Atlanta ATP Qualifying Features Familiar Names; Kiick in Austrian ITF Grade 1 Final; Scandalis Looks Ahead to WTA Mercury Open Qualifying
Qualifying began today in Atlanta for the ATP event, and there were plenty of familiar names in the draw. Wild card Wil Spencer of Georgia won his opening match against No. 8 seed Nick Lindahl of Australia, with Lindahl retiring after Spencer won the second set, resulting in a 6-7(2), 6-3 ret. score. I'm not sure if Lindahl has a chronic injury, but this is only his fifth event of the year, and he has now retired from three of them. Spencer plays former Texas player and Haiti Davis Cup member Olivier Sajous in the second round. For more on Spencer's win, including his reaction to the match, see georgiadogs.com.
Austin Smith, a wild card who trains at Racquet Club of the South, the tournament's new home, defeated former Georgia Bulldog Nate Schnugg 6-3, 7-5 to advance to the second round of qualifying, where he will play No. 7 seed Denis Kudla, who also advanced via retirement. Smith, a finalist at the 18s Spring Nationals this year, probably received a large number of phone calls on July 1, when college coaches could telephone the rising senior for the first time.
Dan Kosakowski won his opening match, as did Gabriel Townes, who played at Georgia State as a freshman, but is not listed on their 2011-12 roster. Mac Styslinger, who was rather comically called Mark Spyslinger in the initial draw and order of play that was released last night, also won today. Things get tougher for those three on Sunday, when Styslinger meets top seed Marinko Matosevic of Australia, Townes plays No. 4 seed Tim Smyczek and Kosakowski faces No. 2 seed Matthew Ebden of Australia, who made a quick trip east after losing at the Aptos challenger.
Ryan Harrison and Donald Young received main draw singles and doubles wild cards and will be playing doubles together, as will former University of Virginia teammates Somdev Devvarman and Treat Huey. Wild cards Drake Bernstein of Georgia and Kevin King of Georgia Tech drew top seeds Rajeev Ram and Scott Lipsky in doubles.
Three of the eight seeds in the singles draw were in the semifinals of the 2007 NCAAs: No. 2 seed Kevin Anderson, No. 3 seed John Isner and No. 8 seed Devvarman.
Complete draws can be found at atlantatennischampionships.com. Ken Thomas is webcasting from the event at radiotennis.com.
Also in Atlanta today, but at a different venue and level, top seed Lauren Davis and No. 2 seed Alexis King advanced to the final of the $10,000 women's Pro Circuit event. Davis beat Lauren Embree 6-4, 6-3, and King beat Taylor Townsend by the same score.
Florida sophomore Alex Cercone and Tennessee senior Natalie Pluskota took the doubles title. The unseeded pair beat No. 2 seeds Alexandra Hirsch and Amanda McDowell 7-5, 4-6, 10-8.
For complete results, see the Pro Circuit page at usta.com, which also has the qualifying for the four Pro Circuit events next week. The Evansville $10K for women doesn't have a single seed in the qualifying, meaning that no one has a WTA ranking. This is a result of the USTA Clay Courts and the Lexington Challenger being held the same week.
Allie Kiick has advanced to the finals of the Grade 1 in Austria with a 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia. Kiick has yet to lose a set in her five matches on the red clay. She will play No. 7 seed Klara Fabikova of the Czech Republic, who took out top seed Jovana Jaksic of Serbia in today's semifinals.
The third and final Opportunity Tournament, which will decide a qualifying spot in the WTA Mercury Insurance Open in La Costa, has reached the finals, with 15-year-old Christina Makarova meeting Texas A&M junior Nazari Urbina. Urbina won a similar wild card tournament last year. Zoe Scandalis, the USC recruit who won the second Opportunity Tournament, is featured in this article from the North County Times.