NEW YORK – Novak Djokovic clinched the Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s title today, after Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic defeated Sam Querrey, 6-4, 6-3, in the semifinals of the Winston-Salem Open. This is the first Emirates Airline US Open Series title for Djokovic. He will now compete for the largest payout in tennis history at the 2012 US Open – $2.9 million ($1.9 million for winning the US Open and a $1 million bonus for winning the US Open as Emirates Airline US Open Series champion).
The reigning US Open champion finished atop the Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge Series standings with 170 points, thanks to winning the Rogers Cup in Toronto and reaching the final at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. The second and third place finishers have yet to be determined between Querrey and John Isner, who will play Berdych in the Winston-Salem Open final on Saturday. With a victory over Berdych, Isner can pass Querrey for second place. The Winston-Salem Open final will air on CBS Sports at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, the winner of the Emirates Airline US Open Series women’s title, can also take home the largest payout in tennis history at $2.9 million. Li Na of China finished second in the women’s standings, while Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia finished third. The second and third place finishers on both the men’s and women’s sides will compete in the US Open for $500,000 and $250,000 in bonus prize money, respectively. Kvitova faces Maria Kirilenko of Russia in the New Haven Open at Yale final on Saturday, airing on ESPN2 at 3:00 p.m. E.T.
Last year, Djokovic finished second to Mardy Fish in the Series standings, earning a total of $2.3 million by winning the US Open. Serena Williams won the 2011 women’s title, earning a total $1.4 million by advancing to the US Open final. In 2007, Roger Federer collected the biggest paycheck in tennis history – $2.4 million – for winning the US Open and the Emirates Airline US Open Series. In 2005, Kim Clijsters also captured both the US Open and the Emirates Airline US Open Series, winning $2.2 million – the largest purse in women’s sports history – and again equaled that amount in 2010, winning the US Open and finishing second in the Emirates Airline US Open Series.
The USTA’s "Follow the Story" game returns for a second year to allow fans to actively engage and follow tennis all summer long, from the start of the Emirates Airline US Open Series through the US Open. From Monday, July 9, through Sunday, September 9, fans can sign up on EmiratesUSOpenSeries.com
Now in its ninth season, the Emirates Airline US Open Series continues to serve as a true regular season of hard court tennis, linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. Fans follow the action throughout the summer during national broadcast coverage while players battle for $40 million, including a chance for bonus prize money at the US Open. The Series collectively reached a U.S. television audience of 39 million and drew more than 800,000 on-site fans in 2011. In 2012, Emirates Airline became the title sponsor of the Series, as well as the official airline of the US Open. The Emirates Airline US Open Series is also supported by sponsors American Express, Chase, Citizen Watch Company, Esurance, evian and Gatorade.