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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Baylor Knocks Off No. 2 UCLA; USC Escapes Wake Forest; Florida Downs UNC

The ninth-ranked Baylor women defeated No. 2 UCLA 4-3 this afternoon in Los Angeles, their second win in as many days over their Pac-10 hosts. In a 5-2 win over USC on Tuesday, the Bears won the doubles point. They lost it today, but led by Lenka Broosova's comeback at court No. 1, they edged past UCLA. Clinching the match was Taylor Ormond at No. 3 singles, who less than two weeks ago lost a set and two-break lead against Michigan's Whitney Taney at No. 5 singles, giving the Wolverines a 4-3 win.

Ormond also won the first set today against UCLA's Noelle Hickey, a transfer from Georgia Tech, and despite losing the second, the similarities with the Michigan match ended there. Shortly after Broosova had posted a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Yasmin Schnack at No. 1, Ormond finished off Hickey 6-2, 2-6, 6-3. Earlier Karolina Filipiak and Nina Secerbegovic had recorded the Bears other two singles wins at the No. 5 and No. 2 positions. For complete results, see the UCLA athletic website.

Across town, the third-ranked USC men were challenged by No. 17 Wake Forest, but emerged with a 5-2 win. USC won the doubles point, but in singles the Demon Deacons took four first sets. The Trojans closed out the two matches in which they'd won the first sets, with Steve Johnson at No. 1 and Daniel Nguyen at No. 5 making it 3-0 USC. Wake's Steve Forman took out Robert Farah at No. 2, but in the other three matches that Wake had leads, the Trojans earned splits. So USC needed to win only one of the three third sets, but every match was close. Trojan JT Sundling was unable to hold an early lead against Jason Morgenstern at No. 6. Jaak Poldma fell behind Wake's Jonathan Wolff at No. 3, and USC's Peter Lucassen and Wake's Ian Atkinson were neck and neck. Lucassen ended up being the clincher, taking a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 decision to make it 4-1. Sundling lost to Morgenstern to make it 4-2 and Poldma fought back to force a tiebreaker in the final match. Poldma won it when Wolff was overruled for the fourth time (update/correction: it was Wolff's third overrule, but he had an earlier audible obscenity) and assessed a game penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. For the complete recap of the match see the USC athletic website. (Don't be fooled by the headline--the "breeze" refers to the playing conditions, not the ease of the victory.)

The No. 5 Florida women won a very tightly contested doubles point from No. 4 North Carolina, taking it in a tiebreaker at No. 1, then went on to collect all six first sets in singles. The Gators went on to record an impressive 6-1 victory, and are now unlikely to lose any of the remaining matches on their schedule. For more on Florida's victory, click here.

In Austin, the fifth-ranked Texas Longhorns defeated No. 19 Florida State 6-1. The Texas College Tennis blog was at the match, so I'm sure he'll have coverage on his site. Also, check out his rankings, which are independent of those done by the ITA.

At the BNP Paribas Open today, two U.S. men, Tim Smyczek and Bobby Reynolds, advanced to the main draw. Smyczek easily defeated 18-year-old wild card Filip Krajinovic of Serbia 6-1, 6-0. Reynolds defeated former Texas A&M star Lester Cook 6-4, 7-5.

In women's main draw action this evening, Vania King downed Christina McHale 7-5, 6-3. On Thursday, Ryan Harrison, Sloane Stephens and Michelle Larcher de Brito will play their first round matches.

For complete results and order of play, see the tournament website.


5.0 Player said...


I'm willing to bet that the majority of those who read this blog share my bitter disappointment with the Tennis Channel.

I don't get it. It's called the Tennis Channel but it can't seem to get the most obvious and relevant tennis content day in and day out. It mostly just runs re-runs ad nauseum of past matches.

A perfect example is right now. Indian Wells has started but they are not covering it. Instead they are running re-runs of past matches that they've already run 12 times.

Similarly, Del Ray Beach was going on last week but they only showed the semis and finals and I don't even think those were aired live.

They have all this empty space and free air time to fill but instead of running matches that are going on right now at some of the biggest tournaments, they just leave it blank with re-runs and garbage segments.

The other "programs" they are airing are these stupid celebrity tennis segments that show celebrities playing badly. I am not going to learn anything from hearing about why Dr. Phil or “Brandy” suck at the game.

The channel is based in Las Vegas as I understand it. How difficult would it be for them to just get in a car with some video cameras and drive to Indian Wells to cover it? I'm sure someone will explain that television viewing rights are the problem but how much could Indian Wells or Del Rey Beach charge when this would be bonus revenue for them?! All they would have to do is let the cameras in. They are already expending the costs to run the tournament and so it can't take much in time and expense to simply let the cameras in the door and give them a table and two chairs.

And that slogan "Home of the Slams" is a great idea if it were remotely true. All they mostly get from the slams is tape delayed scraps from ESPN 2. The slogan more apt would be "Home of Slam Leftovers and Reruns that ESPN 2 or the Networks Don’t Want or Already Aired."

Finally, how could they be that stupid to hire Martina Navratilova as one of their primary play by play commentators? She comes off as arrogant as heck and her voice is incredibly shrill, annoying and unpleasant. She doesn't shut up and I know no tennis viewer who enjoys listening to her.

My advice to the Tennis Channel. Tear up your pathetic business model and start over with some obvious and practical ideas.

You're actually hurting the game and pushing viewers like me away. You're destroying whatever brand you have left. Change QUICKLY (read: today) before you’re permanently damaged if this hasn’t happened already.

Not a Tennis Channel Nor a Navratilova Fan said...

I agree with you regarding Navratilova. What I find particularly annoying and absurd is that she judges the present players so harshly (including Agassi on his recreational drug use) as a commentator when it is well documented that she herself was a total "basket case" on the court.

She may be one of the greatest physical players of all time, but even as a grown woman she would burst into tears on the tennis court during her matches and would fall apart. I don’t consider this the mark of a great champion.

One particularly embarrassing incident was that when she was a mature woman and played Tracy Austin, who was only about 16 years old at the time, in the finals of the US Open. Near the end of the match when Navratilova realized that she was probably going to lose the match she started crying with tears rolling down her cheeks and Tracy Austin has even mentioned this in her biography. Navratilova made the 16 year old seem like the mature one and she acted like the baby.

That Navratilova has the gall to judge other players as being weak mentally or not showing guts is simply outrageous and the epitome of hypocrisy. That’s one of many reasons that I can’t stand listening to her commentary.

abc said...

The only thing I disagree with is the "shrill" voice. I think her voice is quite monotone. Otherwise, I completely agree.

5.5 combo player said...

The (not so) funny thing is that we get the worst coverage when the tour hits the US. Some parts of the country don't even get it, while others have the semis & finals tape delayed. What's also crazy is that the European clay season gets the best coverage. They show every center court match each day and it's on all day long. On the other hand, I like listening to Navratilova. I'd rather listen to her and her in-match insights than most of the guys on ESPN. To me, she's the antithesis of Carrillo, who I absolutely can't stand.

you're on the wrong station said...

It's on TV. Indian Wells coverage is available every day on Fox Sports. That is, unless your regional affiliate would rather show other programming.

agree said...

What's unbelievable as well with the Tennis Channel is how it has virtually ignored college and junior tennis. It could have really boosted both of these important segments of the sport, but has had almost zero interest in doing anything with these. The possibilities are endless of what they could be doing with college tennis - a weekly show (like what the Golf Channel has), a match of the week, comprehensive NCAA tournament coverage, a reality show following a team around for a season, etc, etc. What would you rather see - USC vs. UCLA or a tour of tennis in Carmel Valley for the 200th time?
The counter to this is that pro tennis is the way to go, that's where the interest and money is. But as 5.0 points out, that's not what they are showing. If college or junior is getting bounced by wall-to-wall coverage of Indian Wells or another pro event, so be it. But what is getting shown are mindless shows with low production quality and D-list celebrities.

tennissc said...

5.0 Great post, its really sad that this channel has not developed into the Golf Channel of tennis. I'm certain its a budget and money issue. Seems to me you could work with the USTA and the NCAA to promote the sport, showing college matches, having weekly coaches shows and pros from various clubs. This is really what Patrick M should be doing, get someone like Pete S involved. Need some funding and some creativity, shocking that we can't make thsi happen.