Friday, August 1, 2014

Draws Released, Kalamazoo Nationals Begin Saturday with Doubles, Opening Ceremony

The qualifying has been completed, so the Kalamazoo draws are now available for both singles and doubles at the tournament website,  The top three seeds in the 18s qualifying--No. 9 Deiton Baughman, No. 19 Reilly Opelka and No. 11 Logan Smith--made it through and are seeded in the main draw.

The five other qualifiers in the 18s are: Jimmy Bendeck, Jake Jacoby, Alexander Lebedev, No. 12 qualifying seed Austin Hussey and No. 6 qualifying seed Ciro Riccardi.  Bendeck won his match 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) over Charles Tan.  Three lucky losers were given entry: Pally Ray(7), Nathan Brown(11) and Fred Mesmer.

In the 16s, the qualifiers are Jackson Suh(1), Maxwell Cancilla(14), Aleks Huryn, Max Pham(8), Vatsal Bajpai(11), Jason Kerst (in a third set tiebreaker), Aleksandar Kovacevic and Brian Cernoch(2).  One lucky loser is into the 16s, No. 3 seed Sebastian Arcila.   None of the 16s qualifiers were seeded in the main draw.

The complete list of seeds is in the post below this one.

Main draw plays begins Saturday with first round doubles at 8 a.m. Another round of doubles, which will feature all seeded teams, is also on the schedule, followed by the opening ceremonies featuring Mats Wilander. Wilander and 2013 18s doubles champion Paul Oosterbaan of Kalamazoo will play the top-seeded boys doubles team of Collin Altamirano and Baughman.

The schedule for Saturday's doubles can be accessed via the "Match Times" tab on the home page later today. The first round of singles is Sunday, with times to be posted Saturday evening.

Jared Donaldson No. 1 Seed in 18s; John McNally Top Seed in 16s at Kalamazoo

With the completion of qualifying, the seeds have been announced for the 2014 USTA National Boys 16s and 18s Championships at Kalamazoo. Draws will be up later today.

BOYS 18s:

1. Jared Donaldson
2. Ernesto Escobedo
3. Noah Rubin
4. Stefan Kozlov
5. Collin Altamirano
6. Francis Tiafoe
7. Michael Mmoh
8. Taylor Fritz
9. Deiton Baughman
10. Alex Rybakov
11. Logan Smith
12. Henrik Wiersholm
13. Tommy Paul
14. Jordi Arconada
15. Dan Kerznerman
16. Sameer Kumar
17. Walker Duncan
18. Jacob Hansen
19. Reilly Opelka
20. Aron Hiltzik
21. Nathan Ponwith
22. Daniel Grunberger
23. McClain Kessler
24. Trevor Johnson
25. William Griffith
26. Vincent Lin
27. Dan Stefan
28. Dennis Wang
29. Cameron Klinger
30. Josh Silverstein
31. Yancy Dennis
32. Korey Lovett

BOYS 16s:

1. John McNally
2. Jacob Brumm
3. Patrick Kypson
4. Gianni Ross
5. Alex Phillips
6. Sam Riffice
7. Zeke Clark
8. William Blumberg
9. Connor Hance
10. Ulises Blanch
11. Liam Caruana
12. William Genesen
13. Evan Zhu
14. Alexander Keyser
15. Jordan Benjamin
16. Sebastian Mermersky
17. Jason Lui
18. Robert Loeb
19. Nicholas Beaty
20. Chase Wood
21. William Howells
22. Trent Bryde
23. Brandon Holt
24. JJ Wolf
25. Timothy Sah
26. Jacob Walker
27. Vasil Kirkov
28. Johnathan Small
29. Caleb Chakravarthi
30. Jake Van Emburgh
31. Kyle Seelig
32. Anudeep Kodali

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Baughman, Opelka, Smith Two Steps Closer to Kalamazoo Main Draw; Porter Added to Girls 18s Seeds

©Colette Lewis 2014--
Kalamazoo, MI--

Deiton Baughman is 976 in the ATP rankings, Logan Smith is 43 in the ITF world junior rankings and Reilly Opelka is 6 in the USTA 18s rankings, but all found themselves in the newly introduced qualifying tournament at Kalamazoo.  All three won two matches today at Stowe Stadium to advance to Friday morning's final round of qualifying, but only two were seeing their early start as a glass half-full.

"I just look at as a positive thing, getting match play in before the main draw," said Smith, who defeated Felipe P. Osses-Konig 7-6(2), 6-0 and Nathan Griffin 6-1, 6-1. "I was a little nervous in my first round match this morning, but after the first set I was pretty confident, playing exceptionally well.  So I just look at it as a positive thing."

Smith, the No. 3 seed in qualifying, applied for a wild card, but even though he didn't receive one, he understood why.

"I though the wild cards were pretty fair--half ATP, half ITF," said the 17-year-old Smith, who plays unseeded Fred Mesmer in the final round Friday. "If you want to win the tournament, you have to beat everybody."

The top-seeded Baughman, who defeated Anthony Arocho 6-1, 6-2 and Jonathan Li 6-2, 6-1, also admitted to some nerves in his final appearance in Kalamazoo.

"I came out a little tight this morning, but this afternoon I played pretty well, dialed in the entire time," said the 18-year-old from Carson, California.

Baughman said he was disappointed when he first learned he would not be granted a wild card, but didn't dwell on it.

"You'd think being top 1000, with the number of Futures I've played this year, I've done pretty well in singles and doubles," said Baughman, who  plays No. 11 seed Nathan Brown in the final round of qualifying. "I thought maybe a little seniority might slide me into the main draw. But I look at it as a blessing in disguise. I get three extra matches and can get comfortable here, on the main court especially, and just take it round by round."

Opelka, the No. 2 seed, was not convinced that the benefits outweighed the drawbacks of competing  in the qualifying.

"There's no plus side to being in qualies," said the 6-foot-9 Opelka, who beat Caleb Troy 6-2, 6-4 and Gianni Mancini 7-5, 6-3. "I don't mind it, but I don't see a plus side. Yeah, maybe you get used to the conditions, but by the time you play your first round you've already played three matches."

Opelka had no complaints about those who received wild cards.

"The guys they gave them to deserved it over anyone else," said the 16-year-old from Florida, who plays unseeded Jayanth Chintham in the final round Friday morning. "All of them had the same problem as me--I mean Collin Altamirano had to get a wild card. I'm sure they'll fix it for next year."

A total of seven seeds reached the final round of qualifying in the 18s, while nine seeds won both their qualifying matches Thursday in the 16s, including No. 1 seed Jackson Suh, No. 2 seed Brian Cernoch and No. 3 seed Sebastian Arcila.

For complete results from today's first two rounds, see the TennisLink site.  Singles draws will be posted, as will the doubles draws, on Friday.

I mentioned in yesterday's post that Peggy Porter had been overlooked in seeding and was scheduled to play top seed Louisa Chirico in the second round at the Girls 18s Nationals in San Diego.  Today, that error was rectified, with Porter given the No. 6 seed and now in the bottom half of the draw. Ellie Halbauer was dropped from the No. 16 seed to a No. 17 seed, and Olivia Sneed went from a 17 seed to unseeded.

The corrected draw, as well as the qualifying results, are at the TennisLink site.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Girls National 16s and 18s Draws, Seeds; Vickery Reaches Bank of the West Quarterfinals; Southern Wins USTA Girls 18s Team Event

The girls 16s and 18s in San Diego have posted their seeds and draws already.  See if you can guess who's missing from the 18s seeding list below:

1. Louisa Chirico
2. CiCi Bellis
3. Katerina Stewart
4. Brooke Austin
5. Tornado Alicia Black
6. Jessie Aney
7. Francesca DiLorenzo
8. Caroline Lampl
9. Kelly Chen
10. Katharine Fahey
11. Andie Daniell
12. Alexis Nelson
13. Ena Shibahara
14. Sofia Kenin
15. Josie Kuhlman
16. Ellie Halbauer
17. Gabby Andrews
17. Usue Arconada
17. Caroline Dolehide
17. Alexis Franco
17. Michaela Gordon
17. Emma Higuchi
17. Jessica Ho
17. Meghan Kelley
17. Kaitlyn McCarthy
17. Brienne Minor
17. Bianca Moldovan
17. Alexandria Najarian
17. Ingrid Neel
17. Christina Rosca
17. Gabby Smith
17. Olivia Sneed

I had to look through the entries myself, to investigate a nagging suspicion I had, and sure enough, once I got to the "Ps," I saw it. Peggy Porter is not seeded.  Porter, who will be 19 in November, is 525 in the WTA rankings, higher than Katerina Stewart, Brooke Austin and Ellie Halbauer, all of whom are seeded. Stewart has continued to play junior tournaments, but both Austin and Halbauer have, like Porter, opted out of junior competition this year.

These oversights are not always fatal, depending on the draw, but this one could prove to be, as Porter is slated to meet top seed Louisa Chirico in the second round.  That will be a must-see match for spectators, but it's not good for either player, or the tournament. 

That nagging feeling of someone missing also could have been centered on Clay Court finalist Kennedy Shaffer, but she wasn't overlooked for seeding. Rather,  she is not in the field, although she was intending to play when I last spoke to her in Memphis.

The 16s seeds:
1. Ryan Peus
2. Kayla Day
3. Makenna Jones
4. Alexandra Sanford
5. Kalani Soli
6. Chiara Lommer,
7. Isabella Lorenzini
8. Maria Mateas
9. Kylie McKenzie
10. Maddie Pothoff
11. Madeline Meredith
12. Morgan Coppoc
13. Samantha Martinelli
14. Grace Joyce
15. Nadia Gizdova
16. Bess Waldram
17. Abby Altick,
17. Madison Battaglia
17. Chandler Carter
17. Abigail Chiu
17. Cameron Corse
17. Victoria Flores
17. Annette Goulak
17. Riley McQuaid
17. Lexi Milunovich
17. Nami Otsuka
17. Gabby Pollner
17. Adriana Reami
17. Sydney Riley
17. Jada Robinson
17. Rebecca Weissmann
17. Sabrina Xiong

There are some tough unseeded players in the 16s, including Dominique Schaefer, Alexa Graham, Ashley Lahey, Ndindi Ndunda, Jada Hart and Abigail Desiatnikov.

Last year's National 18s champion Sachia Vickery is having the best week of her career at the WTA Bank of the West Classic at Stanford.  Vickery, who qualified over the weekend, defeated Monica Puig 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-1 today to reach the quarterfinals. The 19-year-old from Florida will play fellow American Varvara Lepchenko, who upset No. 2 seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland this afternoon 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, for a place in the semifinals.  Stanford rising sophomore Carol Zhao takes on No. 5 seed Anna Ivanovic of Serbia in their second round match Thursday.

The USTA National 18s Girls Team Championship was completed yesterday in Claremont, California, with the Southern section squeezing past Midwest 4-3.  Amy Yang clinched the win for Southern at the No. 4 singles position. A screenshot of the results in the final is below:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Midwest Defends Boys 18s National Team Title; Odds and Ends from All Over

The finals of the USTA Boys 18s National Team Championships were today at the University of Illinois, with the No. 2 seed Midwest section team defending its title with a 6-1 win over top seed Southern (note: correction made, initially shown as 5-2 final score on TennisLink). Because results are difficult to find on the TennisLink site, I'm including a screenshot of today's results.

The girls final is also between Southern and Midwest, but the results will not be available until much later, because it is being played in Claremont California. The TennisLink site is here.

Because for most of the next six weeks I will be reporting almost entirely on the tennis matches I am watching each day at the tournaments I am covering, this is a good day to post a series of quick links on items of interest I'm not going to have time to delve into.

Southern California won the USTA Intersectional Team competition for 16s earlier this month, beating Midwest 6-3.  For more on the final, see this article from the Shreveport Times.

I was in Europe when the last of the US Open National Playoff tournaments finished and wasn't able to post on the final five sectional champions. Articles on those tournaments can be found here. A screenshot of all the winners is below.

Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How, has written this article about reconciling the nature/nurture "impasse" that always surrounds any discussion of developing skills. The REPS gauge is certainly a feature any tennis coach or parent should consider.

Josh Rosen, who is now one of the top high school quarterbacks in the country, was a tennis player before he chose to concentrate on football full time. As much as he appreciates his current sport, he says tennis is the sport that produces the best athletes in this article from USA Today.

Clay Thompson, the recent UCLA graduate and former No. 1 player in the country, will play with OTZ Sports' new EcoGrip and its vibration dampener.  OTZ is a longtime sponsor of ZooTennis. More on Thompson's agreement with OTZ can be found here.

There is a new tennis academy in the Orlando, Florida area, with former Winthrop University coach Andrew Stubbs and former Top 25 ATP pro Tim Wilkinson serving as managing director and director of coaching respectively. For more on the Bishops Gate Academy, see the website.

Rising Stanford sophomore Carol Zhao, who qualified over the weekend for the WTA Bank of the West Classic held on the campus where she attends classes, won her first round match when Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium retired trailing 6-2, 1-0.  It is Zhao's first win in a WTA main draw. For more, see the Stanford website.  Sachia Vickery, the 2013 18s USTA national champion picked up her second WTA main draw win yesterday. The 19-year-old from Florida, who won a round as a wild card at the US Open, defeated Shuai Zhang of China, the WTA's 30th ranked player, 6-1, 6-2. She will play her second round match against Monica Puig of Puerto Rico, who upset No. 7 seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-3, 7-5 today.

Francis Tiafoe's ATP debut produced several articles on his prospects for professional success.  Steve Tignor of wrote this piece after watching the match on the Tennis Channel.  Jeff Sackmann of the Heavy Topspin blog was in Washington DC, and he wrote this assessment. As someone who's seen Tiafoe play scores of tennis matches, it's interesting to get the perspective of someone watching him for the first time, but it's important to remember--and I'm sure both writers realize this fact--that one match is a very small sample size on which to base a considered opinion.

The University of Texas has still not found a permanent replacement for Patty Fendick-McCain, who retired as the Longhorns' women's head coach in June. Fendick-McCain's assistant Darija Klaic has been named interim head coach while the search continues.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Kalamazoo Qualifying Draws Released; Halys, Sorribes Tormo Claim European Championships; US 14U Teams Head to ITF World Championships; Pro Update

The qualifying draws, the first in the Kalamazoo tournament's 72-year history, have been posted at the TennisLink site.  The 64-player draws in both the 16s and 18s divisions will produce eight qualifiers. Two rounds of qualifying are scheduled for Thursday, with the final round of qualifying on Friday morning.  Deiton Baughman, Reilly Opelka and Logan Smith are the top 3 seeds in the 18s qualifying.  Eduardo Nava was the No. 4 seed, but he has already withdrawn and is playing in the main draw at the Decatur Futures this week. Jackson Suh, Brian Cernoch, Sebastian Arcila and Conrad Russell are the top four seeds in the 16s qualifying.   The qualifying draws for the Girls 16s and 18s have not yet been released. Fred Sidhu, the media liaison for the tournament, reported today that wild card Christina Makarova has withdrawn due to injury.

While the USTA is gearing up for its National Championships, Tennis Europe just finished its edition, which includes 14s, 16s and 18s--the latter an ITF Grade B1 event.

No. 2 seed Quentin Halys of France, a finalist in 2013, took the title this year, defeating unseeded compatriot Corentin Denolly 6-4, 7-5 in the finals, which were moved indoors due to rain in Switzerland.  Unseeded Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain, who won the 16s title in 2012, also beat a competitor from her own country, defeating No. 5 seed Paula Badosa Gibert 6-4, 6-1, with that final also played indoors. Complete results from the tournament can be found at the ITF Junior website, and an article about the 18s finals is available at the Tennis Europe site.

In the 16s, No. 2 seed Fanny Stollar of Hungary and No. 3 seed Corentin Moutet of France took the titles.  Stollar beat No. 5 seed Anna Blinkova of Russia 6-4, 6-0 in the final, and Moutet outlasted Mikael Ymer of Sweden, the No. 7 seed, 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-0. For more on the 16s competition in Moscow, see this Tennis Europe article.

Rudolf Molleker of Germany and Anastasia Potapova of Russia won the 14s titles in the Czech Republic, with Molleker, the No. 2 seed, defeating No. 3 seed Tomas Jirousek of the host country 6-0, 6-1 and No. 3 seed Potapova downing top seed Olesya Pervushina, also of Russia 6-1, 2-6, 6-2.

According to this article on the 14s finals from Tennis Europe, all four finalists will be playing in the ITF's 14-and-under World Junior Tennis competition in the Czech Republic next month.   Although I have not yet seen the team nominations, the ITF did post the list of countries who make up the 16-team fields.  The United States will send both girls and boys teams to compete in the August 4-9, with the US girls the reigning world champions.

The boys leaving for Europe on Thursday, after a training session in Boca Raton, are Keenan Mayo, Roscoe Bellamy and Steven Sun.  The girls team this year consists of Claire Liu, Elysia Bolton and Rachel Lim. Seeds have not yet been established, with that and the draw scheduled for Sunday August 3rd.

Two of the boys who will be among the favorites for the Kalamazoo title played the first ATP main draw matches of their careers tonight at the Citi Open in Washington DC, with both Francis Tiafoe and Jared Donaldson losing their debuts.  Donaldson lost to fellow qualifier Rajeev Ram 6-7(1), 6-4, 7-5 and wild card Tiafoe went down to Evgeny Donskoy of Russia 6-4, 6-4 in a match televised on Tennis Channel. Ranking 111, Donskoy never looked in serious danger of losing to the 16-year-old from nearby College Park, Md., but Tiafoe did show flashes of the game that has drawn so much attention since he won the Orange Bowl last December.

Qualifier Taylor Townsend won her first round match over Julia Goeges of Germany 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, and Shelby Rogers upset No. 3 seed Alize Cornet of France 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 in Washington, but the real story of the day came out west, where 16-year-old qualifier Naomi Osaka of Japan, ranked 406, beat No. 19 Samantha Stosur of Australia 4-6, 7-6(7), 7-5 in the first round of the Bank of West Classic. Osaka, who I believe is based in Florida, does not play junior events, but she has won enough on the ITF Women's circuit to be ranked as high as 309 in May.

For more on Osaka's win, see the WTA website.