Wednesday, September 1, 2021

My College Park J1 Recap; Collins, Tiafoe and Stephens Advance to US Open Third Round; Former Vanderbilt Star Ditty Dies at 42

This time of year is back to being busy for me, with Kalamazoo, College Park and the US Open Junior Championships all happening this year after last year's cancellations. 

I always enjoy the College Park tournament, and the Junior Tennis Champions Center improves as a venue each year, with new indoor lighting in 2019 and a new Stadium court (to be dedicated later this month) this year, which came in handy when Ryan Colby, who trains at JTCC, made the final. The heat and humidity was unrelenting during the tournament, but as a warmup(pun intended) for the US Open, it was perfect. 

My article on the tournament for Tennis Recruiting Network is available today; I will post brief videos of both the Kalamazoo and College Park finals later this month.

The remnants of Hurricane Ida were expected to cause problems today at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, but all the US Open second round singles matches on the schedule were completed today, although problems with rain blowing into Armstrong Stadium from the open air sides have delayed the match there between Kevin Anderson and Diego Schwartzman, with another women's match to follow. 

The impact on the doubles competition was a different story, with the vast majority of those matches washed out for the day. National 18s champions Ashlyn Krueger and Robin Montgomery had taken the first set from No. 13 seeds Jessica Pegula and Asia Muhammad 6-2 and were at 1-1 in the second when the match was postponed. Krueger and Montgomery are now fifth on Court 11, so it could be a late night for them Thursday, although two of the matches ahead of them are doubles. There are 26 women's and 21 men's doubles matches on Thursday's schedule, along with a few mixed doubles matches.

It wasn't a particularly good day for Americans in singles, with just three US players making it to Friday's third round. Both Brandon Nakashima and Marcos Giron lost, as did Christina McHale. Frances Tiafoe picked up the only win for men, beating Guido Pella of Argentina 6-1, 6-2, 7-5, while Danielle Collins made the third round of the US Open for the first time with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Kaja Juvan of Slovenia. 

In the marquee match on Ashe tonight, Sloane Stephens looked like the player who won the 2017 US Open women's title, handling No. 21 seed Coco Gauff from start to finish in her 6-4, 6-2 victory.

Wednesday's second round results of Americans:

Sloane Stephens d. Coco Gauff[21] 6-4, 6-2
Barbora Krejcikova[8](CZE) d. Christina McHale 6-3, 6-1
Danielle Collins[26] d. Kaja Juvan(SLO) 6-4, 6-2

Frances Tiafoe d. Guido Pella(ARG) 6-1, 6-2, 7-5
Dan Evans[24](GBR) d. Marcos Giron 6-4, 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-3
Alex Molcan[Q](SVK) d. Brandon Nakashima[WC] 6-3, 3-6, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4

Thursday's second round matches featuring Americans:

Amanda Anisimova v Karolina Pliskova[4](CZE) 
Lauren Davis v Bianca Andreescu[6](CAN)
Shelby Rogers v Sorana Cirstea(ROU)
Jessica Pegula[23] v Misaki Doi(JPN)

Steve Johnson v Gael Monfils[17](FRA)
Jenson Brooksby[WC] v Taylor Fritz
Reilly Opelka[22] v Lorenzo Musetti(ITA)
Mackenzie McDonald v Kei Nishikori(JPN)
Jack Sock[WC] v Alexander Bublik(KAZ)
Zachary Svajda[WC] v Jannik Sinner[13](ITA)
Denis Kudla v Oscar Otte[Q](GER)
Ernesto Escobedo[WC] v Lloyd Harris(RSA)
Maxime Cressy[Q] v Nikoloz Basilashvili(GEO)

There was sad news today in the professional and college tennis community, when it was announced that former Vanderbilt All-American and WTA Top 100 player Julie Ditty died from cancer Tuesday at age 42. Ditty was one of Vanderbilt's most significant athletes and she won 38 USTA Pro Circuit titles, a record for women. The Vanderbilt website's article on Ditty's death features this quote about Ditty from former head coach Geoff Macdonald:
"She was an even better human being than she was a tennis player, and she was one of the top 100 tennis players in the world.”