2010 Olympus US Open Series Preview: Mercury Insurance Open

August 1, 2010 09:52 PM
Fresh off her Bank Of The West Classic victory, Victoria Azarenka will be looking for two straight in San Diego
The only American in the draw, Melanie Oudin will have her hands full in the first round against Azarenka
Top seed Jelena Jankovic will try to prove healthy for the US Open after a first-round bye
After a two-year absence, San Diego tennis fans are eagerly anticipating the return of women’s professional tennis, as the $700,000 Mercury Insurance Open will take place Aug. 2-8 at the La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, Calif.
Following a 24-year run, the previous women’s tennis event left San Diego after it was sold in 2007. No one envisioned a tournament returning to the La Costa Resort and Spa anytime soon.
Then in late 2009, it was announced that a Premier 700 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event would be played in San Diego in 2010. Local tennis fans as well as many players on the tour enthusiastically welcomed the news.
"We are absolutely overjoyed to have women’s professional tennis returning to the San Diego area and with a great title sponsor like Mercury Insurance, it’s going to be a fantastic summer," said tournament director Raquel Giscafre, a former professional tennis player from Argentina who co-directed the previous women’s event since 1984.
"The fact that the Mercury Insurance Open is part of the Olympus US Open Series adds even more credibility to the event and will provide more excitement as the players compete not only for prize money, but also for the Series points," Giscafre added. 
With its venue located at the La Costa Resort and Spa, the Mercury Insurance Open is unique among the OUSOS tournaments as the players stay on the tournament site. The players’ hotel rooms at the resort are literally a short lob away from the courts. 
With a world-class spa, a championship golf course, beautiful beaches minutes away and plenty of opportunities for shopping and fine dining nearby, it is no wonder it has been one of the most popular tour stops in previous years.
When the first ball is hit this summer at the Mercury Insurance Open, the tradition of professional tennis at the La Costa Resort and Spa will be renewed after a two-year hiatus.
Since the early 1970s when players such as Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg graced the courts, La Costa has had a long and rich tennis history. The venue, which hosted four first-round Davis Cup ties over the years, has provided fans with many memorable moments, especially when it comes to women’s professional tennis.
Tennis fans at La Costa saw Venus Williams capture three straight tour titles from 2000-2002 and Steffi Graf played her final tournament match there before announcing her retirement in 1999.
If there was one match that defined the popularity of women’s tennis at La Costa, it was the 1991 tournament final when Jennifer Capriati overcame Monica Seles in a thrilling 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (2) victory before a capacity crowd that jammed Stadium Court that day.
This 2010 Mercury Insurance Open will use a 5,000-seat main stadium, which will provide fans with a cozy and intimate atmosphere to watch the matches. Among the players entered are Ana Ivanovic of Serbia and Russians Svetlana Kuznetsova and Dinara Safina.
Special events planned at this year’s tournament include a Kid’s Day, a Volunteer of the Year presentation and a special tribute to tennis legends and local residents Rod Laver and Pancho Segura, who will be honored during a special on-court ceremony.