Wednesday, May 30, 2012

French Open Junior Qualifying Begins Thursday; Davis vs. McHale in Women's Second Round in Paris; UC-Riverside Men's Tennis Reprieve; Early USO National Playoffs Results

The qualifying for the French Open junior championships begins Thursday, with only two Americans, both boys, in Paris attempting to make the main draw.  Thai Kwiatkowski and Stefan Kozlov are hoping to join the five US boys already in the main draw: Alexios Halebian, Spencer Papa,  Mitchell Krueger, Mackenzie McDonald and Noah Rubin. Krueger and McDonald will be seeded, Rubin probably will be as well.

Taylor Townsend of the US will be the No. 1 seed in the girls draw. Other Americans who received direct entry are Chalena Scholl, Allie Kiick, Sachia Vickery, Kyle McPhillips, Krista Hardebeck, Jennifer Brady and Christina Makarova. Scholl and Vickery will join Townsend as seeds, but Kiick, with her ranking at 17, may not, as there are at least 3 from the WTA's Top 300 who would move into the seeding category over her.

To see the qualifying draws, go to the ITA junior website.

Only a few years removed from the juniors themselves, Americans Lauren Davis and Christina McHale will play in the second round of the women's draw at Roland Garros on Thursday.  Now ranked 162, Davis, who won three qualifying matches and defeated No. 30 seed Mona Barthel of Germany 6-1, 6-1 in the first round, will be the underdog against McHale, ranked 36th. But Davis is very comfortable on the clay now, having also qualified in the WTA event in Strasbourg, so I'm expecting a very competitive match. The winner will probably get defending champion Na Li of China in the next round.

Sloane Stephens today made her way into the third round, defeating Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the US 6-1, 6-1. She will play Mathilde Johansson of France next.

For complete draws, see the Roland Garros website.

The men's tennis program at the University of California-Riverside isbeing considered for elimination, and on May 18th, this request for comments was published on the university's athletic website.  Women's sand volleyball would be added if men's tennis is cut.  Over at the website TennisInsiders, which is based in Southern California, Steve Bellamy has provided additional information and a forum for support. According to those familiar with a university meeting today, the program has been extended for another year, but not beyond. For more on the decision today, see this article.

The US Open National Playoffs began earlier this month, with the Southwest section and the Florida section winners now in the books. As in the past two years, the sectional winners in men's and women's singles receive an opportunity to compete in the National Playoff in August for a US Open qualifying wild card.  The mixed doubles winners on the sectional level compete for a US Open main draw wild card.

The winners in USTA Southwest are: Brian Battistone, men's singles, Stephanie Vlad, an Arizona State recruit, women's singles, and Battistone and Nicole Melichar, mixed doubles.

The USTA Florida winners are: Eric Hechtman, men's singles, Sandra Roma, women's singles, and Ryler DeHeart and Megan Fudge, mixed doubles. DeHeart and Fudge, both former players at Illinois, are married.  Roma, of Sweden, beat 15-year-old Jessica Ho in the final; Hechtman, a former Miami University player, beat DeHeart in the final. For more on the Florida finals, see the USTA Florida website. The number of entries in the women's draws have been disappointing, with only eight entries in the Southwest and nine entries in Florida. With college tennis over now, there should be more collegians in the draws, and there are many sectional tournaments still accepting entries. For a complete list of the remaining sectional playoffs, with entry closing dates, click here.