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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hardebeck Beats Gavrilova at Roehampton; Bester, Litvak Win Pro Circuit Titles; Capra Looks Ahead to Duke; Wilkinson Makes Wimbledon Trip

Krista Hardebeck, who hasn't played a junior tournament since last year's Orange Bowl, got into the main draws at the ITF junior tournaments at Roehampton and Wimbledon this month based on her WTA ranking. Today in the first round of Roehampton, Hardebeck defeated current US Open girls champion Daria Gavrilova of Russia 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. Gavrilova, the No. 1 seed and No. 2-ranked junior in the world, has also brought her WTA ranking into the mid 300s, where Hardebeck's is, so there's no question it was a very tough draw for both of them.

Other American girls advancing included Madison Keys, Grace Min, Stephanie Nauta and Vicky Duval. Half of the eight US boys in the draw at Roehampton advanced to the second round: Shane Vinsant, Emmett Egger, Marcos Giron and Connor Farren. Vinsant avenged his loss to Canadian Filip Peliwo in last year's Pan American Closed final with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 win today. Dennis Novikov and No. 3 seed Oliver Golding of Great Britain had a close contest as expected, with Golding getting through by a score of 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2. For more on Golding and George Morgan, another British junior for whom expectations are great, see this article in today's Daily Mail. There is a confusing paragraph about their Queen's results, but it is Morgan, not Golding, who fell to Arnaud Clement in the qualifying there. One of the big surprises in today's results on the boys side was the loss of Halle champion Dominic Thiem of Austria, the No. 5 seed. Thiem was beaten by qualifier Aslan Karatsev of Russia, 7-6(6), 4-6, 7-6(4).

For complete results from Roehampton today, see the LTA website.

In the two Pro Circuit events completed today, top seed Philip Bester of Canada won the $15,000 Men's Futures in Chico, Calif., defeating No. 6 seed Blake Strode of the US 6-4, 6-2. Unseeded Vahe Assadourian of the US and Jimmy Wang of Taiwan won the doubles title, defeating unseeded Ed Corrie of Great Britain and Trevor Dobson of the US 6-4, 6-4. In the $10,000 tournament in Bethany Beach, Delaware, Lena Litvak of the US took the singles and doubles titles. Litvak, the No. 2 seed, beat top seed Maria-Fernanda Alves of Brazil 7-6(1), 4-6, 6-3. In the doubles final, Litvak partnered Alexandra Hirsch of the US and the No. 2 seeds beat top seeds Alves and Angelina Gabueva of Russia 7-5, 3-6, 10-8. Qualifying is underway at the three Pro Circuit events next week, with a $50,000 women's event in Boston, a $10,000 women's event in Cleveland and a $10,000 men's event in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida.

See the Pro Circuit results page at usta.com for the draws.

Beatrice Capra is the subject of this feature in the Baltimore Sun, which explores her decision to attend Duke rather than turn pro. Pam Shriver has a few comments, as does Duke's head coach Jamie Ashworth, and Capra says that her poor results this year may be attributable to putting too much pressure on herself.

And finally, on Father's Day, it seems appropriate to provide a link to this feature about former Gustavus Adolphus College head coach Steve Wilkinson, who retired in 2009. Wilkinson, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer three years ago, and his wife Barb have stepped away from their roles at the successful tennis camp they created and are heading to Wimbledon as guests Eric Butorac, who competed for Wilkinson at the Division III school. The article explains that Wilkinson will still be providing coaching knowledge for Butorac's benefit.

So when Eric Butorac, one of the world's top doubles players, asked Wilkinson to coach him courtside at Wimbledon, a dream request, Wilkinson didn't hesitate. But the gratitude is all Butorac's.

"It's hard to see where his influence ends," said Butorac, 30, who wrote many a college paper at the kitchen table of the Wilkinsons' welcoming home a minute's walk from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. There, the couple ran one of the most successful summer tennis programs in the nation for 35 years.

"Wilk has meant more to me than any coach I have ever worked with, and Wimbledon is the most important tournament of the year," said Butorac, a national D-III singles and doubles champion at Gustavus. "Other than my parents, Steve is a huge part of why I'm even here."

Congratulations to all the coaches out there who have made that kind of impact on the lives of those they've mentored, both on and off the tennis courts.


tennis guy2894 said...

Steve Wilkinson is a class act and it was nice that Eric Butorac invited him to go with him to Wimbledon this year!

Brent said...

Random note - it is really hard to exaggerate how painful the Venus Williams fashion experience is. Not that I am any kind of expert in this area, but wow. Today's Athena-inspired effort took it to a new lever today. Looks like both the design and production took place in her basement.

Laughable said...

I think that everyone who is not insane agrees with you on that point, Brent. That outfit is nothing short of hideous which is always the result when Venus tries to "design" something. Everyone can see how bad she looks except for her. She thinks she looks beautiful or she wouldn't wear it with such pride.

If you really want to laugh you should see Serena try to "act" in the bit roles that she has had over her non-existent "acting career."

Just because the sisters are good tennis players they have led themselves to believe that they are good at everything else, but so far there is no evidence that they have been successful at anything outside of tennis. Arrogance appears to be the problem and it usually shows when they speak to the media.