is part of the U.S. Tennis Association's Professional Circuit.

The main draw will be played Jan. 22-27, with qualifying Jan. 20-21 at the Kohala Tennis Garden.

Roddick's victory last year was just the start for him. He advanced to the quarterfinals of the Ericsson Open, defeating Pete Sampras and Marcelo Rios, then won three ATP titles. He reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open, where he lost in a dramatic five-setter to eventual champion Lleyton Hewitt.

At Waikoloa, Roddick beat Vince Spadea, a former top-20 player, defending champion Paul Goldstein and James Blake. He and Blake teamed later in the year to help the U.S. secure a place in the Davis Cup World Group for 2002.

Tournament week will again feature a Kids Day. Tickets are expected to be available before the end of the year. For information about the tournament, and sponsorship and box seat sales, visit the website at www.tesports.com.

Hilton Waikoloa Village (886-1234) is offering $169 room rates during the Challenger.

• Davis Cup out: The USTA has told its Hawai'i Pacific Section it will not be the site of the first-round Davis Cup match in February. Facilities on Maui and the Big Island were being considered.

The U.S. will play the Slovak Republic. Five cities in Florida and San Diego were also under consideration. The USTA has yet to announce a choice. Andy Roddick and Pete Sampras are expected to play for the U.S.

Sampras also played in 1992 at Mauna Lani Racquet Club, with John McEnroe, Andre Agassi and Rick Leach. The U.S. swept Argentina and the event sold out its 2,500 tickets each day.

• Juniors at Kapalua: Many of the country's top juniors (16s and 18s) will be on Maui in February when the USTA National Open Championships return to Kapalua Tennis Garden.

The tournament will be Feb. 15-19. Entry is restricted to those who qualify through a national selection process.