The US Open Series launched this weekend at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, Calif., and the Mercedes-Benz Cup in Los Angeles. Lindsay Davenport and Tommy Haas took the lead in the inaugural US Open Series Bonus Challenge after the first week of the North American hardcourt summer tennis season ended Sunday.
Davenport outlasted No. 1 seed Venus Williams 7-6 (4), 5-7, 7-6 (4) in the final of the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, Calif. to win her 41st career singles title and to move into ninth place outright on the WTA Tour’s all-time singles list (she was tied with Martina Hingis’ 40 titles). The hotly-contested battle, featuring two players who combined to win seven Grand Slam singles titles and the singles gold medals at the last two Olympics, lasted nearly three hours.
Haas, a former world No. 2, defeated Nicolas Kiefer 7-6 (6), 6-4, in an all-German final at the Mercedes-Benz Cup in Los Angeles. It was the second title of the year for Haas, who missed the entire 2003 season while recuperating from two surgeries on his right shoulder.
Both tournaments were televised live on ESPN2, which allowed the network to extend its coverage of the women’s final to its completion. The broadcast went back and forth between the two matches for nearly an hour until the women’s final ended. “This is what is the US Open Series is all about,” said ESPN analyst Patrick McEnroe during the telecast. “Before, the women’s event might be on another network and compete with the men’s final. This way the fans get the best of both.”
US Open Series Bonus Points are awarded at each of the 10 US Open Series tournaments this summer. Players competing in singles in US Open Series tournaments will vie for up to $1.3 million in bonus prize money at this year’s US Open. In 2004, the men's and women's winners of the US Open Series will earn 50% more prize money at the US Open. The USTA will award bonus prize money to the top three men’s and women’s singles finishers in the US Open Series.
The US Open Series continues this week with the ATP’s RCA Championships on NBC in Indianapolis and the WTA Tour’s JPMorgan Chase Open in Los Angeles in ESPN.