Monday, November 18, 2019

ITF Grade 1 Underway in Cancun; Giron and Vandeweghe Officially Granted Australian Open Wild Cards; ITA Announces 28 Oracle Series Wild Cards for Collegians

The first of four consecutive major ITF Junior Circuit tournaments in the next three weeks has begun in Cancun Mexico. With the Grade A in Merida, the Eddie Herr Grade 1 and the Grade A Orange Bowl to follow, many of the top American juniors are skipping the Cancun event, which is the only one played on hard, rather than clay, courts.

Usually there are more US girls than US boys in any major ITF junior draw, but that's not the case at the Cancun Grade 1 this week. The US boys competing this week are Stefan Leustian[16], Connor Krug[Q], Jake Krug, Jackson Ross, Benjamin Kittay, Alex Kiefer, Hunter Heck, Milledge Cossu, Spencer Brachman[Q], Dali Blanch[5], Jack Anthrop and Adit Sinha[Q].

The top seed in the boys draw is Santiago de la Fuente of Argentina, currently 49 in the ITF Junior rankings.

The US girls competing this week are Isabelle Kouzmanov, Hibah Shaikh, Emma Jackson[13], Zoe Hitt[Q], India Houghton[Q], Tara Malik[16], Ava Krug and Madison Sieg. 

The top seed in the girls draw is 17th-ranked Sada Nahimana of Burundi. 

Wrapping up last week on the ITF Junior Circuit, three Americans won titles, all of them doubles. At the biggest event on last week's schedule, a Grade 3 in Ottawa, No. 2 seed Valencia Xu reached the singles final, falling to top seed and doubles partner Jada Bui of Canada 6-1, 7-6(4).  Bui and Xu, the top seeds, won the doubles title, beating No. 2 seeds Elise Wagle and Katja Wiersholm 7-6(2), 6-4 in the final.  Marko Stakusic of Canada won the boys singles title in Ottawa, with the No. 6 seed claiming a 7-6(2), 6-4 decision over qualifier Nate Bonetto in the final. In the all-Canadian boys doubles final, unseeded Maxime St. Hilaire and Kyle Weekes defeated unseeded Stakusic and Jaden Weekes 6-0, 6-3. 

At the Grade 5 in Antigua, No. 2 seeds Artemis Pados and Hungary's Luca Udvardy won the girls doubles title, beating top seeds Sifa Butcher and Canada's Hana Gamracy 6-4, 5-7, 10-7 in the final. 

At the Grade 5 in El Salvador, No. 2 seeds Mariajose Hernandez Coronado of Guatemala and Gabriella Soliman won the girls doubles title, beating No. 6 seeds Matia Cristiani and Valeria Guerrero of El Salvador 6-2, 6-2 in the final. 

The USTA officially confirmed today that Marcos Giron(UCLA) and Coco Vandeweghe have earned the Australian Open reciprocal wild cards for 2020 after accumulating the most ATP/WTA points in the tournaments the USTA designated in its annual Challenge. Giron had to win the title in Houston to pass Michael Mmoh and he did it, saving six match points in the third set tiebreaker. After reaching the quarterfinals in two previous tournaments, Vandeweghe needed only to reach the final to pass Katerina Stewart, who won the first tournament, an $80,000 tournament in Macon Georgia. Stewart and Mmoh will receive the wild cards if Vandeweghe and Giron do not need them. For more on the conclusion of the Wild Card Challenge, see this article from usta.com.

The ITA has worked with Oracle to provide wild cards for collegiate champions during the fall season, and today the ITA announced the names of all the players who will be given wild cards into Oracle Series events. According to the release, the champions from the Masters, All-Americans and Fall Nationals, in both singles and doubles, will receive wild cards into an Oracle Challenger, while the finalists in those events, and the small college champions from the ITA Cup, will get wild cards into Oracle's $25,000 events.  The first series of those, for January-March of 2020, were announced last week.

Pepperdine's Ashley Lahey and Texas's Yuya Ito earned two Challenger wild cards each, Lahey for her Masters title and her All-American title,  Ito for his All-American and Fall Nationals titles.

Oracle ITA Masters
Men’s Singles Champion – Daniel Cukierman (USC)
Men’s Singles Finalist – Keegan Smith (UCLA)
Women’s Singles Champion – Ashley Lahey (Pepperdine)
Women’s Singles Finalist – Jada Hart (UCLA)

Oracle ITA National Fall Championships
Men’s Singles Champion – Yuya Ito (Texas)
Men’s Singles Finalist – Damon Kesaris (Saint Mary’s)
Women’s Singles Champion – Sara Daavettila (North Carolina)
Women’s Singles Finalist – Anna Turati (Texas)
Men’s Doubles Champions – Dominik Kellovsky/Matej Vocel (Oklahoma State)
Men’s Doubles Finalists – Robert Cash/John McNally (Ohio State)
Women’s Doubles Champions – Elysia Bolton/Jada Hart (UCLA)
Women’s Doubles Finalists – Anna Rogers/Alana Smith (NC State)

ITA All-American Championships
Men’s Singles Champion – Yuya Ito (Texas)
Men’s Singles Finalist – Sam Riffice (Florida)
Men’s Doubles Champions – Jack Lin/Jackie Tang (Columbia)
Men’s Doubles Finalists – Gabriel Decamps/Juan Pablo Mazzuchi (UCF)
Women’s Singles Champion – Ashley Lahey (Pepperdine)
Women’s Singles Finalist – Alexa Graham (North Carolina)
Women’s Doubles Champions – Jessie Gong/Samantha Martinelli (Yale)
Women’s Doubles Finalists – Tenika McGiffin/Kaitlin Staines (Tennessee)

Men’s Division II Singles Champion – Alejandro Gallego (Barry)
Men’s Division III Singles Champion – Boris Sorkin Tufts)
Men’s NAIA Singles Champion – Jose Dugo (Georgia Gwinnett)
Men’s Junior College Singles Champion – Oscar Gabriel Ortiz (Seward County)
Women’s Division II Singles Champion – Berta Bonardi (West Florida)
Women’s Division III Singles Champion – Justine Leong (Claremont-Mudd-Scripps)
Women’s NAIA Singles Champion – Elyse Lavender (Brenau)
Women’s Junior College Singles Champion – Tatiana Simova (ASA Miami)

See this article from the ITA for more information on these wild cards.


Change of Heart said...

Mardy Fish, Coach of the USA Davis Cup Team, has announced the players for the upcoming match. ESPN, Peter Bodo.."Mardy Fish, the veteran of some epic Davis Cup clashes and now captain of the U.S. team, didn't have to think when he was asked for the sagest piece of advice he could give the young team he has assembled to vie for the Davis Cup this week in Madrid. Fish's team consists of Taylor Fritz, highest ranked among the American participants at No. 32, Reilly Opelka (No. 33), Sam Querrey (No. 44), Frances Tiafoe (No. 47) and Jack Sock, who has emerged in recent years as a worthy heir to Bob and Mike Bryan as a doubles expert."
Nice to see Jack Sock added for Doubles but I guess Mardy didn't read the column in the New York Times..."Another Source of Conflict in Tennis: Are You Up or Down on Doubles?" By Karen Crouse, Jan. 25, 2019. Jack Sock is quoted, "I can personally say if I’m not relevant in the singles world and my only choice is to play doubles, I’d probably stop playing tennis,”
The Bryan Brothers would like to remind you Jack...there is nothing wrong with Making a Living from Playing Doubles on the ATP Tour. Would anyone like "Crow" for Thanksgiving this year?

Canada beats United States for first time in Davis Cup said...

MADRID -- Canada beat the United States in the Davis Cup for the first time on Tuesday, defeating the Americans 2-0 on the second day of the revamped team competition to end a run of 15 straight losses.

Vasek Pospisil edged Reilly Opelka 7-6 (5), 7-6 (7) and Denis Shapovalov defeated Taylor Fritz 7-6 (6), 6-3 to give the Canadians an insurmountable lead in Group F of the inaugural Davis Cup Finals.

It was Canada's first win in 16 meetings with the United States in the 119-year-old competition, although the teams had not played since 1965. The Americans had lost only three matches in total against their neighbors in the previous 15 meetings.

"It's extremely disappointing because I felt like I definitely could have won, and it would have been big for the team," Fritz said. "Unfortunately, I didn't come up with the right shots at the right times sometimes. Ultimately, that's why I lost." "This is the toughest group, I think, so there is no easy match." U.S. team captain Mardy Fish said. "But you never know. We are going to go out there tomorrow and try to win the first one and try to put ourselves in position to do that."

In the new Davis Cup format, teams play only two singles and a doubles match in each tie, with the group winners advancing along with the two best second-place finishers in the six groups.

The doubles match was not played.