April 29, 2017

USTA Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge Begins April 10th

 

ROLAND GARROS WILD CARD CHALLENGE KICKS OFF NEXT WEEK

FOR AMERICAN MEN AND WOMEN TO COMPETE FOR A USTA WILD CARD

INTO THE 2017 FRENCH OPEN

 

Men’s Wild Card Challenge Now Includes ATP Tournaments

and Challenger-level Tournaments Worldwide;

Women’s Challenge Will Continue to Utilize USTA Pro Circuit Events

 

Wild Card Challenge Runs Through the Week of May 1

 

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., April 6, 2017 – The USTA today announced the return of the Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge, which utilizes pro tournaments to award wild cards into the French Open for American players. The challenge will be held over the next four weeks, kicking off the week of April 10 and concluding the week of May 1.

 

New this year for the men’s wild card challenge, USTA Player Development will now consider all American results worldwide for the wild card. Therefore, both USTA Pro Circuit tournaments and international ATP Tour and Challenger tournaments on any professional outdoor clay surface (Har-Tru or red) at prize money of $50,000 and above will be included. The women’s wild card challenge will still consist of results earned at USTA Pro Circuit clay-court events over the next four weeks.

 

The American man and American woman who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA ranking points from their best two results during the four-week time period will earn main-draw wild cards into the French Open. Only Americans who did not otherwise earn direct entry into the French Open are eligible. In the event of a tie, the player with the best ATP or best WTA singles ranking on Monday, May 8, will be awarded the wild card.

 

The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2017 French Open and US Open are exchanged.

 

All USTA Pro Circuit tournaments will be streamed live on www.procircuit.usta.com. This is the sixth consecutive year the USTA has used a wild card challenge format to award French Open wild cards for American players.

 

The Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge will consist of the following events:

 

Men’s Events

  • Week of April 10: Houston ATP 250, Marrakech ATP 250, San Luis Potosi $50,000, Barletta €43,000
  • Week of April 17: Monte Carlo Masters ATP 1000, Taipei $125,000, Qingdao $125,000, Sarasota, Fla. $100,000
  • Week of April 24: Barcelona ATP 500, Budapest ATP 250, Anning $150,000, Tallahassee $75,000, Francavilla €43,000
  • Week of May 1: Munich ATP 250, Estoril ATP 250, Istanbul ATP 250, Savannah, Ga. $75,000, Ostrava €64,000, Gimcheon $50,000

Women’s Events

  • Week of April 10: Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. $80,000
  • Week of April 17: Dothan, Ala. $60,000
  • Week of April 24: Charlottesville, Va. $60,000
  • Week of May 1: Charleston, S.C. $60,000

The USTA first used the wild card challenge format for its 2012 French Open wild cards, won by Melanie Oudin and Brian Baker. Oudin and Baker each advanced to the second round at that year’s French Open and subsequently broke into the Top 100. In 2013, Alex Kuznetsov and Shelby Rogers earned the wild cards, with Rogers winning her first-ever Grand Slam singles match at the French Open. In 2014, young American Taylor Townsend and veteran Robby Ginepri received the wild cards, with Townsend becoming a top storyline by reaching the Roland Garros third round. In 2015, young Americans Frances Tiafoe and Louisa Chirico secured the wild cards. Last year, Townsend and Bjorn Fratangelo earned the wild cards, with both players winning their first-round matches.

 

The 2017 French Open main draw will be held Sunday, May 28, to Sunday, June 11.

 

Information on the Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge will be available at www.procircuit.usta.com.

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Sock Versus Thompson to Lead Off U.S. – Australia Davis Cup Quarterfinal Tie

Nick Kyrgios and Jack Sock

(April 6, 2017) As the United States top player, Jack Sock will lead off against Australia’s Jordan Thompson in Davis Cup World group play in Brisbane in Pat Rafter Arena on Friday, followed by Nick Kyrgios against John Isner.

This is the second year in a row that the two teams with the most Davis Cup titles are meeting in the World Group. Last year, the U.S. beat Australia in the first round. The last time they met in the final eight, Australian won 4-1 with Lleyton Hewitt, the current Australian Captain, making his Davis Cup debut and U.S. Captain Jim Courier was on the U.S. team.

“Jack’s going to be ready to go first-ball, he’ll be ready to get playing, and John will be there to back him up. It’s the same as every other draw,” said U.S. Captain Jim Courier. “We know what’s going to happen. We’re going to play.”

Jack Sock

Sock on playing Thompson: I’ve seen him play a decent amount. I know he had a great Aussie summer down here in January, had some great wins, played some great tennis. But I mean Davis Cup, you know, anything can happen. He’s going to come out playing in front of his home fans, home crowd. Like the captain said, fighting for every point, running down every ball, so I’m going to have to play very well to win, but yeah, I’m just going to go out and look to kind of play my style and hopefully get us off to a good start.

Nick Kyrgios

Fresh off reaching the semifinals of the Miami Open, No. 16 Kyrgios said: “I’m looking forward to getting back here and having some home support.” “I think anything is possible this year.”

“It’s obviously going to be pretty tough (playing Isner). We all know he’s got one of the greatest serves. I played him last year, and you know, I feel confident with that match up. But yeah, I feel comfortable playing second. I’ll be out there for some of Tommo’s match. I think it’s a good match up with him against Sock. I think he can do really good.”

 

“I’ve played him three times,” Isner said. “In my opinion in think he’s a lot more mature now. I think right now a lot of people could argue that he’s maybe playing the best tennis he’s ever played. Everyone knows what he can bring to the table, what his strengths are: his serve, his forehand, his backhand, his shot-making. He’s an incredible player, but I’ve played him three times, so I’m a little bit used to the matchup. I just know tomorrow’s going to be a very fun match, and I’m going to go out there and try to play my best.”

 

The U.S. holds a 26-20 record against the Aussies.

Lineup for the weekend:

 

Friday, 12:00 p.m. (10 p.m. ET)

Singles A:  Jack Sock (USA) vs. Jordan Thompson (AUS)

Singles B:  John Isner (USA) vs. Nick Kyrgios (AUS)

 

Saturday, 1:00 p.m. (11 p.m. ET)

Doubles:    Sam Querrey / Steve Johnson (USA) v. John Peers / Sam Groth (AUS)

 

Sunday, 12:00 p.m. (10 p.m. ET)

Singles C:   Jack Sock (USA) vs. Nick Kyrgios (AUS)

Singles D:   John Isner (USA) vs. Jordan Thompson (AUS)

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Tennis Channel to Air U.S. Versus Australia Davis Cup Quarterfinal Tie This Weekend

(April 5, 2017) -Tennis Channel will provide exclusive live coverage of the U.S. Davis Cup team’s quarterfinal competition against Australia in Brisbane, Australia, this weekend, with the first match underway Thursday, April 6, at 10 p.m. ET. The United States and Australia are the most successful nations in Davis Cup history, with a rivalry that dates back to 1905. Australia is second only to the United States on the all-time list of tournament champions, with 28 to the Americans’ 32. The United States is bidding to reach the Davis Cup semifinals for the first time since 2012. Hall of Fame Captain (and Tennis Channel analyst) Jim Courier will lead the same four top-ranked American men’s singles players – Jack Sock, John Isner, Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson – who defeated Switzerland 5-0 in the first round.

 

The meeting will consist of two singles matches on Thursday, followed by the doubles match Friday, April 7, at 11 p.m. ET. Tennis Channel’s coverage concludes with the remaining singles play Saturday, April 8, at 10 p.m. ET. Each match is worth one point, with three victories enough to secure a trip to the September semifinals to play the winner of the Belgium and Italy quarterfinal.

 

In addition to covering the United States-Australia matchup this weekend, Tennis Channel’s digital subscription service, Tennis Channel Plus, will show the three other Davis Cup quarterfinals. Beginning Friday, April 7, viewers can watch 2015 Davis Cup champion Britain play France in Rouen, France; 2015 Davis Cup finalist Belgium host Italy in Charleroi, Belgium; and Serbia take on Spain in Belgrade, Serbia. Following live coverage, all three will be available on-demand on the digital subscription service (www.tennischanneleverywhere.com), which is available to everyone in the United States regardless of whether they subscribe to Tennis Channel.  Other stars set to play Davis Cup this weekend include Serbia’s World No. 2 Novak Djokovic and Britain’s Jamie Murray.

 

Tennis Channel’s Los Angeles studio will be the central media hub for Davis Cup competition throughout the weekend, anchored by former U.S. Davis Cup player Leif Shiras (@LShirock).

 

Tennis Channel’s live Davis Cup coverage is as follows (all times ET):

Thursday, April 6:

10 p.m. – Singles USA v. Australia

 

Friday, April 7:

7 a.m. – Singles France v. Britain (Tennis Channel Plus)

8 a.m. – Singles Serbia v. Spain (Tennis Channel Plus)

Singles Belgium v. Italy (Tennis Channel Plus)

11 p.m. – DoublesUSA v. Australia

 

Saturday, April 8:

7 a.m. – Doubles France v. Britain (Tennis Channel Plus)

9a.m. – Doubles Serbia v. Spain (Tennis Channel Plus)

Doubles Belgium v. Italy (Tennis Channel Plus)

10 p.m. – Singles USA v. Australia

 

Sunday, April 9:

6:30 a.m. – Singles France v. Britain (Tennis Channel Plus)

7 a.m. – Singles Serbia v. Spain (Tennis Channel Plus)

8:30 a.m. – Singles Belgium v. Italy (Tennis Channel Plus)

 

The United States and Australia have faced each other more times than any other countries in Davis Cup history, with a 26-20 U.S. advantage. The rivalry dates back to 1905, when the United States defeated Australasia, a combined team from New Zealand and Australia, 5-0 in London. Their most recent meeting came during last year’s Davis Cup first round, when the Americans beat the Australians3-1 in Melbourne, Australia. The American squad is bidding to win its first Davis Cup crown since 2007 and leads all nations with 32 Davis Cup titles.

 

Leading the U.S. team is Courier who,as a player, was on the 1999 team that lost to Australia in Chestnut Hill, Mass. That Australian team featured now retired star and current Davis Cup Captain Lleyton Hewitt. Sock, the top-ranked American player, leads the U.S. Davis Cup team into this weekend after an impressive semifinal appearance at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., last month before falling to eventual champion Roger Federer. Isner holds 10 career singles titles and four doubles titles, including two with Querrey (Memphis in 2010 and Rome in 2011) and one with Sock (Shanghai in 2016). Querrey won his ninth title at the Mexican Open in Acapulco, Mexico, last month after defeating former World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the final to become the first American champion in the event’s history. Last year, Johnson captured his first ATP singles title at the Nottingham Open in England, and started the year by reaching the semifinals at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zeeland.

 

Australia enters this weekend’s match after defeating the Czech Republic 4-1 in the first round. The Australians hold 28 titles and are second on the all-time list of Davis Cup champions, behind only the United States. Hewitt will lead Nick Kyrgios, Jordan Thompson, Sam Groth and John Peers into battle this weekend.

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Roger Federer Defeats Rafael Nadal to Complete Indian Wells-Miami Double

Roger Federer

(April 2, 2017) To quote the Peter Allen song from the movie “All That Jazz” – “Everything Old is New Again, especially on the ATP World Tour with Roger Federer’s and Rafael Nadal’s resurgence. Both men took time off the tour part of last year to recover from injuries. Federer was out for last six months of 2016 with a knee injury. Nadal was sidelined with a wrist injury to end the year in October.

For Federer this is his 91st career title, 26th Masters Series 1000 championship, third overall behind Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

On Sunday, the long-time rivals and top two major title holders 35-year-old Federer (18) and 30-year-old Nadal (14) squared off for the 37th time, this time in the final of the Miami Open. For the third time this year, Federer bested Nadal 6-3, 6-4 to win his third Miami title. In the final for a fifth time, Nadal was denied the crown in Key Biscayne.

Federer won the tournament back in 2005 and 2006. The win gives the Swiss a third “sunshine” double – claiming both Masters Series crowns in Indian Wells and Miami in the same year.

Federer is the oldest-ever Miami champion.

This is the third time that No. 4 seed Federer has defeated No. 5 seed Nadal this year, fourth straight time overall. The Swiss also beat the Spaniard in final of the Australian Open and the fourth round of Indian Wells two weeks ago. Nadal still soundly dominates the career head-to-head record at 23-14.

This year also marked the thirteenth anniversary of the first time both men first played each other on the tour.

Federer came into the final, after playing an intense three-hour and ten-minute semifinal win over 21-year-old Nick Kyrgios on Friday night. In the quarterfinals, he saved match points against Tomas Berdych.

 

In the final, Federer broke Nadal’s serve in the penultimate game of each set. Federer hit 30 winners with 17 unforced errors.

 

Rafael Nadal

“He’s playing good, no? That’s all,” commenting on Federer. “He’s playing good and with high confidence. When a top player like him is playing with this high confidence and playing that good then it’s tough to win.

“Today was a close match in my opinion. Was 6-3, 6-4, but I had opportunities to have the break before him on the first set. I don’t believe in luck, but I was not very lucky in the first set in a couple of points that I think I played well and I lost in the break points, and that’s it.

“Then he has the break and you are in trouble.

“In the second I had 30-All, second serve in the 4-All. I missed that point, and then 30-All, net for him, and go in.

“Few things decided the point, the decided the match, and today was for him. For me was a much closer result than — much closer level today than what the result says, and completely different than last week.

I think that I was close,” Nadal commenting on the match. “I think I was close enough to win the first set. Was not the day. Is true that when somebody is coming with that dynamic like him that he’s winning an a lot, I know that feeling, all the things are going to your way, no?

“So that’s what happened today, because in the first set I think anything could happen. Then in the second was close. The same, one break and that’s it. That’s all. It’s easy to see that match was a close match. In my opinion anything could happen and was in his way, so well done for him.”

“I think it was a close match,” Federer said in his news conference. “Maybe if you didn’t see the match and you were sitting somewhere around the world and you see the score you’re like, Okay, sort of maybe just straightforward and couple breaks and that was it.

“That’s not the full story. I thought he had his chances in the first and in the second. It was close. I think on the big points today I was just a little bit better. Why, I have no explanation. I just think it fell that way today.

“It was more of a fight mode I was in today just trying to stay afloat. Physically, emotionally it’s been a draining week, so I did I did very well.

“Great atmosphere again. A lot riding on the match of course. A lot has happened here in the last, I don’t know, it’s been 12, 13 years since I played Rafa the very first time here and in between.

“So it was a special match and it was great to play against Rafa again.”

“Was a positive tournament for me obviously,” said Nadal. “A lot of points, a lot of confidence for the most important part of the season for me that’s just in two weeks.

“So I hope to have a good two weeks of practice now at home and be ready for the clay. That’s my goal now.”

Rafael Nadal

“I think I am close to what I need to be,” Nadal said in his news conference. “I am at a very high level of tennis and I believe I am ready to win titles. I already played three finals this year, losing three times with a player that didn’t lose a match – only one match that he never would lose in normal conditions in Dubai and that’s it.

“I’m playing enough well to fight for everything I think. I have good hopes that I going to be ready for Monte-Carlo. Always when I am playing that well, on clay always helps a little bit more for me. I need to work hard to be ready for that. If I am ready for that, I think I am very excited about playing back on clay again.”

“I think that the way I’m playing right now is the right way for me moving forward as well,” Federer said. “Of course I’ll always recalibrate every tournament I go to depending on the speed of the ball, the speed of the courts, who I play, because I do have options.

“I’m happy that I was able to stay on the offensive more or less throughout this swing here, Indian Wells and Miami. I think once you win a big tournament like the Australian Open, or any big tournament for that matter, you can just bank usually on some confidence, you know.

“That confidence gets you through a lot of the tough matches that nobody ever speaks about again. You know, let’s make it the quarterfinals here against Berdych. End up winning that somehow. Nobody talks about it. They only will talk about the Nadal finals and the rest we know.

“I think I am definitely profiting from confidence, and then also from the right mindset, able to compress all my energy into one single match and not be distracted by everything else going on around me.

“So I think it’s been a challenging four weeks because, yeah, you have to be focused for a long time. I was able to do that and I’m very happy.”
“I’m moving up in the (rankings) and I just want to stay healthy,” Federer told ESPN’s Brad Gilbert on court after the match.

“I’m not 24 anymore,” Federer said. “I need a rest. My body needs healing”

“When I’m healthy and feeling good, I can produce tennis like this. That’s why taking a break and resting during the clay season and focusing on Roland Garros, the grass and the hard courts after that is best. It would be great to be No. 1 again, but it’s a long way away.”

Federer elaborating on this in his news conference: “I think it’s more about relaxing right now, making sure I get a rest. So I think it’s more prevention, to be honest.

“Then I would like to eventually — when you take a break, a breather and you start working out again, which I will have to stay in shape to some extent because I have Match for Africa 3 in Zurich on April 1oth. I can’t let everything fall apart right now because I have to play in a week.

“After that, I’m looking forward to go back in the gym and work on the stuff I couldn’t do for the last few months.

“Yeah, so I’ll probably stay on hard courts actually for the next few months, if you like, and then I’ll get on the clay probably two weeks before the French. That’s the plan for now.

“Then, yeah, hopefully I’ll play the French, but we’ll see how all of the buildup is going to go. Then obviously for me, that’s when the season essential starts. Sounds weird now, but I see it that way and I’ve always seen it that way.”

Federer’s next focus is Wimbledon: “Wimbledon has to be the biggest goal, I mean now in the near future. The American hard courts I guess as well. The French Open I guess to some extent. It’s just we’ll see what happens, you know. No pressure there really because I won’t have a preparation as such.

“But all of the grass really is important to me because I’ll play Stuttgart and Halle there, too. Then of course I am looking very good for the World Tour Finals, for the year-end championships, where I’ve been very successful. I like the indoors as well.

“So for me basically the second half of the season is a big priority now. That’s why I’ll take a break as well.”

“The comeback is over,” stated Federer. “Still a comeback year, but I did say that until here, now, Miami, it was going to be still learning. It’s the beginning. Let’s see how the knee is going to feel in Australia. How is the body going to be in the Middle East? How is the body going to be west coast, east coast?

“There is a lot of traveling, and the knee can act funny when you travel and fly trans-Atlantic and all that stuff. It’s not like I went home and all I did is take a warm shower. I had to do a lot of stretching, massage, and sleep well, all that stuff. I needed to be very professional to wake up every morning and be ready to compete.

“I’m happy that nothing major happened throughout this period. It’s been a dream run on the court; off the court as well my body has reacted very well and I couldn’t be happier, of course.”

Federer now holds the best record on the tour at 19-1 with three titles. He is 7-0 against Top Ten opponents this year.  This is his best start since 2006 when he went 33-1. He’ll move up to No. 4 in the world on Monday while Nadal will move to No. 5.

 

 

Johanna Konta

On Saturday Johanna Konta, the Australian-born Brit won her career-best title, beating former no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-3 for the Miami Open title.

The 25-year-old is off to 19-3 start on the year. She’ll move to a career high No. 7 ranking on Monday.

This is Konta’s third title on the WTA tour. She won Stanford last year and Sydney in January.

“I think I’ve always had the belief of wanting to become a Grand Slam champion, wanting to become the best in the world. I think that stays throughout, with every player I imagine, their career,” Konta said. “Without that, I don’t think it makes it as –the victories as sweet and I think also the defeats as motivating. I think that stays.

“And then it’s about keeping things simple and working for me. I just want to work and try to really bring out in myself the most that I have. Wherever that gets me that’s where it will get me, but hopefully the day I hang up my racquets I will be able to say that I really maximized my full ability and, my, yeah, everything inside me.”

Johanna Konta

“She’s very aggressive,” Wozniacki said. “She takes the ball early and stresses the opponent.”

Just two years ago Konta failed to qualify for Miami and now she is the champion. Talk about a quick turnaround – two years ago she was ranked in the 140s, now she’s Top Ten.

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Alafia Ayeni and Claire Liu Capture USTA National ITF 18s Singles Titles At 50th Adidas Easter Bowl

(April 2, 2017) INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – The No.-8 seeded Alafia Ayeni from San Diego and top-seeded Claire Liu from Thousand Oaks, Calif., captured ITF 18s boys’ and girls’ singles titles on the final day of the 50th Annual Adidas Easter Bowl USTA Junior Spring Nationals played at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

 

The 17-year-old Ayeni overcame a huge mental lapse in the second set, but served big when it counted most in the third to get past 16-year-old Sebastian Korda, the No. 10 seed from Bradenton, Fla., 6-4, 0-6, 7-5.

 

The 16-year-old Liu, who won the girls’ Easter Bowl ITF title in 2015 as a 14-year-old, avenged a loss in the fall to Ellie Douglas, the No. 4 seed from McKinney, Texas, in taking the title, 6-1, 6-2.

 

For the first time this year both winners, in addition to receiving ITF trophies and valuable rankings points, also received USTA gold balls as the premier Easter Bowl 18s division has been upgraded to USTA national championship status.

 

Ayeni planned to fly to Spain for an ITF Grade 1 tournament later Sunday evening, and will surely have a smile on his face crossing the Atlantic after coming back to beat the tough Korda, who held a 3-1 lead and had several break point chances on Ayeni’s serve in the third set.

 

“I knew if he got the break there it would be tough to come back, and I know that Sebby is such a good server,” said Ayeni, whose father was a discus thrower in college from Nigeria. “It was so difficult to break him.”

 

Serving at 3-all, another long deuce game ensued with Ayeni applying the pressure and converting on crucial points to go up 4-3 in the tense match, at times letting loose on serves that registered 133 miles per hour via the radar gun and displayed on the  scoreboard.

 

For the third straight match Korda dropped the first set, and for the third straight time he raced off to the bathroom after each first-set loss to gather himself. “I threw some water on my face and told myself to relax and it always seems to work,” Korda said. “I started making a lot more balls and played better. He was playing amazing at the end.”

 

Ayeni said he let his mind wander after winning the first set, and won just five total points in the second set. “I was just so nervous and I started thinking, ‘OK, I’m one set away from winning the Easter Bowl.’ And it didn’t help I was sitting down for quite a while because of Sebby’s bathroom break. I got cold.

 

Ayeni said his rocket serves in the third set and his experience were the key factors in pulling out the win. “I just kept hitting the serve harder and I felt it gave me just that little advantage that I needed,” he said. “I think I had the experience advantage because I have been in two ITF finals and this was his first. I know that, especially in finals, the match isn’t over till it’s over. I knew it wasn’t over till the last ball was hit.”

 

Korda smiled and said he was happy with his week, and was headed to the golf course to see his two older sister compete on the final day of the LPGA major ANA Inspiration tournament.

 

Liu became the first player – boy or girl – in the 50-year history of the tournament to win two Easter Bowls over a three-year span.

 

“I was pretty nervous,” said Liu, who dropped just one set in the tournament and won her last six sets giving up a total of eight games. “For every match I was nervous, but that’s kind of why I’m here, to deal with my nerves and to continue to play well under pressure, and I think I did that pretty good.”

 

Liu will next play two USTA Pro Circuit $60,000 events, and the Naples Pro Futures $25,000 before heading to Paris for two more pro events and the junior French Open.

 

“My mindsets were different in both (Easter Bowl) tournament finals because when I was younger I was really trying to get into the French,” she said. “This tournament I was just focusing on my game and trying to get better for the pros.”

 

Douglas lost in the final for the second straight year, and has now lost four big ITF-level junior finals without a win. “She played well and it was not my day.” Douglas said. “I had so many unforced errors and she hit so many lines. I don’t know, maybe it’s something about finals I’m just not good at. I didn’t feel nervous, but something was off.”

 

 

Douglas will be in Paris for the French Open and then travel to England and Wimbledon this summer. “I’ve got just go home and get better at closing out tournaments,” she said.

 

Sunday’s Results

Boys’ ITF 18s Singles (Final)

Alafia Ayeni (8) (San Diego, CA) def. Sebastian Korda (10) (Bradenton, FL), 6-4, 0-6, 7-5

Girls’ ITF 18s Singles (Final)

Claire Liu (1) (Thousand Oaks, CA) def. Ellie Douglas (4) (McKinney, TX), 6-1, 6-2

 

Brandon Nakashima picked a pretty good time to play some of the best tennis he’s ever played.

 

The top-seed in the Boys’ 16s division at the 50th Annual Adidas Easter Bowl USTA Junior Spring Nationals being played at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the 15-year-old Nakashima played nearly flawless tennis in a 6-1, 6-2 finals win over No. 13-seeded Stefan Dostanic of Irvine on Saturday.

 

It was the second gold ball in singles for Nakashima, who attends High Bluff Academy near his home in San Diego, to go along with the two he has in doubles.

 

“It feels amazing,” said Nakashima, who played up in the 18s last week in Carson and lost to Patrick Kypson in the third round. “It was a long week. I played probably the best I’ve played the whole tournament. Stefan is a good player and I had to play my best to beat him. All the pressure was on me being the No. 1 seed in the tournament.”

 

Nakashima, who has been working with famed coach Larry Stefanki for the past two years, said he will play once more in the 16s at the USTA Hardcourt Nationals at Kalamazoo in August before graduating full-time to the 18s.

 

“He just didn’t miss,” said Dostanic, 15, who trains with coaches Chuck Brymer and Chris Lewis at the Woodbridge Country Club in Irvine, Calif. “I played him about a year ago and it was the same result. He doesn’t show any emotion and doesn’t give you much to work with. I’m planning on playing Kalamazoo so maybe I can get my revenge there.”

 

It was the first USTA national ball for Dostanic, who attends Woodbridge High School and plays on the high school team.

 

A New York native now living in Charleston, S.C., Emma Navarro got rid of some early match nerves as the No. 5 seed downed unseeded Fiona Crawley of San Antonio, 7-6 (8), 6-0, to win the Girls’ 16s title. Crawley, who upset the No. 1 seed Briana Crowley in the first round, fought off several match points before falling in the first set.

 

“In the second set I loosened up a little bit and once I got the first two games I took it from there,” said Navarro, who won her first gold ball in singles and trains at LTP Tennis in Charleston with coach Peter Ayers.

 

Crawley’s silver ball will look nice displayed next to the bronze one she won at the USTA Spring Team Nationals last year. Crawley trains at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in New Braunfels and attends Alamo Heights High School in San Antonio.

 

“I’ve never done this well at a national tournament,” she said. “I could have never imagined I would have made it this far. I don’t know what is next for me. I was supposed to be playing in a Texas tournament this weekend.”

 

In the Boys’ ITF singles final, 16-year-old Sebastian Korda came back to beat 2015 finalist Sam Riffice, the No. 4 seed from Orlando, Fla., 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. Korda will play in his first ITF final of any kind Sunday against No. 8 seed Alafia Ayeni of San Diego. Ayeni beat No. 6 Patrick Kypson of Greenville, N.C., in the other semifinal, 6-3, 7-5.

 

Two of Korda’s sisters are taking part in the ANA Inspiration LPGA major this week just down the road in Rancho Mirage. The 18-year old Nelly Korda was tied for second place after Friday’s round at Mission Hills Country Club nearly 13 miles away. Jessica Korda is 24 years old and also on the LPGA Tour.

 

“Each day after I play I go over there for a little bit, and then home to rest,” said Korda, whose father Petr and mother Regina Rajchrtová have been going back and forth from the courts to the course.

 

In the Girls’ ITF singles final, top-seed and 2015 champion Claire Liu of Thousand Oaks will take on last year’s finalist Ellie Douglas of McKinney, Texas. Liu had no trouble with No. 3 Whitney Osuigwe of Bradenton, Fla., 6-1, 6-1. Douglas could not convert on nine match points, before No. 2 Johnson of Redondo Beach, Calif., finally double faulted on the 10th match point and Douglas prevailing, 7-6 (3), 6-3.

 

The Boys’ ITF singles final will be played first at 10 a.m., with the girls to follow, not before 11:30 a.m.

 

In addition to live streaming the Easter Bowl again this year, the tournament has a new and improved mobile app, which can be found in both the Apple iTunes store or at Google Play, Search “Easter Bowl” to download the app, The live stream commentating duties are being provided by the popular Southern California tennis commentator Marcus Tennis, Check www,easterbowl,com to watch the live stream and for all Easter Bowl news, results and schedules,

 

Saturday’s Results

Boys’ ITF 18s Singles (Semifinals)

Alafia Ayeni (8) (San Diego, CA) def. Patrick Kypson (6) (Greenville, NC), 6-3, 7-5

Sebastian Korda (10) (Bradenton, FL) def. Sam Riffice (4) (Orlando, FL), 2-6, 6-4, 6-3

Boys’ ITF 18s Doubles (Final)

Oliver Crawford / Patrick Kypson (3) def. Brian Cernoch / Sam Riffice (2), 6-1, 6-4

Girls’ ITF 18s Singles (Semifinals)

Claire Liu (1) (Thousand Oaks, CA) def. Whitney Osuigwe (3) (Bradenton, FL) 6-1, 6-1

Ellie Douglas (4) (McKinney, TX) def. Taylor Johnson (2) (Redondo Beach, CA) 7-6 (3), 6-3

Girls’ ITF 18s Doubles (Final)

Whitney Osuigwe / Caty McNally (1) def. Taylor Johnson / Ann Li (2), 6-3, 7-6 (10)

Boys’ 16 Singles (Final)

Brandon Nakashima (1) (San Diego, CA) def. Stefan Dostanic (13) (Irvine, CA), 6-1, 6-2

Boys’ 16 Singles (Playoff)

Andrew Dale (4) (Leesburg, VA) def. Ryder Jackson (8) (Nicasio, CA) 6-4; 6-2

Girls’ 16 Singles (Final)

Emma Navarro (5) (Charleston, SC) def. Fiona Crawley (San Antonio, TX), 7-6 (8), 6-0

Girls’ 16 Singles (Playoff)

Sedona Gallagher (3) (Henderson, NV) def. Dasha Kourkina (2) (Brooklyn, NY) 6-0, 7-5

 

 

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Rafael Nadal to Face Roger Federer in Miami Open Final – Fedal Part 37

 

Rafael Nadal

(March 30, 2017) Rafael Nadal reached his fifth Miami Open final beating Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-1, 7-5 during the day session. Nadal will try to win his first Miami final against Roger Federer, who defeated Nick Kyrgios in a three-hour and nine-minute epic match in the evening session 7-6(9), 6-7(9), 7-6(5).

No. 5 seed Nadal lost all four previous finals in Key Biscayne in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014.

No. 4 seed Federer won titles in Miami in 2005 and 2006. His last title victory in Miami came against his current coach Ivan Ljubicic.

Roger Federer

“He’s on such a good run, he’s such a great player, so it was a special feeling,” Federer said in his on-court interview.

“I kept fighting and believing, tried to stay aggressive.

“It was a nail biter and could have gone either way.”

 

Nick Kyrgios

“I think my game is there but I have to keep putting the mental part of it first,” Kyrgios said to media.

“Wasn’t expecting anything less of this match, the crowd. Created enough chances, felt it was on my racquet”

“I think my game is there but I have to keep putting the mental part of it first.”

“It was a tough match,” Kyrgios said. “Obviously played over three hours. Wasn’t expecting less, to be honest. He’s obviously the crowd favorite anywhere he plays obviously with what he’s done for the game.

“But I thought I was responding well to the crowd. Obviously serving for the first set. Hadn’t been broken in three matches, felt good. But I, mean, I created enough opportunity to win that match. I felt like it was on my racquet most of the time.

“He was playing great. Yeah, the crowd was obviously on his side, but I think I have to win a little bit more to start getting them on my side.”

“To stay healthy; that’s my main goal,” noted Kyrgios. “Playing a lot through the clay season so I to need to look after my body.

“I got Davis Cup next week. That’s my focus now. I am not going to think past that at all. We got a big tie against the USA. Obviously Jack is playing unbelievable. John, he’s a proven player. They’ve got a great team.

“That’s all I’m thinking about at the moment. Just staying injury-free, trying to get better. I felt like my game is there. Just mentally I got to keep putting in every day.”

“I showed a lot of fight,” Kyrgios said in regard to the match. “I thought I competed for every point.

“Obviously I’m an emotional guy. I had some ups and up and downs, bit of a roller coaster. Ultimately I think I put in a good performance. I thought the crowd would’ve enjoyed watching it, people at home would’ve enjoyed watching it.

“As I said, I wouldn’t be surprised if they found something bad, though.”

“I think people are really getting to know him now,” Federer said of his 21-year-old opponent. “They see him play more often. It’s his second, third year on tour now, so he’s coming back for the second, third year now to tournaments, which is good. You really see how he’s evolving as a player and person.

“I think it’s exciting following youngster because they change the look a lot or try out things, play differently; they get to know their game much better.

“He’s clearly got a big time game; he has one of the best serves in the game. He’s got great focus now on his serve, which I like to see. You know, it’s just going to take time for him to really be able to focus point for point and improve that.

“But you’re right, the crowds jump on it pretty quickly. But it makes for a good atmosphere I guess at the end of the day, so it’s not all that bad. Of course I think he’s good for the game at the end of game.”

This was seventh time in Roger Federer’s career that he has played all tie-breaks in best-of-three sets match. He has a 5-2 record in those matches.

Federer rallied from a break down in the first set and had match points in the second set tiebreaker, but could not convert.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal on his straightforward contest with Fognini: “I think I played a very good first set. He had mistakes obviously.

“In the second is not about losing the concentration, it’s about not being lucky at the beginning of the second set. With the normal situation, the normal thing is have a break at the beginning of the second. I had so many chances, but then situation changes, no?

“But when you don’t convert opportunities you’re in trouble, and that’s what happened. Especially with these conditions out there, a lot of wind. And with Fabio, who is a player that he is able to combine great points with mistakes then, you know, the match became strange, not a lot of rhythm, and then end of the second set was tough.”

“I served well. My serve worked well. I think I didn’t face a break point again during the whole match, so that is something that I am very happy with. That’s give you calm when you have opportunities on the return and you don’t convert.”

In one the more unusual situations on court, the 14-time major winner ran out of his shoe in the second set.

“I don’t know,” Nadal said responding to the incident. “Is strange because happened twice. In one month happened two times. I don’t know where the other time — practice. But practicing, not competing. I don’t know. Maybe I need to put tie stronger, but I don’t know. I don’t know how the shoe goes out. I have to check again.”

“Winning here will be something great and something that’s an important title that I didn’t win.

“But winning or losing, being honest, not going to change my career. Just helps to add something important for me and that’s it.

“I am very happy about the first part of the season on hard courts before the clay arrives. I won a lot of matches. I have a lot of points. I am in a privileged position of the race. That’s a great news for me and give me calm to play the next couple of tournaments.

“At the same time, I needed to play well at the beginning of the season because I didn’t have points the second half of the season on the computer, so I had a good chance to go back a lot on the ranking. That will not happen a lot probably. I can lose — I am still defending a lot of points on clay the next four tournaments, especially first three ones.”

For Fognini, the husband of 2015 U.S. Open champion Flavia Pennetta,  this was the unseeded player’s first Masters 1000 semifinal.

“I think I was missing a lot of balls,” he said. “That’s for sure, because I am giving like a present the first set to Rafa Nadal 6-1. It’s difficult to compete after. Even if I play much better the second set; I had my chance.

“I was really surprise about his serve, that he serve really, really good today. And of course no, me no.

“And at the end, I think we have a great fighting, even if he had more chance than me on the second set. I think I had bad luck, especially on that dropshot that was unbelievable, it was really good, on 3-All.”

The fifth seed Nadal leads the ATP World Tour in wins on the season with a 19-4 record.

“It’s great to be in the final for me,” said Nadal. “For me doesn’t matter the opponent. I am happy to be in that final again, and I am excited to play another final of on important event.

“So if it’s Roger, going to be another one for both of us, and that’s it. Just another one.”

“I think back to 2004, I just came off winning Indian Wells and I played the youngster Nadal, and I ended up losing,” Federer said on court.

“You could tell he was definitely going to win the French. The following year we played in the final and I should have lost, somehow, I won, he should have Miami titles and he doesn’t, so it’s going to be super special playing against him in the final.”

“When I came to Miami I just thought, Ahhh, this is probably again — like I did in Indian Wells and in Australia,” Federer said to media. “I just thought eventually it’s just going to catch up with me. Miami is probably not going to work that well because it’s slower. I already won Indian Wells.

“So let’s be realistic here. Semis would be an unbelievable run. Here we are in the finals and I get a chance to win the tournament. Still I feel like there is a mountain to climb in Rafa. He’s not won it yet before. He’s definitely feeling fresher than I feel right now. That’s not a problem. I’ll be ready on Sunday.

“Should be really exciting because we had this epic match in 2005. The finals was unbelievable. It was a turning point in my career, to be quite honest. For me to be able to focus for, I don’t know how long we played, maybe four hours, smashing forehand after forehand down the line I remember, I felt like I had to learn how to fight in matches, and there I showed it to myself and my team that I could do it.

“It was against somebody who ended up being my biggest rival. It’s definitely going to be very special playing Rafa here again. Of course I’m thrilled for him as well that he came back as well as he did after the comeback, the struggles that he had last year. Feels like old times. We’re playing each other every week now. We can’t get enough of each other.

“Yeah, hopefully it’s not our last match.”

Federer is now 18-1 on the year, his best start to a season since 2006.

The final between the “thirty-somethings,” 35-yearold Federer and 30-year-old Nadal, will be played on Sunday afternoon. Nadal holds a 23-13 head-to-head record against Federer.

 

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Miami Open Tennis – Thursday Results, Friday Schedule

MIAMI OPEN PRESENTED BY ITAU – MIAMI, USA
$6,993,450 (ATP)
$6,993,450 (WTA)
20 MARCH – 2 APRIL, 2017

RESULTS – THURSDAY, MARCH 30, 2017

Men’s
Singles – Quarterfinals
[4] R. Federer (SUI) d [10] T. Berdych (CZE) 62 36 76(6)
[12] N. Kyrgios (AUS) d [16] A. Zverev (GER) 64 67(9) 63

Men’s
Doubles – Semifinals
N. Monroe (USA) / J. Sock (USA) d [3] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) 76(5) 63
[6] L. Kubot (POL) / M. Melo (BRA) d B. Baker (USA) / D. Nestor (CAN) 64 63

Women’s
Singles – Semifinals
[12] C. Wozniacki (DEN) d [2] Ka. Pliskova (CZE) 57 61 61
[10] J. Konta (GBR) d [11] V. Williams (USA) 64 75

ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 2017

STADIUM start 1:00 pm
ATP – [5] R. Nadal (ESP) vs F. Fognini (ITA)
WTA – [4] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / S. Peng (CHN) vs G. Dabrowski (CAN) / Y. Xu (CHN)

7:00 pm
ATP – [12] N. Kyrgios (AUS) vs [4] R. Federer (SUI)
WTA – [5] Y. Chan (TPE) / M. Hingis (SUI) vs [3] S. Mirza (IND) / B. Strycova (CZE)

 

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Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios Reach Miami Open Semis

Roger Federer

(March 30, 2017) Roger Federer saved two match points to reach the Miami Open semifinals by beating Tomas Berdych 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(6). Federer failed to serve out the match at 5-3 in the third set and rallied from 6-4 down in the tiebreak for the win.

“I felt really good after the first set,” said the Swiss. “I think then I maybe let Tomas back into the match as well just a bit. Also, he started to play bigger and better.

“Still I thought I played a pretty good third set to get the lead, and then I just played a shocker of a game to get broken. I didn’t see — somehow I lost a ball on the first point, then maybe double fault, and then at Love-30 things are just complicated. Plus it was against the wind, so it was a very disappointing game for me.

“I tried to stay positive. I got a match point after that on the return where he went big on the second serve. Credit to him for just going for it. You know, it was nice to see that you can do that.

“Then the breaker obviously I got incredibly lucky. Could have gone either way. Felt like maybe this one I should have lost and maybe I should have won the one against him here in the night session years ago.

“But that’s how it goes. I’m happy I fought hard and somehow got it done today.”

“I just lost by one point. That’s what happened. Very simple, very straightforward,” Berdych said to media “He was the one serving out the match, didn’t make it. I had a match point, didn’t make it. I had two, didn’t make it. So what else to say?”

Nick Kyrgios

Federer will play Nick Kyrgios, the winner of a match between two rising starts on the ATP World Tour – the No. 12 seed Nick Kyrgios defeated No. 16 Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-7(9), 6-3.

“They like the big stage,” Federer noted. “Both have a big serve. Both real nice backhand, and the belief, so that makes them just very tough to play, you know in any given match.

“The question with those guys coming up is can they bring to even single day? How is the mind and the body coping through all the sort of newer stress for them that they’re experiencing?

“Some weeks you feel great; some weeks you just don’t feel so good. That’s normal when you’re younger still trying to figure everything out, what’s their best surface, how do they need to play against certain player types.

“I both like their game and I think they’re going to be very, very good players moving forward. They already are, but I’m talking big picture.”

The world No. 6 is 17-1 on the year.

The other men’s semifinal is already set with Rafael Nadal taking on Fabio Fognini.

Asked about a chance for a Nadal- Federer final, Federer said: “I mean, it would be very cool. Look, they’ve been talking about it since the beginning of the tournament, which is nice. I’m happy we both made it this far. I definitely got super lucky today to be in the position that I’m in today, the semis.

“Yeah, I mean, look, I would love it. It would be like a throwback to 2005 I think the finals we played; 2004 we played the first time ever against each other here in Miami. So that would be cool, to have that going. Plus Rafa going for his first Miami Open. I think that would be cool, too.

“Yet I do believe the semis tomorrow is going to be quit difficult. Unfortunately I have to go back to that. Both are great players. Yeah, I think it’s going to be a tough match for both of them tonight, but especially for me tomorrow against either one.”

Federer versus Kyrgios will be a rematch of the quarterfinals on Indian Wells two weeks ago – Kyrgios had to withdraw due to illness. Federer went on to win the title.

This is the Aussie’s second straight year in the Miami semifinals.

Kyrgios talked about playing Federer: “Obviously he’s the greatest player of all-time, but the way that he takes time away from players, that’s his strength. He likes to play his pace of tennis. He likes to take away time and play aggressive.

“He obviously like to play really aggressive on return. Likes to get through his service games very quick. Serve and volley. I know what’s going to be coming. I’ve played him before.

“In saying that, he’s playing incredible at the moment. He’s had a great year. Obviously coming back from injury last year and winning the Australian Open, winning Indian Wells, he obviously looks very healthy and is moving very, very good.

“I’m not going to think about it too much at the moment. I got a whole day ahead of me where I can sort of just relax. I’m going to not do anything big. I’m going to serve big and play big. That’s my gamestyle that I’ve had success with, so that’s what I’m going to bring.”

Kyrgios beat Federer at the 2015 Madrid Open for their only head-to-head matchup.

Caroline Wozniacki and Johanna Konta moved into the women’s final. Konta defeated former champion Venus Williams 6-4, 7-5, while Wozniacki rallied past Karolina Pliskova 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.

“This is one of the few tournaments where I’ve never made a finals,” noted Wozniacki. “I think my best result was semifinals like five years ago. You know, it’s always been a tournament where I wouldn’t say I’ve struggled, but just not had the results that I’ve wanted to.

“You know, I’m really pleased to make it this far. There is one more match to go, and I’m going to do my best to win that one. But it’s going to be against tough opponents regardless of who I’m playing.”

“Against Caroline, I’m definitely going to be looking forward to playing a lot of balls and a lot of tough points,” Konta said. “She’s one of the best athletes in the game. She ran a marathon for goodness sake. I’m sure it’ll be a match where I’ll be running for a lot of balls. Hopefully we’ll give a great match for the final.”

“I think that’s the thing with Caroline: she never goes away. She’s there until the very, very last ball.

“I know that will be my challenge on Saturday. Yeah, looking forward to it.”

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Owensby Overcomes Seven Match Points To Win Girls’ 14s Title; Play Halted Due To Wind At 50th Adidas Easter Bowl

Owensby Overcomes Seven Match Points To Win Girls’ 14s Title;

Play Halted Due To Wind At 50th Adidas Easter Bowl

(March 30, 2017) INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Storyline after storyline. There was no shortage of them at the 50th Annual Adidas Easter Bowl USTA Junior National Spring Championships on Thursday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

 

Consider:

 

  • Around 2:30 p.m., play was halted due to 40 mile an hour wind that swept through the Coachella Valley. At 4 p.m., ITF Referee Martha Gregg emerged to announce to all players, parents and coaches that the air quality was too poor to continue and that play was done for the day.
  • While the ITF boys’ singles had concluded, there were still two ITF girls’ matches that were suspended, including top-seeded Claire Liu dropping the first set 6-4 to Elli Mandlik, and up 3-1 in the second set. The two will take to the courts Friday morning and resume play at 9 a.m.
  • Defending champion and No. 2-seeded Gianni Ross was upset by unseeded Jake Sands, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, in the Round of 16.
  • USTA national gold and silver balls were handed out in the boys’ and girls’ 14s and 12s division as those divisions were completed before the winds came.
  • Charlotte Owensby of Boca Raton, Fla., fought off seven match points to come back down 2-5 in the third set to win the Girls’ 14s singles final over Gianna Pielet, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5.

 

It was tough to watch the top-seeded Pielet from El Paso, Texas, not able to close out the match, at one point serving and up 5-4, 40-love.

 

“I’ve maybe been down three match points before, but never down that far in games,” Owensby said. “I tried to focus my plan of getting her off the court and that started working and she was making more errors. And that gave me more confidence.”

 

She added: “When she went up 5-4 and 40-love, I definitely thought I was done. Then I just took it one point at a time and just tried to come back. And then at 5-all I just focused on that game and won that game.”

 

Owensby is coached by former WTA world-ranked Top 85 player Yuliya Beygelzimer and recently turned 14. “It feels amazing. I still haven’t processed it that I won the Easter Bowl,” she said after accepting her first USTA national gold ball at her first Easter Bowl.

 

“I had some match points, but just couldn’t close it out,” a distraught Pielet said. “I certainly didn’t play good at all and I think we were both nervous. I can learn from this, for sure. Just to try to play a better match and work on my nerves.”

 

Another player who had a memorable Easter Bowl moment not being able to close out a match was Patrick Kypson, who two years ago held a huge lead over Taylor Fritz only to watch Fritz come back for the win.

 

On Thursday, the No. 6-seeded 17-year-old Kypson posted a solid 6-3, 6-1 win over last week’s Carson ISC champion and tournament No. 9 seed Alexandre Rotsaert, 6-3, 6-1.

 

“I know when he plays well he’s tough to beat, and he always plays me well,” said Kypson, who meets top-seeded Trent Bryde in the quarterfinals on Friday.

 

In the Boys’ 14s final, Alexander Bernard (No. 9 seed, Bonita Springs, Fla.) defeated Aryan Chaudhary (No. 2, Santa Clara, Calif.), 6-4, 6-2.

 

Bernard was set to catch a long flight back to Florida Thursday night, but said he planned to celebrate by perhaps going to McDonalds. “I’ve never had In N Out,” Bernard said. “I should try it.”

 

He added: “I started off making too many mistakes and he was playing good,” said Bernard, 13, who won his first gold ball and trains with Rene Gomez at Gomez Tennis Academy in Naples. “I was just trying to focus on the next point and trying to stay in the rallies.”

 

“This week has been great and I’ve never been here before,” said Chaudhary, who won his first silver ball to go along with a gold in doubles on Wednesday and a copper in a past Winternationals. “I was just looking forward to playing people from around the U.S. It was a great experience for me.”

 

In the Boys’ 12s final, unseeded Kyle Kang of Fullerton, Calif., got the best of fellow unseeded player Nishesh Basavareddy of Carmel, Ind., 6-2, 6-4.

 

“It was fun out there,” said Kang, who just turned 12 recently and is in sixth grade at Hermosa Drive Elementary in Fullerton. “When I started winning it was really fun. I started off down 0-2, but I just focused and was able to hit my shots. My heart was racing on match point.”

 

“He was staying consistent and moving me around,” said Basavareddy, who is 11 and has a singles USTA gold ball from the Winternationals and also won the gold ball in the 12s doubles on Wednesday. “I wasn’t nervous and think my experience helped me.”

 

In the Girls’ 12s final, unseeded Priya Nelson of Sacramento, Calif., downed Eleana Yu of Mason, Ohio, 6-1, 6-3.

 

Nelson won her first USTA national ball of any kind, and a gold one at that. “I wasn’t nervous at all,” she said. “It feels good to be an Easter Bowl champion. I have practice tomorrow and another tournament to get ready for.”

 

Nelson is 11 and is home schooled. She was also given the 12s USTA Sportsmanship award. Martin Damm was awarded the honor in the 14s division.

 

“The nerves got to me,” said Yu, who is 12 and goes to public school (sixth grade) in Mason. “I learned a lot this week and think I can get a lot better after this.”

 

SIGHTINGS AT THE GARDEN: Larry Stefanki, legendary former coach of John McEnroe, Marcelo Rios and Tim Henman, Tommy Tucker, the 82-year-old Mission Hills Country Club “Tennis Pro Emeritus” and Coachella Valley coaching legend, Former world Top 45 WTA player and current USTA National women’s coach Jamea Jackson, John Evert, son of Jimmy Evert and brother of tennis Hall of Famer Chris Evert, Former WTA star and Valley legend Torey Fretz with good friend and famous Welsh singer Iris Williams, a member of the Order of the British Empire, Former UCLA Bruin and noted tennis author Barry Buss, who operates the website: www.tennis.life, former Desert Sun sportswriter and tennis writer Leighton Ginn, covering No. 2 seed Taylor Johnson for his popular blog. Check it out @ginnandtopics on Facebook and Twitter.

 

In addition to live streaming the Easter Bowl again this year, the tournament has a new and improved mobile app, which can be found in both the Apple iTunes store or at Google Play. Search “Easter Bowl” to download the app. The live stream commentating duties are being provided by the popular Southern California tennis commentator Marcus Tennis. Check www.easterbowl.com to watch the live stream and for all Easter Bowl news, results and schedules.

 

Thursday Results

Boys’ ITF 18s Singles (Round of 16)

Jake Sands (Pacific Palisades, CA) def. Gianni Ross (2) (Orlando, FL) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2

Sebastian Korda (10) (Bradenton, FL) def. Oliver Crawford (5) (Spartanburg, SC) 6-2, 6-3

Sam Riffice (4) (Orlando, FL) def. Trey Hilderbrand (San Antonio, TX) 6-2, 6-3

Brian Cernoch (7) (Deerfield Beach, FL) def. William Grant (Boca Raton, FL) 6-2, 6-3

Alafia Ayeni (8) (San Diego, CA) def. Lukas Greif (11) (Evansville, IN) 6-4, 6-2

Patrick Kypson (6) (Greenville, NC) def. Alexandre Rotsaert (9) (Boca Raton, FL) 6-3, 6-1

Trent Bryde (1) (Suwanee, GA) def. Paul Barretto (Tiburon, CA) 7-5, 6-2

Girls’ ITF 18s Singles (Round of 16)

Caty McNally (6) (Cincinnati, OH) def. Alexa Noel (Summit, NJ) 6-2, 6-1

Ann Li (11) (Devon, PA) def. Rachel Lim (Briarcliff Manor, NY) 6-0, 6-1

Whitney Osuigwe (3) (Bradenton, FL) def. Katie Volynets (Walnut Creek, CA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4

Hurricane Tyra Black (10) (Boca Raton, FL) def. Cali Jankowski (Carlsbad, CA) 6-1, 6-3

Ellie Douglas (4) (McKinney, TX) def. McCartney Kessler (Calhoun, GA) 2-6, 6-3, 6-1

Taylor Johnson (2) (Redondo Beach, CA) def. Vanessa Ong (14) (Oklahoma City, OK) 6-3, 6-2

Elizabeth Mandlik (Boynton Beach, FL) (16) leads Claire Liu (1) (Thousand Oaks, CA) 6-4, 1-3

Hailey Baptiste (Washington D.C.) (5) leads Amanda Meyer (Delray Beach, FL) (12) 6-3, 1-6, 5-0

Boys’ 16 Singles (Quarterfinals)

Ryder Jackson (8) (Nicasio, CA) def. Alex Lee (11) (Oak Brook, IL) 7-5, 7-6(4)

Stefan Dostanic (13) (Irvine, CA) def. Jacob Bullard (Calabasas, CA) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3

Andrew Dale (4) (Leesburg, VA) def. Nathan Arimilli (10) (Austin, TX) 4-6, 7-5, 6-1

Brandon Nakashima (1) (San Diego, CA) def. Leighton Allen (6) (Austin, TX) 6-3, 6-2

Girls’ 16 Singles (Quarterfinal Round)

Fiona Crawley (San Antonio, TX) def. Audrey Boch-Collins (11) (Las Vegas, NV) 6-4, 6-1

Sedona Gallagher (3) (Henderson, NV) def. Ava Hrastar (8) (Duluth, GA) 6-0, 7-5

Emma Navarro (5) (Charleston, SC) def. Jayci Goldsmith (9) (Dripping Springs, TX) 6-1, 6-3

Boys’ 14 Singles (Final Round)

Alexander Bernard (9) (Bonita Springs, FL) def. Aryan Chaudhary (2) (Santa Clara, CA) 6-4, 6-2

Boys’ 14 Singles (Playoff)

Martin Damm (Bradenton, FL) def. Maxwell McKennon (1) (Newport Beach, CA) 6-2, 6-4

Girls’ 14 Singles (Final Round)

Charlotte Owensby (8) (Boca Raton, FL) def. Gianna Pielet (1) (El Paso, TX) 6-4, 2-6, 7-5

Girls’ 14 Singles (Playoff)

Connie Ma (14) (Dublin, CA) def. Kailey Evans (6) (Ennis, TX) Wo (inj)

Boys’ 12 Singles (Final Round)

Kyle Kang (Fullerton, CA) def. Nishesh Basavareddy (Carmel, IN) 6-2, 6-4

Boys’ 12 Singles (Playoff)

Lucas Brown (3) (Plano, TX) def. Cooper Williams (4) (New York, NY) 6-4, 6-2

Girls’ 12 Singles (Final Round)

Priya Nelson (Sacramento, CA) def. Eleana Yu (Mason, OH) 6-1, 6-3

Girls’ 12 Singles (Playoff)

Matilyn Wang (1) (Scottsdale, AZ) def. Violeta Martinez (9) (Port Saint Lucie, FL) 6-3, 6-2

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ITF Announces Major Restructuring of Entry Level of Professional Tennis

 

 

ITF announces major restructuring of entry level of professional tennis

 

From the International Tennis Federation: The ITF Board of Directors has approved a major restructuring of professional tennis at its entry level. The reform programme of changes will include a radical reduction in the number of truly professional players and the creation of a new global ITF Transition Tour in 2019 that will provide opportunities for the next generation of talented players to enter the professional pathway.

 

The reform programme is in response to a three-year ITF Player Pathway review of professional and junior tennis that included an analysis of player and event data from 2001-13, and a survey of more than 50,000 stakeholders. The review established that there are too many players trying to compete on the professional circuit; too few players are breaking even; and the age of these players is increasing.  There are currently around 14,000 players competing in professional tennis events, almost half of whom do not earn any prize money.

 

The review also identified that it is taking longer for players to reach the top levels of the sport, and that many talented junior players experience considerable difficulty in transitioning to professional tennis.

 

In order to address these issues, the Board has approved the implementation in 2019 of a new ITF Transition Tour, featuring a new category of interim tournament at entry-level that will better aid the transition from junior to professional tennis and ensure a continued opportunity for players from any nation to join the player pathway. These tournaments will be held within a localised circuit structure that reduces costs and increases opportunity for players, and reduces staging costs for organisers.

 

Transition Tour tournaments will be created through the repositioning of the existing $15,000 (Level I) tournaments on the ITF Pro Circuit that will no longer be held as part of the Pro Circuit in 2019. Transition Tour tournaments will offer ITF Entry Points instead of ATP/WTA ranking points, with the two systems linked to ensure that the more successful players are able to use their ITF Entry Points to gain acceptance into ITF Pro Circuit tournaments.

 

The ITF’s proposed restructuring will radically reduce the number of professional players competing for ATP and WTA ranking points. The ITF’s extensive modelling work has led to a recommended professional player group of no more than 750 men and 750 women players. This new approach will introduce a clearer and more effective professional pathway and ensure that prize money levels at ITF Pro Circuit events are better targeted to ensure that more players can make a living from the professional game.

 

Players on the ITF Pro Circuit have already benefited from an extensive programme of prize money increases in 2016 and 2017 following the first part of the Player Pathway review, with total prize money increasing by around $1.5 million.

 

The ITF’s proposed Transition Tour will complement this new professional group, ensuring that all other players, especially the next generation of emerging talent, continue to access local playing opportunities that can lead to entry into the professional game.

 

The ITF will now work closely with its member nations, ATP and WTA on the implementation of the Transition Tour, including confirmation of the technical requirements, tournament schedule and new ranking point structure.

 

ITF President David Haggerty said: “The ITF’s Player Pathway study is the most comprehensive review of professional tennis ever undertaken and has highlighted the considerable challenges at the base of our game. Over 14,000 players competed at professional level last year which is simply too many. Radical changes are needed to address the issues of transition between the junior and professional game, playing affordability, and tournament cost.

 

“We have already taken an important step forward by increasing prize money levels at ITF Pro Circuit tournaments. The next step is to ensure the structure of professional tennis is fit for purpose through a targeted job opportunities approach that will create a smaller group of true professional players. At the same time it is imperative that we do not reduce the chance for players of any nation or background to start their journey towards the top 100. We believe that the introduction of a new entry level to the professional pathway will allow players to take the first steps towards becoming a future champion within a more targeted and affordable circuit structure. These changes will also ensure that players and their support team members can understand and measure their progress.”

 

The ITF Player Pathway review was undertaken to fully understand the tournament structure below Tour level. The review looked at improving the entry for players into professional tennis; increasing prize money and the ability for more players to make a living; raising event standards with a focus on integrity protection; and ensuring developing nations have the opportunity to produce world class players.

 

The Pro Circuit phase of the review can be found here

 

The Junior Circuit phase of the review can be found here

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