Sponsored by IMG Academy

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Gibbs, Keys Win Openers at WTA Bank of the West Classic; European Championships Underway; Three Teens Contemplate Pro Tennis

Two-time NCAA singles champion Nicole Gibbs posted the best win of her career last night at the WTA's Bank of the West Classic, beating No. 67 Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-1.  The 20-year-old Gibbs, who attended Stanford, the site of the tournament, for three years, made the most of her wild card and the home town environment. Gibbs reached the second round at the tournament last year, and while she faces a formidable opponent Thursday in No. 4 seed Jamie Hampton, last year's encounter with Serena Williams was certainly more intimidating.

Gibbs, who turned pro after her NCAA team and individual titles this year, was cheered on by three friends, who are offensive linemen on the Stanford football team. This article from the Palo Alto Daily News delves into their support of Gibbs throughout her Stanford career.

Madison Keys also won her first round match Monday evening, defeating No. 8 seed Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-2. She will play qualifier Vera Dushevina of Russia in Thursday's second round. For more on Keys, particularly on her debut in the Top 50 and on Twitter, see this WTA article.

The European Championships are being held this week in three different locations, with the 14s in the Czech Republic, the 16s in Moscow and the 18s in Switzerland.

The top seeds in the 14 are Artem Dubrivnyy and Evgeniya Levashova, both of Russia.  The 16s top seeds are Juame Antoni Munar Clar of Spain and Iryna Shymanovich of Belarus.  The girls 18s draw, which is an ITF Grade B1 tournament, features the ITF's two top-ranked junior girls: French and Wimbledon champion Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and Australian Open and Orange Bowl champion Ana Konjuh of Croatia. The top seed in the boys event is Filippo Baldi of Italy, ranked No. 8, with Johan Sebastien Tatlot of France, ranked No. 12, the No. 2 seed.  For links to all the draws, see the Tennis Europe site.

In going through my backlog of feeds the past week, I ran across three separate articles about junior girls who are contemplating whether to go to college or go straight to the professional ranks.  Dasha Ivanova, who played in the qualifying of the $50,000 Oregon Challenger near her home town of Beaverton, has a higher profile on the USTA and ITF circuit than the other two, who I personally haven't encountered in my travels on the junior circuit the past four or five years. Nyla Beenk, a 16-year-old from Iowa, had a win over Clemson All-American Yana Koroleva last week in the second round at the Evansville, Indiana Pro Circuit event, her first two wins in a Futures main draw.   Sadie Hammond of Maine has yet to win a main draw match in a Pro Circuit tournament, but the rising junior says she will turn pro if she reaches the Top 300 in the next two years.

If there's one thing I've learned in the past nine years of covering junior tennis, it's that there are as many different paths to professional success as there are players to take them. But as a realist, I hope the path that Gibbs, Mallory Burdette, Lauren Embree and Robin Anderson have taken gets the consideration it deserves.


Tim Musgrave said...


You are 1000% correct with your comment:

"If there's one thing I've learned in the past nine years of covering junior tennis, it's that there are as many different paths to professional success as there are players to take them."

There are also many different ways of coaching players.

Does the USTA understand this?

G12 Hard Courts said...

Can anyone explain the memo that is being forwarded around by the 12's Girls Hard courts. Didnt a group of tennis parents try and get the draws increased for nationals. I saw tere are only 69 players entered for the G12 in Atlanta. What a joke. I thought these kids all wanted to play. Seems like smaller draws where a good idea. Those guys (kerpin, mora, and Bellamy) sure had it spot on!!!

Collette can you please report on this? The tennis world would love to know why the tournament didnt fill!! Lets get te facts out there to debate with the "experts". We miss seeing Antonio and Kerpin making fools of themselves!!

Anon said...

Christian Harrison beats the 83rd ranked guy in the world 1st rd in Atlanta and its not worth mentioning. Is there anyone who flies under the radar more.

russ said...

I don't know, Brad Gilbert mentioned it. So did others on ESPN's twitter feed. But let's not carried away here. He was playing Falla, a finalist in Bogota a few days prior to the match. The winner of that Bogota Final, Karlovic, in his first match on the same day in Atlanta, lost the first set 6-2 before throwing in the towel. So maybe there was an added element of jet lag, mental fatigue, etc for Falla as well. I prefer to look at Harrison's performance against Kuznetsov in Binghamton and Steve Johnson in Tallahassee as more indicative of where he currently is in the whole scheme of things. In Binghamton he won the first set, and then had twelve double faults in the next two to lose a three setter (including two consecutive doubles to give Kuznetsov the break that gave Kuznetsov the opportunity to serve out the match). I watched a little of that match and his forehand has really improved as weapon since the last time I saw him against Steve johnson. At times it was like a bullet. On the other hand, his composure and poise could have regressed. However it could be because he won the latter and lost the former. So for Christian it was definitely a good win against Falla, I'm not taking that away from him, especially because he took advantage of a favorable situation and that's what you need to do. But again, let's not get carried away. Sometimes expectations and the spotlight can be a burden on a developing player. He's nineteen, so let him win and lose some while he develops.

ajt said...

G12 Hard courts :

What is your damage ? Your post is a total lie. It only takes a couple of minutes to go to the Tennislink website an see that the draw is full with 128 players and a waiting list.

"Girls Hard Courts" seems to be posting this stupid, false rumor everywhere he can.

Collete, if you have time to verify the draw on tennislink you should just delete his posts, they are just false rumors for what purpose I don't know.

Colette Lewis said...

I have no idea what axe G12 Hard Courts has to grind, but he/she is wrong.
At ajt's suggestion, I checked the TennisLink site for the Girls 12s, and there are currently 127 competitors and an alternate list of 17. I apologize for not looking this up BEFORE I approved the comment.