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Friday, June 15, 2012

US Open National Playoffs Update; Gibbs, Johnson Named Campbell/ITA Players of the Year; Finals Set at ITF Grass Courts

The sectional qualifying of the US Open national playoffs is rolling along with three more sections deciding their entrants this month.

Former UCLA Bruin and current assistant coach at Georgetown Matt Brooklyn won the Mid-Atlantic men's sectional competition, with teaching pro Nika Kukharchuk taking the women's title. University of Detroit coach Pjotrs Necajevs, a finalist in the men's singles, teamed with 14-year-old Sophia Abelson to take the mixed doubles title. For more see the section's website.

At the Middle States section, Texas A&M recruit Anna Mamalat won the women's title, with Punch Maleka taking the men's. Ron Mercer and high school-er Stephanie Smith won the mixed doubles. For more, see the section's blog post on the competition.

The Southern California section's tournament ends today, and once again, given the area, the turnout was surprisingly low. The men's and women's draws were only 32 and even then had byes, and the mixed draw was only eight teams.  Dante Cipulli, a former University of Missouri-Kansas City coach who won the Missouri Valley competition two years ago, beat Jeff Tarango in the men's final today. Mayo Hibi defeated Alyssa Smith in the women's final between two juniors, and USC women's assistant coach West Nott and recent graduate Alison Ramos were in the mixed doubles final against Page Bartelt and Scott Doerner.

Two other sections, Eastern and New England, will complete their tournaments Sunday.  For an interesting look at the wide variety of players who compete in one of these events, read Ray Krueger's first-hand accounts of his two matches in the Eastern tournament at the New York Times Straight Sets blog.

Entries are still being accepted for the Midwest and Southern sectional events at the end of this month. For more information, click on the links for these sections here.  This year four sections are not participating: Caribbean, which never did, plus Hawaii-Pacific, Intermountain and Pacific Northwest.  This will mean byes in the national tournament in August for the first time.

The ITA today announced the Campbell Players of the Year, with NCAA champion Nicole Gibbs and Steve Johnson taking those honors. Gibbs and Mallory Burdette and Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola were the doubles teams of the year. It isn't always the NCAA champions, but it ended up that way this year. The award is the second straight for Johnson, and he may be able to attend the ceremony this year in Newport, Rhode Island. Last year he couldn't, because he was a practice partner for the US Davis Cup team.  For the complete release, see the ITA website.

The ITA has also announced three new awards for USTA sectional staffs and volunteers for promoting college tennis. For more information on those awards, see the ITA website.

The singles finals are set for the ITF Grade 4 International Grass Courts in Philadelphia.  Thirteen-year-old Usue Arconada, the No. 6 seed, will play unseeded Jamie Loeb, 17, in the girls final.  Loeb has already secured one title, winning the doubles with Alexandra Morozova 7-6(5), 6-1 over Dasha Ivanova and Rasheeda McAdoo.

The boys doubles winners, Henrik Wiersholm and Dan Kerznerman, will play each other for the singles championship Saturday. The 15-year-old Wiersholm is seeded fourth, 16-year-old Kerznerman fifth. In the doubles final, the third-seeded pair beat No. 2 seeds Henry Craig and Josh Hagar 6-3, 6-4.

Complete draws can be found at the TennisLink site.