Show Up and You're In at Guadeloupe 10K; Jenkins Downs Domijan in Plantation Qualifying; Fanning Now New Zealand's Prime Hope
It's not cheap to travel to the Caribbean this time of year, but if you bought your plane ticket and signed up for the $10,000 ITF Women's Circuit event there this week, you didn't have to worry about having a WTA ranking to get in. While it's not unusual to receive entry into the qualifying draw without a WTA ranking for many $10,000 events in the far-flung outposts of women's tennis, it is rare to get into a main draw without one. Only 31 women signed up for the Guadeloupe tournament, however, so there was no qualifying required, and top seed Yasmin Schnack, the former UCLA All-American, got a bye into the second round. There are two other $10,000 events this week, in Great Britain and Turkey, and while their fields aren't strong, they did have enough entries to hold a qualifying tournament. It's a great opportunity to pick up points of course, but back-to-back tournaments with fields this weak (next week's $10K there is equally shallow) aren't likely to survive long-term.
The qualifiers have been determined for the $10,000 Futures this week in Plantation, and no juniors made the final cut. Alternate Gabriel Moraru of Romania, who turns 30 this month, would have easily made the main draw had he entered, but he did get the confidence that four wins brings. Current collegians Dennis Nevolo(Illinois), Blaz Rola and Chase Buchanan(both Ohio State) won their final round qualifying matches today, as did former collegians Guillermo Gomez(Georgia Tech), Ed Corrie(Texas) and Antoine Benneteau(Florida). In the all-University of Virginia showdown, Jarmere Jenkins defeated Alex Domijan 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3. The main draw has been posted, with Mitchell Frank and Rhyne Williams getting wild cards. Jack Sock is the No. 8 seed this week. For complete draws and results, see Pro Circuit page at usta.com.
Last week it was revealed that Sacha Jones was changing her nationality from New Zealand to Australia, and Jones' decision to affiliate with the country of her father was met with the usual dismay. Although New Zealand has recently acquired their top two men's players via this same route (Artem Sitak was Russian and Michael Venus was USA), the sting of losing Jones was evident by the number of article written about it in the New Zealand press. This piece explains some of the backlash, along with the interesting tidbit that it costs $60,000 to stage a $25,000 ITF Women's Circuit tournament in New Zealand. It also puts the burden of New Zealand's future in women's tennis squarely on Emily Fanning, who is 16 and has an ITF ranking of 51. Fanning has had limited success at the highest levels of junior tennis, but was impressive in a first round loss to Madison Keys at last year's US Open Junior Championships.