It’s Hardware Sunday at New York Open, and A Maiden Title On the Line for Opelka, Schnur
Brayden Schnur, 2019 New York Open Finalist (TennisAtlantic.com)
Reilly Opelka, 2019 New York Open Finalist (TennisAtlantic.com)
It’s been a great week for both American Reilly Opelka and Canadian Brayden Schnur. Tonight, one of them will have a “1” in their little stats column on your ATP scoring app as one will pick up their first ATP tour-level singles title at the New York Open in Uniondale, New York. I looked at the odds on my phone before yesterday’s matches, and Betfair had the odds of this final matchup at 10-1. Savor this rare moment of upset tennis in the men’s game, because it comes with the bonus of watching a first-timer hoist the hardware. In this case, it’s a giant abstract painting, but you get the idea.
Reilly Opelka got there by beating a familiar nemesis in John Isner, and the man in whose house Opelka watched the Superbowl just two weeks ago. Opelka had shocked Isner in Melbourne at the Australian Open in January, and Opelka didn’t let any nerves get to him even after he’d lost the first set tiebreak. Two more tiebreaks that did go his way landed Opelka in the final after shaking off six match points from Isner. The performances by the pair, 6’10 and 6’11, was as bold and pugilistic as the gentlemen’s size. In the arms race that has become professional tennis, these players are the heavy artillery of the game, with popping returns and 136 mile per hour serves the normal. 81 aces made for a record-breaking but very boring night of tennis. It’s the most aces combined in a best of three match since they started tracking these things in 1991. Generally speaking, it paid the bills but wasn’t easy to watch.
Brayden Schnur got here on the local train. He ran through 17-year-old Long Island native Cannon Kingsley and up-and-comer Alexei Popyrin to qualify before earning the first ATP win of his young career over Columbia University sophomore Jack Lin. It all started to click for Schnur when he saved 2 match points and came back from a 5-2 third set deficit to knock out #3 seed Steve Johnson last Wednesday. Friday saw him survive a marathon against veteran Paolo Lorenzi in three sets against another player who was playing on another level this week. That all made yesterday’s upset of #6 seed Sam Querrey less surprising than his other results of the week,
I’m sure some tournament organizers were in agony last night, as it might be less attractive for a casual fan to bundle up and take the Long Island Railroad out to see the Opelka-Schnur prize-fight. An Isner-Querrey final would have been preferred by the marketers and branders, none of which are in short supply in New York. Last year’s Anderson-Querrey final shouldn’t be the norm. The top seeds fly out of ATP 250 tournaments so often that you can’t often tell the difference between a Newport and a Challenger. For a true fan, there can be nothing more exciting at a 250 than being guaranteed to see a young player win his first pro level title.
Here’s to Super Sunday. The doubles final of Santiago Gonzalez and Aisam-Ul-Haq against Germany’s Kevin Krawietz and Andrea Mies goes live at 2:00 p.m. and the singles final starts at 4:00 p.m.
2017 WTA Finals Preview & Predictions Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
After a long season full of twists and turns, it comes down to just eight players as we reach the Year End Championships in Singapore. Not only is there a big title available, but also the world number one ranking. It promises to be a great week of tennis to close out the season. Here is a rundown of what to expect in Singapore.
 Simona Halep (ROU)
 Elina Svitolina (UKR)
 Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)
 Caroline Garcia (FRA)
Simona Halep, 2017 Citi Open (Photo: Tennis Atlantic)
Simona Halep headlines the Red Group as the world number one and therefore the top seed for the tournament. The Romanian failed to break her grand slam duck this season, but she came within a few games of realising her dream at the French open before being beaten by Jelena Ostapenko in the final. However, she became the world number one for the first time in Beijing, the highlight of her career thus far. Halep’s only title of the year came in Madrid, but her consistency in making the latter stages of events is what got her to the top of the rankings.
Elina Svitolina has enjoyed her best season to date, winning over 50 matches and claiming five titles whilst achieving a career high ranking of number three. The Ukrainian is also one of the players who can finish the year as number one, so it might get better yet. Three of Svitolina’s titles came at Premier 5 level, the most recent being in Canada. Despite her good results though, Svitolina failed to make a big breakthrough at Grand Slam level, something she will aim to improve for 2018.
Caroline Wozniacki heads into Singapore having won only one title this year, but the Dane’s consistency is what has brought her back into the top ten and back in the year end championships. That title came in Tokyo after losing six previous finals in 2017. Her best Grand Slam performance came at Wimbledon where she made the quarter finals, but like Svitolina, her consistency outside the slams has been remarkable, as shown by her eight finals this season.
Two months ago, Caroline Garcia barely stood a chance of making Singapore, but an incredible two weeks in Beijing and Wuhan saw her finish the year in the top eight against all odds. The Frenchwoman made a controversial decision to skip Fed Cup and stop playing doubles at the end of last year, and it has seemingly paid off. Before her Wuhan and Beijing double, Garcia was consistent and earned a top 20 ranking as a result. But it was the fortnight in China that made her season. She is the in-form player heading into the tournament having won her last eight matches.
The Red Group is interesting as the defensive players have been pitted together. It is three counter punchers and Garcia, making the possibility of some long matches very possible.
If Garcia can carry her form over to Singapore, it is hard not seeing her advance. She is the player with the most weapons in the group and the highest peak level, but the eighth seed is flaky at the best of times, and if she underperforms, none of her opponents will g gift her a win.
That makes this group wide open. Any of the players can advance with a lot of the head to heads being close minus Svitolina’s 3-0 advantage over Wozniacki. The Ukrainian seems the most likely to win at least two matches, so I believe she will advance. Garcia is the wildcard and picking her will be brave, but Halep is the number one seed for a reason and the Romanian may just edge through in second place.
 Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP)
 Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
 Venus Williams (USA)
 Jelena Ostapenko (LAT)
Garbine Muguruza’s transformation after failing to defend her Roland Garros title is the main reason why she is here. Prior to Roland Garros, Muguruza struggled with her best result coming in Melbourne where she made the quarter finals. After the French though The Spaniard won her second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon and backed that up with an impressive run to the Cincinnati title a month later. Her fine summer form saw the second seed become world number one for the first time, a ranking she will look to regain this week. Muguruza was the first player to qualify for the WTA finals.
Karolina Pliskova started the season strong by winning the Brisbane title and making the quarter finals at the Australian Open The Czech’s biggest title came in Doha where she defeated Wozniacki to claim the title. Her strong start to the season earned Pliskova the world number one ranking for the first time, and she made the semi finals of the French Open in her best Grand Slam showing to date. Pliskova will be aiming for her biggest career title and the world number one ranking this week.
Venus Williams is the only player this year to make two grand slam finals, however the oldest player in the top eight failed to add to her tally of major titles. The year was still a resurgent one for Venus, who despite not claiming a title, was one of the more consistent performers of the season. The American backed up her two major finals by making the semi finals of the US Open before being defeated by the eventual champions Sloane Stephens.
Jelena Ostapenko (Photo: Tony Callaio)
Jelena Ostapenko is the only one of two players to have won a grand slam this year and compete in the WTA finals. The Latvian had a dream run to the title at Roland Garros as an unseeded player, and announced herself to the tennis world as not only a potential star, but a current one. The youngest player in the tournament backed up her maiden major title with a run to the quarter finals of Wimbledon and a second title in Seoul. Despite her risky style of play, the seventh seed has enjoyed a fair bit of consistency since Roland Garros.
This group is almost impossible to predict as all four of these players strike the ball very hard. One minute they look unbeatable, the next they can not keep the ball in court. That means the two players that will advance are the ones who can peak at the right times In the matches. Unlike the Red Group, matches in this one should be short, which may give the winners an advantage.
Singapore courts traditionally have been on the slow side which favours Muguruza the most as she is the one who has shown the most consistency on slower surfaces. Ostapenko also showed she can play on slower courts with her Roland Garros triumph, but will the pressure of her first WTA finals work against her?
Venus has the most experience by far, but I think the conditions favour the other players more so I believe she will not advance. Muguruza has struggled against big hitters in the past but I believe these courts are suited to her game so she will advance. Pliskova’s issues have mainly come on clay and I expect her to be solid enough to join Muguruza in the semi finals.
So the semi finals would pit Muguruza against Halep and Svitolina against Pliskova, coincidently the top four seeds.
Muguruza has a good record against Halep, leading the head to head 3-1 and destroying the Romanian in their most recent meeting. The slow conditions will help the top seed on this occasion, so I expect a tighter contest, but I think Muguruza will prevail.
Pliskova has definitely had the measure of Svitolina throughout their careers, winning five of their six meetings. The Czech has generally had control of their hardcourt meetings, but the Ukrainian defeated Pliskova in their most recent outing in Rome. I think the slower conditions will suit Svitolina, and I think despite their head to head, she will advance to the final.
So I have Muguruza meeting Svitolina in the final and this match is a difficult call. Both players are suited to the courts and their head to head is very close at 4-3 to Svitolina. However, there is a factor of fatigue when you make the final, and I think Muguruza will be the fresher player.
Svitolina will have played many long matches by this point, and combine that with Muguruza’s ability to play well in finals and you have a recipe for a Spanish triumph in Singapore.
2014 ATP Houston @MensClayCourt, Casablanca Previews Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast
The ATP world tour begins again on spring clay with a pair of 250s in Houston and Casablanca.
Both possess very competitive fields this year.
Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship
ATP World Tour 250
Houston, Texas, USA
April 7-April 13, 2014
Prize Money: $ 474,005
Top 4 seeds (Who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: John Isner (9)
2: Tommy Robredo (14)
3: Nicolas Almagro (20)
4: Fernando Verdasco (29)
A large Spanish contingent buoys the Houston field as 4 of the top 8 seeds are Spaniards, and three top 20 players is nice for a 250 event.
First Round matchups to watch: Alex Bogomolov Jr. vs. Sam Querrey
Querrey continues to slide down the rankings, now outside the top 70, and he will be desperate to stop that skid in Houston against Bogomolov, who is a pedestrian journeyman who has mostly been playing challengers for a while. Both players are 1-2 in their last 3 matches, though Querrey has been playing better competition, and the h2h favors Bogomolov 3-2, with no meetings on clay, as Bogo beat Qball in Memphis this year in 3 sets last meeting.
Querrey looks for revenge and this match is a tossup between poor players at the moment.
Alejandro Gonzalez vs. (WC)Marcos Baghdatis
Marcos Baghdatis showed some signs of life in Miami where he reached the third round, and he gets another wild card here in Houston, as he has been getting at most of these US tournaments so far. He will face off for the first time against the Colombian Gonzalez, who currently has a 5 match losing streak on clay while formerly being good on the surface (posted a 41-19 record on clay last year, a career year of for him at the challenger level almost exclusively).
Baghdatis has not won a tournament match on clay since the 2012 French Open, and both players are looking to find some form. It appears Baghdatis career is winding down to be honest, and I think Gonzalez will probably return to some form and win this match.
Defending champion John Isner will face either Rhyne Williams, who defends semifinal points here, or the big server Dustin Brown in his first match. Isner beat Williams in Delray this year in 3 sets, their only meeting and both players are in so-so form. I expect Isner to make his way to the quarters regardless.
It should be Isner vs. 7 seed Lleyton Hewitt, another former Houston champion, in the quarters, as the 2009 Houston champion will face a qualifier in round 1 and Bogomolov/Querrey in round 2. Hewitt has been struggling since late January and I’m not sure he’s entirely healthy. If he doesn’t lose in the first couple of rounds, Isner should be able to take him out even with the 2-5 negative H2H record, including 1 win on clay by Hewitt in 2010.
Isner won their last meeting in the 2013 Atlanta semis in 3 and has upward trajectory.
The struggling Nicolas Almagro will look to find some form in Houston, where he defends finalist points, as he will face his countryman Daniel Gimeno-Traver or local resident Michael Russell in round 2. Almagro is 5-1 on clay against DGT and even though he has lost 3 straight on the dirt, he should make his way to the quarterfinals. Almagro will face one of Ivo Karlovic/Jack Sock/Benjamin Becker/qualifier in the quarters, as Ivo or the qualifier will be the favorite to reach the quarters. Sock is hopeless on clay from what I remember, and Becker is 0-6 against Karlovic in his career including 0-2 on clay. Ivo has a rather lucky draw but he should fall to Almagro given his 0-3 h2h record against the Spaniard.
Tommy Robredo, who is 5-3 on clay this year, will face off with Santiago Giraldo or Matt Ebden in his first match, as Giraldo comes off Davis Cup, but could give the Spaniard a good clay court battle if he’s fresh enough. Their h2h is 1-1 and Robredo won the only meeting on clay in 2011 in 3 sets with a final set tiebreak.
Santi is 4-4 on clay this year, but I think Robredo will get to the quarters. Robredo’s quarterfinal opponent is a bit of a tossup, as Feliciano Lopez, the 5 seed, will face Baghdatis/Gonzalez in round 2 to decide it. Feli will be playing his first clay court tennis of the year but his reasonable form should allow him to reach the quarters before falling to Robredo who he is 0-4 career against including 0-2 on clay.
Their lasting meeting came in 2009, and their last clay meeting was in 2007.
The semifinalist from the section above the Robredo section will be interesting. Cases can be made for 4 seed Fernando Verdasco, former champion Juan Monaco, who was a semifinalist last year, and even the very hot Steve Johnson, who just won the La Gosier challenger on hard courts. Problem is, Johnson is another American who is rather hopeless on clay. Verdasco will face Johnson or Denis Kudla in round 2. Stevie J is 4-0 career against Kudla, and just beat him in Le Gosier, however if Johnson is tired coming off a quick turnaround, and the fact this is clay, Denis could get him back. They have never met on the surface before.
Regardless, Verdasco who has lost 2 straight matches, and will be playing for the first time on clay this year, probably makes the quarterfinals to do battle with Monaco. Monaco has to beat Indian Davis Cup hero Somdev Devvarman, who will be traveling in from Korea from that and should be jetlagged, then a qualifier or Donald Young to reach that point. Pico has also lost 2 straight and is 2-4 on clay this year but should he make the quarters, his 5-2 h2h clay court record against the Spaniard will be a big plus in his favor. That said, their last four clay court meetings were split 2-2 and Verdasco won the last meeting at the 2011 French.
Given Monaco has been struggling this year, I expect Verdasco to survive.
Dark Horse: Daniel Gimeno-Traver
Hard to see a non-seeded dark horse do something with this draw, but it has happened before, and a steady dirtballer like DGT is a prime selection. After a competitive Russell in the first round and even though his h2h with Almagro is a pitiful 1-5 on clay, Nico has been struggling. If he catches him out of sorts, he has a chance to reach the quarters. DGT took a set off Nico in Buenos Aires this year, losing 6-1 5-7 4-6. From there, he has an outside shot at the semis against Isner most likely, as Karlovic/qualifier isn’t the toughest clay court opponent.
Predictions Semis:Isner d. Almagro
Robredo d. Verdasco
A rematch of last years Houston final, Isner beat Almagro in straights, and I think he would do so again if form is any indication. Almagro has one other clay win in Davis Cup 2012, and an overall split h2h of 2-2 across all surfaces.
Robredo is 4-0 on clay against Verdasco, while struggling against him on faster surfaces, in a somewhat strange head to head, their last meeting on clay occurring 3 years ago, given current form, I think Tommy will slide past all comers into the final.
Isner d. Robredo
They met twice in 2010, and both times on hard courts, with the h2h 1-1. This is a hard pick, as both players have had streaks of great play, and then gaps of poor tennis in between, and really it depends on which guy will come to play. Isner is playing in the states, he likes the Houston Har-Tru clay, which is very different from European red clay, and he’s probably in slightly better form if he stays healthy.
I have him winning this one in 3 sets.
If you’re looking for Nemo, he’s in Casa.
Grand Prix Hassan II
ATP World Tour 250
April 7-April 13, 2014
Prize Money: € 426,605
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Kevin Anderson (19)
2: Gael Monfils (25)
3: Benoit Paire (33)
4: Marcel Granollers (36)
Just one top 20 player for the Casablanca 250, but the players themselves are capable of playing above their rankings and are recognizable names. It should also be noted that world number 27 Gilles Simon is attempting to qualify here, assuming because he refused a late wild card and opted to do so to get more match practice. Not really sure the reason, but he is a very strong qualifier should he get through.
First Round matchups to watch: Tobias Kamke vs. Pablo Carreno Busta
Kamke performed admirably in a rare Davis Cup call up for team Germany, going 1-1 in singles with a win against Benneteau and a loss against Tsonga. He will have to do a quick turnaround and a surface change to clay as he will face the formerly rising Spaniard Carreno Busta, who has been really struggling as of late and has seen his stock cool off. PCB has lost 5 straight matches and is a miserable 1-8 this year, but he has played all of them at the ATP level. Credit to him for trying to match his game with the best. He will hope to find his game against at the site of his first career ATP main draw level victory, Casablanca, where he reached round 2 as a qualifier last year. He was an overall 43-12 on clay last year, which includes mostly futures and challengers and knows his way around the surface.
He should be a slight favorite against the journeyman German, who should be fatigued.
Teymuraz Gabashvili vs. Carlos Berlocq
Gabashvili is back in the top 60 at the age of 28–in fact–59, which ties a career high for him that came back in 2009. He will face off with the Argentine Berlocq, known for his expressive grunting and stamina. His h2h record is 2-0 against the Argentine, though both meetings came at 2005 challengers a long time ago. They were both on clay, however, and both players are good on the surface, as they both posted winning records on it last year.
Berlocq is 2-2 on the surface this year and this match is a bit of a toss up, but I give Gaba a slight edge to advance.
(5)Joao Sousa vs. Igor Sijsling
Sousa, who is seeded here, should be able to take care of Sijsling without problem, but this is a good form test match for the improving Portugese number 1, as Sijsling has lost 2 straight and isn’t his strongest on clay. Sousa is 2-2 on the surface this year and reached the third round of Miami last, as he has rekindled some form after struggling at the start of the season.
This is their first meeting and I expect a straight set result.
Kevin Anderson, who had his best year on clay ever in 2013, going 11-5 on the surface including a final here in Casablanca, is the top seed. He faces Victor Hanescu or wild card Hicham Khaddari in round 2 and should be on his way to face one of two qualifiers or Federico Delbonis/Filippo Volandri in the quarters.
Wherever potential qualifier Gilles Simon lands will be a big influence on this draw, even with the Frenchman struggling, and should he qualify and land in this section, he has a shot at the quarters. That being said, Delbonis is 7-3 on clay this year and was a finalist in Sao Paulo. He continues to improve and has a good draw here, thus I expect an Anderson vs. Delbonis quarter.
Marcel Granollers is in awful form, and might become a doubles specialist soon if it continues. He has lost 4 straight, is just 1-7 in his last 8 matches, and went just 1-4 on clay during the golden swing in South America. He will probably be an underdog in his first match against Albert Ramos, Ramos just needing to beat wild card Lamine Ouahab, who is probably more famous for switching his nationality from Algerian to Moroccan because of the tennis federation support than anything else, to reach round 2. Ramos is 10-6 on clay this year and has consecutive clay challenger semifinals on his résumé. I expect him to make the quarters against PCB/Kamke or Robin Haase/Aleksandr Nedovyesov. Haase is good on clay and will be looking to return to form, while Nedovyesov comes off Davis Cup duty against Switzerland, and will likely be fatigued. However, he’s in good enough form and good on clay.
Any of those 4 players would be more than pleased to find some form and make the quarters.
Gael Monfils is his usual unpredictable self: After struggling In Miami, he came up big for France in Davis Cup, winning a deciding fifth rubber. He had such a strong start to 2014, only to go 1-3 in his last 4 ATP matches. He’s certainly good on clay, but the questions are is he healthy, fresh, coming off DC, and focused, as “personal problems” and injuries have dogged him on and off. He will face Jiri Vesely or Leo Mayer first up, as Vesely comes off DC duty and will be traveling a long way from Japan. Thus, his first opponent will probably be Mayer, who has a clay court final this year in Vina Del Mar. Assuming Monfils doesn’t have something strange occur, It should be a Monfils vs. Sousa/Sijsling in the quarters. However, there are another 2 qualifier spots in that section, and should Simon land there, assuming he qualifies, he himself has a good shot at the quarters. Don’t forget that Sousa is solid and probably makes it regardless, given the poor form of Simon.
Benoit Paire will be playing for the first time since January in Casablanca. The talented Frenchman with the gifted backhand, who is just competitive on clay but not elite by any standard, will face the aging defender Albert Montanes or Le Gosier challenger finalist Kenny De Schepper in round 2. He will probably be rusty, and Montanes has a shot at the quarters. Or maybe Paire will pull through.
In the section above, Gabashvili/Berlocq or Guillermo Garcia-Lopez/Mikhail Kukushkin await in the quarters. GGL is struggling, having lost 4 straight on clay, and Kukushkin comes off Davis Cup duty and will probably be fatigued, along with the surface change.
Dark Horse: Albert Ramos
The formerly top 40 Spaniard has a great draw that should put him in the semifinals. After the journeyman Ouahab and the ice cold Granollers, any of Haase/Nedovyesov/Kamke/PCB he should be favored against and he will at least be competitive against Anderson/Delbonis/Simon in the semis.
Delbonis d. Ramos
Sousa d. Montanes
Delbonis lost to Anderson on clay in 2012, but he’s improving and I like him as an upset selection to win the title or at least make the final. he is 2-2 career on clay against Ramos, and won their last meeting in 2012 in Madrid.
I think Sousa will upset Monfils, even though I’m totally gambling on that pick, and Sousa or Monfils will be a favorite over Montanes or someone else in the semis. Paire could find form, perhaps, or maybe GGL/Berlocq.
Rest assured, it’ll be competitive.
Delbonis d. Sousa
Delbonis beat Sousa on clay this year in what would be the second career ATP final for them both. They would both be vying for their second career ATP title, as Delbonis won Sao Paulo this year. Given the 1-0 h2h and the current form, I like Delbonis as champion.
North Carolina, California Winners @USTA 14U Junior Team Tennis at National Championships
Wilmington, N.C. and Southern California team from San Diego, Calif. claim intermediate and advanced titles
CAYCE, S.C (Oct. 21, 2013) — Two teams were crowned Sunday at the 2013 USTA Jr. Team Tennis 14U National Championships, held at the Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center in Cayce, S.C., Oct. 18 – 20. A team from Wilmington, N.C., representing the USTA Southern Section, captured the Intermediate Division title while a team from San Diego, Calif., representing USTA Southern California, earned the Advanced title.
The 2013 USTA Jr. Team Tennis 14U National Championships brought together the top 32 teams at the Advance and Intermediate level from various USTA Sections throughout the country.
“This week featured a fun group of really enthusiastic kids,” said Adrienne Di Menna, USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Manager. “We crowned two brand-new national champions, yet the biggest win was seeing how the teams interacted with one another and established friendships. With technology and social media being what it is today, we think it’s awesome that we have players from different sections staying in touch long after they’ve left South Carolina. I think they all realize that we’re part of one big national team, trying to grow this sport.”
The Wilmington team, defeated a team from San Diego, Calif., 56 games to 44 in the Championship match. Earlier in the tournament, they defeated a team from Oklahoma City, Ok. 50-34 in the semifinals.
The team is coached by Lauren Isenhour and Jon Ingham and features: Keegan Bigoness, Lila Das, Lexi Lampkin, PJ Middleton, Taylor Walicki, Patrick Senior, Holland Baynard, Kara Ferner, Eddie Janosko, Robert Schuett and Westley Gaines.
“This is huge for them, this has been a goal that they’ve had for over a year now, talking about it every week at practice,” said Isenhour, of her squad that just missed Nationals last season. “Our team has worked so hard for this moment right here, so we’re really proud of them.”
The San Diego team, defeated a team from Providence, R.I., 50 games to 37 in the Championship match. Earlier in the tournament, they defeated a team from Ocean Springs, Ms., 56-34 in the semifinals.
The team is coached by Solomon Liu and features: Jennifer Kerr, Julia Ronney, Andrew Hu, Robert Liu, Kiev Moores, Nicholas Appel, Timothy Sah, Ryan Seggerman, Nicole Mossme and Olia Javidi.
“There’ll be a huge party when we get back home that’s going to be off the hook,” said Coach Liu. He and his team of 10 from San Diego were experiencing their first Jr. Team Tennis National Championship. “It was a fantastic experience. There’s no guarantees going forward, so to do this in the first year is special. Some of our kids are aging out [in the 14 & Under division], but we’ll try to come back in a few years and win it all in the 18s.”
The Kastles sent the 2013 WTT season off in style last night in front of a sold out crowd at Kastles Stadium at the Wharf in Washington DC. They won their third WTT Championship in a row, this time over the Springfield Lasers by a score of 25-12. That’s a blowout in WTT parlance, and was the largest victory margin in a WTT Final in 11 years.
A two hour rain delay and a $2 beer offer was the perfect prescription for a boisterous partisan crowd. Though the beer eventually ran dry, the Kastles energy level did not, as they swept all five matches on the program. This marks the first time a team has taken all five matches in the Mylan WTT Finals since the league switched to a first to five games format in 1999.
The Only Fist Pumping Roddick Did Was On The Bike Rack Poster
It was announced on Saturday that Springfield Lasers star Andy Roddick would not be playing singles in the Championship. The way Bobby Reynolds played last night, it would likely have made little difference in the final result.
Reynolds, who was not surprisingly named the MVP of last night’s finals, set the tone early against Rik De Voest in singles. Bobby’s patience paid off as he broke DeVoest twice en route to a 5-1 victory.
Just when you thought the score might tighten up, Martina Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova provided a comeback in their match as they were down 3-2 against Alisa Kleybanova and Vania King. Hingis and Rodionova grabbed the last three games to nab the match 5-3.
Reynolds teamed up with Leander Paes in men’s doubles, and they faced little resistance from Andy Roddick and Jean-Julien Rojer with a 5-2 victory.
Hall of Famer Martina Hingis then dispatched Alisa Kleybanova 5-2 and the feeling of inevitability swept over the crowd. They came to see the Kastles hoist the King Cup, and the crowd that outwaited the rain knew they were in for a treat.
Finally, Paes and Hingis eked out a competitive win against Roddick and Kleyanova 5-4 to close the door on Springfield. Under the WTT’s wacky overtime rules, it’s never over until it’s over. By winning the final match, it was celebration time right away.
“I am a first time Kastle. It’s a great team,” Hingis said. “I love everyone and I hope I can play here again next year!”
After an early retirement in 2007, it looks like Hingis could be back on court–both in World Team Tennis and WTA doubles—for some years to come.
DJ Kool provided halftime entertainment for the fans. Earlier in the evening, I enjoyed listening to the Kastles media rep explaining the details of World Team Tennis to the entertainer. He seemed extremely receptive to the lesson. I mentioned the details of Hingis’ early retirement and he was truly fascinated. He seemed surprised that tennis players might have real-world problems, too.
Krazy Kastles Krowd
Last night’s championship match was the first time my wife saw World Team Tennis in person. Same goes for my daughter. I enjoyed both of their reactions. My wife had to get used to the noise, the announcers and the energy of a crowd at a wrestling match. My daughter needed no break-in period. Like I used to yell “Eddie! Eddie!’ at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore for Orioles first baseman Eddie Murray, she was still screaming “Bobby! Bobby!’ out of the car window on the way home.
Kastles Owner Mark Ein Sports an SW19 Umbrella
Kastles staff and owner Mark Ein have done everything possible to make this team and the venue a showcase for tennis in our Nation’s Capital. DC may not be a tennis town like Atlanta or Charleston, but in July, Washington is King of the Court.
Newport at Wimbledon: Almost All American 1st Round Winners Got Next @TennisHalloFame
The main draw of the 2013 International Tennis Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, Rhode Island has 10 players who hail from the United States, and 4 out of the 5 left standing in Wimbledon after the first round will be playing on the New England grass in less than two weeks.
John Isner, Denis Kudla, James Blake and Rajeev Ram are headed to Newport, but not until their business is finished in London. That’s because they all advanced to the second round at Wimbledon. Throw in our Canadian brothers Vasek Pospisil and Jesse Levine, who both made the second round, and that adds up to 6 of the 8 North American men left in Wimbledon are up next at Newport.
Looks like Chowder
Regardless of nationality, the top 15 seeded players for the HOF Championships posted a decent 10-5 record in the first round. In the finest performance yet at SW19 this year, Lleyton Hewitt made quick work of #11 Stan Wawrinka. Look out for him at the Newport Casino.
James Blake was on fire against Thiemo De Bakker.
Denis Kudla got his first Grand Slam win.
And then there was Newport top seed Sam Querrey losing to Bernie Tomic.
There are 13 days until main draw play begins at the American Wimbledon. Let’s hope one or more of these guys shows up a little late to Little Rhody because he was too busy playing quarterfinals at Wimbledon.
JUNIOR TENNIS CHAMPIONS CENTER TO HOST INTERNATIONAL TENNIS FEDERATION JUNIOR TOURNAMENT IN AUGUST
USTA Upgrades Second Annual Tournament to Grade 1
College Park, Md., June 14, 2013 – The Junior Tennis Champions Center of College Park will host the second-annual International Tennis Federation Grade 1 Junior International Hard Court Championship Aug. 19-24. The Grade 1 tournament will feature 64 boys and 64 girls in the expanded draw tournament. The tournament also features girl’s and boy’s doubles.
The tournament kicks off in College Park on Aug. 9-11& with the USTA Hard Court Championship Wildcard Tournament which is open to all USTA players ages 18 and under. In addition, the Junior Tennis Champions Center will also host the USTA Hard Court Championship Qualifying Tournament Aug. 17-18 before the USTA Hard Court Championship on Aug. 19-24. This is the first time the Junior Tennis Champions Center will host a USTA Grade 1 tournament.
“It is an honor to host the International Tennis Federation and the USTA Hard Court Championship”, said Ray Benton, chief executive officer of the Junior Tennis Champions Center at College Park. “In just its second year, the tournament is already a must-play for junior tennis players. With its designation as a Grade 1 tournament, this year’s championship will attract top junior talent. We are thrilled to be chosen by the ITF and USTA to host this event.”
“The USTA is pleased that the USTA Hard Court Championship is returning to the Junior Tennis Champions Center – this year as an International Tennis Federation Grade 1 tournament. The field was strong in 2012 and will likely be stronger this year,” said Lew Brewer, the director of junior competition for the USTA. “The facility is outstanding and the staff at the JTCC do a great job making the players feel special. We think the tournament has found a great home at the JTCC in College Park and we hope to keep the tournament here for many years to come.”
The upgrade to a Grade 1 event makes the JTCC one of only three ITF Grade 1 tournaments within the United States, the other two being the Easter Bowl in Palm Springs, Calif. and the Orange Bowl in Bradenton, Fla. The Junior Tennis Champions Center hosted the inaugural International Hard Court Championship (Grade 2) last year when Jamie Loeb won the girls singles and Wayne Montgomery won the boys singles.
About Junior Tennis Champions Center
The Junior Tennis Champions Center (JTCC) a 501(c)(3) organization, is a world-class training facility located at The Tennis Center at College Park. Its goal is to provide the athletic and academic instruction needed for talented and highly committed young people to excel both on the tennis court and in the classroom. Since its inception in 1999, JTCC has placed all 95 of its graduates at top universities, with graduates earning more than $1.6 million in athletic scholarships.
USTA LEAGUE 6.0 SUPER SENIORNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Sarasota’s National Championship Team
SURPRISE, Ariz., April 21, 2013–The men’s team from Daytona Beach, Fla., representing the USTA Florida Section, captured the national title at the USTA League 6.0 Super Senior National Championships held at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex in Surprise, Arizona.
The Florida team won six matches to take the round-robin tournament, two better than nearest competitor Indianapolis, Ind. out of USTA Midwest. The seven teams in the field began play on Friday.
The team is captained by Bruce Cotten and features team members Ronald Vedova, Ned Rowley, Bill Shea, Roger King, Claude Bigot, Garry Lane and Bill Masters. The team plays at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach. (Photo ID – (L to R):Ronald Vedova, Ned Rowley, Bill Shea, Roger King, Claude Bigot, Garry Lane, Bill Masters)
The top four teams in order of finish are: USTA Florida (Daytona Beach, Fla.), USTA Midwest (Indianapolis, Ind.), USTA Pacific Northwest – Wildcard (Eugene, Ore.) and USTA Pacific Northwest (Tacoma, Wash.).
This year’s USTA League 6.0 Super Senior National Championship has drawn the top 19 teams, with 7 men’s teams and 12 women’s team from all over the United States.
USTA League celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 2010. Since its inception in 1980, USTA League has grown from 13,000 participants in its first year, to over 820,000 players across the nation today, making it the world’s largest recreational tennis league.
USTA League was established to provide adult recreational tennis players throughout the country with the opportunity to compete against players of similar ability levels. Players participate on teams in a league format, which is administered by the USTA through its 17 Sections. The league groups players by using six National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) levels, ranging from 2.5 (entry) to 5.0 (advanced). USTA League is open to any USTA member 18 years of age or older. It features Adult and Mixed Doubles divisions, as well as a Senior Division (age 50 or older) and a Super Senior Division (age 60 or older).
Beginning with the 2013 National Championship season, USTA League changed its structure and format. The change offers USTA League participants among three age categories (Adult 18 & Over, Adult 40 & Over and Adult 55 & Over and Mixed 18 & Over) to better align participants with players their own age. The restructuring guarantees more frequency of play opportunities at more appropriate age groups.
Head Penn Racquet Sports is in its 26th year as official ball of USTA League.
Washington Kastles to be Honored by D.C. Mayor and City – Monday, October 22
Proclamation proclaims defending champions “the best of the city”
World TeamTennis (WTT) champions Washington Kastles will be honored by the District of Columbia on Monday, October 22 in recognition of their historic, second consecutive championship season. Mayor Vincent Gray will present a proclamation to the undefeated team at 12:30 p.m. on the steps of the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Fans are invited to join the festivities as the Kastles provide complimentary championship gear, entertainment and fare.
Kastles Championship Rally 2009 (Photo: Kevin Koski)
The Kastles won their third WTT title in four years in September, posting a perfect 16-0 season for a second straight year. It is the only time a professional sports team has had back-to-back undefeated seasons, and the Kastles two perfect seasons are the only ones in the 37 years history of World TeamTennis. The Kastles’ current 32-match winning streak puts the team one win away from tying the all-time unbeaten professional sports streak of 33 wins set by the NBA’s 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. This is the fourth time the Kastles have been recognized by the District of Columbia.