USTA Announces US Open National Playoffs; Little Change in Campbell ITA Team Rankings; Dolehide Wins Dow Corning Wild Card
The USTA made a big splash today with the announcement that a National Playoff will decide one of the wild cards into the qualifying for the U.S. Open. This is being compared to the tournament structure that allows amateurs to compete for a spot in the USGA's US Open golf tournament, but it's actually even more "open." In golf, you must have a low handicap to compete, but the USTA is advertising this as open to everyone 14 years of age and older who is a member of the USTA and has the $125 entry fee. Each section will have a men's and women's tournament with up to 256 players, and those winners will meet in a national playoff. Skier Bode Miller has apparently already secured one of the spots, as he is being used as the poster boy for the campaign and golfer Matt Kuchar is also contemplating signing up, although probably not this year, since it is in the middle of the golf season. Registration for some of the sectional tournaments begins February 1.
The USTA makes clear that there is no seeding, so juniors, teaching pros, celebrities, college and Pro Circuit players will all be thrown together regardless of ATP or NTRP ranking. There is no mention of whether there will be chair umpires for the matches, or whether players will call their own lines.
For more information, see usta.com.
The latest Campbell ITA rankings were released today, and there was no movement in either the men's or women's top 10. The Alabama men suffered a dual match loss at Northwestern last weekend and fell from 18 to 25, while the Florida State women lost to the Unversity of South Florida and dropped from 15 to 25. Expect much more movement next week, after the Indoor kickoff weekend. For the complete rankings, see the ITA website.
UCLA recruit Courtney Dolehide of Chicago won the wild card tournament for a qualifying spot in next month's $100,000 Dow Corning Tennis Classic in Midland, Mich. Dolehide beat Vanderbilt recruit Emily Gelber of New York 6-4, 7-6(5) yesterday in Midland to claim one of the 32 qualifying slots.
At the Australian Open, Mitchell Frank and Ester Goldfeld advanced to Wednesday's round of 16, but Madison Keys was defeated. Frank beat Slim Hamza of Tunisia 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 and Goldfeld defeated Mai Grage of Denmark 7-5, 7-5. Keys was down 3-0 in the opening set to No. 16 seed and US Open girls finalist Yana Buchina of Russia but took six straight games to claim the first set. She couldn't keep that momentum going however, and lost 7-5, 6-2 in the final two sets. From the statistics, it looks like both girls had trouble with their serves, with Keys committing 10 doubles faults and Buchina 15.
Goldfeld and Keys have reached the quarterfinals in the girls doubles, after a second straight victory in a match tiebreaker.
The top seeds in each division, Daniel Berta and Timea Babos, moved on, and Babos is the sole seed remaining in the top half of the girls draw. The Australian boys wild cards have done very well, with three of them, including Sean Berman, reaching the round of 16. Sweden's Kalle Averfalk is sole qualifier remaining in the boys draw (not including Berta, of course), and on Tuesday he eked out a 4-6, 7-5, 8-6 win over Dominik Schulz of Germany. Schulz was down 5-1 in the final set, brought it all the way back to 5-5, saved multiple match points, but ultimately was broken serving at 6-7.
All of the Australian wild cards are gone from the girls draw, but one qualifier remains, Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic, the twin sister of No. 6 seed Karolina Pliskova, who also has advanced to the round of 16.
For complete draws, see the Australian Open website.