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Friday, January 22, 2010

Americans Sweep Teen Tennis Titles in UK; Harman Compares Tomic to Murray; Curtis Tribute; Australian Jr. Draw Released


Florida's Stefan Kozlov and California's Gabrielle Andrews won the Aegon Junior International Teen Tennis singles championships today in Bolton, England. The unseeded Kozlov, who turns 12 next month, defeated No. 15 seed Thomas Brechemier of France 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in the final. Seeded 16th, Andrews, the girls 14s Winter National Champion, beat top seed Brooke Austin of Indianapolis 2-6, 6-0, 6-3, to give the U.S. its second consecutive title girls title. As I mentioned yesterday, Andrews and Austin won the girls doubles championship. Andrews and Kozlov join the list of champions that includes Andy Murray, Kim Clijsters, Dinara Safina and Justine Henin. (Thanks to this article for that bit of information).

Next up for all three players is Les Petits As, in Tarbes France, the crown jewel of the international 14-and-under indoor events. In addition to Andrews, Austin and Kozlov, there will be nine other Americans competing: Taylor Townsend, Alexandra Stiteler and wild card Christina Makarova in the girls main draw; Tommy Paul, Noah Rubin and Spencer Furman in the boys main draw; Dennis Uspensky in the boys qualifying; and in the wheelchair competition, Mackenzie Soldan and Dylan Levine. Qualifying begins on Saturday. For the qualifying draws, see lespetitsas.com.

Neil Harman of the Times sees resemblances to Andy Murray in the game of Bernard Tomic, with this assessment:

Watching the 6ft 4in Tomic play Cilic, of Croatia, one could not help but see in the lad all the gangly promise, the innate sense of court and strategy, the fleetness of foot, the ability to change the pace of a match that had been bountiful in Murray’s teenage years. Tomic, good to know, was kicking himself for losing 6-7, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, especially for squandering three chances for a 5-3 lead in the final set.

Those who have known me since I first started covering international junior tennis back in 2004 when Tomic won the Eddie Herr and Junior Orange Bowl 12s, know that I have always been impressed by the Australian's game. And although I believe that Andy Murray has much better footwork, I haven't seen anything from Tomic since then that convinces me I should jump off his bandwagon now.

For a dissenting opinion on Tomic and the other young players at the Australian Open, see the Week 1 grades from Tennis.com's Tom Perotta.

Dave "The Koz" Kozlowski was the master of ceremonies at the Bobby Curtis retirement celebration at the USTA Florida section's annual meeting last month in Clearwater, Fla. The many tributes to Curtis from his friends and colleagues in the tennis community, as well as remarks from Curtis himself, can be found in about halfway through Kozlowski's production at indietennis.com.

The boys draw has been released at the Australian Open, and probably by the time most of you read this, the girls draw will also be out. Mitchell Frank and Nick Chappell are the sole U.S. boys in the draw, although Sean Berman is listed as from the USA, despite playing under the Australian flag in men's AO qualifying.

I'll have more on the Australian Open juniors in tomorrow's post.

The draws can be found at the Australian Open website.


5.0 Player said...

I TOTALLY disagree with Neil Harman's assessment that Tomic is "fleet of foot" like Andy Murray. Tomic has fantastic hands but he is a shockingly slow mover. In fact, I am always amazed how he overcomes his slowness with his great hands, positioning, instincts, etc...but fleetness of foot goodness no!!