Hardebeck, Duval, Keys and Giron Reach Third Round at Roehampton; McHale Wins at Wimbledon; Tiley Upbeat on Australian Tennis; US Tennis in Nosedive?
Another wet day in London today, but the second round of singles at Roehampton did manage to finish, with three American girls and one American boy advancing to the round of 16. The first round of doubles is in various stages of completion at the moment.
Krista Hardebeck, who defeated top seed Daria Gavrilova of Russia yesterday, beat British wild card Katy Dunne 6-0, 2-6, 6-2 today and will face No. 16 seed Ellen Allgurin of Sweden in the third round. Madison Keys, who beat No. 7 seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia 6-3, 6-4, will play unseeded Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus. Hardebeck and Keys would play each other in the quarterfinals if both win on Tuesday. Vicky Duval, the No. 12 seed, is in the bottom half of the draw, and after her 7-5, 6-0 win today over unseeded Donna Vekic of Croatia, she will face No. 8 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia. Marcos Giron is the sole US boy remaining in the singles draw; he defeated No. 16 seed Diego Hidalgo of Ecuador 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 and will play unseeded Mate Delic of Croatia in the third round.
For complete results, see the LTA website.
Wimbledon began today, of course, and it was great to see Christina McHale put the memory of her first round match at Roland Garros out of her mind in a 2-6, 6-1, 8-6 win over No. 28 seed Ekaterina Makarova of Russia. McHale had seen a 5-0 lead evaporate against Italy's Sara Errani, and eventually lost that first round match 9-7 in the third. Serving for the match today against Makarova, who had double faulted on game point to give McHale the 7-6 lead, McHale went down 0-40 on her serve. But she located her biggest serves at just the right time and took the final five points of the match to advance to the second round of a Grand Slam for just the second time (first time was the 2009 US Open). For more on McHale's win see this article at usatoday.com.
Craig Tiley, the Australian Open tournament director and head of player development in Australia, is quizzed about the prospects for men's tennis in this article by The Age. After Lleyton Hewitt's fall from the Top 100, Australia has no men in the ATP Top 100, and only four in the Top 200. Once criticized for not reaching out to the country's former champions, Tiley now can say "I don't think there's a former player that's not making a contribution to Australian tennis."
I don't think the USTA can make that claim, but that doesn't come up in either of these two articles about the decline of US tennis. The first, from Reuters, is just the standard negative template that ignores the 12 US women in the main draw at Wimbledon, and refuses to give Bethanie Mattek-Sands any credit for working her way up to where she is now seeded in a Grand Slam. I wouldn't even bother to link to this except to contrast it with this one, from ESPN W, which starts out with the usual tired cliches, but actually gets around to raising some serious issues and possible causes for the recent decline in US tennis fortunes.
Mark Miles, the former CEO of the ATP, admits the single-minded pursuit of a professional tennis career is not particularly appealing to the majority of upper middle class parents who can afford to fund it.
Miles, who played collegiately at Wabash, and whose son is a college player, asks: "Would I have been willing to have a child drop out of life at age 12 and be committed to tennis? No. You don't have kids dropping out of life just to play Little League baseball. The best competition is organized within the school system. It is not true in tennis," Miles said.The article also provides the first comments I've read from USTA Executive Director Gordon Smith about what the USTA is trying to do to combat the advantage that team sports have in this country. QuickStart is of course, promoted extensively, but he also says:
"We have to create competition at the 8-to-12-year-old level that is inexpensive and local with no travel. We have got to make it a game you can play while staying home and [being] in high school."