It's called the greatest road trip in sports, and for the past three years, it has made the U.S. hard court season more interesting. The U.S. Open Series includes all of the big money (for the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, that would be Tier I and Tier II) touranments that lead to the U.S. Open. For the women, the series begins Monday at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford. Then the show rolls on to the Acura Classic in San Diego, the East West Bank Classic in Los Angeles, the Rogers Cup in Toronto, and Pilot Pen Tennis in New Haven.
The top three finishers the U.S. Open Series are eligible to win bonus money at the U.S. Open. In 2005, Kim Clijsters broke the bank by winning both the series and the U.S. Open. Her $2.2 million purse was the biggest in women's tennis history. In its first year, 2004, Lindsay Davenport swept the series, and looked as though she would win the U.S. Open. Unfortunately, she sustained a foot injury in her semifinal match and lost to eventual champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Since its inception, the U.S. Open Series has also shown some highly entertaining television spots. These spots began running this year during the Wimbledon tournament. So far, I haven't seen any I like as much as last year's, but the season is young.