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