Bud Collins 1929-2016; February Aces; Wolf, McNally, Coppoc Reach Paraguay Grade 1 Finals; Townsend, Kenin, Meister in BNP Paribas Challenge Final
I'm in Mobile for the third annual USTA National Spring Team Championships. Registration was this evening, with the teams being formed via a waterfall draw later tonight. Saturday will be practice and the team banquet, with play possibly beginning on Sunday, depending on the weather forecast for later in the week.
The tennis community is mourning the loss of Bud Collins, the legendary historian and journalist who died today at the age of 86. It's difficult to overstate the contribution Collins made to the sport, and as all the remembrances and obituaries have stated, he was a fine and generous man. I was glad to have known him, even though our paths didn't cross often, and the last several years, when he was not working at his usual desk at Wimbledon or the US Open, the absence of his energy, wit and perspective took some of the fun out of covering those tournaments. He inspired and mentored countless journalists and we will miss him, as we continue to appreciate all that he shared with us and the sport. Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal has a personal account of how Collins ignited his own love of the sport and how Collins' generosity did not decline, even as his health did.
My monthly column on some of February's top performances was published today at the Tennis Recruiting Network. Two teenagers captured their first pro titles; three teams won their first National Team Indoor titles and many other young players boosted their rankings and profiles with wins last month.
At the Grade 1 Asuncion Bowl in Paraguay, an all-American girls final is set, with Caty McNally facing No. 3 seed Morgan Coppoc. McNally defeated Rafaella Baquerizo of Ecuador 5-7, 6-1,6-0 and Coppoc defeated unseeded Victoria Emma 6-0 2-6, 7-6(2). It's the first Grade 1 final for both McNally and Coppoc.
JJ Wolf will be going for a sweep of the titles, after he and John McNally, the No. 3 seeds, won the doubles title with a 3-6, 6-0, 11-9 win over unseeded Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves of Brazil and Matias Soto of Chile. (NOTE: The ITF site has been corrected, giving Alves and Soto as the doubles winners, not McNally and Wolf.) In the singles semifinals, Wolf, the No. 7 seed, defeated Gabriel Decamps of Brazil 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 and will meet No. 5 seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina in the final. Etcheverry defeated No. 8 seed Louis Wessels of Germany 6-1, 7-6(6).
The BNP Paribas Challenge will end on Saturday, with three Americans still in the running for the Indian Wells qualifying wild card that goes to the winner.
No. 7 seed Sonya Kenin defeated No. 2 seed Julia Boserup 6-1, 2-6, 7-6(1) and will play No. 6 seed Taylor Townsend, who defeated No. 4 seed Lauren Embree 5-7, 6-4, 6-1. In the men's final, top seed Nick Meister will play No. 4 seed Mikhail Ledovskikh, a 29-year-old Russian. Meister defeated No. 3 seed Evan Song 7-6(1), 6-4 and Ledovskikh beat No. 7 seed Farzin Danny Amiri 7-6, 6-0 in today's semifinals.