A record opening weekend crowd of 37,868 came out to the Western & Southern Open Saturday and Sunday as the tournament got underway with its qualifying event. Fifteen players, including two American women and a trio of Australian men, advanced into the main draw after the two rounds of play.
Ann Li and Emma Navarro were the American winners to reach the WTA main draw. Li was a 6-3, 6-3 winner over No. 12 seed Alize Cornet while Navarro rallied for a 4-6, 6-0. 6-1 win over Rebecca Marino.
Two other Americans narrowly missed out on joining their countrywomen. Aliaksandra Sasnovich outlasted Alycia Parks 6-1, 6-7(5), 7-6(0) while Martina Tervisan got past Taylor Townsend 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.
Thanassi Kokkinakis led the Australian contingent in Sunday’s action. One day after upsetting the top seed, he saved three match points in a 5-7, 7-6(7), 6-2 win over No. 11 seed Daniel Elahi Galan.
Fellow Australian Max Purcell also needed three sets, defeating his countryman Alexei Popyrin 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-4. The win was a satisfying end to a weekend that began with Purcell taking a 3.5-hour Uber ride in an effort to get to Cincinnati in time to play.
Jordan Thompson is the third Aussie qualifier after a 6-3, 6-4 win over Marc-Andrea Huesler. He’ll now face 2013 Western & Southern Open finalist John Isner in the main draw.