Plaza Cup Recap, Slideshow; AO Junior Preview; Wiersholm and Tiafoe Reach Les Petits As Semifinals; ITA Kickoff Weekend Underway
My weekly article for the Tennis Recruiting Network is a recap of the Tennis Plaza Cup and I've also put together the slideshow below. Because there are four different sites including two separate sites for the final day, I wasn't able to cover or photograph the 16s, 12s and girls 14s competition. Although it's a brief trip, I always enjoy south Florida this time of year, and these regional tournaments pack a lot of tennis into three days.
The singles final are set at the Australian Open junior championships, with Monica Puig(5) playing An-Sophie Mestach(2) for the girls title, and Luke Saville facing Jiri Vesely(1). I am hoping to watch the matches live on espn3.com beginning at 9 o'clock this evening. Last year they were streamed there, and tonight's schedule includes a twilight session on Rod Laver, where the girls follow the boys, so I am hopeful. My preview of the finals can be found at the New York Times Straight Sets blog. Onsite coverage of the Australian Open can be found at collegeandjuniortennis.com.
Today at Les Petits As, both No. 1 seeds were toppled in the quarterfinals. Canadian Francoise Abanda fell to No. 6 seed Veronika Kudermetova of Russia 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, while Stefan Kozlov of the U.S. was beaten by No. 5 seed Bogdan Borza of Romania 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(5). Borza will need to get by unseeded American Francis Tiafoe if he is to reach Sunday's final. Tiafoe beat unseeded Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the semifinals. Second seed Henrik Wiersholm had another straightforward victory in the quarterfinals. Wiersholm's 6-2, 6-3 win over unseeded Kenneth Raisma of Estonia is his fourth consecutive straight-set win. Wiersholm will play No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany in the semifinals. Zverev is the younger brother of Top 100 ATP professional Mischa Zverev. Eighth seed Julia O'Loughlin, the only U.S. girl in the quarterfinals, lost to No. 3 seed Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia 6-4, 6-1.
For complete draws, see the tournament website.
The college tennis dual match season begins in earnest this weekend, and I had a nice chat with Granger Huntress about the Kickoff weekend yesterday. It was intended to be podcast, but a technical glitch left only one side of the conversation recorded, so it didn't happen. Visit the Texas College Tennis blog for his thoughts about the Texas teams both hosting and traveling this weekend.
As I did last year, I will be covering one of the matches that will determine a participant in next month's National Team Indoor. Last year, I went to Notre Dame and witnessed their loss at the hands of North Carolina. This year, I'm going to the University of Michigan on Sunday, for, if the seeds hold, Michigan vs. Southern California. Unfortunately, for geographic and financial reasons, I won't be covering either Team Indoor championship this year, the first time since 2006 that I haven't been at either the men's or the women's event.
The competition began today at seven sites around the country, and won't be completed until Monday at two sites--Tennessee and Duke--that are hosting both men and women. Several teams are hosting Live Blogs, including Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, so if you are fans of those teams, or of their opponents, check out this new way of following college tennis. There is also live streaming available at some of the host sites. For more information, see the ITA's Kickoff Week home page, and if you are near one of the host sites, get out to watch some college tennis.