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Monday, October 17, 2005

De Voest Overcomes Deficit:: sacbee.com (free registration required)

Sports Swanston Challenger tennis tournament: De Voest overcomes deficit - sacbee.com~~~

And speaking of talent, as I did on Saturday, one of those naturals, Phillip Simmonds, made a second breakthrough this week, qualifying for the Sacramento challenger and reaching the final, losing a "thrilling" three setter to the South African De Voest.

I haven't seen Simmonds since last year's Jr. Open, when he gave Gael Monfils all he could handle in the second round, and Kalamazoo, when he lost in the semifinals to Scoville Jenkins, although he did win the doubles title. But after hearing that he was officially a pro, represented by Octagon, I expected his results in the Futures and Challengers to be much better than they were. It wasn't until he qualified for the ATP's Legg-Mason this summer that he began to show signs of being a serious prospect. After his impressive showing in Sacramento last week, where he beat the sixth seed Chris Guccione, a top 200 player and Rajeev Ram, who is also ranked in that neighborhood, Simmonds has himself moved into the Top 400. Without going out on the limb that Matt Cronin of TennisReporters.net does below, I will say that Simmonds has the talent to go much higher than that. Maybe the confidence of the past few months will provide the surge.

There was a women's challenger in San Francisco last week, and I believe Cronin lives in the area, which is why he covered a minor league event. But he took notice of Vania King, and how could he not, with her run to the semifinals. Here's his assessment of King's future:

There was a sizable crowd watching US veteran Lilia Osterloh beat Rosanna de los Rios and King take down Ansley Cargill in the quarters. Despite her very small size, the 15-year-old King is an inventive player with a fair amount of pop and is almost impossible to hit through. She really impressed the crowd. She may not have Top-20 potential, but if she stays healthy, she'll have a solid, 10-year-career on tour. She's a hell of a competitor.

She's actually 16, but I agree with his last sentence. Cronin has been in the tennis writing trade s a lot longer than I have, and maybe I suffer from chronic timidity, but that pronouncement sounds just a bit arrogant to me. But I would have loved to hear what he might have said about Simmonds' game were Cronin viewing matches in Sacramento instead.