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Thursday, October 5, 2006

Surprises in Tulsa

©Colette Lewis 2006
Tulsa, OK--

The first day of the Polo Ralph Lauren All-American Tennis Championships (which I'll shorten to the All-American in my reports) was full of surprises. The weather, which was an unseasonably warm 90+ degrees throughout the pre-qualifying and qualifying, changed dramatically overnight, and the cool cloudy morning left those who had been around all week unprepared. Jackets and warmups definitely came in handy in the first few hours, although by noon, the skies had cleared and the temperature rebounded into the upper 70s.

It wasn't just the weather that was up and down Thursday. Favored players also showed mixed results, with only seven seeds surviving both rounds of singles. Two of the top four seeds--no. 2 Luigi D'Agord of Miami and no. 3 Travis Helgeson of Georgia--were among those eliminated. Barely a game into his first round match with lucky loser Roy Sichel of Charlotte, D'Agord suffered a severe sprain of his left ankle, immediately retiring from the match. He also was unable to compete in doubles, where he and partner Daniel Vallverdu were seeded third.

Helgeson, who transferred to Georgia from Texas this fall, lost more conventionally. Illinois' Ryan Rowe upended his fellow lefthander 6-3, 7-6(3) in the afternoon's second round.

Helgeson was the only member of the Georgia Bulldog contingent to lose on the first day. Top seed and defending All-American champion John Isner won both his matches in straight sets, as did Luis Flores, a nine seed, and unseeded Matic Omerzel.

Rowe is joined in the Round of 16 by teammate Kevin Anderson, a nine seed, while the University of Virginia also had two players survive the long first day--fourth seed and 2006 NCAA runnerup Somdev Devvarman and unseeded Treat Huey. Huey upset seventh seed Jerry Makowski of Texas A & M in the first round.

Denver's Adam Holmstrom took out sixth seed Erling Tveit of Mississippi in the second round, reaching the final 16 in Tulsa for the second straight year.

Fifth seed Arnau Brugues, playing on his home courts, showed just how comfortable he is at the Michael Case Tennis Center, losing only three games in his two wins Thursday.

And speaking of the Case Tennis Center--wow. Not quite five years old, the facility is outstanding, with great spectator viewing on 12 outdoor courts, beautiful indoor courts and a design that emphasizes spaciousness. The lack of shade is being addressed with proposed awnings, the plans for which are on display. I'm now completely spoiled, as there is a separate media room set up (the Tulsa player lounge during the season) which includes internet access and a big screen TV to keep up with the baseball playoffs.

On Friday, two rounds of doubles and one round of singles is scheduled beginning at 10 a.m. central time.

For complete draws see the ITA website.


Anonymous said...

Wow! What a tournament. I would pay to see these college players perform. The competitive spirit of tennis and the next up and coming players are here in Tulsa. Okay that may be a little over the top, but it's still good tennis except all the point penalties. I would like to see them do away with point penalties. It would make the matches a lot more exciting. And cheating too. They sshould do away with overrules. That would be great. And have an inexperienced umpire on every line, just take them off the street and put the umpire striped shirt on and let them call the lines that would be great.

Austin said...

Jerry Makowski seems to be digressing, and why is Lars Poerschke playing a futures instead of this tournament? Where is Kohlleffel and Bruch? And why is James Pade taking a semester off to play futures? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I heard Pade was done at Stanford. He apparently couldn't take being on the same team with Warburg before and now it's Bruch. He's a good kid and I feel bad for him. Good luck on the tour James. You've got game!!!!

Anonymous said...

Kohllefel is collected social security checks in germany. he'll be back when hes needed to win for the team.

Anonymous said...

Matt Bruch left Stanford...turned "pro"

Colette Lewis said...

I have been hearing the rumor about Bruch for months but according to his coaches he is in Palo Alto, in school and practicing

Anonymous said...

Bruch left the futures in California to go back to school as soon as the semester started

Colette Lewis said...

I'm told Kohlloeffel is in school at UCLA this semester, and is expected to play the National Indoor next month in Columbus, where he is the defending champion.

Austin said...

I know he's in school, he said he was done with tennis other than playing college, but it's weird he wasn't at this tourney. Woulda been favorite in singles and possibly doubles.