Quarterfinals Set at Sumter $25K, Buffalo Futures; Reactions to Paul Turning Pro; Ostapenko Receives Main Draw Wimbledon Wild Card
The USTA Pro Circuit tournaments have reached the quarterfinals, and as was the case last week, college players are again having an impact.
At the $25,000 women's tournament in Sumter, South Carolina, NCAA finalist Carol Zhao, the rising Stanford junior, is into the quarterfinals after defeating 16-year-old wild card Alexa Graham 2-6, 6-3, 7-5. Graham had taken out top seed Taylor Townsend 6-4, 6-4 in the opening round. NCAA champion Jamie Loeb, who received main draw entry as a lucky loser, was beaten by No. 2 seed Jennifer Brady 7-5, 6-3. Brady told me at the NCAAs that she would would not be returning to UCLA after her sophomore year.
Other quarterfinalists with college ties are Danielle Lao (USC), who beat ITA Rookie of the Year Brooke Austin 7-6(2), 6-3, No. 8 seed Sanaz Marand (UNC), who topped longtime friend Ashley Weinhold 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, and No. 5 seed Lauren Embree (Florida), who defeated 15-year-old qualifier Michaela Gordon 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
At the men's $10,000 Futures in Buffalo, recent Georgia graduate Nathan Pasha is among the quarterfinalists, advancing when top seed Jose Statham of New Zealand retired trailing 6-2, 2-2. Pasha will play recent NCAA quarterfinalist and Columbia grad Winston Lin, a wild card, on Friday. No. 4 seed Wil Spencer (Georgia) and Hans Hach of Mexico (Abilene Christian) are the other quarterfinalists with college backgrounds.
You can track the Pro Circuit results of all the former and current college men at College Tennis Today.
Pasha warmed up for the Futures tournament by winning the men's singles title at the Tennessee Valley Open Championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Pasha defeated University of Florida junior Maxx Lipman 6-4, 6-2 in the final and collected $3,000, more than twice what he would win if he took the Buffalo Futures singles title on Sunday. Maya Jansen beat Alabama teammate and doubles partner Erin Routliffe 6-4, 7-6 in the women's open final. Complete results can be found in this article.
This types of tournaments are crucial to players starting out on the USTA or ITF Pro Circuit. Big Time Tennis, a well-known stringer, was working the recent $15,000 Wake Forest Futures, and he posted this look at the expenses, estimating that the winner most likely barely broke even for the week, leaving the other 100 or so participants in the red.
This financial scenario is one that must be addressed when a player is considering whether to go to college or to go immediately onto the pro circuit. Tommy Paul, who recently signed with Nike, has the support of his federation and a clothing contract, but no one but he and his family and advisers know all the financial considerations that had to be weighed when making his choice.
Two bloggers have addressed his decision, here and here, but without any reference to the economics, which of course they can have no knowledge of, the arguments are bound to be incomplete. I do disagree with the second post that college would somehow "stunt" Paul's growth in tennis. It's another level, above juniors, to test your game. If you pass all the tests, you leave, with increased confidence and an entire collegiate community behind you. I am not criticizing Paul's decision, at all. But the level of tennis played at the top of Division I college tennis isn't going to keep anyone from improving.
Wimbledon announced its first batch of wild cards on Wednesday. As he had said in his interview with me, boys champion Noah Rubin did not request a qualifying wild card. Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, the girls champion, received a main draw wild card, probably because her WTA ranking was already high enough to compete in the qualifying tournament. Great Britain juniors Katie Swan and Gabriella Taylor received qualifying wild cards. The current list (GBR unless otherwise listed):
MEN'S MAIN DRAW:
Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)
Nicolas Mahut (FRA)
Matthew Ebden (AUS)
WOMEN'S MAIN DRAW:
Anett Kontaveit (Estonia)
Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia)
Dan Evans (WC playoff winner)
Richard Gabb (WC playoff winner)
Tara Moore (WC playoff winner)
Naomi Cavaday (WC playoff winner)
Doubles and wheelchair wild cards can be found in the release.