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Friday, December 18, 2020

My Orange Bowl 18s Recap; Podcast Chat with Alex Gruskin of Cracked Racquets; Kingsley Reaches UTR $25K Semifinals; Entries Close Monday for $7500 Midwest Indoor in Ohio

My Tennis Recruiting Network recap of last week's Grade A Orange Bowl, which featured two unseeded champions in Ashlyn Krueger of the US and Arthur Fils of France, was posted today. My 16s Orange Bowl recap went up at TRN yesterday. Given the lack of any reliable junior schedule throughout this year, surprises were to be expected, especially in the boys draw. With no Top 25 boys entered, there wasn't a big favorite there, unlike in the girls draw, which featured three Top 10 players, including No. 1 and No. 2, both of whom were reigning junior slam champions. But I would still argue that Fils' title was more unexpected than Krueger's, primarily because she won the 16s last year, and was also the 16s Eddie Herr champion, so had proven herself in international events before. Fils, with little experience on those big stages, hadn't played an ITF event above a Grade 4 before this fall.

I had the opportunity to talk with Alex Gruskin of Cracked Racquets today for his Mini-Break podcast, with the Orange Bowl one of the main topics of our conversation. We also discussed how the pandemic has affected junior tennis, the role of height in assessing upcoming talent, the 2015 Kalamazoo 18s final, the US women's pipeline, why I started Zootennis, and what could be in store for 2021. We didn't get to college tennis, which Alex knows inside and out, but we hope to get together next month to talk about the ITA Kickoff Weekend and Team Indoor Championships. 

The round robin portion of the $25,000 UTR tournament in Naples Florida concluded on Wednesday, and the quarterfinals of the playoff round for those finishing No. 1 in their group were completed Thursday, with the semifinals set for Saturday.  Ohio State sophomore Cannon Kingsley defeated JanMagnus Johnson, who has transferred from Central Florida to Florida Gulf Coast, and will play Cristian Rodriguez Sanchez in the semifinals. Rodriguez Sanchez defeated No. 2 seed Felix Corwin(Minnesota) in the quarterfinals. The other semifinal, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, features top seed Ramkumar Ramanathan against former Nebraska star Dusty Boyer.  Links to live streaming via Playsight, and live scoring can be found here.

The Midwest section sent out an email today promoting the Midwest Indoor Championships, a tournament scheduled to take place December 27-30 at the Elysium Tennis Club outside of Columbus Ohio . There are adult age group events, as well an an open division, with the prize money $7500. The deadline for entry is Monday, December 21st.  For more information, see the TennisLink site.