Sponsored by IMG Academy

Friday, March 25, 2011

Registration Underway for US Open National Playoffs; Collegians Reach Third Round at Sony Ericsson; Pac-10 Action Heats Up This Weekend

The USTA is again offering a US Open qualifying wild card to the winner of the a National Playoff this summer. After sectional qualifying is complete, the 16 men's and 16 women's winners will compete in a single elimination tournament, this year at Yale University, to determine who will receive a wild card into the US Open qualifying. Last year's winners were Blake Strode and Alexandra Mueller.

Added this year is a MAIN DRAW US Open wild card for one mixed doubles team, who will go through the same process: sectional qualifying and a 16-team tournament at Yale. Because this is a main draw wild card, it's a more enticing prize, and I would think that many graduating college players will be looking for suitable partners for this opportunity. It should be especially attractive to international players, who know they have no chance of receiving a wild card from the USTA regardless of their performance in the NCAAs. It has been announced that ESPN's Mike Greenberg and Chris Evert will compete as a team in the Eastern sectional tournament April 16-22 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

The entry fee still strikes me as too high at $125 for singles, $150 for team in doubles, with membership in the USTA required, and with the disappointing participation numbers last year, I was hoping the USTA would reduce the cost for 2011. It will be interesting to see whether there are more participants this year, and how popular the mixed competition is. The first sectional event is in the Southwest section, in just a few weeks, with the closing date for entries April 4. For complete schedules, rules, eligibility etc., please see the US Open website. Juniors are welcome, as long as they are 14 years old.

Three of the four men's semifinalists from the 2007 NCAA individual championships are through to the third round of the Sony Ericsson Open. Kevin Anderson (Illinois) beat No. 24 seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, Somdev Devvarman (Virginia) downed No. 31 seed Milos Raonic of Canada 7-6(5), 7-5 and No. 30 seed John Isner (Georgia) outlasted Igor Andreev of Russia 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(2). Wild card James Blake and qualifier Alex Bogomolov also had wins over seeds today, with Blake defeating No. 27 Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(6) and Bogomolov surprising No. 5 seed Andy Murray of Great Britain 6-1, 7-5.

For complete results, see sonyericssonopen.com.

In college tennis, there are quite a number of big matches this weekend in the Pac-10. The No. 2 ranked Stanford women remained undefeated with a 6-1 win over No. 8 UCLA in Los Angeles. The Cardinal meet 13th-ranked USC on Saturday. The No. 10 Cal women beat USC 5-2 today and will play UCLA on Saturday. And aside from the Big Four, Arizona State, now ranked 16th, has inserted themselves in the conversation. The Sun Devils defeated No. 27 Washington 5-2 today, and already have a win over Cal.

The Stanford men, ranked 8th, lost to No. 3 USC in Palo Alto 4-2. Although there's not a story up yet, I think the weather caused the doubles to be played last, and only if necessary to decide the match. USC will play No. 12 Cal on Saturday. Cal beat No. 13 UCLA today 4-3, with all three doubles matches decided in tiebreakers. UCLA will play Stanford on Saturday.


Proofs in the Pudding said...

3 or 4 college guys make the 3rd rd. out of 32. Hardly makes a very good case for college tennis does it. All the more reason to realize the rest of the world doesnt send the best players to college.

Colette Lewis said...

Anderson and Devvarman are from South Africa and India

Proofs in the Pudding said...

India and South Africa. Not exactly hotbeds for tennis. Think Devarrman can crack the top 50 and Anderson the top 20 possibly. With Isner already there thats 3 possible. The point is, for players trying to make it to the top college sure doesnt seem like the route to go.

Stephen said...

Anderson and Devvarman are the #1 players in their respective countries, and it's not even close in either case.

If they had been good enough to make a big impact on the tour before college, they would have done that. Instead, they got a free college education at excellent schools, received good coaching, and matured physically and as players.

You are seeing fewer and fewer teens cracking the top-100 on the ATP tour now. For most of the young players, college makes a lot of sense.

Benjamin Becker is another good example. That guy improved a ton in college.