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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Clarke, Kuhar Win New Balance National High School Championships; Coric Advances to Quarterfinals at ATP's Umag; Papa, Chen, Arconada Reach Futures Quarterfinals

The first annual New Balance High School Tennis Championships were completed today in Cambridge, Mass, with No. 2 seeds in both the boys and girls draws winning the title. Madison Clarke, a rising senior from Phoenix, won the girls championship, defeating No. 5 seed Jenna Moustafa of Los Angeles, a rising sophomore, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the final. The boys final was also a three-setters, with Matt Kuhar of Rhode Island, who will be competing for Bryant University this fall, defeating No. 7 seed Maxwell Cancilla, a rising junior from Huntington Beach, Calif., 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.  For complete draws, see the TennisLink site.

Another week, another 17-year-old making waves on the ATP Tour. 2013 US Open boys champion Borna Coric of Croatia received a wild card into Umag, in his home country, and he has beaten tour veterans Edouard Roger Vasselin of France, the No. 7 seed, and Horacio Zeballos of Argentina, to advance to the quarterfinals. He will play top seed Fabio Fognini of Italy next.  

After so many years without any male teenagers in the top 200, all of sudden we have three: Nick Kyrgios of Australia, Alexander Zverev of Germany and with his win today, Coric.  Is this a trend? It's too early to tell, but for more on Coric's win today, see this from Steve Tignor at tennis.com. (Don't put much stock in his ATP height references. Those are notoriously inaccurate.)

Teenagers at the Austin, Texas $10,000 tournament for women and the Godfrey, Illinois $10,000 tournament for men, also had a good day. Eighteen-year-old Spencer Papa, who had beaten No. 3 seed and current Wimbledon boys champion Noah Rubin in the first round, defeated TCU's Nick Chappell 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals.  Papa, who starts at Tulsa this fall, had advanced to the final of a Futures in Mexico earlier this month, and reached the quarterfinals at last week's Futures tournament on his future campus. One of the unfortunate results of the current entry system for the Nationals is that Papa, who will not be 19 until October, was unable to get a wild card into Kalamazoo, with all eight going to other (deserving) players.  Certainly setting aside four wild cards for qualifying should be considered when suggestions for improving the new system are solicited.

Papa is one of five Americans in the quarterfinals, with UNC's Ronnie Schneider, Virginia's Mitchell Frank and former collegians Daniel Nguyen(USC) and Jeff Dadamo(Texas A&M) the others.

In Austin, 15-year-olds Usue Arconada and Kelly Chen are through to the quarterfinals, with Chen going directly from the Clay Courts in Memphis to the qualifying in Austin.  Arconada and Chen are joined in the quarterfinals by three former US collegians: Alex Guarachi of Alabama (last week's Vancouver $10K winner), 2013 NCAA finalist Mary Weatherholt (Nebraska), who play each other in a rematch of the 2013 NCAA semifinals, won 6-0, 6-3 by Weatherholt,  and recent Florida graduate Alex Cercone of Florida, who faces Chen.

At the $50,000 Lexington Challenger, two-time NCAA champion Nicole Gibbs kept her hopes for a third straight US Open wild card alive, saving a match point in her 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-2 win over UCLA rising sophomore Jennifer Brady.  Gibbs, Oudin and Brengle, all into the quarterfinals, still have an opportunity to win the USTA's Wild Card Challenge.

At the men's $50,000 Challenger in Lexington, Chase Buchanan(Ohio State) and Wayne Odesnik are the sole Americans still in the singles draw.

For those waiting for a release from the University of Virginia on Andres Pedroso's decision to leave his position as men's assistant, it's here.


Brent said...

Sometimes I think the USTA bashing can get overblown, but when Spencer Papa can't get in to his own national championship, I think we have officially hit a new low. Holy jacked up systems! They still would have had the freedom to get Papa into the tournament by giving him the wild card instead of say, Rybakov, but at least Rybakov still could have played qualies and would have almost assuredly then been in the main draw. The choice to pass on Papa is ridiculous but the system that put the Committee in that spot in the first place is even worse. I would love to hear someone defend it.

Brent said...

Has there been any discussion about whether qualifiers could possibly be seeded? Obviously that means holding the draw until qualies are over - which I'm not sure is feasible. But, in the absence of that, we will have a player now inside the top 1000 in the world (Deiton Baughman), top 50 ITF (Logan Smith), and Reilly Opelka, among others as unseeded players. One more level of insanity.