My Interview with Bobby Reynolds; Qualifying Begins Saturday for ITF Grade 1 in Maryland; Elbaba Beats Top Seed in US Open National Playoffs; Donaldson Receives Winston-Salem Wild Card
I had an opportunity to talk with retired ATP player Bobby Reynolds when he was in Kalamazoo, representing the University of Oklahoma in his new position as assistant coach. In this question and answer session for the Tennis Recruiting Network, Reynolds discusses his love of college tennis, in no small part based on his experience at Vanderbilt, where he led the Commodores to the NCAA Team final in 2003 and finished his junior year as the nation's top-ranked player. Reynolds also provided his insights on coaching, the life of a rank-and-file ATP player, what he'll miss most now that he's retired, as well as what he sees as a need to energize the sport in the United States. I also asked him his opinion of the no-ad scoring format and of the international influence in college tennis, two topics of interest to many who follow the college game.
Beginning Monday, I will be on site covering the ITF Grade 1 in College Park, Maryland, where qualifying begins tomorrow. The qualifying draws and the order of play are available at the Junior Tennis Champions Center website.
I've received a list of the wild cards for the tournament, as follows:
Boys main draw:
Keegan Smith (New Balance National High School champion)
Interesting to note that the top player among the boys entrants, Yunseong Chung of Korea, is currently in the semifinals of a $10,000 Futures in Korea, so whether he will be making the trip for a Monday start in Maryland is certainly open to question.
The women's and men's singles tournaments at the US Open National Playoffs are underway, but due to a four-hour rain delay before play begin this morning, the first round is extending late into the night tonight.
Virginia senior Julia Elbaba took out top seed Ayaka Okuno of Japan 6-1, 6-2 to advance to the second round, with other women's winners so far including Sophie Chang, Arizona State's Jacqueline Cako(2), Ashley Weinhold(3) and Megan McCray. Men who have advanced to the quarterfinals are Notre Dame junior Josh Hagar, Mikelis Libietis of Latvia, Hleb Maslau and Minnesota sophomore Felix Corwin(4).
Bobby Knight has provided the collegiate affiliations and the Universal Tennis Ratings of the fields at his website College Tennis Today. The two winners will receive wild cards into next week's US Open qualifying draws.
Jared Donaldson was announced today as the final wild card into the ATP Winston-Salem Open at Wake Forest, joining Gilles Simon, Kevin Anderson and Tommy Haas, who received wild cards earlier. Donaldson has drawn Australian Sam Groth, with the winner of that match facing No. 13 seed Steve Johnson.
Qualifying begins on Saturday, with 16 Americans in the 32-player draw, including Kalamazoo champion Frances Tiafoe and NCAA champion Ryan Shane. Save Noah Rubin, who can't play because he is in qualifying for the US Open next week and Romain Bogaerts, virtually the entire 2014-15 Wake Forest team is competing in the qualifying.
Draws and Saturday's order of play can be found here.