Monday, May 9, 2011

NCAA Roundtable; Pro Circuit Update; McHale Reaches Second Round at Italian Open

The Tennis Recruiting Network is once again publishing an NCAA Roundtable with comments from several of their college tennis writers, including me. Today's article is the first of two parts; I've come to recognize that while I know I don't know what's coming, I don't have the "make-an-outrageous-prediction-because-if-you're-right-you-are-considered-a-genius" gene. Last year, there were only two teams, one men's (Wisconsin) and one women's (Ole Miss) who were not among the Top 16 seeds, yet still earned a trip to Athens. Odds are there will be a couple of similar results this year, and I make a couple of uninformed guesses for Friday's post on who those might be, but my imagination can't be stretched to predict anyone outside the Top 2 men's and women's seeds winning. Even though the past three years the seeds winning the NCAA team title have been Georgia men (4) USC men (8 and 5 seeds), UCLA women (7), Duke women (3) and Stanford (8). In hindsight, those victories may seem inevitable, but they certainly weren't expected at the time.

Which brings me to the contest I'm running here on zootennis to predict the men's and women's finalists and the score of the final, for a chance to win a copy of the video game Topspin 4. For more on the contest and how to enter via this website or on twitter, go to this post.

The Pro Circuit events last week saw just one American emerge with a singles title, and he's isn't exactly a popular champion these days. Unseeded qualifier Wayne Odesnik beat Donald Young 6-4, 6-4 to win the $50,000 Savannah Challenger. For more on that final, see this Savannah Morning News article. The South African team of Rik De Voest and Izak van der Merwe won the doubles title over Jesse Witten and Florida sophomore Sekou Bangoura Jr. 6-3, 6-3.

In Orange Park, Fla., the $10,000 Futures event, Gerald Melzer of Austria, seeded fifth, beat No. 6 seed Daniel Garza of Mexico 1-1 ret. in the final. Second seeds Devin Britton and Greg Ouellette won the doubles title, their second of the spring, defeating the unseeded team of Melzer and Ty Trombetta of the US 6-2, 6-4.

At the $50,000 women's tournament in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., unseeded Melinda Czink of Hungary, who was ranked 37 on the WTA computers just two years ago, won her second $50,000 championship in three weeks, beating top seed Alison Riske in the final 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. For more on Czink's win, and her nice bit of sportsmanship on match point, see this article from Florida Today. The unseeded team of Alyona Sotnikova of Ukraine and Lenka Wienerova of Slovakia won the doubles title with a 6-4, 6-3 victory in the final over Americans Christina Fusano and Alexa Glatch, who were also unseeded.

This week the women are in Raleigh for another $50,000 tournament, while the men are in Tampa for another $10,000 Futures event. Qualifying is still going on in Raleigh, but it is now complete in Tampa. Anthony Delcore is the only junior who got through the four rounds of qualifying.

Draws and results can be found at the Pro Circuit page at usta.com.

Christina McHale, who turns 19 on Wednesday, qualified for the Italian Open over the weekend with wins over fellow teens CoCo Vandeweghe and Heather Watson. In her first round match today, McHale, who already has posted wins over Svetlana Kuznetsova, Alisa Kleybanova and Daniela Hantuchova this year, outlasted Shuai Peng of China 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(7) to set up a meeting Tuesday with reigning French Open champion, No. 2 seed and local favorite Francesca Schiavone of Italy, on the centrale court in Rome.