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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Australian Open Junior Acceptances; Junior Orange Bowl Day Two

The acceptances for the 2015 Australian Open Junior Championships, which will take place January 24-31 in Melbourne, were released Wednesday.  As usual for any junior slam, the list of those competing is unlikely to include everyone on the current acceptance list, and with the withdrawal deadline January 13th, the field won't really shape up until after that.

CiCi Bellis entered, but is not expected to play, opting instead for Pro Circuit events in the US.  Other US girls accepted into the main draw are: Orange Bowl champion Sonya Kenin, Raveena Kingsley, Usue Arconada and Michaela Gordon. Jessica Ho, Mia Horvit, Raquel Pedraza, Madison Bourguignon and 2013 quarterfinalist Olivia Hauger have been accepted into the qualifying.

US boys on the acceptances list include Taylor Fritz and Michael Mmoh, who told me at the Orange Bowl that they intend to play it, with Reilly Opelka, William Blumberg and Sameer Kumar also receiving acceptance into the main draw. Kalman Boyd is the only American currently in the qualifying, although Ulises Blanch is just one spot out of qualifying, and will certainly move in as withdrawals happen.

One of the most intriguing names on the boys acceptance list is 17-year-old Roman Safiullin of Russia, who has won four straight Futures and is now ranked 333 on the ATP computer.

The complete acceptance lists can be found at the ITF junior tournament page.


I spent the second day of the Junior Orange Bowl at Key Biscayne's Crandon Park, the site of the Girls 14s tournament's early rounds.  I saw at least a few points of all the main draw matches, but I was also committed to updating my photo library, so I didn't stay at any match long. The vast areas between courts counterbalances the excellent viewing and camera positions, but toward the end of the day, I was able to sit down for a few minutes and watch two Midwest girls, playing side by side.  No. 6 seed and Eddie Herr 14s finalist Caty McNally had no trouble in her match with Daria Lukyanova of Russia, breezing to a 6-1, 6-0 victory in the afternoon's warm sunny and calm conditions.

Elysia Bolton, one of eight No. 9 seeds, had more difficulty with the hard-hitting Varvara Gracheva, also of Russia, but Bolton came through with a 6-3, 6-3 victory.

Russia had plenty of winners however, with top seeds Olesia Pervushina and Anastasia Potapova both advancing in straight sets.  The only top eight seeds failing to reach the round of 32 was No. 8 Olga Danilovic of Serbia, who lost to Dalila Said of Egypt 1-6, 6-4, 6-1.  Last year's 12s champion, Hurricane Tyra Black, who received a wild card into this year's tournament, lost to No. 3 seed Emiliana Arango of Colombia 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Two Top 8 seeds lost in the Boys 14s, with No. 8 seed Marko Miladinovic of Serbia losing to Chen-jui Ho of Taiwan 6-2, 6-3 and No. 6 seed Patrick Sydow of Venezuela, an Eddie Herr 14s semifinalist, falling to Andrew Fenty of the US 6-1, 6-3.

In the 12s, Spencer Brachman of the US, an Eddie Herr quarterfinalist, defeated No. 1 seed Shunsuke Mitsui of Japan 6-2, 6-2. And in a long and dramatic match that finished under the lights at Salvadore Park, Benjamin Heynold of Great Britain took out Eddie Herr semifinalist Dawid Taczala of Poland 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.  Heynold and Taczala battled for over three and half hours, with Taczala going up 2-0 in the third set, only to lose four straight games.  He got the break back, but in the eighth game, Heynold appeared to cramp or pull a muscle in his calf.  After a long, tough point, he crumpled in tears on the service line, receiving medical attention from the trainer, but he continued, and Taczala was broken when the game resumed. Heynold, not looking as energetic as he had earlier, managed to hold serve to win the match, with Taczala's aggressive errors ending most of the points.

In the girls 12s, the only No. 1 seed to fall was Naomi Cheong of the US, who lost to 10-year-old Cori Gauff, the reigning USTA 12s Clay Court champion, 7-6(8), 6-2.

Complete results can be found at the TennisLink site.  Check the Junior Orange Bowl website for more coverage.


Alex said...

Colette---just for clarification, is 12s and 14s tennis really more exciting than college tennis just because they have ad scoring? I understand you don't like no-ad, and as a free lance writer you have the obvious right to decide what to cover, but your reasoning in that it's not as entertaining just doesn't make sense...

Colette Lewis said...

If you are asking whether I would rather cover 12s and 14s world class players than no-ad, the answer is yes. Just as I would rather watch junior slams rather than World Team Tennis

Alex said...

Colette---that is interesting. I'm with you, in that I'd rather watch a junior slam over WTT. But my viewpoint would be that would still be the case if there was ad scoring. However, I think it would be easily acknowledged that your college tennis coverage is what draws readers in, not reading about 12 and 14 year olds who half we will never hear about again. That is evident by the discussion is driven by college tennis, not junior tennis (even though I enjoy juniors).

Colette Lewis said...

I understand that I will not have the same readership as I had before, and will lose those who are interested primarily in the college game. But my first consideration has to be writing about what interests me, and Division I college tennis, played in no-ad format, has lost its appeal for me. I hope someone else, who doesn't find the no-ad format such a stumbling block, picks up the slack.

George Opelka said...

Do you think these changes echo the majority sentiment of college players and its fan base?

Does that make any sense?

college player said...

Players care about a few things, good meal allowance when traveling, more officials at the tournaments, and playing the same tennis that they hope to play on the pro tour.
It will be a disappointment not to read your blog, but at the same time I admire that you are standing up for college tennis and the players.

Tennis Fan said...

It surprises me that this change in and of itself turns college tennis from exciting to not interesting, but to each her own, and certainly your choice to make. Thanks for all the great work over the years!

Losing its shine said...

It's no longer interesting because it is irrelevant being it is not truly the game of tennis. As someone mentioned before it is like the t-ball version of tennis, a game changed that accomodates players in a different way than the real game. It is simplified and results are not a true representation of skill.

Alex said...

@losingitsshine tennis is tennis. If you don't think college tennis is still not exciting because of the scoring, you're not a fan of tennis. Virginia vs USC will still be exciting regardless of the scoring and you're oblivious if you think otherwise.

bystander said...

Once again, I am not sure why it is so hard for everyone to accept change. And to say that this change causes it to "no longer be tennis" is even more absurd. They are changing the scoring system, not the actual rules of tennis. Professional doubles changed their scoring system not too long ago (and might like the position collegiate tennis is presently in, they realized they "had to" make a change to ensure their survival and relevancy) and it is made it much more exciting to watch. They played no-ad tennis in the 80's and players then did just fine with it, and players today will make the necessary adjustments. The sky is not falling, collegiate tennis will continue to be an entertaining product and hopefully continue to be a good breeding ground for professional tennis players.

love-tennis said...

I don't like the changes either, but no-ad is no stranger if you are a long time player of tennis. It is used entirely for singles and doubles in high school tennis in Texas. It is commonly used after rain delays, which aren't that unusual. It does teach you how to play under pressure. In tennis, you have to learn to adjust and this is just one more example of it. I do hate the shortened doubles format though. That is just wrong.

Shawn - TN said...

Some tennis players are using college tennis as a platform for professional tennis, they are not here to "entertain".

George Opelka said...

A player may not play to entertain, but the fans come to matches to be entertained and that cannot be ignored. The machine believes the format change will make the sport more exciting (entertaining). Many players, fans and members of the media strongly disagree, but the process does not allow for their vote to count. I understand it has to be that way - that's just the way it is. Similarly, I understand and respect Colette's decision.

Marketing is the game changer said...

Entertainment of the sport is packaged in the event itself - the ambiance provided by music, food, announcing, video, and well managed scoreboards (which is yet to be achieved) - the game itself should never be changed to enhance "the entertainment" of a sport that has been around for centuries. Tennis has not known marketing since Agassi, his hair piece and Canon left tennis.

Let's see them do this format at the U.S. Open. How entertaining would that be? If they did, I would walk away from the sport just like Colette is doing.

Image IS everything - still today. That is where the problem is, not in the game itself. There are colleges that market tennis, they are out there and get the fans. Unfortunately, many are lazy and do not. Change their attitude and effort, not the game.