Thursday, August 6, 2009

Kalamazoo Preview; Sundling & Nguyen Top 18s Doubles Seeds; US Girls Reach World Junior Final; Southern vs. Texas in Girls 18 Team Final

Kalamazoo was jumping today, with players everywhere--practicing, registering, checking out the draw board and match times, eating blueberries and frozen yogurt. My annual Kalamazoo preview was posted today at the Tennis Recruiting Network, and as usual, it's less a prediction than a review of how the top seeds have performed over the past two months, or as the British would say, who is in form.

Pam Shebest, who has covered the Kalamazoo Nationals for 25 years for the Kalamazoo Gazette, is retiring from the paper after this year's tournament (although I expect she'll be back in some capacity in 2010), did a feature story on No.2 seed Chase Buchanan for this year's tournament supplement. She also looked back on her 25 years in the media center at the top level of the famous Kalamazoo Tower overlooking the Stowe Stadium courts in this story.

The boys 18s doubles draws are always eagerly awaited, because the top-seeded team is invited to play against the professionals in the tournament's Friday night exhibition. This year that honor goes to Daniel Nguyen and JT Sundling, who won the 16s doubles crown two years ago and were semifinalists last year in the 18s. The second seeds are Matt Kandath and Ryan Lipman, third are Jordan Cox and Raymond Sarmiento and fourth are Buchanan and Jarmere Jenkins. For complete draws and all 16 seeds, see ustaboys.com.

The finalists in ITF World Junior 14-and-under competition in the Czech Republic are set, and the U.S. girls will be going for their third straight title after a 2-1 win today over Japan. They will play the host country, who upset the top-seeded Russian team, also 2-1. The boys title will be decided between Spain and Portugal. For more on today's semifinals, see the ITF junior website (there is a typo in the first paragraph saying that the final is between Argentina and Spain).

Although the scores are not posted on the TennisLink site, I understand that it will be Texas vs. Southern in the final of the USTA 18 girls team championship tomorrow. (Update--7am Friday: TennisLink is showing that Florida won the semifinal over Texas, but I believe there is an error in one of their winners).