US Open Tennis Championship Begins in Arlington | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

US Open Tennis Championship Begins in Arlington

Grand Slam tennis tournament welcomes anyone and everyone



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    For the third year in a row, the Arlington Tennis Center is one of 17 host sites for the first qualifying round of the U.S. Open.

    People of all ages and from all walks of life are in Arlington looking for the chance to play in the U.S. Open.

    For the third year in a row, the Arlington Tennis Center is one of 17 host sites for the first qualifying round of the U.S. Open.

    The Grand Slam tennis tournament is open to anyone and everyone who wants to give it a shot.

    "Last year I played [against] a priest. There's all ages and all age groups," said Arten Baradach, who played his way into Saturday's men's singles finals.

    If the Belarus native, who played on the SMU tennis team for three years, wins Saturday, he will play in a second tournament against the winners of the other 16 qualifying tournaments. The men's, women's and doubles winners from that second tournament advance to the U.S. Open in New York in August.

    And while it's likely only the very best will make it that far, the charm of the U.S. Open is that anyone can try.

    "We have everybody from every level," said Derick Hackett, U.S. Open spokesman for the Texas region. "We have a 14-year-old girl who played in a quarterfinals [Thursday] in a singles and mixed doubles, all the way to recreational players -- a mother of three, teachers; we've had scientists."

    "The one thing about sports is that anybody can beat anybody on a given day, and that's why we play," he said.

    The U.S. Open is one of the biggest professional tournaments, with a nearly $2 million payout for the winner. And even those who don't make it past the first round earn a few thousand bucks.

    Past winners of the tournament include tennis royalty such as John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, Billy Jean King, Martina Navratilova and the Williams sisters -- Venus and Serena.

    Sixteen-year-old Peggy Porter, of Dallas, defeated a mother of three in her 30s in the semifinal round to make it to the final round.

    "I just played this for match play," Porter said. "I wasn't really expecting to do well."

    In doubles action, the sibling duo of 20-year-old Samantha and 18-year-old Harrison Adams, of Austin, are the defending champs from last year's tournament in Arlington. They eventually qualified to play at the U.S. Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.

    "It's definitely different and a change of pace," Samantha said about playing people of all ages, skill levels and walks of life. "I played college tennis, and I played against the same age group or the same type of player like every week, so, it's fun to get to play a different style."