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Friday, November 7, 2014

Golovin Commits to LSU; Semifinals Set in USTA/ITA Indoor but without Top Seeds; Brady into Captiva Semis

My Tennis Recruiting Network article on blue chip Jessica Golovin's commitment to LSU was published today. It was an interesting profile for me, because unlike many juniors, Golovin was not considering college tennis until the summer before her senior year. How and why she and her family and her coach came to the decision to put off pro tennis for a few years is discussed in the article.

The semifinals are set for the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, with none of the top seeds in either men's or women's draws making it through today.

Defending champion Jamie Loeb of North Carolina, seeded No. 1, lost to Julia Elbaba of Virginia 7-6, 4-6, 6-2. Elbaba had lost to Loeb in the American Collegiate Invitational final in September and in the final of the All American consolation tournament in October, but the most recent loss was 7-6 in the third, so Elbaba had reason to hope her luck would change.  It did, and she will now play No. 4 seed Brooke Austin of Florida, who took her out of the All-American Championships in the first round and went on to reach the semifinals.  The Gator freshman defeated No. 8 seed Viktoriya Lushkova of Oklahoma State 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.  Cal's Maegan Manasse, seeded fifth, reached the semifinals with a 6-2, 6-3 win over unseeded Stephanie Nauta of Virginia.  She will play unseeded Stephanie Wagner of Miami, who beat unseeded Lynn Chi of Cal 6-1, 6-3.  Chi had eliminated NCAA champion and No. 7 seed Danielle Collins in the second round 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, while Wagner had taken out No. 2 seed Chanelle Van Nguyen of UCLA 6-2, 6-2 in the second round.

The four men's semifinalists are all unseeded.  Ryan Shane of Virginia ousted top seed and All-American champion Sebastian Stiefelmeyer of Louisville 7-6, 7-6 in the second round, then won two more tiebreakers against No. 6 seed Axel Alvarez Llamas of Oklahoma in a 2-6, 7-6, 7-6 quarterfinal victory. He will play Gonzales Austin of Vanderbilt, who defeated Ronnie Schneider of North Carolina 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in quarterfinals.

No. 2 seed Yannick Hanfmann of Southern Cal was ousted by Dominik Koepfer of Tulane 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 and Koepfer, who has won all his matches in three sets, will take on North Carolina's Brayden Schnur in the other semifinal.

For complete results from the two rounds of singles and one round of doubles, see the ITA tournament page.

Jennifer Brady continued her stellar play this fall, defeating Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada 6-1, 7-5 to reach the semifinals of the $50,000 Captiva Island Pro Circuit event.  Brady is the only player who can keep Irina Falconi from claiming the USTA's Australian Open wild card, and she has to win the tournament this week to do so, but regardless, it has been few months on the Pro Circuit for the UCLA sophomore. She will play wild card Edina Gallovits-Hall of Romania Saturday, after Gallovits-Hall beat Louisa Chirico 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.  The other semifinal features qualifier Tatjana Maria of Germany against unseeded Petra Martic of Croatia.

At the Birmingham Futures, Reilly Opelka lost to 33-year-old qualifier Julio Peralta of Chile 6-4, 6-2.  Next up for Peralta is Miami freshman Piotr Lomacki, who defeated 18-year-old Naoki Nakagawa of Japan 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. The other semifinal has No. 5 seed Catalin Gard against No. 3 seed Jean Yves Aubone.

Denis Kudla was unable to play his Knoxville Challenger quarterfinal match due to illness. Tim Smyczek, the No. 5 seed, will play top seed Malek Jaziri of Tunisia tonight.


Credible results are over said...

No seeds remain? Doesn't this validate that no-ad scoring is screwing with the integrity of the game and the talent of the top players? Great, people that shouldn't win are winning, what good does this do for anyone? It's just a false sense of achievement that will always be qualified. "I won, but it was when they had that stupid scoring system...." They are skewing rankings for years to come. It is a farce.

But oh boy, maybe a match will be on TV now and then! The live scoreboards and streaming from the schools can't even be managed, why are we suppose to believe any progress will come from this change? I don't get it.

Alex said...

Look at past results....the problem with national indoors is that the seeds are screwy to begin with. This is a typical occurrence at this tournament that a lot of seeds fall early. Not necessarily all 8 of them in the past, but nonetheless.
Nothing to do with no-ad.

Marty said...

I agree with no credible results, ITA rankings overall have always had major issues so the seedings aren't doing it because they rely on the same ITA rankings as always. However, they are starting to be affected by these lopsided no ad wins/losses. If you look at results throughout this fall, no-ad is wreaking havoc on them. Players are winning matches and events that under regular scoring they wouldn't. Converse is also true. People may like/dislike no ad for whatever reasons, but it has to be acknowledged that it is affecting results and rankings. It's a game changer, which to me is not for the better.

Alex said...

How can anyone even say how no-add effects results? No one has any way of knowing how a match would play out. Don't assume a lower ranked player wins just because of no-ad.

Cause effect said...

There is no assumption, it is fact, seen in the postings of the results. Going with what I have heard from players, they are seeing it happen every week, lesser players are winning, better players are losing, no question. Talk to the players, they know what is going on and they are talking about it. Ask the winners if they would have won using regular scoring, they will tell you they wouldn't. But it is what it is. A distortion of a great game. It is now carnival tennis with a randomness to it. I would assume this is why many top players are skipping these big events to do pro events...its gonna be a whacky year.

A new game said...

It does make it move along faster and may make it more exciting to some because of the faster pace, but it is a change that will effect results. Just like if you made baseball a two strike 3 ball batting setup and 7 innings. It would change results, certainly. Players have to adapt their play to fit the new mold.

Alex said...

I truly get it affects results...but just because a lower ranked player beats a higher ranked player, it's rediculous that people jump to the conclusion that it's because of no-ad. How demoralizing is that to a player who just had a big time upset? You guys are just trying to take that away from them. The NCAA rule is no-ad, so let it be and comment on results, not the rules.

George Opelka said...

Below is just one example of why we should continue to talk about the rules.

I watched Hunter Harrington (Clemson) play Nick Crystal (USC) at the USTA Collegiate Clay Court finals a few weeks ago in Orlando. On the 1st No Ad point of the match, Harrington hit a ball that caught the tape and dribbled over the net for a winner to decide the game. Imagine if that was the deciding game of the match. Conversely, in a Futures match I followed last week, the last game of the see-saw match lasted 13 minutes. Exciting finish with several "focus" points...critical for player development.

Do we want college tennis to be a sport of chance or skill?

I'm against no-ad scoring but said...

Things that led to all 8 seeds losing prior to the semifinals more so than the no-ad scoring:

1. Even playing field.
This is one of the most even the top players have been in a long time. Look at the preseason top 25, they're all at basically the same level. Hell, Mikelis Libietis at #24 was ranked number 1 in the preseason last year, and Mitchell Frank at #4 was number 1 going into the spring as far as three years ago.
And look at Julian Lenz's results last year. He lost at least 8 times last season. I'm not knocking his talent, but we got spoiled with previous pre-season number ones only losing like 2-3 times max the year before (e.g. Steve Johnson, Alex Domijan)

2. Seeding.
As Alex said, the Indoor seedings are pretty screwy to begin with. They're not afraid to base the seedings heavily on All-American and fall results. Their number one seed, Sebastian Stiefelmeyer, was preseason 110. Even though he won All-American, that's a 109 spot upgrade. The number 3 seed, Mackenzie McDonald, was outside the preseason top 10, lost first round at All-American, and only qualified because he won the consolation bracket. And the number 7 seed, Cameron Norrie, is only a freshman. And not the highest rated one coming into the season either.
These are all exceptionally talented guys, but it's no surprise if they get "upset" by another top player.

3. Court surface.
Should be obvious but Indoor tennis is different than outdoors. Different guys will excel here than the guys that excelled earlier in the fall (which the tournament relies on for seeding).

4. I forgot what I was going to say next but there's plenty more. Better on-court coaching, tired from traveling, off day, etc etc...

So I'm going to go ahead and call BS on "There is no assumption, it is fact, seen in the postings of the results." in response to not assuming lower ranked players win because of no-ad. And also BS on "Ask the winners if they would have won using regular scoring, they will tell you they wouldn't." No way any guy playing in these majors believes, let alone admits, they would lose to an opponent that they just beat if the rules were normal. And no way no-ad is affecting the results as much as a couple of you think it does. Maybe a little, but not drastically.

Shawn - TN said...

There is a big disconnect with what players are privately saying about no -ad and what the coaches are publically saying. I get that they need to make changes and bring in more money, but who in the world are they targeting?
The true tennis fan is unhappy, and the player is pissed off by a lot of lucky points. And there is some luck in tennis with no ad.
The most exciting part of tennis is the see - saw back and forth with the deuce point, and now it feels like a flip of coin. But, I am just an unhappy spectator, the real issue is that players are just going to go pro as the no ad hurts development.
Why not just charge ticket prices to the game, sell beer at an inflated price, invite high school teams at a reduced price ( not on the beer days) to watch.
Get inventive in other ways.
But, don't take a football game and get rid of the 3rd down because it makes the game long. You drive everyone away.

Alex said...

To Shawn: I am a player and enjoy the no-ad. In tennis (regardless of scoring system) you get lucky sometimes and you are on the opposite side of luck sometimes. You can't change that just because of the scoring system. Stop being resistant to change.

Carnival Tennis said...

You are missing the point Alex, they aren't big time upsets anymore--that is the whole point. Talk to the players without their coach present and see what they are saying. A player knows when a win is deserved or not, they are not too shallow to admit that. When a kid wins by cheating, he knows it, when a player wins or loses because of a change to the dynamics of a game they have spent years training for, they know it. It's not demoralizing, it is just how it is. The wins can't be measured against the wins in real tennis, and nothing is an upset anymore, it is a new and different game. There won't be the top players consistently anymore (as has been shown this fall), it is now a game of chance. Carnival tennis. Bring out the cotton candy.

Alex said...

To Carnival: I am a player.....

But you also don't understand that there weren't any dominant forces in college tennis this fall to begin with. And by the looks of it there won't be in the spring. Everyone on here blames a change in the college game due to no-ad. But take a step back, and isn't it just possible there are no top forces anymore like Steve Johnson, or Mitchell Frank once upon a time? Look at the Bryan Brothers, you still see them, along with most of the top doubles teams winning consistently. Or is the only reason Jack Sock and Pospisil made the Cincy 1000 final this summer because of no-ad and not their skill? (Which I watched their matches and practices court side at that tourney and they were flat out impressive that week).

Jerry said...

No ads works against players who base their game on attrition of the opponent (same goes for tiebreaker in lieu of 3rd set). Their game is based on stamina, and shortened matches will favor their opponents.

player said...

I am a college player. and I feel this new system is hurting my game. The problem is i cant complain to my coach.
So, i feel stuck.

Alex said...

To player: it is physical not possible no-add can "hurt" a game. It may hurt your results based on you not having a well equipped game for that style. But having no-add isn't going to change the speed of your serve, forehand, etc.

Scanlon said...

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s physically impossible for no-ad scoring to affect a player, physically. It’s almost a certainty that no-ad can affect a player mentally. Overall levels of concentration and motivation can change, focus in deuce/ad situations that a player has relied upon for years, and the motivation or deflation that a player gets from winning or losing “big” multi-deuce games. Those mental aspects have changed, and it’s certainly possible that a player’s physical game can change from being in a different head space, being that the mental component of tennis is enormous.

It’s bad enough that no-ad monkeys with a player’s head, but I’d go even further and say that even the physical dynamic of the sport has changed. You can’t alter the very nature of the scoring system – win by 2 – and not expect massive consequences. Do you think if baseball went to a 3 ball/2 strike format that a hitter’s state of mind wouldn’t change? Of course it would. And do you think that that altered state of mind wouldn’t affect a hitter’s swing, in certain critical moments? It would.