Tornado Ali Black Sole US Player In Grade A Copa Gerdau Quarterfinals; USTA National Playoffs Registration Underway; Pros Aren't Perfect
After the success of Chalena Scholl and Spencer Papa in the ITF's South American junior swing, it's a bit disappointing that only one American reached the quarterfinals of the ITF Grade A Copa Gerdau in Brazil this week, 13-year-old wild card Tornado Ali Black. Papa and Stefan Kozlov, the only American boys of the eight in the main draw who advanced to the second round, lost in Thursday's third round. (Scholl was not in the field at Copa Gerdau). The unseeded Kozlov lost to No. 8 seed Kimmer Coppejans of Belgium 6-3, 6-2, while No. 3 seed Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy avenged his loss to Papa in last week's Banana Bowl, beating the 16th seed 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Five American girls reached the third round, with all but Black losing today, including No. 1 seed Kyle McPhillips, who fell to No. 13 seed Laura Pigossi of Brazil 6-4, 6-1. Unseeded Denise Starr lost to No. 10 seed Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-4; unseeded Kelsey Laurente lost to No. 12 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-1; eighth seed Sachia Vickery had what must have been a crushing loss, falling to No. 9 seed Ellen Allgurin of Sweden 6-2, 0-6, 7-6(13). Black beat No. 7 seed Marcela Zacarias of Mexico 6-3, 6-0 and will face No. 4 seed Maria Ines Deheza of Bolivia in the quarterfinals.
The six Americans who reached the quarterfinals of the doubles were all eliminated today.
At the Grade 1 in the Philippines, American Jordan Daigle, the No. 13 seed, has reached the quarterfinals.
And I neglected to note earlier that Austin Siegel reached the finals of two Grade 2 tournaments in South Africa this month, results that have boosted his ITF junior ranking to a career-high of 69.
Registration is now open for the third annual US Open National Playoffs, which feature sectional tournaments whose winners qualify for a national tournament that ultimately decides a US Open qualifying wild card (a main draw US Open wild card for the mixed doubles national winners). I covered the finals of the Midwest section's tournament last year, won by Kentucky All-American Eric Quigley, but I've been disappointed by the dearth of prominent college players competing in this event. It is a lot of tennis for a qualifying wild card, but for many, it is their best chance to earn a wild card while still in school. It's also a great way for juniors to get matches during the summer, as the event is open to any player 14 and older who is a USTA member. There are no domicile or citizenship requirements. For more on the dates and locations, see the tournament page at usopen.org.
Lisa at the ParentingAces.com blog went to the BNP Paribas Open last weekend and wrote this spot-on piece about her observations entitled "If the Pros Do It..." What I found so refreshing about this post is Lisa's unwillingness to buy into preconceived notions about top professionals. Because they are so consistently good at winning tennis matches, we tend to assign all kinds superhuman powers to them, and then when we watch tennis matches, we seek to confirm that they are somehow different, distinctive, oblivious to the pressures and emotions of competition. Lisa was having none of that, and she makes a good point, after seeing Nadal and Djokovic pout and slump, that maybe we shouldn't expect quite so much of junior players, who are still developing and maturing, after all.