USTA Planning 102 Court Facility in Orlando; Stewart Wins First Pro Circuit Title; Georgia Women Top Florida; Qualifying Begins Monday at Sony Open
There's been no formal public announcement from the USTA, but at the annual meeting today in Carlsbad, California plans were revealed for a 102 court facility in Orlando, Florida. According to Jon Scott from the Midwest section, who is at the meeting, it will include hard, clay and "covered" courts, as well as a kid zone, and groundbreaking is scheduled for the fall, with completion projected for 2016. What this means for the current Boca Raton Player Development site, and all the large major tournaments, junior and otherwise, in the US, remains to be seen. When more details are released, I will pass them along.
Speaking of Orlando, it was the site of a teen sweep at the $10,000 women's Pro Circuit event today. Miami's Katerina Stewart, 16, who reached the finals of the Gainesville 10K last week, won her first professional singles title, in what can only be described as dominating fashion. The unseeded Stewart, who received entry into the main draw by virtue of a special exemption for last week's performance, beat unseeded Elizaveta Ianchuk of Ukraine 6-1, 6-1 in the final. This after she had taken the final set from Mayo Hibi in the quarterfinals 6-0, and had beaten qualifier Natalie Suk 6-0, 6-1 in the semifinals.
The doubles title also went to unseeded US teens, with 15-year-old Alexis Nelson and 14-year-old CiCi Bellis defeating Natalie Pluskota(Tennessee) and Sally Peers of Australia, the No. 3 seeds, 6-2, 0-6, 11-9. Bellis and Nelson saved a match point at 8-9 in the tiebreaker, and beat the No. 1, No. 4 and No. 3 seeds to win their first titles on the Pro Circuit.
Unseeded Jared Donaldson lost in the finals of a $10,000 Futures in Turkey, to top seed Jordi Samper-Montana of Spain, 6-2, 7-6(4). Qualifier Noah Rubin, playing in his second Futures final, lost to top seed David Guez of France 6-4, 6-0, in a $15,000 Futures in Poitiers, France.
At the $15,000 Futures in Canada, two former teammates at Texas squared off in the final, with unseeded Bulgarian Dimitar Kutrovsky beating No. 7 seed Ed Corrie of Great Britain 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 in the final.
Out in California, Dan Kosakowski(UCLA) continued his exceptional play, winning the $15,000 Bakersfield Futures singles title. Kosakowski, the No. 3 seed beat No. 8 seed Mitchell Krueger 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the final, after taking out Kalamazoo champion Collin Altamirano in three sets in the semifinals.
Evan King(Michigan) and Sekou Bangoura(Florida) won the doubles title, with the No. 1 seeds beating No. 2 seeds Adam Chadaj of Poland and Marek Michalicka (Wisconsin) of the Czech Republic 5-7, 6-4, 10-5.
At the $125,000 Irving ATP Challenger, which was interrupted by rain on Saturday, Steve Johnson(Southern Cal), won his semifinal match today, but lost the final 6-0, 6-3 to ATP No. 47 Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic, seeded No. 3. Top seeds Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico and Scott Lipsky(Stanford) won the doubles title over unseeded JP Smith (Tennessee) and Michael Venus (LSU) 4-6, 7-6(7), 10-7.
Today in college tennis, No. 12 Georgia beat No. 3 Florida 4-2, in a match played indoors due to rain in Athens. The Bulldogs won the doubles point easily, then picked up wins from Lauren Herring, Maho Kowase and Kate Fuller to remain undefeated in SEC play. Florida coach Roland Thornqvist, in this Gatorzone.com article, said he believes Georgia is a favorite for the NCAA title in Athens in May, and cites the Georgia fans as a reason.
"This was one of the better Florida-Georgia matches in recent years. I’m very proud of this team because they atmosphere here in the indoor center was, in my 13 years at Florida, the toughest atmosphere that we’ve played in. It was a fantastic crowd, they were relentless and they really helped Georgia sustain their momentum throughout the match. Although they outplayed us for the majority of the beginning of the match, we somehow found a way to make it 3-2 and make it interesting. I thought Georgia played a fantastic match, really. If they can play like this at home, they will be my pick to win the national championship. The level of play that they displayed today in front of their home crowd should make them the favorite. It was a very, very high level of tennis.”
Georgia coach Jeff Wallace's thoughts on the match are included in this Georgiadogs.com article.
Playing without Jared Hiltzik, who is injured, No. 6 Illinois lost to No. 12 Baylor 4-0 today in Indian Wells. Baylor has now beaten No. 3 UCLA and No. 6 Illinois in the space of five days. According to these quotes from Matt Knoll, Baylor's head coach, the players were able to watch the men's final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, which Djokovic won in a third set tiebreaker.
Qualifying for the Sony Open in Miami begins on Monday, with three US women and nine US men attempting to reach the main draw. Melanie Oudin returns after illness kept her out of competition for over three months, along with Shelby Rogers and CoCo Vandweghe. The US men in qualifying are Denis Kudla, Tim Smyczek, Wayne Odesnik, Jack Sock, Alex Kuznetsov, Steve Johnson (no day off between tournaments for him), Mike Russell, Rhyne Williams and 17-year-old Deiton Baughman, who received a wild card for the second year in a row.
The women's draw has been released, with the men's draw scheduled to come out on Monday. US women in the main draw are: Serena Williams(1), wild card Vicky Duval, Vania King, Lauren Davis, Venus Williams(29), Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Alison Riske, Varvara Lepchenko, Sloane Stephens(17), Christina McHale and Madison Keys.
Monday's order of play and the draws can be found here.