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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Robson Beats McHale in Australia; Kudla Signs with BEST; Your Match Reports Welcome

In a just-completed first round girls singles match in Melbourne, No. 5 seed Laura Robson of Great Britain has defeated Christina McHale of the U.S. 7-5, 6-3. It's dangerous to speculate without seeing the match, but it's apparent that neither player served well, with nearly as many breaks of serve (10) and holds (11). McHale was serving for the first set at 5-3, but she was broken without reaching set point and went on to lose eight of the next nine games. Serving at 4-2 in the second set, Robson was broken, but McHale couldn't pull even, losing her 3-4 service game and allowing Robson to serve out the match.

With McHale's loss, No. 8 seed Lauren Embree and qualifier Alexandra Cercone, both of Florida, are the only Americans remaining in the junior singles draws.

I heard while in Florida that Denis Kudla had signed with BEST, the sports and entertainment management company, and that has been confirmed with his addition to their junior client list. Lynn Berenbaum of Off The Baseline recently posted about the possibility that BEST, whose most famous U.S. client is Andy Roddick, will be acquired by the French company Lagardere.

Laura Robson is not the only seeded girl that British fans will be following this week in Melbourne, as Eddie Herr finalist Heather Watson is seeded at No. 9, and won her first round match Sunday, a result duly noted by Neil Harman of The Times. Harman speaks with Watson's parents and finds she has received financial sponsorship from online bookmaking group Sportingbet which allows her mother to travel with her. Although Harman may not be aware of the intricacies of NCAA regulations, with that sponsorship, the Bollettieri-trained Watson is no longer eligible for a tennis scholarship that was mostly likely the reason she attracted the interest of what he refers to as "premier American educational establishments."

And for those of you don't read comments regularly, please take a moment to check out Scott's report on the 10th-ranked Florida men's 7-0 win today over No. 7 Baylor. And Andrew D also took the time to comment about some of the junior matches in Australia on Sunday. I really appreciate their efforts, and invite any of you observing live tennis to do the same. If you would prefer to email me rather than using the comment function, please contact me via my profile page.

I would have liked to be watching live tennis myself today, instead of monitoring the Australian Open live scoring, and the match I wish I could have seen was at the Plantation Florida Men's Pro Circuit Futures event. In the third round of qualifying there, Chase Buchanan beat Ryan Lipman 4-6 6-3 7-6(5). For results of all the Pro Circuit events, see usta.com.


tennisjunky said...

Sad to hear that Kulda signed as a pro. Premature at best. What could his coach Frank Salazar possibly be thinking? Kulda lost in the quarters of Casablanca and the finals the next week at the grade 1 in Costa Rica. He has yet to show real dominance in the 18 and under international level. He has yet to do anything really at the pro level to show that he has the goods to really make it. It such a tough leap from top junior to top pro, what can Salazar be thinking. Has he lost all perspective if this is true.

10is said...

i agree tennisjunky. I think kudla should have let his results and his game improve before making that big leap of turning pro. Also i surprised to see some of the other juniors BEST has signed. Johan Skattum, Agustin Velotti, Moos Sporken, Eugenie Bouchard are all either way to young (in my opinion) or in velotti's case not have the results to turn pro.

floridatennis said...


does this mean that Denis gives up any possibility of playing college tennis? didnt that happen w/ marcus Fugate?

tenniz said...

Harrison signed as a pro and he was not very dominant in 18's either. Both Kudla and Harrison reached top 10 in the world, both are same age and gamewise, I would not say that Harrison's is all that more impressive. Nobody questioned Harrison's move.

Another thing is, we really do not know what the terms are under which BEST is naming Kudla on their client list. Would be interesting to find out.

tennisjunky said...

to tenniz

I hope my facts are not wrong but when Harrison was Kulda's age not only had he won a grade A, he also had won a match on the ATP tour, one of the youngest ever to do that. Kudla has not come close to that. About a fourth of Kulda’s ITF ranking is from doubles points, and the singles ITF tournaments that he has have racked up points are not the strong ones. VZ David Souto demolished him in the final of the Costa Rico Bowl and who did play in the semis, Frank Mitchell. He crashed out at the round of 16 at the Yucatan Bowl in November. Chase Buchanan is going to college to develop for a year and he is much stronger than Kulda. I wish him luck but I do think it was a stupid decision.

eric said...

Goodluck to Kudla in the cut throat life in the Pros.

Curious said...

Speaking of not having the goods to turn pro, whatever happened to Maxim Tikhomirov?

tenniz said...

I hope you realize that Kudla is a year younger than Chase Buchanan, who has not really been very strong lately, losing in Eddie Herr way before Kudla got to the semis there. As far as Harrison's results go, he did have to travel as far as Japan to win a sole grade A tournament in his career. I am pretty sure if Kudla covers 10,000 miles to play a grade A somewhere, he will have a grade A win as well. It really matters not, whether you give him a credit or not, but Kudla did not pay anybody to become top ten in the world, he got the old fashioned way. Earned it.

Kudla could have gone to AO, where his rivals would have been Yuki Bhambri, whom he has a win against and Julien Uriquen, whom I believe he has a positive record against (except a loss at Eddie Herr). The way seeds are falling off at AO juniors, Kudla would have a pretty decent chance of winning there.

Lgopner said...

you guys have it all wrong. Denis Kudla is the real deal. Everyone loves to look at the negative and predict another American junior will fizzle to nothing but you are talking about a talented kid with a mind of a Champion with a technical genious of a coach in his corner. Kudla and Salazar are a winning duo. I've seen Kudla grow up over the years and he has been committed since day 1 to being the best. He has passed every test and earned every accolade so give him the respect he deserves because we all will be cheering him on in the near future.
L. Gopner

a Kudla fan said...

When people at the JTCC (Junior Tennis Champions Center), think of Denis Kudla, they think hard worker. He has the one of the greatest work ethics I've ever witnessed in my life. Since he was a little kid he always did the right things. Ate right, worked hard, packed a lunch everyday when kids ordered out. Overall he is the definition of a dedicated athlete. The only thing that is holding him back right now is he is not as strong as the guys out on tour right now. With this guy Greg Petrosian who runs the fitness over there, he will reach his goal within a year. All that is left for him is competing. All this negativity is true, people just love to see Americans fail. Did he sign to early? Who knows. But the coaches over at that facility know what they are doing. They would never put him somewhere unless they know he can make it. When he cracks the top 100, I'm sure all you will feel a slap to the face.