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Monday, March 22, 2010

Qualifying Underway at Sony Ericsson, US Juniors Not Faring Well; ISC Carson Acceptances

I'm back in Michigan after ten days in Alabama. Part of the price I pay for on-site coverage of junior events is losing track of what's going on elsewhere in the tennis world. I realize I've been neglecting college tennis, the Pro Circuit and other junior news. Yesterday I posted on the week's ITF junior news, tomorrow I'll try to catch up on college tennis when the new team rankings are released. There is no Pro Circuit action in the U.S. this week, and last week's women's Pro Circuit event in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. didn't have many U.S. success stories, although Shelby Rogers did qualify and win a round in the main draw.

The qualifying began today for the Sony Ericsson ATP/WTA event at Key Biscayne, and several juniors were among those competing. There was a rain delay this morning, so I'm not sure if all the matches on the schedule will be completed today, but so far, only one of the wild cards have advanced to the second round. CoCo Vandeweghe defeated Maria Elena Camerin of Italy, the 20th seed, 6-1, 6-3. Lauren Davis fell to France's Pauline Parmentier, the 24 seed, by the odd score of 2-6, 6-0, 6-0. Beatrice Capra also got off to a good start and a bad finish in her match with No. 18 Rossana De Los Rios of Paraguay, losing 2-6, 6-4, 6-0. Sloane Stephens couldn't duplicate her impressive results at Indian Wells, falling to No. 14 seed Yung-Jan Chan of Chinese Taipei 6-1, 6-2. Christina McHale and Viktoriya Tomova of Bulgaria, who trains at Bollettieri's, had not completed their matches as of 9 p.m. The main draw begins on Tuesday, but none of the wild cards into the main draw went to American players, juniors or otherwise. Seventeen-year-old Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal did receive a main draw wild card, as did Ajla Tomljanovic, who trains at Evert's.

In the men's qualifying, wild card Alex Domijan lost to No. 23 seed Kevin Kim 6-4, 6-4 and Jack Sock, who according to this Sun-Sentinel story hit with Roger Federer on Stadium Court, lost to No. 4 seed Marcos Daniel of Brazil 7-6(1), 6-0. Another junior wild card, Yuki Bhambri of India, has not yet played. Ryan Harrison and Filip Krajinovic received main draw wild cards.

For draws and results, see the tournament website.

The entry lists for the ITF Grade 1 International Spring Championships, which begin on April 5th, are available on the ITF junior website. There are no ITF Top 20 player in either boys or girls draws. Raymond Sarmiento is the highest-ranked boy in the field at No. 28. Katarena Paliivets of Canada is the highest-ranked girl at 37. The 16s acceptances lists, including wild cards, can be found at usta.com.



Miami ATP Masters 1000 2010 preview

This years Miami Masters 1000 event offers a very interesting draw with some exciting potential match-ups throughout the whole tournament.
First of all there is Roger Federer, who might run into Berdych first and then into rising star Marin Cilic. Cilic, coached by former Becker coach Bob Brett, showed his potential at the Australian Open already and might by inspired by fellow countryman, Ivan Ljubicic, who won last weeks event in Indian Wells. This is for or sure an interesting match-up and a real test for Cilic to check out his future potential. If he can beat Roger here, he will certainly do the next step in his career.
In the semi-final, Roger could face (if he beats Cilic…) either Murray or Soderling, which will be either this years Australian Open final rematch or last years French Open final rematch. Soderling also collected his first win against Federer in their last match, even though it was just during a show tournament prior to the Australian Open. But Soderling stepped up his game since last years ATP-Finals in London. These would be for sure two great semi-final match-ups. And the quarterfinal between Soderling and Murray will also be very interesting since it is a rematch of last weeks Indian Wells Quarterfinal, which Murray lost in straight sets, 1:6, 6:7. The last time Murray has beaten Soderling was in 2006 and if Murray wants to come closer to Rogers No. one spot, he needs to show up in the masters 1000 events.
Even though Roger I think that Roger does not care much about any other event besides the Grand Slams, I believe that his talent and potential is so big, that he will even win these matches in second gear and will reach the final, where he will probably meet Novak Djokovic. The Djoker is his biggest rival for the No. 1 spot, and he will see his opportunities this year, to make his dream reality. So this final will be an indication if he can contest the top ranking spot this year. By reaching the final Roger might be satisfied already though, so, I see it an open match. But with his talent, Roger will always be a good pick, of course.

In the bottom half are also some very interesting match-ups. With the return of David Nalbandian from his hip injury, there is a dangerous unseeded floater in the draw. And he will run into Rafael Nadal in the 3rd round, a player Nalbandian has not only beaten, but crushed, a few times already. Nalbandian, who I see as the second most talented player on the ATP-Tour, behind Roger, is able to take Nadals high top-spin shot on the rise without any problems. And this takes all the danger away from Nadals game, which is anyways not nearly as good as last year. So, I see a win for Nalbandian, who should come back to his old form in this tournament, and who will be motivated to get back into the top 10. If he really beats Nadal, he will have enough confidence and will also beat potential opponents, Karlovic and Isner. Djokovic might be to tough for him in the semi-finals but, you never know with David.
But there are two more very exciting match-ups in the bottom half of the draw. In the round of 16 we might see a rematch of the Indian Wells final, between Roddick and Ljubicic. Roddick will be eager to make up for his lost final, but I think Ljubicic will pull it off again, which might be the start for Roddicks departure from the top 10…
Against Djokovic I see his energy fading and his great run in the last two weeks come to an end. Even though he has beaten the Djoker last week, I think that Novak will be too competitive to let this happen again.

Let’ see if I am right…

Hartmut Hesse
Professional Tennis Training and Coaching

Sam said...

I guess not Hartmut, with the joker losing today. Thats the beauty of tennis, all these predictions are a crapshoot, mine is going to be for Murray or Nadal to win the tourney and maybe Henin on the ladies side.