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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Keys vs. Burdette and Williams vs. Smyczek for USTA Australian Open Wild Card; Unexpected Rain Impedes Junior Orange Bowl Qualifying

The finals of the USTA's Australian Open wild card tournament are set for Sunday with Madison Keys and Mallory Burdette playing for the women's wild card and Tim Smyczek and Rhyne Williams playing for the men's.

No. 3 seed Keys, who won the wild card tournament in Norcross Georgia last year, beat No. 2 seed Alexa Glatch 6-0, 6-1 in the semifinals while No. 4 seed Burdette defeated Grace Min 6-2, 7-6(7). Keys and Burdette played this fall at the Lexington Challenger with Keys winning 6-3, 6-0, but despite the 17-year-old's great form this weekend, I would expect a closer match in Sunday's final. For more on the women's semifinal, see the Tennis East Coast blog.

The top-seeded Smyczek, who only received his invitation after Jack Sock and Steve Johnson dropped out, defeated No. 4 seed Tennys Sandgren 6-2, 6-2. There will be one former Tennessee Volunteer in the final however, with No. 3 seed Williams coming back against second seed Denis Kudla for a 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-1 victory. Kudla served for the match at 5-3 in the second set. For more on Williams' victory, see this article at utsports.com.

In other Australian Open wild card news, former Cal Bear Bojana Bobusic won the Tennis Australia tournament for a main draw wild card. Bobusic defeated Monique Adamczak 6-1, 6-3. Ben Mitchell and Matt Reid will decide the men's wild card later this evening.

I spent the afternoon and evening at the Junior Orange Bowl boys 12s qualifying, which drew a bigger crowd than usual, due to the Har-Tru courts. Several rain showers, which were not in the forecast Friday night, delayed play on the hard courts of Key Biscayne (Girls 14s), Biltmore Tennis Center(Girls 12s) and the University of Miami (Boys 14s). So few matches were played at Miami courts that there will be short scoring for two round of matches there on Sunday. The boys 12s are on schedule, and although they were still playing at the other two hard court sites this evening, those schedules also have not changed for Sunday.

With such big qualifying draws and only seven days to complete the 128-player main draw tournament, even the slightest bit of rain early in the tournament leads to major scheduling headaches.

The draws will not be available until Sunday after main draw registration, but the seeds are published and can be viewed by the drop down menu under the competitor tab at the TennisLink site. 2010 12s champion Michael Mmoh is the top seed in the boys 14s and Dalmi Galfi of Hungary is the top seed in the girls 14s. As is their custom, the seeding committee has designated 16 No. 1 seeds in the boys and girls 12s.

I will be at the USTA Town Hall meeting at the ITA convention in Naples on Sunday, so I will not be attending the final round of qualifying (or maybe I will, if it is carried over to Monday).