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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

US Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup Teams Set Up Showdowns for Semifinals; Townsend Confirms Leaving USTA; Too Many Trophies?

Today's Junior Fed Cup and Junior Davis Cup round robin action is complete, and for the second straight day, the teams from the United States posted 3-0 victories.  The fourth-seeded boys defeated Bolivia, with Henrik Wiersholm beating Stephan Koenigsfest 6-3, 7-6(3) at No. 2 singles and Stefan Kozlov downing Rodrigo Banzer 6-2, 6-3 at No. 1. Tommy Paul and Wiersholm won the doubles over Banzer and Koenigsfest 7-6(4), 6-4 for the sweep.  The boys will now play No. 6 seed Australia in Group C, with the winner advancing to the semifinals.

Group A will see top seed Russia against No. 7 seed Spain for a semifinal berth, with both teams winning 3-0 today.  Group B is also straightforward, with No. 3 Germany and No. 5 Japan, both 3-0 winners today, meeting for a place in the semifinals.

Group D is the only round robin that doesn't have two 2-0 teams. France beat South Africa today to put both those teams at 1-1, with No. 2 seed Korea at 2-0. If Korea beats South Africa Thursday, they make the semifinals, but if Korea loses and France beats Peru, three teams will be 2-1, which means the percentage of sets won will determine who advances.

The third-seeded US girls are in the same position as Korea in the boys round robin, in that a win over No. 6 France will advance them to the semifinals, as they are the only undefeated team in Group C after today's win over Colombia. Kaitlyn McCarthy beat Juliana Valero 6-0, 6-3 at No. 2 singles while Katerina Stewart needed nearly two hours to get past Maria Fernanda Herazo at No. 1 singles, 6-0, 6-7(7), 6-4.  Michaela Gordon and McCarthy won the doubles over Laura Daniela Arcinegas and Herazo 6-4, 6-1. In the other match in Group C, Slovenia defeated France 2-1, leaving both teams at 1-1. If the US should lose to France, they would still have a chance to move on depending on percentages.

In Group A, top seed Russia beat No. 5 seed Czech Republic 2-1 today and will meet unseeded hosts Mexico, also 2-0, for a place in the semifinals.

In Group B, No. 4 seed Hungary went 2-0 with a win over Egypt today, and if they beat Bolivia Wednesday, they will advance. If Bolivia and New Zealand win however, that will set up a three-way tie that will be decided by percentages.

Group D has No. 2 seed Australia meeting No. 8 seed Brazil, with the winner remaining undefeated and earning a place in the semifinals.

For the complete draws and results, see the ITF tournament website.
For more articles from Wednesday's competition see the ITF junior website.


Thanks to Steve Pratt, who is working at the Pro Circuit's $50,000 Party Rock Open in Las Vegas this week, there is now official confirmation that Taylor Townsend is no longer training at the USTA. Since the US Open, Townsend has been working with former WTA Top 5 player Zina Garrison, who has a non-profit academy in Houston, and Garrison is with Townsend in Las Vegas. Townsend lost to qualifier and Las Vegas resident Asia Muhammad in first round action today.

This CNN Open Court video report on Townsend doesn't discuss her coaching change, but does provide responses Townsend and her mother Shelia on the controversy over Townsend's fitness that surfaced at last year's US Open.

Although not specifically about tennis, this Op-Ed piece from the New York Times, written by Ashley Merryman, explores the "everyone gets a trophy" culture that has infiltrated youth sports in the United States. Tennis has for the most part avoided this participation bias, probably because it is an individual, head-to-head sport, but the title of the article "Losing is Good for You," certainly can be applied to the experience of junior tennis. An excerpt follows:

In recent eye-tracking experiments by the researchers Bradley Morris and Shannon Zentall, kids were asked to draw pictures. Those who heard praise suggesting they had an innate talent were then twice as fixated on mistakes they’d made in their pictures.

By age 4 or 5, children aren’t fooled by all the trophies. They are surprisingly accurate in identifying who excels and who struggles. Those who are outperformed know it and give up, while those who do well feel cheated when they aren’t recognized for their accomplishments. They, too, may give up.

It turns out that, once kids have some proficiency in a task, the excitement and uncertainty of real competition may become the activity’s very appeal.

If children know they will automatically get an award, what is the impetus for improvement? Why bother learning problem-solving skills, when there are never obstacles to begin with?

4 comments:

College Tennis said...

I have heard talk of having doubles and singles matches played at the same time in college matches. I think it is one of the WORST ideas.

To have doubles specialists so early in their career is such an injustice. This will lack overall development in both the singles and doubles players. The NCAA already limits how much a player can practice throughout the week, now we are going to shorten it by another hour or two? Just get rid of the 10 minute break between doubles/singles, play doubles second and shorten doubles from a proset to a set.

We need better PROMOTION of the sport of tennis. Coaches need to do a better job around their campuses to promote the game. That will attract more people at matches, not shorter matches.

Coach David Roditi has the most fans in the country, not because of TV but because he promotes the best. Learn from him.

Tim S. - Atlanta said...

I am a big fan of Taylor Townsend and happy she is going in her own direction. BUT she will be back with the USTA by the summertime next year. Zina is not the coach for her, this is a political choice and shame she will lose this time in her development.

She needs a coach, someone like Michael Joyce, who is actually a proven coach. Or like a Robert Lansdorp.

cometoweb said...

If you guys have a coach who understands the game of tennis and if you really think he is passionate about tennis then you guys should go and talk to him.

The Dude said...

Taylor Townsend made a good choice to break from the USTA. She has too much talent to abide by Pat Mac's power plays and ineffective leadership and development. The USTA crutch is for those platers who need the wild cards and finance help. It is a Faustian bargain and development suffers. For the truly talented, the sooner the break, the better.