My Interview with Marc Lucero about RAMP Academy; Black vs. Shishkina in Plantation ITF Grade 4 Semis; Pro Circuit Update
When the USTA downsized at the Carson facility last fall, there was some fear the Home Depot Center would become a ghost town, but fortunately a private academy has taken up the slack, with former USTA coaches Marc Lucero, Patrick Nagle and Andrew Laing, along with Rick Buchta, forming the RAMP Tennis Academy. Last month I spoke with Lucero about their new venture, which resulted in this question and answer session at the Tennis Recruiting Network.
On the other side of the country, former top ATP player Johann Kriek has a relatively new academy in Charlotte, North Carolina, and he spoke about his career and development philosophy in this interview posted at USA Today.
The ITF Grade 4 tournament in Plantation saw top boys seed Henrik Wiersholm lose to Jake DeVine in the second round, but top girls seed Tornado Black is tearing through the draw. Black, who will be 15 in a few days, has lost only eight games in her four wins, and in today's quarterfinal against CiCi Bellis, Black won 6-2, 6-0. She will take on doubles partner and No. 3 seed Maria Shishkina in Friday's semifinal, a rare chance to see the two prodigies face off. Way back in 2009, Shishkina won the Eddie Herr 12s with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Black in the final; the next (and last time) they met, in 2010, Black beat Shishkina 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(4) in the final of the 12s Clay Courts.
The other girls semifinal features No. 12 seed Chloe Ouelett-Pizer against unseeded, but very dangerous, Katerina Stewart. Stewart has been nearly as impressive as Black, losing just nine games, and she eliminated Daytona Beach champion Sofia Kenin 6-3, 6-0 in today's quarterfinal.
The boys semifinals have unseeded Stephen Watson against Catalin Mateas, also unseeded, and Daytona Beach champion Alex Rybakov, the No. 4 seed, against No. 5 seed Tommy Paul.
For complete results and draws, see the tournament page at usta.com.
At the $10,000 Futures in Orange Park, Florida, Mitchell Krueger and Kyle Edmund of Great Britain will renew their rivalry in Friday's quarterfinals. Krueger won their first round Wimbledon Juniors encounter 10-8 in the third last July, one of the best matches of the boys tournament, while Edmund took their semifinal meeting at a $10,000 Futures in Alabama on clay last October 2-6, 6-2, 6-3. Edmund, who won last week's Futures in Vero Beach, is on a seven-match winning streak. Other Americans in the quarterfianls are Dennis Nevolo, Greg Ouellette and Bjorn Fratangelo, with the latter two playing each other on Friday.
At the $25,000 women's event in Raleigh, North Carolina, juniors Jamie Loeb, Chalena Scholl, Hayley Carter, Samantha Crawford and Mayo Hibi all advanced to the quarterfinals. Crawford, the top seed, will play qualifier Carter and Loeb, who beat former Florida No. 1 Allie Will, the No. 5 seed, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, meets Asia Muhammad. Muhammad defeated wild card Taylor Davidson 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 today after Davidson had surprised No. 4 seed Maria-Fernanda Alvarez-Teran of Bolivia in the first round.
In the bottom half, No. 7 seed Hibi plays Scholl, and in the international quarterfinal, No. 2 seed Adriana Perez of Venezuela faces No. 6 seed Alyona Sotnikova of Ukraine.