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Monday, August 25, 2014

International Hard Courts Recap, Slideshow, Videos; NCAA Champion Collins Test Halep, Falls in Three Sets at US Open

My recap of last week's ITF Grade 1 International Hard Court Championships, with details on Russia's Anna Kalinskaya and Florida's Reilly Opelka winning their first ITF titles is available today at the Tennis Recruiting Network. Even with the rainy weather, I enjoyed covering the tournament for the first time, and am glad another Grade 1 tournament is now available in the United States, after the loss of the Lexington Grade 1 that used to follow the US Open.

Below is the slideshow of those reaching the singles quarterfinals and the doubles semifinals. The videos of the two champions are below, with the videos of the finalists available by clicking on the links below:

Tim Van Rijthoven

Gabby Ruse

NCAA champion and wild card Danielle Collins put a scare into WTA No. 2 Simona Halep today in a US Open first round match in Arthur Ashe Stadium. The rising junior from the University of Virginia came from 4-2 down in the opening set to force a tiebreaker, which she dominated, before eventually succumbing 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-2.

It's easy to say a 20-year-old with no WTA ranking has nothing to lose in that situation, but it's much harder to perform as if you truly believe that, which is what Collins did. In the first set she hit out on every ball, served well, kept the ball deep and played with conviction, despite playing only one match since she underwent wrist surgery at the end of May. To be fair, Halep wasn't playing her best, but part of that was due to the relentless pressure Collins put on her. Collins wasn't able to sustain the level she showed in the second and third sets, with her serve most noticeably dropping off, but she did prove that her top level is competitive with the world's best. Whether she can play at that level consistently is of course the important question, but that was an impressive performance in a slam debut.

For more on the match, see the WTA's website.

Video highlights from the match can be found at usopen.org.

A transcript of Collins' post-match press conference is here

Although not mentioned in the press conference, Collins is expected to return next week to New York, as she will be competing in the inaugural American Collegiate Invitational beginning next Thursday.

The US Open Tuesday schedule is out, with NCAA champion Marcos Giron playing John Isner second on Arthur Ashe. Kalamazoo champion Noah Rubin, who plays Federico Delbonis of Argentina, is also second on Tuesday, on court 13. Taylor Townsend gets a night match on Ashe against top seed Serena Williams, after the men's night match, which starts at 7 p.m. Jared Donaldson plays No. 20 seed Gael Monfils of France not before 5 p.m. on the Grandstand. CiCi Bellis is also on Tuesday's schedule, but her match with No. 12 seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia is on Court 6, which is not televised.

In all, there are 21 Americans in singles action on Tuesday, and seven in men's doubles, with Peter Kobelt and Hunter Reese, Chase Buchanan and Tennys Sandgren, Donald Young and Nick Monroe and Eric Butorac (with South Africa's Raven Klaasen) playing their first round matches.


Fan of American Tennis said...

Just finished watching the Rubin-Delbonis match. All I can say is welcome to Big Boy tennis Noah. This match just shows the large gap between Juniors and ATP players. This was the first Grand Slam win for Delbonis for the year and he essentially man-handled Rubin throughout the match. Hard to believe Rubin actually won a junior grand slam playing like this. He is definately making the right decision electing to play college tennis. He's not close to ready for prime-time yet.