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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Hunt Upsets Mayer in Boys 18s Second Round; Girls 18s Action Produces No Surprises

Hunt Upsets Mayer in Boys 18s Second Round; Girls 18s Action Produces No Surprises~~~
©Colette Lewis 2005
Bradenton FL--

A chill north wind blew into the IMG Bolletteri Tennis Academy Wednesday, bringing with it clear skies and several upsets in boys 18 singles.

Due to rain on Tuesday, two rounds were played in boys 18 singles, pushing many matches late into the afternoon and evening.

Jamie Hunt and third seed Leonardo Mayer of Argentina split their first two sets--6-4 for Mayer in the first; 6-4 for Hunt in the second-- when darkness chased them from their original court. Under the lights on court three, Hunt overcame a 1-4 third set deficit to shock the ITF's fifth ranked junior.

"I lost to him 6-4 in the third at the Canadian Open, so I knew I would have my chances," said Hunt, who recently signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Georgia in 2006.

"My game matches up well with his," Hunt said. "I had a lot of chances in the first set and lost that, so I knew if I just stayed patient, I'd have a chance."

Hunt joins Marcus Fugate as the only two U.S. players in the Round of 16. Fugate had not one, but two victories by retirement today, the second by fellow IMG Bollettieri Academy student and friend Holden Seguso, the 16th seed. Fugate squandered six set points in dropping the first set in a tiebreak, but after losing the second set 7-5, Seguso retired.

Joining Seguso on the sidelines was fifth seed Kellen Damico (USA), who was defeated in the first round by Tim Goransson of Sweden. Also in the first round, Mateusz Kecki (USA) dropped Croatia's Luka Belic, seeded seventh, and Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium took out 14th seed Pavel Chekhov of Russia. Only Goransson was able to sustain the morning's first round momentum, as he defeated the Ukraine's Alexander Dolgopolov to advance to the Round of 16.

The top two seeds, Marin Cilic of Croatia (1) and the Bahamas' Ryan Sweeting (2), both 2005 Grand Slam titleholders, had no trouble in their first two rounds.

The girls 18 singles second round followed form throughout, as all remaining seeds advanced to the Round of 16. Qualifier Kristy Frilling (USA) continued her stellar play with a 6-2 5-7, 6-1 win over Jelena Durisic, also a qualifier. Third seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia survived a scare but overcame Ksenia Pervak of Russia 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. Wild card Jasmina Tinjic, a 14-year-old Croatian who trains at IMG Bollettieri, ended qualifier Eleanor Peters' string of victories with a hard-fought 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 decision.

The Boys 16s lost its second and seventh seeds, but through withdrawals, not losses.
Top seed Alejandro Gonzalez of Columbia escaped a determined challenge from Kayvon Karimi (USA) 6-2, 5-7, 6-1. Third seed Drew Daniel (USA) advanced in straight sets as did lucky loser Jeff Dadamo (USA). Qualifier Joseph Cadogan (USA) continues to impress as does wild card Rhyne Williams (USA), who lost only one game between them in second round victories.

Darkness forced suspension of many of the girls 16 singles matches scheduled for Wednesday, but top seed Ksenia Lykina of Russia and second seed Nigora Sirojiddinova of Uzbekistan did move through to the Round of 16.

Borut Puc of Slovenia, the boys 14 number one seed, and second seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria advanced in straight sets, but third seed Martim Trueva of Portugal was dumped by qualifier Andres Herrera (USA) 6-2, 6-2.

In the girls division, the top three seeds advanced, with Kai Chen K. Chang of Taipei, Gabriela Paz of Venezuela and Connie Hsu (USA) winning in straight sets. Fourth seed Olivia Bennett of Trinidad and Tobago was upset by Canada's Khristina Blajkevitch and sixth seed Fabiano Rojas Ocampos fell victim to Carling Seguso.

Semifinals Set in Boys, Girls 12s at Eddie Herr

Semifinals Set in Boys, Girls 12s at Eddie Herr~~~
©Colette Lewis 2005
Bradenton FL--

Three boys from the U.S. advanced to Thursday's semifinals of the 12 and under division at the Eddie Herr International junior event.

Christian Harrison, Emmett Egger and Mika De Coster are joined by Australia's Joey Swaysland after each carved out straight set wins in cool and breezy conditions at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy.

De Coster defeated Australian Andrew Whittington 6-2, 6-0 and has lost only six games in his four wins. Currently number two in the USTA 12 and under rankings, De Coster, who turned 12 in August, will face Swaysland in the semifinals, hoping to assure an all-American final. Harrison, 11, ranked third by the USTA, will face Egger, the top-ranked player in the 12s division. Harrison scrapped by Ukrainian Denys Mylokostov 6-4. 6-3 and Egger eked out a 6-4, 7-5 win. Swaysland prevented a sweep by the U.S. when he downed Ridley Seguso 6-2, 6-4.

In the girls 12s, Sloane Stephens is the lone U.S. player in the semifinals, but she got there in style, taking out Emi Mutaguchi of Japan 6-2, 6-0. The 12-year-old from Boca Raton will face Hanna Orlik of Belarus in the top half, while in the bottom half, Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic meets Di Zhao of China. Tomljanovic dropped the first set she played at the Eddie Herr but hasn't lost one since and will attempt to become the first player to win a set from Zhao on Thursday.

Both boys and girls 12s singles finals are scheduled for Friday.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Qualifiers Make Their Mark in Girls 18s First Round; Four U.S. Boys Make 12s Quarterfinals

Qualifiers Make Their Mark in Girls 18s First Round; Four U.S. Boys Make 12s Quarterfinals ~~~
©Colette Lewis 2005--
Bradenton FL--

It was 2:30 p.m. by the time the heavy rains abated and the courts dried on Tuesday, but the 24 hour delay didn't bother six qualifiers in the girls 18s draw, all of whom advanced to the second round.

The biggest upset was Eleanor Peters' 6-1, 6-3 drubbing of sixth seed Ayumi Morita of Japan. Peters, who recently signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Maryland, won both her qualifying matches in straight sets (her first win was a walkover). Also serving notice is fifteen-year-old Kristy Frilling, who cruised through her three qualifying matches in straight sets and on Tuesday eliminated eighth seed Bibiane Schoofs of the Netherlands by the rollercoaster score of 7-5, 0-6, 6-0. Frilling takes on another qualifier, Jelena Durisic, Wednesday afternoon.

Other girls 18s seeds losing in the first round were 14th seed Julia Cohen and 16th seed Anastasia Pivovarova defeated by Valeria Pulido of Mexico and Germany's Sabine Lisicki respectively.

In the girls 16s, the only seed losing on Tuesday was 14th seed Kari Wig, a loser in three sets to Helene Auensen of Norway.

The boys and girls 12s have managed to get their scheduled matches in each day, although the rain set them back to 6 and 7 p.m. The quarterfinals are now set and on the boys side, there is an American in each quarter, with Mika De Coster, Emmett Egger, Christian Harrison and Ridley Seguso victorious today.

De Coster has lost four games in three matches, and none in his win Tuesday. Except for Harrison, all will face Australians in the quarters. Only Denys Mylokostov of the Ukraine, Harrison's opponent, spoils the Davis Cup atmosphere.

The girls 12s feature much more diversity, with both U.S. girls remaining, Sloane Stephens and Jessie Pegula, in the top half of the draw. There were no three set matches in the girls Round of 16.

With the weather forecast much improved for Wednesday, boys 18s singles will finally begin, with first round matches in the morning, and second round matches in the afternoon. The boys 16s singles first round is also scheduled for Wednesday.

Doubles in all divisions except the 12s have been delayed until Thursday.

Rain Pushes Boys 16s & 18s First Round to Wednesday

--Bradenton FL--

In addition to reporting for zootennis.com, I'm also working the results desk at the Eddie Herr and today's rain has caused some serious rescheduling and cancellation of the 12s mixed doubles. I'll probably be confined to writing in the wee hours if at all, so I thought I'd post now, while the courts are drying.

Card playing is one of the most popular rain-delay pastimes, although here at IMG Bollettieri's indoor courts, watching Nick coach runs a close second. Yesterday Nicole Vaidisova drew numerous spectators, as she practiced (not with Nick) backhands on an indoor court, while the sound of rain nearly drowned out the kaplunk of ball on racquet.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Late Afternoon Rain Dampens Opening Round of Girls 16 and 18 Singles

Late Afternoon Rain Dampens Opening Round of Girls 16 and 18 Singles ~~~
©Colette Lewis 2005
Bradenton FL--

The skies threatened throughout the day Monday, and although the 12s in both divisions and the boys 14s managed to finish, the girls 14s, 16s and 18s were not as fortunate. A midafternoon shower disrupted play once, and then the deluge. Matches near completion were finished indoors and girls 18s number one seed Agnieszka Radwanska was as close to done as it gets-- holding a match point when play was suspended. Eventually the 2005 Jr. Wimbledon champion from Poland closed out lucky loser Maria Mohk 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the second round.

Fifteenth seeded Floridian Lauren Albanese was able to eliminate her Bolivian opponent 6-1, 6-1 before the rains.

The third round of 12s again produced a plethora of mismatches, with not a single three-setter on the boys side. However, Emmett Egger, the USTA's top-ranked twelve-and-under, battled George Toutine over two and a half hours before emerging with a 6-4, 6-2 decision. By a stroke of luck, as there are no seeds in the 12s, Mika De Coster who is second in the USTA ranking, is in the other half of the draw, and should the two meet, it would not be until Friday's final.

The girls 12s saw more close contests, with Jessie Pegula, Sloane Stephens, Theresa Smith and Amber Li of the U.S. needing three sets to advance. Stephanie Vidov, Jeannette Draeger and Michi Iyeyemi of the U.S. moved through in straight sets.

The girls 16s draw was full, so there were no byes for seeds and a couple of them fell in their first matches. Fourth seeded Krista Damico of the U.S. lost to Canada's Marie-Pier Huet 6-2, 6-3 and sixth seeded Carolyn McVeigh and qualifier Nina Vulovich, both of the U.S., needed a third set tiebreak to decide their match, which went to Vulovich 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (5).

All seeds in the girls 14s had byes, so there were no upsets, but several notable players advanced. Last year's girls 12 champion Tara Moore of Great Britain made her debut in the 14s a successful one, with a straight set win, and Carling Seguso, the spitting image of her namesake (and mother), joined younger brother Ridley in Monday's winners circle with a 6-0, 6-0 victory. Older brother Holden, who received the 16th seed when Philip Bester withdrew due to injury, will take the court on Tuesday in the boys 18s.

The boys 14s also had no seeded players on court Monday. Lucky loser Andre Pozantidis of the U.S. impressed with a 6-0, 6-1 decision and Anton Chekhov, whose older brother Pavel is the 14th seed in the boys 18s, took out his opponent in straight sets.

Matches in progress that were not completed indoors on Monday evening will begin at 8 a.m. Tuesday with regularly scheduled matches to follow.

For additional reports from the Eddie Herr, visit juniortennis.com.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Parade of Nations Provides Colorful Opening for Eddie Herr

Parade of Nations Provides Colorful Opening for Eddie Herr~~~
©Colette Lewis
--Bradenton FL

The global reach of tennis was never more evident than during today's traditional Parade of Nations. Ninety plus countries are represented this year, a new record--and having each announced as the players march onto Court 15, accompanied by name boards and flags, is reminiscent of an Olympic opening ceremony. And the combination of all age groups and both sexes makes for a wide range of shapes, sizes and demeanors. It's a snapshot of tennis that would do the United Nations proud.

I'm not accustomed to having local daily newspapers cover junior tournaments I attend very much, but the Bradenton Herald is an exception. This story gets at the excitement and tradition that is beginning to build here at the IMG Bolletteri Tennis Academy. Here's a quote:

For tennis lovers, the Herr is an annual feast for the senses. Speculating on which players will make it big as professionals is a popular pastime, and sometimes even the uninitiated grasp what they're seeing.

Five years ago, Bradenton became smitten with a petite, tireless 13-year-old from Sochi, Russia, named Maria Sharapova, whose lyrical game was surpassed only by her will to win. Yuri and Yelena's little girl won the Girls 16s championship, outlasting older rival Myriam Casanova of Switzerland, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4.>

As for the actual tennis played today, the second round of the boys and girls 12s were surprisingly uncompetitive, but that may be due to the fact that there are no seeds, so it is possible that the best two players met in the first round, but only one of them is still playing.

In the final round of qualifying, Clint Bowles, Christopher Racz and Mike Gurman were players from the U.S. qualifying for the 18 main draw. Kristy Frilling, Jelena Durisic, Eleanor Peters, Gail Brodsky, Ekaterina Rybakova and Joanna Mather of the U.S. earned places in the main draw in girls 18s.

For full draws please click here.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Qualifying Continues, 12s Main Draw Underway at Eddie Herr

Qualifying Continues, 12s Main Draw Underway at Eddie Herr~~~
©Colette Lewis 2005
Bradenton FL--

We arrived early this afternoon to find hundreds of junior players, coaches and parents enjoying the cloudless skies and pleasant temperatures at the IMG/Bollettieri Tennis Academy, the site of the Eddie Herr tournament.

The 12s, who do not have a qualifying event, began main draw play today, and there were second round qualifying matches in the 14s, 16s and 18s, leaving a schedule so full that matches continued under the lights this evening.

I reacquainted myself with the court layout, and with 31 courts to keep track of, that takes some time. I caught most of the Clint Bowles and Cyprian Pisarek boys 18 qualifying match, won by Bowles 6-4, 6-2. Bowles missed the registration deadline and was given alternate qualifying status, but having gained entry, he is making the most of it. Pisarek had beaten the top seed in qualifying yesterday, but was unable to cope with the spins and defense of the lefthanded Bowles, who won the Chanda Rubin Grade 2 earlier this month.

I also briefly watched Jeff Dadamo's 16s second round qualifying match, and that's not to imply that I left early--I saw the whole thing, but his 6-0, 6-0 win didn't take long. Dadamo had a wrist injury that kept him from playing Kalamazoo this year, but he appears to be healthy now, and simply in need of more match play, which is one of the benefits of qualifying tournaments.

The second round of the 12s start at a bright and early 8 a.m. tomorrow, so I'm keeping this short, but for more coverage of today's action see Annie Paton's story at juniortennis.com. For all results, go to the Eddie Herr draws.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Race is On! :: ITF Tennis - Juniors

The Race is On!:: ITF Tennis - Juniors ~~~The race may be on, but there's one less horse in it, as Jeremy Chardy has dropped out of the Eddie Herr and hasn't entered the Orange Bowl. The competition for the ITF Boy's World Champion title continues however, and Helen McFetridge does the math in this story. Her simplest conclusion--if either Donald Young or Marin Cilic wins the Orange Bowl, the ITF year-end champion's title goes with that victory.

As for the Eddie Herr, most of the seeds have been
published and I'll just predict right now that form is unlikely to hold. There are just too many countries and too many variables in the process, especially for the 14s & 16s, to expect otherwise.

Several members of the IMG/ Bollettieri Academy's "Top Guns" are not seeded, but this story from the Bradenton Herald is an interesting look at the creme de la creme that trains year round at the site of the Eddie Herr. You can put Marcus Fugate and Holden Seguso on a short list of unseeded players who could pull off a big upset early.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanks to tennis

Thanks to Tennis~~~

Saturday we embark on our Florida junior tennis odyssey, beginning with the Eddie Herr and ending, on December 23rd, at the Junior Orange Bowl. It will be a long and gruelling five weeks, but I'm thankful to have the opportunity to be at these tournaments and to have an outlet for the observations I make. Most of all, I'm grateful for all the new friends I've made thanks to tennis. A sport that connects people as effortlessly as tennis does is more than just a game.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Carolina Men's Tennis Program Signs Four Recruits Ranked Among top 50 In The Nation :: Coach Sam Paul signs one of the deepest and most talented class

Carolina Men's Tennis Program Signs Four Recruits Ranked Among top 50 In The Nation :: Coach Sam Paul signs one of the deepest and most talented classes for the Tar Heel program in history. ~~~

Not much I can add to that rather lengthy headline, but there's no question that North Carolina was the big winner in men's tennis based on the early signing reports. With Kyle Baker, Andrew Crone, Stefan Hardy and Chris Kearney joining the Tar Heels, Duke, Virginia and Florida State are going to have some additional competition in the ACC. And like Virginia, Carolina has managed to lure two Southern Californians (Hardy and Kearney) all the way to the east coast.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

King Ascends to Top 200

King Ascends to Top 200~~~
©Colette Lewis--

With friend, doubles partner and junior rival Alexa Glatch sidelined with an injury (see below), Vania King now vaults to the top of the list of U.S. favorites for the junior girls title at the Orange Bowl next month.

King has been on a tear since late August when she qualified for the U.S. Open main draw, beat a top 50 player in the first round, then reached the doubles final, pairing with Glatch, in the junior tournament.

In the $75,000 Tucson Challenger this past week, King reached her first pro circuit final, with her biggest win of the week the 6-4, 6-1 result over 55th ranked tour veteran (and doubles partner) Amy Frazier in the quarterfinals.

The sixteen-year-old from Long Beach raised her ranking forty points this week--to 162-- and won't need another qualifying wild card for her second Grand Slam, the 2006 Australian.

This story on Sunday's final from the Arizona Daily Star is a bit muddled, especially in the third paragraph. I finally figured out that if I substituted the word "match" for "event", I could make sense of it. Anyway, the reporter is probably correct in assuming that the ten matches took their toll. It's no surprise King is still learning to cope with the physical demands of the pro circuit. But the experience and confidence she's gained certainly make her an odds-on favorite for the next big junior tournament.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Glatch Breaks Arm; Out of Upcoming Orange Bowl

Glatch Breaks Arm; Out of Upcoming Orange Bowl~~~
©Colette Lewis 2005--

Alexa Glatch is recovering from a broken left elbow she suffered during a motorbike mishap earlier this month near her California home. The sixteen-year-old U.S. Jr. Open finalist swerved to avoid a dog and fell, also sustaining facial cuts that required stitches. She was seen at the recent WTA Championships in Los Angeles with a sling on her non-dominant arm.

Glatch has withdrawn from the Orange Bowl at Key Biscayne which begins in two weeks, and is now targeting a return early in 2006, presumably for the Australian Open qualifying. Her most recent tournament was last month's Houston Challenger where she lost in the Round of 16 to eventual champion Amy Frazier. Glatch is currently ranked 228 by the WTA and is fifth in the ITF Junior rankings.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Fear Factor: Girls vs. Volleys

Fear Factor: Girls vs. Volleys~~~
©Colette Lewis 2005

Rick Macci has watched and taught and coached enough tennis players to have gained insights and wisdom not available to the rest of us.

When Mark Bey brought Macci and several other coaches together as a panel for Technique Talk Friday evening, I was struck at how flexible his approach was. Many times when asked whether he prefers this way or that to hit a ball, or to grip a racquet, his answer was "it depends." It depends if the player can do it. It depends on what the result is. It depends on where the shot goes. It depends on whether there is a problem. In short, those seeking dogma aren't finding it with Rick Macci.

He talked about enhancing strengths and looking at each player as someone who can teach him, a better way, a different way to hit a ball, win a point, earn a victory. It was all the more startling then, when he adamantly advocated that net play and volleying become a much greater part of development than they are now.

Deeming it particularly neglected among junior girls, Macci made a plea for drills that emphasize hands, touch and "small" shots, saying that it is crucial to eliminate the anxiety issues that keep the game baseliner-dominated. He was certainly preaching to the choir with Wayne Bryan and Mark Bey (and me), but if one coach attending the discussion adds 15 minutes of net-based learning to his group lessons every day, the lecture will have been worthwhile. The game needs variety to stay fresh and fear shouldn't be the reason the women's version doesn't have it anymore.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Bey's Junior Tennis Conference Combines Instruction, Information and Fun

©Colette Lewis 2005
Lincolnshire IL--

I attend many tournaments and what I see and know about coaching I basically have learned in that highly charged environment. So I was delighted to have an opportunity to see some of the country's most renowned coaches "in the trenches" as CARE Academy director Mark Bey referred to it in his introductions.

Bobby Bernstein, the Administrator of Coaches Education in the USTA's High Performance division, brought along his video camera and computer analysis program and spent the entire day today discussing and evaluating stroke production with junior players and their coaches and parents.

Wayne Bryan, the father of the Bryan twins and motivational speaker extraordinaire, provided his unique brand of humor, drills and instruction on the court with juniors and then spoke to their parents about the challenges and rewards of raising a tennis champion.

Rick Macci, one of the country's most honored and respected developmental coaches, took time from his academy lessons in Florida to provide Chicago area youngsters with the benefit of his insights, and parents and coaches observing his lessons probably learned how to hit better volleys too.

The college tennis forum featured parents Dan Bruch and Jon Vegosen, who had recently been through the college recruiting process, Katie Schlukebir, a Stanford graduate who is now a traveling coach, Vanderbilt's women's head coach Geoff MacDonald and others, all providing their perspectives on the process of obtaining a tennis scholarship.

I observed and laughed and thought and, most of all, learned, which is the ultimate goal of Bey's conference, now in its ninth year. I've only briefly touched on all the resources available to players and their parents this weekend, but I have Wayne Bryan's well-traveled word that it is a combination of instruction and information for coaches, parents and players that should serve as a model throughout the country.
For more information about next year's conference or the CARE Academy, contact the Libertyville Tennis and Fitness Club at (847) 362 5553.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Men's Tennis Signs U.S. Open Junior Champion Ryan Sweeting::Gator Men's Tennis News @ Gatorzone.com

Men's Tennis Signs U.S. Open Junior Champion Ryan Sweeting::Gator Men's Tennis News @ Gatorzone.com~~~
I'm in Lincolnshire, Illinois attending a junior tennis performance conference at the invitation of coach Mark Bey, and I'll be writing more about that this weekend, but I had to get this news up. Thanks to an alert reader for sending the link in, as I was traveling and had no time for websurfing today.

Whether Ryan Sweeting was still going to go to Florida after winning the U.S. Jr. Open was the question on everyone's lips this fall, and his signing instantly gives Florida NCAA national championship credentials for 2006.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Tennis year ends with whimpers:: International Herald Tribune

Tennis year ends with whimpers
Christopher Clarey is one of my favorite tennis journalists and in this recent story, he seems to despair of the sport ever finding the commissioner that could fix the wacky schedule and the injuries it seems to produce.

This week and next are the "off-season" for junior tennis, as the ITF tournaments are Grade 4s & 5s in places like Bolivia, Indonesia, Peru and Rwanda. With the clamor to shorten the professional season becoming deafening, it's interesting that the junior tennis calendar hasn't produced a similar outcry. It has the same grand slams, five other Grade A events and team events like Junior Davis Cup--and that's just the ITF portion. If a player from the United States plays the USTA nationals, add four more "majors," leaving the schedule very similar to that of a professional. And junior players of course, are still expected, at least in this country, to be going to school too.

So if the tennis demands (or opportunities) are the same as those in the professional ranks, what keeps junior tennis from the current rash of withdrawals and injuries that are plaguing the year-ending competitions on the ATP and WTA tours?

  • 1. Junior tennis isn't star-driven. With the possible exception of Donald Young, no one pays to see a junior tennis player, and in fact, Kalamazoo is the only junior tournament charging admission that I know of. (Unless you count Grand Slam grounds passes). Juniors haven't had quite enough time to develop the celebrity-itis that seems to infect its share of top pros.

  • 2. There is no players organization like the WTA or ATP to represent junior tennis players. No one demands they play x number of events or attend press conferences nor is there anyone to market them or the tournaments they play in.

  • 3. Sponsors are extremely rare in junior tennis, and nearly all are local. With no sponsors and no paying fans, just who is going to complain when the top junior players aren't present or leave injured?

    This is not to imply that junior tennis is intrinsically better because it lacks these things. It's just that sponsors and fans and money and television and player organizations come with problems -- just as the lack of all these things does. It was singer Sophie Tucker who said, "I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, honey, rich is better." But maybe not for the tennis fan.

  • Wednesday, November 16, 2005

    Star gets brighter for DeHeart :: Daily Illini

    Star gets brighter for DeHeart :: Daily Illini~~~

    One legacy Craig Tiley left the University of Illinois is a student reporter who covers the tennis team in great detail and not only on match day.

    I greatly admired a story Amber Greviskes wrote last January about the college vs. pro dilemma, and here she profiles senior Ryler DeHeart, who was ranked number one in the college preseason rankings. Although he was unsuccessful in defending his title at the recent ITA Indoor, DeHeart won the consolation tournament, which allowed me to observe several more times what a stoic yet determined competitor he is. In a third set tiebreak, he dumped an overhead into the net that would have given him a match point, and he simply went to the net, collected the ball and got ready to play the next point. It's difficult to find traction in the psychological warfare that is tennis if your opponent is that steely.

    I gather that he wasn't quite as placid in his challenger match Monday against Brian Baker, squandering three match points and losing a third set tiebreak, but I doubt that he dwelled on the negative very long.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2005

    College Signings Trickle In

    I had thought there might be more announcements of National Letter of Intent signings than I've seen, but I suspect some of that is simply a delay in the creation of releases, probably until tomorrow, which is the final day for the early signing period.
    But here are a few notables:

  • Florida State welcomes Brad Mixson, Chris Cloer and Bobby Deye. Mixson and Deye are from Florida and Cloer's brother Mat was a pillar of the Seminole team that shocked Illinois in the Round of 16 at this year's NCAAs.

  • Illinois has signed Alex Kharkevitch from Houston.

  • Texas A & M is bringing on Dallas' Tyler Tarnasky in 2006, as well as Luka Ocvirk of Slovenia.

  • Virginia has landed Shan Sondhu, Lee Singer and Milo Johnson. Sondhu and Singer provide further evidence that head coach Brian Boland has no difficulties recruiting in the junior tennis hotbed of Southern California; current team members Rylan Rizza and Doug Stewart call that area home. Johnson is from Oklahoma, which is assuredly not Tennis Land, but he got my attention when he gave Sam Querrey a battle in the third round at Kalamazoo this year. Tennisrecruiting.net's picture shows him with a crew cut, but as you can see from his Kalamazoo profile photo, it hasn't always been so.

  • I'm sure tennisrecruiting.net will provide a much more thorough report in the coming days.

    Monday, November 14, 2005

    Orange Bowl Entries

    Orange Bowl Entries~~~

    The USTA has published the initial acceptance list for the Orange Bowl and one omission is glaring--Jeremy Chardy is not entered. Only 46 main draw players have been named so far; there are eight qualifying spots, eight wild cards and two special exempt spaces still to be decided. But as the ITF's third ranked junior, there was no need for Chardy to use any of those means to get in. Chardy may have decided after losing to Marin Cilic in Japan last month that he couldn't catch Donald Young for the year-end top spot, but then why play the Eddie Herr?(as of today, he is still showing as a competitor). He is defending champion there, but a trip to Florida just for that event seems silly, especially when the Orange Bowl is now directly after the Eddie Herr.

    On the girls side, the field at the Orange Bowl is even better than that of the Eddie Herr, not least because Alexa Glatch and Vania King are listed as entrants. Glatch has played in only two WTA Challengers since the U.S. Jr. Open. King has kept much busier, playing five WTA minor league tournaments, and having enough sucess to raise her WTA ranking to 202, passing Glatch who is at 225. They are the only two U.S. girls in the Top 25 in the ITF junior rankings, so it will certainly add to the quality of play--and the buzz--to have them in the Orange Bowl.

    Sunday, November 13, 2005

    The King of the Chanda Rubin Circuit Does It Again

    The King of the Chanda Rubin Circuit Does It Again~~~

    When Attila Bucko (pronounced Bootch-ko) finally lost a Chanda Rubin match last week, to eventual champion Clint Bowles in the quarterfinals, his Federesque or Nadalian streak ended. He had won three straight titles on the ITF circuit in the U.S. which is sponsored by the foundation of the former Top Ten WTA player from Louisiana, These events are the minor leagues of junior tennis, where 18 & under players go to earn enough points to get in ITF-controlled Grand Slams, Grade A or Grade 1 tournaments. Until Rubin and Jerry Simmons came around, it was difficult for U.S. players to accumulate ITF points without traveling overseas; now that there are more ITF points available in the U.S., these smaller events, mostly Grades 4 & 5, serve as rites-of-passage for those interested in competing beyond the USTA's national format.

    Bucko, whose success this year installed him as the number two seed for the final event on the Chanda Rubin calendar at the Evert Academy in Boca Raton, won his fourth title today, defeating the top seed in straight sets there. He has played in six of the eight Rubin-sponsored tournaments this year, and won four of them. He is 28-6 in ITF competition this year and with this win should approach the Top 100. But, as Annie Paton at juniortennis.com discovered this week, none of the wins could possibly be as special to Bucko as this one.

    The soap opera began when it looked like hurricane Wilma would force a move from the Evert Academy to Key Biscayne. But cleanup went more quickly than expected, and Bucko was able to play on the same courts where he had qualified last year and reached the quarterfinals. Originally from Serbia, Bucko, who now has his green card, has been training in South Florida for four years and often his father has accompanied him to tournaments. But he had not seen his mother and younger brother in three years, and they were to arrive in Florida Saturday evening, meaning Bucko had to reach the final to have any hope of their watching him play. Not enough drama? How about adding a tangle with fire ants that required hospitalization on Friday evening, before Saturday's semifinal match.

    Again, I'm indebted to Annie Paton of juniortennis.com for discovering and reporting this remarkable story. And Barbara Frongello provides some terrific photographs to accompany it. Exhibit A in why I find the junior tennis circuit superior to any other of the tennis "beats."

    Saturday, November 12, 2005

    Herr tourney stronger than ever:: HeraldTribune.com

    Herr tourney stronger than ever:HeraldTribune.com~~~

    With the Eddie Herr tournament starting in two weeks, it's a good time for this story, which details the fabulous field that will descend on IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton this year. As director Rick Workman points out in this story, the fact that the Orange Bowl has moved a week earlier in the schedule to now directly follow the Eddie Herr has certainly been one of the reasons.

    The fact that the race for the Boys ITF Year-end Championship has not been decided is another, and having four of the top five in rankings in the boys makes their field a bit tougher than the girls, who have five of the top 10.

    But even if all the glamour is in the 18s, I'm also excited about seeing the younger age divisions. One of the best things about the Eddie Herr is having the 12s, 14s, 16s & 18s--boys and girls--in one place at (more or less) one time. It's simply a cornucopia of junior tennis, and I'm looking forward to my second trip more than I did my first, because I know now that old friends and new discoveries await me.

    For more information about the tournament and its entrants, see their website.

    Friday, November 11, 2005

    Player Spotlight: Chelsea Davis:: usta.com

    Player Spotlight: Chelsea Davis:: usta.com~~~
    I'm not familiar with Chelsea Davis, but I certainly know about her now, with this lengthy story about the fifteen-year-old with pro ambitions that was published under the "Community Tennis Player Spotlight" section of usta.com this week.

    There's nothing much I can add to this story, which is full of fascinating details and quotes, except to say that it seems typical of junior tennis players with professional ambitions (and their parents). But the more I follow junior tennis, the more I've come to believe that every family harboring this dream is different, and that the paths they choose are fraught with unavoidable trade-offs that most have studied carefully.

    Thursday, November 10, 2005

    Justin Kronauge Decides:: The Tennis Recruiting Network

    Justin Kronauge Decides:: The Tennis Recruiting Network~~~

    And the winner is......(drum roll) Ohio State. The much-sought-after righthander from the Dayton area decided to stay close to home which bodes well for the Buckeye program. In addition to landing top junior Bryan Koniecko for this season, Ty Tucker also has a new addition from Germany arriving in January according to this recent release.(Those of you who actually click through should note that the player in question is NOT ranked among the Top 50 juniors in the world. He's 19, and although he did finish 2004 in the ITF's Top 100, I'm not sure where the 47 in the story came from).

    There is apparently a new indoor tennis facility in the works at OSU, and it's much-needed, as the current on-campus building was not capable of hosting the recent ITA Indoor, which is why we were at the Racquet Club of Columbus. I know they would probably be loathe to take any lead of the University of Michigan, but the Ohio State athletic department would be smart to study the Wolverine's tennis complex closely. As a place to watch or cover tennis, it couldn't be more user-friendly.

    The diligent Rhiannon Potkey was called on to write a story about two prized recruits in her area that are juniors in high school and hence still in the mail stage of the process. The boy plays football and the girl basketball.

    And while the bulk of the story is about the two of them, Potkey does manage to work Sam Querrey's recent college visits into the piece, which, unfortunately refers to tennis as a "fringe sport." But here are the key excerpts:

    Big-budget sports like football and basketball often receive the most attention and publicity when it comes to recruiting.

    But even players from lower-profile sports such as tennis are given the star treatment by college coaches.

    Sam Querrey is rated the top American male recruit for the 2006 class by tennisrecruiting.net. The Thousand Oaks High senior has narrowed his choices to USC, Stanford, Virginia and Duke.

    Although spared the deluge of mail -- Querrey received a mere three or four letters a day -- programs have pulled out all the stops during his official recruiting visits.

    At Duke, Querrey watched a men's basketball practice and met with coach Mike Krzyzewski for 20 minutes after.

    When he was at USC, Querrey was introduced to football coach Pete Carroll, who sent a followup letter last week.

    "He said he enjoyed our visit and that USC is a great place and how much he wants me to be there," Querrey said. "That was pretty cool."

    The USC staff also brought Querrey onto a grass field and had the marching band swarm around him while playing the school fight song.

    On his trip to Palo Alto last month, Stanford lit up the scoreboard at the tennis stadium with "Welcome to Stanford Sam Querrey."

    As much as he finds the attention flattering, Querrey's ready for it to end.

    "Recruiting is a pretty long process, and I'm kind of getting tired of dealing with it," he said. "Now, I just have to figure out which one I want to go to."

    Querrey is currently playing the Pro Circuit in Hawaii, but I believe he is planning to sign by the close of the early signing period next Wednesday. [UPDATE: 11/11--Querrey will not be signing during the early signing period]

    Wednesday, November 9, 2005

    Major chances in minors:: The Boston Globe (free registration required)

    Major chances in minors::The Boston Globe~~~

    The only minor league tennis action in the U.S. last week was in Boston, and I was wondering when anyone from the Globe might take notice of it. I didn't expect that when a story finally appeared, it would be by the legend-in-his-own-time Bud Collins. The bulk of the story centers on the return of professional tennis to the Boston area and the trials and tribulations of the touring pros who scrap for ATP points in events such as this one. Even if it's standard stuff, when it's Collins, it's fresh and fun to read. But I'll excerpt the paragraphs that refer to junior tennis:

    D.J. Bosse, 38, may be rescuing professional tournament tennis in the area.

    ''We're all for him and the title sponsor, ADTECH," said Tim Curry of the US Tennis Association. The USTA puts more than $5 million in organizing and helping the minor league in this country, a network of more than 70 internationally open tournaments. ''This is where most Americans get their start."

    Bosse has formed the first full-time teaching academy in this area, staffed by 11 pros. His Bosse Foundation is underwriting three promising teenagers from overseas: Rupesh Roy, 16, from India, and South Africans Ruan Roelofse, 15, and James Monroe, 14.

    Roy, a shy yet friendly kid, uneasy with the transition from Hindi to English, flashes eager brown eyes. Sudbury isn't Calcutta, and lacks an Indian restaurant. The youngest of seven children of a struggling farm worker, Rupesh played barefoot on dried cow dung courts. But he was spotted as a talent, sent to Bosse, and even won a doubles match here Tuesday with Tom Blake.

    Sudbury, now on the worldwide map of tennis, might be the start for Rupesh, too.

    So now at least we know what or who the Boss (sic) Foundation is that was referred to in this story I linked to about Roy back in July. If I had a promising junior who lacked funds for travel and training, I'd contact Mr. Bosse and his foundation for details on their program, As for Roy, I was impressed with his grass court skills in Philadelphia this summer-- maybe all those low and odd bounces are characteristic of cow-dung courts too.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2005

    Super Bowles in Lexington:: ITF Tennis - Juniors

    Super Bowles in Lexington:: ITF Tennis - Juniors ~~~

    The subject of that clever headline is Clint Bowles, who won the Chanda Rubin Grade 2 in South Carolina (who knew they had a Lexington in that state too?) on Sunday. In the final, Bowles, who turns 17 next week, avenged his recent Tulsa loss to Mateusz Kecki, defeating the 15-year-old Californian 6-4, 6-4 to capture his first ever ITF singles title. When I saw Bowles win the USTA 2005 Spring Championships in 18s, I learned how good his best tennis can be, but despite some notable success in doubles this summer, he had been in something of a slump.

    The report I heard (from an actual eyewitness, not someone who wrote the story from London) confirmed that the Cohen - Albanese semifinal match was as riveting as the 7-6 in the third score would indicate, and it is impressive that Albanese could then take on nemesis Madison Brengle (who beat her in last year's 16s final at the Eddie Herr) and dispatch her in straight sets in the final. I'm not sure where Albanese is this week, but Brengle got a wild card into the $75,000 WTA event in Pittsburgh, where she's taking on Australian veteran Nicole Pratt of Australia today. At 32, Pratt is more than twice the age of Brengle, who at 15 has already won a Futures event this year.

    The doubles winners get short shrift in this story, but I'll point out that Brad Mixson has now won three Chanda Rubin ITF titles in 2005 with three different partners. Ellah Nze, on the girls side, won her first ever ITF doubles title, despite being part of the number one seeded team. Partner Kimberly Couts has won events with other partners, but knowing how the ITF seeds doubles, that didn't have anything to do with their position at the top.

    Monday, November 7, 2005

    ITA Indoor Odds & Ends

    ©Colette Lewis 2005
    I've got a backlog of other stories to get to, but here are a few quick observations on the recently completed ITA Indoor in Columbus Ohio that I just attended.

  • Casey Angle, the ITA Director of Communications, made my job infinitely easier with his quick, thorough and frequent updates. He is so accommodating and gracious that it takes repeated exposure to appreciate just how hard he works and how much he does for college tennis. And how much he knows about it too. Just getting to know him better was a major highlight of the event for me.
  • There are many differences between college and junior tennis, but the most obvious is the emotional maturity of the participants. Not only did the vast majority conduct themselves on the court with admirable restraint and, dare I say it, professionalism, but I was struck by their self-possession off the court as well. Both Ryler DeHeart and Ben Kohlloeffel displayed genuine interest and kindness when asked for autographs by young fans after their matches. Contrast this with an unfortunate spate of brattishness at the recent Chanda Rubin ITF in South Carolina, where I heard that one racquet-throwing tantrum resulted in a conduct default.

  • It may be that the Indoor atmosphere exaggerated it, but the size of the mens field was certainly noteworthy. John Isner (at least six-nine), Andreas Siljestrom (six-nine), and Marco Born (ditto) made very large men such as Jonathan Stokke and James Pade seem average-sized. It's rather ironic that the serving prowess of that towering threesome, who won last month's ITA National fall event outdoors (Isner in singles, Siljestrom and Born in doubles) could not carry them through to indoor titles where the speed of the courts should give them even an greater advantage.

  • Speaking of doubles, with all the controversy raging in the ATP over revamping doubles, (see Peter Bodo's take on the issue here) which I've steered clear of as it hasn't any relevance to junior tennis, college tennis has hit on a workable solution. During dual matches and all individual competitions save the NCAAs, one eight game pro(sic) set is played. It's quick, and in my limited experience, it seems to be enough. It certainly beats no-ad scoring, a college innovation that died a welcome death back in the 80s, but is now being resurrected to "improve" professional doubles.

  • I got a chance to catch up with Chris Garner, the 1984 16s singles and 1985 18s doubles champion here in Kalamazoo. When I bumped into him at last year's Orange Bowl, he was an assistant at Colorado, but he and his family have now settled in Columbus, where he has recently taken a similar position at Ohio State. Garner spent one year at Georgia before going out on the pro tour, and he is now working to finish his degree with an eye toward becoming a college head coach someday. Garner wasn't the only former Kalamazoo champion at the Racquet Club of Columbus--Matt Anger, the head coach at Washington, won the 16s title in 1979. As for the younger generation, Stokke won three consecutive doubles titles with Rajeev Ram from 2000-2002, and Isner won an 18 doubles title in 2003.

  • Sunday, November 6, 2005

    Srebrovic and Kohlloeffel Earn ITA Indoor Singles Titles; Stanford and Ohio State Take Doubles Crowns

    ©Colette Lewis 2005

    --Columbus OH--

    There was history made in the men's portion of the ITA Individual Indoor, with an unprecendented repeat in doubles and a surprising first in singles. On the women's side, a storied program garnered another doubles title and the Gator Chomp was part of the singles champion's celebration.

    Unseeded Diana Srebrovic of Florida indulged in the jaws-opening gesture after she drove a forehand winner by Theresa Logar of Stanford to cap her 7-5, 6-4 victory on Sunday afternoon at the Racquet Club of Columbus. Srebrovic's remarkably deep groundstrokes kept the feisty Logar, seeded eighth, on the defensive throughout the match, and when Logar was unable to serve out the first set after holding a 5-3 lead, Srebrovic seized control.

    "I kept my focus," said the sophomore, who spent her freshman year on the Virginia team before transferring. "Concentrating on good footwork and keeping on her backhand side, and away from her forehand."

    The lefthanded Logar often loudly encourages and chastises herself during play, frequently referring to herself in the third person, and as well as she defended Srebrovic's onslaught, the wails of "Theresa, don't DO that!" began to outnumber the "come on, right here" pep talks. Srebrovic, who did not lose a set in the tournament, was, in contrast, serene and composed even when her unforced errors climbed, and even when she was overruled on game point by the chair umpire, losing her break in the second set, and giving Logar a glimmer of hope. But that was dashed in the match's final game, when Logar, serving at 4-5, was powerless to counter Srebrovic's three clean forehand winners, the last one eliciting the Gator Chomp celebration.

    "I'm a very proud Gator," said Srebrovic after the match. "I'm very happy to be at Florida."

    In the men's final, UCLA's Ben Kohlloeffel became the first Bruin to win the men's singles in the event's 27-year history, when he defeated Ludovic Walter of Duke 7-5, 6-1. With UCLA's list of great players during the past three decades, it seemed probable that an indoor champion would be among them, but until Sunday, none had even played in the final match.

    Kohlloeffel, a junior from Germany, and Walter, a senior from France, were locked in a first set that typified the hotly contested battles seen in the men’s game throughout the tournament. But at five all, Walter was broken and Kohlloeffel, after serving out the set, kept up his relentless attack.

    “I do serve and volley more indoors,” said the lefthander, who saved three match points in his semifinal win over John Isner of Georgia on Saturday. “You have to when the courts are fast, but it’s kind of my game anyway. His serve let down a little bit in the second set, and I kept aggressive.”

    Walter, who also favors fast courts, gave Kohlloeffel credit for keeping the pressure on.

    “He returned and served well," said Walter. "He played aggressive and it seems I lost focus a bit in the second set. And maybe that he's the first lefty I faced might have been a factor.”

    In the men’s doubles competition, Scott Green and Ross Wilson of Ohio State sent their fans home happy, becoming the first team ever to defend their title, as they captured a 9-7 victory over top seed Marco Born and Andreas Siljestrom of Middle Tennessee State.

    Green and Wilson credited the standing-room-only crowd with the edge they needed to sneak past the six-foot nine-inch duo, recent winners of the All-American tournament in Tulsa.

    “The crowd really pulled us through some tight spots,” said Wilson. “We knew breaks would be hard to come by,” Green admitted. “We got lucky, got a couple of returns back and came through.”

    Serving dominated the match, and often even second serve returns couldn’t find the court. But with Siljestrom serving at 7-7, Green and Wilson managed to extend points long enough for the precious break, and the roar that accompanied it had barely died down when Wilson stepped to the line to finish the task. Taking very little time between points, the lefthander rode the momentum the crowd provided, and the Buckeye team took the last four points to remain Indoor Champions.

    Cradling the large trophies while accepting congratulations from friends and family and posing for more than a couple cell phone photos, the seniors from Ohio were asked if they had space for the new hardware. “We’ll find room,” Green said with a smile.

    The Stanford women’s team of Alice Barnes and Anne Yelsey made their contribution to the trophy-laden Cardinal program by downing North Carolina’s Sara Anundsen and Jenna Long 8-5, becoming the seventh team from Palo Alto to win the Indoor doubles title.

    Playing one court away from the boisterous men’s doubles final crowd, even the veterans of the 2005 NCAA finals (Barnes was half of the team that defeated Yelsey and her partner) found the noise level exceptional.

    “It was so loud,” said Barnes, “we couldn’t even hear each other out there. It was a difficult situation.”

    In contrast to the men’s final, the women’s featured breaks galore, but the Stanford pair used their big-match experience edge to close out the unseeded team from North Carolina.

    As to whether they would remain a team throughout the upcoming dual match season, Barnes, a senior, and Yelsey, a junior, weren’t sure.

    “We are really strong at the moment,” said Barnes, “but the whole team is very strong in doubles. What’s important is that we get that first point in dual matches.”

    Yelsey followed her doubles title with the consolation championship in singles, defeating Suzi Fodor of California 7-6 (6) 6-2. Cristelle Grier and Alexis Prousis of Northwestern won the consolation doubles, downing Bianca Dulgheru and Eva Dickes, Pepperdine, 9-8(5).

    Ryler DeHeart’s tournament ended a lot better than it started, as the number one seed, who was upset in the first round Thursday, took the consolation championship with a 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4 victory over Duke’s Jonathan Stokke. KC Corkery and James Pade of Stanford beat Baylor’s Jon Reckewey and Matija Zgaga 9-8 (5), to take the consolation doubles.

    For more coverage of Sunday's action see Marcia Frost's collegeandjunior.com story and that of the ITA's Casey Angle.

    Saturday, November 5, 2005

    Tense Matches Highlight Semifinal Saturday at ITA Indoor

    ©Colette Lewis 2005
    --Columbus OH--

    It began with a throng of noisy Buckeye fans boosting their men’s doubles team into the final and ended with a third set tiebreak in the men’s singles and everything in between was nearly as exciting during Saturday’s action inside the Racquet Club of Columbus.

    Scott Green and Ross Wilson, the Ohio State Unversity doubles team that inspired the vocal locals, are defending ITA Indoor champions. Facing University of North Carolina’s Raian Luchici and Brad Pomeroy, Green and Wilson were the narrowest of favorites (2 vs. 3 seeds) and there was very little to separate the teams during the first eleven games. But at 5-6, Luchici serving, a missed overhead, a couple of loose volleys, and an errant forehand and just that quickly came the first break of the match. Veterans Green and Wilson, both seniors, emphatically closed it out to take their seventh straight ITA Indoor match.

    They will take on the top seeded team of Marco Born and Andreas Siljestrom from Middle Tennessee State, who had no trouble in eliminating fourth seeds Luke Shields and Thomas Schoeck of Boise State 8-3. Born and Siljestrom defeated Green and Wilson in the first round of the 2005 NCAA tournament last May.

    Ben Kohlloeffel of UCLA fought off three match points in his 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (6) victory over second seed John Isner of Georgia. Serving at 4-5 in the third set, the fourth seeded Kohlloeffel was down 15-40 and then ad out, but didn’t buckle, and with a match as close as this one, it was only fitting that a tiebreak decide it. The lefthander from UCLA somehow managed to return enough of the booming serves of the six-foot nine-inch Isner to make his way to the final, but no one who saw the match could hazard a guess as to who was the better player. It was just too close to call, but there are no ties in tennis, so Kohlloeffel survives to take the court on Sunday.

    His opponent in the final is Ludovic Walter of Duke, who has yet to lose a set in the tournament. In taking out KC Corkery of Stanford on Saturday 7-6 (3), 6-4, Walter, a senior from France, has added another seed to his list of victims, this time number seven, after his wins Friday over the fifth and third seeds. Walter was ranked second in the ITA preseaon rankings, and his Indoor record includes a semifinal appearance in 2003 and a quarterfinal appearance last year, but he was not seeded for this year’s tournament. Regardless of who wins tomorrow, his school will claim its first ITA Indoor Men’s Singles Champion, as Walter and Kohlloeffel are the first finalists from their universities.

    On the women’s side, Theresa Logar of Stanford found another gear in the second set and stormed past third seed Kristi Miller of Georgia Tech 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-0. The eighth seeded Logar, a former National Junior Champion, will not be facing teammate Alice Barnes, however, as Diana Srebrovic of Florida cruised past the fourth seed 7-5, 6-1. Srebrovic, who like Walter is unseeded, has also not dropped a set in four matches.

    In the women’s doubles, the University of North Carolina women outdid their male counterparts, upsetting the fourth seeded team from Georgia. Unseeded Jenna Long and Sara Anundsen rolled over Caroline Basu and Shadisha Robinson 8-2 to earn their spot in the finals against another unseeded team, Stanford’s Barnes and Anne Yelsey. Barnes and Yelsey were beneficiaries of a walkover, when New Mexico’s coach informed tournament officials that he was withdrawing his team of Maja Kovacek and Iva Gersic for disciplinary reasons.

    For more coverage of the ITA Indoor, see Casey Angle's wrapup and Marcia Frost's story at collegeandjuniortennis.com

    Friday, November 4, 2005

    Tennis, Tennis and more Tennis

    ©Colette Lewis 2005
    --Columbus OH--

    When nearly twelve hours of tennis at the ITA Indoor came to a close on Friday, there were nearly as many storylines as there were matches. In roughly chronological order, here are a few of them:

  • Hometown favorites Scott Green and Ross Wilson of Ohio State, the second seeds and defending champions, drew the day's biggest crowd, and responded by earning a spot in Saturday's doubles semifinals with the other three seeded teams.
  • Women's top seed Nicole Leimbach of Texas Christian was upset by Zuzana Cerna of Baylor in straight sets.
  • Mislav Hizak of NAIA Embry-Riddle notched another win, taking out Notre Dame's Parbhu Shiva. Casey Angle, the ITA's Communications Director was quick to determine that by making the quarterfinals, Hizak had matched the best showing ever by a Small College Champion, joining Central Oklahoma's Charl Bornman (98) and SIU-Edwardsville's Ken Flach and Robert Seguso (83) in the record books.
  • Stanford's KC Corkery was only getting started when he and partner James Pade racked up a consolation doubles win Friday morning. Corkery's straight set win over Martin Sayer of Radford earned him his third match of the day, and it went the distance. The Stanford senior held off Hizak 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 to earn his semifinal spot.
  • Duke's Ludovic Walter was seeded second last month at the All-American in Tulsa, but after an early round loss to Matt Bruch there, he was unseeded for the Indoor. But by beating fifth seed Jerry Makowski of Texas A & M and third seed Lars Poerschke of Baylor back to back (in straight sets no less) today, he emphatically demonstrated that he's one of the nation's top collegiate players.
  • It's unsurprising, given his serving prowess, that John Isner finds himself playing a lot of tiebreaks. In his three wins, the six-foot nine-inch righthander from Georgia has played four tiebreaks, winning three of them.
  • UCLA's Ben Kohlloeffel, the fourth seed, has not lost a set enroute to the semifinals
  • In the women's NCAA this year, Stanford's two doubles teams played each other for the Championship, and it's possible that the Indoors' two finalists will be Cardinal teammates. Theresa Logar and Alice Barnes have formidable semifinal hurdles in Kristi Miller and Diana Srebovic, but if they clear them, Stanford is assured of a champion.
  • Barnes is the only player, male or female, still in main draw singles and doubles.

    After Frantic Friday, Saturday's schedule is downright serene, with the day's final matches--the main draw singles semifinals-- set to begin around 1:30 p.m.

    See Marcia Frost's take on today's action at collegeandjuniortennis.com

  • Thursday, November 3, 2005

    Top Seed DeHeart Upset by Embry-Riddle's Hizak at ITA Indoor

    ©Colette Lewis 2005
    --Columbus OH--

    I did make it in time to see Stanford's Matt Bruch squeak through in three sets, but I was stunned to find Ryler DeHeart already down a set to Mislav Hizak when I arrived at the Columbus Racquet Club. Hizak, a Croatian who won his slot in the 32-man field by taking the ITA National Small College title, served very effectively against the defending champion and top seed DeHeart, and the result was a surprisingly easy 6-3, 6-4 win. Casey Angle, the ITA's Director of Communications, handed me a paper detailing the upset almost before the players had left the court, and his synopsis is much more professional than mine.

    Every subsequent match I watched was closely contested and a look at the draw reveals that more than half of the men's matches went three sets (with two going to 7-6 in the third). Most of the two-setters were exceedingly competitive as well. In the end, DeHeart was the only seed to fall in singles and doubles on the men's side. There's an odd sort of symmetry to DeHeart's 2004 and 2005 ITA Indoors. Last year, he was unseeded and won the whole thing. This year he is seeded one and loses in the first round.

    And joining the Stanford and Notre Dame and UCLA players taking the court tomorrow, are Hizak, of NAIA Embry-Riddle and Martin Sayer of Radford. Sayer, of Hong Kong, was Sam Querrey's first round victim at the Junior U.S. Open just two months ago, and although Radford is a long way from Stanford both in geography and tennis accomplishment, in Sayer they have a freshman who is making an impact that mirrors Bruch's.

    Marcia Frost of collegeandjuniortennis.com is also covering the event. Get her perspective here.

    Wednesday, November 2, 2005

    THE GREAT INDOORS -- Corkery and Pade double up, Bruch to play singles in elite field :: The Stanford Daily

    THE GREAT INDOORS -- Corkery and Pade double up, Bruch to play singles in elite field :: The Stanford Daily~~~

    I'm heading for Columbus Thursday, to my first college tennis event since the NCAAs in May. With only 32 players in the singles fields, the ITA Indoor features some great matchups in the first round and Casey Angle, the ITA's media guru, has already whetted my appetite with his distribution of the draws and schedule. Last year, attending my first ever college event when the Indoor was held in Ann Arbor, I began to appreciate just how tough and unpredictable the sport can be when unseeded Ryler DeHeart of Illinois and third seed Megan Bradley of Miami took home the titles. DeHeart is back to defend his crown and is the top seed this year, while Bradley has graduated and is currently playing in Futures and Challengers.

    This story on the Stanford contingent is a good introduction to the event, and I'm hoping to arrive in time to see Cardinal freshman Matt Bruch's (yes, the reporter spelled his name right!) match. He had a great run at Tulsa last month and already is seeded eighth in one of the "majors." Pretty impressive start.

    Tuesday, November 1, 2005

    No rebuilding for BU tennis | The Bear Blog::Waco Tribune-Herald

    No rebuilding for BU tennis | The Bear Blog~~~

    The Waco Tribune-Herald does a great job of covering Baylor tennis, but this assessment of the 2005-6 season's prospects for the Bears (better than most expected when they lost Dorsch and Becker) contained an interesting passing comment-- the first printed reference that I've seen that seventeen-year-old Marcus Fugate has turned professional.