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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

USTA Collegiate Invitational Starts Friday; Eddie Herr Acceptances for 12s, 14s, & 16s; Myneni Beats Top Seed Smyczek at Charlottesville Challenger

The third and final fall event that brings USTA juniors and college players together for competition begins Friday in Portland, Oregon. Although I will not be attending this year, after covering the inaugural tournament last year, I will be closely following the results at the USTA Collegiate Invitational presented by Adidas.

This year the USTA juniors are:

Peggy Porter, the recent Clay Court Invitational champion
Terri Fleming
Jada Hart
Erica Oosterhout
Riley McQuaid
Samantha Hampton
Ena Shibahara
Alexandra Letzt

The college teams participating are:
Texas A&M

The first five teams listed all participated last year, the final three are taking the place of Georgia, Portland State and Washington.

Preseason ranked players participating are:
Hanna Mar(24), Ester Goldfeld(42) and Marianne Jodoin(78) of Duke
Emina Bektas(25), Ronit Yurovsky(36) and Sarah Lee(59) of Michigan
Tereza Bekerova(62) of Utah
Catherine Harrison(63) and Kaitlin Ray(79) of UCLA
Anna Mamalat(108) of Texas A&M

Unlike the USTA Clay Court Invitational, this format includes round robin play in eight groups, with the winners competing in a tiebreaker shootout to determine the overall champion, just as the Napa event for boys is now structured.  Junior Brooke Austin won the shootout last year over Georgia's Maho Kowase.

There is also a doubles tournament, which is a standard 16-team draw, concluding on Saturday.  Last year, UCLA's Kyle McPhillips and Skylar Morton won the doubles title.

Follow the tournament all weekend at the website: http://collegiateinvite.com/2013/

The acceptances for the 12s, 14s, and 16s age divisions for the Eddie Herr International have been posted at the tournament website. Access them by clicking the blue banner on the home page.  (The entries for the ITF Grade 1 do not close until next Tuesday). Although the main draws are the same size as they were last year--64--the qualifying draws have been expanded, to 96. Qualifying begins on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 28.

The first round of the $75,000 Charlottesville Challenger will be completed later this evening, but there won't be a bigger upset than the one that occured this afternoon, with former Alabama star Saketh Myneni of India defeating top seed Tim Smyczek 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. Myneni, currently ranked 313 to Smyczek's 83, has four Futures titles and a win over Donald Young this year, but this victory has to be one of the biggest of his career. Myneni never had a huge impact in collegiate majors, but if you ever saw the racquet-head speed he could generate, you probably wouldn't be surprised by the success he's having now.

Chase Buchanan picked up a 5-7, 7-6(2), 7-6(3) victory over Austin Krajicek that was every bit as close as the score would indicate. Buchanan failed to covert on set points at 4-5 in the first, then fell behind 0-2, 0-30 in the second, but managed to turn the match in his direction at that point. Buchanan and Krajicek have much in common, just a year apart in age, both Kalamazoo 18s champions (Krajicek in 2008, Buchanan in 2009), and both NCAA doubles champions (Krajicek in 2011, Buchanan in 2012). Buchanan now leads their pro head-to-head 3-1, but on the basis of today's match, there should be many more close, exciting matches between the two.

Last night, wild card Mitchell Frank reached the second round with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win over South African Rik De Voest. Today's winners included No. 7 seed Rhyne Williams, Tennys Sandgren and 2012 ITF World Junior champion Filip Peliwo of Canada, who beat Bjorn Fratangelo 6-2, 6-2. Qualifier Kevin King, the former Georgia Tech star, continued his excellent play of late, defeating former UNC standout Jose Hernandez of the Dominican Republic 6-3, 6-1.  Seventeen-year-old wild card Noah Rubin was beaten by Canadian Peter Polansky 6-3, 7-6(5).

For more coverage from a reporter onsite, see the Tennis East Coast blog.