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Monday, January 14, 2013

Pro Circuit Update; Notes on First Round at Australian Open; Briefing on Sunday's USTA Junior Competition Town Hall Meeting

It's time to check in on the Pro Circuit events in Florida and elsewhere this past week, which don't, unfortunately, feature much success by American players.

At the $10,000 Futures in Plantation, No. 3 seed Victor Crivoi of Romania defeated top seed Pedro Sousa of Portugal 6-2, 6-4 in Sunday's final. Top seeds Sousa and Franco Skugor of Croatia won the doubles title 6-2, 6-3 over unseeded Joao Domingues of Portugal and Hassan Ndayishimiye of Burundi. No American reached the quarterfinals of singles or the semifinals of the doubles.

Sousa is again the top seed in this week's $10,000 Futures in Sunrise, which, like Plantation, had a full 128-player qualifying draw. Today's final round of qualifying saw Americans Mitchell Krueger, Bjorn Fratangelo and Dennis Nevolo make into the main draw, as did ITF World Junior champion Filip Peliwo of Canada.

In the women's $25,000 tournament last week in Innisbrook, No. 7 seed Tadeja Majeric of Slovenia defeated qualifier Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia 6-2, 6-3 in the final. Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway and former Penn star Connie Hsu of the US, the No. 4 seeds, won the doubles title, beating unseeded Florencia Molinero of Argentina and Adriana Perez of Venezuela 6-3, 6-0 in the final.

This week the women are in Port Saint Lucie for another $25,000 event.  Qualifying will end on Tuesday, with very young professionals Katerina Stewart, Maria Shishkina and Belinda Bencic just one step away from the main draw. Asia Muhammad and former Tennessee stars Natalie Pluskota and Caitlin Whoriskey are also into the final round of qualifying.

Sixteen-year-old Indy De Vroome of the Netherlands won her first professional title last week in the $10,000 ITF Women's circuit event in Saint Martin, beating No. 5 seed Lea Tholey of France 6-3, 6-2 in the final. De Vroome, the No. 3 seed, didn't lose a set all week.

In Monday's matches in the Australian Open first round, Americans Brian Baker, Sam Querrey, Ryan Harrison and lucky loser Tim Smyczek all advanced, as did wild card Madison Keys.  As I mentioned in my post last night, NCAA champion Steve Johnson lost in five sets to No. 10 seed Nicolas Almagro, but tennis.com's Peter Bodo, who has always had kind words for Johnson's game, explains why he thinks the 23-year-old Southern Californian is "a player."

Writing for Reuters, Simon Cambers talked with Baker after his five-set win over Alex Bogomolov, while ESPN's Bonnie Ford (nice to have her back on the tennis beat), spoke with Smyczek after his three-set win over Ivo Karlovic. The Wall Street Journal caught up with Keys after her 6-4, 7-6(0) victory over Australia's Casey Dellacqua.

Lisa Stone at Parenting Aces posted her impressions from yesterday's USTA junior competition Town Hall meeting in Atlanta.  Not only did Lisa attend the meeting, but she was invited to a pre-meeting conference with several key JC committee members. Please take a few moments to read her synopsis, and if you have not already done so, please send your thoughts on these changes to the USTA via the email address letusknow@usta.com. I am hearing that the USTA is diligently collecting reading and collating these responses, so it is not necessary to attend one of the meetings, but it is important to provide the USTA with tangible evidence of your opinion.  The next Town Hall meeting is in Troy, Michigan on February 8, in conjunction with the USPTA Midwest annual conference. The dates for the remaining meetings can be found at this page on Lisa's website.

And to add to what I wrote last week about the changes in Division I tennis relating to the new medical timeouts and bathroom break rules, I am told that these rules will not be in force for the NCAAs in 2013. Whether they are used in conference play is up to the individual conferences.


Jerry said...

Bodo's article on Steve Johnson is a bit of a slap in the face! He failed to talk about Steve having a top 20 serve and forehand. Just competing isn't enough, you have to have weapons to hang with a top 10 player like he did. I am not sure why these writers want to point out flaws in the upcoming players rather than speaking of their strengths. I don't see his bhand being any worse than Isners Steve eats nails for breakfast and will be top 50 by 2014

Tennis Media said...

Great comment Jerry and totally agree. It seems that The tennis media loves to focus on negative aspects. - whereas - a more popular sport like golf - the media and commentators are mostly positive.

There are so many positives from Steve Johnson, so many weapons.

If the media is going to be negative, it should be on tv commentating - get Chris Evert, Pam Shriver, Cliff Drysdale and Martina Navratilova out of the booth. It's too painful.

ESPN Tennis said...

Chris Evert is the worst commentator that I’ve ever seen and ESPN should really get rid of her. She may have once been a great player in the era of wood rackets but her tennis knowledge and “analysis” regarding modern tennis is horrendous.

Most of the time she is either totally bluffing or just saying something painfully obvious. An example of her bluffing yesterday was that she said that “she thinks” that Wawrinka is a good friend and frequent doubles partner of Federer because they are both from Switzerland. Then she said that she “thinks” that Wawrinka likes to use a lot of touch and finesse when he plays because he is from Switzerland like Federer. Any casual observer could have told her that Wawrinka is a baseline basher who virtually never uses touch or finesse. She probably just assumed this because he has a one-handed backhand and is from Switzerland.

When Evert was asked about her prediction regarding an upcoming match-up, she often resorted to saying: “X player has a chance.” Gee, thank you!