FLUSHING, N.Y. -- Rhyne Williams and Tennys Sandgren will start their journey to the U.S. Open main draw Tuesday with their first-round qualifying matches at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
The qualifying matches are being televised for the first time ever by CBS Sports Network. Williams' match this afternoon will be on one of the televised courts. He's the third match on court 11.
Williams takes on a familiar foe in Vasek Pospisil of Canada, the seventh seed in qualifying. The pair last faced in the first round of last year's Knoxville Challenger, with the big-serving Canadian winning 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. Williams won the first meeting between the two in 2010 on clay, a surface the former Vol has excelled on professionally.
Last year, Williams won his first qualifying match with a victory over South African veteran Rik DeVoest. This is Williams' second year to play qualifying. The former All-American has already qualified for one ATP-level event this year, playing his way into the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif.
Pospisil is one of Canada's rising young stars. The 22-year-old enters the week ranked No. 104 and reached the second round of the US Open last year. He won the Granby Challenger in Canada in July.
Sandgren takes on Franco Skugor of Croatia later this afternoon. Sandgren has won five USTA Pro Circuit Futures titles since beginning his professional career in 2011, including three this year. Like Williams, Sandgren played in qualifying last year where he lost to Stanford standout Bradley Klahn. He has been ranked as high as No. 266 in singles.
Franco is currently ranked No. 977 in the world rankings though it was only a year ago his was up to No. 147. The 24 year old is among the tallest players on tour at 6-foot-8. He has never made the main draw of a Grand Slam, though he did make it to the second round of qualifying at the French Open.
John-Patrick Smith has the day off and will not start qualifying until Wednesday. He's set to take on veteran Chilean Paul Capdeville, who's currently ranked No. 167. The 29-year-old has made the second round of the U.S. Open three times.
Smith is playing U.S. Open qualifying for the first time, riding the wave of a strong summer in which he won his first Challenger title in Winnetka, Ill., and led the Orange County Breakers to the World TeamTennis. The last time Smith was on the outdoor courts in Flushing was as an 18 year old playing in the boy's competition, his final ITF junior tournament before coming to Tennessee as a freshman.