Friday, September 2, 2016

August Aces; US Open Junior and College Events to Test Shot Clock; Nine Americans Reach Final Round of Junior Qualifying; Keys, Sock Advance

My wrap-up of some of August's top performances is out today at the Tennis Recruiting Network, with a quartet of Russian girls among those claiming pro tournament titles.

The USTA announced today that the US Open Junior Championships and the American Collegiate Invitational will test a shot clock, to standardize the time between points.  Currently 20 seconds and left to an umpire's discretion, the rule is rarely enforced in any of the junior matches I've covered (few have ballrunners and many others don't have chair umpires). Excessive time between points is considered a problem in pro tennis, where they have both however, so the juniors and collegians are serving as guinea pigs for this experiment.  See this USA Today article for more about this initiative.

The qualifying for the US Open Junior Championships began today in New York, with three American boys and six American girls advancing to Saturday's final round of qualifying.

Wild card Adam Neff had the most impressive win, taking out top seed Lingxi Zhao of China 7-6(5), 6-4.  The 15-year-old Neff is ranked 836; Zhao's ITF junior ranking is 53.  Wild card Patrick Kypson defeated No. 5 seed Anthony Jackie Tang of Hong Kong 6-1, 6-2 and Alafia Ayeni came from a break down in the final set to beat No. 6 seed  Mikhail Sokolovskiy of Russia 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(4).

Two of the four seeded US girls advanced, with No. 10 seed Ashley Lahey beating Michaela Bayerlova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2 and No. 9 seed Kylie McKenzie, a quarterfinalist at the US Open last year, beating Jia Qi Ren of China 6-4, 6-4.  Wild cards Vanessa Ong, Dalayna Hewitt and Hailey Baptiste posted wins, with Ong beating No. 5 seed Siqi Cao of China 6-1, 6-2, Hewitt taking out No. 7 seed Ida Jarlskog of Sweden 6-4, 6-3 and Baptiste defeating No. 11 seed Mayuka Aikawa of Japan 6-3, 6-2.  Hewitt and Baptiste will play each other for a place in the main draw on Saturday.  Kariann Pierre-Louis, who got in as an alternate for Federica Bilardo of Italy, who moved into the main draw, also advanced to the final round of qualifying, beating  Eri Shimizu of Japan 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.

The boys qualifying draw is here, the girls qualifying draw is here.  The final round of qualifying will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday.  The schedule for all the US Open's Saturday matches is here.

Because I was traveling to New York, I wasn't able to watch much of the dramatic Madison Keys 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(3) comeback over Naomi Osaka, or Jack Sock's impressive 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 7 seed Marin Cilic. Keys trailed Osaka 5-1 in the third set; Sock never faced a break point against the 2014 US Open champion.  See usopen.org, for articles on Sock's win and Keys' thriller.

Friday's results involving Americans:

Madison Keys[8] def. Naomi Osaka(JPN) 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(3)
Angelique Kerber(GER)[2] def. CiCi Bellis[Q] 6-1, 6-1
Jack Sock[26] def. Marin Cilic(CRO)[7] 6-4, 6-3, 6-3
Kyle Edmund(GBR) def. John Isner[20] 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(5)
Marcos Baghdatis def. Ryan Harrison[Q] 6-3, 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-1.

Saturday's matches involving Americans:

Serena Williams[1] v Johanna Larsson(SWE)
Laura Siegemund(GER)[26] v Venus Williams[6]
Ana Konjuh(CRO) v Varvara Lepchenko

Ivo Karlovic(CRO)[21] v Jared Donaldson[Q]


Just saying said...

A few thoughts on the new grandstand. While it is a great court and there are a lot of positives, it's a shame about all the empty seats near the court when the upper areas are packed to the gills. It's also an example of the difference of theory vs reality. Whomever designed it incorporated nice walkways around the top of the stadium. However, when there is a good match, general admission fans pack the walkways several people deep to watch. Everything clogs up and it's difficult to move around. Even when you actually have a seat and want to get a drink, etc. or just leave the stadium. There's not enough room for two way traffic. Again, it's too bad when there are so many empty seats down low. I know this is a comment from a "General Admission" patron, but aren't we the people who give the Grandstand "character?"