Saturday, August 24, 2013

Kasatkina, Nishioka Win ITF Grade 1 International Hard Courts; Santamaria and Christian Shut Out of US Open Women's Doubles Draw; Schnack, Roberson Win USO Mixed Wild Card


This year the International Hard Court tournament became an ITF Grade 1, and had my personal circumstances been different, I would have covered it in person, or at least more extensively than I did. With so many ITFs in the US being downgraded to Grades 4 or 5, an upgrade deserves more recognition than I was able to give it.  Thanks to Ray Benton of the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland for providing US players with an opportunity to improve their ITF rankings without traveling outside the US.

This year it was international players who benefitted the most however, with top seed Darya Kasatkina of Russia taking the girls title without the loss of a set, and No. 4 seed Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan claiming the boys title.  The 16-year-old Kasatkina defeated unseeded Maria Shishkina of Kazakhstan, when Shishkina retired trailing 6-3, 3-1. Unseeded Michaela Gordon and Josie Kuhlman reached the semifinals.


Nishioka, a semifinalist at last year's US Open juniors, downed No. 3 seed Stefan Kozlov 6-4, 6-1, after Kozlov had beaten top seed and former ITF No. 1 junior Nikola Milojevic of Serbia 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in the semifinals.  Nishioka also won the doubles title, with Naoki Nakagawa of Japan. The No. 3 seeds beat No. 6 seeds Nicolas Jarry of Chile and ALan Nunez Aguilera of Mexico 3-6, 6-3, 10-4.

The girls doubles title went to Iryna Shymanovic of Belarus and Alina Silich of Russia, the No. 2 seeds. They beat top seeds Katie Boulter of Great Britain and Viktoriya Lushkova of Ukraine 7-6(4), 6-1.

Unfortunate news out of New York today, with the word that Sabrina Santamaria and Kaitlyn Christian, the USC pair who won all three collegiate majors this year, including the NCAA title, did not receive a wild card into the women's doubles at the US Open.  Santamaria and Christian, not knowing they needed to apply to the USTA for a wild card, didn't, and the oversight wasn't noted by anyone at USTA Player Development when the time came for deciding US Open wild cards. Men's NCAA champions Jarmere Jenkins and Mac Styslinger of Virginia did receive a wild card into the US Open men's doubles.  It's hoped that both Santamaria and Christian will receive wild cards into the mixed doubles draw.

Speaking of mixed doubles, former UCLA star Yasmin Schnack and former Boise State standout Eric Roberson won the US National Playoffs for the mixed doubles main draw wild card today in New Haven. Schnack and Roberson defeated two other UCLA stars, Matt Brooklyn and Stephanie Wetmore, 6-1, 6-4 in today's final. For more, see this article from the Connecticut Post.  The National Playoffs mixed doubles draw is available here.

24 comments:

work-hard-tennis said...

That is awful, awful, awful news for Kaitlyn and Sabrina. They have worked their tails off for that exciting event. "Unfortunate" is not strong enough of a word. We are talking about the U.S. Open.

Yikes.

Tony said...

It is an absolute embarrassment that Christian and Santamaria didn't get a wild card into the US Open. Whether or not they were supposed to apply for one, it is Player Development's job to seek out thenmost qualified and deserving and make sure they get those wild cards. Player Development has touted college tennis as a viable pathway to the pros (I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment) but when things like this happen it makes you wonder about what's going on at Player Development. Two very good and deserving players (with results to back them up) are going to miss out on the experience of a lifetime and that is an absolute shame.

Amber said...

What does it say about the USTA's support of college tennis that ignorance of the first ever grand slam champs is considered an oversight? Especially sad because I'm pretty sure Christian and Santamaria would be rather heavily favored to beat any of the USTA's 7 wildcard selections (save perhaps Hantuchova/Hingis).

College Tennis said...

Who cares if they get a wildcard into the Mixed doubles? That will not make up for this incredible mistake and oversight. Is the doubles draw out? WHy can't they make this correction?

The USTA PD and US Open officials give wildcards to who they want to and this is not an oversight.

What are Jose Higueras and Ola Malmqvist comments on this decision.

The USTA PD publicly claims they like college tennis but their actions are completely opposite. When a Boca player commits to a college, they immediately stop receiving help.

Talk the talk, Walk the opposite direction!

AR Hacked Off said...

wow imagine that USTA asleep at the wheel, what an embarrassment, they should have been awarded the WC regardless of applying.

work-hard-tennis said...

They represent ALL of college tennis, not just USC. They are the epitome of a great college doubles team.

So Angry said...

Outrage over the total screw job by USTA to Sabrina and Kaitlyn. How can USTA do this? Do you want to know how many juniors I know that never applied for a WC that just got one cause of the connections they had? Many. This is the worst of USTA. New USTA tagline - "USTA - We pick the best, to he** with the rest!" I only hope people find this so incomprehensible that it exposes the corruption that is rampant in the USTA WC system.

David - New York said...

Embarrassment by the USTA for not giving Christian and Santamaria a wildcard even if they did not apply for won. They EARNED the wildcard by winning the NCAA Championships. The Mens Doubles Champion got a wildcard but NOT THE WOMEN?

Wonder what Billie Jean King's thoughts are? Will she be happy?

This is another disgraceful decision by the USTA!!

No way USTA said...

Did the men (Styslinger and Jenkins) submit an application?

Ask Christian Harrison how many applications he has filled out. ZERO.
He just shows up.

Tie Breaker said...

This is really a slap in the face to collegiate tennis. I can't think of any players that deserve playing in the US Open more than Santamaria and Christian, after winning all 3 majors including NCAA's. The winning NCAA team visits the White House. It's a shame that such an oversight has shattered their dreams, one of which they worked so hard for. Tossing them to a mixed doubles match is like telling Serena Williams she can't play singles but can play mixed doubles. I can't believe that an organization like the USTA is not capable of correcting this oversight. This is such a tragedy!

Tie Breaker said...

I've been following college tennis for over 10 years. For something like this to happen is such a tragedy. If there are any collegiate players that deserve a WC to USO it would be Sabrina and Kaitlyn, who won all 3 majors including NCAA's.

This is not only an oversight but it is so un-American to crush the dreams of 2 players, who worked their entire life to get to this stage. The last place I'd expect this to happen is at the USO. This is totally not acceptable and somebody needs to correct this mistake.

Granting a wild card to mixed doubles is like telling Serena Wiliams, she can't play singles, but play mixed doubles instead.

I was really hoping to see them play as they played so well in Europe over the summer at the University games and now to hear this...such a tragedy!

injustice said...

Can someone quickly call Bob Overbeek and Evan King to start another online campaign to bring this to the attention of everyone and stop the injustice!!!

ShawneeTownGuitars said...

Last year the exact same thing happened to Ohio States Chase Buchanan ( former us open junior finalist)from New Albany Ohio and current ncaa champion Blaz Rola

Colette Lewis said...

Rola is not American, so the circumstances are a bit different.

College Fan said...

How is it that they were able to book flights, rooms, arrive at the NTC, practice on the courts and only then be told of the oversight. If they had not shown up in New York, would anyone at the USTA even noticed?

And some of these players who receive numerous WCs throughout the year from the USTA, do they actually have to apply for each and every one?

work-hard-tennis said...

Out of this mess, I would certainly hope that as soon as the NCAA championships are done for the year, a "new" automatic step for the NCAA would be to immediately give paperwork or officially notify the college of the kids who won, that they need to apply. Yes, it is not their direct area, but let's face it, the gap between NCAA/college and Player Development needs to be bridged and that would be a great first step.

Monsters said...

I am ashamed to be part of this system. Having a player that did the US Open there are so many steps done weeks before that have to be completed - application for player hotel, the player pass, setting up time on the courts to practice - all through USTA. They need to fix this - can you imagine what these girls are going through? They have been in NYC training for days. They didn't need to fill out paperwork, this is USTA playing their way running over anyone in their way. No pride in being part of the USTA, it's just too ugly, this is my tipping point with them. It is so sad for these girls. Take out one of the teams that was just chosen - that was simply given the WC versus earning it like these girls. Imagine this was your kid that spent since May getting ready for this, and is now there preparing, then this. Monsters.

No US Open for me said...

College Fan --- no, many players do not have to apply for them. That is a fact. Some players know 6-9 months out they have a WC because of their tie or daddy's tie to the inner sanctum. Works this way for juniors and pros. This is no oversight by USTA, it was calculated. They couldn't just overlook this, they are doing what they want, they know people will scream then move on to the next thing. I won't be watching one minute of the US Open.

Disgraceful USTA said...

The women's draw is NOT even made, if the USTA wanted to correct this issue, they could have but they did not want these girls in the tournament.

A disgraceful decision is to put this mildly. Now there is nothing the USTA can do to make up for this. NOTHING!! These girls DESERVE to be in this tournament.

The USTA claims college tennis is an important step in development, but they just spit on college tennis. Everyone knows Jose Higueras and the USTA does not like college tennis. HIs quotes are all for publicity.

You cannot trust USTA PD.

The USTA has their Director of Coaching lives in Palm Springs and rarely at any of the National Centers. Over 12 American coaches have left over past 3 years because of the leadership. The program has been going down and down.

USTA Criminal said...

If the girls needed to apply, the USTA could have told them to apply but they left them out. There were several meetings over 2-3 days about the doubles wildcards so the USTA knew about them but purposely left them out.

The USTA claims accountability to their players and Regional Training Centers but NO ONE is holding them accountable.

Embarrassing what has happened to Santamaria and Christian. Complete TRAGEDY!

The USTA PD needs new leadership.

Good Try said...

Jose Higueras wants the USTA to work more closely with colleges but the USTA does not give the college champion a wildcard into the US Open?

Good Try Jose.

Walk the Walk first before another publicity stunt.

Go to college said...

This can and should be fixed now. Until the draw begins they can correct this error. I would tell them where to stick a WC into mixed dubs. Another reason to go to college and not pro. Too much political crap like this. Only the ones they "care" about get anything, the rest - too bad. They are the almighty USTA. Stay in school kids!

FIX IT NOW! said...


Colette - is there nothing that can be done? Really? Why can't they fix this before the tourny starts. If they took it from 2 girls that thought they had it for 3 months (and certainly built their entire summer around this event), they can take it from the last choice WC that has had it for less than 24 hours. DO SOMETHING USTA!

Complete joke said...

I'm sure the USTA coaches are thrilled to have Brad Gilbert get hired as a 300,000 dollar consultant to tell them what they already know..I wonder how many will quit after being insulted with that non sense...what a joke and insult to the coaches who do the work and have as much or more knowledge....