Friday, July 10, 2009

Stephens Beats Venus in WTT; More NY Buzz Personnel Changes; Rhyne Williams, Jordan Cox and Melanie Oudin Features; Texas Recruiting Classes


As I tweeted earlier today, Sloane Stephens, one of the amateur juniors comprising the World Team Tennis New York Buzz, had a very special moment last night when she defeated Venus Williams of the Philadelphia Freedoms 5-3. The Schenectady Daily Gazette, which has done a great job covering the team, calls it a "pinch-me" win for Stephens, in this article. Madison Keys did not play for the Freedoms, and Christina McHale has still not played for the Buzz, with Mallory Burdette helping out with doubles last night against the formidable pairing of Williams and Lisa Raymond. Alex Domijan also won his singles match, beating Australian Nathan Healey 5-3.

The Buzz play the Kansas City Explorers tonight, with Jack Sock joining the team as a substitute for the injured Evan King. Ryan Lipman will then take King's place on the roster for the remainder of the season.

At the Pittsburgh Futures, lucky loser Blake Strode and wild card Steve Johnson have advanced to the semifinals. Strode defeated Matt Kandath in today's quarterfinals and Johnson took out Austin Krajicek. Krajicek has reached the doubles final however, with 2007 singles champion Rhyne Williams. Williams is the subject of this story in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. According to the reporter, Karen Price, Williams is now being coached by former USTA national coach Martin Van Daalen. Williams lost to Matej Bocko of Slovakia in today's quarterfinals.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution had two tennis stories today: one about Melanie Oudin, which mistakenly says that she is the youngest player in the WTA Top 100 (she is second, behind Michelle Larcher de Brito). The reporter has acknowledged the error, and I assume a correction will follow. The other is a short feature on Wimbledon junior finalist Jordan Cox.

The Texas College Tennis blogger, who will be revealing his identity in a few weeks in an interview I'm doing for the Tennis Recruiting Network, reviews the 2009 men's recruiting classes of Texas A & M and Texas in this post today.

Finally, I get a lot of questions on where I'll be in upcoming weeks and months, so I've installed a calendar in the sidebar that provides that information. As soon as I have firm dates I will update the calendar, but I can't guarantee that it will be 100% accurate at all times.

10 comments:

P_de_Fermat said...

I enjoyed the Rhyne Williams article. Reaching the quarterfinals of a Futures with a nice field is quite an accomplishment. It's nice to hear he is working with Martin Van Daalen as Martin was always a big champion of Rhyne. Martin's comments also provide a nice insight into why Rhyne was so successful as a Junior. Very good stuff Colette! Thanks.

Thomas Johnson and family said...

As someone who attended the match and paid good money for the so called privilege of seeing world-class tennis players fighting for a win let me tell you right now, it sure wasn't a 'pinch me' moment for us. No way! For us it was a gag inducing moment where we saw Venus Williams completely throw her match to a player who was nowhere near capable of winning any other way.

As an African American family who loves tennis we were thrilled to be watching Venus play against someone who might be taking her mantle in the years to come. But we expected to watch a match, not an exhibition and we sure as heck didn't expect to see Stephens handed a pity win.

We will be asking for our money back and expect a full refund.

mOSESmAIMONIDES said...

Rhyne Williams' success shows you don't need weapons to be a good tennis player. Rhyne is like the crafty, veteran pitcher with a 75 mph fastball. He changes spins and speeds and knows how to use the whole court. In short, he knows how to play the game. If he can add just a little more pace and/or heaviness to his ball, he will be a very good college player.

Austin said...

Quarters of a Futures event doesnt mean much.

im just saying said...

Austen, I am new to this, and you were obviously quite good at age 18 to say quarters in a Futures "doesn't mean much". Jordan Cox just reached the finals of the Wimbledon Junior. He has played 7 Futures tournaments this year and has yet to win a main draw match. Devin Britton has played in a total of 9 Futures main draws and has won 2 first round matches. Devin was a finalist at last years US Open Junior and won this year's NCAA singles title but lost first round in the main draw of a Futures the week before winning Roehampton followed by SFs at the Wimbledon Junior. While it "doesn't mean much", it does appear Futures matches can be more difficult to win than the NCAAs and Junior Slams.

tennisjunky said...

To I am just saying...

Agree with you to a point. Success at the next level of tennis is no guarantee. The odds against making it as an ATP pro top 50 are huge. Young, the most touted jr of all time, is still struggling to crack the top 100. Its especially tough for US players becasue of the focus on school, I mean getting through high school istead of hitting 7 hours a day. The USTA needs to support all of the US juniors along the journey instead of focusing on thier favorites, which they stiuyll do. The one US junior male who has had consistent results on every level so far is Harrison, none of the others have come close, and its not a guarantee even for Harrison. All these kids need support and only future results will tell the final story. No one has a crystal ball.

Austin said...

Well when you beat a guy ranked about 950 and then 768 in the world to reach the quarters it isnt that impressive unless maybe if its a 14yr old doing it as opposed to a 17 or 18yr old.

the old pro said...

Austin, I have read your input from time to time. It is always well considered and thoughtful. I wish all of the contributors to these strings of comment would be a little kinder and less harsh to these young men and young women. They are really laying it on the line regardless of their ability or success. Some of their accomplishments may seem minor to you and other readers and, indeed, may be minor. However, I can assure you they are significant to the players who have accomplished them. Colette's columns have continued to improve in regards to both topic and quality. However, sometimes the comment section really detracts from the job she is doing with her reporting.

tennis said...

100% agree old pro

Stephen said...

I heartily agree with the old pro. Winning pro matches is not easy. There are *many* examples of players who had great juniors success, but struggled mightily on the pro circuit.

And regarding whether beating someone ranked #768 or 950 is an accomplishment -- just because a player may not have a high ranking doesn't mean he isn't talented and hungry. Even Pete Sampras and Raphael Nadal had to start somewhere.