Friday, July 3, 2015

June Aces; Mmoh Wins Roehampton; Wimbledon Junior Championships Begin Saturday

©Colette Lewis 2015--

There was a lot going on today, but in my attempt to minimize my jet lag and try to get over some sort of bug I picked up on the plane(s), I'll make this brief.

My monthly collection of outstanding performances, June version, is available now at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

Michael Mmoh won the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton today. The No. 3 seed defeated No. 5 seed Viktor Durasovic of Norway 7-6(4), 6-3. No. 3 seed Dalma Galfi of Hungary took the girls title, beating top seed and world No. 1 Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic 7-6(3), 6-2.

Tommy Paul and William Blumberg lost in the boys doubles final to Australians Jake Delaney and Marc Polmas 6-7(3), 6-1, 10-7.  The outstanding play of top girls doubles seeds Miriam Kolodziejova and Vondrousova continued with their 6-3, 6-3 win over Australians Destanee Aiava and Olivia Tjandramulia.

Alejandro Tabilo of Canada and Tornado Alicia Black

Emil Reinberg qualified for the Wimbledon boys junior championships today, defeating Alexandar Lazarov of Bulgaria 2-6, 6-4, 8-6. Reinberg will join 16 other Americans in the boys and girls singles draws, but as with all qualifiers, he will have the day off on Saturday and will begin play on Monday, as do all the Roehampton finalists. Top seed Taylor Fritz plays a qualifier, so he too will begin play on Monday.

US boys seeded, in addition to Fritz, are Michael Mmoh(4), Tommy Paul(7) and William Blumberg(9).  Two US girls are seeded: Usue Arconada(6) and Sonya Kenin(9).

The US juniors in action on Saturday in bold:

Wild card Anastasia Potapova (RUS) vs Francesca Di Lorenzo

Luisa Stefani (BRA) [13] vs Claire Liu

Wild card Lauryn John-Baptiste (GBR) vs Ingrid Neel

Usue Arconada [6] vs Monika Kilnarova (CZE)

Yusuke Takahashi (JPN) vs Nathan Ponwith

Rebeka Masarova (SUI) vs Michaela Gordon

Kayla Day
vs Tessah Andrianjafitrimo (FRA)

Katherine Sebov (CAN) vs wild card Tornado Alicia Black

Caroline Dolehide vs Julieta Lara Estable (ARG) [14]

There will be live scoring at the Wimbledon website.  The complete draws are here.  The complete qualifying results are here.

Congratulations to unseeded Americans Denis Kudla and CoCo Vandeweghe for making the second week at Wimbledon with wins today.  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Mmoh Reaches Grade1 Final in Roehampton; Boys Team USA Summer Playoffs Begin Sunday

A travel day and night for me as I head over to Wimbledon, so this early post will not include all the day's Wimbledon results.

The finals are set for the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton, with Michael Mmoh reaching the championship match.  Mmoh, seeded No. 3, defeated Reilly Opelka, seeded No. 16, 6-3, 6-2 in today's semifinal.  Mmoh will play Viktor Durasovic of Norway, the No. 5 seed in the final. Mmoh is 2-0 against Durasovic, including a quarterfinal win at the International Hard Courts Grade 1 last August.

The girls final will feature No. 3 seed Dalma Galfi against top seed Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic.  Galfi defeated Ingrid Neel 6-2 7-6(6), while Vondrousova advanced to the final via a walkover from No. 5 seed Katie Swan from Great Britain. I hope it's nothing serious so Swan can play Wimbledon Juniors.

Tommy Paul and William Blumberg have reached the doubles final. The No. 2 seeds defeated Ulises Blanch and Juan Pablo Ficovich of Argentina 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals today.

The USTA Junior Summer Team for girls was decided back in May; the boys playoffs will be held this Sunday at Boca Raton.  Sam Riffice and Vasil Kirkov are already on the team, with six players to be chosen from the 16 players listed below.  Those invited to participate in the playoffs, with the names of their coaches:

Player    Hometown    Personal Coach
Gianni Ross  -- Burr Ridge, IL  -- Jack Sharpe

Trent Bryde --  Suwanee, GA  --  Will Wright

Alafia Ayeni --  San Diego, CA -- Brian Teacher/Anthony Ayeni

Alexandre Rotsaert -- Boca Raton, FL -- Hafeez Hameed

Alexander Brown -- Urbandale, IA -- Elliott McDermed/Zach Buenger

Kyrylo Tsygura -- North Potomac, MD --Vesa Ponkka

Brian Shi -- Jericho, NY -- Mihai Grecu

Oliver Crawford -- Spartanburg, SC --  Kelly Jones/Anthony Stewart

Austen Huang -- Elk Grove, CA -- James Roberts

William Howells -- Boca Raton, FL -- Cyril Saulnier

Matthew Tsolakyan -- Glendale, CA -- Greg Grigorian

Steven Sun -- Boca Raton, FL -- Andres Pedroso

Trey Hildebrand -- San Antonio, TX -- Mark Hildebrand

Ryan Goetz -- Greenlawn, NY -- Keith Kambourian

Matthew Rodriguez -- Highland Beach, FL -- Maurice Trail

Danny Thomas -- Boca Raton, FL -- Maurice Trail

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Joffe Leaves Texas A&M for Texas; Neel, Mmoh and Opelka into Semifinals at Roehampton; Wimbledon Junior Qualifying Draws

The highest profile women's head coaching position open this summer has been filled, with Texas A&M's Howard Joffe leaving College Station to take over the University of Texas job in Austin.

Joffe was at Texas A&M for four years and led the Aggies to the finals of the NCAAs in 2013. Prior to his four years in College Station, Joffe was head coach at the University of Maryland and Miami of Ohio, and an assistant at Southern California, all in the women's programs.  The complete release is here.

At the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton, all three American juniors who reached the quarterfinals won today to move into the semifinals. Ingrid Neel, who has something of an old-school grass game, defeated No. 2 seed Shilin Xu of China 7-5, 6-1 and will play No. 3 seed Dalma Galfi of Hungary in Thursday's semifinal.  Top seed Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic will play No. 5 seed Katie Swan of Great Britain in the other girls semifinal.

No. 3 seed Michael Mmoh downed No. 6 seed Marcelo Barrios Vera of Chile 6-2, 6-3 and No. 16 seed Reilly Opelka defeated No. 12 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-7(7), 6-4, 7-6(5) to set up their fifth meeting since last August, with each having won twice. Mmoh defeated Opelka in the quarterfinals of the French Open junior championships last month.  The other boys semifinal will feature No. 7 seed Akira Santillan of Japan against No. 5 seed Viktor Durasovic of Norway.

Three US boys have reached the doubles semifinals.  Tommy Paul and William Blumberg, the No. 2 seeds, and unseeded Ulises Blanch and his partner Juan Pablo Ficovich of Argentia will play for a place in the final.

The qualifying draws for the Wimbledon Junior Championships are out, with play beginning at Roehampton on Thursday.  Seven US juniors are in qualifying: Raquel Pedraza, Mia Horvit, Meghan Kelley, Gabby Pollner, Catalin Mateas, Liam Caruana and Emily Reinberg.  Draws and the order of play can be found at the ITF junior website.

In the men's and women's second round Wednesday, seven Americans advanced, two men and five women making the third round, with No. 21 seed Madison also finishing off her first round match against Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland. No. 17 seed John Isner defeated wild card Matt Ebden of Australia 6-2, 7-6(8), 6-4 and wild card Denis Kudla topped 18-year-old Alexander Zverev 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-4.

Top seed Serena Williams (d. Timea Babos of Hungary 6-4, 6-1), Venus Williams (d. Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 7-6(5), 6-4) and Sloane Stephens (d. Lauren Davis 6-4, 6-4) all won as expected. CoCo Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands pulled off upsets, with Vandeweghe taking out No. 11 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 7-6(5), 6-4 and Mattek-Sands outplaying No. 7 seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-4.

Keys, Christina McHale and Sam Querrey are the Americans on the schedule for Thursday's singles play.

The links to the draws are here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Querrey, McHale Sole US Winners Tuesday at Wimbledon; Mmoh, Opelka and Neel Reach Roehampton Quarterfinals; William and Mary's Daub Retires

After a relatively good opening day Monday, only two Americans posted wins at Wimbledon Tuesday: Sam Querrey and Christina McHale.  No. 21 seed Madison Keys was at 2-2 in the third set of her match with Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland when play was suspended due to darkness.

Querrey defeated qualifier Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 to advance to a Thursday match with No. 2 seed Roger Federer, while McHale downed Joanna Larsson of Sweden 6-3, 6-2 and will play No. 18 seed Sabine Lisicki of Germany Thursday.

No. 31 seed Jack Sock fell to Sam Groth of Australia 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 and Tim Smyczek was beaten by No. 30 seed Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.  Varvara Lepchenko lost to No. 20 seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain 6-4, 6-1 and qualifier Sachia Vickery fell to No. 8 seed Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-2, 6-4.

American men in action on Wednesday include No. 17 seed John Isner (vs wild card Matthew Ebden of Australia), wild card Denis Kudla (vs 18-year-old Alexander Zverev of Germany) and Steve Johnson (vs No. 11 seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria).

Six US women play on Wednesday, with two of them playing each other in Lauren Davis and Sloane Stephens. Top seed Serena Williams faces Timea Babos of Hungary and No. 16 seed Venus Williams will take on Yulia Putintseva of Russia.  CoCo Vandeweghe is up against No. 11 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic and qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands plays No. 7 seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia.

I neglected to mention yesterday the big win for 2014 Wimbledon girls champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia on Monday. Given a main draw wild card by the All England Club (she had already earned a place in qualifying), the 18-year-old made good use of it, defeating Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-2, 6-0. She will play Kristina Mladenovic of France on Wednesday.

Draws are here; Wednesday's order of play is here.

The quarterfinals are set for the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton, with three Americans advancing to the final eight in singles.  Ingrid Neel defeated No. 6 seed Charlotte Robillard-Millette of Canada 6-3, 6-3 and will face No. 2 seed Shilin Xu of China, who defeated No. 16 seed Caroline Dolehide 6-3, 6-4.

No. 3 seed Michael Mmoh downed unseeded Kenneth Raisma of Estonia 6-3, 6-4 to set up a meeting with No. 6 seed Marcelo Barrios Vera of Chile.  Reilly Opelka, the No. 16 seed, took out No. 2 seed Corentin Denolly of France 7-6(6), 6-4 and will play No. 12 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.  No. 4 seed Tommy Paul lost 6-3, 6-3 to Alex Molcan of Slovakia, ending Paul's winning streak at 13 matches. Ulises Blanch fell to No. 5 seed Viktor Durasovic of Norway 6-3, 6-4.

Blanch is still alive in doubles, with Argentina's Juan Pablo Ficovic, and No. 2 seeds Paul and William Blumberg have also advanced to the doubles quarterfinals.

Tornado Alicia Black, partnering Australian Naiktha Bains, is the only US girls still remaining in the doubles competition.

A few college notes:

Peter Daub has resigned from the men's head coaching position at William and Mary after 22 years. According to the release, a national search is being conducted for his successor.

Former University of Michigan star Brooke Bolender has been named assistant coach for the women's team at Western Michigan University. Former WMU assistant Ryan Tomlinson took over the head coaching position from the retiring Betsy Kuhle at the end of the season. Kuhle has not retired from tennis however, as she continues to be active in her role as tournament director for the upcoming USTA Zonals.

Madison Harrison, the sister of Ryan and Christian Harrison, has transferred from Kansas to Mississippi State.

The ITA Summer Circuit is underway (Harrison was one of the early winners) in venues across the country.  See the ITA website for draws and entry information.

The ITA's David Benjamin will retire Wednesday, with Tim Russell taking over as Executive Director.  Dave "The Koz" Kozlowski has prepared a video tribute, which can be found here.

There are again three USTA Pro Circuit events in the US this week: a $10,000 men's Futures in Pittsburgh, a $15,000 men's Futures in Wichita and a $25,000 women's event in El Paso.

A couple of notable results from today's action:  2014 Kalamazoo 16s champion John McNally, a wild card,  picked up his first ATP point in Pittsburgh, beating No. 7 seed Collin Johns 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-0 in the first round.

In El Paso, Cal junior Maegan Manasse, also a wild card, defeated No. 5 seed Samantha Crawford 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 in the first round.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Nine Americans Advance to Second Round at Wimbledon; Top Seed Fritz Upset at Roehampton; Sampras Letter to Younger Self; Wawrinka as Anti-Prodigy

Nine of the 16 Americans on the schedule on Wimbledon's opening day won their matches, with the men going 3-1 and the women 6-6.

Top seed Serena Williams defeated Margarita Gasparyan of Russia 6-4, 6-1 and sister Venus, the No. 16 seed, overwhelmed Madison Brengle 6-0, 6-0.  Qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands beat Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium 6-3, 6-2, CoCo Vandeweghe downed Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-2, and Lauren Davis defeated Polona Hercog of Slovenia 6-4, 7-6(3). Sloane Stephens was the only unseeded American facing a seed today, and she came through over No. 27 Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-2. Alison Riske, Nicole Gibbs, Shelby Rogers, Edina Gallovits-Hall and Irina Falconi lost their opening matches today.

Four US women are on Tuesday's schedule are: Varvara Lepchenko vs. No. 20 seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain, Christina McHale vs. Johanna Larsson of Sweden, qualifier Sachia Vickery vs. No. 8 seed Ekaterina Makarova of Russiaand No. 21 seed Madison Keys vs. Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland.

No. 17 seed John Isner picked up a straight set win over Go Soeda of Japan 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4, while Steve Johnson and wild card Denis Kudla needed five sets to advance. Johnson defeated Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 6-3, 6-7(5), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 and Kudla made an even more dramatic recovery, beating Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-7(4), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.  Donald Young lost his match to Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.

There are three Tuesday first round matches for US men, with No. 31 seed Jack Sock taking on Australia's Sam Groth, Tim Smyczek playing No. 30 seed Fabio Fognini of Italy and Sam Querrey facing Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands.

The draws are here and the order of play for Tuesday is here.

The ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton produced several surprising results in today's second round, with the most notable Australian Marc Polmans' 6-4, 6-3 win over top seed and World No. 1 Taylor Fritz.   No. 8 seed William Blumberg fell to Alex De Minaur of Australia 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 and Nathan Ponwith lost to No. 9 seed Yunseong Chung of Korea 6-0, 6-3.  But despite those three losses, the US still placed four US boys in the round of 16, with No. 3 seed Michael Mmoh, No. 4 seed Tommy Paul, No. 16 seed Reilly Opelka and Ulises Blanch winning today in straight sets.

Polmans dealt Fritz a second loss on Monday in doubles, with he and compatriot Jake Delaney beating Fritz and Mmoh, the top seeds, 6-4, 3-6, 10-7.  Paul and Blumberg, the No. 2 seeds, did advance to the second round.

Three of the four US girls remaining advanced to the round of 16. No. 16 seed Caroline Dolehide defeated Maia Lumsden of Great Britain 6-2, 7-5 and Kayla Day downed No. 14 seed Pranjala Yadlapalli of India 6-4, 6-3.  Ingrid Neel took out No. 10 seed and Australian Open girls champion Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.   Top seed Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic and No. 5 seed Katie Swan of Great Britain are the only seeds remaining in the top half of the draw.

In doubles, No. 2 seeds Sonya Kenin and Charlotte Robillard-Millette of Canada lost to Lesedi Jacobs of Namibia and Wushuang Zheng of China 2-6, 6-1, 10-4.

In this Player's Tribune post by American tennis great Pete Sampras, he writes a letter to his 16-year-old self, conveying what he wished he had known when he was embarking on his professional tennis career.

And in this article by Tom Perotta for the Wall Street Journal, French and Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka and several high profile coaches make the case for participating in other sports first and concentrating on tennis later.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Former Trojan Lao, Current Trojan Olmos Win Pro Circuit Titles; Battaglia Takes ITF Grade 5 in Bermuda; Excellent Start to Grass Season for US Boys

It was an excellent weekend for current and former Southern California Trojans, who picked up four titles in North American Pro Circuit competition.

Danielle Lao, who graduated in 2013, won her first title at the $25,000 level, beating rising Florida sophomore Brooke Austin 7-5, 6-3 in the USTA Pro Circuit final in Baton Rouge. Austin led 3-0 in the second set, but Lao finished the match by winning six straight games. When the points from this tournament are added after Wimbledon, Lao will be close to the WTA Top 300.  The Baton Rouge doubles title went to Samantha Crawford and Emily Harman of the US, who beat Storm Sanders of Australia  and Chanel Simmonds of South Africa 7-6(4), 6-1 in the final.

Lao was joined in the winner's circle by Giuliana Olmos of Mexico, who was a freshman on the USC team when Lao was a senior.  Olmos, a rising senior, won her third $10,000 title in Mexico yesterday, avenging her only loss in the four consecutive tournaments she played in Manzanillo. Former Texas A&M star Nazari Urbina of Mexico defeated Olmos in the second round last week, but wild card Olmos avoided her until the final this week, posting a 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 win. Olmos is 16-1 this month since bowing out of the NCAAs in the second round.

Olmos's teammate Zoe Scandalis, also a rising senior, won the doubles title in Manzanillo, teaming with Camila Fuentes of Mexico for a 6-3, 5-7, 12-10 win over Carolina Betancourt of Mexico and Daniela Seguel of Chile.

Emilio Gomez of Ecuador, who left USC after his junior year in 2013, won the $10,000 Rochester Futures event, winning two matches today to claim his sixth Futures singles title and his first outside of South America.  Gomez defeated 18-year-old Alex Rybakov 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinal, which could not be played on Saturday due to rain. In the final, the No. 1 seed defeated former Florida star Sekou Bangoura Jr., the No. 2 seed, 7-6(3), 6-4. Bangoura had beaten qualifier Dominic Cotrone(South Florida) 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-3 in the semifinals. Cotrone and Quinton Vega(Wisconsin) won the doubles title, beating Jordi Arconada(Texas A&M) and Stephen Madonia 6-4, 6-4 in the final.

At the $15,000 Futures in Tulsa, Noah Rubin led top seed Darian King of Barbados 6-2, 5-2, but lost the final 11 games of the match to leave his record in Futures finals at 0-4.

At the ITF Grade 5 in Bermuda, 17-year-old Madison Battaglia won her first ITF title in only her second tournament. The unseeded New Yorker didn't drop a set, beating unseeded 15-year-old Kate Paulus 6-1, 6-1 in an all-American final.  Katie LaFrance won the doubles title with Lillian Gabrielsen of Norway, beating Paulus and Cheyenne Lilienthal 7-6(4), 7-6(4) in the final.  Top seed Stephan Koenigsfest of Bolivia defeated qualifier Lane Leschly of the US 6-3, 7-5 in the boys singles final.  Nick Brookes and Harry Butler of Great Britain took the boys doubles title, defeating Sebastian Mermersky and Chase Burton of the US 5-7, 7-5, 10-5 in the final.

At the Grade 2 in Germany, Gabby Pollner and Meghan Kelley made the quarterfinals, with Raquel Pedraza reaching the doubles final. Unseeded Alexei Popyrin of Australia and unseeded Lara Salden of Belgium took the singles titles.   At the Grade 5 in Denmark,  Nicole Conard won the doubles title with a partner from the Netherlands.

This coming week's Grade 1 in Roehampton began well for the US boys, with seven of the eight getting first round wins today.  Taylor Fritz(1), Michael Mmoh(3), Tommy Paul(4), William Blumberg(8), Reilly Opelka(16), Ulises Blanch and Nathan Ponwith all picked up wins. Blanch defeated No. 11 seed Nam Hoang Ly of Vietnam 7-6(9), 4-6, 6-3. Mmoh barely got past wild card Ryan Storrie of Great Britain, taking that match 2-6, 6-2, 7-6(4).  Emil Reinberg, the eighth American boy in the draw, lost 6-4, 6-2 to Mikael Ymer of Sweden, who had to go through qualifying despite being the No. 10 seed once he reached the main draw.

The US girls posted four wins, with Ingrid Neel, qualifier Tornado Alicia Black, Kayla Day and No. 16 Caroline Dolehide advancing to the second round. Claire Liu, Francesca Di Lorenzo and Raveena Kingsley lost, with Kingsley again taking top seed Marketa Vondrousova to a third set, as she did in the first round of the French Open earlier this month, but falling 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. No. 8 seed Sonya Kenin had lost the first set to 15-year-old Olesya Pervushina of Russia and was at 5-5 in the second set when darkness suspended play in that match, along with several others.

Live scoring for Roehampton is available here.