Sponsored by IMG Academy

Friday, January 4, 2013

Silverman Wins USTA National Indoor Open; Okuno Joins Georgia; Recruits and Rankings

After Christmas, there's major USTA event, complete with gold balls to the winners, that is far away from the Winter Nationals in Arizona.  The USTA National Indoor Open championships, held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, draws top college and junior players, as well as many teaching pros, near the east coast.

Elon junior Cameron Silverman won the men's open singles title, which was a 256 draw. Silverman, the No. 4 seed, defeated No. 6 seed Ilia Shatisvili 6-2, 6-4 in the final.

It must be very difficult to seed an open tournament like this, but it's odd that the women's winner, Nika Kukharchuk, wasn't seeded. She won the Mid-Atlantic section's National US Open playoffs this summer, and is 468 on the WTA computers. Anyway, the 25-year-old Russian defeated Princeton freshman Amanda Muliawan, also unseeded, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 in the final. The women's draw was much smaller, only 64.

College players Julia Elbaba (Virginia) and Nicole Stracar, the top seeds, won the women's doubles, while the men's doubles title went to unseeded Penn State recruits Alex Fennell and Christian Lutschaunig. Junior Nicolas Bradley and Virginia Tech freshman Kelly Williford won the mixed doubles championship.

For complete draws, see the TennisLink site.

The University of Georgia announced today that Ayaka Okuno of Japan would be joining their team for the upcoming spring dual season. The 17-year-old, who trains at the Sylvano Tennis Academy in California and also has been coached recently by the pop star RedFoo, is currently 28 in the ITF junior rankings. Okuno, Mia King and former European 16s champion Silvia Garcia of Spain all are set to begin playing for the Bulldogs this month.  The release on Garcia is here, and the release on King is here.

I can't recall if I posted this back when it was released, but another top ITF junior will be heading to college this month. Maria Ines Deheza of Bolivia, who ended 2012 at No. 17 in the ITF junior rankings, and twin sister Maria Paula will be joining Texas A&M's team.

ITF junior rankings are certainly one method college coaches use to evaluate recruits, but there are many others.  Adirondack Tennis talked with coaches in the Northeast to find out what rankings they are most comfortable with. The results of those discussions are contained in this post.