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Thursday, May 8, 2014

US Teams Start ITF Team Qualifying with Easy Wins; Miami's Laurente Suspended; Altamirano Commits to Virginia

I thought today might be a quiet day, with the NCAAs, the big story this month for me, not beginning until Friday. All 16 women's regionals will get underway, and four men's regionals are also Friday-Saturday events. The remaining 12 men's regionals will be Saturday-Sunday. See the ITA's MatchDay Central page for the links to live scoring and video.

But today didn't want for news.  The US teams began their attempts to qualify for the ITF's international team events in Montreal today, with three of the four--the two 14-and-under World Junior Tennis teams and both 16-and-under Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup teams--playing Mexico.  Not surprisingly, the US teams didn't lose a point, or even a set.  In Junior Davis Cup play, William Blumberg and Nathan Ponwith won their singles, with Blumberg needing only 38 minutes for his 0 and 0 victory. Usue Arconada also posted a 0 and 0 win in Junior Fed Cup, with Sofia Kenin losing just three games at the No. 1 position.

In the boys 14s, Andrew Fenty and Steven Sun lost one game in their four singles sets.  The girls 14s, playing Guatemala, got wins from Rachel Lim and Claire Liu in singles.

For the Junior Fed Cup and Junior Davis Cup teams, the competition gets considerably tougher on Friday.  In one of the enduring injustices of junior tennis, only one of the four teams competing this weekend will earn a place in the final 16 in Mexico, because Mexico is automatically granted a spot as the host country. This means a very good team from Canada or the United States will be left out, and it will be the loser of tomorrow's match.  Canada's girls do not have the Top 40 ITF rankings that Kenin and Arconada have earned, but Katherine Sebov and Orange Bowl 16s champion Charlotte Robillard-Millette are excellent players. Robillard-Millette took Kenin to three sets in the third round at the Pan American Closed last fall in Tulsa, and Sebov, who will be playing No. 1 for Canada, then defeated Kenin 6-1, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.

I'm not as familiar with the Canadian boys Benjamin Sigouin and Denis Shapovalov, with both outside the Top 250 in the ITF rankings, but I don't expect anything but a competitive match Friday.

Two teams from each gender will advance to the August competition in the Czech Republic in the 14s, so not quite so much is at stake for them Friday.

The results and draws are available here.

The Miami Herald broke the news yesterday that Kelsey Laurente, who plays No. 2 for the 12th-seeded Hurricanes, has been suspended "for disciplinary reasons."  According to the article, Laurente has been "scratched from the NCAA tournament."  With a good Oklahoma team, ranked 18th, coming to the Coral Gables regional, Miami's road to Athens is bumpier than it was a week ago.

Paul Bauman is reporting on his blog that Kalamazoo champion Collin Altamirano has verbally committed to the University of Virginia for January of 2015.  Bauman qualifies that by saying Altamirano may still turn pro in the interim, if his results warrant it. He has a current ATP ranking of 968, reaching one Futures semifinal this year while going 7-5 5 on that level.  He played the last three US Challengers,  and didn't qualify in Sarasota or Savannah. He received a wild card into Tallahassee and lost to Frank Dancevic of Canada in the first round. Altamirano is eligible to defend his title in Kalamazoo this August.

At the $25,000 Pro Circuit women's event in Raleigh, qualifier Brooke Austin, who has committed to Florida for this fall, has reached the quarterfinals, joining Americans Samantha Crawford and Maria Sanchez(Southern Cal).

In the Orange Park $10,000 men's Futures, Connor Smith kept his winning streak going. The former Ohio State Buckeye, who won his first title last week in Vero Beach, defeated former UCLA Bruin Dennis Novikov, his doubles partner this week, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals. Smith is joined there by Americans Greg Ouellette(Florida), Bjorn Fratangelo, Mitchell Krueger and Eric Quigley(Kentucky). Smith and Novikov will play Fratangelo and Krueger in the doubles final Friday.

Georgia Tech alum Kevin King, who won the $15,000 Futures in Mexico last week, is in the quarterfinals at this week's Futures there, also a $15,000 tournament. He plays Adam El Mihdawy, the only other American still in the draw, whom he defeated in last week's final. King is in the doubles final with former teammate Dean O'Brien of South Africa. Alex Llompart of Puerto Rico, who played at Pepperdine, will be on the opposing team, with Mateo Martinez of Argentina.


Art said...

Men's pro tennis is so brutal! You have #1 jr in world Tiafoe who can't even qualify for 10k future. Compare this to women's game where top junior Townsend is already top 150. Why should they get equal pay again?????

Colette Lewis said...

Tiafoe is No. 2 in the world, not No. 1. He's reached 2 Futures quarterfinals this year. Townsend is ranked 205, not 150, and she is 2 years older than Tiafoe.

Art said...

Bencic top junior girl already top 100 in the world. Top boy juniors Zverev/Tiafoe not even top 750. Neither will probably make top 100 entire career.
So much easier in women's game to go pro.

gottalovetheclosedminded said...

To Art: I have rewritten this twice to calm it down. (You really don't want to read the first copy.)

So in case you didn't know, airfare is the same price for
women as it is for men, hotel prices are the same for
women as they are for men, food prices are the same price
for women as it is for men, racquets, clothes, string,
stringing prices, hmmmm same, same, same, wear and
tear on the body - let's see - yes, the same. Money invested
as juniors to play tournaments, gain experience, travel, coaching,
all the same. Men are playing as hard as they can against men,
women are playing as hard as they can agains women.

Do you get it now???????????????

ClarkC said...

Regardless of expenses, tennis is an entertainment business. Women earn prize money by contributing to TV income and ticket sales. They should earn in proportion to the revenue they generate. How hard it is to become top 100 in the world is irrelevant. If people watch on TV, then TV revenue is produced, even if becoming top 100 were ten times as easy as it now is.

tennisforlife said...

gottalovetheclosedminded - Are you aware that the free market price for a men's grand slam final ticket is +/- 4-5 times the price of a woman's final ticket.

Do YOU get it now????????????

Tennisforlife. said...

Tom Hanks earns $35mm/movie while Meryl Streep earns around $8mm and is arguably a better actor. Tom sells more tickets. That's reality. The WTA has done a remarkable job for the woman's game but the reality is it's being subsidized by the men's game.

Lin said...

I agree that there should be equal pay for equal work. Where I have a problem is with the Slams inequity of best of 5 sets for men and best of 3 for women. The time spent entertaining the crowd, and putting everything on the line is wildly disparate between the sexes.

As written by David V. Johnson in the July 2012 edition of Boston Review "because men play three-out-of-five sets, their matches are on average 75 percent longer than women’s matches. In other words, male players spend on average 75 percent more time out on the court entertaining paying customers. If the male entertainers at a night club worked many more hours than the female entertainers, surely no one would object if they were paid more, unless the women were unfairly restricted from working more hours."

Either make the Slams best of 3 or 5, but make it the same for everyone.

gottalovetheclosedminded said...

To: tennisforlife said...

No, I don't get it. The only thing I get is that there are still male chauvinistic ____ out there. ( I won't say the word because Colette, whom by the way is very classy, won’t print my comment )
I can't believe that you all would raise your daughters to accept lower pay and lower standards. Don't YOU get - that the only way to change things is to give women the same prize money so that they can continue to compete at a higher lever and therefore gain popularity, trickling down then to higher ticket sales. Oh , but then I guess some women might rank higher than you on the pay scale and then kill your male ego. So under your rules - just keep the women prize money lower and then therefore they won't gain popularity and things will stay the same. Good thing the tournament directors have more insight than you!!

gottalovetheclosedminded said...

To Lin:

At least you proposed something that makes sense. That being said, most of the men that I have spoken to and have heard their opinion, want to play 3 sets. Years ago, a female tennis player name Billie Jean King observed some unfair/unequal rules and treatment of female tennis players and frankly females in general. She set about to change things and was very successful. Venus Williams picked up where she left off and rallied to get equal pay. If the men think that they are being treated unfairly, then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Women are suppose to be penalized because the men aren't doing anything to change. DONT' TALK ABOUT IT - BE ABOUT IT!

tennisforlife said...

to gottalovetheclosedminded - what is your view on salaries in the WNBA compared to the NBA - in woman's soccer versus the premier league. The men's game generates over 80% of the revenue in profession tennis. I have no problem if the men want to use some of that to grow the woman's game and there are plenty of good reasons why it makes sense to do so but let's call it what it is. Woman's professional tennis is not as valuable a product as the men's game is. When the woman's game fills more seats and generates more TV revenue then they should get paid more than the men. I am the furthest thing from a male chauvinist whatever you want to call me but I am grounded in economic reality!

KOZ said...

NCAA's First Round… With Memhis and Drake tied at 3-3, Drake gets "Frost "bite on ct 4..O'leary takes match 6-0 in third to clinch the win…"that's a Major League Win, Memphis…a Major League Win…" KOZ

gottalovetheclosedminded said...

to tennisforlife:

The difference in women's basketball and soccer vs tennis is that in those players have everything paid for by the team owners. Travel, meals, hotels, clothing, equipment all covered by the team. They literally lay out no money to play. Tennis players lay out a great deal of their OWN money to travel etc. Just as much money put out by women as the men. That personal investment in playing in the tournaments should be rewarded equally. The investment by both genders is the same.

But in the end it doesn't really matter. 1 - women ARE getting equal pay and 2 - by the women getting equal pay it doesn't cause the men to get less and 3 - a match between Serena vs Sharapova fills the seats just as much as Nadal vs Federer. It has been admitted by many that the women bring a depth to the tournaments. There is a value and that value will continue to grow due to the belief of the tournament owners in womens tennis. Women's tennis has grown by leaps in bounds because of the proactive efforts of the players. ( I feel like I should go out and burn my bra lol )

Anyway..... GO WOMEN'S TENNIS ! :)

Not true said...

From Sports Illustrated Inside Tennis August 2013 by Bruce Jenkins:
• The appeal of women's tennis: Attendance is down, and not in a random kind of way. There were hundreds of empty seats at the Serena Williams-Victoria Azarenka final in Cincinnati—a match that represented the best the game has to offer—and it's been that way all summer. The tireless Matt Cronin covered the 21-day stretch through California (Stanford, Carlsbad) and Toronto, and "of the 42 sessions I attended, I'd say that seven were successful—meaning sold-out or nearly so," he wrote on tennisreporters.net. "That's seven out of 42 for the world's leading women's sport. At this point, I would be seriously re-thinking marketing strategy when it comes to ticket sales."
Empty seats are a traditional embarrassment during the early rounds of the U.S. Open, particularly during the day, so expect this disturbing pattern to continue."

Serena and Sharapova have nothing on Nadal and Federere. Not the same.