It’s a @PPolansky/@MRussellTennis Final @CVilleTennis
I’m a Peter Polansky fan, but I’m an even bigger Rhyne Williams fan. So it was with mixed feelings that this match was played out in Charlottesville today. With big winners and some unforced errors by both, Polansky prevailed in three sets to advance to tomorrow’s Charlottesville final.
Russell as Iron Man
Later, Jesse Levine was forced to retire down a set in the second against Michael Russell, denying an All-Canadian final. Levine is a warrior and I can only hope that his abdominal injury heals in time for the Australian Open.
Tomorrow’s final will feature “Muscles” Russell, the man with the most titles on the USTA Pro Circuit against recent maiden title winner Polansky.
It worked out well that tournament organizers scheduled the singles matches to begin after 1:00 p.m., as the exciting Paris Masters semifinals consumed all of the oxygen in the World of Tennis on Saturday morning.
Tim Smyczek was upset in the first round of singles way back on Tuesday by Saketh Myneni, but he’ll still play for a title on the event’s final day. Along with teammate Steve Johnson, the tournament’s top ranked player will look for the doubles trophy against Jarmere Jenkins and Donald Young tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. EST.
Djokovic Defends Shanghai, Wins Second Straight ATP Event
Novak Djokovic beat Juan Martin Del Potro in a competitive match 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 to defend his Shanghai Rolex Masters title and win his second straight event. He also won at Beijing last week.
The Serb will remain at number 2 in the rankings but he is at least keeping pace with Rafael Nadal, who Del Potro beat in the semis. Djokovic, meanwhile, scored wins over Marcel Granollers, Fabio Fognini, Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
In addition to Nadal, Del Potro beat Philipp Kohlschreiber, got a walkover against Tommy Haas, and routined quarterfinalist Nicolas Almagro. A healthy Del Potro had a strong Asian swing, as did Djokovic, and they are finishing the year strong.
Ivan Dodig/Marcel Melo won the doubles over David Marrero/Fernando Verdasco.
2013 ATP Shanghai Preview, Predictions
Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast
The pinnacle of the Asian swing, the Masters 1000 event in Shanghai on hardcourts starts today.
Shanghai Rolex Masters
ATP World Tour Masters 1000
October 6-October 13, 2013
Prize Money: $3,849,445
Top 8 seeds (who all receive first round byes)
1: Novak Djokovic
2: Rafael Nadal
3: David Ferrer
4: Tomas Berdych
5: Roger Federer
6: Juan Martin Del Potro
7: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
8: Stanislas Wawrinka
Rafa Nadal has returned to number one after reaching the Beijing final, and Del Potro and Federer have switched spots, but that isn’t reflected in the draw this week.
First round matchups to watch:
(9)Richard Gasquet vs. Vasek Pospisil
Gasquet should be a heavy favorite in this one, but after being routined by Novak Djokovic again in Beijing where he reached the semis, you have to be on the lookout for a possible letdown here against the dangerous floater Pospisil.
Vasek nearly knocked off David Ferrer in Beijing, but came up just short again in another big match. The up and coming Pospisil continues searching for big name scalps and Gasquet fits the bill.
(WC)Lleyton Hewitt vs. Andreas Seppi
Lleyton Hewitt routined Tommy Haas in Beijing before falling totally flat and winning a mere 2 games in his next match against Fabio Fognini. Basically, you never know what kind of form the Aussie is going to be in from day to day at this point. Seppi, meanwhile is 0-2 post-US Open, though he does have a 2-1 hard court h2h edge over Hewitt. Again, this match basically comes down to which Hewitt shows up.
(13)Gilles Simon vs. Benoit Paire
The two Frenchmen have split meetings this year, and this will likely be the rubber match. Paire won their indoor meeting at the start of the year in Montpellier, and overall has a 2-1 h2h edge. However, his form is questionable, as he last played the Orleans challenger in France and has not been on the Asian swing until now. Simon won Metz and did well in Bangkok, but pulled out of Tokyo with a mild injury caused by fatigue. Hopefully he will be back in full form, as he has struggled with injury issues this year and in the past. Expect a spirited match, and I think Simon slips past his countryman.
(12)Kei Nishikori vs. Grigor Dimitrov
The first meeting between 2 hyped young players, Nishikori will likely be the favorite, though he lost earlier than expected in the Quarterfinals of Tokyo, after winning a couple of rounds. Dimitrov is struggling, having switched coaching teams and playing just one Asian swing event, Beijing, where he was dispatched by Roberto Bautista-Agut without trouble. Nishikori is dealing with some knee issues, but even then I think he gets past the struggling Dimitrov.
Jurgen Melzer vs. Ivan Dodig
Melzer has one favorable head to head win, on indoor hard courts last year in Memphis against Dodig. But Dodig has the form edge as he comes off semis in Tokyo, where he notably upset Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round. Melzer lost to Nishikori in round 1 of the same event in a close match. This one could go either way, but if Dodig serves well he should advance.
(11) Tommy Haas vs. Sam Querrey
Haas has a 3-2 h2h edge over the American, but they have not played since 2009 and form perhaps favors Querrey, who beat Mikhail Youzhny and Stan Wawrinka back to back in Beijing. Haas was, as mentioned, routined by Lleyton Hewitt in the first round of the same event. Haas has struggled down the stretch and seems to have lost his hot form from earlier in the year. Perhaps fatigue is playing a part as he is a veteran player. I think Querrey grabs the upset.
Feliciano Lopez vs. Jarkko Nieminen
Lopez is ranked higher, but Nieminen has owned the h2h here, 7-3, including wins in every hard court meeting they have had. He made the Quarters in Tokyo while Lopez has been so-so, winning a couple of matches in Bangkok and then losing in the second round of Tokyo. This one could also go either way, and should be an entertaining southpaw battle, but I think Nieminen will notch the win.
Defending Champion and Beijing champion Novak Djokovic will play his Davis Cup teammate Janko Tipsarevic or Marcel Granollers in round 2, with Beijing quarterfinalist Fabio Fognini, a qualifier, Tommy Robredo or Albert Montanes awaiting in round 3.
Roger Federer returns to tennis against the winner of Seppi/Hewitt in what would be a classic and highly anticipated rivalry throwback If he meets Hewitt in round 2. The winner of that will face Gasquet/Pospisil, a qualifier or Gael Monfils in what is a pretty loaded section.
David Ferrer has been struggling, but he did make the quarters in Beijing and he will play Lukas Rosol or Bangkok finalist Julien Benneteau in round 2 before Simon/Paire or Florian Mayer/Di Wu.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga starts against Mikhail Youzhny in all likelihood, assuming Youzhny beats Pablo Andujar. If he gets past that, he’ll face Dodig/Melzer or Nishikori/Dimitrov in round 3. This is another competitive section.
Beijing finalist and new world number 1 Rafael Nadal has most certainly earned that ranking this year, having only lost once before the final in every tournament he has played a match in this year. Rafa opens against a qualifier or Alex Dolgopolov, who made the quarters in Tokyo and showed flashes of good form that has been missing most of this year. Nadal is 3-0 career against the Ukranian, and has never dropped a set to him. In round 3, Rafa vs. John Isner awaits, a rematch of the Cincy final. Isner just needs to beat a qualifier and Dmitry Tursunov/Carlos Berlocq.
Stan Wawrinka, who is chasing after the World Tour finals and trying to surpass Roger Federer in the rankings to become the Swiss number 1, opens with Kevin Anderson or Victor Hanescu. If he wins, he should expect Tokyo finalist and Bangkok champion Milos Raonic, who is on fire and opens with a qualifier, and then Fernando Verdasco or Ze Zhang.
Tomas Berdych retired against Rafa in the first set in Beijing. He will open with Nieminen/Lopez in what could be a troublesome match if Berdych isn’t healthy. The winner will get Bernard Tomic/Jeremy Chardy or Nicolas Almagro/qualifier in round 3. Tomic and Chardy are struggling, Almagro made the semis in Tokyo in a surprise and Berdych and Almagro always seem to find each other in these draws.
The Tokyo champion, Juan Martin Del Potro, opens with Philipp Kohlschreiber or Mao-Xin Gong, and then should expect Querrey/Haas in round 3, though a qualifier or Daniel Brands are options as well.
Dark Horse: Ivan Dodig
Dodig is in good form. If he can beat Melzer, and then either a struggling Dimitrov or a slowed down Nishikori, he will get Tsonga, who he just beat in Tokyo. After that, he should play Ferrer/Simon for a shot at the semis. This is an open section that is hard to pick, and he has an outside chance of making a deep run.
Djokovic d. Gasquet
Ferrer d. Dodig
Del Potro d. Almagro
Nadal d. Raonic
Djokovic dispatches Gasquet once again. Assuming the Frenchman beats Federer. I really don’t think Ferrer is in good form at all, but Simon is a wild card with his injury issues. Either one should beat Dodig and make the semis. Also watch out for Tsonga/Nishikori/Melzer in the toughest and most open section of the draw.
Del Potro just beat Almagro in Tokyo and is playing well. Nadal shouldn’t have any trouble continuing to win matches.
Djokovic d. Ferrer
Nadal d. Del Potro
Should be somewhat straightforward semis. Del Potro could trouble Nadal but probably not right now.
Nadal d. Djokovic
Expecting a US Open and Beijing final rematch, and thinking the same result as I have been predicting, Nadal is simply a beast right now and nobody seems able to tame him, though Djokovic will put up his best effort once again as he did in Beijing. With Murray out of the picture right now, these two guys seem to be on a collision course for everything and are the best two players in the game, bar none.
A pair of strong 500s this week in Beijing and Tokyo are the action this week on the ATP World Tour and here is your preview for both.
ATP World Tour 500
September 30-October 6, 2013
Prize Money: $2,315,250
Top 8 seeds
1: Novak Djokovic
2: Rafael Nadal
3: David Ferrer
4: Tomas Berdych
5: Richard Gasquet
6: Stanislas Wawrinka
7: Tommy Haas
8: John Isner
The Olympic tennis center, the large prize money pool and the prestige of a joint event with the WTA has attracted a boatload of big names to Beijing.
First round matchups to watch:
(3)David Ferrer vs. Vasek Pospisil
Ferrer (Photo: Courtney Massey)
Ferrer is 2-0 career against Pospisil, who was shocked by Federico Delbonis in Kuala Lumpur and has been hassled by an inability to close out matches. This match is really only notable because Ferrer has suffered a slate of shocking losses this year and he just had one in Kuala Lumpur to current finalist Joao Sousa. The loss looks better in hindsight, but top 5 players losing to players outside the top 50 is still a shock. I expect Ferrer to win, but can’t be confident of that.
(7)Tommy Haas vs. (WC)Lleyton Hewitt
This is a Battle Royale of the fighting thirty-something vets for the first time in nine years. Between 2000 and 2004, Hewitt beat Haas six times and lost twice. Much has changed, however and smarter but older, they will renew their rivalry in Beijing. It’s a toss-up match.
Novak Djokovic will play Lukas Rosol as he begins his fall campaign and then Fernando Verdasco or a qualifier in round 2. Kuala Lumpur semifinalist and rival Stanislas Wawrinka is his likely quarterfinal opponent, as they could have a rematch of their great US Open match this year (and great AO match in January).
Wawrinka needs to beat Andreas Seppi and Mikhail Youzhny/Sam Querrey to reach the quarters.
Ferrer/Pospisil will play Marinko Matosevic or current Kuala Lumpur finalist Julien Benneteau in round 2 and then most likely Bangkok semifinalist Richard Gasquet in the quarters. Gasquet has to notch wins over Florian Mayer and Ze Zhang/Bernard Tomic to get there. Gasquet-Ferrer would be a US Open rematch as well.
Rafa Nadal also begins his fall campaign in Beijing. His first opponent will be a qualifier before facing Albert Montanes/Philipp Kohlschreiber and one of Haas/Hewitt, Tommy Robredo/Fabio Fognini in the quarters. Not the easiest draw, but he took care of Kohli at the USO and has a positive recent record against the other players.
Tomas Berdych is a finalist in Bangkok.He opens with Pablo Andujar before advancing to Nikolay Davydenko/Qualifier and most likely John Isner in the quarters. Isner plays Chinese wild card Di Wu, followed by Grigor Dimitrov/Qualifier before the quarters.
Dark Horse: John Isner
John Isner: Dark Horse
If Berdych is tired, Isner becomes the favorite in his quarter as he has a pretty weak first couple of matches before running into Berdych. Semis are possible but not likely for the American.
Djokovic d. Gasquet
Nadal d. Berdych
Djokovic has only lost to Gasquet once and has handled him well in a ton of other meetings. He is in good form judging from Davis Cup and should be fine here. Nadal hasn’t lost to Berdych in 7 years. He also looks to be in good form and has beaten Berdych 3 times this year, so he should be good.
Nadal d. Djokovic
A rematch of the USO final and a bunch of other matches. I expect the same result, but it could still go either way between the best 2 players in the world right now.
Djokovic is the defending champion and has won Beijing three times, but Nadal is seeking to take the number 1 ranking from him.
Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships
ATP World Tour 500
September 30-October 6, 2013
Prize Money: $1,297,000
Top 8 seeds
1: Juan Martin Del Potro
2: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
3: Milos Raonic
4: Kei Nishikori
5: Gilles Simon
6: Nicolas Almagro
7: Kevin Anderson
8: Janko Tipsarevic
First round matchups to watch:
(1)Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Marcos Baghdatis
These two fan favorites have met four times on the ATP tour and all on hard courts like this meeting. The head to head is even, meaning the winner will get the positive edge. Del Potro owned their meeting in Dubai early this year in a third set tiebreak and is hopefully recovered from injury issues that have bothered him all year and dogged him at his last event, the US Open. Baghdatis is a disappointing 1-2 in his first two events of the fall ATP season. Del Potro will be the favorite if healthy, but Baghdatis could surprise.
(4)Kei Nishikori vs. Jurgen Melzer
Nishikori is the home hero and the defending champion, meaning he has a considerable amount of pressure here.
Melzer, meanwhile, made the semis in Kuala Lumpur and seems to be in ok form. They have a split 1-1 H2H, with Melzer winning their only hard court meeting 4 years ago. Nishikori won on clay in Madrid this year. Nishikori performed well in his last event, a Davis Cup tie, and will be the favorite here.
(2)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Gael Monfils
Tsonga has a 3-1 H2H edge over his fellow Frenchman and is probably in better form. All of their prior meetings have been on hard courts. Both players have been hassled with injury problems, but can play brilliant tennis when they’re on, and that is why this match is one to watch between charismatic fan favorites. Tsonga should prevail, but Monfils always has a chance against most anyone.
The Del Potro/Baghdatis winner will face Carlos Berlocq or Pablo Cuevas in round 2. Cuevas upset Nikolay Davydenko in Kuala Lumpur.
In the quarterfinals, it will probably be Del Potro vs Alex Dolgopolov or Janko Tipsarevic, a couple of players who have had a downright terrible year of tennis. Also in this section are Victor Hanescu and Daniel Brands and if Del Potro is healthy he seems secure for the semis. Otherwise, who knows?
Nishikori/Melzer will likely play Bangkok quarterfinalist Feliciano Lopez in round 2. Feli just has to beat Tatsuma Ito. Following that, it will be a weak quarterfinal against one of a pair of qualifiers, a slumping Nicolas Almagro, or a slumping Horacio Zeballos. Super-Weak section for a 500.
Tsonga/Monfils could get a possibly tough test against Ivan Dodig in round 2 if Dodig beats wild card Yuichi Sugita. A quarterfinal awaits against in-form Bangkok semifinalist and Metz champion Gilles Simon if Simon beats Marcel Granollers and Jarkko Nieminen/Juan Monaco (neither of whom are in good form, but can catch fire).
Tsonga vs. Simon in the quarters would be a rematch of the Metz final, won by Simon.
Current Bangkok finalist Milos Raonic plays Go Soeda and then Jeremy Chardy/Michael Llodra in what should be an easy start for the possibly-fatigued Canadian. A pair of qualifiers, Dmitry Tursunov or Kevin Anderson await in the quarters in a tough test.
Dark Horse: Dmitry Tursunov
Tursunov come off quarterfinals in Kuala Lumpur, which was preceded by quarterfinals in St. Petersburg and a generally good year. Opening with a qualifier and then the unpredictable form of Kevin Anderson gives Tursunov a sniff at the quarterfinals again, with Raonic, who could be tired, probably awaiting.
Del Potro d. Nishikori
Simon d. Raonic
Del Po has never lost to Nishikori, so unless his wrist or some other body part is giving him trouble, I think he survives to the final.
I like Simon form-wise if he isn’t too tired over Tsonga and then over Raonic, who he has only played once on clay 2 years ago. Not much to go on there.
Del Potro d. Simon
JMDP in 3?
Simon has a 3-1 edge on hardcourts, and this matchup is good for him. But I think Del Potro, if healthy, will just be too much, as he will be fresher if this final occurs. Either way, a hard pick here.
2013 ATP Bangkok & Kuala Lumpur Previews & Predictions
The Asian swing of the ATP world tour starts with strong fields for 250s in Bangkok, Thailand and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, both on indoor hardcourts.
ATP World Tour 250
September 23-September 29, 2013
Prize Money: $567,530
Top 4 seeds (Who all receive first round byes)
1: Tomas Berdych
2: Richard Gasquet
3: Milos Raonic
4: Gilles Simon
The original top seed, Andy Murray, withdrew earlier this week and will probably be out the rest of the year due to much-needed back surgery.
First round matchups to watch:
Ivo Karlovic vs. Bernard Tomic
Not a whole lot of first round showdowns for this tournament, but this one could be interesting. Karlovic lost to Sam Querrey in Metz, while Tomic comes off helping the Aussies make the DC world group. He has had a poor year, dogged by personal issues, and this one could honestly go either way based upon the unpredictable form of both players.
Tomas Berdych starts against Roberto Bautista Agut or a qualifier. Assuming he wins that, a probably easier match against one of Rendy Lu, Evgeny Donskoy, Lukas Rosol or Lukasz Kubot will be in order. Rosol was finally able to win back-to-back matches in St. Petersburg.
Metz champion Gilles Simon faces the Tomic/Karlovic winner and then most likely Jarkko Nieminen in the quarters, assuming the Fin beats a slumping Igor Sijsling, and Robin Haase/Daniel Gimeno-Traver.
Defending champ Richard Gasquet will play Lukas Lacko or a qualifier. Mikhail Youzhny awaits in the quarters, as the Russian needs to beat Paolo Lorenzi and Denis Istomin or Suk-Young Jeong, an up and coming wildcard from Korea.
Milos Raonic will face Marinko Matosevic or wild card Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul. In all likelihood, Raonic will duel Feliciano Lopez in the quarters. Lopez just has to get wins over wildcard Laslo Djere and a qualifier.
Dark Horse: Roberto Bautista Agut
Bautista Agut beat Berdych in Chennai at the start of this year and played well in St. Petersburg. His punchy style can force the Czech into errors if his form is off and he opens with a qualifier. If he upsets Berdych, the field is weak until the semis, where Simon/Nieminen would be his likely opponent, another winnable match.
Berdych d. Nieminen
Raonic d. Gasquet
Nieminen beat Berdych once indoors, but Berdych has won every other meeting, and I have Nieminen in the semis. Although his form wasn’t great before the US Open, he has had a break and plays well indoors. Simon will probably be tired. Gasquet beat Raonic at the US Open a few weeks ago, but indoors, I think the pendulum swings in favor of the Canadian with his serve.
Raonic d. Berdych
Raonic won their only head to head meeting in Cincy last year, and I just think he has a slight edge indoors, though this could go either way. Raonic is also fighting for a spot in the ATP World Tour Finals.
ATP Kuala Lumpur
ATP World Tour 250
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
September 23-September 29, 2013
Prize Money: $875,500
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes)
1: David Ferrer
2: Stanislas Wawrinka
3: Nicolas Almagro
4: Jurgen Melzer
First round matchups to watch:
(WC)Ryan Harrison vs. Joao Sousa
Harrison needed a wild card to enter the field here, as his ranking is back outside the top 100. He will get an interesting match against Sousa, who has had a great year and made the semis indoors in St. Petersburg. Depending on Sousa’s fatigue level, he may be a slight favorite.
(WC)Pablo Carreno-Busta vs. Alex Bogomolov
Carreno-Busta has had an amazing year and will begin transitioning to consistent ATP tour tennis at this point, starting with a wild card here to face Bogomolov. Bogey has inconsistent form while PCB is mostly known for his clay court prowess with no idea how his game will hold up indoors.
David Ferrer opens with a qualifier, then one of Harrison/Sousa, Nikolay Davydenko/Pablo Cuevas in the quarters. Davydenko could be streakily dangerous, but otherwise not a bad start for Ferrer.
Jurgen Melzer will face Horacio Zeballos or a qualifier, then one of Vasek Pospisil/Victor Hanescu/Federico Delbonis/Hyeon Chung in the quarters. Pospisil has a nice underdog chance to make a run here, otherwise it should be Melzer.
Stan Wawrinka will face Carlos Berlocq or Marcos Baghdatis to start. He beat Baghdatis at the US Open. In the quarters, Carreno-Busta/Bogomolov or Dmitry Tursunov/Qualifier await. Not the easiest draw, but not the worst either.
Nicolas Almagro was a sad sack 0-3 during the US Summer swing and is back for indoors in the fall against Daniel Brands or Adrian Mannarino, both of whom can be dangerous. The winner gets one of Julien Benneteau/Michal Przysiezny/Grega or Zemlja/Pablo Andujar in the quarters. Przysiezny comes off semis in St. Petersburg and Benneteau is struggling.
Dark Horse: Vasek Pospisil
Daniel Brands could also qualify for this honor, but I will give it to Pospisil. Let’s assume he can beat Hanescu and Delbonis/Chung, both of whom will be favored indoors. His test with Melzer would be big but is also winnable. Pospisil has the talent. The consistency is still lacking. His quality play in Canada’s Davis Cup ties indoors cannot be discounted. Melzer is unpredictable himself and has lost 3 straight matches.
For the Canadian, the semis are quite possible. They met last year In Kuala Lumpur, but Melzer retired early in set 2.
Ferrer d. Pospisil
Wawrinka d. Brands
Ferrer should probably cruise his way to the final. Wawrinka doesn’t have that tough of a draw and the other section is weak. I say Brands will get out of it.
Wawrinka d. Ferrer
Ferrer won their only indoor meeting, and has a solid edge in the h2h, but Wawrinka seems to be in great form and I think he will continue that and notch a title here.
USONP Sectional Trophy (Photo: @tennis_shots Christopher Levy)
Southern, Mid-Atlantic Sectional Qualifying Tournaments finish with eight players advancing to the US Open National Playoffs
The USTA Southern and USTA Mid-Atlantic Sectional Qualifying Tournaments were completed in the past week, advancing eight additional players to the 2013 US Open National Playoffs – Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles Championships in August.
In the USTA Southern tournament in Sandy Springs, Ga., held at the Sandy Springs Tennis Center, ElliottOrkin, 18, of Marietta, Ga., cruised past Trevor Gotkowski, 18, of Cartersville, Ga., 6-1, 6-0. Orkin has signed a national letter of intent to play at the University of Florida this fall. He will be competing in the USTA Boys’ 18s National Championships later this summer.
Longtime friends Allison Miller, 17, of Norcross, Ga., and Laura Patterson, 17, of Roswell, Ga., faced off in the women’s final, with Miller grinding out a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, victory. Miller will be a high school senior this fall and recently committed to the University of Notre Dame.
In the mixed doubles final, Danie van den Heever, 30, of Cumming, Ga., and Whitney McCray, 27, of Houston, defeated Georgia Tech players Nathan Rakitt and Kendal Woodard, 7-6(4), 6-1. Van den Heever is a teaching pro and director of tennis in Georgia. He grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he was a top junior, and played for Georgia Southern University. Van Den Heever obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology from GSU. McCray played for Georgia Tech, where she earned All-America honors in doubles in 2007 and finished her career ranked second in school history with a .697 winning percentage in doubles.
In the USTA Mid-Atlantic tournament in College Park, Md., at the Tennis Center at College Park, MattBrooklyn, 25, and Stephanie Wetmore, 25, of Washington, D.C., won the mixed doubles title yesterday, defeating the Annapolis, Md., duo of former professional player Andrew Carlson and his student Olivia Gaudreault, 6-3, 6-1. Brooklyn and Wetmore, who are originally from Great Britain and Canada, respectively, are a couple off the court, having met at UCLA in 2008, where they played tennis. For the past two years, Brooklyn has worked as the assistant tennis coach for Georgetown University, while Wetmore served as their volunteer assistant coach. Brooklyn won the 2012 US Open National Playoffs USTA Mid-Atlantic men’s singles title. Wetmore was part of UCLA’s NCAA title-winning team in 2008.
Pat Daciek (Photo: @tennis_shots Christopher Levy)
The mixed doubles title was redemption for Brooklyn, who was unable to defend his men’s singles title, losing to Patrick Daciek, 6-4, 6-3. Daciek, 23, Severna Park, Md., played for Virginia Tech and won the 2008 National Collegiate Clay Court Championships. Like Brooklyn, Daciek will be making his second trip to the US Open National Playoffs. In 2011, Daciek partnered with current UCLA standout Skylar Morton to win USTA Mid-Atlantic’s mixed doubles tournament.
Nika Kukharchuk (Photo: @tennis_shots Christopher Levy)
In the women’s final, defending champion Nika Kukharchuk, 26, of Carmel, N.Y., defeated 14-year-old Raveena Kingsley, of Fulton, Md., 6-2, 6-3. Kukharchuk is ranked No. 456 in the world and hails from Kaliningrad, Russia. She currently works as a teaching pro at Hardscrabble Club in Brewster, N.Y., was a four-year letter winner for the University of Mississippi, and ascended as high as No. 3 in the Russian junior rankings. Off the court, she received a bachelor’s degree in finance at age 20 and earned her MBA at 21. Both of her parents are music teachers.
Raveena Kingsley (Photo: @tennis_shots Christopher Levy)
The winners or top available finishers from each of the 13 sectional qualifying tournaments held throughout the spring and summer advance to the US Open National Playoffs – Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles Championships, to be held during the New Haven Open at Yale, an Emirates Airline US Open Series women’s event, in August. The US Open National Playoffs mixed doubles champions receive a main draw wild card into the 2013 US Open, while the men’s and women’s singles champions earn a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament held the week prior to the US Open.
• The USTA Eastern Sectional Qualifying Tournament in Flushing, N.Y., takes place June 9-15, at the USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center—thehome of the US Open.
TV actor Sendhil Ramamurthy, who was scheduled to compete in men’s singles and mixed doubles in Flushing, was forced to withdraw due to pneumonia. Ramamurthy, 39, who was a competitive junior tennis player in Texas, is best known for his role on “Heroes.” He recently appeared in “The Office” finale and is currently acting on the CW’s “Beauty and the Beast.”
(L to R): Stephen Duffel, Tom Smith, Dale Quigley, Roger Pearce, Marty Pearson, Larry Saheim, Robin Merriman, Hugh Thomson (Photo:USTA)
Atlanta Men Crowned National Champs at USTA 9.0 Super Seniors
SURPRISE, Ariz., April, 29, 2013 – The men’s team from Atlanta, Ga., representing the USTA Southern Section, captured the national title at the USTA League 9.0 Super Senior National Championships held at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex in Surprise, Arizona.
The Atlanta defeated a team from Laguna Niguel, Calif. 2-1 in the Championship match. Earlier in the day, the Atlanta team defeated a team from Bass River, Mass. 3-0 in the semifinals. They advanced this far by winning their round-robin flight contested Friday and Saturday.
The team is captained by Hugh Thomson and features Stephen Duffel, Tom Smith, Dale Quigley, Roger Pearce, Marty Pearson, Larry Saheim, Robbin Merriman and plays at the Northeast Georgia Tennis Center.
The top four teams in order of finish are: USTA Southern (Atlanta, Ga.), USTA Southern California (Laguna Niguel, Calif.), USTA New England (Bass River, Mass.) and USTA Eastern (Syosset, N.Y.).
This year’s USTA League 9.0 Super Senior National Championship has drawn the top 21 teams, with 13 men’s teams and 8 women’s teams from all of 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.
In the tropical paradise of New Caledonia, Adrian Mannarino got his year started off right with a straight set victory over the unseeded Andrej Martin. Martin beat top seed Steve Darcis in round 2, and beat Jonathan Dasnieres De Veigy in the semis. Meanwhile, Mannarino beat 3 seed and fellow Frenchman Marc Gicquel in the semis.
Sao Paulo (1) Challenger (December 31, 2012 -January 6, 2013)
In Brazil, former top 50 player Horacio Zeballos burst back into the top 70 with a straight set win over Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva, in what is a quality hard court result for the Argentine. Zeballos, who was the top seed, beat Gastao Elias in the semis, while Dutra Silva beat countryman Joao Souza, and both semis went the full 3 sets. Zeballos had already closed out 2012 with two straight challenger titles on clay.
The unseeded Michael Berrer took the title at the prestigious Heilbronn open on indoor hard courts in Germany, which featured a stacked field that included 5 players in the top 100. Berrer beat countryman Jan-Lennard Struff in straight sets in an all German final. Before that, he knowcked off top 60 player Paul-Henri Mathieu, the top seed in the semis. JL Struff beat seeded players Adrian Ungur and Benjamin Becker before beating Olivier Rochus in the semis.
On red clay in Colombia, Federico Delbonis of Argentina, the 6 seed, beat 7 seed Wayne Odesnik in straights to capture the title after beating Paul Capdeville in the semis. Odesnik made the final by beating Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia.
Maui Wowie–Soeda Wins
Maui Challenger (January 20-January 27, 2013)
In Maui, top seed Go Soeda took the title over the unseeded Mischa Zverev in straight sets after besting Tim Smyczek in the semis. Zverev showed positive signs of getting his game back on track in posting an opening round win over 2 seed Tatsuma Ito and also beating Alex Bogomolov and Michael Russell to reach the final.
An exciting week of high intensity tennis has finished up at the final slam of the year and it is time for the business end of the tournament with just 16 men left vying for the title. The top four seeds have all generally advanced with ease, but the big story is Andy Roddick, who announced he will retire from Tennis after the Open in a impromptu press conference the day before his 2nd round match.
Roddick has made it to the round of 16 and will play Del Potro Tuesday, so he will carry the torch of American tennis at least a few hours longer.
Here is a breakdown of the eight round of 16 match ups.
Roger Federer vs. Mardy Fish
Federer is looking sharp and rolled in straights over Donald Young and Bjorn Phau, then dispatched Fernando Verdasco in the same fashion in what was a disappointing performance from Fernando. Fish beat Go Soeda in straights, came back from 2 sets down to defeat Nikolay Davydenko, who ran out of gas the last 3 sets, and thumped Gilles Simon in 4 sets.
Fish will likely have the crowd behind him in this match, but that is about the only thing going for him as Federer looks confident and cunning and should get another solid win.
Nicolas Almagro vs. Tomas Berdych
Nico and TBerd will meet again for the 4th time this year and they have a habit of being irritants to one another going back to this year’s Australian Open.
Almagro beat a Statue-of-Liberty-shirt-sporting Radek Stepanek in 4, Phillip Petzschner in 5 long heavy ball striking sets and young American Jack Sock, who did well to reach the 3rd round, in 4 sets. Berdych beat David Goffin and Jurgen Zopp in straights, then got past Sam Querrey in 4 after dropping the 1st set.
This match leans Berdych as he has had an easier time so far but Almagro may be able to snatch a win.
Andy Murray vs. Milos Raonic
Milos Raonic survived a 1st round 5 setter against Santiago Giraldo, then beat Paul-Henri Mathieu and James Blake in straights. Blake had previously turned back the clock and dispatched Marcel Granollers in the 2nd round. Murray overcame a slow start to beat Alex Bogomolov in straights, then dispatched Ivan Dodig and needed 4 grueling sets and 3 tiebreaks to get past Feliciano Lopez, who threw everything he had into their 3rd round encounter on a hot Saturday afternoon.
This is an interesting match-up as Murray as struggled with his serve in his first 3 matches, while Raonic serves so well most of the time it could be close and possibly be a long match if Raonic is serving well and Murray isn’t.
Marin Cilic vs. Martin Klizan
Cilic won two 5 setters against Marinko Matosevic and Daniel Brands in the first 2 rounds, then got past Kei Nishikori in 4 sets in what was a bit of a surprising match. Klizan, probably the most unheralded name left in the draw, made his way by beating Alejandro Falla in straights then scored the biggest win of his promising career in 4 sets against 5 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who simply appeared wilted and worn out and could not get his game nor his shots together. Klizan kept his composure and his game together in gutting out the massive win. He followed that up by beating Jeremy Chardy in straights, making it look easy out there and proving he belongs.
Cilic will be a favorite here but the 23-year-old lefty Klizan, who will break into the top 50 after his run here is said and done, has the talent to get yet another upset. This could honestly go either way.
Janko Tipsarevic vs. Phillip Kohlschreiber
Tipsarevic survived an upset scare in the 1st round, clawing back from 2 sets down to defeat Guillaume Rufin in 5. He then took out Brian Baker and Grega Zemlja in straights. Peppo Kohlschreiber beat Michael Llodra in 4, won a testy 5 setter with Benoit Paire in which both players simply did not like each other and then upset John Isner in a late night 5 setter. It was a disappointing result from Isner, who had given his previous opponents Xaiver Malisse and Jarkko Nieminen their chances, winning both matches in 4 sets and it finally caught up to him against Kohlschreiber, who earned a well-deserved win.
Tipsarevic will be the favorite and you have to wonder if two 5 set battles in a row will take it out of Kohlschreiber, but it should be a fun match stylistically-speaking.
David Ferrer vs. Richard Gasquet
Ferrer beat Kevin Anderson and Igor Sijsling in straights, then played 4 gladiator sets of tennis with Lleyton Hewitt in which two of the greatest grinding road runners in the game were both trying to outwit, outhit and outrun one another. The 1st and 2nd sets were great but then Ferrer pulled away over an exasperated Hewitt, who had played a 5 setter with Gilles Muller the previous round. It was Hewitt’s 25th career 5 setter.
Gasquet beat Albert Montanes in 4, then Americans Bradley Klahn and Steve Johnson in straights to advance. Klahn had played a crowd fueled 5 setter against Jurgen Melzer in the 1st round, notching the upset, while Johnson knocked off Ernests Gulbis in the 2nd round (who had come back from 2 sets down and beaten Tommy Haas in the opening round).
Ferrer is a favorite against Gasquet, but both guys have a great shot at the quarterfinals in this match up that will be the grit and substance of Ferrer vs. the style and flash of Gasquet.
Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Andy Roddick
Former US Open champion Del Potro will try to send Roddick into retirement Tuesday night on Ashe. So far he has beaten lucky loser Florent Serra in straights (who replaced David Nalbandian who withdrew with injury), Ryan Harrison in 4 and countryman Leonardo Mayer in straights in what was a very close match between friends. Roddick has kept his career alive dispatching Rhyne Williams and Bernard Tomic in straights and then scoring a 4 set win over Fabio Fognini, who was simply too inconsistent to capitalize on the chances he had.
The road for Roddick likely ends here as Del Po has played strong and his wrist has looked fine in the 3 matches he has played. Barring some magic from Roddick or Del Potro coming out flat, this could be Andy’s curtain call.
Stanislas Wawrinka vs. Novak Djokovic
Wawrinka has struggled to shut the door in the 3 matches he has played, beating Sergiy Stakhovsky in 4, Steve Darcis in 5 intriguing sets (in which Darcis was hurting for most of the final 2 sets but still managed to get the 5th to 7-5) and Alexandr Dologopolov, who he beat in straights but not without struggling to convert break points. Dolgo beat Baghdatis in the previous round in what was an exciting display of baseline rallies and aggressive tennis. Djokovic, on the other hand, has shown no weakness and has only dropped 15 games in 9 sets of tennis. He beat up on Paolo Lorenzi, Rogerio Dutra Silva and Julien Benneteau. Benneteau had previously beaten surprising American Dennis Novikov in 4.
Djokovic will be a heavy favorite against Wawrinka and should calmly notch another victory.