February Aces; Orange Bowl Moving to Clay?; Remynse Secures Another 4-3 Win for UCLA Women; Wild Card Tournament for WTA's MPS Starts Friday
The first Thursday on the month is set aside for my look back at the notable performances of the previous month for the Tennis Recruiting Network. February's aces tend to skew toward college players, due to the ITA Indoor, but there were several notable accomplishments by others too.
Thanks to a friend in Florida, this Miami Herald story was in my email box today. I have been hearing since last fall there was a possibility that the Orange Bowl would move from Crandon Park on Key Biscayne back to its previous location: the clay courts at Flamingo Park in Miami Beach. I've never been to that site, so I can't comment on the pluses and minuses of it compared to Crandon Park, but I've spoken with many people who did attend the tournament there between 1947 and 1997. Many of them, including former Orange Bowl champion Jim Courier, told me the buzz generated at Flamingo Park was much greater; the sprawling grounds at Crandon Park are great for a large ATP/WTA combined event like the Sony Ericsson where all the vendors, restaurants, corporate hospitality, etc. have room to accommodate even a sold-out crowd. But there is none of that during the Orange Bowl, so all the space just seems to make it difficult to build any excitement. On the other hand, never discount the advantage of ample free parking, which very few junior tournament venues can offer. From the article, it's difficult to assess the probability of a move, whether to Flamingo Park or elsewhere in South Florida. But I haven't heard too many people who would have strong objections to that happening.
Another installment in one of the biggest rivalries in college tennis, UCLA vs. USC, was contested last night, with both the men's and women's teams meeting in Los Angeles. The visitors won both matches, with the No. 5 USC men defeating No. UCLA 6-1, and the No. 4 UCLA women squeezing past No. 12 USC 4-3. As she had done in last weekend's 4-3 win over Cal, Bruin junior Andrea Remynse withstood the pressure of being the last match on and delivered the win for UCLA. For more on yesterday's match, see the UCLA athletic website.
In another match between Top 20 teams Wednesday, No. 3 Ohio State defeated No. 13 Louisville 5-2. The Buckeyes, who had downed the Cardinals 4-2 last month in the first round of the men's Team Indoor, have now won 98 consecutive home matches.
Tomorrow marks the start of a tournament that will award a qualifying wild card to next month's MPS Group Championships, a WTA event in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Jan Abaza, Brooke Bolender, Kayla Rizzolo, Shelby Rogers and Sachia Vickery are among the juniors scheduled to compete. For the complete field, click here.