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Monday, August 31, 2020

Nakashima and Giron Earn First Slam Wins; Norrie Saves Match Points to Defeat Schwartzman at US Open

©Colette Lewis 2020--

Despite an opponent twice his age and with 46 more matches at the slam level, 19-year-old wild card Brandon Nakashima was in complete control throughout his opening round match today at the US Open, beating Paolo Lorenzi of Italy 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(3) for his first win in his first match at a major.

Nakashima faced only two break points in the match, both in the first set, and when I spoke to him after the match via Zoom, he was obviously pleased with his performance.

"It feels great; I've been waiting for this to happen," said Nakashima, who wore his mask throughout the interview. " I thought I played a really good match today and it's great to get my first grand slam win."

Nakashima said he was comfortable throughout the match.

"The conditions suited me well," Nakashima said. "I've been here for over a couple weeks now, so I've definitely gotten used to the conditions here, the courts and everything. It obviously was tough against him today, he doesn't give you much, makes a lot of balls in play, kind of throws off your rhythm at times, but I thought I definitely played well through the entirety of the match and it was good to close it out at the end."

Nakashima didn't want to dwell on the experience gap he was facing.

"I tried not to think about it too much going into it," said Nakashima, who spent one semester at the University of Virginia, then turned pro after reaching the semifinals of the US Open Junior Championships last year. "I knew obviously, like you said, he had a lot of experience on the tour so far, but I tried not to think about that, focus on my game, focus on what I do best out there, just try to block out the extra information outside and just focus on my game on the court."

Next up for Nakashima on Wednesday is No. 5 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany, who defeated Kevin Anderson 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.

Nakashima may have had the most stress-free result of the day by the wild cards, but two other Americans also came through with wins. Twenty-six-year-old Mitchell Krueger also recorded his first main draw win at a major, beating Pedro Sousa of Portugal  3-6, 6-2, 7-5, 6-3. Maxime Cressy hit 23 aces (and 15 double faults) in picking up his first main draw victory at a major in his first main draw slam match, beating Jozef Kovalik of Slovakia 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Marcos Giron, who broke into the ATP Top 100 this week, got his first slam win in his fifth attempt, outlasting Marc Polmans of Australia 6-4, 6-7(5), 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. As the match went past the three-hour mark, and the day turned to night in New York, Giron looked stronger physically and mentally in the fifth set.

"I think I held my composure a little better," said the 2014 NCAA singles champion. "A few years ago, I remember playing a Challenger in Sarasota, really hot, humid conditions. My opponent started cramping in the third, I started cramping, I went up a break and I ended up losing that match and I kind of looked back on that. I really have to stay composed, I've got to see if I can hang in there, make him move more than I move. I tried just to make a few more extra balls than him....I've been pretty solid in deciding sets and I just went back to some of those matches. These conditions reminded me of the Houston Challenger (a 125 that he won) at the end of the year(2019). End of the day, pretty quick conditions, under the lights, and I thought, you know what, I went three sets in a lot of those matches, maybe I can bring back some magic."

Former TCU star Cameron Norrie of Great Britain pulled off the men's upset of the day, beating No. 9 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina 3-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 7-5, and saving two match points. Norrie gave himself credit for hanging in there when he wasn't playing well.

"Today I don't think the level of tennis for me was not that high," said the 25-year-old left-hander. "I just had a phenomenal attitude and I was please with that, stayed real patient with myself....You got to win ugly sometimes and it felt a little bit like a college match there at the end, just running and putting the ball in the court."

Schwartzman and Norrie set a US Open record with 58 break points between them.

"I was told after the match it was some kind of record, most break points in one match at the US Open," Norrie said. "I'm not sure it's too good of a record to be holding....but it just shows there were two dogs out there battling, with no serves really, but it was a good match and I guess I'll take the record there."

The US women did not have the same success as the men on Monday, with Madison Brengle collecting the first win by an American woman after 7:30 p.m. Brengle, who beat Arina Rodionova of Australia, an alternate, 6-2, 6-2 broke an eight-match losing streak for American women on Monday. Coco Gauff went out to No. 31 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. The only women's wild card to win was Cici Bellis, who earned her first US Open victory since 2016; Hailey Baptiste, Robin Montgomery and Allie Kiick were defeated, with only Kiick winning a set.

Monday's results can be found here.

Monday’s first round results featuring US men (8-5):

Denis Shapovalov[12](CAN) d. Sebastian Korda[WC] 64, 46, 63, 62

Brandon Nakashima[WC] d. Paolo Lorenzi(ITA) 63, 62, 76(3)

Mitchell Krueger[WC] d. Pedro Sousa(POR) 36, 62, 75, 63

Jack Sock d. Pablo Cuevas(URU)  36, 64, 62, 46, 76(2) 

Maxime Cressy[WC] d. Jozef Kovalik(SVK) 61, 26, 64, 64 

Taylor Fritz[19] d. Dominik Koepfer  67(7) 63 62 64

Soonwoo Kwon(KOR) d. Thai Kwiatkowski[WC] 36, 76(4), 61, 62

Marcos Giron d. Marc Polmans(AUS) 64, 67(5), 36, 64, 62

David Goffin[7](BEL) d. Reilly Opelka 76(2), 36, 61, 64

Steve Johnson d. John Isner[16] 67(5) 63 67(5) 63 76(3)

Cristian Garin[13](CHI) d. Ulises Blanch[WC] 46, 57, 64, 64, 62

Michael Mmoh[WC] d. Joao Sousa(POR) 62, 75, 26, 61

Monday’s first round results featuring US women (7-9):

Kristina Mladenovic[30](FRA) d. Hailey Baptiste[WC] 75, 62

Aliaksandra Sasnovich(BLR)  d. Francesca Di Lorenzo 26, 76(6), 60 

Anna-Lena Friedsam(GER) d. Caroline Dolehide 62, 62 

Kateryna Kozlova(UKR) d. Whitney Osuigwe 63, 75

Anastasija Sevastova[31](LAT) d. Coco Gauff 63, 57, 64

Anett Kontaveit[14](EST) d. Danielle Collins 57, 62, 62 

Kateryna Bondarenko(UKR) d. Allie Kiick[WC] 36, 63, 61 

Kaja Juvan(SLO) d. Usue Arconada 64, 76(2)

Madison Brengle d. Arina Rodionova(AUS)[alt replacing Lesia Tsurenko] 62, 62

Shelby Rogers d. Irina Khromacheva(RUS) 62, 62

Cici Bellis[WC] d. Tamara Korpatsch(GER) 67(13), 63, 62

Yulia Putintseva[23](KAZ) d. Robin Montgomery[WC] 61, 63

Jennifer Brady[28] d. Anna Blinkova(RUS) 63, 62

Ann Li d. Arantxa Rus(NED) 64, 26, 61

Alison Riske[13] d. Tatjana Maria(GER) 63, 62

Jessica Pegula d. Marie Bouzkova(CZE) 36, 62 76(3)

Tuesday’s first round matches featuring US women

Kristie Ahn v Serena Williams[3]

Venus Williams v Karolina Muchova[20](CZE)

Sofia Kenin[2] v Yanina Wickmayer(BEL)

Madison Keys[7] v Timea Babos(HUN)

Amanda Anisimova[22] v Viktoriya Tomova(BUL)

Sloane Stephens[26] v Mihaela Buzarnescu(ROU)

Lauren Davis v Alize Cornet(FRA)

Claire Liu[WC] v Sara Sorribes Tormo(ESP)

Christina McHale v Sorana Cirstea(ROU)

Caty McNally v Viktoria Kuzmova(SVK)

Sachia Vickery[WC] v Taylor Townsend

Bernarda Pera v Zarina Diyas(KAZ)

Katrina Scott[WC] v Natalia Vikhlyantseva(RUS)

Tuesday’s first round matches featuring US men 

Tommy Paul v Grigor Dimitrov[14](BUL)

Frances Tiafoe v Andreas Seppi(ITA)

Tennys Sandgren v Roberto Bautista Agut[8](ESP)

Mackenzie McDonald v Casper Ruud[30](NOR)

Sam Querrey v Andrey Kuznetsov(RUS)

Denis Kudla v Marin Cilic[31](CRO)

Bradley Klahn v Sumit Nagal(IND)

JJ Wolf[WC] v Guido Pella[29](ARG)

Tuesday's complete order of play is here.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Twenty-nine Americans in First Round Action Monday at US Open; Paire Out After Testing Positive for Covid-19 Virus

Monday marks the beginning of the strangest professional major I can remember, with no fans or media on the grounds at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. But the cameras will be there, so I'm sure everyone who loves tennis will be following from their laptops or televisions, and I'm excited and grateful that this tournament is actually happening after so much uncertainty and anxiety in the past several months. 

I said no media will be there, but there is a huge crew from ESPN on site, of course. This is the release they sent out a couple of days ago, with their broadcast schedule and list of commentators, including, for the first time, James Blake. Tennis Channel will be hosting its Tennis Channel Live at the Open show every morning at 7 a.m. Their schedule for the tournament is here.

Monday's schedule features 29 of the 52 Americans, with the top half of both draws starting the singles action. Several of the Americans on the schedule have recently been interviewed by Steve Pratt for the usopen.org website: Jennifer Brady, Maxime Cressy, Hailey Baptiste and Caroline Dolehide. Victoria Chiesa wrote about the young wild cards Katrina Scott and Robin Montgomery for usopen.org

The ATP tour publishes daily notes here, and have posted this article about some of top Challenger players in the draw, including five Americans, four of whom are designated by an asterisk below.

The WTA has featured five Americans in its first round match notes, which I've designated by an asterisk below.

Usopen.org also has this look at some of Monday's intriguing first round matches.

Monday’s first round matches featuring US women:(16)

Coco Gauff* v Anastasija Sevastova[31](LAT)

Alison Riske[13]* v Tatjana Maria(GER)

Hailey Baptiste[WC]* v Kristina Mladenovic[30](FRA)

Danielle Collins* v Anett Kontaveit[14](EST)

Robin Montgomery[WC] v Yulia Putintseva[23](KAZ)

Jessica Pegula v Marie Bouzkova(CZE)

Jennifer Brady[28]* v Anna Blinkova(RUS)

Francesca Di Lorenzo v Aliaksandra Sasnovich(BLR)

Madison Brengle v Lesia Tsurenko(UKR)

Whitney Osuigwe v Kateryna Kozlova(UKR)

Shelby Rogers v Irina Khromacheva(RUS)

Usue Arconada v Kaja Juvan(SLO)

Caroline Dolehide v Anna-Lena Friedsam(GER)

Allie Kiick[WC] v Kateryna Bondarenko(UKR)

Ann Li v Arantxa Rus(NED)

Cici Bellis[WC] v Tamara Korpatsch(GER)

*WTA match notes

Monday’s first round matches featuring US men: (13)

Sebastian Korda[WC] v Denis Shapovalov[12](CAN)

Steve Johnson v John Isner[16]

Reilly Opelka v David Goffin[7](BEL)

Taylor Fritz[19] v Dominik Koepfer

Ulises Blanch[WC]* v Cristian Garin[13](CHI)

Marcos Giron* v Marc Polmans(AUS)

Brandon Nakashima[WC]* v Paolo Lorenzi(ITA)

Michael Mmoh[WC] v Joao Sousa(POR)

Maxime Cressy[WC]* v Jozef Kovalik(SVK)

Jack Sock v Pablo Cuevas(URU)

Mitchell Krueger[WC] v Pedro Sousa(POR)

Thai Kwiatkowski[WC] v Soonwoo Kwon(KOR)

The reason this is such a strange US Open is, of course, the pandemic, and that was brought to the forefront again today when the USTA announced a player had tested positive for Covid-19 and was removed from the draw. Although not mentioned by name in the release, the player is No. 17 seed Benoit Paire of France who was replaced in the draw by Marcel Granollers of Spain, who at 146 has the highest singles ranking of any of the doubles players competing in New York. All singles alternates are taken from the doubles field to avoid adding additional players to the bubble.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Azarenka, Djokovic Claim Western & Southern Open Championships; US Open Welcomes Virtual Fans; USTA Makes Junior Memberships Free; ITA Fall Circuit Entries Open Monday

The Western & Southern Open concluded today at the USTA's Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, with men's and women's singles and doubles champions crowned. 

Unseeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus didn't have to strike a ball, with No. 4 seed Naomi Osaka withdrawing due to a hamstring injury. Azarenka, who won the 2013 Cincinnati title, had lost the only two matches she'd played this year, so her title was definitely unexpected.

Not so for men's champion Novak Djokovic, who defeated unseeded Milos Raonic 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, despite suffering from an illness during his semifinal match Friday and the distractions of leading a movement to form a men's professional tennis players association.  Undefeated in 2020, he has now won all the ATP Masters events at least twice. Djokovic, who is a heavy favorite to win the upcoming US Open, is scheduled for a Monday night match, as is Osaka. 

In the Western & Southern Open doubles finals, Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands took the women's title and Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain and Alex De Minaur of Australia claimed the men's championship. Peschke and Schuurs, the No. 3 seeds, beat No. 2 seeds Nicole Melichar and China's Yifan Xu 6-1, 4-6, 10-4.  Unseeded Carreno Busta and De Minaur, playing together for the first time, defeated Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski of Great Britain 6-2, 7-5, with a lengthy rain delay with Carreno Busta and De Minaur leading 6-5 in the second set proving to be no advantage to the British team.

The US Open has announced an initiative to bring the US Open experience to fans' home virtually, with a variety of innovations, including US Open Fan Cam, Ask a Player, Virtual Player Boxes and  Crowd Sounds. For more, see this press release.

USTA has recently announced changes to its membership structure, which now includes free memberships for juniors and organizations. See this FAQ for more on the upcoming changes in the membership program.

I'll be fully immersed in the US Open next week, so I wanted to make sure to take time this weekend to remind everyone that entries for the ITA Fall Circuit by UTR begin on Monday for Weeks 1-3 from September 18 through October 5. Twenty-three more sites have been added since Monday's initial announcement. Some sites in the Summer Circuit filled up fast, so don't put off entering if you think it might fit into your schedule.

Friday, August 28, 2020

My Conversation with JJ Wolf; Western & Southern Open Finals Set; US Open Doubles Draws Released; Talking Junior Tennis with Parenting Aces

JJ Wolf, photo courtesy Scott Gerber, OhioTennisZone.com

I had an opportunity to talk with former Ohio State star JJ Wolf Sunday via a Zoom conference at the Western & Southern Open, where he had just made his ATP Tour main draw debut. Although he lost to to Richard Gasquet of France, Wolf is confident he belongs in professional tennis. We spoke about how he trained and stayed focused during the Covid-19 shutdown, his goals as he prepares for the US Open, and his most significant takeaway from his three seasons as a Buckeye. I was particularly interested in his decision to leave after his junior year.

And probably the hardest part was leaving all of my buddies at Ohio State, on and off the team. I have a really good friend group there.

But living in Columbus over quarantine, I got to see them a lot. So I feel like I got that would-have-been senior year back almost. So I'm pretty content with my decision, especially looking at what happened this year. I think my game was ready to leave college tennis, but it was definitely hard for me.

The complete interview was posted this morning at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

Tennis resumed today at the Western & Southern Open, after a one-day pause to align with calls for social justice across all professional sports. No. 4 seed Naomi Osaka, the leader of that action in pro tennis, advanced to Saturday's final, defeating No. 14 seed Elise Mertens 6-2, 7-6(5). Her opponent will be unseeded Victoria Azarenka, who defeated No. 8 seed Johanna Konta 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.

The men's final will also feature an unseeded player, with Milos Raonic ousting No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(5), 6-3 in the first men's semifinal. Top seed Novak Djokovic needed three hours to get past No. 8 seed Roberto Bautista Agut 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(0). Bautista Agut won four straight games after trailing 5-2 in the third set, but could not close it out when serving for the match at 6-5. Djokovic, who looked physically shaky throughout the final set, did not do press after the match due to what the tournament characterized this way: Novak Djokovic was not feeling well on court today and it worsened after the match. The tournament medical team has advised him not to do press today.

Nicole Melichar is the sole American still in the chase for a title. She and Yifan Xu of China, the No. 2 seeds, defeated unseeded Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia and Iga Swiatek of Poland 6-4, 7-5 in one of the women's doubles semifinals. In the other, No. 3 seeds Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands defeated defending champions Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic and Andreja Klepac of Slovenia, the No. 8 seeds, 6-2, 6-1. 

Two unseeded teams will meet for the men's doubles title on Saturday. Jamie Murray and former LSU star Neal Skupski of Great Britain will face Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain and Alex De Minaur of Australia in the final. Murray and Skupski beat No. 3 seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 7-5, 6-3, while Carreno Busta and De Minaur downed Austin Krajicek and Steve Johnson 7-5, 6-4.

Saturday's order of play is here

The US Open doubles draws were released and because only doubles rankings were used for entries, most of the singles players in the field are not playing doubles. The fields have been cut in half, with just 32 teams due to the pandemic and no mixed doubles is being played this year.

Defending US Open champions Robert Farah(USC) and Juan Sebastian Cabal of Colombia are the top men's seeds; Kristina Mladenovic of France and Timea Babos of Hungary are at the top of the women's draw.  Coco Gauff and Caty McNally will face wild cards Hailey Baptiste and Whitney Osuigwe in a first round match, with Osuigwe replacing Kim Clijsters, who was originally set to be Baptiste's partner. McNally and Osuigwe were doubles partners often in their junior years, winning the Easter Bowl, the Italian Open and the Eddie Herr together in 2017. At the 2018 US Open Juniors, McNally and Gauff won the girls doubles title, beating Baptiste and her partner Dalayna Hewitt in the final.  The women's doubles draw is here; the men's doubles draw is here.

I spoke with Lisa Stone of Parenting Aces today on Facebook Live, and we had a wide-ranging discussion about covering tennis remotely, as I'm doing these three weeks, junior tennis, what alphabet entity I think emerged the strongest from the pandemic, college tennis and USTA's commitment to it, the ITA Fall Circuit, and a lot of other topics squeezed into a half-hour conversation. You can watch our conversation on the Parenting Aces YouTube channel

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Mike and Bob Bryan Retire; 52 Americans Set to Begin US Open Monday; French Junior Championships On; SEC Sets Rules for Fall Tennis

A lot has happened since last night's post, with Naomi Osaka deciding not to play her Western & Southern Open semifinal match in solidarity with the professional sports teams, beginning with the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks, who declined to play their games in order to call attention to continuing police brutality and injustice. Shortly after Osaka announced that decision, the ATP, WTA and USTA released a statement pausing play on Thursday.

As a sport, tennis is collectively taking a stance against racial inequality and social injustice that once again has been thrust to the forefront in the United States. The USTA, ATP Tour, and WTA have decided to recognize this moment in time by pausing tournament play at the Western & Southern Open on Thursday, August 27. Play will resume on Friday, August 28.

After that action Osaka reconsidered, and is scheduled to play Elise Mertens in the semifinals on Friday. Milos Raonic of Canada, who closed out play on Wednesday night, also spoke about social justice after hearing of Osaka's decision during his post match press conference.

The order of play for Friday is here.

Around the same time all that was happening, Christopher Clarey published his exclusive article for the New York Times with the news that Mike and Bob Bryan were not going to return to tennis, with their planned retirement effective immediately. 

There are no superlatives that can adequately convey just how important the Bryan twins have been to the sport, not just for their astounding longevity and records, including 16 grand slam men's doubles titles, but also for their ability to connect with fans and bring attention to doubles. One of the top attractions every year at the US Open, Indian Wells, Miami, Cincinnati, World Team Tennis, or any other ATP event they played, they will be sorely missed by fans, media and fellow players. They are now eligible for immediate induction to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

I first saw them back in the mid-90s, when they won back-to-back 18s doubles titles here in Kalamazoo. They went on to win the 1998 NCAA doubles title at Stanford, with Bob winning the singles and the Cardinal taking the team title, before turning pro. Below is a photo of the Bryans at the 1998 NCAAs in Athens Georgia, courtesy of Bill Kallenberg. For a comprehensive look back at their professional career, see this article from the ATP website.

The US Open draw was released, without fanfare, today and 31 US women and 21 US men are in the singles draws. Below are the matchups for all US players; I'll provide a similar list by day once the schedule is released.

Cici Bellis[WC] v Tamara Korpatsch(GER)

Jennifer Brady[28] v Anna Blinkova(RUS)

Caroline Dolehide v Anna-Lena Friedsam(GER)

Ann Li v Arantxa Rus(NED)

Alison Riske[13] v Tatjana Maria(GER)

Francesca Di Lorenzo v Aliaksandra Sasnovich(BLR)

Robin Montgomery[WC] v Yulia Putintseva[23](KAZ)

Hailey Baptiste[WC] v Kristina Mladenovic[30](FRA)

Allie Kiick[WC] v Kateryna Bondarenko(UKR)

Coco Gauff v Anastasija Sevastova[31](LAT)

Usue Arconada v Kaja Juvan(SLO)

Danielle Collins v Anett Kontaveit[14](EST)

Shelby Rogers v Irina Khromacheva(RUS)

Madison Brengle v Lesia Tsurenko(UKR)

Jessica Pegula v Marie Bouzkova(CZE)

Whitney Osuigwe v Kateryna Kozlova(UKR)

Bottom Half

Madison Keys[7] v Timea Babos(HUN)

Lauren Davis v Alize Cornet

Bernarda Pera v Zarina Diyas(KAZ)

Katrina Scott[WC] v Natalia Vikhlyantseva(RUS)

Amanda Anisimova[22] v Viktoriya Tomova(BUL)

Sloane Stephens[26] v Mihaela Buzarnescu(ROU)

Kristie Ahn v Serena Williams[3]

Sachia Vickery[WC] v Taylor Townsend

Venus Williams v Karolina Muchova[20](CZE)

Christina McHale v Sorana Cirstea(ROU)

Claire Liu[WC] v Sara Sorribes Tormo(ESP)

Caty McNally v Viktoria Kuzmova(SVK)

Sofia Kenin[2] v Yanina Wickmayer(BEL)

Michael Mmoh[WC] v Joao Sousa(POR)

Mitchell Krueger[WC] v Pedro Sousa(POR)

Steve Johnson v John Isner[16]

Sebastian Korda[WC] v Denis Shapovalov[12](CAN)

Thai Kwiatkowski[WC] v Soonwoo Kwon(KOR)

Taylor Fritz[19] v Dominik Kopfer

Marcos Giron v Marc Polmans(AUS)

Reilly Opelka v David Goffin[7](BEL)

Maxime Cressy[WC] v Jozef Kovalik(SVK)

Ulises Blanch[WC] v Cristian Garin[13](CHI)

Jack Sock v Pablo Cuevas(URU)

Brandon Nakashima[WC] v Paolo Lorenzi(ITA)

Bottom Half

Mackenzie McDonald v Casper Ruud[30](NOR)

Tommy Paul v Grigor Dimitrov[14](BUL)

Frances Tiafoe v Andreas Seppi(ITA)

JJ Wolf[WC] v Guido Pella[29](ARG)

Tennys Sandgren v Roberto Bautista Agut[8](ESP)

Sam Querrey v Andrey Kuznetsov(RUS)

Denis Kudla v Marin Cilic[31](CRO)

Bradley Klahn v Sumit Nagal(IND)

The men's draw is here; the women's draw is here.

ITF junior players received an email today that entries are now open for the French Open Junior Championships, which are scheduled for October 4-10 2020 in Paris. The tournament is now finally showing on the ITF junior calendar, with the entry deadline September 8th. There will be no qualifying according to that email, and a complete fact sheet is scheduled for next week. Whether US juniors will be able to travel to France for the event is still unknown. 

The Southeastern Conference issued its rules for fall sports today, including tennis. 

For the 2020 fall segment of the men's and women's golf and men's and women's tennis seasons, SEC teams may compete in up to three team events beginning no earlier than October 1. SEC golf and tennis teams will be limited to events involving only SEC members or non-conference teams from the geographic region of the SEC school.

The ITA has not yet announced the status of the National Fall Championships, and these rules may not prohibit individuals from competing in tournaments, but with travel being discouraged, it seems increasingly unlikely that the event will take place. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Americans Out of Western & Southern Open Singles, Four Advance to Doubles Semifinals; More US Open Withdrawals on Eve of Draw; Former Georgia, Cal Player Campbell Johnson Dies

With Serena Williams loss last night, only two Americans remained in singles heading into today's Western & Southern Open quarterfinals, and both Jessica Pegula and Reilly Opelka failed in their attempts to reach the semifinals. Pegula, playing in her sixth match in seven days, lost to No. 14 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-1, 6-3, and Opelka, playing in his first Masters quarterfinal, retired leading 6-5 in the first set against No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. Opelka's right knee was heavily taped at the time of his retirement; the ESPN announcing crew were hopeful that the retirement was precautionary, but Opelka has struggled with injuries throughout his career.

Thursday's women's semifinals will feature Mertens against No. 4 seed Naomi Osaka and No. 8 seed Johanna Konta against unseeded Victoria Azarenka.

Embed from Getty Images

The men's semifinals, also Thursday, are top seed Novak Djokovic against No. 8 seed Roberto Bautista Agut and Tsitsipas versus the winner of tonight's match between Milos Raonic and Filip Krajinovic. Bautista Agut(pictured above) took out defending champion Daniil Medvedev, seeded No. 3, by a 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 score.

While Americans were eliminated in singles today, four US players have reached the doubles semifinals. In women's doubles, Nicole Melichar and her Chinese partner Yifan Xu, who are the No. 2 seeds, will play the unseeded team of Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia and Iga Swiatek of Poland for a spot in the final. Defending champions Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic and Andreja Klepac of Slovakia, the No. 8 seeds, will face No. 3 seeds Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic and  Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands.

Former collegians make up the majority of those still in men's doubles, including unseeded Steve Johnson(USC) and Austin Krajicek(Texas A&M), who played together last month for the Orange County Breakers in World Team Tennis competition. Johnson and Krajicek, who have yet to drop a set, will face unseeded Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain and Alex De Minaur of Australia in Thursday's semifinals. Unseeded Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski(LSU), who beat top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the first round, will play No. 3 seeds Rajeev Ram(Illinois) and Great Britain's Joe Salisbury(Memphis) in the other men's semifinal.

Thursday's schedule is here, with ESPN2 covering the singles beginning at 11 a.m. and Tennis Channel broadcasting the doubles at noon. The results from today can be found here

The US Open draws are set to be revealed at noon Thursday. Because there is no qualifying this year, we will know all first round matchups immediately.

There were three more US Open withdrawals today, with Kei Nishikori, who is recovering from Covid-19, bowing out on the men's side, allowing Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia to move into the main draw. Tamara Zidansek and Polona Hercog, both of Slovenia, are out of the women's draw, with Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine and Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium moving into the main draw. That makes 24 of the WTA Top 100 not in the field, while just 10 of the ATP Top 100 are not playing. 

The latest women's entry list is here; the latest men's entry list is here.

I received an email today informing me of the death of 28-year-old Campbell Johnson, a former University of Georgia player who transferred to Cal after his sophomore year and completed his eligibility in Berkeley in 2014. I haven't any details on his death other than this link from the funeral home, where condolence messages can be posted. As someone who covered Johnson throughout his junior career, I offer my deepest sympathy to his friends and family.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Pegula, Opelka Advance to Western & Southern Open Quarterfinals; Former Miami Star Megan Bradley Now Top USTA Executive

Qualifier Jessica Pegula has been a roll during this week's Western & Southern Open, with five wins in the last six days. Although she has won a WTA title (Washington 2019), Pegula earned her best ranking win today, defeating No. 5 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals of a WTA Premier event for the first time. 

Pegula played a very clean match throughout, moving well despite the heavy wrap on her left thigh, and staying in most points despite Sabalenka's pace. Pegula was her most impressive in the final game however, with three big confident serves leading to an easy hold in what is usually a tense situation.

Pegula will face No. 14 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium in the quarterfinals.

Unseeded Reilly Opelka advanced to his first ATP Masters quarterfinal today, beating No. 6 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy 6-3, 7-6(4), which was exactly the same score of his win over No. 9 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina Monday. Opelka had 19 aces and didn't face a break point, and in his press conference after the match, said he liked the new, faster Laykold surface at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center.

"I think some years the US Open should be like this," Opelka said. "I think it's gone too similar, when every court is so slow. That's how tennis players evolve, actually, by having different surfaces and different conditions...guys start to serve better when courts are slower, because you kind of have to. Guys start to return better when courts are quick. I think it evolves the game. I think it's more exciting."

Although the faster courts may favor him in New York, Opelka said he is planning to play the European clay circuit this fall, although questions still remain on how those events will be structured.

"We're still unsure of what's going to happen," Opelka said. "I think we have to assess how this goes, but it's definitely going to be tougher to have a bubble in Europe than it is here. I know it's just a sensitive time. There's a few ways to go about it. You can say, look, we have a bunch of young healthy athletes, we can advise certain members of the team who are maybe elderly not to come, but stat-wise, what we know about the virus now, if you're young and you're healthy, you're not at risk. The whole point is that we don't harm anyone that is at risk. Do we say, guys, it's your decision, if you're comfortable playing, we're going have these events, we'll do testing everyday on site, if anyone tests positive that's it, you stay there and we're going to isolate you. Or do we do a bubble, or do we do nothing. Three options. I'm fine with all three options. If they have the tournaments, I'm going to play. And if they do a bubble, that's great. I'm all in favor of the tour coming back."

Opelka's quarterfinal opponent is No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who defeated John Isner this evening 76(2), 76(4).

Christina McHale lost to Ons Jabeur 6-3, 6-0 and Tennys Sandgren lost to top seed Novak Djokovic 6-2, 6-4. The sixth US player in singles action Tuesday, Serena Williams, is playing tonight in a rain-delayed match. Complete results are here.  

Tuesday’s round of 16 results for US men:

Novak Djokovic[1](SRB) d. Tennys Sandgren[WC] 62, 64 

Reilly Opelka d. Matteo Berrettini[6](ITA) 63, 76(4)

Stefanos Tsitsipas[4](GRE) d. John Isner[16] 76(2), 76(4)

Tuesday’s round of 16 results for US women:

Jessica Pegula[Q] d. Aryna Sabalenka[5](BLR) 62, 26, 63

Ons Jabeur(TUN) d. Christina McHale[Q]  63, 60

Maria Sakkari[13](GRE) d. Serena Williams[3] 57, 76(5), 61 

Wednesday’s quarterfinal matches featuring Americans:

Reilly Opelka v Stefanos Tsitsipas[4](GRE)

Jessica Pegula[Q] v Elise Mertens[14](BEL)

Wednesday's schedule, which will feature all eight singles quarterfinals and all eight doubles quarterfinals is here.

The University of Miami came out with an interesting feature today about former All-American Megan Bradley Rose, who has gone from journalism, to college coaching, to the WTA, to her current position as USTA Senior Director of the Competitive Pathway. Rose, who has been with the USTA for the past three years, is now undertaking a new challenge at the USTA, as the point person for the USA Olympic team competing in Tokyo next summer. For more on her years at Miami, the path to her current position, her commitment to women's athletics and her USTA responsibilities, check out the article

Monday, August 24, 2020

Six Americans Advance to Tuesday's Round of 16 at Western & Southern Open; 143 Sites Announced for ITA Fall Circuit; Scott Receives USO Wild Card with Suarez Navarro, Ostapenko Withdrawals

Qualifiers continued to impress at the Western & Southern Open with Americans Jessica Pegula and Christina McHale among them. Pegula, who had an outstanding three weeks last month during World Team Tennis, defeated Amanda Anisimova 7-5, 6-2, while McHale defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia 6-1, 7-6(8). Pegula will face No. 5 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, who won a tough battle with qualifier Cici Bellis 6-7(1), 6-4, 7-5. McHale will face the winner of Monday's night match between Madison Keys and Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, so it's possible there will be one more American in the round of 16, bringing the total to seven. As for qualifiers, there are three women and two men who have advanced to the round of 16 with four wins in the past five days.

Tiebreakers were the order of the day for most US men in second round action Monday, with Tennys Sandgren, John Isner and Reilly Opelka all finishing their matches in that fashion.

Sandgren, a wild card, defeated No. 15 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of  6-7(4), 6-2, 7-6(5), although it was the 20-year-old Canadian who had the match on his racquet, serving at 5-4 in the final set and 5-4 in the final tiebreaker, but he was unable to close. The 15 Auger-Aliassime double faults were certainly one reason why the match was so close, but the margins were so slim throughout that it's hard to pinpoint what exactly was the difference.

Sandgren, who seemed more tired than elated after the nearly three-hour match, wasn't sure either.

"A lot of times it seems that tennis is in the hands of the fates, it's not really in your own hands," the former Tennessee Volunteer said in his Zoom news conference. "I don't know, you try to put yourself in a good position, try to be positive--I don't know, today was tough, we were both struggling a little bit--but just try to be positive and hope that it works out for you. Pick something proactive to try to do, be aggressive and come in or go for your spots on your serve, try to be proactive in those moments rather than reactive. It seems like the player who grabs the match by the reins in those later stages ends up getting through."

Isner, the No. 16 seed, had to come from behind in his match with Australian John Millman, but pressure-packed tiebreakers are standard operating procedure for the former Georgia Bulldog and he posted a 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(5) victory. Isner will play No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece Tuesday. 

Reilly Opelka is the third American man in the round of 16, with the 6-foot-11 Floridian beating No. 9 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, all of 5-foot-7, 6-3, 7-6(4). His opponent in the round of 16 is No. 6 seed Matteo Berrettini, who ended the run of qualifier Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-4, 6-7(3), 7-5. 

No. 2 seed Dominic Thiem was dispatched in a hurry by Filip Krajinovic of Serbia, with the 28-year-old getting only the second Top 10 win of his career (the first was over Djokovic, by retirement) in 18 such encounters. Top seed Novak Djokovic won his first match, beating qualifier Ricardas Berankis 7-6(2), 6-4, and will face Sandgren in the round of 16 Tuesday. Wild card Andy Murray, a two-time Western & Southern Open champion, eliminated No. 5 seed Alexander Zverev 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

Serena Williams also came through due to her performance in tiebreakers, beating qualifier Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands 7-6(6), 3-6, 7-6(0) in a roller coaster of a match. Williams led 5-2 in the third set, then lost four straight games, but Rus couldn't close it out serving at 6-5 in the third and Williams rolled through the tiebreaker. She will need to recover quickly for Tuesday's match against No. 13 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece, although it is the night match.

Tuesday's schedule is here. Monday's results are here.

Monday’s second round singles matches featuring US men:

Daniil Medvedev[3](RUS) d. Marcos Giron[Q] 64, 64

Tennys Sandgren[WC] d. Felix Auger-Aliassime[15](CAN) 67(4), 62, 76(5)

Aijaz Bedene[Q](SLO) d. Taylor Fritz 76(5), 75 

Reilly Opelka v Diego Schwartzman[9](ARG) 63, 76(4)

John Isner[16] v John Millman(AUS) 46, 76(3), 76(5)

Monday’s second round singles matches featuring US women:

Jessica Pegula[Q] d. Amanda Anisimova 75, 62 

Christina McHale[Q] d. Ekaterina Alexandrova(RUS) 61, 76(8)

Serena Williams[3] d. Arantxa Rus[Q](NED) 76(6), 36, 76(0)

Aryna Sabalenka[5](BLR) d. Cici Bellis[Q] 67(1), 64, 75

Dayana Yastremska[16](UKR) d. Bernarda Pera 76(5), 46, 63 

Ons Jabeur(TUN) d. Madison Keys[7] 64, 61 

Tuesday’s round of 16 matches featuring US men:

Tennys Sandgren[WC] v Novak Djokovic[1](SRB)

John Isner[16] v Stefanos Tsitsipas[4](GRE)

Reilly Opelka v Matteo Berrettini[6](ITA)

Tuesday’s round of 16 matches featuring US women:

Serena Williams[3] v Maria Sakkari[13](GRE)

Christina McHale[Q] v Ons Jabeur(TUN)

Jessica Pegula[Q] v Aryna Sabalenka[5](BLR)

The ITA today revealed its schedule for the upcoming Fall Circuit by UTR, a ten-week series of three-day events beginning September 18th and ending November 22nd. There are currently 143 tournaments on schedule with at least ten each week at venues across the country. The release mentions 220 events, so others may be added in the coming weeks. The first day to register, for tournaments in weeks 1-3, is Monday August 31st. It's important to register early, with demand likely to be high for some popular venues, as it was for the ITA Summer Circuit. The lack of playing opportunities for those in college this fall is likely to send many of them into this circuit, even if they did not play this summer. The list of events can be found here. An ITA player membership is required, but anyone who purchased one for the Summer Circuit need not buy another. 

Another two withdrawals from the US Open were announced today, with Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro and Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko not making the trip to New York. Kurumi Nara of Japan and Whitney Osuigwe move into the main draw. Because Osuigwe already had a received a wild card, hers is now available, and it has been awarded to Katrina Scott. The updated women's entry list is here

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Giron Beats Former Teammate McDonald, Moves into ATP Top 100; Qualifiers, Including Three US Women, Advance to Western & Southern Open Second Round, as Top Seeds Pliskova and Kenin Fall

©Colette Lewis 2020-

Marcos Giron's climb up the ATP rankings was stalled twice, initially by hip surgery, and, in the past few months, by the pandemic. Sitting on the cusp of the ATP Top 100 when the tour shut down in March, Giron, ranked 102, had no opportunity to take that next step. 

But the 2014 NCAA singles champion took advantage of his first chance to move up at the Western & Southern Open, played this year the week before the US Open in the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center bubble.  With his two victories in qualifying and today's 7-6(2), 7-5 win over former UCLA teammate Mackie McDonald, Giron will now join that exclusive club.

"It's definitely been a journey," the 27-year-old from Thousand Oaks California said in his Zoom press conference. "Looking back, when I left school in 2014, I always knew I had the game, but I did not think it would take this long. Of course there were some speed bumps, with hip surgery and learning how to travel 30 weeks a year...It took quite a while and everyone's so good."

Giron fell behind 5-3 in today's match with fellow NCAA champion McDonald, who also qualified, but Giron immediately broke back and was serving at 4-5 30-0 when McDonald asked for a medical timeout. The trainer arrived, consulted with McDonald and they went off court for treatment for what appeared to be his right hip. After nearly 15 minutes, McDonald returned to court, Giron held, and McDonald began to serve and volley and seek out quick points, suggesting the injury was a concern. Yet McDonald got himself into the tiebreaker, and even when he lost that, he played on. 

"It really sucked seeing him get hurt there," Giron said. "I didn't know he was struggling with his hip and I didn't notice until 4-5, 30-0 when he took the injury timeout. And from there it was kind of tough playing, because I wasn't sure if he was going to keep going. He wasn't really moving and anyone who knows Mackie knows that he glides around the court, he's a fantastic mover. In the second set I was concerned, hoping he was ok, but I also knew anything could happen--it's not over til it's over. I hope that he's ok, that's it's nothing serious and a couple days off and he's ok, able to compete in the US Open next week. But I'm also excited, it has been a journey and I'm pumped to be here and I want to be here to stay, to keep moving forward."

In the second set McDonald again got the first break, but again Giron got the break back in the next game, and once he dug out of a 15-40 hole to take a 4-3 lead, he looked in control. Serving at 5-6, McDonald donated several unforced errors and Giron was through to the second round of a Masters 1000 for the second time in his career.

His next challenge is a big one, as he takes on defending champion and No. 3 seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia Monday.

"Medvedev has shown his is one of the best in the world and I know I'll have to play my best to have a chance," said Giron, who is now being coached by Robby Ginepri. "I'm excited for it, that's why we play. We play to compete against the very best in the world, so I'm excited for it. I'm going to need to do some research, but there's a lot of matches out there and he's an absolute beast. It's going to be a challenge, but that's why we play."

Qualifier JJ Wolf could not join Giron in the second round, falling to Richard Gasquet of France 6-4, 6-4 in what was the 21-year-old Wolf's first ATP level match and the 34-year-old Gasquet's 865th. The former Ohio State star said the difference in experience between them was indeed a factor, with the fifth game of the first set the best example of that. Serving at 3-1, 30-0 Wolf went on to lose the game, a mistake he didn't think Gasquet would have made.

"Yeah, he's definitely a very talented and experienced player," Wolf said in his Zoom press conference. "I think the match mostly went the wrong way when I was up 3-1, 30-Love and I didn't execute on that game. You know, him being a veteran, he knew how to take advantage of that. You know, I didn't."

Despite the loss, Wolf is looking forward to the upcoming US Open, with his entry into his first slam main draw coming via a wild card.

"You know, it meant a lot to me to get that wildcard and get a chance to play the U.S. Grand Slam," Wolf said. "That's always going to be my favorite Grand Slam. I love playing at home. Yeah, been working my butt off trying to get ready for it. Played a couple practice five-setters back in Columbus, so I'm hoping that will have me ready."

Wild card Tennys Sandgren trailed 6-3 in the second set tiebreaker but recovered to defeat Lorenzo Sonego of Italy 6-3, 7-6(7). 

The women's draw opened up considerably today, with top seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic falling to Veronika Kudermetova of Russia 7-5, 6-4 in the second round and No. 2 seed Sofia Kenin dropping a 6-1, 7-6(7) decision tonight in her second round encounter with Alize Cornet of France. 

Three Americans are among the eight women's qualifiers to advance to the second round, with Cici Bellis, Jessica Pegula and Christina McHale winning their third matches in the past four days.

Complete results from Sunday are here.

Sunday’s first round singles results featuring US women:

Cici Bellis[Q] d. Oceane Dodin[Q](FRA) 62, 36, 76(1)

Christina McHale[Q] d. Iga Swiatek(POL) 62, 64

Jil Teichmann[Q](SUI) d. Danielle Collins 63, 63

Caroline Garcia(FRA) d. Sloane Stephens[WC] 63, 76(4)

Jessica Pegula[Q] d. Jennifer Brady 76(5), 64

Sunday’s second round singles matches featuring US women:

Alize Cornet(FRA) d. Sofia Kenin[2] 6-1, 7-6(7)

Sunday’s first round singles matches featuring US men:

Tennys Sandgren[WC] d. Lorenzo Sonego(ITA) 63, 76(7)

John Isner[16] d. Hubert Hurkacz(POL) 75, 64

Marcos Giron[Q] d. Mackenzie McDonald[Q] 76(2), 75 

Richard Gasquet(FRA) d. JJ Wolf[Q] 64, 64

Emil Ruusuvuori[Q](FIN) d. Sebastian Korda[Q] 76(3), 46, 75

Monday's full schedule is here

Monday’s second round singles matches featuring US men:

Marcos Giron[Q] v Daniil Medvedev[3](RUS)

Tennys Sandgren[WC] v Felix Auger-Aliassime[15](CAN)

Taylor Fritz v Aijaz Bedene[Q](SLO)

Reilly Opelka v Diego Schwartzman[9](ARG)

John Isner[16] v John Millman(AUS)

Monday’s second round singles matches featuring US women:

Amanda Anisimova v Jessica Pegula[Q]

Christina McHale[Q] v Ekaterina Alexandrova(RUS)

Serena Williams[3] v Arantxa Rus[Q](NED)

Cici Bellis[Q] v Aryna Sabalenka[5](BLR)

Bernarda Pera v Dayana Yastremska[16](UKR)

Madison Keys[7] v Ons Jabeur(TUN)

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Fritz, Opelka, Pera and Anisimova Advance at Western & Southern Open; More on Boland's Departure from Baylor; Petition to Save Iowa Men's Tennis

After two days of qualifying, the first day of Western & Southern Open main draw competition Saturday saw four Americans advance to the second round. 

Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka both drew qualifiers for their first round opponents, and both had little difficulty picking up their first official ATP wins since February.  

Fritz didn't face a break point in his 6-1, 6-3 win over Lloyd Harris of South Africa and although his first serve percentage was only 56, he won all 22 points played after he got a first serve in. On ESPN, Brad Gilbert said that Fritz had been hitting serves in the 140 mph range during World Team Tennis; I watched quite a few WTT matches last month and don't recall that kind of serving performance, but with the WTT format of just one short set, I probably just missed those particular performances. Fritz will have Sunday off, with his opponent in the second round the winner of Sunday's match between Aljaz Bedene(SLO) and No. 13 seed Cristian Garin(CHI).

With 18, Opelka had exactly twice as many aces as Fritz, but he did need to save two break points in his 6-3, 6-4 win over Cameron Norrie of Great Britain. Norrie, the former TCU star, had those two break points in the last game of the first set and the last game of the match, but couldn't work himself back into the match. Opelka will also have Sunday off, with his second round opponent the winner of Sunday's match between Casper Ruud(NOR) and No. 9 seed Diego Schwartzman(ARG).

Bernada Pera was the only American to advance to the second round by beating a non-American, defeating Heather Watson of Great Britain 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. Pera will play No. 16 seed Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine, who beat wild card Venus Williams 5-7, 6-2, 7-5, in the second round. Coco Gauff and Caty McNally both lost in straight sets, to Maria Sakkari and Alize Cornet, disappointing results for the teen-aged doubles partners. Eighteen-year-old Amanda Anisimova, who pulled out of last week's WTA event in Lexington with an injury, got her first win since February, beating No. 11 seed Alison Riske 6-3, 6-3 in the night match on Court 17.

Frances Tiafoe, who contracted the Covid-19 virus this summer, pushed fellow wild card and two-time W&S champion Andy Murray to a third set, but appeared to struggle physically in the third set on a hot and humid day in New York. Murray claimed a 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-1 decision for his first win in 2020. Murray, who had hip surgery last year and has a pelvic injury this year,  said of his match today:

"My tennis could have been better. I thought I could have played a bit better. You know, I guess that will come, the more matches I play. But, you know, I always need to see as well how I recover from a match like that too, because, you know, although I felt good during the match, things can sometimes stiffen up and hurt a bit afterward. I'm happy with how I did today. Would have liked to have played a bit better, but physically I was good. That is the most important thing for me, because that hasn't been the case for the last ten months."

Murray faces No. 5 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany Monday in the second round.

All results from Saturday can be found here.

Saturday’s first round singles matches featuring US women:

Amanda Anisimova d. Alison Riske[11] 63, 63

Dayana Yastremska(UKR) d. Venus Williams[WC] 57, 62, 75

Maria Sakkari[13](GRE) d. Coco Gauff 61, 63 

Alize Cornet(FRA) d. Caty McNally[WC] 60, 64

Bernarda Pera d. Heather Watson(GBR) 61, 36, 63

Karolina Muchova(CZE) d. Ann Li[Q] 64, 64 

Saturday’s first round singles matches featuring US men:

Taylor Fritz d. Lloyd Harris[Q](RSA) 61, 63

Reilly Opelka d. Cameron Norrie[Q](GBR) 63, 64

Ricardas Berankis[Q](LTU) d. Tommy Paul[WC] 67(4), 64, 75 

Andy Murray[WC](GBR) d. Frances Tiafoe[WC] 76(6), 36, 61 

Milos Raonic(CAN) d. Sam Querrey 64, 64

Sunday’s first round singles matches featuring US women:

Cici Bellis[Q] v Oceane Dodin[Q](FRA)

Christina McHale[Q] v Iga Swiatek(POL)

Danielle Collins v Jil Teichmann[Q](SUI)

Sloane Stephens[WC] v Caroline Garcia(FRA)

Jennifer Brady v Jessica Pegula[Q]

Sunday’s second round singles matches featuring US women:

Sofia Kenin[2] v Alize Cornet(FRA)

Sunday’s first round singles matches featuring US men:

Tennys Sandgren[WC] v Lorenzo Sonego(ITA)

John Isner[16] v Hubert Hurkacz(POL)

Mackenzie McDonald[Q] v Marcos Giron[Q]

JJ Wolf[Q] v Richard Gasquet(FRA)

Sebastian Korda[Q] v Emil Ruusuvuori[Q](FIN)

The ATP posted an article after yesterday's final round of qualifying with quotes from Wolf and Korda about earning a place in the main draw of a Masters event for the first time.

Sunday's full schedule is here.

The Waco Tribune-Herald published an article last night about the sudden resignation of men's tennis coach Brian Boland last month, a  departure preceded by an investigation into inappropriate text messages to a female student.

Will Davies, a senior on the Iowa men's tennis team, has started a change.org petition to save the program, which will be discontinued after the 2020-21 season. You can sign the petition here

Friday, August 21, 2020

Eight Americans Qualify for Western & Southern Open Main Draw; 12 US Players Kick Off First Round Saturday; Iowa Men's Tennis Cut

Twelve Americans reached today's final round of qualifying at the Western & Southern Open after wins on Thursday, and eight of them advanced to the main draw with victories today.

All four of the US men who reached the final round won their matches, all of them from a set down. Wild card Sebastian Korda had the most impressive win, with the 20-year-old from Florida defeating top seed Gilles Simon of France 3-6, 6-0, 6-1 for his first ATP Top 100 victory. Korda won 11 straight games before Simon, ATP No. 54, got on the board in the third set. Korda, the 2018 Australian Open boys champion, will be playing in his first ATP Masters main draw.

Twenty-one-year-old JJ Wolf, also a wild card, defeated Jaume Munar of Spain 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 to reach the main draw of an ATP Masters event for the first time. Because the former Ohio State All-American is from Cincinnati, he has previously played the tournament's qualifying, and also played qualifying at Indian Wells last year, but this is the first time he has advanced to the main draw. 

Mackenzie McDonald, the third men's wild card to reach the main draw, needed over two-and-a-half hours to get by Dominik Koepfer(Tulane) of Germany 6-7(0), 7-5, 7-6(5).  McDonald's former teammate at UCLA (and fellow NCAA singles champion) Marcos Giron also needed a comeback, beating Gregoire Barrere of France 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4. The two former Bruins have drawn each other in the first round of the main draw.

Only four of 24 seeds in qualifying advanced to the main draw on the men's side. 

Four of the eight US women in the final round of qualifying advanced to the main draw, including two wild cards: Cici Bellis and Ann Li. Bellis defeated Ysaline Bonaventure of Belgium 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, and Li continued her stellar play, beating No. 15 seed Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia 6-3, 7-6(5). Kuzmova led 5-3 in the second set and had two set points, but Li recovered for her second WTA Top 100 win in the past two days.

No. 18 seed Christina McHale and No. 14 seed Jessica Pegula also earned spots in the main draw, with Pegula beating Liudmila Samsonova of Russia 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 and McHale earning a 6-3, 7-5 win over No. 6 seed Daria Kasatkina of Russia.

Seventeen-year-old Leylah Fernandez of Canada, who qualified and won a round last week in Lexington, defeated Kristie Ahn 6-4, 6-1 to make her second Premier 5 event main draw. She had received a wild card into the Rogers Cup last summer. Six of the 24 women's qualifying seeds reached the main draw. 

Today's final round qualifying results of Americans:

US Women:

Jessica Pegula[14] d. Liudmila Samsonova(RUS) 63, 36, 62

Leylah Fernandez(CAN) d. Kristie Ahn[24] 64, 61

Christina McHale[18] d. Daria Kasatkina[6](RUS) 63, 75

Laura Siegemund[5](GER) d. Caroline Dolehide[WC] 63, 63

Kirsten Flipkens[12](BEL) d. Katie Volynets[WC] 61, 2-0 ret.

Jil Teichmann[1](SUI) d. Shelby Rogers[22] 63, 64

Ann Li[WC] d. Viktoria Kuzmova[15](SVK) 63, 76(5)

Cici Bellis[WC] d. Ysaline Bonaventure(BEL) 46, 64, 61

US Men:

JJ Wolf[WC] d. Jaume Munar(ESP) 26, 62, 64

Marcos Giron d. Gregoire Barrere(FRA) 46, 76(2), 64

Mackenzie McDonald[WC] d. Dominik Koepfer(GER) 67(0), 75, 76(5)

Sebastian Korda[WC] d. Gilles Simon[1](FRA) 36, 60, 61

Kim Clijsters, who had been given a wild card, withdrew today with an injury, and Kasatkina received entry into the main draw as a lucky loser. Jennifer Brady had been drawn to face Clijsters, but will now play Pegula.

The women's main draw is here; the men's main draw is here.

Main draw play begins on Saturday, with Li the only women's qualifier on the schedule.  Below is a list of all the first round matches featuring Americans; the first section are those in action Saturday; the rest are expected to play their first round matches Sunday.  For the television schedule, which is a mix of ESPN, ESPN2 and Tennis Channel, click here.

Saturday’s first round singles matches featuring US women:

Alison Riske[11] v Amanda Anisimova

Venus Williams[WC] v Dayana Yastremska(UKR)

Coco Gauff v Maria Sakkari[13](GRE)

Caty McNally[WC] v Alize Cornet(FRA)

Bernarda Pera v Heather Watson(GBR)

Ann Li[Q] v Karolina Muchova(CZE)

Saturday’s first round singles matches featuring US men:

Taylor Fritz v Lloyd Harris[Q](RSA)

Reilly Opelka v Cameron Norrie[Q](GBR)

Tommy Paul[WC] v Ricardas Berankis[Q](LTU)

Frances Tiafoe[WC] v Andy Murray[WC](GBR)

Sam Querrey v Milos Raonic(CAN)

Other first round matches featuring Americans, which are not on Saturday's schedule:

Tennys Sandgren[WC] v Lorenzo Sonego(ITA)
John Isner[16] v Hubert Hurkacz(POL)
Mackenzie McDonald[Q] v Marcos Giron[Q]
JJ Wolf[Q] v Richard Gasquet(FRA)
Sebastian Korda[Q] v Emil Ruusuvuori[Q](FIN)

Jennifer Brady v Jessica Pegula[Q]
Cici Bellis[Q] v Oceane Dodin[Q](FRA)
Danielle Collins v Jil Teichmann[Q](SUI)
Serena Williams[3] bye
Madison Keys[7] bye
Christina McHale[Q] v Iga Swiatek(POL)
Sloane Stephens[WC] v Caroline Garcia(FRA)
Sofia Kenin[2] bye

Although Clijsters is still hoping to play the US Open, another woman has dropped out today: Andrea Petkovic of Germany. Eighteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine has moved into the US Open main draw, with Whitney Osuigwe, who already has a wild card, now two spots from moving into the main draw on her own ranking. The current women's US Open entry list is here.

Disheartening news on the college tennis front today, with the University of Iowa announcing the cutting of four varsity sports, including men's tennis, after the 2020-21 season. The other sports cut are men’s gymnastics and men’s and women’s swimming and divingThis is the first Power 5 conference tennis program to be cut since the University of Maryland ended its men's tennis program in 2012, but I don't expect this will be the last given the financial crisis that has resulted from Covid-19. The announcement from the university and athletic department is here.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Volynets Among Four Women's Wild Cards to Advance to Western & Southern Open Final Round of Qualifying; Former College Stars Advance in Men's Qualifying; Main Draws Released with Djokovic and Pliskova Top Seeds

The first round of qualifying for the Western & Southern Open is not quite complete, but several of the US women who received wild cards picked up the best wins of their careers today at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center in New York. 

Eighteen-year-old wild card Katie Volynets, who a year ago won the USTA National 18s title and with it a US Open main draw wild card, earned her first WTA Top 100 victory today, beating No. 91 Monica Puig[19] 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3. Volynets trailed 6-4, 5-2, with Puig serving for the match both at 5-2 and 5-4, but Puig couldn't get to match point either time. Volynets will play No. 12 seed Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium Friday for a place in the main draw.

Twenty-year-old Ann Li had already collected two WTA Top 100 wins in the past 12 months, but she earned her best win today, beating No. 66 Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan 6-1, 6-3 in just over an hour. Li faces No. 15 seed Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia Friday for a place in the main draw.

The US men's wild cards found success as well, with Mackenzie McDonald and JJ Wolf getting straight-set wins and Sebastian Korda closing out the long day with a win over No. 15 seed Attila Balazs of Hungary.

Wolf was the first player to win an ATP match since the pandemic, beating No. 11 seed Egor Gerasimov of Belarus 6-3, 6-1 in 53 minutes. Like Li, Wolf has already recorded his first ATP Top 100 wins--he's 22-4 since last November--but Gerasimov, at 69, is the best win ranking-wise of the former Ohio State star's career. Wolf faces Jaume Munar of Spain for a place in the main draw.

Former UCLA Bruin McDonald, who is coming back from an injury and has seen his ranking fall to 271, defeated No. 24 seed Yuichi Sugita of Japan 7-6(3), 6-3 to advance to a meeting with another former college star, Dominik Koepfer(Tulane) of Germany, who beat No. 6 seed Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina 6-5, 7-6(0).  Korda, who turned 20 last month, will face top seed Gilles Simon of France for a place in the main draw. Marcos Giron also defeated a seed to advance to the final round of qualifying, earning a 6-2, 6-2 win over No. 19 Laslo Djere of Serbia. He will play Gregoire Barrere of France in the final round of qualifying.

The schedule for Friday's matches is available here.

Western & Southern Open First Round Qualifying, August 20, 2020

Results of US men:

Pedro Martinez(ESP) d. Steve Johnson[6] 63, 67(4), 62

Marton Fucsovics[21](HUN) d. Brandon Nakashima[WC] 62, 64

JJ Wolf[WC] d. Egor Gerasimov[11](BEL) 63, 61

Aljaz Bedene[4](SLO) d. Denis Kudla 64, 75

Mackenzie McDonald[WC] d. Yuichi Sugita[24](JPN) 76(3), 63

Marcos Giron d. Laslo Djere[19](SRB) 62, 62

Jordan Thompson[7](AUS) d. Michael Mmoh[WC] 62, 76(2)

Sebastian Korda[WC] d. Attila Balazs[15](HUN) 64, 46, 63

Results of US women:

Liudmila Samsonova(RUS) d. Lauren Davis[3] 64, 61

Kristie Ahn[24] d. Anna-Lena Friedsam(GER) 75, 60

Jessica Pegula[14] d. Varvara Gracheva(RUS) 75, 76(8)

Caroline Dolehide[WC] d. Jasmine Paolini[23](ITA) 63, 26, 65

Christina McHale[18] d. Usue Arconada[WC] 62, 26, 64

Cici Bellis[WC] d. Madison Brengle[13]  63, 76(4)

Katie Volynets[WC] d. Monica Puig[19](PUR) 46, 76(4), 63

Shelby Rogers[22] d. Margarita Gasparyan(RUS) 63, 76(3)

Ann Li[WC] d. Zarina Diyas[4](KAZ) 61, 63

Paula Badosa[21](ESP) d. Francesca Di Lorenzo 64, 63

Sorana Cirstea[10](ROU) d. Robin Montgomery[WC] 61, 64

Astra Sharma(AUS) d. Taylor Townsend[9] 62, 60

All qualifying results from Thursday are here.

The main draws were released this evening, with seven US men and 12 US women competing for the title (plus those who qualify of course). Only one US man is seeded: No. 16 John Isner, while four US women are seeded: Alison Riske[11], Madison Keys[7], Serena Williams[3] and Sofia Kenin[2]. The top 8 seeds in both the men's and women's main draws receive byes.  Novak Djokovic is the top men's seed and Karolina Pliskova is the top women's seed.

Below are the first round matchups for American players. I will also include this list on Friday, when the qualifiers have been determined and placed in the draw.

First round W&S US Men: 

Tommy Paul[WC] v Q

Tennys Sandgren[WC] v Lorenzo Sonego(ITA)

Taylor Fritz v Q

Reilly Opelka v Q

John Isner[16] v Hubert Hurkacz(POL)

Frances Tiafoe[WC]  v Andy Murray[WC](GBR)

Sam Querrey v Milos Raonic(CAN)

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Montgomery, Dolehide and Arconada Receive Western & Southern Open Qualifying Wild Cards for Thursday's Start; US Open Doubles Fields, Wild Cards Released; UCLA Coaching Legend Glenn Bassett Dies

Qualifying for the Western & Southern Open begins on Thursday at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center in New York, and several young American women, who were not originally announced as participants, have received wild cards. Francesca Di Lorenzo, Shelby Rogers and Russia's Anna Kalinskaya moved into the qualifying draw on their own rankings, with Robin Montgomery, Caroline Dolehide and Usue Arconada receiving the wild cards that had initially been awarded to Di Lorenzo, Rogers and Kalinskaya.  The women's qualifying draw is here.

Matches begin at 11 a.m. Thursday, with five US Open courts--17, 10, 7, 9, 15--hosting the 24 women's first round matches. Of the American teens in action, Montgomery will face No. 10 seed Sorana Cirstea of Romania; Katie Volynets, the 2018 USTA 18s champion, will play No. 19 seed Monica Puig of Puerto Rico. The only other teenager in the qualifying, 17-year-old Leylah Fernandez of Canada, plays No. 2 seed Anna Blinkova of Russia.  WTA Lexington finalist Jil Teichmann of Switzerland is the top seed in qualifying. 

The men's qualifying is also beginning Thursday, on Grandstand and Courts 11, 12, 14, 8. Denis Kudla is one of four alternates to receive entry into qualifying. Wild card Brandon Nakashima plays No. 21 seed Marton Fucsovics of Hungary and former Ohio State star JJ Wolf, also a wild card, takes on Egor Gerasimov of Belarus. Wild cards Sebastian Korda and Michael Mmoh face No. 15 seed Attila Balazs of Hungary and No. 7 seed Jordan Thompson of Australia respectively. The men's qualifying draw is here. The men's top seed in qualifying is Gilles Simon of France.

The Western & Southern announced tonight that two players were withdrawn from the tournament due to the positive Covid-19 test of a non-player announced by the USTA on Wednesday. Here is the explanation, and although no names were given in the release, it has been reported on Twitter that they are Guido Pella of Argentina and Hugo Dellien of Bolivia, and the non-player is a physio they both use.

Yesterday, the Western & Southern Open and US Open Medical Team learned that an individual (non-player) tested positive for COVID-19 within the Western & Southern Open and US Open controlled environment. That individual is currently isolating for 10 days. After initiating the internal contact tracing process, it was determined that two players have been in close and prolonged contact with this individual. The players are not experiencing any symptoms. However, with input from the Western & Southern Open and US Open Medical Team, and in consultation with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, those two players have been removed from the 2020 Western & Southern Open and are currently under quarantine.

The US Open doubles fields and wild cards were announced today, with the big news that the Bryan brothers are not among the entrants this year. They have not provided a statement, but everyone hopes that they will not retire, as was previously planned, after the US Open. All tennis fans would love to see them one last time in New York in 2021. The men's doubles field is listed here and the women's doubles field is listed here.

The wild cards for the doubles include several men who are not in the singles draw, but who now have an opportunity to serve as alternates: Ernesto Escobedo, Noah Rubin(Wake Forest) and Chris Eubanks(Georgia Tech).

Here are the wild cards:
Kim Clijsters(BEL) and Hailey Baptiste
Ann Li and Bernarda Pera
Christina McHale and Usue Arconada
Jessica Pegula and Shelby Rogers

Chris Eubanks(Georgia Tech) and Mackenzie McDonald(UCLA)
Ernesto Escobedo and Noah Rubin(Wake Forest)
Ryan Harrison and Christian Harrison
Nicholas Monroe(North Carolina) and Nathaniel Lammons(SMU)

Glenn Bassett, a Pac-12 coaching legend at UCLA, passed away yesterday at the age of 93. Bassett, who coached the men's team from 1967-93, won seven NCAA titles for the Bruins, with Jimmy Connors among the NCAA singles champions he coached. Billy Martin, who was Bassett's assistant for ten years before taking over as head coach, also won an NCAA singles title when playing for Bassett. UCLA has had only two men's tennis coaches in the past 53 years, remarkable, but several years short of Georgia, which has had only two men's tennis coaches in the past 65 years: Dan Magill 1954-88 and Manny Diaz 1989-present.

For more on Bassett's stellar coaching career, see this article from the UCLA website.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

IMG Signs Robin Montgomery; Update on IMG Camps; One Positive Covid-19 Test at W&S/US Open Bubble; Lu Withdraws From US Open

IMG announced today that Robin Montgomery, who turns 16 next month, has signed a representation contract, meaning the left-hander from Washington DC has decided to forgo college for a pro tennis career. I spoke to Montgomery back in March after she unexpectedly won the $25,000 Pro Circuit tournament in Las Vegas about whether that title had led her to consider turning pro sooner rather than later:

CL: Does this change your timeline for turning professional?

RM: At this moment, I don't know. My mom kind of deals with that stuff. She wants to make sure I don't get overwhelmed with anything. This might change something, we don't quite know yet for sure.

Montgomery will be represented by Jill Smoller, Carlos Fleming and Caroline Ebner according to Liz Mullen of Sports Business Daily (article is behind a paywall). She has received a US Open wild card, and next week will be heading to New York from her base at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park Maryland to begin the pre-tournament testing and quarantine protocol. (Correction: Montgomery received a Western & Southern Open qualifying wild card, so she would have had to been in New York four days ago).

You may have noticed that the IMG banner ad is back at the top of the site, and I wanted to mention that although the normal sports camps are not happening this fall, there is one more week of the IMG Academy+ virtual camps, which are over at the end of August. For more information on the virtual camp, go to this webpage. Applications are open now for the 2020-21 school year with boarding at the Bradenton campus. See this webpage for more information on the boarding option. I appreciate the support of IMG during these challenging five months, and welcome their return. Crosscourt Consulting remains an advertiser, with their banner now located in the left sidebar. Thanks again to them and to OTZ Sports for their support as well. 

I was on a USTA media telephone conference held today to discuss the health and safety protocols for the Western & Southern Open, which begins with qualifying Thursday, and the US Open, which begins August 31st. Shortly before the conference call, the USTA announced that one person, not a player, had tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, and Stacey Allaster, the US Open tournament director, confirmed that the one positive, out of 1400 Tier 1 tests administered, was the second test the person took, not the initial one upon arrival. Allaster explained that the Tier 1 group "includes all the players, their guests, tournament off staff, officials and the medical teams, approximately about a thousand people in the tier one group."

The person was asymptomatic; state and local regulations require a 10-day quarantine for that person and a 14-day quarantine for a roommate or anyone else exposed to the positive person. Explanation of this protocol, as well as what happens if a player tests positive during the tournaments, can be found in the transcript of today's conference call. Also note that all singles alternates will come from the doubles players competing in the tournament, in order to keep the number of competitors in the bubble to a minimum.

After many withdrawals from the women's field at the US Open, the first withdrawal for the men in over ten days came today, with Rendy Lu of Taiwan, who had entered with a protected ranking, officially notifying the tournament that he would not participate. That moves Federico Gaio of Italy into the field. The latest men's entry list is here.

Unlike the women's field, there are no US men just a few spots out of the main draw, so it's unlikely additional wild cards will be awarded, as there have been for American women. The men's US Open main draw wild cards are: JJ Wolf, Maxime Cressy, Mitchell Krueger, Michael Mmoh, Thai Kwiatkowski, Brandon Nakashima, Sebastian Korda and Ulises Blanch. 

Monday, August 17, 2020

USTA Announces Additional Cancellations of National Junior Events; Three US ITF Junior Tournaments, Including B1 Pan American Closed, Canceled; Halep Among Three Women Withdrawing from US Open

The USTA today announced the cancellation of all USTA National level Junior events through October 12th and all its adult events through 2020. In addition to USTA tournaments, the International Tennis Federation's junior events scheduled in the US in September and October are also off, including the biggest tournament of the fall, the ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed.

From the USTA release:


Due to the situation surrounding COVID-19, the USTA has canceled all National junior events through Oct. 12, as well as all adult Category 1 events, comprising the Adult, Open, Family, and Age divisions, through the end of 2020.

The decision to cancel was made to ensure the health and safety of all those involved as the interstate travel required for these tournaments carries an increased risk. In addition, the different regulations, restrictions and quarantine periods, dependent upon the localities involved, both at the site of the event and in the participants’ home states were considered.

 The safety of the actual tennis being played did not factor into the decision to cancel the events. In order to encourage local play opportunities that do not require extensive travel, junior and adult players will now be able to earn national rankings points at select Section-level events.

The list of USTA National and ITF Junior events canceled:

September National Level 3 (Sept. 12-14)

Zimmerman/Johnson National Level 2 (Sept. 18-20)

McKinney Texas Grade 5 ITF (Sept. 19-26)

Corpus Christi Grade 4 ITF (Sept. 26-Oct. 3)

Pan American Grade B1 ITF (Oct. 3-10)

October National Level 2 (Oct. 10-12)

Allstate Sugar Bowl Level 3 (Nov. 14-16)

The list of adult tournaments canceled is much longer. It can be found here.

The mention in the release of national points for sectional play is new and should be a prompt to contact your section's junior competition department for more on the options available.

The Eddie Herr and Orange Bowl, two top ITF junior events in the US remaining for 2020, are still on the ITF Junior calendar, but as I noted several weeks ago, the ITF has made a decision to provide only level 3 points as the maximum number available at all ITF Junior events this year. The ITF's explanation of the junior rankings and points available through 2020 is here; there is a mention of the French Open junior championships receiving an exemption to the continue as a Grade A, but that tournament still does not appear on the ITF junior calendar in October. The calendar now does show the ITF Grade A Osaka Mayor's Cup in Japan in October as canceled. As with the ITF men's and women's events, it appears most of the junior opportunities to compete will be in Europe this fall.

Three more women withdrew from the US Open today, including world No. 2 Simona Halep. (Su-Wei Hsieh(TPE) and Priscilla Hon(AUS) are the others). That leaves just four of the WTA Top 10 competing in New York, but does provide more opportunities for Americans, with Usue Arconada moving into the main draw on her own ranking, and Allie Kiick receiving Arconada's wild card. Four US women have moved up into the main draw, freeing up wild cards; A fifth wild card, Whitney Osuigwe, is now three spots out of the main draw.

The men's field has been remarkably stable, given the circumstances, with only one withdrawal in the past ten days. The current women's entry list is here.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Former Collegians Sweep Titles at WTA Tournament in Kentucky; Kudla Defeats Kwiatkowski at Lotto Elite Challenge; Nishikori Tests Positive for Covid-19 Virus

Former UCLA star Jennifer Brady won her first WTA title in her first final today at the Top Seed Open in Lexington Kentucky, beating Jil Teichmann of Switzerland 6-3, 6-4 in the final of first event in US since the Covid-19 shutdown.

The unseeded Brady, who did not drop a set in her five victories, got a late break in the first set after saving four break points to take 4-3 lead, and she served out the set, although it took her five set points to secure it.

Brady's forehand has always been her best shot, and she needed to be aggressive with it, and solid on her backhand, to take that opening set, because she got only 33 percent of her first serves in. Teichmann, who was 2 for 2 in her previous WTA final appearances, wasn't able to capitalize on Brady's poor serving, and she missed crucial second serve returns on key points during that set.

Brady jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second set, with impressive depth and few unforced errors, but Teichmann hung tough from then on. Teichmann, a 23-year-old left-hander, was unable to get a look at a break point however, with Brady's serve improving in the second set. Any nerves that the 25-year-old Brady might have felt serving out the match were well hidden, and she converted her first career championship point at 40-15 with a signature forehand winner.

Brady, who played for the Bruins from 2013-2015, will move to a career-high of 40 in the WTA rankings, and is expected to be seeded at the US Open this year, with so many international players ranked above her deciding not to play in the US this summer. For more on Brady's title, see this Associated Press article.

No. 4 seeds Hayley Carter and Brazil's Luisa Stefani won the doubles title, beating Teichmann and Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 7-5 for their second WTA title.

Carter, a former North Carolina star, and Stefani, a former standout at Pepperdine, led 6-1, 5-1 before Teichmann and Bouzkova won four straight games and took a 40-15 lead serving at 5-all in the second set. But Carter and Stefani, who won their first title last fall at the WTA International tournament in Tashkent, won that game on a deciding point to allow Carter a second chance to serve out the match. Despite letting three match points get away in the final game, Carter and Stefani won another deciding point to earn the victory.

At the other WTA International event this week, in Prague, top seed Simona Halep won the title, beating No. 3 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-2, 7-5. Halep, who has expressed reservations about traveling to New York for the Western & Southern and the US Open, said she will announce her decision on Monday.

Denis Kudla and Thai Kwiatkowski met today in the final of the Lotto Elite Pro Tennis Challenge, an exhibition event at a private club in Berks Country Pennsylvania, with Kudla taking a 6-4, 7-5 victory. Kudla and Kwiatkowski, who are in the main draw of the US Open by direct entry and wild card, respectively, played plenty of entertaining points during the final, and Kudla really stepped on the gas late, having trailed 5-1 in the second set before taking the final six games of the match. Kudla earned $4000, and 2017 NCAA champion Kwiatkowski(Virginia) won $1000 as a finalist. 

Links to video streams of Sunday's semifinals and finals can be found here.

Kei Nishikori of Japan, who has not played since the 2019 US Open due to injury, announced today that he has tested positive for the Covid-19 virus and due to the necessity of undergoing quarantine in Bradenton Florida will not be flying to New York this week to prepare for the Western & Southern Open. Nishikori, who reached the 2014 US Open men's final, said he will update his status on Friday August 21, which would likely include information on whether he will be able to consider competing at the US Open. For more, see this tennis.com article