Sunday, August 30, 2015

NCAA Champions Routliffe and Jansen Win US Open Doubles Wildcard; US Open Doubles Draws; Ahn Claims Winnipeg $25K Title; Althea Gibson Biography Debuts on PBS American Masters Friday

Routliffe and Jansen with head coach Jenny Mainz at 2015 NCAAs
The US Open National Playoffs concluded over the weekend, with all three of the teams earning US Open main draw wild cards having college ties.

Reigning NCAA champions Erin Routliffe of Canada and Maya Jansen won the women's title, beating Yasmin Schnack and Katsiaryna Zheltova 6-4, 7-5 in the final. Routliffe and Jansen defending their 2014 title this year in Waco, but knowing from their 2014 experience that they would not receive a wild card as NCAA champions due to Routliffe's Canadian citizenship, they entered the Southern section's qualifying and went on to earn the title.

They will play No. 6 seeds Abigail Spears (UCLA) and newlywed Raquel Kops-Jones(Cal) in the first round.

The men's doubles wild card went to Julio Peralta of Chile and Matt Seeberger, the former UC-Santa Cruz standout who won three NCAA Division III singles titles. The only seeded team to reach any of the finals, the top seeds defeated Ashley Fisher and Nathan Healey 6-4, 6-3. They will play Santiago Giraldo of Colombia and Rameez Junaid of Australia in the first round

The mixed doubles wild card went to two former University of Oklahoma stars, Anda Perianu and Andrei Daescu (that is not them pictured on the National Playoffs landing page) Perianu and Daescu defeated Jacqueline Cako and Joel Kielbowicz 6-2, 6-4 in the final. The mixed doubles draw has not yet been released.
In other doubles notes, Kalamazoo champions Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka have drawn an unseeded team in the first round, Marcus Daniell of New Zealand and Jonathan Marray of Great Britain.  San Diego champions Ingrid Neel and Tornado Alicia Black face the unseeded team of Karin Knapp and Roberta Vinci in the opening round.

Sabrina Santamaria and Kaitlyn Christian, the 2013 NCAA champions who were overlooked for a wild card that year in spite of both being Americans, received a wild card this year (Santamaria was out with an injury last year) and drew top seeds Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza.

The US Open men's doubles draw is here and the women's doubles draw is here.

Kriste Ahn, who graduated from Stanford last year, won her second $25,000 title this week in Winnipeg, beating Sharon Fichman of Canada 6-2, 7-5.  With the win, Ahn, who was seeded No. 5 in the tournament, will climb near the WTA Top 250 for the first time.  She and Lorraine Guillermo (Pepperdine) reached the doubles final, losing to top seeds Fichman and Jovana Jaksic of Serbia.

Bobby Knight has recaps of the four former college players--Kevin Anderson, Eric Johnson, Gonzalo Escobar and Tucker Vorster--who won men's titles this week at College Tennis Today.

Today is the conclusion of Althea Week, designated in honor of the great African-American tennis pioneer Althea Gibson, who is the subject of Rex Miller's biographical film, which debuted this week in New York. Miller's film will be shown on PBS as part of the network's American Masters Series on Friday, September 4 at 9:00 p.m.  Reading the show notes will provide background on how important a figure Gibson was, not just in the tennis world, but in American culture.