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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Mmoh, Kozlov Reach Round of 16, Bellis Falls to Vondrousova at French Open Junior Championships; Georgia State Men, NC State Women Get New Coaches

Michael Mmoh

After three days of competition, there are just two US players left in the French Open Junior Championships: Stefan Kozlov and Michael Mmoh. No. 6 seed Kozlov defeated Australian qualifier Akira Santillan 6-3, 6-3 to set up a third round meeting Wednesday with No. 10 seed Duck Hee Lee of Korea, while No. 11 seed Mmoh also took out an Australian, Omar Jasika, with considerably more difficulty, winning 5-7, 6-4, 6-3. Mmoh, now sporting a new hairstyle, will play No. 7 seed Jaume Munar Clar of Spain in Wednesday's third round.

Henrik Wiersholm fell in the second round today to No. 4 seed Andrey Rublev of Russia 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 and Alex Rybakov was beaten by No. 3 seed Karen Khachanov, also of Russia, 6-4, 6-3.

The big surprise was in the girls draw, where CiCi Bellis, the No. 2 seed, dropped her first set against 14-year-old Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic 6-0 in 15 minutes and trailed 4-1 in the second set, before ultimately losing 6-0, 6-4 in one of two girls third round matches Tuesday. Usue Arconada, the only other American girl still alive, lost her second round match to top seed Ivana Jorovic of Serbia 7-6(4), 6-2.

Jorovic will play unseeded Fiona Ferro of France in the third round Wednesday, and Ferro is the subject of Sandy Harwitt's article on today's action at the ITF website.  Harwitt also spoke to Stefan Kozlov about his win.

Kozlov and Rublev, the top seeds, have reached the quarterfinals in the boys doubles, while Rybakov(with Matias Zukas of Argentina) and Dennis Uspensky(with Bogdan Bobrov of Russia) are into the second round of doubles after wins today.

Tornado Alicia Black and Naiktha Bains, seeded No. 4, reached the quarterfinals with a win today. Bellis and Vondrousova, the No. 7 seeds, will play their second round match on Wednesday, as will Dasha Ivanova and Katrine Steffensen, who won their first round match today. After two walkovers today, including one by top seeds Francoise Abanda of Canada and Varvara Flink of Russia, the most seeds that could make the quarterfinals are two, Bains and Black, and if they win, Bellis and Vondrousova.  The other six girls seeds have all exited.

Wednesday is the day everyone finally gets to the same round, with only four boys and six girls singles matches on the schedule, as well as eight second round doubles matches. After tomorrow, all draws will be to the quarterfinals.

For draws and schedule, see the Roland Garros website.

A few notes on some college coaching vacancies.  First, I missed the announcement last month that Danielle McNamara was stepping down as the women's head coach at Yale after eight years.  The complete release is here.

North Carolina State has filled its vacant women's head coaching position, tapping Division II Armstrong Atlantic's Simon Earnshaw to take over for Hans Olsen.  Earnshaw coached both the men and women at Armstrong Atlantic, winning nine NCAA titles in his 15 years in Savannah, Ga. The complete announcement is available at the NC State athletic website.

The Georgia State men's program has been in turmoil since March, with both the head and assistant coach fired for NCAA violations and for violating school and athletic department policies.  For more on that, see this article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  The men's team is also one of two Division I tennis programs showing up on the NCAA's recent list of those athletic departments not meeting Academic Progress Rates (the other is Florida Atlantic). On May 30, the school's athletic director announced her resignation, although Cheryl Levick will stay at the school as an assistant to the president.

Levick, who will start her new job on July 1, announced today that Wake Forest men's assistant Brett Ross will become the Panthers' new head coach. Ross has been an assistant there under both Jeff Zinn and current head coach Tony Bresky.  Women's head coach Robin Stephenson, who was working as interim head coach after the departure of Miha Lisac for West Virginia last fall, was given a one-year contract according to today's release.


lovethegame said...

So women's college softball is all over TV. A sport that is only played in the US and professional players do not make any money. Women's tennis is really the only sport in the world where women can make a living. Nick Saban signs a contract for almost 60million. Television contracts are all that matters to Conferences and schools. They are adding sports (lacrosse, softball, etc) that are easy to get on TV and cutting sports that are not tv friendly (tennis). What's the point of this post? All the players, or at least the vast majority do not like the fact that ITA and NCAA are experimenting with format changes for college tennis. They should embrace the idea or their children may not have the opportunity to get a scholarship to play college tennis in 20 years. That's the fact everyone is missing. You have to think about the future. The major conferences want to split away from the NCAA and be a Profit center. They will cater to sports that can attract viewers. No-ad, tiebreaker for the 3rd, etc are all bad for the better teams. But it provides excitement and there will be more upsets and competition. It will also shorten matches to give tennis a chance to be on TV. The softball finals were live. Again, a sport that no one really cares about. Zero professional sports presence. If I was a good college player, I too would not like the rule changes bc I would lose more often to lesser players. That's a fact. But it is good for the sport. People and players need to think long term or we are going to see fewer and fewer college tennis programs.

John said...

Great post. However I think you briefly hit on the main issue...professional sports.

Tennis has a professional option with players like Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, etc...to speak of only the men.

There is an option..a higher level performance to watch on both ESPN and the TC. Why watch college tennis or show it live when you have television programming for the ATP and WTA. It is already part of the cable programming.

Is swimming or track & field or wrestling that much fun to watch on t.v. compared to tennis? Its the professional element that removes college tennis from t.v...IMO.

lovethegame said...

John...That certainly could be a factor. But I am willing to bet that the average tennis fan can barely tell the difference between a top level college tennis match and a match between two top 100 players on the wta or atp tour. Personally, when I watch a college basketball game, I cannot tell much difference in college and nba other than the athleticism is higher at the pro level. Same with golf. If I watch college players, I cannot tell much difference except the scorecard. If I go to a pro tournament in tennis and a WC plays a top player and loses 3 and 3, I cannot tell he or she is not really a top player yet, just that they lost. That's speaking as a casual fan. Not a high level coach or player. We see a lot of people complaining about foreign players in college tennis, but we also need to think about other sports taking precedent over tennis. We are in an age where people have short attention spans, whether that is good or bad, and want instant gratification. 5 hour dual matches may appeal to the die hard fan, but casual fans do not want to give 5 hours of their day to one event multiple times a week.

worth watching as is said...

People watch soccer matches for hours without a single goal made, don't sell tennis short. It is not as boring as you make it. Don't change the game for people that won't watch it anyway. Shortening a golf match, a baseball game or football game wouldn't make me want to watch them anymore than I do today. You are a fan or not.

John said...

I think the real issue is that ESPN already chose their tennis programming...the ATP & WTA.

No need to provide alternative tennis programming. Why show a college tennis match when the pro's will get you better ratings.

I can see the softball programming..it is a fun sport to watch because its plays faster than baseball and is more entertaining.

One other variable is that college tennis doesn't show as well on t.v. as the pro's because of the stadium and camera angles.

lovethegame said...

All valid points. I like the discussion. The only concern I have is sports, like life, you have to stay ahead of the curve, take risks to be relevant in the future. At the pro level the introduction of hawkeye has been a fantastic addition. I wouldn't be surprised to see 5 set matches gone in a few years bc of the physicality of the men's game. Also, a longer offseason so the WTA and ATP players have longer to heal, rest, and train. Tennis is one of the only pro sports where you do not have a real offseason to train and improve your game, mind, and physique. McEnroe recently had a quote that said when he was a kid he would have called you crazy if you told him golf would be more popular than tennis. But he also said don't call him crazy if tennis becomes bigger than golf again in the future. I hope he is proven correct, but would love to see tennis make more changes to make the game fan friendly.

Don't devalue the game said...

The softball finals are on TV because someone in the college softball world has worked a relationship with ESPN. It's marketing, plain and simple, they worked it. It isn't appealing because as you mentioned, no one cares and no one is watching. If ESPN can't see how exciting the semi final match at the NCAA Champs was between USC and UVA, and the tennis powers that be can't sell it, there is the problem. Changing the game to make it "more friendly" where lesser teams and players can upset/win, devalues tennis overall. Real competitors don't want to be in a "cheating environment" where they only win because the rules were changed to suit their lesser talents.