Tomic Wins Burnie Title, McHale Makes Fed Cup Debut; DeMars to Retire From South Carolina; Other Pro News
Seventeen-year-old Bernard Tomic won his second professional title Sunday in the $50,000 Challenger in Tasmania, defeating fellow Aussie Greg Jones 6-4, 6-2 in the final. The win boosted his ATP ranking to a career-high of 209, and with an injured Lleyton Hewitt unavailable for Davis Cup in March, Tomic has a good chance of being named to the team, according to this story in the Sydney Morning Herald. Carsten Ball, another Australian Davis Cup possibility, lost to Ryan Sweeting in the $50,000 Dallas challenger final. Sweeting was the defending champion.
Once the U.S. Fed Cup team clinched the victory over France with Melanie Oudin's win over former Clemson standout Julie Coin, Christina McHale got an opportunity to play a dead rubber. Although she lost to Pauline Parmentier 6-4, 6-4, it was a close match, and the chance to perform in that setting was invaluable. Erin Bruehl of usta.com did this lengthy feature on McHale when she was named to replace an injured Shenay Perry. I think McHale is actually a few inches and a few pounds more than the 5-foot-5 and 108 that Bruehl cites, if that matters to anyone. McHale is still an amateur, and intends to retain her college eligibility, but is planning to continue to play the Pro Circuit for another year before making a decision on college. Christina's sister Lauren, who was with her when we talked in Plantation, is planning on joining the North Carolina women's team this coming fall.
The University of South Carolina announced today that men's head coach Kent DeMars will be retiring at the end of this school year. DeMars has coached the Gamecocks for 26 years, winning six conference championships, and was named national coach of the year in 1989. For the complete announcement, see the South Carolina athletic site.
There are no USTA Pro Circuit events on the schedule this week for the men, but the ATP SAP Open in San Francisco has several notable wild cards. One of them, Ryan Harrison, lost Monday night to unseeded Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-2, 7-5; another, Devin Britton, will play No. 4 seed Tommy Haas on Tuesday night. The ATP website had this recent story about Britton facing Haas after having been a ballrunner for a Haas match in Memphis nine years ago. Former Baylor All-American Lars Poerschke, who lost today, also received a wild card.
There are two events this week on the women's side, with the $100,000 Dow Corning in Midland, Mich., and the $25,000 Laguna Niguel in southern California. Main draw wild cards in the Dow Corning went to Jacqueline Cako, Heather Watson, Jamie Hampton and Courtney Dolehide, who originally had won a qualifying wild card in a tournament, but was given a main draw wild card instead. My colleague Josh Rey is doing the publicity for the tournament, and you can find his always excellent coverage at usta.com.
In California, the qualifiers are still unknown, but the draw has been released, with wild cards going to Elizabeth Lumpkin, Kaitlyn Christian, Ellen Tsay (they play each other in the opening round) and two-time NCAA finalist Lindsey Nelson, who won hers in a tournament. Nelson has drawn unseeded Olivia Sanchez of France, who, as a qualifier, won the $25,000 tournament in Rancho Mirage on Sunday, defeating Tadeja Majeric of Slovenia 7-5, 6-0.
For complete results and draws, see the Pro Circuit results page at usta.com.