New Balance High School Tournament Underway; Sarkissian Wins Futures in Canada; Teens Making Inroads; Pasha Receives ATP Atlanta Wild Card
The inaugural New Balance High School tournament began today in Cambridge, Mass., with Grant Solomon and Stephanie Schrage the top seeds. So far, the seeding, which I understand was done with the help of the Universal Tennis Rating system, has held up well, with only 4 seeds--2 boys and 2 girls--losing in today's first round of the 64-player draw. The complete draws can be found at the TennisLink site.
Scott Gerber of OhioTennisZone.com compiled a review of this week's fields, using the Tennis Recruiting Network as a basis for his analysis. Some of the players have since dropped out, but it provides data to assess the strength of the field. Gerber also recently put together a detailed report on all the participants in June's Midwest Closed.
Last night after I posted my review of the Pro Circuit, 2014 NCAA finalist Alex Sarkissian(Pepperdine) won his first Futures title, at a $15,000 tournament in Canada. Sarkissian, the No. 6 seed, defeated top seed Connor Smith(Ohio State) 7-6(3), 6-4. No. 2 seeds Daniel Chu of Canada and Kyle McMorrow(Washington) won the doubles title, beating unseeded Riaan Du Toit and Alejandro Tabilo of Canada 6-2, 5-7 10-7.
Had I not been covering the Girls 18s Clays last week, I would have paid much more attention to the impressive results of 17-year-old Alexander Zverev of Germany, the 2013 ITF World Junior Champion and 16-year-old Ana Konjuh of Croatia, who won two junior slams last year. Zverev, as a wild card, reached the semifinals of the ATP 500 in Hamburg and Konjuh reached the semifinals of the WTA International in Instanbul. Teen breakthroughs may have slowed a bit on the women's side, but still exist, while on the men's side, teenagers have had difficulty just getting into the Top 100, let alone going deep in ATP tournaments or slams. Whether Zverev, and 19-year old Nick Kyrgios of Australia are outliers or the start of a trend remains to be seen, but Zverev's week has put him in the company of some impressive players when viewed historically. Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times spoke with both Konjuh and Zverev after their dream weeks for this article.
Qualifying for this week's ATP tournament in Atlanta is complete, and due to late withdrawals of Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet and Radek Stepanek, three lucky losers got into the main draw, as well as four qualifiers. Kevin King(Georgia Tech), who lost to JP Smith(Tennessee) in the final round of qualifying was the only loser in the final qualifying round who did not get into the main draw. Wild cards went to Ryan Harrison, Robby Ginepri and the University of Georgia's Nathan Pasha. Pasha's wild card was originally offered to Georgia's Austin Smith, but his failure to withdraw from the Godfrey Futures this week left him unable to accept the wild card, so it went to teammate Pasha instead. Pasha will play Lucas Lacko of Slovakia in the first round Tuesday night. For more on the wild card situation, see this article from georgiadogs.com.