2014/07/30

Noah Rubin and Tornado Black Among Americans Competing in 2014 US Open Junior Championships

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USTA -WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 23, 2014 – Wimbledon junior champion and Long Island native Noah Rubin and 2013 US Open junior finalist Tornado Alicia Black headline the top American juniors accepted into the main draw of the 2014 US Open Junior Championships, held August 31-September 7 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

 

Rubin, the 18-year old protégé of John McEnroe’s, at his Randall’s Island, N.Y., academy, will once again be joined by world No. 2 junior Stefan Kozlov (16, Pembroke Pines, Fla.), who Rubin defeated in the first all-American Wimbledon boys’ title match since 1977. No. 6-ranked Francis Tiafoe (16, College Park, Md.) and No. 11 Michael Mmoh (16, Temple Hills, Md.) are also entered into the boys’ main draw.

 

Black (16, Boca Raton, Fla.), who reached the US Open girls’ final last year as an unseeded wild card, returns to Flushing as the second-ranked American in the girls’ field, following world No. 2 CiCi Bellis (15, Atherton, Calif.).

 

The US Open boys’ singles field includes 23 of the top 25 players in the ITF world junior rankings (age 18 and under), including No. 1 and French Open junior champion Andrey Rublev, of Russia, and 2013 Wimbledon boys’ champion Gianluigi Quinzi, of Italy. The girls’ singles field features 21 of the top 25 in the world rankings, including Wimbledon junior champion Jelena Ostapenko, of Latvia.

 

Americans filling out the boys’ main draw are: Wimbledon junior semifinalist and No. 18 Taylor Fritz (16, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.); No. 25 Alex Rybakov (17, Coral Springs, Fla.); No. 42 Logan Smith (17, Carlsbad, Calif.), No. 47 Henrik Wiersholm (17, Kirkland, Wash.); and Jared Donaldson (17, Cumberland, R.I.), whose No. 333 ATP ranking leads all Americans.

 

Other Americans in the girls’ draw are: No. 29 Sofia Kenin (15, Pembroke Pines, Fla.); No. 30 Usue Arconada (15, College Park, Md.), No. 33 Dasha Ivanova (17, Beaverton, Ore.) and No. 49 Michaela Gordon (15, Los Altos Hills, Calif.).

 

Tommy Paul (17, Coconut Creek, Fla.) and Katerina Stewart (17, Miami) are also in the main draw by virtue of earning wild cards as this year’s USTA 18s National Clay Court champions.

 

Dennis Uspensky (17, Atlantic Beach, N.Y.) was accepted into boys’ qualifying. Katrine Steffensen (18, Scarsdale, N.Y.), Kaitlyn McCarthy (16, Cary, N.C.) Raveena Kingsley (16, Parkton, Md.) and Jessica Ho (17, Wexford, Pa.) were accepted into girls’ qualifying.

 

Previous US Open girls’ champions include Coco Vandeweghe (2008), Victoria Azarenka (2005), Marion Bartoli (2001), Lindsay Davenport (1992), Jennifer Capriati (1989) and Zina Garrison (1981).

 

Past US Open boys’ champions include Jack Sock (2010), Andy Murray (2004), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2003), Andy Roddick (2000), Stefan Edberg (1983) and Pat Cash (1982).

 

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Atlanta Open Tuesday Wrap

 

(July 22, 2014) ATLANTA – It was college night here at Atlantic Station!  There were Panthers, Owls, Yellow Jackets, and Bulldogs – Oh My!  At the USTA Family Zone, Kennesaw State University, Georgia State, and Georgia Tech mascots all helped to promote tennis this afternoon with some fun and games for fans.  The University of Georgia Pep Band serenaded the crowd with some tunes and tried to fire them up for the evening.

Speaking of UGA, in his news conference this afternoon, former Bulldog John Isner elaborated on his college experience; “I wouldn’t be where I am today.  Coach Diaz was so instrumental to me!  It was perfect.  There’s no hurry at 17, 18 years old to get out on the tour.”  He feels that almost every young player could benefit from the experience of playing in college and being part of a team experience.  When asked about multiple withdrawals and the pressure of being the marquee name in the tournament, Isner said, “It’s disappointing not to have those guys in the field this year.  It’s a very tough field.  I hope the fans come out as they always do.”  He went on to talk often being the last American standing in tournaments and that he doesn’t he feel any special pressure.  “It’d be better if we had more guys with more success.”  He’s really looking forward to the hard court season and indicated it was critical to his year.  Atlanta gets that all started in a place where he likes the surface and it is just an hour down the road from Athens where he spent four great years.  He will take on another tour veteran in his second round match.  It will be a match with lots of local interest, as local Robby Ginepri came through in three sets today.

Ginepri took on Sergiy Stakhovsky.  The first set was a tight affair, as Ginepri let a few nerves help Stakhovsky earn a break at two all.  He had a few chances to break back, as Stakhovsky had six double faults, most to the ad court in the opening set alone, but Ginepri finally drew even and earned his way into a tie break.  He owned the breaker, closing it out 7-3.

Ginepri served to open the second set and was broken early.  Stakhovsky ran out to a 4-0 lead with another break and it looked like Ginepri was ready to concede the set when Stakhovsky got a little loose and Ginepri got one of the breaks back.  It almost looked as if Stakhovsky was trying to extend the set to tire Ginepri, though he finally hung on to force the third set.

Turned out it was Ginepri who was saving himself.  He called on his veteran poise and settled in, winning all of the points on his first serve in the deciding set.  He never faced a break point.  It did not hurt that he converted all of his break points and 9 of Stakhovsky’s 10 second serve points.

The feature match was a decidedly collegiate affair.  A few players from Kennesaw State University, Georgia State University, and Georgia Tech tossed a few shirts into the crowd to get everyone fired up.  After some loud barking, University of Georgia great and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker came out to do the coin toss for the Lukas Lacko v Nathan Pasha match.  Pasha is a player for Coach Manuel Diaz at Georgia.  He had a very good year, but had been taking some time off to rest and only got word four days ago that he had a wild card.  Despite some nerves, Pasha came out serving hard with a 135 MPH ace in the first game.  Unfortunately, he was soon broken and the set was Lacko’s, 6-2.  The second set was a much more even affair until Pasha earned a break to put him up 5-3, serving for the set.  Four double faults undid what he had earned and Lacko got a firm handle on the doorknob that Pasha could not find and slammed the door shut for a 6-2, 7-5 win.  Pasha showed lots of game and lots of promise.

In other action, Ryan Harrison fell to Tim Smyczek 6-0, 6-2.  Harrison was broken on his first two service games and never got on track.  Reports indicate he is dealing with some sort of foot injury.  Blisters, a stress fracture, and a broken foot have all been speculated, though no confirmation on any of those was available.  He has partnered with Robby Ginepri and they already completed their first round match, so a withdrawal would certainly be another disappointment for the tournament.

In other first round action, Marinko Matosevic made short work of Victor Estrella Burgos 6-0, 6-2.  John Patrick Smith fell to Illya Marchenko 6-4, 6-4.  Jack Sock beat Alejandro Gonzalez for the first time of the day 6-2, 6-4.  Rajeev Ram lost to Denis Istomin 6-1,6-4 and Benjamin Becker beat Mattew Ebden 6-4, 6-2.

The evening concluded with an entertaining doubles match on stadium court.   Colombians Alejandro Conzalez and Juan-Carlos Spir took on Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock.  Unfortunately for Gonzalez, he couldn’t take advantage of the second chance.  Sock earned an early break with an outlandish overhead off a smash.  Yes, an overhead off of a smash – the ball was slammed into the court so hard it came down like a lob and Sock timed it right back forcing a volley error.  That was all they needed to claim the set, as the only other break point was saved by Pospisil/Sock.  The second set only had 4 break points, with Pospisil/Sock saving both of theirs while converting one of the Colombians’ pair.  The final point of the match had a short delay, as a ball girl was the recipient of a rather hard Sock service fault.  It was one very well earned tattoo and rewarded with the ball autographed.  Sock apologized profusely, but play continued and they closed it out 6-4, 6-4.

Wednesday’s play will feature Sam Querrey facing Dudi Sela for the 7 PM match.  Here is the rest of the order of play:

ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, JULY 23, 2014
STADIUM start 2:00 pm
[3] C Guccione (AUS) / J Smith (AUS) vs J Erlich (ISR) / R Ram (USA)
[Q] M Venus (NZL) vs J Sock (USA)

Not Before 7:00 pm
[9] S Querrey (USA) vs D Sela (ISR)
YACHT ROCK REVUE CONCERT

AJC GRANDSTAND start 2:00 pm
N Barrientos (COL) / V Estrella Burgos (DOM) vs S Ratiwatana (THA) / S Ratiwatana (THA)
[Q] I Marchenko (UKR) vs [4] V Pospisil (CAN)
After Suitable Rest – M Ebden (AUS) / Y Lu (TPE) vs [2] S Gonzalez (MEX) / S Lipsky (USA)

COURT 3 start 3:00 pm

[7] Y Lu (TPE) vs [LL] A Kuznetsov (USA)
L Lacko (SVK) or [WC] N Pasha (USA) vs [6] D Istomin (UZB)

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US Open Wild Card Challenge Standings

 

(July 22, 2014) With one week left in the women’s US Open Wild Card Challenge, a berth into the 2014 US Open main draw will be decided this week at the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships, a $50,000 event in Lexington, Ky.

The race for the women’s wild card is tight, with Nicole Gibbs winning the singles title at the USTA Player Development $50,000 Women’s Classic in Carson, Calif., on Sunday, to take the lead in the standings with 88 points. Gibbs, a two-time NCAA champion for Stanford, defeated fellow American and 2009 US Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin, 6-4, 6-4, in the Carson final. Julia Boserup is in second place in the wild card challenge with 63 points after reaching the final at the $50,000 event in Sacramento, Calif., two weeks ago and advancing to the quarterfinals in Carson. Oudin, who was playing in her first hard-court tournament since March in Carson, is in third place with 48 points.

The men’s wild card challenge kicked off last week with the Levene Gouldin & Thompson Tennis Challenger, a $50,000 Challenger in Binghamton, N.Y. Wayne Odesnik advanced to the final in Binghamton to take the early lead with 48 points. The men’s wild card challenge continues into its second week, also in Lexington.

All matches will be streamed live on www.procircuit.usta.com. 

USTA Player Development will award a US Open main draw wild card to the American man and American woman who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA ranking points in a series of USTA Pro Circuit hard-court events this summer. The men’s events are $50,000 Challengers in Binghamton and Lexington, Ky., as well as $100,000 Challengers in Vancouver, B.C., and Aptos, Calif. The women’s tournaments are all $50,000 events, held in Sacramento, Calif.; Carson; and Lexington.

Ranking points from two out of the three women’s events and two of the four men’s events will be used and combined to calculate the point total and determine the US Open wild card recipient. If a player competes in more than two events, only his or her two best tournaments will be counted in calculating the point total. In the event of a tie, the player with the best ATP or WTA singles ranking will be awarded the wild card. Only players who have not earned direct acceptance into the US Open are eligible for the wild card.

The standings, as of July 21, are as follows:

The USTA first used this US Open wild card format for its 2012 wild cards, won by Steve Johnson and Mallory Burdette, both of whom reached the third round of the US Open. It was also used in 2013, when the winners were Bradley Klahn, who won his first-round match at the US Open, and Shelby Rogers. The USTA also utilizes this format for the French Open through the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge, where this year’s women’s winner Taylor Townsend was a top story at Roland Garros, reaching the third round. Veteran Robby Ginepri won the 2014 men’s French Open wild card.

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Querrey Opens with a Win in Atlanta

By Herman Wood

(July 21, 2014) ATLANTA -  The US Open Series officially is underway!  Fittingly, Americans Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson got things going.  The doubles partners, and good friends, played a very tight match, with Querrey winning out 7-6(3), 7-5.  Querrey fired 20 aces while saving the only break point he faced.  He converted 1 of 2 break points and that was all the difference.  Johnson only won 22% of the points Querrey served.  The two will take on Denis Istomin and Marinko Matosevic later in the doubles portion of the tournament.

 

After an impressive opening ceremony honoring our military, another American, Donald Young took on Dudi Sela.  Unfortunately for Young, Sela had his number.  It was not Young’s best night, as he struggled with consistency and could never get control of the match.  The second set really seemed to get away from him, as Sela closed him out 6-3, 6-0.  The crowd warmed up to Sela and gave him a nice hand as he left the court.

 

In doubles play, the paring of Becker/Moser dominated Lovett/OShaughnessey 6-2, 6-0.  The featured doubles match in the stadium was a much tighter and entertaining affair.  The British brothers Ken & Neal Skupski (via LSU) took on Ryan Harrison, who partnered up with local Robby Ginepri.  Each side broke serve only once, splitting sets, forcing a tiebreak to decide the match.  Harrison hit the shot of the tournament so far, with a screaming forehand around the net post for a winner.  The match kept the crowd on the edge of its seat all evening.  Ginepri/Harrison saved two match points, one with a clutch forehand passing shot, overcoming the Skupski bros 4-6, 6-3, 11-9.  It was a new pairing, and both men seemed very pleased with the pairing.  Ginepri said “Love playin’ here in the ATL.”

 

As of this writing, matches scheduled for Tuesday are below.  The evening match on stadium court will feature Nathan Pasha of the University of Georgia.  Herschel Walker, UGA football great, will be on hand to get things underway.  Expect barking – lots of barking.

 

RESULTS – MONDAY, 21 JULY 2014

Singles – First Round
[9] S Querrey (USA) d S Johnson (USA) 76(3) 75
D Sela (ISR) d D Young (USA) 63 60

Doubles – First Round

[WC] R Ginepri (USA) / R Harrison (USA) d [4] K Skupski (GBR) / N Skupski (GBR) 46 63 11-9
B Becker (GER) / F Moser (GER) d [WC] K Lovett (USA) / B O’Shaughnessey (USA) 62 60


SCHEDULE – TUESDAY, 22 JULY 2014

STADIUM start 2:00 pm
T Smyczek (USA) vs [WC] R Harrison (USA)
[WC] R Ginepri (USA) vs S Stakhovsky (UKR)
D Sharan (IND) / D Young (USA) vs K King (USA) / M Venus (NZL)
Not Before 7:00 pm
L Lacko (SVK) vs [WC] N Pasha (USA)
[1] V Pospisil (CAN) / J Sock (USA) vs A Gonzalez (COL) / J Spir (COL)

AJC GRANDSTAND start 2:00 pm

[LL] R Ram (USA) vs [6] D Istomin (UZB)
J Sock (USA) vs A Gonzalez (COL)
[Q] J Smith (AUS) vs [Q] I Marchenko (UKR)
S Johnson (USA) / S Querrey (USA) vs D Istomin (UZB) / M Matosevic (AUS)

COURT 3 start 1:00 pm

V Estrella Burgos (DOM) vs [8] M Matosevic (AUS)
[Q] S Diez (CAN) vs [LL] T de Bakker (NED)
M Ebden (AUS) vs B Becker (GER)

 

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Monday Dispatch from Atlanta – Withdrawals Provide Opportunities

BB&TAtlantaOpen

By Herman Wood

(July 21, 2014) ATLANTA- Qualifying wrapped up on Monday in Atlanta at the BB&T Open, with the weather finally cooperating. Qualifying dodged rain all weekend, with the second round ending up under the lights last night.  Unfortunately, the qualifying matches today were almost an afterthought with the main draw withdrawals.

Radek Stepanek withdrew due to an injury over the weekend.  He posted on his twitter account “Sad to pull out of the @BBTatlantaopen this week but had fun talking to the media here and signing some autographs :)” along with a picture of a young fan.  Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet also withdrew, leaving the tournament in a bad spot.  Of the 24 players entered in qualifying, seven will make the main draw, apparently with one directly advancing to the second round.

There was some other ball played this afternoon, with Wimbledon doubles champ Jack Sock getting some basketball tips from Atlanta Hawk Demarre Carroll at a hoop set up by the team just off the USTA YouthTennis court.  Turned out Carroll got schooled in a game of HORSE.  Sock returned the favor with a tennis lesson for Carroll on the court afterwards and then had a press conference with his Wimbledon partner, Vasek Pospisil.  The two will be the top seed in the doubles draw.

Young Americans have quite an opportunity with the withdrawals.  Scheduled matches today feature world number 61 Sam Querrey playing number 64 Steve Johnson.  Official opening ceremonies will follow and lead into local Donald Young playing Dudi Sela.  Another local, Robby Ginepri, will team up with Rhyne Harrison to take on the British duo of Ken and Neal Skupski in the opening round of doubles once the singles match concludes.

 

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood.

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Nicole Gibbs Beats Melanie Oudin for Carson USTA Pro Circuit Title

Nicole Gibbs photo by Kevin Riewthong/ For the USTA

Nicole Gibbs photo by Kevin Riewthong/ For the USTA

(July 20, 2014) CARSON, CA – Nicole Gibbs moved another step closer to playing in her third consecutive US Open main draw, capturing the USTA Player Development Women’s $50,000 Classic with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Melanie Oudin on Sunday at the USTA Training Center – West at StubHub Center.

 

Gibbs, 21, is a two-time NCAA singles winner at Stanford and earned wild-card entry into the season’s final Grand Slam the past two years by way of those wins.

With one event remaining in the US Open Wild Card Challenge, Gibbs now leads in the standings with 88 points. She is followed by Julia Boserup (63 points), Oudin (48), Louisa Chirico (44) and Sanaz Marand (30).

 

The final of the three-event US Open Wild Card Challenge is the Lexington, Ky., $50,000 Challenger to be played this week.

 

It was a tight battle throughout in the final on Sunday with Gibbs holding a 4-2 lead in the second set, before the sole of her shoe came partially off. Admitting she started to “panic,” Gibbs fell down 4-all, 40-love with Oudin serving. Gibbs then played a solid point, was aided by an untimely Oudin double fault and ultimately broke back to serve for the match.

 

“Tennis is like that sometime,” said Gibbs, who won this event last year when it was held in Yakima, Wash. Without a spare pair of tennis shoes, Gibbs contemplated wearing running shoes, but opted for a tape job instead, which seemed to do the trick.

 

Oudin’s first-round loss in US Open qualifying last year to Elena Baltacha ended a streak of five consecutive main draw appearances at the US Open, which of course included her quarterfinal run there in 2009.

 

“It’s one tournament,” said Oudin, who did not play in Sacramento last week but will play Lexington, of the US Open. “I’m not worrying about this wild card. It’s the last thing on my mind. If I play well I can qualify on my own. But if I do win this wild card that’s just an added bonus.”

Gibbs, a nearby Marina Del Rey resident, said she loved playing so close to home. “Just the title of the tournament, ‘Carson $50,000,’ ” she said. “It’s so exciting to be at the place I train and have my community supporting me.”

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Wozniacki Captures Istanbul Title

 

(July 20, 2014) In a match-up between the top two seeds, Caroline Wozniacki destroyed second seed Roberta Vinci 6-1, 6-1 in 67 minutes on Sunday to win the Istanbul Cup. The title gave the Dane her first tournament victory of 2014.

Wozniacki said:”I’m happy to have won my 22nd WTA title – it’s a great feeling! I’m happy how the final went today. I served well and pushed her around the court, and I really dictated the match.”

“I tried to play aggressively like always but made a lot of mistakes, Vinci said. “It’s tough to play like that against Caroline because she puts everything back in the court, and it was tough for me to stay in the rallies today. But I’m happy with my week and Caroline just played much better than me.”

World No. 15 Wozniacki has captured at least one title each year since 2008. She has 22 tournament wins in her career.

The 24-year-old Wozniacki has the fourth-most WTA titles among active players, trailing Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova.

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Leonardo Mayer Wins First ATP Title with Upset Over Top Seed David Ferrer

By Florian Heer

 

(July 20, 2014) HAMBURG – Sunday’s final at Hamburg saw top-seed David Ferrer and Leonardo Mayer clash for the second time with the Spaniard having won their only previous meeting in s’Hertogenbosch two years ago.

Sunday’s match was an even affair with a couple of close rallies. Ferrer took the opening set after 58 minutes but lost his service in the fourth game of the second and also a bit of his rhythm. Consequently, Mayer took the match the distance in the seventh game. The Argentine showed an impressive performance with big serves – a lot fired with more than 200 km/h (124 mph) – solid groundstrokes with good length and some hard hitting forehands. The world No. 46 from Buenos Aires fully deserved his maiden title on the ATP World Tour and eventually emerged victorious after two hours and 20 minutes winning 6-7 (3), 6-1, 7-6(4).

“Leonardo was simply better today in the entire match,” Ferrer said. “I was a bit nervous in the important moments and he played more aggressively than me.”

“It was a positive week but I’m sad because I lost the final. I will go back home now and have a rest for a few days before I’ll prepare for the hard court season starting in Toronto and Cincinnati,” the Spaniard said.

Leonardo Mayer

The winner was understandably overwhelmed. “Today is a very special day. So far, I haven’t really realized that I won the match. This is simply unbelievable. I really wanted to win the match. Still on court, I called my girl-friend, my family and my team, who was watching the final on TV,” Mayer told the media in Spanish, as he is still too shy to speak in English. “I promise that I will take a teacher with me next year that I can answer the questions in English. I am able to speak but I’m nervous and I do not feel comfortable,” the Argentine added. “Tomorrow I’ll fly back to Argentina and then I am going to play the US Open,” Mayer said about his upcoming schedule.

In the doubles final the team of Marin Draganja and Florian Mergea beat the tournament’s top-seeds Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares in straight sets winning 6-4, 7-5 in 78 minutes taking their maiden title as a tandem on the ATP World Tour. “We beat a very, very good team today. We were happy to enter the draw and gaining the title here is amazing,” Draganja was happy afterwards.

Earlier the day, tournament director Michael Stich spoke to the media about the 108th edition am Rothenbaum. “We’re very satisfied with this week. With David Ferrer, we had a top-ten player in our field, who made it into the final to face the first Argentine here since Juan Mónaco, which is a very interesting affair. Of course, I would have loved to see the defending champion Fabio Fognini staying a bit longer in the tournament but that’s sports,” the former Wimbledon champion said.

“In the future we will try to present the fans a mixture of top players and the new younger generation. I think there will be generation change on the ATP World Tour and we will see new Grand Slam Champions like Dimitrov or Raonic maybe in two years’ time. That’s why we also made a long-term contract with Alexander Zverev to play here in Hamburg for the next five years. Nonetheless, it will remain our own demand to present players ranked within the top-3,” Stich told and added that around 60,000 spectators came to the venue this year.

 

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Futures Circuit.  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

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Barthel Tops Scheepers for Swedish Open Title

(July 20, 2014) In a battle between tow unseeded players, Mona Barthel beat Chanelle Scheepers 6-3, 7-6 (3) to win the Swedish Open on Sunday.

For the 61st ranked German, it’s her third WTA career title, her first on clay.

“It’s been an amazing week for me,” said the 24-year-old, “I cannot believe I won the title! It was like a perfect week for me. I was fighting a lot – in some matches I was behind, and I was just fighting for every point. I’m just happy everything worked out. I love this tournament so much.”

This was the first WTA tournament since Hobart in January 2009 in which no seeds made the quarterfinals. This was the second final in tournament history featuring two unseeded players.

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Melanie Oudin and Nicole Gibbs to Meet in Carson Final

MelanieOudin7172012

CARSON, July 19, 2014 – Melanie Oudin and Nicole Gibbs survived sluggish first-set losses to advance to Sunday’s singles final of the USTA Player Development Women’s $50,000 Classic being played at the USTA Training Center – West at StubHub Center.

 

Both players called the first game of the second set the turning point in their matches.

 

The No. 4-seeded Oudin dropped the first set to unseeded American Sanaz Marand, but came back to win 10 games in a row at one point to roll, 2-6, 6-0, 6-1, over the former University of North Carolina lefthander.

 

“I was trying to step in and take the ball early but I just could not find my timing,” said Oudin, 22, who went back out on a practice court with her coach for 20 minutes after the match. “I had never faced her before or even practiced with her. She has a really heavy forehand so I started playing her backhand in the second set.

 

The defending champion and No. 2-seeded Gibbs also dropped the first set against 18-year-old New Yorker Louisa Chirico, and had a bit of a tougher time closing her out, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4. It was the third time the two had squared off this year and each time it has gone three sets. Just last week at the Sacramento Challenger, Chirico eliminated Gibbs in the second round.

 

“She came out very strong and won like the first nine points of the match,” said Gibbs, 21. “She was the aggressor and wasn’t making any errors. It was a little bit of an intimidating start. But I started to make some more balls and force the issue with her.

 

“The first game of the second set I just felt more energized,” Gibbs added.

 

Oudin and Gibbs have never met as pros, but Gibbs did recall the first and only time the two had played each other at the Carson International Spring Championships when they were juniors.

 

“I must have been 13 and she was 14, and it was right over there on that exact court,” said Gibbs, pointing to Court 4, which serves as the featured court. “She just destroyed me. It was back when she was winning everything. Hopefully it will be a different result.”

 

Gibbs said she not only looks up to Oudin because of her successful pro career, which includes a US Open quarterfinal appearance at age 17, a US Open mixed doubles title, one WTA singles title and a career-high WTA ranking of 31 back in 2010, but because of her 5-foot-6 height. “I have a ton of respect for her,” Gibbs said. “She’s definitely someone I’ve looked up to, for one reason because of her stature,” Gibbs said. “A lot of people think tennis is only for tall girls and big hitters.”

 

The top-seeded doubles team of Olivia Rogowska of Austria and Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands captured the doubles title and will split the $2,786 for their 7-6 (4), 6-1, victory over the young U.S. pairing of Samantha Crawford and Sachia Vickery, who split $1,053.

 

Tomorrow’s singles final will take place at 10 a.m.

 

Singles Final: No. 4 seed Melanie Oudin vs. No. 2 seed Nicole Gibbs

 

This tournament is being streamed live on www.procircuit.usta.com.

 

The USTA Pro Circuit event in Carson is taking the place for a women’s tournament in Yakima, Wash., that was faced with a fire in mid-May. The fire destroyed the host site’s clubhouse and impacted some of the adjoining tennis courts.

 

Admission is free and open to the public all week. For additional information about the USTA Player Development Women’s $50,000 Classic, visit www.usta.com/carson.

 

USTA Player Development Women’s $50,000 Classic

A USTA Pro Circuit Event

Saturday, July 19

USTA Training Center – West at StubHub Center

Carson, Calif.

Purse: $50,000

Surface: Hard-Outdoor

 

Saturday, July 19 – RESULTS

Singles – Semifinals

(4) Melanie Oudin (USA) def. Sanaz Marand (USA), 2-6, 6-0, 6-1

(2) Nicole Gibbs (USA) def. Louisa Chirico (USA) 1-6, 6-2, 6-4

 

Doubles Final

(1) Olivia Rogowska (AUS)/Michaella Krajicek (NED) def. Samantha Crawford (USA)/Sachia Vickery (USA) 7-6 (4), 6-1

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