Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Kudla Beats Sock in San Jose; Putintseva, Shabaz Win ITF Circuit Titles; Robin Anderson in the College Spotlight

The men's Pro Circuit is quiet this week in the United States, but the ATP's SAP Open in San Jose has attracted many of the young Americans and former college players who would normally be playing in Futures and Challengers. Denis Kudla qualified for the ATP 250 event, and today met wild card Jack Sock in a first round battle of 19-year-olds. Although Kudla had picked up a win over Sock in the USTA Australian Open wild card tournament last December via retirement, he hadn't beaten Sock in official ATP/ITF competition, losing to him twice in Futures events and once in the final of US Open boys championship in 2010. Kudla won today however, beating Sock 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3 to advance to a second round meeting with No. 2 seed Andy Roddick.

Former Texas all-American Dimitar Kutrovsky of Bulgaria played former University of Hawaii standout Dennis Lajola of the US in a first-round meeting of qualifiers today, with Kutrovsky earning a 6-7(7), 6-3, 7-6(3) win. USC's Steve Johnson, who received a wild card, dropped his first round match to Belgium's Steve Darcis 7-6(4), 7-6(5).

The women's Pro Circuit is in Surprise, Arizona this week for a $25,000 event, and qualifying concluded today. Former collegiate players Samantha Murray (Northwestern), Yasmin Schnack(UCLA) and Maria Sanchez(USC) reached the main draw as did 15-year-old Mayo Hibi. Sanchez and Schnack will renew their Pac-10 rivalry when they meet in the first round. Grace Min, who received entry with a junior exemption, won her first round match today over Shuai Zhang of China, the No. 3 seed and WTA No. 137 by a score of 6-1, 2-6, 6-3, but Melanie Oudin's disappointments continue as she fell to Olga Puchkova of Russia 6-3, 6-1. For complete draws and results, see the USTA Pro Circuit page.

Last week Russia's Yulia Putintseva captured a $25,000 ITF Women's Circuit event in Australia, where she has continued to compete since her loss in the final of the Australian Open girls championships. Putintseva, the fifth seed, beat top seed Olivia Rogowska of Australia in the quarterfinals and in the final downed unseeded qualifier Lesley Kerkhove of the Netherlands 6-1, 6-3. Putintseva didn't lose a set in her five victories.

In the $100,000 YP Dallas Challenger last week, unseeded Jesse Levine beat No. 2 seed Steve Darcis in the final 6-4, 6-4, while the doubles title went to former University of Virginia all-American and 2009 NCAA doubles champion Dominic Inglot of Great Britain and his partner Chris Eaton. The unseeded Inglot and Eaton beat No. 4 seeds Nick Monroe and Jack Sock 6-7(6), 6-3, 19-17.

Michael Shabaz, who won the NCAA doubles title with Inglot in 2009 and Drew Courtney in 2010, won a $10,000 Futures event in Guatemala last week without loss of a set. Unseeded, Shabaz beat top seed Agustin Velotti of Argentina in the semifinals 6-2, 7-5 and No. 3 seed Adam El Mihdawy of the US in the final, 6-1, 6-4. He and partner Amrit Narasimhan reached the finals of the doubles, the third week in a row Shabaz has lost in a Futures doubles final.

And in a timely College Spotlight, UCLA's Robin Anderson, who clinched the ITA Women's Team Indoor for the Bruins yesterday, answers questions about her college tennis experience at usta.com.


Russ said...

Saw the first two sets of kudla v sock. I've seen jack play better. His forehand was undependable, his overall steadiness in rallies was missing, and his decision making at times suspect. Twice, for instance, he neglected to play playable balls that fell well inside the line. Haven't seen too many players ever do that. After the second one he proceeded to win the next four points with service winners or aces. In fact it was his serve that was his most dependable weapon. Dennis, on the other hand, played well until he was up 5-4 serving in the tiebreaker. He played that point a little too conservatively for my taste, choosing to merely keep the ball in play, possibly hoping that jack would make it easy for him and make an error. I don't think letting your opponent have the advantage is ever the wise decision on big points, but then, maybe he got what he wanted: jack to attempt the shot he had missed all match: an inside in forehand. This time Jack nailed it for a winner. At 5-5 dennis decided to be the aggressor, but he pulled the trigger way too early on the third ball and netted badly a backhand down the line. It was a tight, hope shot in my opinion. At 5-6 he hit a very solid approach and volley, but at the next set point 6-7, he shanked badly jack's easy return of serve. But kudos to kudla for bouncing back to win after losing the tiebreak like that.