First USTA Masters Event Starts Thursday; Kozlov Falls to Klizan in Valencia; Lao Beats Vaidisova in Macon $50K; Texas, Southern Win NJTL 14s Titles
The first edition of the new Masters event, part of the 2014 changes to the USTA's junior competition schedule, begins Thursday in Boca Raton. A total of 50 players will participate, four boys and four girls in the 14s, seven boys and seven girls in the 16s and 14 boys and 14 girls in the 18s. Today's USTA release describes the event this way:
The event, developed from the past model of junior national team training camps, in which the top juniors from around the country would converge for match play and training, will feature a “progressive” tournament format combining 18-and-under, 16-and-under and 14-and-under age groups for boys and girls (The group of 14s will square off first, with the winner advancing to play in the group with 16s. The two top players from the 16s will then progress to play with the 18s).
In addition to the clay-court tournament, each junior will have access to the Training Center’s resources, receiving on-court instruction from the USTA national coaching staff, as well as strength and conditioning and mental skills training.
The participants: (many changes, updated 9 a.m. Tuesday)
Keenan Mayo (out)
Nicole Conard (out)
Sophia Edwards (out)
Taylor Johnson (out)
William Howells (out)
Carson Branstine (out)
Morgan Coppoc (out)
Madeline Meredith (out)
Michael Genender (out)
Martin Joyce (out)
Robert Seby (out)
Andie Daniell (out)
Alexa Graham (out)
Andrea Kevakian (out)
Draws and results will be available at the TennisLink site.
Today in Valencia, 16-year-old Stefan Kozlov played in his second main draw match on the ATP tour, falling 6-3, 6-3 to Slovakia's Martin Klizan. Klizan, who won the French Open boys title back in 2006, got the first break of the match in the seventh game, and didn't face a break point in the opening set. Kozlov got his first two break points in the opening game of the second set, but Klizan held and eventually took a 4-1 lead in the second set. Kozlov got back on serve with a break at 4-2, but he was broken to give the 25-year-old left-hander an opportunity to serve out the match, which he did. Jeff Sackmann at tennisabstract.com charted the match, and it is available to watch via ESPN3's replay feature. The ATP's Josh Meiseles wrote this feature on Kozlov prior to today's match.
The USTA's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge for US women begins this week at the Macon $50,000 tournament. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia is the No. 1 seed and one of three WTA Top 100 players in the field. Qualifying doesn't end until Tuesday, but Danielle Lao, the former USC All-American, had a big win in today's second round of qualifying, beating former WTA Top 10 player Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic, who is making a comeback after four years away from the tour. Lao won 6-4, 6-2 and will face Slovenia's Petra Rampre for a place in the main draw. Fifteen-year-old Michaela Gordon is also in the final round of qualifying.
Qualifying is complete at the $15,000 Brownsville Futures, with 17-year-old Nikola Samardzic making his main draw Futures debut after failing to qualify in his previous 15 attempts. Sixteen-year-old Michael Mmoh, a semifinalist last week, received a wild card into the main draw, where he will meet No. 2 seed Dimitar Kutrovsky of Bulgaria, who beat him 6-2, 6-4 last week in Mansfield. Henrique Cunha of Brazil is the top seed, with Dennis Novikov No. 3.
At the National Junior Tennis League finals in South Carolina, teams from Austin, Texas and Woodstock Georgia won the two divisions in the 14s age group. For more on their victories, see this article from the USTA.