Harrison, Reynolds Advance at Dallas Challenger; Features on U.S. Juniors Stineman, Watson and Letzt
I watched most of Ryan Harrison's first round match with qualifier Juho Paukku at the $50,000 Pro Circuit T Bar M Challenger in Dallas, thanks to the free live streaming provided by frontrowtennis.com. Harrison took the first set from the 23-year-old left-hander from Finland 6-3 without having to do too much; Paukku made a lot of errors. Near the end of the first set Paukku started to play better, his serve was more effective, and finding his rhythm, he ran out to a 4-1 lead. Radiotennis.com's Ken Thomas, who is doing the play-by-play for some of the matches for Front Row Tennis, stated that Paukku was "in control" of the second set. That control disappeared soon thereafter, with Harrison taking the final five games in a 6-3, 6-4 win.
Thomas talked to Harrison after the match and Harrison said he made an effort to get change the pace once he detected that Paukku's success was related to this groove. Harrison said "the cleaner I hit the ball, the cleaner he hit the ball," so disrupting those rallies were important. Harrison, a wild card, also served well enough to close out both sets with a minimum of fuss. He plays the winner of the Mark Philippoussis - Michael Yani match, which is the feature match this evening.
It was also great to see former Vanderbilt star Bobby Reynolds back on the court after an injury kept him out for seven months. It was an excellent start to his year, as he came back to defeat No. 4 seed Kevin Anderson 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(3). I watched the tiebreaker, and Reynolds was a sure bet if he got a short ball to his forehand. Reynolds plays unseeded Vincet Millot of France in the second round. For complete results, see the T Bar M website.
I ran across three stories today about juniors I've watched play in the past six months. I'll start with the oldest and work my way down. Winnetka's Robert Stineman, who finished sixth last year in the 16s at Kalamazoo, was named the USTA Chicago District Player of the Year. For more about Stineman's accomplishments and training regime, click here.
The Orlando Sentinel published this feature on 14-year-old Stephen Watson, who will now be training at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in Texas thanks to the efforts of local tennis angel Pam Saffran.
And USTA Winter Nationals girls 12 winner Alexandra Letzt of Scottsdale is profiled in this story by the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix.