Fritz Out, but Eight US Juniors Reach Third Round in Mexico Grade A; Prize Money Restrictions Remain at NCAA; Is Do-It-For-Me Culture Responsible for Decline in US Tennis?
No. 2 seed Taylor Fritz was the day's major upset victim in the second round of the ITF Grade A Abierto Juvenil Mexicano, losing to Jack Lin of Canada 1-6, 7-6, 7-6(5). Fritz was rarely challenged on serve in the games I watched, and he led 4-1 in the final set tiebreaker, but Lin, ranked 279 in the ITF junior rankings compared to Fritz's 13, made fewer errors and played more aggressively in the final few points of the match.
Fritz was the highest, but not the only seed to go out. Liam Caruana defeated No. 13 seed Aziz Dougaz of Tunisia 6-0, 6-4, Tim Sandkaulen of Germany eliminated No. 7 seed Sameer Kumar 6-4, 6-4 and Fabian Fallert of Germany beat No. 15 seed Gabriel Roveri Sidney of Brazil 7-6, 4-6, 6-4.
In addition to Caruana, the other three US boys into the third round are No. 12 seed William Blumberg, who beat Oscar Janglin of Sweden 6-2. 7-5, No. 3 seed Michael Mmoh, a 7-6, 6-0 winner over Brazil's Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves, and Nathan Ponwith, who beat Mexican wild card Pedro Fernandez Del Valle 6-1, 6-2. All four US boys remaining are in the top half of the draw, with Caruana playing top seed Andrey Rublev of Russia next.
The four US girls still in the draw are each in a separate quarter. No. 12 seed Michaela Gordon, who beat Ariana Rahmanparast of Costa Rica 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 today is in the top quarter with US Open girls champion Maria Bouzkova. Qualifier Alexandra Sanford is alive in the second quarter after her 6-1, 6-2 win over No. 11 seed Adeliya Sabirova of Russia and No. 4 seed Usue Arconada has advanced to the third round in her quarter, defeating Juliana Valero of Colombia 6-1, 6-2. In the bottom quarter, Raquel Pedraza beat No. 7 seed Katie Swan 6-1, 6-4, avenging her third round Easter Bowl lost to Swan back in April.
Live streaming will continue on the main court Thursday. A link can be found to the stream on the tournament's website.
Lisa Stone at Parenting Aces linked to this WRAL.com article about college student-athletes maintaining their amateur status, which centers on Wake Forest's Noah Rubin. With the NCAA facing ever louder judicial and media criticism for the profits generated by college sports, almost none of witch goes to the student-athletes, this topic will not be going away any time soon, even if, in the case of Rubin, he is not generating any profits for the Wake Forest athletic department. The concept of amateur athletic competition seems increasingly outdated, with the International Olympic Committee abandoning it decades ago without any noticeable effect on the viability of the competition. Whether the NCAA will eventually abandon its position remains to be seen, but for now, Rubin cannot keep the money he earns at tournaments without risking his eligibility.
Barry Buss has been attending Team USA Player Development sessions in Carson and posting his thoughts on his blog. His latest (there are a couple of f-bombs included), addresses a mindset that I am all too familiar with--the expectation that coaches and parents will 'take care' of everything so their player can focus on his or her tennis. (I do want to add that this is by no means a uniquely American problem). Buss makes many good points about where this leads and why the USTA is powerless to change it. "You need to fix this" has developed into creed, and it's not one that does much for the believer or the society around him or her. What are your thoughts on Buss's post?