Monday, November 7, 2016

Notes from Everywhere

After a busy week, which had three North American $50Ks, a Futures and a collegiate major, other news was confined to the back burner, but today is a good day for a link-fest of items of interest I've been meaning to post.

Starting with the oldest, Dave Kozlowski of Inside Tennis with the Koz was at the US Open and he spent a good part of the second week talking with junior players. He interviewed girls singles champion Kayla Day, boys singles champion Felix Auger-Aliassime, girls doubles champions Ena Shibahara and Jada Hart and boys doubles champions Juan Carlos Manuel Aguilar and Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves, as well as juniors Kylie McKenzie, Patrick Kypson, Sebastian Korda, Sonya Kenin.  Kozlowski also talks with USTA President and CEO Katrina Adams, USTA General Manager of Player Development Martin Blackman and USTA National Coach Kathy Rinaldi.  I am also featured in the video, giving my thoughts on the biggest stories of the US Open Junior Championships.

The Michigan Boys High School championships are held when I am in Tulsa for the ITF Pan American Closed, so I missed this bit of history here in Kalamazoo, when  St. Joseph senior Ahmeir Kyle, a girl, won the boys Division III state title at No. 2 singles.

The Easter Bowl will return to a USTA Level 1 Gold Ball Event in 2017
The USTA has released a one-page summary of the major changes in the junior competitive structure for 2017. Highlights include a National Indoor in November, the Easter Bowl returning as a gold ball event, including for the ITF Grade B1 there, a separate National team event for the 12s and the official announcement of the move of the 16s and 18s Winter Nationals to the National Campus in Lake Nona from Scottsdale, and the boys 12s from Little Rock and boys 14s Nationals from San Antonio to Mobile. The document is available here.

In addition to the Indoor Intercollegiate Championships last week, a number of other events were held around the country, including the Bulldog Scramble in Athens Georgia and the Dick Vitale Clay Court Championships in Lakewood Ranch Florida.  Bobby Knight has all the details on those tournaments and many more at College Tennis Today.

Speaking of the National Indoors, I neglected to mention the Sportsmanship award winners announced on Saturday, with Georgia Tech's Chris Eubanks and Vanderbilt's Astra Sharma the honorees.

Reilly Opelka spoke with the ATP about his Charlottesville Challenger title, and Brian Baker spoke with the ATP about his fifth straight Challenger doubles title of 2016, this one with Sam Groth of Australia, in Charlottesville.

The USTA Australian Open Wild Card Challenge update was distributed today and the leaders are shown below. Ahn and Min play in the first round of Waco this week, meaning the loser of that match is out of the race.  Day is not playing, so her 109 points are the total to match or beat. Simply put, Ahn, Collins, Min or Brady would have to win Waco to keep Day from earning the wild card.  The men's race still has two more tournaments--this week in Knoxville and the following week in Champaign. Free live streaming is available in both Waco and Knoxville here.

The ITF Grade B1 Asia/Pacific Closed in Korea concluded Sunday with, top seed Yibing Wu of China winning the boys singles title, beating No. 2 seed Yuta Shimizu of Japan 6-4, 6-2 in the final.  The girls singles title went to No. 3 seed Mai Hontama of Japan, who beat unseeded Zhuoma Ni Ma of China 6-4, 6-1 in the final.

John Isner, who reached the Paris Masters final last week to finish in the ATP Top 20 for the seventh straight year,  won the ATP Aces title, hitting 1,159 for the year. Isner had won the Aces title three times previously, in 2012, 2013 and 2010.

This Jerusalem Post feature on Israel junior Yshai Oleil, the 16-year-old left-hander who defeated No. 2 seed Alex De Minaur of Australia in this year's US Open Junior Championships, is realistic about the challenges of transitioning from a successful junior career (he won both the 2012 and 2014 Junior Orange Bowl titles) to the pro tour.  There may be a bit of hyperbole in his coach saying "I don’t think there is a kid in Israel or the world who has received the amount of attention he has received since such a young age," but there's no doubt he's been looked upon as the next big thing in Israeli tennis since his first Junior Orange Bowl title.