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Monday, February 4, 2013

January Aces; Patton Brings Davis Cup to Boise; Ohio State Men Down Georgia; Pro Circuit Qualifying Update; Main Draw ATP Wild Cards for Garin and Jarry

My monthly look at the top college and junior performances is up at the Tennis Recruiting Network. January is an extremely busy month, with the Australian Open, the Florida Futures, all the ITF Grade 1's and the Bolton and Tarbes 14-and-under events. In February, when the college season begins in earnest, more current college players will be featured, I'm sure.

After Sam Querrey's four-set win over Thiago Alves gave the United States a 3-2 win over Brazil in the first round of the Davis Cup World Group, it was announced that the April tie with Serbia would be played in Boise Idaho. I suspected then that Greg Patton, the men's coach at Boise State, had something to do with that selection, given his stature in that community, and when this article was posted in today's Idaho Statesman, those suspicions were confirmed. (Another name familiar to junior tennis fans may be Steve Bickham's, who was the director at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego before taking the job as executive director of the Idaho Tennis Association).

The tie, scheduled for April 5-7, will be held at the Taco Bell arena on the Boise State campus, and Patton is quoted as saying it's the "biggest thing that’s ever happened to Boise and the state of Idaho. ... The community is just going to love it."

Few rival Patton when it comes to enthusiasm, but the dismal crowds for the Jacksonville tie demonstrate how difficult it will be to fill the over 11,000 seats in the arena on another major sports weekend in the United States--the NCAA Final Four in basketball. (It's also not a good weekend for juniors, with the Easter Bowl and Spring 12s beginning). If world No. 1 Novak Djokovic plays for Serbia, selling all those tickets will be easier, but that's hardly guaranteed at this point (or ever, really) despite the implication in the article.

On the other hand, a promoter more committed to tennis than Patton would be hard to find, so let's hope Jacksonville was just a fluke in terms of attendance.

Peter Kobelt (photo courtesy Scott Gerber)
Sunday's big match in Columbus, Ohio didn't register high on excitement scale, with the fourth-ranked Ohio State beating No. 6 Georgia 5-2. The Buckeyes took the doubles point with 8-3 wins by its No. 1 and No. 3 teams, with the No. 2 line not finishing. Ohio State then won five first sets in singles, and less than two and a half hours after it began Connor Smith clinched a Buckeye victory by virtue of a 6-4, 6-1 win over Hernus Pieters at No. 4. Georgia got its two points with third set tiebreaker wins by KU Singh, who beat No. 1 ranked Peter Kobelt 7-5, 5-7, 10-8 at 1, and Nick Wood, who beat Hunter Callahan 6-7(5), 6-4, 10-3 at 6.

It was Ohio State's 156th straight win at home.

For more on the match, see ohiostatebuckeyes.com.

Qualifying is complete at the men's Challenger of Dallas, with University of Virginia junior Alex Domijan reaching the main draw after a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Mitchell Krueger.  Also qualifying were Alex Bogdanovic of Great Britain, and two former college players: Wisconsin's Moritz Baumann of Germany and Texas's Jean Andersen of South Africa. Rajeev Ram, Mike Russell Rhyne Williams and Ryan Sweeting won their first round matches in the main draw.

At the women's Dow Corning Tennis Classic, 17-year-old Americans Sachia Vickery and Vicky Duval, who received a wild card into the main draw in doubles, will square off on Tuesday in the final round of qualifying. Vickery, the No. 3 seed, beat Diana Ospina 6-0, 6-2 in today's second round, while Duval, the No. 8 seed, came back to post a 1-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over former North Carolina Tar Heel Sanaz Marand.

The main draw was posted today, with US Open girls champion Samantha Crawford, who didn't need her wild card after the withdrawals of Melanie Oudin (Fed Cup replacement for Sloane Stephens) and Camila Giorgi (injury), playing former Northwestern Wildcat Samantha Murray in the first round. Taylor Townsend, who didn't get a wild card, but rather used her junior exemption for finishing No. 1 in the ITF rankings last year, will play a qualifier or lucky loser. With the late withdrawals of Oudin and Giorgi, six of the eight players still in qualifying will reach the first round.

The ATP event in Vina del Mar Chile is getting plenty of attention this week as the comeback event for Rafael Nadal, and that has to add to the thrill for 16-year-old Christian Garin and 17-year-old Nicolas Jarry, who also will be in the field thanks to wild cards.  Garin, the Eddie Herr champion and No. 10 in the ITF junior rankings, received a wild card into the singles main draw, his first shot in an ATP event, although he did play Davis Cup for Chile last year.  He will play qualifier Dusan Lajovic of Servia in the first round. Garin and Jarry(still mistakenly listed as USA by the ATP) who won three tournaments in a row as a team last November and December, including the Orange Bowl, received a main draw doubles wild card, and played their first match today. They lost to Spain's Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo and Tommy Robredo 6-4, 7-5.


Davis Cup Crowd said...

Coach Patton is the perfect person to finally bring the ENERGY at a home Davis Cup match. He will fill the seats - (embarrassing effort in Jacksonville). Coach Patton will also bring fans that will chant/cheer and show emotion, unlike the elderly, quiet, rich crowd that sits near the court for the USA. Why were the 14 Brazilian people in the crowd louder than the entire USA crowd? EMBARRASSING!!!

If USA has any chance against Serbia - the crowd has to be so loud because Serbia will bring supporters to the match - and they will be loud.

What about Fraternities? That would be perfect!!

5.0 Player said...

Coach Patton is a super nice guy and certainly has a lot of enthusiasm. But my concern is that this could turn into a real circus in Boise because there is a ton of altitude and, as I understand it, the Boise St. facilities are not very good and that's why they play their matches at a private tennis club.

I guess if Isner and Querrey are playing and start hitting 180 MPH bombs in the altitude against Djokovitch then maybe this is a smart strategic move but I still wonder about the circus-like aspect of all of this.

college fan said...

Colette, if 2 of the top women's teams continually boycott the Women's Team Indoor event year after year, doesn't the integrity of the event eventually weaken?

I understand that Florida and Stanford would rather play each other than participate in a national event.

What do other coaches think about this?

college tennis said...

also, why did ITA change the draw protocol this year? Texas and host UVa got much tougher first round opponents than did a Nebraska or Michigan.

In the past in this event, the #1 seed played #16, the #2 played #15 and so on. This year everyone after #8 appears to have been shuffled into a random draw. What was the reason to change this?
It's not like there are many national team events (just 2). Why are they no longer doing the draw according to ranking?

Texas is the 9th highest ranked team yet they drew #4 UGA. Host UVa is the 10th highest ranked team in the event and drew #3 USC. Nebraska is the 15th best here and they got #8 Miami.

I'm sure USC and UGA would have minded easier first round matches as well.

Colette Lewis said...

@college tennis:
Last year the unseeded teams at the women's ITA Indoor were handled the same way. I can't recall if that was done to avoid first round conference matchups.

Colette Lewis said...

@college tennis:
Last year the unseeded teams at the women's ITA Indoor were handled the same way. I can't recall if that was done to avoid first round conference matchups.