Monday, January 3, 2011

Coffee Bowl Underway in Costa Rica; ESPN, SI Look at Young American Tennis Stars; D-III Tennis Previews

The ITF Grade 1 Coffee Bowl is underway in Costa Rica, and there are two different boys at the top and bottom of the draw this week. Hugo Dellien of Bolivia is the top seed and Bjorn Fratangelo of the U.S. is the No. 2 seed; neither played in the Grade A Casablanca Cup last week in Mexico. Alexios Halebian of the U.S. is the No. 3 seed, and other American boys in the draw are Michael Rinaldi, qualifer Luke Gamble, Trey Strobel, Connor Farren, Morgan Mays, Roberto Cid, Alex Petrone, Karim Arem, Robert Livi and Williams Kwok. The tournament's excellent website has today's first round scores posted, with Gamble, Strobel and Livi losing, and Fratangelo, Halebian, and Farren advancing to the second round.

The girls field, which did not even require a qualifying tournament, had byes for the top seven seeds, none of whom are from the U.S. Casablanca Cup winner An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium and finalist Caroline Garcia of France are both heading the draw this week too. The American girls in the draw are Gabrielle Desimone, June Lee, Stephanie Nauta, Hannah King, Lynn Chi, Annie Mulholland (10) and Catherine Harrison. Lee lost, Chi's result is not updated, but the rest advanced to the second round. King won her match over Kriszina Kapitany of Hungary by the very unusual score of 0-6, 6-0, 6-0.

With the start of the WTA and ATP tennis seasons this week, there have been a lot of stories about players poised to make breakthroughs in 2011 (Both Ryan Harrison (qualifier) and Christina McHale [lucky loser] are into the main draw at the Brisbane tournament). Ryan Harrison is featured in ESPN The Magazine's NEXT issue, (as well as in this month's Tennis Magazine), and Harrison, McHale, Oudin, Isner, Sock and Vandeweghe are included in the Sport Illustrated's Photo Gallery of Players to Watch in 2011.

I hope to have a post on the first Division I rankings of the spring season up tomorrow, but if you want to spend some time learning about the upcoming men's Division III season, go straight to the D3 tennis blog, where you'll find previews of the spring's best dual matchups, best players, and the consensus pick for the NCAA title come May. It's a great resource that only makes me wish for a similar blog for each division in college tennis, men and women.