Monday, October 20, 2008

Aubone, Hardenbergh win Pro Circuit Titles; Robson Makes WTA Debut Tuesday


After 23 days in Tulsa this year, I'm certainly feeling comfortable there, but it's good to back in Kalamazoo, even with rain dampening the spirits and bringing down the dramatically colored leaves. I've got a lot of news to catch up on, so stay tuned this week as I work through it all.

Jean-Yves Aubone of Florida State won his second Pro Circuit title Sunday in Louisiana, a $15,000 level event, and I think it clearly demonstrates the level of men's Division I tennis. Aubone, a junior who was ranked 13th in the preseason, lost in the third round of the All-American in Tulsa, to Robert Farah of USC. The following week he wins a pro event over what I would consider a typical field in the U.S. when there is a challenger also on the schedule. If you are playing D-I tennis in a major conference, you are facing competition as least as strong as most $10,000 Futures. Whatever the arguments against college, the level of competition isn't one of them. The Florida State athletic website has this story on Aubone's victory.

Another college website was called into action as qualifier Lindsey Hardenbergh, who is just beginning her college career at Virginia, won the $10,000 event in St. Louis Sunday. The field wasn't particularly strong due to the $50,000 in Lawrenceville and the Pan-American ITF in Tulsa, but even so, Hardenbergh has to be considered a surprise winner. A five-star, not a blue chip, on The Tennis Recruiting Network, Hardenberg failed to win a match in Mobile at the Spring Nationals and at the Hard Courts in Berkeley this summer, but she certainly stepped up her game last week. See this story on the Virginia Cavalier website for more.

See the Pro Circuit page at usta.com for complete draws.

Last week Jacqueline Cako won the Southlake, Texas Pro Circuit $10,000 event, beating Ashley Weinhold in the final. Although she downed one Vanderbilt grad in Texas, Amanda Taylor, Cako couldn't get by another in St. Louis, where Taka Bertrand beat her in the first round. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram covered the tournament, and posted this story on Cako's win, and her plans for the future. It's interesting that she's considering Vanderbilt among her choices for college, if she goes.

Laura Robson plans don't include college, at least not college tennis, as she signed with Octagon several years ago, but the 14-year-old Wimbledon girls champion, now ranked in the 500s on the WTA computers after the obligatory three events, will no doubt get some vocational training in Luxembourg on Tuesday, when she plays in her first tour event. Amelie Mauresmo, a former Wimbledon girls champion, has some advice for Robson in this story by the Telegraph, as does Annabel Croft, the last British girls Wimbledon champion, in this story that appeared in the Times.

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