Serena, seven others granted U.S. Open wild card

Updated: August 23, 2006, 10:09 AM ET
Associated Press

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Two-time champion Serena Williams and former top 10 players Chanda Rubin and Alicia Molik were among eight women granted wild cards Wednesday for the U.S. Open.

The U.S. Tennis Association also awarded nine wild cards for Open qualifying, including one to 25-year-old Alexandra Stevenson, who in 1999 became the only female qualifier in history to reach the Wimbledon semifinals.

Williams, who won the Open in 1999 and 2002 and once was ranked No. 1, fell out of the top 100 this year while she missed about six months with a chronic left knee injury. She was ranked 139th at last month's entry deadline for the U.S. Open; 102nd was the cutoff for a player to automatically get into the tournament that begins Aug. 28.

Rubin has been ranked as high as No. 6, but she's played a limited schedule the past two seasons because of a knee injury.

Molik, who won the 2004 Olympic singles bronze medal for Australia, received a wild card from the U.S. Tennis Association as part of a reciprocal agreement with Tennis Australia. The USTA will get to pick a woman who will get a wild card at the 2007 Australian Open.

The other U.S. Open women's wild cards went to Bethanie Mattek, Ahsha Rolle, and teens Lauren Albanese, Alexa Glatch and Jessica Kirkland.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press