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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Harrison vs Sweeting; Capra vs. McHale in USTA French WC Finals; Q and A with Patrick McEnroe; Naples ITF; Kudla Update

Two wild cards into the French Open will be decided on Thursday in Boca Raton, with the finals of the USTA's tournament for the reciprocal main draw wild card scheduled for 10 a.m. and noon. Top seed Christina McHale, who won the 2009 Australian Open wild card tournament, will face No. 7 seed Beatrice Capra in the women's morning final, with No. 2 seed Ryan Sweeting playing No. 6 seed Ryan Harrison, who won the USTA's 2010 Australian Open wild card. McHale beat Asia Muhammad 6-4, 6-0 and Capra beat Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-3 in today's semifinals. According to Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald, Harrison was down a set and 4-1 before coming back for a 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 win over top seed Jesse Levine. Sweeting defeated No. 4 seed Alex Kuznetsov 6-4, 7-5. Capra, who turned 18 earlier this month, is certainly the least experienced of the four, but she has been playing well lately and is very good on clay.

These wild card tournaments have previously been conducted in a round robin format, but I think the switch to eight-player fields with single elimination, which I believe is permanent, is more straightforward and therefore preferable. The men's final will be best of five, the women's best of three. Neither will play a third set tiebreaker, to mirror the French Open format.

Sports Business Journal
published an interview today with USTA Player Development General Manager Patrick McEnroe. He talks about his upcoming book, juggling broadcasting and administration, player development goals, Davis Cup, the long season and what players would be good in the booth. Thanks to Global Village Tennis News for the link.

A new ITF Grade 4 event on clay is underway in Naples, Fla., the first of three in the state the next three weeks. Some of the U.S. boys who might have competed were playing for a spot in the French wild card tournament in Boca Raton this week, which may be one of the reasons that only one American player, Hunter Callahan, has reached the quarterfinals. There are five South American players and one from Europe and Asia in the final eight. The girls are doing much better, with seven of the eight quarterfinalists from the U.S.--Mara Schmidt, Aria Lambert, Brooke Bolender, Deborah Suarez, Kaitlin Ray, Lauren Herring and 13-year-old Liz Jeukeng. For complete draws, see the ITF Junior website.

The men's Pro Circuit is now in the midst of its three-week stretch of Florida clay tournaments, with the first this week in Vero Beach. Wild card Nick Chappell and Junior Exempt Mitchell Frank both lost in the first round, but wild card Denis Kudla beat No. 7 seed Phillip Bester of Canada to advance to the second round. Kudla has not played a junior event since winning the Grade A Casablanca Cup in early January. He has been playing Futures instead, and the victory over Bester is his second main draw win in five Future tournaments this year. Kudla is the subject of this feature in the TC Palm, which refers to him as the world 16-and-under champion. There really isn't such a title, but playing No. 1 on the Junior Davis Cup winning team and taking the 16s Orange Bowl championship in 2008 certainly gives him credentials for that unofficial title. Kudla says he hopes to take his ranking from its current 999 up to the 200-300 range by the end of the year.

The conversation between Kudla and his coach Frank Salazar referred to in the article could not have occurred at last year's US Open juniors, because in 2009, Kudla reached the quarterfinals. It was probably in 2008, when he did lose in the first round.


watched it said...

Harrison was down a set and 4-1 and 2 breaks. Its what gives him a better chance than the other Americans right now. He needs to clean up his act a bit but he doesnt quit.

A. Meek said...

Is the French playoff being played on American clay?

Colette Lewis said...

Yes, the green Har-Tru.

Brent said...

watched it - curious what you mean by Harrison 'needs to clean up his act'?

Amtex said...

Pat Mac interviews always depress me. Knowing he is in charge of junior development, with his arrogance and zero track record of ever finding or developing a top player is sad for the future of American tennis. And don't worry about "going there" Pat. Andre's book will outsell your 10000/1 because he dared to tell the truth and has actually accomplished something in tennis. I can't imagine 200 people outside of his friends and family who would care enough to buy his book. I am sorry, both McEnroes acts are old and tired.

watched it said...

Brent, Talking about the negativity with the racket throwing and constant mumbling with some swear words at times. Great fighter but it will keep him from the next level ant time soon if he does not get it under control.

Tennis Guru said...

Once Collette posts something on Patrick McEnroe or Jose Higeuras, there is always an idiot or two who bashes them and they hide with a different name.

I'm sick and tired of the nonsense of Patrick McEnroe. He does ALOT of good for US Tennis. Of course Andre will sell more copies, thanks for pointing out the obvious. At least he is out there trying extremely hard helping ustennis. What are you doing amtex, except criticize?

I beleive Jose Higueras knows alot about coaching. Sure there are other top coaches who have developed players: Robert Vanhof, Rick Macci, Robert Landsdorp, Tarik Benabilis, Pete Fisher, Dick Gould, and Wayne Bryan. Help with others who have developed world-class players. 99.9% of the coaches in this country have NOT developed a world class player.

I think US Tennis is dry right now but with stuff like quickstart and the regional training centers bringing players training together, the USA will be extremely competitive again in a few years.

Actually amtex your posts are getting quite old and tiring.

Texastennismom said...

I must say I also am astonished by McEnroe - Higueras has some very well established coaching credentials, McEnroe has no coaching experience to speak of with anyone and no record as an administrator. Yet he's been paid over $600k/year by the USTA to work part time - it just blows the mind.
My favorite part of this article is the he doesn't want to be "the brother of..." He doesn't owe his career to espn, he owes it to being "the brother of..."! That's why he has the espn gig and all the other gigs. Lol that he won't acknowledge that as if his career is based on his own merit.
I can't imagine anyone having any interest in this book, and Agassi for sure is many times the man in terms of having made his own success (at whatever cost) as a player and now in public service as well as no doubt many times the bookseller.

A. Meek said...

People underestimate Pat McEnroe as a player. He had a SMALL fraction of his brother's skills and still had a pretty solid career. I'm sure no one ever went easy on him because John McEnroe was his brother, quite the opposite probably.

roger said...

no patrick mcenroe never got a wild card into a tour event because of his brother right...

A. Meek said...

Roger, I stand corrected. I forgot that wild cards put you straight into the top 50 in the world.

Tennis champions are produced by obsessed tennis parents, is that who you want in charge of player development?