Monday, August 15, 2016

Olympic Tennis Update; Escobedo Claims US Open Wild Card in USTA Challenge; Opelka, Donaldson Win in Cincinnati; Mandlik, Bicknell Earn ITF Junior Titles; Full List of USTA National Champions

With the USTA National Championships during the same week, I wasn't able to follow Olympic Tennis competition in Rio in any detail, but certainly the results are worth noting. The US did not win any medals in singles, with Madison Keys losing the bronze medal match to the Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova, but won gold and silver in mixed doubles and bronze in men's doubles.

Jack Sock won two medals, teaming with Steve Johnson in men's doubles for the bronze, and Bethanie Mattek-Sands for the mixed gold.  Sock and Mattek-Sands defeated Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram in Sunday's all-American mixed final, 6-7(3), 6-1, 10-7.

The Olympic medals:

Men's Singles:
Gold: Andy Murray, Great Britain
Silver: Juan Martin del Potro, Argentina
Bronze: Kei Nishikori, Japan

Women's Singles:
Gold: Monica Puig, Puerto Rico
Silver: Angelique Kerber, Germany
Bronze: Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic

Men's Doubles:
Gold: Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez, Spain
Silver: Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau, Romania
Bronze: Steve Johnson and Jack Sock, USA

Women's Doubles:
Gold: Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, Russia
Silver: Timea Bacsinszky and Martina Hingis, Switzerland
Bronze: Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova, Czech Republic

Mixed Doubles:
Gold: Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jack Sock, USA
Silver: Rajeev Ram and Venus Willaims, USA
Bronze: Lucie Hradecka and Radek Stepanek, Czech Republic

Although the USTA has yet to make an official announcement, 20-year-old Ernesto Escobedo will make his slam debut later this month as the winner of the USTA's US Open Wild Card Challenge.  Escobedo, who won the $50,000 Lexington Challenger could have been caught by any of the Americans in the $100,000 Aptos Challenger draw had they won the event, but Eric Quigley and Bjorn Fratangelo both lost in the semifinals.  Top seed Dan Evans took the title, beating TCU junior Cameron Norrie, who qualified, 6-3, 6-4 in the all-Great Britain final.  Former Ole Miss stars Nik Scholtz and Tucker Vorster of South Africa won the doubles title, beating Mackenzie McDonald(UCLA) and New Zealand's Ben Mclachlan(Cal) 6-7(5), 6-3, 10-8. Neither team was seeded.

At the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Landisville, Pennsylvania, Great Britain's Laura Robson won her second pro title and first title since 2008, beating wild card Julia Elbaba 6-0, 6-0 in the final.  Robson also won the doubles title in Landisville, with Freya Christie of Great Britain. The unseeded team beat top seeds An-Sophie Mestach and Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-3, 6-4 in the final.

There are no Pro Circuit events in the United States until after the US Open, with ATP and WTA events in Cincinnati, New Haven and Winston-Salem taking center stage the next two weeks.   Today at the rainy Cincinnati ATP Masters, both Jared Donaldson and Reilly Opelka picked up first round victories over ATP veterans, with Donaldson beating Nicolas Almagro of Spain 6-3, 7-6(2) and Opelka taking out Jeremy Chardy of France 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(9) this evening.

Not all US juniors were playing in the USTA National Championships last week, with four young Americans picking up titles at ITF junior events in three different countries.  At the Grade 5 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 14-year-old Blaise Bicknell, seeded No. 2, took his first ITF singles title with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over No. 7 seed Eduardo Roldan of Mexico in the final. Maria McKay won the girls doubles title, partnering Alexandra Tutecky of Canada. The No. 2 seeds defeated top seeds Jade Bornay of France and Katie Lafrance 4-6, 6-3, 10-3 in the final.

At the Grade 4 in Mexico, 15-year-old Elli Mandlik, daughter of former WTA star Hana Mandlikova, won her third ITF singles title.  Mandlik, seeded second, defeated top seed Layne Sleeth of Canada 7-6(4), 6-4 in the final.

At the Grade 4 in Zimbabwe, Kacie Harvey reached the singles final and took the doubles title, with Merel Hoedt of the Netherlands. The top seeds defeated Willa Bay Breunich and Zara Lennon of Mauritius 6-3, 6-4 for the championship.

The USTA provided a release with the participants, their home towns and the scores of all singles and doubles finals of the just concluded National Championships, which are below:

USTA Boys’ 18s National Championships
Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, Mich., August 5-14
Singles: (1) Michael Mmoh (Bradenton, Fla.) d. (7) Vasil Kirkov (Tampa, Fla.), 6-1, 6-2, 6-3
Doubles: (4) John McNally/JJ Wolf (Cincinnati) d. Sean Sculley (Hilton Head Island, S.C.)/Nick Stachowiak (Cary, N.C.), 6-2, 6-3

USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships
Barnes Tennis Center, San Diego, August 5-14
Singles: (1) Kayla Day (Santa Barbara, Calif.) d. (7) Nicole Frenkel (Winchester, Mass.), 6-2, 3-6, 6-1
Doubles: (5) Jada Hart (Colton, Calif.)/Ena Shibahara (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.) d. (9) Meible Chi (Weston, Fla.)/Taylor Russo (Deerfield Beach, Calif.), 6-1, 6-4

USTA Boys’ 16s National Championships
Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, Mich., August 5-14
Singles: (1) Lukas Greif (Evansville, Ind.) d. (10) Jenson Brooksby (Carmichael, Calif.), 6-0, 6-3
Doubles: (2) Andrew Ton (Milpitas, Calif.)/Max Wild (Murrieta, Calif.) d. Robert Maciag (Sterling, Va.)/Jared Pratt (Daniel Island, S.C.), 7-6(5), 6-3

USTA Girls’ 16s National Championships
Barnes Tennis Center, San Diego, August 5-14
Singles: (4) Nicole Mossmer (La Jolla, Calif.) d. (17) Julia Haynes (San Diego), 7-5, 6-0
Doubles: (9) Andrea Cerdan (Bloomfield, N.J.)/Christina Hand (Moorestown, N.J.) d. (2) Chloe Beck (Watkinsville, Ga.)/Emma Navarro (Charleston, S.C.), 4-6, 7-6(6), 7-5

USTA Boys’ 14s National Championships
San Antonio Tennis Association, San Antonio, August 7-14
Singles: (1) Alex Lee (Oak Brook, Ill.) d. (5) Jameson Corsillo (Boca Raton, Fla.), 6-1, 6-3
Doubles: (4) Ryan Fishback (Geneva, N.Y.)/Billy Suarez (Huntington, N.Y.) d. (3) Jeremie Casabon (Flourtown, Pa.)/Jeffrey Fradkin (New York), 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-4

USTA Girls’ 14s National Championships
Metro Tennis Associates, Peachtree City, Ga., August 6-12
Singles: (4) Gianna Pielet (El Paso, Texas) d. Sonia Maheshwari (Morrisville, N.C.), 6-1, 6-2
Doubles: (9) Maxi Duncan (Costa Mesa, Calif.)/Jamilah Snells (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) d. (2) Emma Jackson (La Grange Park, Ill.)/Gianna Pielet (El Paso, Texas), 7-5, 6-2

USTA Boys’ 12s National Championships
Arkansas Tennis Patrons Foundation, Little Rock, Ark., August 7-14
Singles: (3) Victor Lilov (Raleigh, N.C.) d. (17) Braden Shick (Greensboro, N.C.), 6-4, 6-1
Doubles: (3) Samir Banerjee (Basking Ridge, N.J.)/Victor Lilov (Raleigh, N.C.) d. (2) Evan Wen (Morristown, N.J.)/Phillip Deaton (Auburn, Wash.), 6-1, 6-2

USTA Girls’ 12s National Championships
Windward Lake Club, Alpharetta, Ga., August 7-14
Singles: (2) Katja Wiersholm (Kirkland, Wash.) d. (12) Vivian Ovrootsky (San Jose), 6-3, 6-3
Doubles: (3) Nikki Yanez (Sarasota, Fla.)/Maria Drobotova (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) d. (2) Calissa Dellabarca (Santa Barbara, Calif.)/Bridget Stammel (Dallas), 6-0, 7-5


Hopeful said...

Lost in all the tennis going on. Christian Harrison wins the 25K in Champagne Illinois in 3 and a half hours over Rhyne Williams. A tournament played by quite a few of the top college players. Is there a better story in tennis. Incredible comeback!!! Hoping for good health to a forgotten true talent.

Who Makes these choices? said...

How does the USTA not give Jared Donaldson a wildcard? They really made a couple poor decisions. Halbauer getting a qualifying Wildcard? There are so many better choices! Disappointing and not surprised.

Disappointing said...

Did Halbauer get a wildcard because Usta could not choose between any of the younger players like Dolehide, Arconada, and Liu? All the previous years, the Usta salivates over giving Wildcards to the younger girls but not this year. Puzzling and disappointing!

fan said...

Colette, do you know why Oracle is being held a month later this time, right after AA. That's almost 3 weeks of continuous tennis for top 30 players if you also count the Regionals. Weird scheduling.

Colette Lewis said...

I don't know the reason for the change from September to October, although it could be due to the Hall of Fame /ITA Grass Court Championship now in September in Newport.

reality said...

Robson WC? Is there a trade with England?

also, the national playoff WC should be shut down. the tournament is so weak, the quail WC would be better off being kept and give to one of the younger players. waste of a WC.

Robson for what? said...

The Robson wildcard is ridiculous. I hope the USA got something big for that wildcard. To take a spot away from another American in our biggest tournament is upsetting.

I wish the usta officials would have a press conference regarding their wildcard selections like the ncaa basketball committee does instead of hiding behind closed doors.

USTA system overhaul said...

The 3 pro circuit tournaments challenge needs to change. Reilly Opelka, Ryan Harrison, Jared Donaldson ALL did better and earned MORE points at ATP events than Ernesto did at playing Challengers so Ernesto is the one who deserves a MD wildcard at a Grand Slam?

Kenin got the Womens's wildcard by winning one 50K challenger. That's it! Didn't play in the first challenger, won the second and lost first round of the 3rd tournament and she is gifted with US Open Main Draw. That's terrible!

How does the usta not factor ATP Tournaments into the mix? It's the same with ATP Houston with the French Open WC.

There seems to be little thought with these big decisions or they never review their own policies for the betterment of the player. The only change happens when people complain as they are never forward-thinking.

The USTA PD needs to be in better touch with the private sector because they are the ones who actually DEVELOP America's best players.

Another International Wildcard? said...

Laura Robson and Ellie Halbauer wildcard selections are quite puzzling on the Women's qualifying.

I can't figure out why Laura would get a WC without the USTA getting something bigger in return.

I believe the USA Tennis Community deserve to hear the explanation of this selection.

Donaldson's Response said...

The USTA does not think Jared Donaldson is worthy of a Main Draw wildcard and then he responds last night by winning the first set on World #4 Stan Wawrinka 6-2.

Hello USTA, I think he is deserving.

Alex Ho said...

I am sure that Laura Robson got wild card because of reciprocal arrangement between us and uk. They have same agreement with Australia and France. That is why US gets wild cards to French, Wimby, and Ausie open.

Way too many said...

The Harrison WCs have to stop - over their careers they have both been given way more than their fair share and had more chances than anyone else. So over all these repeat WCs. Put it to rest already. Let them earn a spot like everyone else.

Just Saying said...

System overhaul, I can see your point where the USTA should include ATP points in the overall WC calculation. However, I don't think it's as big a deal that the people you mention got left out. As well as Opelka is playing of late, he still needed a WC...to get into the Qualifying. At this stage, he is better off playing more matches and gaining points, which he'll get in the qualies. And, if he keeps his current form, he's obviously got a good chance for the main draw. Harrison has had plenty of WCs over the course of his career. This is not a big deal. Donaldson has the raw deal, basically because Del Potro's Protected Ranking expired before he could use all of his PRs. Delpo takes his spot. Again, it's not a bad thing for a young kid, ranked above 100, to go through the Qualies. Coming into the main draw on a 3 match winning streak can only help one's confidence level. Plus, you get an automatic 45 points. 35 for Qualies and 10 even if you lose 1st round.
A WC that loses 1st round gets 0 ranking points.

System Overhaul said...

Just Saying

I appreciate your comments and agree with you with Harrison and Opelka not deserving main draw Wildcards. I agree Donaldson got screwed and completely deserved one. It seems I am one of the few who would not give the wildcard to Delpo. He is a past Champion but the I doubt the USTA would not give that wildcard to Cilic or Hewitt based on being a past Champion.

I don't like the USTA restricting players to only Challenger level tournaments if that is not in their best interest. Especially when are there higher level tournaments to be played and as an option.

The Wildcard is for a Grand Slam Tournament so it is only logical beating US Open caliber players at ATP events count.

Even more with WTA players since the trend is girls play higher events at a younger age.

Results don't lie said...

Hard to say Christian Harrison gotten too many wildcards. He's hardly been healthy enough to play the last 5 to 6 years, but when he does he makes great use of em and performs at an extremely high level. Results don't lie. Now takes out a top 100 player to reach last round of Qualies.

Guest said...

Results, I don't see where any mentioned Christian Harrison in the above posts

Guest said...

I mean in regards to WCs. People referred to Ryan

By the way, congrats to Donaldson. Enters the main draw on a roll and with more points than if he received a WC

Just Saying said...

Guest. Unless I don't understand English properly. It sez the Harrison's(plural) have both received way too many wildcards in their careers.

Actually is both said...

Actually, both the Harrison's have been gifted more than their fair share of WCs when they are playing. Christian Harrison received 4 WCs for the first 5 events he played in Feb/March/April this year - RBC Dallas Challenger Qualifying, F10, F13, and Miami ATP 1000 Main. Those were 4 events that he didn't have to burn his protected ranking to see if he was ready to go. I am sure there are others coming back from injuries that would love 4 WCs to start back.

People only notice when someone does well with a WC, they don't notice all the times they go out the first round with it and forget they had one. If many players on the brink got 5-10 WCs per year, many would break through, but most are never given the chance with WCs.

5.0 Player said...

I disagree with @reality. The national playoff WC should not be shut down. The tournament is not so weak. Statham who won it this year was formerly ranked 130 in the ATP. He lost a close match to Duck Lee in the first round of the US Open qualifying tournament. Then Duck Lee lost a close match to Steve Darcis who then qualified for the main draw of the US Open.

Reality said...

Actually. Their are a host of reasons wildcards are given out and the USTA is not in charge of all the wildcards. 1) players company may be the owner of the tournament as IMG is in Miami. 2) there may not be any other quality players who apply for them or are good enough so they end up giving them to the next Highest ranked player not in the main draw already. 3) players miss a deadline and ask if one still available.4) the host tournament may choose to give one to the player they feel most known to draw people out to watch. It looks like in Christians case he left a lot on the table cause his year is up on protected and he didn't even get to use half of them so they were of no benefit as far as helping get into a tournament that he wouldn't have gotten into anyway except Miami. In his case a first round loss is rare so his level has obviously proved deserving and justified. How many players you think are out there that would actually qualify for the US Open against the quality of players Harrison beat if given the chance. Probably none.