Cilic Wins US Open; Preseason ITA Rankings, All-American Fields Announced; Krajicek Sweeps Challenger Titles; Pro Circuit Returns
Although I covered Andy Murray's US Open junior title in 2004, my first year as media there, the Big Four's junior careers were mostly over by the time I really began to concentrate on the sport as a journalist.
Today's US Open final between Japan's Kei Nishikori and Croatia's Marin Cilic--the first men's slam final since the Australian Open in 2005 not to feature Nadal, Djokovic, Federer or Murray--feels like a preview of what lies ahead for men's tennis. (For more on the dominance of the Big Four and the unlikelihood of it being repeated, see this post from fivethirtyeight.com). I watched both Nishikori and Cilic in major junior tournaments back in 2005 and 2006, spoke to them after their wins, and so feel a more immediate connection to them than I do the (slightly) older players who have so dominated the sport recently.
Congratulations to Cilic for his 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Nishikori today, collecting his first men's slam title to go with the French Open boys title he won in 2005. Below is a photo of him from the 2005 US Open junior championships, where he lost to Jeremy Chardy of France in the quarterfinals.
2 Robin Anderson UCLA
3 Hayley Carter North Carolina
4 Beatrice Capra Duke University
5 Julia Elbaba University of Virginia
6 Lauren Herring University of Georgia
7 Chanelle Van Nguyen UCLA
8 Lynn Chi California
9 Silvia Garcia University of Georgia
Brooke Austin of Florida is the atop the Freshman/Newcomers list.
The complete women's rankings are here.
The men's Top 10:
1 Julian Lenz Baylor University
2 Yannick Hanfmann University of Southern California
3 Axel Alvarez Llamas University of Oklahoma
4 Mitchell Frank University of Virginia
5 Soren Hess-Olesen University of Texas
6 Jared Hiltzik University of Illinois
7 Brayden Schnur North Carolina
8 Winston Lin Columbia University
9 Gonzales Austin Vanderbilt University
10 Farris Gosea University of Illinois
The top freshman/newcomer for men is Noah Rubin of Wake Forest.
For the complete men's rankings, click here.
The selections for the All-American championships, which are in California for the women and Oklahoma for the men beginning with qualifying later this month, have also been announced. The men's selections are here; the women's selections are here.
Austin Krajicek, the 2008 Kalamazoo 18s champion and 2011 NCAA doubles champion while playing for Texas A&M, won his first career ATP Challenger title last week at a $50,000 + hospitality tournament in Colombia. Seeded eighth, Krajicek defeated top seed Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia in a third set tiebreaker in the quarterfinals--his first Top 100 win--and No. 3 seed Joao Souza of Brazil in the final, 7-5, 6-3. The 24-year-old Floridian is now 164 in the ATP rankings, a career high. He won the doubles title with Caesar Ramirez of Mexico, with the top seeds defeating No. 4 seeds Roberto Maytin, the former Baylor star from Venezuela, and Andres Molteni of Argentina 6-3, 7-5 in the final.
Top seed Bjorn Fratangelo won the $15,000 Futures in Canada last week, defeating Mitchell Krueger, seeded No. 3, 6-2, 6-3. Top seeds Evan King and Sekou Bangoura won the doubles title, defeating Fratangelo and Krueger, the No. 2 seeds, 6-4, 4-6, 11-9 in the final.
After a long hiatus due to the US Open, the USTA Pro Circuit is back this week, with a men's $10,000 tournament in Claremont, California and a women's $25,000 tournament in Redding, California. Qualifying is now complete in both and draws have been posted. The top seed in the women's event is Mayo Hibi of Japan, with wild cards going to Cal's Maegan Manasse, Stanford grad Kristie Ahn, former Oklahoma State player Megan McCray and 15-year-old Michaela Gordon.
The Claremont wild cards went to Kelvin Kim, Stefan Menichella, Collin Altamirano and Eduardo Nava.