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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sony Ericsson Wild Cards Announced; New Job for Texas College Tennis Blogger; Around the ITF and Pro Circuits

The Sony Ericsson Open, which begins on March 21st, announced its main draw wild cards, and with one notable exception, they are similar to the BNP Paribas Open's selections on the men's side. James Blake, Milos Raonic, Ryan Harrison and Bernard Tomic are also wild cards at the Sony Ericsson, with Jack Sock getting the fifth. On the women's side, main draw wild cards were given to Dinara Safina, Sabine Lisicki, Sorana Cirstea, CoCo Vandeweghe, Heather Watson and Madison Keys. Vandeweghe is the only player who also received a wild card into Indian Wells.

There were only two qualifying wild cards announced for the men, both IMG clients, Gastao Elias of Portugal and Filip Krajinovic of Serbia. Krajinovic has yet to play in 2011. Women's qualifying wild cards went to Michelle Larcher de Brito, Lauren Davis, Aleksandra Wozniak, Beatrice Capra, Sloane Stephens and 16-year-old German Carina Witthoeft, whom I've heard nothing about until now. She's played a few ITF junior events in Germany, but has been competing mostly on the ITF Women's Circuit. Her ITF profile can be found here.

The complete release is available at the tournament website.

Granger Huntress announced today that he is leaving USTA Texas to become the manager of the Penick-Allison Tennis Center at the University of Texas. I'm sure I speak for everyone in wishing him the best in his new position, which I hope leaves him some time to continue to be a thoughtful and entertaining blogger on college tennis. To read his post, go to texascollegetennis.com.

The Pro Circuit's Texas swing ends this week with the $15,000 tournament in McAllen, and it has helped several junior boys earn their first ATP point. Harrison Adams, Shane Vinsant and today, Mitchell Krueger, are now on the ATP's computers due to wins in their home states. Krueger, a wild card, won his match over Mark Verryth when the Australian retired trailing 6-7(5), 0-1. Former Texas Longhorn Josh Zavala, who won the doubles title in Harlingen last week with Daniel Danilovic of Sweden, qualified, as did Mitchell Frank, Shane Vinsant and Devin Britton. Frank must beat Austrian Richard Ruckelshausen for the second time in three days, as they met in the final round of qualifying, with Frank beating Ruckelshausen in three sets, only to see him return as a lucky loser. Also, I know Mico Santiago only by name, but the 16-year-old has shown amazing resilience. He competed in 21 Futures qualifying draws in the past 12 months before he finally won his way into the main draw. If he is to be rewarded with his first ATP point, he will need to beat No. 2 seed Artem Sitak of New Zealand.

The women are in Clearwater, Fla. this week for a $25,000 tournament, and several junior qualifiers won their first round matches today. Grace Min beat No. 200 Arina Rodionova 6-3, 6-3, and Jessica Pegula took out Kim Couts 6-0, 6-0. Russia's Valeria Solovieva, another qualifier, beat Irina Pavlovic of France 6-4, 6-4.

For complete draws and results, see the Pro Circuit page at usta.com.

This week finds 13-year-old Stefan Kozlov making his ITF Junior Circuit debut at the Grade 3 Costa Rica Bowl, where he lost in the second round of qualifying. Mac Styslinger of the United States is the top boys seed, and Michael Rinaldi of the US is the No. 2 seed. There is a large contingent of American girls in the draw--No. 2 seed Julia Elbaba, No. 3 seed Kelsey Laurente, and 16s Orange Bowl champion Allie Kiick. For complete draws, see the ITF junior website.

There are a few Americans playing in the Grade 1 in Thailand, with Emmett Egger having advanced to the third round. Stephanie Nauta was defeated in the second round. At the Grade 1 Asuncion Bowl in Paraguay, Blair Shankle, Tristen Dewar and Nadia Echeverria Alam are in the girls draw, while Morgan Mays and Richard Del Nunzio are US players in the boys draw.

In the second and final day of women's qualifying at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, both Madison Keys and Monica Puig lost. Keys was beaten by Laura Pous-Tio of Spain 6-3, 7-6(2) and Puig lost to Sorana Cirstea of Romania 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-2. Jamie Hampton was the only American to qualify, advancing to the main draw when Ksenia Pervak retired trailing 6-4, 3-0.

In the first round of men's qualifying, both wild cards Dan Kosakowski and Steve Johnson were defeated. Kosakowski lost to No. 14 seed Tim Smyczek 6-3, 6-2, while Johnson lost a two hour and forty minute battle with No. 20 seed Frank Dancevic of Canada 7-6(3), 4-6, 7-6(4).

For complete results, see the tournament website.


tour comment said...

Most of the womens's WCs at the Ericsson are doing a disservice to players that should be getting more experience at the Pro Circuit level. In particular, Davis, Capra, Wozniak and Keys have not earned their way into Tour level draws. Their coaches and handlers should turn the WCs down and make their players work for them. In turn, the tournaments lose credibility granting them.

observer said...

absolutely right . shortcuts don't work well for the long term


Wozniak fan said...

Wozniak is former Top 25...

Brent said...

Did Sock withdraw? Draw shows Berankis as the 5th wild card.

Colette Lewis said...

Sock's wild card is for Miami, not Indian Wells.