Thursday, June 30, 2016

All Seven US Juniors Competing in Wimbledon Junior Qualifying Reach Final Round; Kirkov, Blanch Reach Doubles Finals at Roehampton; Cohen Chosen as Head Coach for Oklahoma Women; Matt Hill Named Arizona State's Men's Coach

Thursday was an exceptionally successful day at Wimbledon for Americans, with US men and women going 10-4 in the main draw. Wins by qualifier Julia Boserup, No. 27 seed CoCo Vandeweghe, No. 18 seed Sloane Stephens, Donald Young, No. 8 seed Venus Williams, No. 28 seed Sam Querrey, No. 9 seed Madison Keys, No. 18 seed John Isner, No. 27 seed Jack Sock and Steve Johnson winning either first or second round matches.   As positive as those numbers are, the US juniors in Wimbledon qualifying did even better, going a perfect 7-0 in the first round of junior qualifying.

Oliver Crawford(12), Gianni Ross(3), Alafia Ayeni, Nathan Ponwith(10), William Blumberg and Trent Bryde(9) all advanced to Friday's final round of qualifying in Roehampton, as did Chiara Lommer, the only US girl in Wimbledon junior qualifying. Ayeni defeated No. 4 seed Duart Vale of Portugal 7-6(8), 7-5 and Blumberg, a quarterfinalist last year at the Wimbledon Junior Championships, downed No. 14 seed Seppe Cuypers of Belgium 6-4, 6-4. All seven US juniors are just one win away from advancing to the main draw, and a chance to play at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, which only Ponwith and Blumberg have done previously.

The finals are set at the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton, with a Russian girls champion guaranteed. Top seed Oleysa Pervushina will play her doubles partner, No. 4 seed Anastasia Potapova,  after Pervushina defeated Jodie Burrage of Great Britain 7-6(4), 6-4 and Potapova advanced over No. 9 seed Olga Danilovic of Serbia 6-3, 7-6(5).

The boys final is between No. 5 seed Yosuke Watanuki of Japan and No. 4 seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada.  Watanuki advanced to the championship match with a win over No. 6 seed Alex De Minaur of Australia 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(0) while Shapovalov earned his place in the final with a 7-6(5), 6-4 win over No. 2 seed Ulises Blanch.

Blanch did get a win today over Shapovalov however, partnering Vasil Kirkov to a 7-6(4), 2-6, 10-1 victory over top seeds Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime in the boys doubles semifinals.  Blanch and Kirkov will play the unseeded Jurabeck Karimov and Khumoyun Sultonov in the final after the Uzbekistan team defeated Naoki Tajima and Yunosuke Tanaka of Japan 6-2, 6-2.

Pervushina and Potapova, the top seeds in the girls doubles, will play Burrage and Panna Udvardy of Hungary, the No. 7 seeds, in the final. Burrage and Udvardy defeated unseeded Michaela Gordon and Claire Liu 3-6, 6-2, 12-10 in the semifinals.

In college tennis news, 2007 NCAA singles champion Audra Cohen has been named as the new head coach for the University of Oklahoma women's program.  Cohen, who has spent the past five years at the University of North Florida, replaces Dave Mullins, who resigned to return to Ireland.  Just five days after Adam Steinberg decided not to follow through with an initial agreement to become Arizona State's men's tennis coach, the Sun Devils named University of South Florida's Matt Hill to take on the job with the revived program.  South Florida's announcement of Hill's new position is here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Seven US Juniors Begin Wimbledon Qualifying Thursday; Blanch Advances to Roehampton Grade 1 Semifinals as Top Seed Tsitsipas Falls

The draws for the Wimbledon Junior Championships qualifying have been posted, with one US girl and six US boys attempting to win the two matches required to make the journey from the Roehampton courts to those at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

Chiara Lommer is the sole US girl in qualifying. Lommer was still an alternate as of yesterday, but did get in. Michaela Gordon, who was two out of the main draw yesterday, is not in the qualifying draw, so I assume she's in the main draw, joining 10 other US girls.

The US boys in Wimbledon qualifying are Oliver Crawford(12), Gianni Ross(3), Alafia Ayeni, Nathan Ponwith(10), William Blumberg and Trent Bryde(9).  Ayeni was eight spots out of qualifying yesterday, but he did sign in and get in.  Vasil Kirkov was two out of the main draw yesterday and is not in the qualifying draw, so it appears he will be in the main draw with the four other US boys who received direct acceptance.

It was a cold, wet, gloomy day in London from what I gather (it's been beautiful here in Germany), but the quarterfinals of the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton were completed.  Six US boys and girls made the final eight of their respective draws, but only one, No. 2 seed Ulises Blanch, advanced to the semifinals.

All four of the US girls lost to their international opponents. Top seed Olesya Pervushina of Russia defeated Michaela Gordon 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 and will play Jodie Burrage of Great Britain, who beat Taylor Johnson 6-1, 6-2.  No. 7 seed Sonya Kenin lost to No. 4 seed Anastasia Potapova of Russia 6-3, 6-1, and Maria Mateas was beaten by No. 9 seed Olga Danilovic of Serbia 6-1, 6-3.   Potapova defeated Danilovic 6-2, 6-1 in the first round of the Australian Open junior championships this year.

Gordon and Claire Liu have reached the doubles semifinals with a 6-7(1), 6-0, 10-5 victory over Kenin and Monika Kilnarova of the Czech Republic, who were seeded fifth.  Taylor Johnson and Kayla Day, the No. 6 seeds, did not finish their doubles quarterfinal match with top seeds Pervushina and Potapova.

In boys singles, No. 14 seed John McNally lost to No. 6 seed Alex De Minaur of Australia 6-0, 6-1. De Minaur will face No. 5 seed Yosuke Watanuki of Japan who surprised top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. De Minaur defeated Watanuki in three sets last year in the first round at Roehampton.

The only US junior to survive in singles, No. 2 seed Ulises Blanch, had a tough match with Alastair Gray of Great Britain, but outlasted him 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. Blanch will play No. 4 seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada, who defeated Kenneth Raisma of Estonia 6-3, 6-1.  Shapovalov and Blanch met last year in the second round of the US Open Juniors, the Canadian taking a 6-2, 6-2 decision.

The unseeded doubles team of Blanch and Kirkov have advanced to the boys doubles semifinals, beating No. 4 seeds Louis Wessels of Germany and Benjamin Sigouin of Canada 6-3, 3-6, 10-8.  The American pair will play the top seeds and reigning US Open boys doubles champions Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Four US Girls, Two US Boys Reach Roehampton Grade 1 Quarterfinals; Novikov Advances at Wimbledon; McNamara Returns to Yale

Just a brief update while I try to stay awake for another four hours in an attempt to outwit the always devious jet lag.

Unlike Wimbledon, the Grade 1 grass court event this week in Roehampton finished their singles matches before the rain came this afternoon, with six Americans reaching the quarterfinals.  The US girls into the final eight are unseeded Michaela Gordon, who beat No. 6 seed Bianca Andreescu of Canada 3-6, 6-4, 7-5; unseeded Taylor Johnson, who beat British wild card Francesca Jones 6-4, 6-4; No. 7 seed Sonya Kenin, who defeated unseeded Monika Kilnarova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-3 and unseeded Maria Mateas, who defeated British wild card Eden Richardson 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.  All four US girls could make the semifinals, although Gordon is up against top seed Olesya Pervushina of Russia.  In their only previous meeting however, at last year's Wimbledon Juniors, Gordon won 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-2.

Two US boys have reached the quarterfinals, with No. 14 seed John McNally avenging his third-set tiebreaker loss to Ryan Storrie of Great Britain in the LTA Challenge last week, winning 6-4, 6-4 today.  Blanch defeated No. 15 seed Nicola Kuhn of Spain 6-1, 7-6(1). The boys team of Blanch and Vasil Kirkov are into the doubles quarterfinals, as are Gordon, Kenin, Johnson, Morgan Coppoc, Kayla Day and Claire Liu. Several second round girls doubles matches were not finished today.

Today at Wimbledon, former UCLA Bruin Dennis Novikov picked up his second ATP tour-level win, with a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 victory over fellow qualifier and 2011 Wimbledon boys champion Luke Saville of Australia. Oddly enough, Novikov's first ATP tour-level win came way back in 2012, when, with the wild card he earned as the Kalamazoo champion, the 22-year-old beat Jerzy Janowicz of Poland in the first round at the US Open. He plays No. 31 seed Joao Sousa of Portugal on Thursday.  Novikov joins Sam Querrey(28), Jack Sock(27) and Steve Johnson in the second round with Donald Young and John Isner(18) not yet finished with their first round matches.

Danielle McNamara returns to Yale
In college tennis news, Danielle McNamara has returned to Yale as the women's head coach, after one year at Texas in 2014-15.  She was head coach at Yale from 2006-14. For more on her return, see the Yale website.

Monday, June 27, 2016

US Open National Playoffs Complete

I begin my travels to Europe today, so this is an early post.  Below are all the sectional winners of the US Open National Playoffs who have qualified for the National Playoffs at the Connecticut Open in late August.  The national winners of the men's and women's singles receive qualifying wild cards to the US Open; the national winners of the men's, women's and mixed doubles competition will receive main draw wild cards to the US Open. Links to the draws of all the sectional events can be found here. My coverage of the Midwest section's competition for the Tennis Recruiting Network is here.

See Bobby Knight's College Tennis Today chart for the college affiliations(if any) of all the sectional champions.  Also follow College Tennis Today for updates on this week's USTA Pro Circuit events, which include the men's $10,000 Pittsburgh Futures, the men's $25,000 Wichita Futures, and the women's $25,000 tournament in EL Paso.

Men’s Singles: Tyler Hochwalt 
Women’s Singles: Jacqueline Cako   
Men’s Doubles: Joel Kielbowicz & Matt Seeberger   
Women’s Doubles: Priscilla Annoual & Savannah Slaysman   
Mixed Doubles: Jacqueline Cako & Joel Kielbowicz

Missouri Valley   
Men’s Singles: Eric Quigley
Women’s Singles: Sanaz Marand    
Men’s Doubles: James Cerretani & Max Schnur
Women’s Doubles: Gabriela Porubin & Julia Schiller    
Mixed Doubles: Eric Quigley & Keri Wong

Men’s Singles: Patrick Kawka
Women’s Singles: Ena Shibahara    
Men’s Doubles: Patrick Kawka & Trevor Johnson
Women’s Doubles: Katarina Facey & Alexandra Facey   
No Mixed Doubles competition

Men’s Singles: Terrance Whitehurst
Women’s Singles: Ashley Weinhold    
Men’s Doubles: Philip Bester & Peter Polansky
Women’s Doubles: Ashley Weinhold & Caitlin Whoriskey   
Mixed Doubles: Hunter Reese & Caitlin Whoriskey

Men’s Singles: Shawn Hadavi
Women’s Singles: Julia Elbaba
Men’s Doubles: Vaidik Munshaw & Gustavo Loza
Women’s Doubles: Dasha Kourkina & Michelle Sorokko
Mixed Doubles: Alona Bondarenko & Mykola Dyachok

Southern California:
Men’s Singles: Henry Craig
Women’s Singles: Brynn Boren
Men’s Doubles: Ryan Brown & Joseph Rotheram
Women’s Doubles: Jacqueline Cako & Danielle Lao
Mixed Doubles: Jordan Gobatie & Katsiaryna Zheltova

New England:
Men’s Singles: Cameron Silverman
Women’s Singles: Margaryta Bilokin
Men’s Doubles: Joel Rubio Moreno & Benjamin Collier
Women’s Doubles: Veronica Corning & Meghan Kelley
Mixed Doubles: Ellyse Hamlin & Hleb Maslau

Men’s Singles: Martin Joyce
Women’s Singles: Sara Daavettila
Men’s Doubles: Tyler Barr & Austin Barr
Women’s Doubles: Tracy Kuhle & Danielle Wolf
Mixed Doubles: Caroline Hammond Varga & Christopher Varga

Men’s Singles: Hunter Koontz
Women’s Singles: Nika Kukharchuk
Men’s Doubles: Junior Ore & Hunter Reese
Women’s Doubles: Anastasia Revzina & Alexis Merrill
Mixed Doubles: Lauren Bellinger & Eric West

Men’s Singles: Jesse Witten
Women’s Singles: Eva Raszkiewicz
Men’s Doubles: Rong Ma & Wei Yu Su
Women’s Doubles: Sara Tsukamoto & Diana Wong
Mixed Doubles: Katreina Corpuz & Ikaika Jobe

Middle States:
Men’s Singles: Jose Statham
Women’s Singles: Sophie Chang
Men’s Doubles: Andrei Daescu & Costin Paval
Women’s Doubles: Nika Kukharchuk & Alexandra Perper
Mixed Doubles: Andrei Daescu & Anda Perianu

Men’s Singles: Philip Major
Women’s Singles: Elyse Lavender
Men’s Doubles: Andrew Goodwin & Vikram Hundal
Women’s Doubles: Aryn Greene & Ansley Speaks
Mixed Doubles: Alexandra Anghelescu & Danie van den Heever

Men’s Singles:  Eric Rutledge
Women’s Singles: Fernanda Contreras Gomez
Men’s Doubles: Hunter Johnson & Yates Johnson
Women’s Doubles: Kseniya Bardabush & Aleksandra Malyarchikova
Mixed Doubles: Zach Nichols & Millie Nichols

Men’s Singles: Nick Meister
Women’s Singles: Kelsey Laurente
Men’s Doubles: Nick Meister & Eric Quigley
Women’s Doubles: Alexis Nelson & Anna Sanford
Mixed Doubles: Emina Bektas & Evan King

Northern California:
Men’s Singles: Logan Staggs
Women’s Singles: Sara Choy
Men’s Doubles: Dann Battistone & Brian Battistone
Women’s Doubles: Jada Hart & Ena Shibahara
Mixed Doubles: Kaitlyn Christian & Rudolf Siwy

Sunday, June 26, 2016

17 Americans Begin Play Monday at Wimbledon; Seven of 16 US Juniors Bow Out in Roehampton ITF G1 First Round; Smith Takes Bermuda Grade 5; Norrie, Chang win Pro Circuit Titles

Wimbledon begins on Monday, with 11 American women and six American men taking the courts at the AELTC (weather permitting). The women in action are Nicole Gibbs, Madison Keys(9), Louisa Chirico, Madison Brengle, Varvara Lepchenko, Venus Williams(8), Vicky Duval, Irina Falconi, Shelby Rogers, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Samantha Crawford. The US men playing Monday are Sam Querrey(28), Denis Kudla, Jack Sock(27), Bjorn Fratangelo(Q) and Brian Baker.  I am heading to Europe Monday, and will be taking a short vacation in Germany prior to covering the Wimbledon Juniors, so I will not be able to monitor the results as closely as I usually do for a slam when I'm at home and at my computer.  I hope to post with updates on the Roehampton ITF Grade 1, the Wimbledon Junior qualifying and any big college coaching news, but I will not be able to follow the Pro Circuit here in the US like I've been doing the past few weeks.

The Roehampton tournament, which ends on Friday so that the Wimbledon Junior Championships can begin on Saturday, started today, with several seeds falling at their first grass hurdle, including both No. 3 seeds who were this year's French Junior finalists.  The boys No. 3,  Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada, lost to Great Britain's Ryan Storrie 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 and Amanda Anisimova fell to lucky loser Ida Jarlskog of Sweden 6-2, 6-1.  No. 11 seed Benjamin Sigouin of Canada was beaten by former junior No. 1 Casper Ruud of Norway 6-3, 6-2, avenging a loss suffered on clay to Sigouin at the Eddie Herr last December, and No. 8 seed Genaro Olivieri of Argentina lost to Alistair Gray of Great Britain 6-4, 6-2. US boys advancing were No. 2 seed Ulises Blanch, No. 14 seed John McNally and qualifier Gianni Ross. Sam Riffice, JJ Wolf and qualifiers Vasil Kirkov and Trent Bryde suffered first round losses today.

In addition to Anisimova, five other girls seeds were beaten in today's first round. Taylor Johnson defeated No. 10 seed Yuki Naito of Japan 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(6), with Switzerland's Ylena In-Albon beating No. 12 seed Katarina Zavatska and Argentina's Maria Carle downing No. 16 seed Panna Udvardy of Hungary 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4. Wild card Ali Collins of Great Britain beat No. 11 seed Kaja Juvan of Slovenia 7-5, 6-3 and Ludmilla Samsonova of Italy defeated No. 13 seed Mai Hontama of Japan 6-4, 6-4.

Michaela Gordon, Claire Liu, Kayla Day(5) and Maria Mateas join Johnson in the second round, with Alexandra Sanford and Morgan Coppoc losing their openers today.  Mateas was scheduled to play No. 2 seed and French Open girls champion Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland in the first round, but instead got a lucky loser, Daniela Vismane of Latvia.  No. 7 seed Sonya Kenin will have to finish her first round match with Tatiana Pieri of Italy on Monday, the only first round match that wasn't completed today.

At the ITF Grade 5 in Bermuda, top seed Alana Smith, 16, won her first ITF singles title, defeating qualifier Christina Sisti 6-4, 6-4 in the final. No. 8 seed Blaise Bicknell lost in the boys final to Santiago Hinojosa of Mexico 6-4, 6-2.   Robert Hammond won the boys doubles title, partnering El Salvador's Alexander Rushin for a 6-1, 6-4 win over Andy Sun of Canada and Marcus Ferreira. In the girls doubles final, No. 4 seeds Lucia De Santa Ana of Uruguay and Marina Figueiredo of Brazil defeated Sisti and Michelle Sorokko 2-6, 6-3, 10-2.

Cameron Norrie, the TCU rising junior, won the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Tulsa today, defeating 35-year-old Ryan Haviland 6-1, 6-1 in less than an hour.  It is Norrie's second Futures title, with the 20-year-old, who plays under Great Britain's flag, winning a $15,000 Futures last fall in Texas.

At the women's $25,000 event in Baton Rouge, Valeria Solovyeva of Russia won her second title since May, beating Jennifer Elie 5-7, 6-3, 6-0. Solovyeva, a finalist last week in Sumter, will no longer need to qualify for events at this level after less than two months of playing them.

No. 2 seed Kaichi Uchida of Japan won the Rochester $10,000 Futures event, the third singles title of his career, beating Juan Benitez Chavarriaga of Colombia 6-4, 6-4 in the final. The doubles title went to top seeds Hans Hach of Mexico and Gavin van Peperzeel of Australian, who beat No. 4 seeds Uchida and Damon Gooch of South Africa 7-6(5), 6-2. 

In the $25,000 Pro Circuit event in British Columbia, No. 5 seed Peter Polansky of Canada defeated No. 1 seed Jason Jung of Taiwan 6-1, 6-4 to add the singles title to the doubles title he won yesterday.

Eighteen-year-old Hanna Chang, who has been playing both ITF junior and ITF women's circuit events in the past couple of years, won her first title on the professional circuit at a $10,000 event in Korea. Chang, who was unseeded, beat the top three seeds to win the event, defeating No. 1 seed Ji-Hee Choi of Korea 6-2, 6-3 in the final.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Johnson Claims First ATP Title; 16 US Juniors in Roehampton Grade 1 Main Draw; Reynolds to Lead Auburn Men's Program; TCU's Norrie Reaches Tulsa Futures Final

Steve Johnson at 2014 Winston-Salem Open
Steve Johnson, who won four NCAA team and two NCAA singles titles while at USC from 2008-12, captured his first ATP title today at the rain-plagued tournament in Nottingham, England.  The sixth-seeded Johnson, who had reached one ATP final previously at last fall's event in Vienna, defeated No. 2 seed Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 7-6(5), 7-5. Johnson had won in Nottingham in 2013 when it was a Challenger, not an ATP 250, and that win resulted in a Wimbledon wild card. For more on Johnson's breakthrough, see the ATP website.

The ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton begins on Sunday, with nine US girls and 7 US boys in the main draw.  The four US boys that played the LTA Junior Challenge Trophy in Nottingham: JJ Wolf, Sam Riffice, Ulises Blanch and John McNally, are competing, with Blanch the No. 2 seed and McNally the No. 14 seed. Gianni Ross, Vasil Kirkov and Trent Bryde all qualified with wins today.  World junior No. 1 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece is the top seed.

Three US girls are seeded, No. 3 Amanda Anisimova, No. 5 Kayla Day and No. 7 Sonya Kenin. All three played in the Four Grand Slam Nations Challenge in Eastbourne, as did Alexandra Sanford and Claire Liu, also in the Roehampton draw. Michaela Gordon, Morgan Coppoc and Maria Mateas are also competing in the only European warmup event for juniors on grass. World junior No. 1 Olesya Pervushina of Russia is the top seed, with French Open girls champion Rebeka Masarova seeded second.

Shortly after I went to bed last night (trying to get a head start on adjusting to European time), Auburn announced it had hired Bobby Reynolds to head its men's tennis program, replacing the retiring Eric Shore.  Reynolds had been John Roddick's assistant at Oklahoma last year, his first in college coaching. Last year at Kalamazoo, I spoke to Reynolds, a former star at Vanderbilt, about his return to college tennis for this Tennis Recruiting Network article.

The singles finals are set at this week's Pro Circuit events.

At the $25,000 women's tournament in Baton Rouge, Jennifer Elie will take on Valeria Solovyeva of Russia.  Solovyeva, who reached the final last week in Sumter, received a special exemption into the main draw this week, and today defeated top seed Riko Sawayanagi of Japan 6-2, 6-3. Elie got by Raveena Kingsley 6-4, 6-2.

Lauren Herring and Ellen Perez, who had to qualify for the main draw, won the doubles title, beating No. 2 seeds Jamie Loeb and Ingrid Neel 6-3, 6-3.  Herring, who graduated from Georgia in 2015, and Perez, a rising junior there, lost their only set of the tournament in that qualifying match.  It's Herring's first pro doubles title and Perez's second.

At the $25,000 Futures in Tulsa, TCU rising junior Cameron Norrie of Great Britain will face Ryan Haviland in Sunday's final.  Norrie defeated No. 3 seed Tennys Sandgren 6-2, 1-0 retired, while Haviland put an end to the run of Georgia rising junior Paul Oosterbaan 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.

In the semifinals of the $10,000 Rochester Futures, Juan Benitez Chavarriaga of Colombia outlasted No. 7 seed Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-5.  Benitez Chavarriaga will play No. 2 seed Kaichi Uchida of Japan, who beat wild card Thai Kwiatkowski 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.

The $25,000 Futures in British Columbia will feature top seed Jason Jung of Taiwan against No. 5 seed Peter Polansky in Sunday's final. Jung defeated No. 4 seed Finn Tearney of New Zealand 7-5, 6-1, while Polansky eliminated Ray Sarmiento 6-4, 6-4 in today's semifinals. Top seeds Polansky and Philip Bester won the doubles title last night, beating former Illinois teammates Tim Kopinski and Farris Gosea 7-6(2), 6-2.