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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Media Training; Four Americans in Les Petits As Quarterfinals; AO Junior Update

My weekly article for the Tennis Recruiting Network is one I had wanted to write, but until I heard about the media training the USTA had done for the juniors in Boca Raton, I wasn't able to figure out the proper framework. Although I wasn't at the training, the accounts I heard made me wish all juniors could participate in a similar session; for obvious reasons, I have a vested interest in effective communication between players and reporters. The important part is providing the players with an idea of what's expected of them and why, and I hope this article helps do that.

The quarterfinalists have been decided at Les Petits As in Tarbes, France, and the United States has two boys and two girls still vying for the prestigious 14-and-under titles. Top seed Brooke Austin was upset in the second round, but wild card Christina Makarova and Teen Tennis champion Gabrielle Andrews, the second seed, are in the final eight. After her 6-2, 6-1 win today over No. 3 seed Valeria Patiuk of Israel, Makarova plays No. 8 seed Kanami Tsuji of Japan on Friday. Andrews' opponent in the quarterfinals is 2008 Junior Orange Bowl 12s winner Indy de Vroome of the Netherlands, who has won two ITF Grade 4 events already this month. Neither has lost a set this week, so it has the makings of a great match.

On the boys side, Teen Tennis champion and No. 4 seed Stefan Kozlov lost in the third round, but unseeded Spencer Furman and No. 12 seed Noah Rubin advanced to quarterfinals with wins today. Rubin, who has lost only seven games in three matches, plays qualifer Joshua Sapwell of Great Britain, while Furman is up against No. 2 seed Borna Coric of Croatia. With top seed Gianluigi Quinzi losing today, Coric is now the favorite for the title.

Neither of the two boys teams is still alive in the doubles, but two girls teams have reached the semifinals. Taylor Townsend and Alexandra Stiteler of the U.S., who lost to Andrews and Austin in the Teen Tennis final, could earn another shot at their teammates if both win on Friday.

For complete draws, see the tournament website.

In the Australian Open junior championships, there are some relatively unknown names in the semifinals, especially in the girls draw. Laura Robson, is not, of course, one of the unknowns, and she easily dismissed unseeded American Ester Goldfeld 6-1, 6-0 on Thursday. Qualifier Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic, who saved match points in her 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 upset of top seed Timea Babos of Hungary on Thursday, will need to beat Robson to record her eighth victory of the tournament. Her twin sister Karolina, the No. 6 seed, has yet to drop a set this week, defeating Eddie Herr champion and No. 3 seed Daria Gavrilova of Russia 6-1, 7-5 Thursday. She will meet unseeded Hao Chen Tang of China, who undoubtedly inspired by Jie Zheng and Na Li, downed No. 5 seed Silvia Njiric of Croatia 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. The 15-year-old Tang lost in the second round at the Eddie Herr and in the first round of the Orange Bowl (to Robin Anderson) after qualifying, so she has to be pleased with her current form.

For more on the Pliskova sisters, see the ITF junior website.

On the boys side, wild card Sean Berman reached the semifinals with a straight set win over No. 10 seed Guilherme Clezar of Brazil. Berman's nationality is something of puzzle right now, as the ITF site (see article above) continues to refer to him as American, while the Australian Open site has him firmly under the Australian flag. Berman meets No. 6 seed and Eddie Herr finalist Marton Fucsovics of Hungary in the semifinals, while No. 14 seed Tiago Fernandes of Brazil faces No. 2 seed and Orange Bowl champion Gianni Mina of France.

For complete draws, see the Australian Open website.


A thought.... said...

Can someone please remove martina navratilova from the commentating booth. She is one of the best ever on the court and one of the worst ever in the booth.

eric said...


tennisfan said...

Totally disagree!! She is the best!!

Tennis Knowledge said...

Totally agree that she was great on the court and is the worst in the booth. Wish she would be quiet during the play of a point.