NYT Feature on Korea's Remarkable Lee Duck-hee; Cako Downs Gibbs at WTA Event in Hawaii; Mateas Among Qualifiers at Nashville $25K; Hamlin, Mayo and Schachter Oust Seeds in Yucatan Grade 1
Ben Rothenberg has written a terrific in-depth feature article on 18-year-old Lee Duck-hee for the New York Times. Back in 2010, Lee won the Eddie Herr 12s championship, beating Michael Mmoh in the final and I was still trying to comprehend how he could possibly compete at that level when he was deaf. As he continued to excel in juniors that sense of amazement never left me, and Rothenberg explains not only how Lee developed into the player he is (currently 143 in the ATP rankings) but the ways in which sound matters in tennis and how a lack of it may be compensated for in others way.
At the $75,000 Columbus Challenger today, Ohio State recruit John McNally picked up his first win at that level, defeating fellow wild card Herkko Pollanen, a senior at Ohio State, 6-1, 6-3. Top seed Taylor Fritz defeated Ohio State junior Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark, who won the previous Challenger this fall in Columbus, 7-6(3), 6-1 and No. 4 seed Stefan Kozlov downed Jose Statham of New Zealand 6-2, 7-6(6).
The WTA's $125,000 event in Hawaii is underway, with Stanford recruit Michaela Gordon one of just two qualifiers. She will play No. 6 seed Evgenyia Rodina of Russia in the first round Wednesday. Nicole Gibbs, the No. 2 seed, was beaten in the first round by former Arizona State star Jacqueline Cako 6-3, 7-5 and Sachia Vickery took out No. 3 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece 7-5 6-2. Other US winners today were Danielle Collins, Samantha Crawford(8), Asia Muhammad and Jamie Loeb. Loeb defeated wild card Ingrid Neel 6-2, 6-4. Usue Arconada received a wild card, and two other juniors who received wild cards, Katie Swan of Great Britain and Fanny Stollar of Hungary play each other in Wednesday's first round.
Qualifying was completed today at the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Nashville, with 17-year-old Maria Mateas among those advancing to the main draw. The other US women to qualify are Brianna Morgan(Florida), Andie Daniell(Alabama) and Catherine Harrison (UCLA). Jennifer Elie is the top seed and 2014 US Open girls champion Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic in the No. 2 seed. Wild cards were given to Vanderbilt's Sydney Campbell and Astra Sharma, as well as Ally Bojczuk and Jeannez Daniell.
At the ITF Grade 1 in Yucatan, seven US girls are into the third round, including top seed Amanda Anisimova, who needed to come back from a set down to beat Jule Niemeier of Germany. Chloe Hamlin defeated No. 5 seed Malene Helgo of Norway 6-2, 6-2 and will next face No. 11 seed Carson Branstine, who outlasted Alexa Noel 7-6(7), 4-6, 6-4.
Three US boys have advanced to the third round: No. 16 seed Alafia Ayeni, Keenan Mayo and qualifier Noah Schachter. Mayo took out No. 15 seed Alan Rubio Fierros of Mexico 6-3, 6-4 and Schachter ousted No. 15 seed Finn Bass of Great Britain 6-4, 6-3.