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Monday, August 24, 2015

Rybakov Chooses TCU; Witten, Elie Earn Spots in US Open Qualifying Draws; Top Seed Chung, 11 Other Seeds Fall in Grade 1 IHC First Round

©Colette Lewis 2015--
College Park, Maryland--

It was a hot and busy first day at the ITF Grade 1 International Hard Court Championships, and I'll have more about all the upsets later in the post.

My interview with No. 1 Class of 2015 recruit Alex Rybakov, who recently signed with TCU and will begin school in January, is available today at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

The US Open National Playoffs singles tournaments concluded today, with No. 4 seed Jennifer Elie and No. 2 seed Jesse Witten taking the ninth and final wild card spots in the qualifying draws.  Elie beat Virginia senior Julia Elbaba 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in a match that took three hours and 30 minutes to decide. Elie, 28, will be making her first appearance at the US Open.  Witten, 32, defeated top seed Matija Pecotic of Croatia 7-6(4), 7-6(3) to earn his qualifying wild card. His best result at the US Open came in 2009, when he qualified and reached the third round before losing to No. 4 seed Novak Djokovic in four sets.

The doubles portion of the US Open National Playoffs begins on Tuesday, with main draw wild cards on the line for the women's, men's and mixed events.

Once Elie and Witten had earned their wild cards, the US Open qualifying draws were released, along with Tuesday's schedule. Twenty-one American women and 13 American men are competing for places in the main draw and 19 of them are in action on Tuesday:
Gastao Elias (POR) vs. Dennis Novikov (USA)
Shelby Rogers (USA) vs. Grace Min (USA)
Alexander Sarkissian (USA) vs. Jan Mertl (CZE)
Tornado Alicia Black (USA) vs. Romina Oprandi (SUI)[22]
Luksika Kumkhum (THA) vs. Victoria Duval (USA)
Raveena Kingsley (USA) vs. Andrea Hlavackova (CZE)[30]
Taylor Harry Fritz (USA) vs. Luca Vanni (ITA)[19]
Claire Liu (USA) vs. Veronica Cepede Royg (PAR)
Michael Mmoh (USA) vs. Matthew Ebden (AUS)[26]
Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS)[15] vs. Alexa Glatch (USA)
Shuko Aoyama (JPN) vs. Jessica Pegula (USA)
Julia Boserup (USA) vs. Julia Glushko (ISR)
Edina Gallovits-Hall (USA) vs. Mayo Hibi (JPN)
Liang-Chi Huang (TPE) vs. Noah Rubin (USA)
Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN) vs. Catherine Bellis (USA)
Maximo Gonzalez (ARG) vs. Jarmere Jenkins (USA)
Elitsa Kostova (BUL) vs. Melanie Oudin (USA)
Tommy Paul (USA) vs. Blaz Rola (SLO)[24]

The complete draws can be found at usopen.org.

Jonathan Kelley has more on the US players in qualifying at his On The Rise blog.

Now on to the the action at the International Hard Court Championships, where twelve seeds lost in the opening round, including No. 1 seed Yunseong Chung of Korea.  Chung, who was competing in the semifinals of a Korean Futures just two days ago (or three, depending on which date line you use) and Trent Bryde were engaged in a tough first set, with neither able to get a break.  Then with Chung serving at 5-6, he went down 0-30, and a perfectly executed drop shot by Bryde gave him three set points. He converted the first when Chung made a forehand error, and as they walked to their chairs, Chung told the umpire he was retiring.

"I'm not sure what was wrong with him," said Bryde, who is celebrating his 16th birthday today. "He seemed a little tired during kind of the whole match, but I don't think there was any physical injury.  I was really surprised. I did not see that coming. I was in shock at first. It took a while for it to sink in that I actually won the match."

Chung gave his reason for his retirement as a headache, and Bryde said he was not aware that Chung had traveled from Korea in the past two days.

"I think I heard he came in not too long ago, so he could have been tired from that; it probably had a lot to do with it," Bryde said.

Despite the abrupt ending to the match, Bryde was happy with his performance and the result, appreciating the chance to play the ITF's No. 11 junior.

"I thought I served really well and was clutch on my break points," Bryde said. "I was actually really excited, honestly. I thought it was a chance to make this one of my best birthdays, and it has been. I'm really happy."

The boys draw also lost its third and fourth seeds, with Robert Loeb defeating No. 3 seed Franco Capalbo of Argentina 6-3, 7-6(5) at the University of Maryland site, and No. 4 seed Djurabeck Karimov of Uzbekistan pulling out due to injury.  No. 8 seed Benjamin Hannesad of Denmark lost to qualifier Jake Van Emburgh 6-3, 6-7(8), 6-1, No. 11 seed Yousef Hossam of Egypt lost to John Jorgeson 7-6(6), 1-6, 6-3, No. 16 seed Alexey Aleshchev of Russia lost to Alexandre Rotsaert 6-2, 6-4 and No. 13 seed Sam Riffice lost to qualifier Oliver Crawford 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5).

Riffice was serving up 4-1 in the third set and was up 5-2 in the final tiebreaker, while Crawford was struggling with a calf injury he had suffered early in the third set.

"At 1-all in the third set, I hit an overhead and came down on my left leg, and something happened there," said Crawford, who did not call for a trainer in spite of the obvious pain he was experiencing on certain shots. "I felt a little bit of cramping there, but it was mostly the pain in my left leg that was affecting some of my movement."

As for his comeback, Crawford didn't give himself much credit for that.

"I didn't change anything," said the 16-year-old from South Carolina. "His level dropped. I don't think he played his best tennis today, so I was lucky to get through that with what I was going through. He let down his guard a little bit 4-1 up, go for a little more, and I just stayed in there and tried to keep fighting."

Down 5-2 in the tiebreaker, Crawford played two aggressive points, hitting a clean third-ball backhand down the line winner on the first and coming up with a good first serve on the second to make it 5-4.  A good return caught Riffice off guard and he netted a backhand, and when Riffice lost the next point on his serve, netting a forehand, Crawford had an improbable match point. He hit a big forehand, close to the baseline, drawing another error and had secured what he called one of his biggest wins.

He also admitted that he played more aggressively than usual in the third set, due to the injury.

"I had to," said Crawford, "just because I wasn't moving as well as I possibly could, I guess. I was trying to put as much pressure on him as I could, and I was winning some and losing some, but I had to. The courts are fast, so when I was hitting out on the ball more, I felt it was helping me a lot."

Amanda Anisimova said she needed to make some adjustments for the faster surface, but once she did, the 13-year-old rolled to a 6-2, 6-2 win over No. 7 seed Anastasia Potapova of Russia.

"I hit with a lot of spin, because they were really, really fast," said Anisimova, another qualifier who beat a seed in the first round. "Qualifying helped me, because these are really different courts from what I usually practice on."

Serving at 3-2 in the first set, Anisimova went down 0-40, but came back to win the game, as Potapova, a junior Wimbledon quarterfinalist, struggled to stay in the rallies.

"I started to get behind the ball and play way better," said the Floridian of that turning point in the  match. "I was thinking about what I'm going to do between points, and making my serves."

Anisimova considers Potapova a friend, having practiced with her previously and spent time with her at the ITF World Junior Tennis Team competition earlier this month, where the Russian team defeated the USA team in the finals.

"I played three, but I was happy for my teammates," Anisimova said, speaking of Caty McNally and Hurricane Tyra Black. "We had a tough loss [in the final], but we played pretty well the whole tournament."

As for beating Potapova, Anisimova called it "probably my best win. I thought it would be tougher, be a pretty hard match. Overall it was pretty tough in the games, but the score didn't show it."

Anisimova's teammate McNally also picked up a win over a seeded player. The 13-year-old wild card defeated No. 16 seed Thaisa Pedretti of Brazil 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. Black lost to No. 10 seed Deria Nur Haliza of Indonesia 6-4, 6-1.

Kelly Chen took out No. 4 seed Pranjala Yadlapalli of India 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 and Kylie McKenzie defeated No. 12 seed Georgia Craciun of Romania 6-3, 6-2.  No. 15 seed Alexandra Sanford, the only US girl seeded in the tournament, lost to Karman Thandi of India 6-4, 7-6(5).

Top seed and defending champion Anna Kalinskaya of Russia defeated qualifier Elysia Bolton 6-4, 6-0 and No. 2 seed Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia beat Juliana Valero of Colombia 6-2, 6-2.

Complete draws, including doubles draws, and Tuesday's order of play can be found at the JTCC website.


Brent said...

Great pickup for TCU. They are going to be a player next year.

Any idea on the backstory? I thought it had previously been speculated that he was headed to Oklahoma.

Curious said...

Colette, Is there any TV coverage/Streaming of the USO Qualifying? Last year it was on CBSSports Network. You would think that the USTA would at least Stream the match for a Main Court or two like they do for Challengers.

A Backwards Disgrace said...

The US Open coverage and website is a disgrace. For some unexplained reason, CBS Sports Network is NOT covering the US Open qualifier this year, but is putting on crap shows instead like the "World's Strongest Man" repeats.

On top of that, the USOPEN.org website is not streaming any matches of the qualifier! How could they be so lazy and incompetent?

When it comes to tennis coverage and website functionality, everything is going BACKWARDS! The NCAA Tournament is also no longer covered on TV when it USED to be. And, if you haven't noticed, 90% of the live streaming on college websites do not operate. The live streaming USED TO work about 5 years ago. The people at the colleges that are responsible for buying this poor technology should be fired and the vendor of this garbage technology should be sued for fraud.

Expect the worst with the USTA, and you will be pleasantly surprised. said...

In regards to the USTA no streaming the US OPEN qualifier, why would you expect them to get it right.

ESPN said...

It is not the USTA who broadcasts it is ESPN. Someone should call up ESPN to ask them...

Disgrace said...

But it is the USTA that owns the US Open so it is THEY who have failed to video stream the qualifier matches on the site, even though the streaming is already set up for the main draw matches. Pathetic incompetence!

marcoforehand said...

This year ESPN has EXCLUSIVE rights to all US Open matches. So yes it is ESPN's decision not to broadcast or stream qualifiers.
However, the USTA negotiated the broadcast deal with ESPN and could have stipulated that they had to show the qualifying matches on ESPN 3.

Disgrace said...

ESPN did NOT show the qualifying matches on ESPN3 or through ANY other medium. So, the USTA and the US Open clearly blew it again through it's usual incompetence because they could have streamed those matches on the US Open website.

Those matches were not accessible to ANYONE. NOBODY saw those matches unless they were at Flushing Meadows in person. Nice work guys!! Keep up the good work. Why change now?

They can get carpet ads on their site, but they forget to put live streaming up. Makes sense. said...

Live streaming for the US Open qualifier? Isn't that the USTA's responsibility?

Brian said...

The USTA is not interested in what the little people want. Get over it.