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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Embree Wins French Wild Card; Ojai Recap, More on NCAA Committee's Decision to Ship Ole Miss and Baylor Out

For those of you who missed my tweet earlier today, Lauren Embree will be going to Roland Garros a couple weeks earlier than she had planned. The 18-year-old from Marco Island, Fla., defeated Nicole Gibbs 6-3, 7-6(2) in today's final at Boca West Country Club. Embree, who won the 18s Clay Courts in Memphis last year, had planned on playing the junior championships in Paris, but she'll need to be there at least a week early to take her spot in the main draw. It will be her debut in a WTA tournament.

For those who have waited patiently for a recap of the tournament last weekend in Ojai, it's finally here. (The Big Ten tournament disrupted my normal schedule of following tournaments this year). Every year at the Easter Bowl, I hear from officials who are going to work there what a great event it is, and how I should stay to cover it. Three weeks in California is a bit more than I can handle financially right now, but Ojai has a prominent place on my tennis "bucket list," believe me.

Top seed Lester Cook won the men's Open, defeating No. 2 seed Cecil Mamitt in the final. No. 4 seed Pamela Montez, who will be starting at UCLA in the fall, won the women's Open, over former USC player Maureen Diaz, the No. 2 seed. The Ventura County Star had this story about those matches.

In the Pac-10 individual championships, Stanford freshman Bradley Klahn was the big winner, taking the singles and doubles titles. Klahn beat USC's Steve Johnson in the final, having upset USC's Robert Farah in the semifinals, while Johnson upset Klahn's teammate Alex Clayton in their semifinal encounter. Klahn and Ryan Thacher defeated UCLA's Eugen Bradzil and Michael Look in the doubles final. USC senior Amanda Fink also swept both titles, defeating Arizona freshman Natasha Marks in the singles, then teaming with Gabriela Niculescu to post a victory over Arizona State sisters Laila and Nadia Abdala for the doubles crown. The Ventura County Star had this story about the Pac-10 finals.

Please visit the TennisLink site for all the Open and Pac-10 results.

In the juniors, Marco Giron won the Southern California CIF, beating Clay Thompson in the final. The girls 18s winner was Monica Turewicz, the boys 16s winner was Billy Pecor, and the girls 16s winner was Ashley Dai, all No. 1 seeds. The 14s boys title went to Brendan McClain and the girls 14s champion was Sivan Krems. For complete draws, visit the TennisLink site.

For the Small College results, go to this TennisLink site.

The NCAA no doubt wishes this seed=hosting controversy would just go away, but I've been assured by several coaches that it won't, and discussions will continue in College Station.

Lest the tennis committees think that all the complaints are coming from interested parties, there are these two examples. The Idaho Statesman recognizes that this decision is a blow to the whole sport, and understandably speculates that Boise State will never host a regional given the current NCAA thinking.

And even LSU men's coach Jeff Brown, the beneficiary of the decision to send No. 2 seed Ole Miss to his school, questions the fairness of the committee's move.

Obviously, this is unfair to Ole Miss. I can empathize with them. It's unbelievable what they've achieved in our league. I can only imagine how I would feel if we had done everything they've done and then have this happen.
For the complete story, entitled "Common Sense Took a Vacation," see the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

19 comments:

scott said...

Great for Embree. I hope she still plans on going to college. I've heard she is set in her ways to do so, but you just never know.

get real said...

I am very dissappointed in the results of Embree winning. It should have been a bigger field of players to play. I cannot believe she will be representing the U.S. Sloane must had a bad day. Would have rather seen her or a player that plays like her.

.. said...

Haha wow get real I can't believe you just said that .Lauren embree was the best claycourt player at that tournament ..and the best competitor.. its nota suprise to me that she won ...she may not have the hitting capability of a Sloane or some one like her but she has a brain ...she is going to college but she still puts her self out there everytime and never gives up ..she has the best results out of all the players who played that tournament ..I'm happy she won it.

bullfrog said...

USTA is not making good use of these wildcards. It's a nice vacation for someone, but they don't really have a good chance to be competitive and really learn/gain significantly from the experience. In fact, getting stomped on a big stage is not usually too inspiring. I hope I can eat my words later.

get real said...

said,

If she is already planning to go to college, why not give the wild card to an aspiring pro. I think by going to a event like this, getting there is not what its about, showing up and doing something with it. She would have no shot against players like Safina, Williams ect. She is a great junior, but it stops there. I wish her the best, but i am more realistic and i am already embarrassed for her. Sloane, Coco, they have been playing pro events. I think they have a bigger shot. This is my opinion. I am not dissing Embree as a person bt on a pro level, not happening in my eyes.

justthefacts said...

"get real"..if Sloane or Coco or any of the other girls with big games that are high on your list..if they cannot get past the Embree's of the world, then maybe they should plan on College as well.

10ss said...

Saw the mens open draw at ojai, happy to see kearny, hardy, and sundling making quarters with some good wins on the way. Representing southern california section.

get real said...

justthefacts,

They are aspiring pros from what i have gather. Maybe you are right, maybe they will eventually end up in college, nothing wrong with that. But, i think they have a better shot than embree, i am not impressed with retrievers, she does have a head and wheels. Not a big enough game. i am very biased and love the faster,bigger,stronger players.

Austin said...

Anyone know whats up with Kearney and Hardy? Obviously neither are going back to UNC, but what are their plans? Kearney may have some legal issues still pending I suppose that dictate what he can do.

socalfan said...

Don't know about Hardy , but Kearney supposed to have a pending trial ? Is he off the hook ?

Stanford93 said...

I think there's merit to what getreal said.

Embree hung tight and won (she didn't dominate). Good for her but I think we all know that at the next level up the girl who grinds wont be going as far as the girl who can grind with power. Jankovic is an exception but she's an exceptional athlete and only lacking in power when compared to other top level pros.

True that the best player should win BUT a wildcard would be way more beneficial to the girls who are actually on the pro tour or heading there rather than someone who is going to college? They are the ones who'll be in our Fed Cup team in the next few years and they are the ones who'll be trying to make a living on the circuit. Why not give them a head start instead of rewarding someone who will be out of commission for the next four years? That might be unfair to Embree and others like her (college bound players) but should that matter? Shouldn't we be doing what is best for US tennis?

markus said...

Totally agree. I also think that one-time tournament is not a best way to select the recipient of the WC, as this reminds my of the olympic trials where the team members are determined by a single 'snapshot in time' and not by best overall performance and chances to deliver gold.

Colette Lewis said...

I would like to commend the USTA for holding these tournaments. I think, while perhaps not perfect, this is the best way to distribute wild cards.

Tom C said...

Who decides on who is invited? Why wasn't Melanie Oudin part of the WC process?

A. Meek said...

The result may not be what you want but it is hard to argue with "scoreboard". Why not just give it to the highest ranking player not to make it straight in.

been-there said...

Who is to say that if Embree did well enough that she might not go pro after a year or so of college? Just because she wants a college education and doesn't want to spend her entire life being a teaching pro, she should not get a chance, especially when she won the tournament? Besides it is on clay anyway so those "great power hitting juniors" might not do quite as well as she might. I for one am sick of all these power players who can't move. They do nothing for me compared to someone smart who uses their head.

Yes, they win, but man do I get tired of it. Give me someone with a brain or two. Tennis is supposed to be a chess game, not a WWF battle.

steven s said...

I wish that there was all of a sudden a shortage of Carbon..Titanium..Graphite etc..so much so, that they could no longer construct tennis racquets this way.

Then, tennis could be beautiful again.

BuddhaBill said...

Lauren Embree proved she could outwork, outlast, and outplay any of the players in the clay wildcard event. Period! Two of her opponents defaulted, one the reigning US Open Junior Champion. One thing for sure, Lauren will NEVER default to anyone particularly when so much is on the line! She knows how to handle the pain and grind like no other American female player. And guess what, she is humble and has a brain, that is why she is going to college, an unusual combination today. One of the only kids out there, living her own life,making her own decisions, not having to deal with parents or coaches living vicariously through their kid. Dont be surprised if she makes a great showing.The hardest worker I have ever seen on the court. That is what it takes on the brick dust.She will represent the US honorably and graciously.

SWEEEEET said...

For your info. Thee US Open in Golf, Thee British Open in Golf, all allow any golfer who has a reasonbly low handicap the ability to qualify for their events. Every year,a few amatuers and college players qualify, while some highly world ranked players are outplayed by them in qualifying events. Every year there is a great story told as these worthy contestants fight to make the cut. Some of you want a player with the credentials like Embree to not have this opportunity because she is going to college for........a while? Wow!I can also name about 20 players in the NFL that walked on D 1 college teams with no scolarships. Maybe tennis and those of you jealous of Lauren can learn something about heart and determination from indiduals like her and those sited above.