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Monday, January 11, 2016

My Article on Lendl the Coach; Three Pro Circuit Events This Week in United States; Valkusz is New ITF No. 1

During the Orange Bowl I spoke with Ivan Lendl and three of the boys the USTA has invited to work with the eight-time slam champion. I also spoke with one of the boys' coaches and USTA head of men's tennis Jay Berger about the advantages of getting former champions to spend time with young players.  In this article, posted today on the Tennis Recruiting Network, I tried to pull together what each group--players, champion, coaches, USTA--are getting from this initiative. I hope all agree it's worthwhile to continue and expand the program in the years ahead.

There are USTA Pro Circuit events this week, with two in Florida and one in Southern California.  The women's are in Daytona Beach, at a $25,000 tournament. Shelby Rogers, WTA 151, opted out of Australian Open qualifying and is the top seed, with Grace Min No. 2.  Wild cards into the main draw went to Min, Taylor Townsend, Chiara Scholl and Ohio State freshman Francesca Di Lorenzo.  Cici Bellis(5), Asia Muhammad(6), Robin Anderson and Lauren Embree are the other US women in the main draw prior to the final round of qualifying. Usue Arconada, Brooke Austin, Ingrid Neel, Kayla Day, Jacqueline Cako, Alexis King and Ellie Halbauer can join them if they win their final round qualifying matches Tuesday.

Down I-95, in Plantation, the men start the Florida clay swing with a $10,000 tournament. Qualifying was completed today, with three Americans advancing to the main draw: Florida freshman Alfredo Perez, recent Princeton graduate Zack McCourt and recent Texas A&M
graduate Junior Ore. Wild cards into the main draw went to Tommy Paul, who is the No. 1 seed, Illinois senior Jared Hiltzik, the No. 8 seed, recent Louisville graduate Michael Lippens and University of Miami sophomore Christian Langmo.  Michael Grant(USC), Raleigh Smith and Wil Spencer(5) are the other US men in the main draw.

The second $25,000 Futures in California this month is in Long Beach, with qualifying finishing today. Americans qualifying for the main draw are Henrik Wiersholm (Virginia sophomore), Thai Kwiatkowski (Virginia junior), Farzin Danny Amiri, Liam Caruana(Texas), Ryan Lipman(Vanderbilt) and Brandon Holt(USC recruit, who is featured in the Lendl article).

Main draw wild cards were awarded to Riley Smith, Tom Fawcett, Gonzales Austin and Logan Smith.  American Nick Meister is the top seed, with Stefan Kozlov(4), Michael Mmoh, Clay Thompson, Deiton Baughman(5), Evan King(7), Jean-Yves Aubone, Ryan Shane, Eric Johnson, Raymond Sarmiento, Dennis Nevolo, Eric Quigley(3), Ernesto Escobedo(6) and Evan Song bringing the total number of Americans in the 32-draw to 24.

With previous ITF junior No. 1 Casper Ruud of Norway not defending his Grade 1 title at the Coffee Bowl, there's a new No. 1 in the rankings this week, 17-year-old Mate Valkusz of Hungary. Valkusz won two Grade 1s last year and reached the final of the Grade A Osaka Mayors Cup and the semifinals of the Orange Bowl. Ruud won three straight Grade 1s last January, so his current ranking of 3 won't last, particularly in light of the fact he withdrew from the Australian Open Junior Championships.


Battle said...

In the Quarters at the Daytona Beach Womens Futures, University of Florida Gator, Brooke Austin Double Faults ( 17) her way to Victory over Canadian Sharon Finchman in a 2 hr 52 minute match, 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4