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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Paul, Fritz, McDonald Advance at Sacramento Challenger; Tennis.com's Top 20 D-I College Facilities; Sports Illustrated on Universal Tennis Rating

Both champion Taylor Fritz and finalist Tommy Paul returned to competition this week for the first time since meeting in the US Open boys final last month. The $100,000 Sacramento Challenger provided Fritz with a wild card, while Paul was in qualifying.  Paul won three matches to make the main draw, and today he beat wild card Alex Kuznetsov 7-6(5), 6-3 to advance to the second round, where he'll play top seed Denis Kudla.  Paul has yet to lose a first round match in a Challenger, going 4 for 4 this year.

Fritz made his Challenger debut this summer, losing to Germany's Mischa Zverev in the first round at Aptos right after Kalamazoo.  His second attempt resulted in win, with Fritz beating Connor Smith 6-4, 6-0.  He will play the winner of the match between Dustin Brown of Germany and Grega Zemlja of Slovenia still in progress.

UCLA junior Mackenzie McDonald continued to impress, beating Peter Polansky of Canada 6-3, 6-1 in less than an hour.  McDonald is playing with great confidence right now after a Futures final and a semifinal appearance in Tiburon last week.  Take a look at this unbelievable shot from McDonald in his semifinal against Denis Kudla last weekend in Tiburon. McDonald will play Tiburon champion Tim Smyczek in the second round, after Smyczek outlasted Frances Tiafoe 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(7). As he had done against Kudla in the Tiburon final, Smyczek saved match points, with Tiafoe having one at 5-6 in the tiebreaker and another at 7-6, but Smyczek escaped both times and a tired-looking Tiafoe lost the last three points of the match.

Jared Donaldson(7), Tennys Sandgren and qualifiers Nick Meister and Marcos Giron are the other Americans advancing to the second round today.

Tennis Tuesday, a weekly digital tennis magazine, has put together a list of what it considers the top 20 Division I college tennis facilities. You may have other nominees, or quibble with the order, but here's their 1-20. I would like to have seen the quality and availability of live streaming as a factor in their rankings.

1. Baylor
2. SMU
3. Wake Forest
4. Oklahoma State
5. Texas A&M
6. Georgia(can't resist pointing out a spelling error; it's Feild, not Field)
7. Oklahoma
8. Illinois
9. Rice
10. Tulsa
11. Georgia Tech
12. UCLA
13. Auburn
14. Stanford
15. Michigan
16. USC
17. Duke
18. TCU
19. Arkansas
20. Virginia

Speaking of rankings, yesterday the Tennis Recruiting Network published a comprehensive look at the various ratings and rankings of tennis players.  One of those systems, Universal Tennis ratings, is the subject of this Sports Illustrated article.  A recent tournament in Boston provides a backdrop for the explanation of how these ratings, already so important in college recruiting, can provide lower cost match play that isn't arbitrarily segregated by age and gender.


The Architect said...

The Top 20 college tennis facilities are a downright joke. Baylor at #1? Really??? When you consider how visiting players are treated, they should be at the bottom of the list. Visiting team locker rooms consist of the Women's bathroom. Texas A&M at No. 5? Have you ever played at College Station in late winter, early spring? No indoor courts! And no cover for the spectators from the brutal Texas sun. Also surprised Georgia is at No. 6 with their antiquated FOUR indoor courts (at least they have indoors available if needed).

Alibaba said...

I also thought it was interesting how Baylor can be selected the No. 1 college tennis facility in the Nation. They only have 12 outdoor courts, contrary to what the Vital Stats indicate. Also, the back 6 courts overlook a vacant parched landscape with a mucky, trashy Brazos river down below. The Vitals mentioned they recently enhanced their player locker rooms. Does that mean they added a new toilet seat to the visiting team's combo locker/bathroom? Sorry folks, I wouldn't place the Baylor facility much higher than maybe 6 on the list of top facilities.

Lin said...

Colette - You mention making the availability of live streaming a component of the rating for top tennis schools. However, for at least the SEC, that is a problem.

The SEC has a multi-platform 20-year deal with ESPN / SEC Network / SEC Network Plus (digital) for all athletic content. That's great, except that now ESPN has the rights to all content, and while they will gladly run whatever is sent them, it must conform to their standards which means high quality video (via fiber optic lines) and multi-camera duplexed court coverage. I would be shocked if even 2 schools would invest in this. The rest will not spend the money on a non-revenue sport that has such difficulty in adequately covering an event. Six court coverage is a problem.

I don't think it is a punitive action by ESPN. They are just imposing their boilerplate standards on the agreement, and it is having a detrimental effect. I am trying to pester anyone I can reach, to get an initiative started to request that ESPN allow a carve-out for schools to offer low quality live streaming (or whatever quality they can provide) for any event that ESPN would not cover anyway. Other than Conference and National championships, tennis is not televised, so there is no potential loss of revenue or viewership from competing video availability.

So, at a time when tennis is in need of all the support it can get, all live streaming video of SEC matches is eliminated. Not a positive development.

Small view said...

I have been sensing great bias and favoritism in who and what you report on lately. Seems like you are becoming more like USTA, writing only about your chosen ones while disregarding others. Covering college players or just the ones you want to? I suppose that is your prerogative.

Favoritism Rules said...

To Small View...

You are just now recognizing the bias and favoritism on this blog? It has been a prevailing issue for quite some time now.

Lin said...

To Small View and Favoritism Rules -

No one can write about everything and/or please all potential readers. Pick up the NY Times and NY Post. They cater to different audiences and don't worry much about the other's preferences. They know that if you don't like their fare, you won't read it.

I suggest you do the same. If Collette doesn't cover topics, events, players, or schools that you want to read about, then don't click the link. Or, you could start your own blog and write about whatever you want.

It's like watching Fox News, or MSNBC, and complaining that they are biased and should change their coverage. Why get yourself worked up? Just change the channel.

Either way, there is no need to disparage her forum, as it is just that: Her Forum. Contrary to what seems to pass for the popular worldview, it's really not all about you.

Unknown said...

Colette please continue to forge on. I have been a long time reader of your blog and it screams about how much you love tennis. You have allowed many of us to capture the intensity of an event because you were there and reported on it or you gained valuable insights from those events that you cannot physically attend.

Pick and choose said...

This blog is a glimpse of her player pets which is fine, it is her blog, she can focus on whoever she wants. As a junior blog, it seems broad (but idk juniors), but for those interested in the goings on of the college and pro level she apparently just wants to cover certain players. Her call. (I thought she was bailing on college tennis.) I'm glad College Tennis Today doesn't show bias and covers everybody. So yes, you can turn the channel, and I did. I just turn back to read the comments.