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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Porter, Fritz Grab Big Wins in Pro Circuit Events; Update on Ivan Lendl's Academy; Texas A&M Women Beat Baylor 4-1 in College Match Day Contest

Peggy Porter and Taylor Fritz both picked up the biggest wins of their relatively brief experiences on the ITF Pro Circuit, defeating veteran players ranked way above them to advance to the second round in Florida and California tournaments.

Porter beat both WTA No. 282 Sanaz Marand (North Carolina) and No. 245 Maria Sanchez (Southern Cal) to qualify for the $25,000 Innisbrook tournament, which would have been a successful tournament for her regardless of her first round result. The 18-year-old University of Florida recruit, ranked 738, a career high, had never beaten anyone in the Top 500 before this week.  Today she faced No. 6 seed Alize Lim of France, a 23-year-old ranked 138, with Lim's seeding an indication of just how strong the field was in this event.  Porter beat Lim 7-5, 6-4, her fourth straight set win this week. She will play Madison Brengle in the second round.  Other US women to advance to the second round include Grace Min, Nicole Gibbs,  Irina Falconi(3), Allie Kiick, Louisa Chirico and Katerina Stewart, who continued her fine play with a 6-1, 6-2 win over WTA 150 Saisai Zheng of China.

The 16-year-old Fritz, who only just collected his first ATP point last month, defeated No. 7 seed and ATP 403 Dimitar Kutrovsky(Texas) of Bulgaria 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the $15,000 Calabasas, California Futures. Kutrovsky said on Facebook that he had difficulty with the transition from the indoor courts in Canada, where he won a title last week, but also said, "All my shots felt very off and the ball was flying. My opponent was hitting big serves and big shots and they were going in which made it difficult to get a feel for everything."

Fritz will play Evan King(Michigan) in the second round. Fritz defeated King in the first round of the Bakersfield Futures last week  6-3, 6-3. Fritz is still showing on the entry list of the Grade 4 ITF Junior tournament in Claremont next week, but I've got to think he'll withdraw from that and concentrate on preparing for Carson and the Easter Bowl.

Other Americans in the second round in Calabasas are Stefan Kozlov, Collin Altamirano, Daniel Nguyen(Southern Cal), Jason Jung(Michigan), Sekou Bangoura(Florida), Kyle McMorrow(Washington), Marcos Giron(UCLA) and Mitch Krueger.

Ivan Lendl was much in the news today, with the announcement that he and Andy Murray have ended their coaching relationship, with much of the speculation as to why centered on Lendl's wish to travel less and perhaps play more on the senior tour himself.  Lendl also has an academy in Hilton Head to attend to, and at a recent Open House there, he spoke with Bluffton Today about his reasons for being involved in such a venture.

The seventh streamed College Match Day was played this evening in Waco, Texas, where the No. 7 Texas A&M women defeated the No. 12 Baylor Bears 4-1.  The production seemed much smoother than the previous one I watched, and I especially enjoyed the insets of the coaches talking about an individual player while the live match of that player was shown in a separate frame. The Aggies' Ines Deheza clinched the match, beating Ema Burgic 6-3, 6-4 at line 2.  The box score can be found here.