Blake beats Roddick to win RCA Championships - takes lead after week one of US Open Series Challenge

July 23, 2006 10:55 PM

Instant Replay Makes US Open Series Debut; To Be Used at All 10 Series Events

Series Now Moves to California as Women Begin 2006 Season in Stanford, Men in Los Angeles -- Four Consecutive Weeks of Back-to-Back Finals to Be Broadcast on ESPN2

The 2006 US Open Series launched this week at the RCA Championships in Indianapolis with a strong performance by American men. Top-seeded James Blake defeated No. 2-seed Andy Roddick in a thrilling three-set final, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(5). This was Blake’s second consecutive US Open Series title, following his win at the Pilot Pen last August.

The RCA Championships marks the third time in seven tournaments that two Americans faced off in the men’s final of a US Open Series event. It was also the seventh consecutive US Open Series men’s final to feature an American.

Blake now takes a 15-point lead over Roddick in the US Open Series Lever 2000 Challenge, in which the men's and women's winners will compete for $1 million in bonus prize money at the 2006 US Open. Americans have three of the top four places in the standings with Robby Ginepri also reaching the semifinals at the RCA Championships. The US Open Series Lever 2000 Challenge leaders after Week One are as follows:

This week also marked the US Open Series debut of instant replay. Throughout the week, players challenged a total of 68 calls with player being correct on 28 of the challenges.

Next on the US Open Series: The US Open Series moves to California this week. The women, led by World No. 2 and defending US Open Series champion Kim Clijsters, begin the 2006 US Open Series at the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, Calif. The men compete at the Countrywide Classic at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on the UCLA campus, as Andre Agassi begins his final US Open Series season before his planned retirement following the US Open. Along with Agassi, the Countrywide Classic boasts an impressive field including Lleyton Hewitt, Fernando Gonzalez, Tommy Haas, Robby Ginepri and Andy Roddick, who accepted a wild card and is the top seed. ESPN2 will provide 12 hours of live coverage from both events starting with men’s quarterfinal action Friday from 4–6 p.m. EST. The women's final will air at 3 p.m. EST Sunday followed by the men's final at 5 p.m.

The US Open Series is the six-week summer tennis season linking 10 major ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour tournaments to the US Open. Since its inception in 2004, the six-week US Open Series has doubled television viewership and increased attendance, while generating new corporate partnerships for the sport. Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters were the winners of the 2005 US Open Series, with Clijsters doubling her prize money at the US Open to earn $2.2 million, the largest purse in women’s sports history. US Open Series sponsors include American Express, Lever 2000, MassMutual Financial Group and Olympus.

The final 2005 US Open Series standings were as follows:

Men Women

Andy Roddick (USA) 1. Kim Clijsters (BEL)
Andre Agassi (USA) 2. Mary Pierce (FRA)
Rafael Nadal (ESP) 3. Amelie Mauresmo (FRA)