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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Johnson Beats Sock, Jenkins Reaches Second Round at Charlottesville Challenger; Indoor Draws Released

I've been busy all day getting ready for my trip to New York on Wednesday, finishing up my October Aces feature for Tennis Recruiting Network and tying up other loose ends. But I kept an eye on the live scoring of the first round match between Steve Johnson and Jack Sock at the Charlottesville Challenger, thinking it would be a good one, and although it was a straight-set win for Johnson, I'm presuming, from the 7-6(5), 6-4 score, that it was.

Johnson broke Sock early in the first set, but was broken serving at 4-3, and both held for the tiebreaker. Johnson got the first mini-break to take a 5-3 lead, but gave it back for 5-5. He held to get his first set point, and converted it on Sock's serve. After over an hour, the first set had finally been decided.

Johnson had a 40-0 lead serving at 1-1, but after a very long multi-deuce game, he was broken. With the roles reversed from the first set, it was Sock that was broken serving at 4-3, and he was broken again to end the match. The nine double faults that Sock served had to have hurt his chances, but other than one more break for Johnson, there didn't seem to be much separating the two in the match statistics. (By the way, it's great to have access to all this via the live scoring).

Johnson will play veteran Michael Russell, the No. 2 seed, in the second round. Sock is playing doubles with Michael Shabaz, and the wild card team won their first round match today against Alex Kuznetsov and Tim Smyczek.

Wild card Denis Kudla advanced to the second round with a 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(5) win over South Africa's Fritz Wolmarans in a two-and-a-half hour battle, and Jesse Levine won another extremely tight match, beating fellow qualifier Carsten Ball 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(5).

The Charlottesville match with the biggest implications for college tennis just finished this evening, with qualifier Jarmere Jenkins of the University of Virginia beating Pierre-Ludovic Duclos of Canada 6-2, 7-5 (that's three qualifiers and a lucky loser through to the second round). As happened last year with former teammate Michael Shabaz, Jenkins is now unable to play at the USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in New York. Shabaz went on to reach the final, so I'm hoping for similar success for Jenkins. Sadio Doumbia of Georgia will take Jenkins' place in the singles draw, and Evan King and Shaun Bernstein of Michigan will replace Jenkins and Courtney in the doubles draw.

The draws, posted this morning, don't reflect these changes. The seeds for the men's event are:

1. Mitchell Frank, Virginia
2. Alex Domijan, Virginia
3. Blaz Rola, Ohio State
4. Eric Quigley, Kentucky
5. Henrique Cunha, Duke
6. Chase Buchanan, Ohio State
7. Wil Spencer, Georgia
8. Dennis Nevolo, Illinois

Frank and Domijan were not seeded at the All-American (Domijan was out with an injury) and Evan King and Jose Hernandez of North Carolina, seeded seventh and eighth in Tulsa, are not seeded at the Indoor.

The women's seeds are:
1. Jana Juricova, California
2. Nicole Gibbs, Stanford
3. Chelsey Gullickson, Georgia
4. Mallory Burdette, Stanford
5. Beatrice Capra, Duke
5. Lauren Embree, Florida
5. Robin Anderson, UCLA
5. Denise Dy, Washington

Juricova hasn't had the best results this fall, so it will be interesting to see if she can reach the final, as she has the previous two years, winning in 2010 over Irina Falconi of Georgia Tech and losing last year to Maria Sanchez of USC.

The top seeds in men's doubles are Georgia Tech's Kevin King and Juan Spir; the top seeds in women's doubles are Nicole Gibbs and Mallory Burdette of Stanford.

See the ITA's tournament page for the draws.

One other Pro Circuit match of interest today at the $50,000 women's tournament in Grapevine Texas, where Madison Keys downed Lauren Davis 6-3, 6-3 in the first round. Complete draws are at usta.com.