Falconi, McHale and Puig Reach Pan American Games Semis; Dickson Joins Miami Staff; Bains Wins Third Straight ITF; Johnson Talks with ESPN
The women's singles draw at the Pan American Games is down to four, with three of the top four seeds and No. 7 Monica Puig of Puerto Rico into the medal round. Puig, an 18-year-old Miami resident, beat No. 3 seed Mariana Duque Marino of Colombia 6-2, 6-3 in today's quarterfinals, earning a berth against top seed Christina McHale of the US. Irina Falconi, the No. 2 seed, will play fourth seed Florencia Molinero of Argentina in the other semifinal. Falconi and McHale, the No. 2 seeds in women's doubles, have advanced to the semifinals in that competition too. This Associated Press article, about Monica Puig and her on-court notebook, appeared yesterday on foxsports.com.
Because it was larger, the men's draw is at the quarterfinal stage. All three US players--Denis Kudla, Nick Monroe and Greg Ouellette--have lost, with Kudla losing today 6-4, 6-4 to eighth seed Robert Farah of Colombia, the former USC All-American. Top seed Horacio Zeballos of Argentina and No. 2 seed Joao Souza of Brazil lost in the second round, as did No. 5 seed Eduardo Schwank of Argentina, who lost to Tulsa's Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador. Arevalo retired in his third round match today. Three Colombians and two Brazilians still remain in the gold medal hunt. Results can be found via this wikipedia page.
The University of Miami has announced that Mark Dickson has joined the men's tennis program as assistant coach.
At the Grade A Osaka Mayor's Cup there have been no more major upsets since top seed Ellen Allgurin's departure on the opening day. Blair Shankle, the only American competing in Japan, lost to No. 3 seed Miho Kowase of Japan, the younger sister of Georgia's Maho Kowase, 7-5, 6-4 in the second round. For more, see the article on the ITF junior website.
A notable result last week in the lower level of ITF juniors was 13-year-old Naiktha Bains'second straight title this month in Australia, and her third in a row. Bains, who represents Australia, (see my post back in May for the link to the BBC story on why she chose to represent Australia rather than Great Britain, where she was born), is now 17-1 in her ITF junior career.
Steve Johnson continues to get quite a bit of media coverage centered on his decision to return to USC for the dual season, in an attempt to help the Trojans take their fourth straight national title.
ESPN.com spoke with him at the Tiburon Challenger, where he lost in the first round of singles to top seed Ryan Sweeting and made the doubles final with Sam Querrey. Johnson has three more Challengers on his schedule his year, and is hoping to accumulate enough points to get into the Australian Open qualifying. He is currently ranked 407 in singles and 242 in doubles on the ATP computers. For the complete interview, scroll to the bottom of this article.