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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Looking Back at Ten Years at the Grade 1 in Carson; Bellis Wins First Round Match at Miami Open; Southern Cal Women Take Over Top Spot in ITA Rankings

I often do previews of tournaments for the Tennis Recruiting Network, but I changed it up a bit for this article, which is a look back at the ITF Grade 1 International Spring Championships' first decade in Carson. Juniors who went on to WTA and ATP success have won there, and many who didn't win titles also honed their games and went on to viable professional careers.  I spoke with John Lansville, the tournament director, about how the tournament has contributed to junior tennis in the US, and there's also a new enhancement to the tournament this year. I'll be posting the tournament's wild cards in the next day or so.

One of the ISC champions pictured in the article is CiCi Bellis, who won the title last year, and has made an impressive transition to the next level. Ranked outside the WTA Top 1000 last year, Bellis is now at 211, and her win today in the first round of the Miami Open will move her even higher.  Bellis, who turns 16 next month, defeated 18-year-old Indy de Vroome of the Netherlands, a fellow wild card, 6-2, 6-2, and will play No. 29 seed Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan in the second round. Diyas, you may recall, defeated Bellis in the second round of the US Open last year 6-3, 0-6, 6-2.

Paula Badosa Gibert, a 17-year-old wild card from Spain, also picked up a win in Miami, defeating Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-1.

In qualifying, Irina Falconi and Austin Krajicek reached the main draw, as did 2012 World Junior Champion Alexander Zverev of Germany, who will be 18 next month.

Draws are available here.

New ITA team and individual rankings are out and while Oklahoma retains the top spot in the men's team rankings, the individual singles and the women's team have new No. 1s.

ITA Indoor champion and previous No. 1 North Carolina has still not lost a match, but Southern Cal, which has two losses (to Virginia and UCLA), has overtaken them and is now No. 1.  It is the first time USC has been ranked No. 1 since 2003, with their wins over Cal and Stanford this week moving them past the Tar Heels.

The women's Top 10:
1. Southern Cal
2. North Carolina
3. Cal
5. Florida
6. Georgia
7. Baylor
8. Virginia
9. Alabama
10. Vanderbilt

In the women's individual rankings, Robin Anderson of UCLA has taken over the top spot, replacing Meagan Manasse of Cal.

The women's singles Top 10:
1. Robin Anderson, UCLA
2. Maegan Manasse, Cal
3. Julia Elbaba, Virginia
4. Carol Zhao, Stanford
5. Brooke Austin, Florida
6. Stephanie Wagner, Miami
7. Josie Kuhlman, Florida
8. Lauren Herring, Georgia
9. Jamie Loeb, North Carolina
10. Lorraine Guillermo, Pepperdine

Catherine Harrison and Kyle McPhillips of UCLA have retaken the No. 1 position in doubles, which they held in the first rankings of the year.

The Oklahoma men have solidified their hold on the No. 1 spot, as they continue to collect ranked wins, with two this weekend at the BNP Paribas Collegiate Challenge.

The men's Top 10:
1. Oklahoma
2. Baylor
3. Illinois
4. Duke
5. Georgia
6. Southern Cal
7. Texas
8. Virginia
9. Texas A&M
10. TCU

In the individual rankings, Soren Hess-Olesen of Texas has earned the No. 1 ranking, with the senior from Denmark undefeated in dual matches this year.

The men's singles Top 10:
 1. Soren Hess-Olesen, Texas
2. Axel Alvarez, Oklahoma
3. Julian Lenz, Baylor
4. Mackenzie McDonald, UCLA
5. Sebastian Stiefelmeyer, Louisville
6. Ryan Shane, Virginia
7. Gonzales Austin, Vanderbilt
8. Romain Bogaerts, Wake Forest
9. Yannick Hanfmann, Southern Cal
10. Thai Kwiatkowski, Virginia

There's a new team atop the men's doubles rankings, with Austin Smith and Ben Wagland of Georgia taking the No. 1 spot this week.

Links to the complete rankings can be found at the ITA website.

For more on the men's rankings, see College Tennis Today.


Brent said...

OK, the previous poster wasn't kidding. A 3-star sophomore DID get a precious MAIN DRAW wild card into the Futures and promptly got drilled in like 17 minutes by Kozlov in a surprise to absolutely no one. Someone needs to explain that. I did notice that his profile references 'IMG Academy'. Maybe that's the story. Really sad regardless. So many others fighting for those opportunities.

wi tennis said...

Also, Futures tournaments struggle to get the money to fund the refs, prize money, etc. I think a 10k futures costs 25k. if not more. buying a wild card is what happens. random donation to the tournament and magically your kid gets a wild card.

Just saying said...

Is there even such a thing as a "fair WC process"?
Fwiw: The Miami Open only gave one American a Main Draw WC and only one American received a Qualifying WC

USTA handles wild cards badly. said...

The USTA has a chosen few, the PD players... And they give the WC to them over and over again. That is why there continues to persist a feeling of us versus them. A very unfair system.

Brent said...

'USTA handles' - I hear your point and generally I would agree. But, that is not what went on here. They overcorrected in the other direction. If you are concerned that the WCs keep going to the same 'USTA' kids, the way to solve that is not by awarding them to a 3-star sophomore when there is a long list of more deserving players ahead of him. That smells bad and kills confidence in the whole system. Someone needs to explain it because, in the absence of an explanation, it looks like someone bought a spot.

WC Police said...


If you know how WC are selected you would know that the tournament gets one or two WC. there is no way that PD would pick a three star high school player for a WC. QUIT SLAMMING THE USTA! You people are just mean!! If you don't know how the process goes why don't you guys ask before you slam these poor people and spread bad information.

Colette Lewis said...

The USTA wild cards for the Calabasas Futures were Tommy Paul and Taylor Fritz. The other two were the tournament's.

For sale and worse said...

WCs can be bought, absolutely. They can also be given to whoever the USTA or TD wants to. The USTA determines if the TD even gets one to give out or if they control them all. If you know how it works you would not defend the USTA when it comes to WCs, they have made WC's the ugliest part of professional and junior tennis. Very deceptive practices go on, no question. Been there done that.

Share the wealth said...

There are so many deserving players that do not get WCs. The worst case of abuse is the little round robins they host in Boca, full of 14-15 year olds playing an 8 game pro set to win a valuable WC and steal it out of the hands of a pro just looking for a break through, who is investing his own time and money trying to make it on the tour. These young players go on to be against another 15 year old who was given a WC in the main draw, with one getting a point. Check history and see how often this happens. We could name many US pros who would have never made it if not for getting direct entry into Futures. They would have never been able to grind through enough qualies to get anywhere. No doubt.

Brent said...

WC Police, was not intending to specifically point to the USTA in my note but I can see how my use of 'they' implied that. Whomever awarded that wild card, agreed that in this case the tournament did, needs to explain their choice. It makes a joke out of the whole system. I also find it entertaining that you think I'm mean. Good stuff.

WC - worst part of how the USTA handles this process said...

The little round robins for the wildcards are only open to their players, that is why it's so corrupt.

WC police said...

WC- worst

Since you are willing to make these types of accusations I would love for you to give the readers some real life examples please.

USTA handles wild cards badly, who is the USTA giving them to that doesn't deserve them? Francis Tiafo just won a 15k. Fritz just beat 215 in world. Tommy Paul has qualified and QF in probably four events even I think SF. Riely Opelka has QF in two and quailed in about 5. So I am confused on which people are getting these WC who don't deserve.

Share the wealth, again you are spreading bad info. My son has played in a few of these things (and he is not a pd kid) and they have never played 8 game pro sets.

Collete, you should start blocking people who make factually inaccurate statements. Your site has become one of the problems to why there is so much bad information coming from a few unhappy parents. A bunch of unhappy haters!


WC Police

Shawn said...

WC police, not sure who you really are, but you are incorrect. There are small round robin tournaments with invited PD players competing for wild card spots. They do not publicize them, and they are not listed anywhere.

USTA generates WC’s in the dark said...

They refuse to justify any of the wildly questionable choices they have made over the years.

You will always get “we don’t discuss individual players” or “the process is confidential”.

Of course the process is confidential. Can you imagine them revealing how they actually decide who gets a WC?

Then people would be able to raise valid questions, which they are not prepared to answer. As to individual player discussions; every WC decision is about an individual player. So if they refuse to address any player by name, they now have nothing specific to defend.

The WC process is another example of the USTA telling all their members to “shut up and take it” just like the Jr. Comp changes.

The difference is that the Jr. Comp changes affected the vast majority of players and their paying parents, and were so egregious and that the uproar was impossible to ignore.

But even then, they cut it back only enough to quiet the shouts of outrage to a manageable degree, and went forward with everything they could still shove down our throats.

The WC issue really doesn’t impact that many people, so they are not in danger of getting inundated like with the Comp changes. So…. business as usual BOHICA – Bend Over Here It Comes Again.

Just for grins, why not write White Plains and ask for the weighted criteria used to decide WCs? I would love to hear if you guys get the same brush-off I did.

What the.... said...

Jacob Brumm gets a wild card for Claremont and then he is a walk over.?

Oh ya, they exist said...

You would not know about the 8 game round robins unless you are in them. They exist, invite only. The players you named aren't the ones of concern, it's the others you never heard of cause they shouldn't be getting the cards in the first place. Ask a PD player, they know what goes on and how often.

Wild Card Police said...

Jacob Brum is in the SF of Claremont.

Please provide the camps and coaches that run the 8 game pro sets? I have had a son play them and they have been the best thing PD has done. They have all been 2 out of 3 plus training! We need the best kids getting together training and competing. If they play 8 game pro sets it is better than a kick in the teeth. But I want to get real examples of bad wild cards. I am tired of people giving problems with no examples to back things up or no solutions.

Again, let's get examples of the problems. How about we start with the WC for ISC? Let's give examples from the last four pro circuit events.

Claire Liu got a WC into Orlando or the event before at 14 and ended up winning!! Was that a waste?

Why don't these complainers put together criteria for WC. Why don't just let every person play the Nationals and why don't we just give every kid a ribbon! Why don't we just keep complaining about everything. Or hey I have a novel concept, why don't we just get our kids better and worry about ourselves and not about playing the victim! Be a part of the solution not the problem!