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Sunday, March 19, 2017

USTA's Jay Berger to Step Down; Bryde, Johnson are Top Seeds at Carson ITF Grade 1; Shapovalov Wins Drummondville Challenger; Miami Open Qualifying Begins Monday

The USTA announced today that Jay Berger, who has served as head of men's tennis since 2008, will be leaving in June.  Berger, 50, began working for the USTA as a national coach in 2003, after coaching at the University of Miami.  Berger won the Kalamazoo 18s in 1985 and was an All-American at Clemson in 1985-86, then went on to a successful pro career, reaching No. 7 in the ATP rankings.  

The release does not mention a reason for Berger's departure, nor a timetable for his replacement, although GM of Player Development Martin Blackman is quoted as saying: "It’s important for us to bring in someone who can maintain that momentum, continue to develop relationships with our top male juniors, collegians and pros and optimize the support that we give to our top American players. I’m grateful Jay has decided to stay on through June to make that transition as smooth as possible.”

This is obviously the most significant personnel change for Player Development since Blackman took over from Patrick McEnroe in 2015, so it will be interesting to see what direction he will take in filling the position.

The ITF Grade 1 International Spring Championships will begin Monday, with Trent Bryde the top boys seed and Taylor Johnson the No. 1 girls seed.

Top 8 boys seeds:
1. Trent Bryde
2. Duarte Vale (POR)
3. Gianni Ross
4. Sam Riffice
5. Oliver Crawford
6. Toru Horie (JPN)
7. Alan Rubio Fierros (MEX)
8. Brian Cernoch

Top 8 girls seeds:
1. Taylor Johnson
2. Carson Branstine (CAN)
3. Emiliana Arango (COL)
4. Ellie Douglas
5. Natasha Subhash
6. Caty McNally
7. Hailey Baptiste
8. Anhzelika Isaeva (RUS)

Not all the 18s will play their first round matches on Monday, with some getting Tuesday starts, but both Bryde and Johnson are on the schedule.

In the 16s, the top seeds are Skyler Grishuk and Zane Khan.

For draws, the order of play and links to live scoring, see the tournament website.

2016 Wimbledon boys champion Denis Shapovalov of Canada won the $75,000 Drummondville Challenger on Sunday, defeating No. 4 seed Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium 6-3, 6-2 in the final. The unseeded left-hander, who turns 18 next month, beat Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-5, 6-3 in the semifinals.  With the title, Shapovalov moves into the ATP Top 200 for the first time.

At the $25,000 Futures in Bakersfield California, wild cards Patrick Kawka and Keegan Smith won the doubles title, beating Jared Hiltzik and Dominik Koepfer of Germany 6-3, 3-6, 10-6.  No. 2 seed Dmitry Popko of Kazakhstan won the singles title, defeating top seed Kimmer Coppejans of Belgium 6-3, 7-6(6).  Popko, 20, beat four former college stars, all in straight sets, to reach the final.

Top seed Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal won the title at the $15,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Tampa, defeating No. 2 seed Victoria Rodriguez of Mexico 6-2, 6-0 in the final.   Unseeded Alex Guarachi of Chile and Connie Hsu of Taiwan won the doubles title, beating No. 2 seeds Emina Bektas and Sanaz Marand 6-3 4-6, 10-4 in the final.

Qualifying for the Miami Open begins Monday on Key Biscayne, with 20 Americans aiming for a place in the main draw.

The American men:
Reilly Opelka
Christian Harrison (WC)
Frances Tiafoe (5)
Bjorn Fratangelo (18)
Denis Kudla
Ernesto Escobedo (13)
Stefan Kozlov (20)
Vasil Kirkov (WC)
Jared Donaldson (9)
Tim Smyczek

The American women:
Asia Muhammad
Grace Min
Kayla Day (WC)
Varvara Lepchenko (8)
Madison Brengle (9)
Sachia Vickery
Samantha Crawford
Julia Boserup (14)
Irina Falconi (13)
Taylor Townsend (21)

Monday's order of play can be found here.


Get Your Eyes Checked said...

I couldn't help but notice how poor the officiating seemed to be at this year's BNP Paribas Open. Does anybody have an idea why the line umpires can't seem to call lines accurately any more. I understand missing a call when the ball is within a millimeter of the line, but to miss calls inside the baseline and over 6 inches out is totally unacceptable. Does it have to do with the changes being made within the USTA Officials Department, or is the USTA using Indian Wells as a training grounds for new unseasoned officials????