Stephens Advances to Third Round at Wimbledon; Junior Wimbledon Qualifying Starts Thursday; All US Juniors Out of Singles in Roehampton Grade 1; National Playoffs Update
Sloane Stephens reached the third round at Wimbledon with a tough three-set victory today over No. 23 seed Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic. Although ESPN didn't show much of the match, it was by all accounts close and hard-fought, yet it was the younger and less experienced Stephens who came through 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-3. Stephens, 19, made the fourth round at the French Open and has continued her excellent play on grass. Greg Garber of ESPN has an interesting slam comparison between Serena Williams and Stephens in his article about her, and you can also read why she's not a fan of ATP pro Gilles Simon.
Ryan Harrison lost to top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the day's last match, played under the roof of Centre Court. Many of the US boys scheduled to compete in the Wimbledon junior championships were in Harrison's player box--I saw Mitchell Krueger, Mackenzie McDonald, Alexios Halebian, Noah Rubin and Spencer Papa--as was TCU men's head coach David Roditi. It was a great opportunity for the boys to see the world's No. 1 play on the world's most famous court.
Due to persistent drizzle in the afternoon, many matches were not completed, and Christina McHale's second round match with Mathilde Johansson of France was postponed until Thursday.
For the complete schedule, see the Wimbledon website.
The Wimbledon junior qualifying draws are out, with Catherine Harrison and Blair Shankle in the girls draw and Stefan Kozlov, Thai Kwiatkowski and Austin Siegel in the boys draw.
Top seed Taylor Townsend lost in the quarterfinals today at the Grade 1 in Roehampton, as did Allie Kiick and Sachia Vickery. Townsend fell to the tenth seed, 15-year-old Francoise Abanda of Canada, 0-6, 7-5, 6-2. The eighth-seeded Kiick was beaten by Eugenie Bouchard, the No. 2 seed, 7-5, 6-2, and Vickery, the No. 4 seed, lost to No. 12 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 6-3, 6-4. Bencic had also beaten Vickery in the final of an exhibition tournament in Liverpool last week. Unseeded Carol Zhao gave Canada its third girls semifinalist, beating unseeded Camilla Rosatello of Italy, and she will play Abanda in Thursday's semifinals.
Townsend, playing with Bouchard, and the unseeded team of Jennifer Brady and Kyle McPhillips are in the girls doubles semifinals.
The boys draw also lost its No. 1 seed, Luke Saville, who was beaten in Tuesday's third round by unseeded Laurent Lokoli of France. Lokoli won again today to reach the semifinals, where he'll play No. 16 seed Nick Kyrgios of Australia. No. 5 seed Liam Broady of Great Britain and No. 2 seed Kimmer Coppejans of Belgium will play for the other place in the final. Mitchell Krueger and Noah Rubin of the US both lost on Tuesday.
Complete results are available at the ITF junior website. The order of play and printable draws for Roehampton are available at the LTA website, which also includes the OOP for the Wimbledon qualifying matches being held there.
I've fallen behind in my coverage of the US Open National Playoffs, but the USTA has sent out several press releases recently, parts of which I am posting below, if I hadn't already provided a complete sectional update earlier.
There are too many juniors and college players to mention individually, but you'll recognize many of the names.
The final three sectional qualifying events are this weekend--Missouri Valley, Southern and Midwest.
US Open National Playoff Qualifying Update:
(Information provided by USTA)
USTA Southern California
Men’s Final – Dante Cipulli, 30, will also be making a return trip to the US Open National Playoffs – Men’s Singles Championship after defeating former Top 50 player Jeff Tarango, 43, in a tight 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 match in Claremont, Calif. Cipulli won the 2010 USTA Missouri Valley Sectional Qualifying Tournament to advance to the US Open National Playoffs – Men’s Championship. He is a former assistant coach at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and currently works as a teaching pro and junior tennis coach in Murrieta, Calif. Tarango was the doubles runner-up at the 1999 French Open with Goran Ivanisivec. He won 14 ATP doubles titles in his career and peaked at No. 10 in the world doubles rankings in 1999 and No. 42 in singles in 1992.
Women’s Final – No. 1 seed Mayo Hibi, 16, of Irvine, Calif., lost just seven games in four matches to win the women’s title, defeating 17-year-old Alyssa Smith, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., 6-3, 6-1, in the final. Hibi, from Japan, won the $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Hilton Head Island, S.C., earlier this month and is No. 646 in the WTA rankings. She also reached the semifinals of the 2012 Easter Bowl as a junior player. Off the court, Hibi enjoys music, taking piano lessons and playing the clarinet at her school.
Mixed Doubles Final – West Nott, 30, of Los Angeles, and Alison Ramos, 22, of Carson, Calif., won the mixed doubles title in a close match against Page Bartelt and Scott Doerner, 4-6, 6-4, [10-8]. Nott and Ramos also won their semifinal match in a tight third-set tie-break, 12-10. Nott is a current assistant coach at USC and competes in Davis Cup as a member of the Pacific Oceania team, having been born in the Marshall Islands and living on an island in Micronesia until the age of 11. In college, Nott played one year at Florida before transferring to Georgia Tech. As a junior, he was consistently ranked No. 1 in the USTA Midwest Section. Teaming with his mother, Elizabeth, Nott won the 2006 National Mother-Son Doubles Championships in 2006 and reached the final in 2010. Nott also spent six months as the full-time coach for Canadian Rebecca Marino, who is now ranked in the WTA’s Top 100. Ramos graduated from USC in the spring, where she played in the school’s fifth and sixth singles positions and was ranked in the Top 75 in the country in doubles as a junior and senior, finishing her junior year ranked No. 28.
USTA New England
Men’s Final – In New Haven, Conn., future Stanford Cardinal Nolan Paige,18, of Fairfield, Conn., won six matches and defeated Fordham University sophomore Srikar Alla in a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 final. Paige won the 2010 USTA New England sectional qualifier but was unable to compete in the US Open National Playoffs due to a scheduling conflict. Paige, who has won numerous New England tennis titles, comes from a tennis family; his father is the head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Fairfield University.
Women’s Final – 2010 USTA Florida sectional qualifier champion Jan Abaza, 17, of Boca Raton, Fla., won the women’s title, defeating No. 2 seed and University of Pennsylvania standout Chieh Yu Hsu, 20, of Philadelphia, 7-5, 6-2, in the final. Abaza also upset No. 1 seed and 2011 USTA New England sectional champion Lena Litvak in the semifinals. Abaza has trained in Boca Raton for 10 years and is currently ranked No. 701. Due to a scheduling conflict, Abaza was unable to play in the Florida sectional qualifier, so she made the trip up to New England, as she has family in New Jersey. Abaza won the doubles title at the $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Sumter, S.C., this year and was a standout junior, reaching the girls’ 14s quarterfinals at the 2008 Junior Orange Bowl.
Mixed Doubles Final – Paige had a chance to add another title as he advanced to the mixed doubles final with 18-year-old Ashley Noyes, but the pair fell to 14-year-old Meghan Kelley, of Falmouth, Maine, and Daniel Quiceno, 32, of Beverly, Mass., 6-3, 6-4. Quiceno is a teaching pro at Manchester Athletic Club in Massachusetts, where Kelley trains. He was the No. 1-ranked player in his native Colombia from age 8 to 18 and played collegiately at Troy University. He worked at the Bollettieri Academy and has been a hitting partner for Tommy Haas, Maria Sharapova and Xavier Malisse, among others. Kelley, the youngest player to have won a sectional qualifier so far, has won a number of national junior tournaments.
The USTA Texas, Northern California and Northern Sectional Qualifying Tournaments of the 2012 US Open National Playoffs were all completed in the past week, advancing 11 additional players to the US Open National Playoffs – Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles Championships in August.
Men’s Final – In the largest sectional qualifying tournament of 2012, with nearly 160 total singles and mixed doubles entries, former University of Texas player Jon Wiegand, 24, of San Antonio, Texas, won six straight matches and then defeated defending champion Artem Baradach, 23, of Dallas, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(2), in the final in Arlington. Wiegand was down a set and facing two break points in the first game of the second set before turning things around, cruising in the second set and winning the third set in a decisive tie-break. Wiegand played for the University of Texas from 2006 to 2010 and is now a color analyst for the Longhorn Network. His dad, uncle and sister all played at Texas.
Women’s Final – Peggy Porter, a 16-year-old Dallas native, defeated Elena Kordolaimi, 19, of Nacogdoches, Texas, 3-6, 6-0, 6-2, in the final. Porter, who won five matches for the title, is a standout junior player who played in her first junior Grand Slam tournament last year at the US Open, where she lost in two tie-breaks. Also in 2011, she won both the singles and doubles title at the 2011 USTA Girls’ 16s National Clay Court Championships and took the title at the USTA Girls’ 16s National Championships. This year, Porter advanced to the quarterfinals of the International Grass Court Championships, a prestigious grass-court junior event.
Mixed Doubles Final – For the second consecutive year, siblings Samantha and Harrison Adams, of New Braunfels, Texas, took home the title in Texas, defeating Porter and her partner, Josh Hagar, 18, of Austin, 4-6, 6-2, [10-5]. Samantha, 20, is the No. 2 singles player and No. 1 doubles player for the Texas Tech women’s tennis team. As a freshman, she was named the ITA Rookie of the Year for the Texas Region, and this past year she and partner Kenna Kilgo posted the highest-ever ITA doubles ranking in Red Raiders’ women’s tennis history, at No. 15; Samantha also won the Texas high school state title three times. Harrison, 18, will graduate from high school in 2013 and has won the 5A state title twice. He is his high school’s class president.
The duo said that they plan to spend the summer individually training for the US Open National Playoffs. However, Samantha and Harrison are two of seven kids, all of who play tennis, so practice will not be a problem.
USTA Northern California
Men’s and Mixed Doubles Final – In Salinas, Calif., former UCLA standout Nicolas Meister, 23, of Trabuco Canyon, Calif., became the just second man to sweep the singles and mixed doubles at a sectional qualifying tournament this year, claiming the singles title and teaming with Stanford star Hilary Barte to win the mixed doubles in Salinas, Calif. Meister swept both titles without dropping a set in either event. He was pushed in only one of his five singles matches, defeating Eugene Muchynski in the semifinals, 7-5, 6-2, before dismissing Brandon Sutter in the final, 6-2, 6-1. With the victory, Meister joins Brian Battistone, who opened the 2012 US Open Playoffs by sweeping the Southwest sectional qualifier, as the only dual winners on the men’s side.
Meister then teamed with Barte, 23, of Newhall, Calif., to defeat Giuliana Olmos and Duncan Mugabe, 6-3, 7-6, in the mixed doubles final. Meister was an All-American doubles player as a junior at UCLA in 2010 but missed most of the 2011 season following hip surgery; after receiving a medical redshirt, he returned in style this past year to earn a Top 16 seeding into the 2012 NCAA Tournament, taking home singles All-American honors in the process. Barte is an eight-time collegiate All-American (singles and doubles all four years) and won the NCAA doubles title in 2011 and 2012 (with Lindsay Burdette and Mallory Burdette, respectively); she is currently ranked No. 323 in the world in doubles.
Women’s Final – Olmos, 19, of Fremont, Calif., did not go home empty-handed, winning her three singles matches with ease, dropping just 12 games in six sets. She defeated Stephanie Lin, 17, of Pinole, Calif., 6-0, 6-3, in the final. Olmos was born in Austria but competes for Mexico. She played on the Mexican Fed Cup team in 2010, going 2-1 in singles, and played for Mexico’s Junior Fed Cup team in 2009, going undefeated at the No. 1 position.
Men’s Final – In Minneapolis, Evan Song, 20, of Las Vegas, defeated Wyatt McCoy, 19, of St. Paul, Minn., 6-1, 7-6(6). Song, who defeated defending champion Tony Larson in the semifinals, currently plays on the USTA Pro Circuit and in ITF-level events. This year, he competed overseas in Greece, Bahrain, Panama and Guatemala, in addition to playing on the USTA Pro Circuit. As a junior player, he reached the semifinals of the 2010 Easter Bowl, upsetting No. 2 seed Dennis Novikov en route.
Women’s Final – The third time was a charm for 15-year-old Nyla Beenk, of LeClaire, Iowa, after defeating 13-year-old Alexis Nelson, of St. Paul, Minn., 2-6, 6-1, 6-4. Two years ago, Beenk was a finalist at the Northern Sectional Qualifying Tournament, and she was a semifinalist last year. Beenk has played in many USTA junior tournaments. For the past two years, she has played in qualifying in USTA Pro Circuit events, and this May she qualified for her first-ever pro main draw at the $10,000 event in Landisville, Pa.
Mixed Doubles Final – Jessie Aney, 14, and Eric Frueh, 19, both of Rochester, Minn., won a close mixed doubles final against Chris Johnson, 19, and Amber Washington, 17, both of St. Paul, Minn., 5-7, 6-1, [10-3]. Aney was named the 2010 Sports Illustrated “SportsKid of the Year”— the first girl to ever receive the award—and appeared on the cover of the December 2010 issue of Sports Illustrated For Kids. She has worked with USTA Player Development and won a state singles title while in eighth grade. Frueh is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota.
The winners or top available finishers from each of the 13 sectional qualifying tournaments held throughout the spring and summer advance to the US Open National Playoffs – Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles Championships, to be held during the New Haven Open at Yale, an Emirates Airline US Open Series women’s event, in August. The US Open National Playoffs mixed doubles champions receive a main draw wild card into the 2012 US Open, while the men’s and women’s singles champions earn a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament held the week prior to the US Open.