Davis, Stephens Receive Main Draw Wild Cards into Indian Wells; Dallas Challenger; Tennis Recruiting Network Offers Its First Spring Rankings
The BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells announced their wild cards selections today, and they are an interesting mix of young and old. Sloane Stephens, who qualified and won a round in the tournament last year and Lauren Davis, both 17, will join Jill Craybas, Vania King, Christina McHale, CoCo Vandeweghe and India's Saniz Mirza in the main draw. Eighteen-year-olds Ryan Harrison and Bernard Tomic of Australia received main draw wild cards, as did James Blake, Japan's Kei Nishikori, and Canadian sensation Milos Raonic.
I don't know why there are only five men's wild cards and seven women's. It is especially mysterious that the article announcing the wild cards says there is one remaining wild card to be granted on the women's side, but says nothing about any additional wild cards for the men.
As I reported last night, Steve Johnson and Maria Sanchez of USC received qualifying wild cards. Madison Brengle, Madison Keys, Monica Puig of Puerto Rico and Sabine Lisicki of Germany were also given qualifying wild cards. Other men's qualifying wild cards went to Ryan Sweeting (should not have needed one given his ranking), Greg Ouellette and Mark Philippoussis of Australia.
The pre-qualifying winners, one man and one woman, will also receive a qualifying wild card.
I spent several hours today watching the first round of the YP Challenger in Dallas via the live streaming available via frontrowtennis.com. Qualifier Jarmere Jenkins of the University of Virginia played very well in his 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 loss to Matthew Ebden. After a very close opening nine games, Jenkins was broken serving at 4-5 in first set when he double faulted at 30-40. He shook off that disappointment to take the second set from the 191st-rank Australian, but was broken early in the third and could not cash in on any of his chances to get back on serve. The commentators mentioned several times how impressed they were with Jenkins' attitude and competitiveness when he was down 4-1 in the third. Unfortunately technical difficulties kept me from watching the final game of the match, but Ebden did serve it out.
Wild card Jack Sock overwhelmed Rik De Voest of South Africa 6-4, 6-2, even though he didn't serve particularly well. It must be said that De Voest didn't play well, but part of that was because Sock had him defending from the beginning, hitting forehand winners from just about everywhere. Sock stumbled a bit leading 5-1 in the first set, losing his serve at love at 5-2, but it didn't seem to bother him. Sock broke the 160th-ranked De Voest in the opening game, took a 4-0 lead, and was never really threatened, although he did need three match points before earning the win.
After Sock, Virginia's Alex Domijan took on No. 4 seed Rainer Schuettler of Germany. I didn't see the entire match, but Domijan stayed with the former Top 10 player in the first set before being broken at 5-6. I don't know what the second set score was (live scoring isn't working anymore), but Schuettler did win in straight sets.
The Tennis Recruiting Network has added a second rating during the year, not just in the fall, but now also in the spring. Although the numerical ranking is updated weekly, the star and blue-chip designations were previously adjusted only once a year. As of today, that is no longer the case. For more on the change, see this explanation.