Friday, January 9, 2015

My Interview with Nick Saviano; Fritz Downs Kozlov to Reach First Futures Semifinal; Subhash Makes Singles and Doubles Finals at Christmas Cup; Gordon Ousts Kenin In Coffee Bowl

While I was covering the Metropolia Orange Bowl last month, I had the opportunity to sit down with Nick Saviano, one of the top development coaches in the world. Saviano, who had avoided traveling until last year, when he became the full-time coach for Eugenie Bouchard of Canada, had some interesting insights into the difference between coaching at the tour level and at his academy, and also shared with me his thoughts on the transition from junior to pros, the role of the USTA, and what he wants his students to learn from him, regardless of their level.  You can read the interview at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

Today at the $15,000 Futures in Los Angeles, wild card Taylor Fritz defeated Stefan Kozlov 6-4, 6-4 to reach his first Futures semifinal.  Fritz, who had lost to Kozlov in the quarterfinals of Kalamazoo, fell behind 2-0 and 4-2 in the first set, but, helped by some shaky serving by Kozlov, won the final four games of the set.  Fritz was able to equal Kozlov in the touch department, not easy to do, and took a 4-1 lead in the second set, staying in rallies until Kozlov made an error.  Kozlov saved a match point serving at 2-5 and held, then broke Fritz to make it 5-4, but Kozlov was by no means assured of holding in the next game.  A double fault gave Fritz two more match points, but Kozlov saved both, the first with a good serve and the second when Fritz went for a forehand and caught the tape. Kozlov missed a third-shot backhand long to give Fritz a fourth match point, and this time Fritz converted, with Kozlov shanking an overhead.  Fritz will play No. 3 seed Jason Jung (Michigan), who defeated No. 5 seed Alex Ward of Great Britain 7-6(8), 6-4.

The other semifinal features No. 6 seed Dimitar Kutrovsky (Texas) against No. 8 seed Mitchell Krueger.  Krueger came back to defeat 16-year-old qualifier Nathan Ponwith 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-1, while Kutrovsky defeated No. 4 seed Frederik Nielsen of Denmark 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.

At the $10,000 Plantation Futures, 18-year-old Deiton Baughman reached his second Futures semifinal, beating Jeff Dadamo (Texas A&M) 6-4, 6-4. He will play top seed Christian Lindell of Sweden Saturday. Baylor junior Julian Lenz is in the other semifinal after the German defeated No. 2 seed Nicolas Barrientos of Colombia 7-5, 6-3. He will play former Texas Tech star Gonzalo Escobar of Ecuador, the No. 4 seed, Friday. Escobar defeated No. 6 seed Chuhan Wang of China 6-4, 6-2. 

At the Christmas Cup in Russia, unseeded Natasha Subhash of the US has reached the final, where she will meet Eddie Herr and Junior Orange Bowl champion Anastasia Potapova, playing at her home academy.  Subhash defeated her fourth seed of the tournament in today's semifinals, beating No. 7 seed Kamilla Rakhimova of Russia 7-6(5), 6-3.  Subhash and partner Kacie Harvey will play in the doubles final against Potapova and her partner Maria Novikova, the No. 1 seeds.  The boys singles final will feature the top two seeds, No. 1 Timofey Skatov of Russia and No. 2 Alexander Zgirovsky of Belarus.  For complete draws, see the Tennis Europe tournament site.

Only two of the semifinals at the ITF Grade 1 Coffee Bowl have been played, with the other two on the schedule for tonight. In the girls day semifinal, No. 4 seed Michaela Gordon defeated top seed Sonya Kenin 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 to reach her first Grade 1 final.  Gordon trailed 2-0 in the third set, but won the next four games and closed out the error-prone Kenin by breaking her at 3-5.  Gordon will play the winner of the Usue Arconada - Olivia Hauger match this evening.

The boys day semifinal went to No. 5 seed Casper Ruud of Norway, who defeated No. 16 seed Yshai Oliel of Israel 6-0, 6-1. Ruud will play the winner of the semifinal later tonight between No. 4 seed Ulises Blanch and No. 2 seed Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia.

Live streaming is available here.