Monday, June 4, 2012

Kiick, Scholl, Papa and Krueger Advance to Round of 16 at Roland Garros; Is Age Truly That Important in Tennis?; More On Sanchez's Win In Sacramento

Day three of the French Open Junior Championships saw five US juniors advance, four of them into the round of 16.  No. 9 seed Chalena Scholl rolled past French wild card Oceane Dodin 6-0, 6-2 and No. 16 seed Allie Kiick beat Russian Alina Silich of Russia 6-4, 6-2 to advanced to the third round. Jennifer Brady, playing her first round match today, advanced 6-3, 6-2 over wild card Jade Suvrijn of France.

In the boys draw, No. 8 seed Mitchell Krueger defeated French wild card Alexandre Favrot 6-4, 6-2 in a match that was much closer than the score indicates, and Spencer Papa was also challenged by qualifier Hyeon Chung of Korea before posting a 6-3, 6-4 win. No. 12 seed Mackenzie McDonald lost his opening round match in a nearly three hour battle, losing to Australian Jordan Thompson 6-3, 5-7, 10-8. McDonald was one of  five seeds to lose on Monday, along with Sachia Vickery, the No. 10 seed, No. 6 seed Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan, No. 14 seed Frederico Silva of Portugal and No. 13 seed Daria Gavrilova of Russia. Gavrilova, the 2010 ITF World Junior Champion, lost to Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia, who has been winning ITF women's tournaments on a regular basis this spring, 7-6(6), 6-2 in a first round match.   For more on that  match, and some comments from boys No. 3 seed Liam Broady, see the ITF junior website's recap.

In an odd bit of scheduling, only half of the first round of doubles were played today, and on Tuesday, there are four third round singles matches, with the remainder second round matches.  Scholl is back out for the third day in a row, playing Russian qualifier Olga Doroshina, who was on the court nearly two hours longer than Scholl in her 76(4), 4-6, 6-4 second round win over Danilina. Spencer Papa will also see action for the third day in a row, playing No. 11 seed Adam Pavlasek of the Czech Republic, who is one of the most famous junior players on the circuit due to his romantic relationship with WTA star Petra Kvitova.  Top boys seed Luke Saville will also have an opportunity to advance to the quarterfinals with a win Tuesday. After struggling on Sunday, Saville got by Luke Bambridge in efficient fashion in today second round and will meet unseeded Matteo Donati of Italy tomorrow.

Girls top seed Taylor Townsend was off today, in both singles and doubles; she will play friend and occasional doubles partner Carol Zhao of Canada in the second round Tuesday. Noah Rubin is also scheduled to play his second round match in singles on Tuesday, against No. 15 seed Stefano Napolitano of Italy. Brady will play No. 11 seed Monserrat Gonzalez of Paraguay in her second round match Tuesday.  Taylor Townsend is obviously getting plenty of attention now that she's ranked No. 1 in the juniors, and this piece by Sandy Harwitt over at the new website TenniShorts, helps explain why she is easy to write about.

Complete draws are at the tournament website.

In an essay today at Grantland.com, Louisa Thomas explores the disappearance of the teen phenom in professional tennis the past few years. Expectations are different now, as she recognizes in talking about David Goffin and Sloane Stephens, but perhaps she's right in refusing to accept the conventional wisdom that the game's physicality is solely responsible for that. I do think that longer careers, evident by the number of over-30 players filling the draws in every major, have taken some of the urgency out of previous benchmarks, but that's not necessarily bad for the sport. I do like the way she ends the piece:

Perhaps a young player will come along and do something that the other players aren't doing, with the aid of new technologies or not. They'll change the game, and in doing so change the limits of our expectations. That will be a gift to the sport. Until that happens, we have a different kind of gift: the chance for older players to accelerate through the rankings like the kids used to do, for Brian Baker to come back from devastating surgeries at 27, or Varvara Lepchenko to come from nowhere into the second week of the French Open at 26. When Lepchenko was Stephens's age, she was just trying to get by, sleeping in a guest room offered by a kind tennis enthusiast in Allentown. Age matters, and it doesn't.

Twenty-two-year-old Maria Sanchez didn't have the life of a tennis prodigy and was determined to get a degree at USC before setting out to be a professional tennis player, yet she has made the most of her 12 months on the Pro Circuit. She will see her ranking approach the top 200 when her points from winning the $50,000 Sacramento challenger are added in next week.  For a detailed look at Sanchez's less conventional path, see this article by Paul Bauman, who was in Sacramento for the final between Sanchez and Jessica Pegula.


:) said...

Jay Berger to Coach USA Olympics Men's Tennis