College Success at US Open; More on Ailing U.S. Tennis, McHale Prepares for Sharapova; Harrison and Van't Hof Upset Six Seeds in Men's Doubles
I took most of the day off, not from tennis, but from the live streaming on usopen.org, so I could work on my US Open Junior preview for The Tennis Recruiting Network, which will be published Friday.
There were a few interruptions, as there always are, and one of them was a pleasant one. Joshua Rey, whom I worked with at the Orange Bowl two years ago when he was writing the releases for the USTA, was hired to help at usopen.org, and his story "The Road Less Traveled," about the success of college players at this year's Open, is a must-read. He talks to Jesse Witten, Jesse Levine, Benjamin Becker and James Blake about the college option. The most surprising and gratifying aspect of the story? That it's been the Most Popular story on the website all day today. The powerful combination of good writing and alumni, I'm guessing.
The New York Times had Greg Bishop look into the state of men's tennis in the U.S., and he talked with Patrick McEnroe and Justin Gimelstob for this story. Perhaps not surprisingly, I agreed much more with McEnroe than Gimelstob. One paragraph that really bothered me was this:
Gimelstob said that putting players like Buchanan in this tournament does a double disservice, hindering their development and reinforcing the notion that young Americans cannot compete in the Open.
I'm not clear on how Buchanan's development was hindered by getting an up-close view of the world's seventh-ranked player, six years his senior, who did not put together all the elements of his game until he was 22 years old. I don't even understand what that second part means. Ban all wild cards under the age of 21 because they will probably lose? It would be nice if all wild cards could be guaranteed the draw he got as the 1995 Kalamazoo winner, when he beat the No. 65th ranked player David Prinosil, although he did little better than Buchanan against No. 13 Richard Krajicek in the second round.
If I'm missing something there, please let me know. It's possible I'm just too attached to the long wild card history of the Kalamazoo tournament, but there's one thing I'm certain of. The oft-stated goal of getting the best juniors together to compete happens regularly only once a year, and that's at Kalamazoo, solely because of the US Open main draw wild card.
Christina McHale faces Maria Sharapova under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium Thursday, pretty much akin to the Devin Britton - Roger Federer scenario Monday afternoon. For a story on her preparation for the occasion, see this from rivals.com. McHale and Asia Muhammad, the 18s doubles champions, played their first round match today, losing to top seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber 6-2, 6-1.
I did do some scoreboard watching this afternoon, and was surprised to see that the wild card team of Ryan Harrison and Kaes Van't Hof had taken the first set from the No. 6 seeded Polish team of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski. They lost the second set in a 12-10 tiebreaker, and squandered a break in the final set, but the 2008 Kalamazoo doubles champion and the 2008 NCAA champion won the final two games to complete the 6-3, 6-7(10), 7-5 upset.
For complete draws, see usopen.org. For additional coverage see College Tennis Examiner.