Western and Southern Open Sets Record Attendance for Qualfiers and Kids Day

Monica FritschCorrespondent IAugust 13, 2011

The crowd at the Kids Day clinic goes wild for prizes.
The crowd at the Kids Day clinic goes wild for prizes.

The first day of qualifying and Kids Day at the Western and Southern Open saw record-breaking crowd attendance. The Lindner Family Tennis Center hosted 13,204 fans. The previous record was set in 2006, with 11,915 fans in attendance.

The day started with a kids clinic given by teaching pro Kevin Knoch. The participants played games such as “Switch Racquet” and “Bucket Head” and were even visited by ATP World Tour player James Blake and WTA Tour player Sloane Stephens. Blake and Stephens hit tennis balls with the participants as well as signed autographs.

Top qualifying seed Radek Stepanek defeated American Rhyne Williams in straight sets. Other notable winners were 2011 Farmers Classic champion Ernests Gulbis, No. 3 seed Kei Nishikori, Igor Andreev and Alex Bogomolov Jr.

On the women’s side, top seed Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez defeated wild card Laura Robson. Other qualifying winners included No. 2 seed Petra Cetkovska, No. 4 seed Kimiko Date-Krumm and Sania Mirza.

Sunday will once again have a lot of action, as it’s High School Day, hosted by Wellington Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine. There will be a professional exhibition, demonstrations from physical trainers and lunch provided by Skyline Chili.

On top of all of that, there will of course be plenty of tennis for fans to watch, from practice sessions to final qualifying matches and two men’s singles main draw matches. Not before 2 p.m., Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina will take on Andreas Seppi of Italy. The featured match of the night session will see wild card James Blake versus Marcos Baghdatis.