Monday, October 26, 2020

Qualifying Underway at Tyler $80K; NCAA Overreacts, UMass Women's Tennis Suffers; Hidalgo Wins Vero Beach UTR $10K; UTR Sponsors November $20K Pro Series in Cancun

With no WTA events this week, the biggest tournament in the world is in Tyler Texas, where qualifying for the $80,000 Bellatorum Resources Pro Classic began today. It appears that rain interrupted some of the first qualifying matches today, but several Americans have posted victories. University of Texas freshman Peyton Stearns defeated No. 9 seed Chihiro Muramatsu of Japan 6-3, 3-6, 10-6; Jamie Loeb(UNC) defeated No. 3 seed Lara Arruabarrena of Spain 6-4, 6-2 and Alycia Parks beat No. 13 seed Gabriela Ce of Brazil  6-3, 6-3.  

There are two ATP events this week, an ATP 500 in Vienna Austria and a 250 level tournament in Kazakhstan. Taylor Fritz was the only American in the Vienna draw, and he lost to Borna Coric of Croatia 6-4, 6-4 in a first round match today.  Four Americans are playing in Kazakhstan: Tommy Paul, Frances Tiafoe, Tennys Sandgren and Mackenzie McDonald. Paul, the No. 7 seed, defeated Stefano Travaglia of Italy 7-6(2), 6-3 and Tiafoe avenged a recent lost to Corentin Moutet of France with a 6-3, 6-2 victory in first round action today. Sandgren and McDonald have not yet played their first round matches.

The NCAA is under siege from many constituencies, and their ongoing relevance to college sports is an open question, but they've managed to get themselves in yet another controversy with their recent decision to vacate three years worth of wins by the University of Massachusetts women's tennis team, as well as their Atlantic 10 title, after determining that two players on the team received impermissible benefits. These benefits amounted to $252 in the form of a phone jack reimbursement that neither player knew they had been given, because there was no itemization included in their scholarship distribution. The school, who initially self-reported and expected probation for what they are describing as a "clerical error", has reportedly paid over $100,000 to fight the decision. 

One of the two women who received that benefit, Brittany Collens, has begun a campaign on social media to raise awareness of the NCAA's decision to punish the school, and has started a petition to the NCAA, which now has over 2600 signatures.

For more details on this NCAA decision, see this article from the Boston Globe and this article from Front Office Sports.

I missed that the USTA Pro Circuit men's $25K in Harlingen Texas, scheduled to begin this week, had been canceled, but there was opportunity available at the $10,000 UTR Mardy Fish Children's Foundation Tennis Championships in Vero Beach Florida last week, with the winner taking home $3000.00. 

That turned out to be the player with the highest UTR, former Florida Gator Diego Hidalgo of Ecuador, who has not played on the men's ITF World Tennis Tour since the restart, but is currently 378 in the ATP rankings. The 27-year-old Hidalgo defeated 20-year-old Matthew Segura, great nephew of tennis legend Pancho Segura, 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

With so few tournaments this fall in North America, UTR has announced another one of its supplemental events, three $20,000 prize money tournaments in Cancun Mexico, beginning the week of November 15th. Below is the format, for the breakdown of the prize money, or to register, visit the UTR site.

Here’s How UTR Pro Tennis Series Works

  • The 32 person main draw, guaranteeing at least 3 matches, will consist of 8 groups of 4 players each. The round-robin group stages will run from Monday to Wednesday. All matches will be best 2 out of 3 sets, regular scoring.
  • The Playoff Rounds will be single elimination and consist of three draws of 8 players depending on the player’s group finishing (1st, 2nd, or 3rd) and will run from Thursday to Sunday. All matches will be best 2 out of 3 sets, regular scoring.
  • A one-round Qualifying will start and be completed on Sunday and all matches will be best 2 out of 3 sets, regular scoring.
  • Players losing in qualifying can sign in for Lucky Loser throughout the round-robin group stages.

Event Details
Venue: Cancun Tennis Complex
Health & Safety: COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place
Registration Deadline: November 5th
Registration Fee: $40 USD

*Note you will also need a Power Subscription which we are offering for just $2/month (regularly $10/month)