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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Eddie Herr Videos; ITF G1 Coffee Bowl Third Round Full of Americans; Thompson Returns at LA Futures

I mentioned last month that I would get the finals videos from the Eddie Herr and Orange Bowls up when I got home, and this first batch completes the Eddie Herr.  Below are brief videos of the champions; with seven of the eight finals played at the same time, any more than a minute or two of each finalist just isn't possible.  Bu Yunchaokete, Katrina Scott and Katie Volynets, who made Orange Bowl finals, will have be featured again when I get those processed.  The Eddie Herr ITF videos, which I posted last month, can be found here.

The Eddie Herr finalist videos are here:
G12s: Katrina Scott
B12s: Jonah Braswell
G14s: Emma Raducanu
B14s: Bu Yunchaokete
G16s: Victoria Hu
B16s: Jake Hersey

The second round of the ITF Grade 1 Coffee Bowl is nearing completion, with two boys matches featuring three Americans still to be played tonight.  No. 9 seed Danny Thomas takes on Jaycer Lyeons and No. 13 seed Brian Cernoch plays Nick Hardt of the Dominican Republic. Free live stream is here.

Seven US boys, all but one seeded, have already advanced to Wednesday's round of 16, including Sangeet Sridhar, who beat top seed Francisco Vittar of Argentina in the first round.  Also advancing are Alafia Ayeni(11), who will play No. 5 seed Oliver Crawford in the only all-US third round boys match, Patrick Kypson(10), Vasil Kirkov(4), Sebastian Korda(12) and Sam Riffice.

The girls second round is complete, with ten US girls into the round of 16, including four unseeded players.  Salma Ewing took out No. 4 seed Ashley Lahey 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 and will play another unseeded American, Victoria Flores.  Orange Bowl 16s finalist Imani Graham and Eddie Herr 16s finalist Victoria Hu are the other two unseeded Americans in the third round.  Seeded players to advance are Ellie Douglas(1), Hurricane Tyra Black(6), Nicole Mossmer(8), Sofia Sewing(3), Victoria Emma(5) and Lea Ma(15).  Emma and Hu will play the other all-US girls match Wednesday.

Draws and Wednesday's order of play are at the tournament website.

The first USTA Pro Circuit of the year is underway in Los Angeles, where Tommy Paul is the top seed at the $25,000 Futures event at the USC Marks Tennis Center.  After wins today, Marcos Giron and Mackenzie McDonald, both NCAA champions while at UCLA, will meet in the second round.  Another former Bruin who advanced to the second round is Clay Thompson, who had announced last fall that he was retiring from tennis.  Thompson spoke to tournament press aide Steve Pratt about what led him to make that announcement and what led him to return to competition.

From Pratt:
The turning of the calendar to a new year and saying goodbye to 2016 could not have come any sooner for Clay Thompson.

After suffering a tough defeat to a Southern California teenager at a USTA Pro Circuit Futures events in Claremont back in September, the former UCLA All-American announced on Twitter that he had had enough and was retiring from tennis. On Tuesday in the first round the Southern California Men’s Pro Futures Tournament being played this week at USC, Thompson admitted to have some early nerves but made his return to the courts and posted an impressive 6-1, 6-2 win over former world top 150-ranked player Ricardo Hocevar of Brazil.

“Last year was a dark year for me,” said Thompson, who said the major issues were financial and the pressure he put on himself to do well. “The reason I called it quits was because tennis wasn’t fun anymore. It was such a financial struggle for me and I wasn’t happy when I was on the court. It was not an enjoyable life, and being on tour and a professional tennis player should be. 

“Now, I want to go out and not just win, but have fun and do it my way; do it on my own terms,” Thompson said.

Thompson said he wants to help other young American tennis players to understand what it’s like on tour, and hopefully they won’t have the same experience he had to go through. That’s why Thompson has partnered with a company called Tennacity. Thompson said to look for a website soon at www.tennacity.com and that the goal of the company is to help make tennis in America great again.

Thompson will next face No. 3-seeded Emilio Gomez of Ecuador in the second round. Thompson beat Gomez in their last meeting in three sets last February at a Challenger in Morelos, Mexico.

LSU recruit Jade Lewis of New Zealand, who is expected in Baton Rouge for the spring dual match season, made her WTA debut against Venus Williams tonight in a rain-postponed match at the ASB Classic in Auckland. Lewis, a wild card, had a set point in the first set against the No. 2 seed, but ended up losing 7-6(2), 6-2.

Last night in Brisbane, 16-year-old Destanee Aiava of Australia became the first player born in 2000 to win a WTA-level match, beating fellow qualifier Bethanie Mattek Sands 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. She will face No. 5 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia later this evening.