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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Ginepri Wins Tallahassee Challenger and French Open Wild Card; Neel, Kecmanovic Take ITF Grade 4 Titles in Coral Gables

Another week, another series of rain delays affecting the Pro Circuit tournaments, this time exclusively in Florida.

At the $50,000 Challenger in Tallahassee, rain was so heavy and persistent this week that many of the singles matches were played indoors at Florida State, and today, although competition was back outside, both the semifinals and finals were scheduled.  Unseeded Robby Ginepri needed only win his semifinal match to claim the USTA Har-Tru Wild Card Challenge, which he did, beating Ireland's James Magee(NC State) 6-1, 6-4. But Ginepri came back two hours later and put an exclamation point on his success, beating No. 4 seed Frank Dancevic of Canada 6-3, 6-4.  Dancevic had beaten top seed Donald Young 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals. The 31-year-old Ginepri, who will be playing in the main draw at the French Open for the first time since 2010, when he made the fourth round, lost only one set in Tallahassee.

The doubles title went to Ryan Agar of Australia, and Sebastian Bader of Austria, who played college tennis at Division II Hawaii-Pacific. Agar and Bader, who have won three Futures titles together, beat Bjorn Fratangelo and Mitch Krueger 6-4, 7-6(3) in the final. Neither team was seeded.

The women's French Open wild card is still up for grabs, with rain washing out the semifinals at the $50,000 Indian Harbour Beach tournament. Charlottesville $50K winner Taylor Townsend, who completed her 6-2, 6-2 victory today over Allie Kiick, will play Anett Kontaveit of Estonia on Sunday, with Townsend  able to clinch the wild card, as Ginepri did, simply by reaching the final. She and Grace Min are currently tied, and Min would win the tie with a higher WTA ranking.

The Futures in Vero Beach also had its schedule disrupted, with Connor Smith(Ohio State) leading No. 2 seed Jorge Aguilar of Chile 6-3, 2-3 in one semifinal. Greg Ouellette(Florida) had not begun his semifinal with top seed Facundo Mena of Argentina when the rain arrived for the day. Smith and teammate Devin McCarthy are in the doubles final, which will be after the singles final, since either Smith or Aguilar will be playing the singles final, and Aguilar is also in the doubles championship.

The rain didn't get as far south as Coral Gables, where the ITF Grade 4 there, the first of three Har-Tru tournaments in Florida, was played.

Unseeded Ingrid Neel, who turns 16 next month, won the girls title, beating top seed and Miami recruit Yolimar Ogando of Puerto Rico 3-6, 6-0, 6-3 in the final. It is Neel's first ITF junior title.

No. 11 seed Miomir Kecmanovic, a 14-year-old from Serbia, who was one of my April Aces, won his third Grade 4 title in three weeks. The reigning Eddie Herr 14s champion defeated No. 6 seed Alexey Aleshchev of Russia 6-0, 6-0 in the final.

The boys doubles title went to No. 8 seeds Stephen Madonia and Alfredo Perez, who beat fellow Americans Vasil Kirkov and Sam Riffice 3-6, 7-5, 10-8.

Vera Aleshcheva of Russia and Stephanie Hazell of the US, seeded No. 5, won the girls doubles title, their second straight, beating top seeds Sabrina Faybyshev of the US and Ogando 6-4, 7-5.

At the ITF Grade 2 in Italy, Dennis Uspensky of the US is continuing his outstanding play on European clay this week. The No. 14 seed beat top seed Nino Serdarusic of Croatia in the semifinals today 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, and will play No. 8 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the final. 


Anonymous said...

A quote from Lauren Embree: ""To get an education in case tennis doesn't work out, because that happens to a lot of people. And to be able to play college tennis on a team is a thrill, to play for other people, to have other people cheering for you, that doesn't happen a lot in tennis." The entire article is here:

Anonymous said...
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Igor said...

CAPITAL OF JUNIOR TENNIS ( Florida) and yet on the boys side for last weeks ITF JR. , we have two non Americans in the finals.............
( ITF Grade 4 - Coral Gables).

Something is not working right in the USTA juniors or their tournaments that we can't even get tow American juniors into a local junior ITF.

Solutions said...


You are reaching for things to say about the USTA. Any uneducated person can criticize the USTA but an educated person offers solutions.

Try this Igor…...

The USTA needs to create a tournament calendar, both affordable entry fees, more tournaments & easier schedules to where American juniors have the ability to compete every weekend. This breeds champions.

Wayne Bryan has a simple solution -

Do not drive, until you can beat everyone in bike distance
Do not fly until you can beat everyone in car distance
Do not leave the country until you can beat everyone in your country.

Been there...don't that said...

Anonymous said....

This discussion has been going on for years...it is literally impossible to be a top level tennis player and not be homed schooled.

My son, now a senior D1 player in college, first was chastised by his 6th grade teacher for that whole year when he began to travel....that was only the beginning. Ultimately, he had no choice but to home school if he wanted to travel since his high school had a policy that if he missed more than 10 days of a class in school, for any reason, his grade would be dropped.

He went to an academy for a few years, he attended the local high school on a special plan, then came home and home schooled through our local high school, he went back to regular school for his senior year...and of course his ranking suffered for it but he already had college coaches interested in him and college play was his goal, not going Pro...for him, he was able to experience on year of normal high school.

Mind you, he still traveled senior year but he had to be very selective about the tournaments he went to. In the long run, it all worked out OK and truthfully, if you are going to attempt to be a high level tennis player, like any other sport in which a high level is desired, home schooling will be the only way to do it. Fair, I don't think so, I really didn't want my son to miss out on high school (the good and bad) but to achieve his goal he really had no choice.

Anon said...

The Delray ITF starts tomorrow - Monday - with a 64 draw. Monday is a school day. How many of the 64 kids do not attend school on line? Is this not worth some discussion?

Solutions... said...

Juniors (middle & high school student age) should be playing 90% weekend tournaments.

There should be only 1 week long tournament during the school year - The Easter Bowl. All the other week-long tournaments should be outside the school year - like Clay Courts, Hard Courts, Winter Nationals.

The 2nd longest tournament length during the academic calendar year should be 4 days.

This will cut down costs for families and our kids can get a true education. They will be more rounded, better educated, which leads to better tennis players.

This is NOT a difficult scenario. This should be the main priority for the USTA PD & Junior comp division.

Pick your priority said...

Been there has obviously been there. You can't have it both ways. If you want to be a top player, home school. If you want to be an ok player and like traditional school, do that. Weekend only tournament play won't get you to the top tier. All those ITF homeschooled kids will knock you off the ladder.

Wise pathway by Wayne Bryan.

lovethegame said...

15-20 years ago, basically no tennis players in the US home schooled. A few did go to academies, but even there they went to a normal school setting where they actually sat in a classroom.

As someone said above, unless you are literally one of the top 2-5 players in America for your age group, you are not missing much by going to a normal school. You can take a week off school for easter bowl (may even be spring break), play normal weekend tournaments in your section, play clay courts, hard courts, winter nationals - all outside the school year.

As a former top 20 junior and all-american in college, it is difficult to understand why people think home schooling is the only way. Nearly every junior tennis player in Germany, France, etc goes to a normal school as well. And many get very good grades and are very good tennis players. Some become money making professionals.

Back in the day, kids who really wanted to be good in tennis, got up early to play tennis or played into the late hours of night if they had to. Then they played all weekend long. They played tournaments on the weekends.

Parents.....Just so you know, if your child wants to go to college....99% of all college coaches do not even know what the USTA rankings are. They do not care. They only care how a kid does head to head against his peers or players they believe are elite enough to do well in college.

It seems that they only reason home schooling is catching on is because people think you have to go to a tennis academy, home school, and play 5 hours of tennis every day when you are 12. Ask John Isner if he went to a tennis academy? Or Steve Johnson? Or John McEnroe.

Mardy Fish went to a normal high school and then moved to Saddlebrooke as a junior or senior in HS, I believe. He was one of the best in the nation at the time. Andy Roddick did go to tennis academies. There are many avenues to take to be a very good tennis player. You do not have to follow the herd.

And if you are not one of the absolute best in the nation or world, you are not necessarily missing out if you go to a normal school and then play tennis every evening for 2 or 3 hours.

DAn - GA said...

To Solutions,

So you have some ideas on how to restructure the USTA tournament system.
Well, you missed the boat, buddy.
Listening tour came and went, and the USTA didn't listen to anyone then, doubt they would listen now.

Shaun said...

Unless your kid is winning the 14's OB at age 12, homeschooling is a waste.
Your kid will never be a top 150 pro and he will get a sub par education if you choose the online route.

How do I know, we did it. Maybe... it would have been different if it was a girl, but on the boys's side ..OPEN BOOK TEST for the tests online.
Most boys don't really care about learning, they just want the grades, easy A's, and get back on the court.

Colleges are impressed, it;s all good, until the 4.0 online education translates into a struggle with college level work where there are no more open book tests and instead you have a twenty page thesis paper to write.

ML said...

"love the game" and "shaun"- very convincing points and I agree. Taking it one step further, what would happen if every single child in American sports in the entire county decided to be schooled on line or home schooled? What about every student, regardless of whether they were in sports, decided to do it that way? We would have a country of high school graduates twenty years from now that never solved a problem in the presence of another graduate - how would government work? how would companies function? One could think of plenty of examples.