This is not breaking news. The tournament is held every year, right after Christmas, and every year I forget to check the draws. Usually sometime in January, I read a story that refers to one of the winners; that didn't happen this year until today, when I ran across this Bleacher Report Q and A with Clemson's current No. 1 player, Derek DiFazio of Brooklyn. It's definitely worth reading if you're interested in the non-country club path to Division I college tennis. DiFazio, who says he grew up as a "hustler" and always will be, won the mixed doubles title at the National Open, with 2008 ITF World Junior Champion Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, who is alluded to, but not mentioned by name in the Q and A. (By the way, she is a six-time junior slam finalist; she's won four such titles). The connection between the two is former Clemson coach Chuck Kriese, who has been working with Lertcheewakarn for over a year.
Lertcheewakarn was the second seed in the Women's Open in New York. She reached the semifinals, where she was beaten by 16-year-old Robin Anderson, the No. 3 seed, who just a couple of weeks before had reached the quarterfinals at the Dunlop Orange Bowl. Anderson went on to win the title, defeating 30-year-old Anna Beilen-Zarska, the 12th seed, 6-4, 6-0 in the final.
In the men's draw, unseeded Sean Kelleher won two championships, defeating another unseeded player, St. John's freshman Michael Lampa, 7-6(4), 6-2 in the singles final. Kelleher, who played at William and Mary between 2002 and 2005, is now the head coach of the men's and women's programs at Division III Franklin and Marshall in Lancaster, Pa. He and Franklin and Marshall assistant coach Ben Zink collected the gold ball for doubles. For more on their win, see the Franklin and Marshall website.
Lertcheewakarn collected her second title in the women's doubles. She and 14-year-old Tina Jiang, the top seeds, defeated the unseeded pairing of Nikola Hubnerova and Nicolle Stracar 6-1, 6-4.
For complete draws, see the TennisLink site.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010