2016 Tournament Preview: Winston-Salem Open

March 7, 2016 09:21 AM

Where: Wake Forest Tennis Center, Winston-Salem, NC

When: Aug. 21-27, 2016 (qualifying starts Aug. 20, 2016)

Defending champions: Kevin Anderson (singles); Dominic Inglot and Robert Lindstedt (doubles)

Tournament website: www.winstonsalemopen.com

History: The Winston-Salem Open, held on the campus of Wake Forest University, is the final Emirates Airline US Open Series men's tournament leading up to the US Open. The ATP World Tour 250 event has been held in Winston-Salem since 2011, with past champions including John Isner (2011-12), Jurgen Melzer (2013), Lukas Rosol (2014) and Kevin Anderson (2015).

Previously, the event was hosted in Long Island (1990-2004) and New Haven (2005-10), held in conjunction with the New Haven women's event, the Connecticut Open. Past champions in those locations include Long Island winners Stefan Edberg, Lleyton Hewitt, Ivan Lendl and Patrick Rafter, and New Haven titlists James Blake and Marin Cilic.

2015 Recap: Kevin Anderson won his first ATP title of 2015 and his third overall at Winston-Salem last year, defeating French qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert, 6-4, 7-5, in the final. Anderson dropped only one set en route to the championship, in his first-round match against Mikhail Kukushkin, ending a title drought dating back to 2012 Delray Beach. Prior to his win in Winston-Salem, the 6-foot-8 South African had lost seven straight finals.

In doubles, Dominic Inglot and Robert Lindstedt won their first title together as a team, posting a 6-2, 6-4 win over Americans Eric Butorac and Scott Lipsky.

The tournament proved a boon to both singles finalists. Anderson went on to post his best career Grand Slam showing, defeating Andy Murray en route to the US Open quarterfinals, and Herbert teamed with countryman Nicolas Mahut to win the US Open men's doubles title.

2016 Preview: Defending champion Kevin Anderson was the first player to commit to this year's tournament, and he will be joined by one of the strongest fields in event history. Joining Anderson are fellow Top 30 players Richard Gasquet, Roberto Bautista Agut, Pablo Cuevas, Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey as well as Top 50 players Gilles Simon, Benoit Paire, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Viktor Troicki, Joao Sousa, Paolo Lorenzi, Nicolas Mahut, Frederico Delbonis, Marcos Baghdatis, Fernando Verdasco, Marcel Granollers, Pablo Carreno Busta, Borna Coric and Jiri Vesely, plus rising star Taylor Fritz and American Donald Young.

Ed. Note: Story updated 8/15

Fun fact: The Winston-Salem Open will welcome former American stars Andy Roddick, James Blake, Mardy Fish and Jim Courier on Day 2 of the 2016 tournament, as the four greats will compete in the PowerShares Men’s Legends Series on Sunday, Aug. 21, at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex.

– Sally Milano