Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Teens Bernard, Chervinsky, Vassel and Dellabarca Win ITA Summer Circuit Titles; More on Cuts to D-I Olympic Sports; ATP Announces Ranking Changes

Two more ITA Summer Circuit events were held over the weekend, and all four winners of the top flights are junior players. 

At the tournament in Lakeland Florida, No. 3 seed Alexander Bernard, the reigning Kalamazoo 16s champion, defeated No. 4 seed Maxwell Giddens, a rising freshman at Auburn, 6-4, 6-3 in the final. Bernard, a blue chip rising junior who turns 17 next month, defeated top seed Noah Schachter, a rising junior at Texas A&M, 7-5, 7-6(4) in the semifinals, while Giddens took out No. 2 seed Stefan Storch, a rising sophomore at Texas A&M, 6-1, 6-2 in the other semifinal.

The girls final, also between the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, was yet another battle between friends Madison Sieg and Elaine Chervinsky, who met in the Eddie Herr 16s final in 2018. No. 3 seed Chervinsky, a blue chip who has committed to Virginia for 2021, defeated blue chip rising junior Sieg, the 2018 Orange Bowl 16s champion, 4-6, 6-2, 10-6.  Chervinsky beat top seed Gianna Pielet 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinals, while Sieg defeated No. 2 seed Emma Shelton 6-3, 6-1 in the other semifinal.

At the Ojai tournament, four-star rising senior Jake Vassel, the No. 8 seed, defeated No. 3 seed Noah Laber, a four star rising freshman at Middlebury, 6-2, 7-5 in the final. Top seed Alexey Aleshchev, who won the previous ITA Summer Circuit tournament in Ojai the week before, retired after dropping the first set in the quarterfinals. No. 2 seed Brandon Lam lost in the quarterfinals.

Five-star rising junior Calissa Dellabarca won the girls title, with the No. 4 seed defeating Purdue rising senior Seira Shimuzu, the No. 8 seed, 6-1, 7-6(2). Top seed Emilee Duong lost in the quarterfinals; No. 2 seed Velizara Fileva lost in the first round.

The ITA Summer Circuit really gets going this weekend, with seven different events on the schedule. The tournament at the USTA National Campus has a waiting list for its 32 spots, and the tournament in Indianapolis has over 170 entries for both men and women.

ESPN published an article today about the struggle of Olympic sports in the current college financial environment. While tennis is not the focus, its problems are addressed by Florida women's head coach Roland Thornqvist, who cites television as the answer. The athletic director at Texas mentions tennis student-athletes missing class while playing pro tournaments in the fall, which can only be viewed as a criticism of that now common practice.

The Associated Press published an article yesterday about the problems of tennis in particular, with comments from the USTA's Tim Cass, ITA CEO Tim Russell and former Stanford coach Dick Gould.

Yesterday the ATP announced how it would handle its rankings given the five-month hiatus that we are still in. Basically, the rankings will cover 22 months and the best 18 tournaments over that period will be counted. If you play the same tournament twice, only the highest points from that tournament will count, not both. For more, plus a link to the frequently asked questions, see this ATP article.