2014/04/16

BNP Paribas Open announces Wild Cards Which Include Americans Young, Sock, Harrison, Johnson, Duval and Townsend

big bnp paribas open logo

INDIAN WELLS, Calif., Feb. 26, 2014 – Former top five players Nadia Petrova and Vera Zvonareva; Americans Donald Young, Jack Sock, Ryan Harrison, Steve Johnson, Rhyne Williams, Coco Vandeweghe, Shelby Rogers, Vicky Duval and Taylor Townsend; and Donna Vekic and Belinda Bencic were granted wildcards into the main draws of the BNP Paribas Open, to be held March 3 – 16 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, it was announced today by Tournament Director Steve Simon.
Russia’s Nadia Petrova has won 13 career WTA single titles and 24 doubles crowns. The former World No. 3 has reached nine Grand Slam quarterfinals, advancing to the semifinals twice. Fellow Russian star and 2009 BNP Paribas Open champion Vera Zvonareva has 12 career WTA singles triumphs and six doubles titles. The former World No. 2 also has two Grand Slam finals appearances.
In addition, nine Americans have been granted wildcards into the main draws including Donald Young, who reached the third round of this year’s Australian Open; 21-year-old Jack Sock, who advanced to the third round of the 2013 U.S. Open; Ryan Harrison, who boasted a career-high ranking of No. 43 in 2012; two-time NCAA Champion from USC Steve Johnson, who reached the third round of the 2012 US Open; Rhyne Williams, who is coming off a quarterfinals appearance at Delray Beach, pushing top-ranked American and World No. 13 John Isner to three sets; Coco Vandeweghe, a two-time ITF singles winner; Shelby Rogers, a four-time singles champion on the ITF circuit; Vicky Duval, who achieved a career-high ranking earlier this year after jumping 528 rankings places since the end of 2011; and 17-year-old Taylor Townsend, who turned professional in 2012 after reaching the top of the junior rankings earlier that year.
Two other international players receiving main draw wildcards are 17-year-old Croatian Donna Vekic, who reached a career-high ranking of No. 62 in 2013 and 16-year-old Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, who advanced to the second round of the Australian Open earlier this year.
“This year’s main draw wildcards span from established veterans, to rising American and international stars,” said Simon. “Awarding wildcards to players like Nadia Petrova, Vera Zvonareva, Donald Young, Jack Sock and others, add to the excitement for fans and provide the potential for these deserving athletes to make a run at the BNP Paribas Open.”
Qualifying wildcards were given to Americans Raymond Sarmiento, Stefan Kozlov, Clay Thompson, Irina Falconi, Madison Brengle, Grace Min and Allie Kiick, Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinaxis and the United Kingdom’s Heather Watson.
Sarmiento is a senior-standout at USC and member of two NCAA team championships for the Trojans. Sixteen-year-old Kozlov achieved a career-high ranking in February, after turning pro in 2013. Thompson reached a career-high ranking in 2013. Falconi cracked the WTA top 100 in 2011 and advanced to the second round of this year’s Australian Open. Brengle reached a career-high ranking earlier this year, and has won five ITF singles titles. Min won the 2011 US Open Junior Championship and three ITF titles in 2012, while Kiick also has three ITF singles crowns. Kokkinaxis advanced to the second round at this year’s Australian Open, where he pushed World No. 1 Rafael Nadal to three sets. Watson has one WTA singles title and two doubles titles.
In addition to the aforementioned qualifying wildcards, the winners of each BNP Paribas Challenge, the pre-qualifying event for the tournament, which takes place February 24 – March 1, will also be granted a berth into the 2014 BNP Paribas Open qualifying draw. Women’s qualifying starts March 3 and men’s qualifying begins March 4.
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Players React to James Blake’s Retirement

James Blake

James Blake

(August 26, 2013) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY -  On Monday some players were asked in press about James Blake’s announcement about his retirement after the US Open. Here are a few reactions:

 

VENUS WILLIAMS:  You know, James, obviously the US Open was a special place for him.  I understand how he would want to end here.  You know, I think he still has, you know, a lot of great tennis in him, but he’s decided that now is the time for him.

He has a family now, so those are important priorities from what I hear.  He’s ready, so all we can do is support him.  Hopefully he will be able to contribute to tennis outside of the game, outside of playing pro tennis, in whichever way he chooses.

What I admired period about him was how he gave back, you know, obviously using his tennis career and celebrity to give back, especially to cancer because his dad passed.

And also the excitement he brought to the game.  I think he brought a lot of people into tennis.  It’s always great and also sad to lose someone who helps grow the game.  People are always interested in James, so that’s what I’m going to miss.

 

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, just pure heart.  I mean, the guy has been really just a great person with a great heart.  He’s been through so much.  Being even able to be a professional player with his back, and then doing so well.  We won together at Hopman Cup.  He was such a great partner and a great friend.

It’s just sad to see.  Sad to see another good friend of mine that I’m not going

 

RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, James was one of the more charismatic players on tour.  His style of game was spectacular a lot of days.  He was able to play winners on the return with great first serves, and his forehand was one of the best on tour, no?  Without no one doubt, he was able to hit very hard.  His image was great.

He’s a good example for the kids and a good example for the tour.  He’s a really good person.

 

RYAN HARRISON:  James has been a good friend in the locker room to everybody.  I mean, it’s funny.  Whenever you ask anyone about James, he’s left a great impression and just a great impact on everybody that he’s known in the game.

His career is one thing.  He obviously has his results.  I think something far more important that he’s leaving behind is the fact he left a really positive impact on tennis and the people he was around, which is what you are ultimately looking forward to doing after having a long, successful career like he’s had.

He’s one of the greatest guys out here on tour.  He’s into the next stage of his life, which is being the family man, having the baby, having his wife and kid, just going that route.

I’m extremely happy for him.  I congratulated him when I saw him.  You know, I look forward to keeping in touch with him throughout his life after tennis.

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Brian Baker and Ryan Harrison Among Men’s Wild Cards at US Open

 

FLUSHING, N.Y., August 13, 2013 – The USTA announced today that Brian Baker, playing in his first Grand Slam since the 2013 Australian Open, 2012 Olympian and former world No. 43 Ryan Harrison, 2010 NCAA singles champion Bradley Klahn and 2011 NCAA singles finalist Rhyne Williams have been awarded men’s singles main draw wild card entries into the 2013 US Open. Other American men receiving US Open main draw wild cards are Rajeev Ram and 2013 USTA Boys’ 18s champion Collin Altamirano. Australia’s James Duckworth and France’s Guillaume Rufin will also receive wild cards.

 

The 2013 US Open will be played August 26-September 9 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. Both the men’s and women’s singles champions this year will earn $2.6 million, the largest payout in tennis history, with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money – for a total $3.6 million potential payout – based on their performances in the Emirates Airline US Open Series.

 

Baker, 28, of Nashville, Tenn., is attempting to make yet another remarkable comeback from injury. After being sidelined since the 2013 Australian Open in January, when he suffered a significant knee injury during his second-round match against Sam Querrey, Baker returned to competitive play last week at the USTA Pro Circuit $100,000 Challenger in Aptos, Calif., and has advanced to the second round of this week’s Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati on the Emirates Airline US Open Series. Baker, now ranked No. 185, ascended to No. 52 in the world in 2012 after injuries kept him sidelined for nearly six years.

 

Harrison, 21, of Shreveport, La., rose to No. 43 in the world in 2012, the year in which he also represented the U.S. in the London Olympics and in Davis Cup. On the Emirates Airline US Open Series this summer, Harrison, now ranked No. 102, reached the semifinals at the BB&T Atlanta Open and defeated former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in the first round of the Citi Open in Washington, D.C.

 

Klahn, 22, of Poway, Calif., earned a US Open wild card as the top American points earner at select USTA Pro Circuit events this summer. The 2010 NCAA singles champion while a sophomore at Stanford, Klahn won the USTA Pro Circuit $100,000 Challenger in Aptos, Calif., last week, catapulting to a career high rank of No. 123. Last year, Klahn received a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, qualified and reached the second round, becoming the first men’s qualifying wild card to win a US Open main draw match.

 

Williams, 22, of Knoxville, Tenn., reached his first ATP semifinal in Houston this year and played in the main draws of the French Open and the Australian Open, winning a USTA playoff to gain entry into the latter. Now at a career-high rank of No. 114, He was a 2011 NCAA singles finalist while at Tennessee, and his grandfather, Michael DePalmer, Sr., was the Volunteers’ longtime coach who helped found the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy.

 

Ram, 29, of Carmel, Ind., is the highest ranked American who did not receive direct entry into the US Open at the entry deadline.  Ram owns one singles title (Newport, 2009) and seven doubles titles on the ATP World Tour and has been ranked as high as No. 78 in singles. Ram qualified and reached the second round of the 2013 Australian Open.

 

Altamirano, 17, of Yuba City, Calif., earned his wild card by winning the USTA Boys’ 18s National Championship singles title, doing so in historic fashion. Altamirano became the first unseeded player to win the tournament in the 71 years it has called Kalamazoo, Mich., home.

 

Duckworth, 21, of Sydney, Australia, received a wild card through a reciprocal agreement with Tennis Australia, which will grant an American a wild card into the 2014 Australian Open, to be determined by a USTA playoff (Rhyne Williams was the 2013 winner). Currently at a career-high rank of No. 150, Duckworth reached the second round of the 2013 Australian Open and qualified for both the French Open and Wimbledon this year.

 

Rufin, 23, of Charnay, France, received his wild card through a reciprocal agreement with the French Tennis Federation, which awarded a wild card into the 2013 French Open to an American player designated by the USTA (Alex Kuznetsov won the USTA Pro-Circuit event-based system this year). Rufin, currently ranked No. 92, has played in all three Grand Slam main draws this year, reaching the second round of the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

 

In addition to the eight US Open men’s singles main draw wild cards, the USTA also announced eight men who have been awarded wild card entries into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, which will be held August 20-23 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.  One additional US Open qualifying wild card will be awarded to the winner of the 2013 US Open National Playoffs – Men’s Championship, taking place August 16-19 in New Haven, Conn.

 

Players receiving 2013 US Open qualifying wild cards are: 2013 USTA Boys’ 18s National Championship runner-up Jared Donaldson (16, Cumberland, R.I.); 2011 French Open boys’ champion Bjorn Fratangelo (20, Pittsburgh, Pa.), who has won three Futures titles in 2013; Christian Harrison (19, Shreveport, La.), who reached the 2012 US Open doubles quarterfinals with his older brother, Ryan Harrison; Jarmere Jenkins (22, College Park, Ga.), who came one win short of winning the NCAA triple crown this summer, leading Virginia to its first NCAA team title, winning the NCAA doubles title and reaching the NCAA singles final; former Wimbledon and French Open boys’ semifinalist Mitchell Krueger (19, Fort Worth, Texas), who won his first pro singles title in June; UCLA sophomore Dennis Novikov (19, San Jose, Calif.), the 2012 USTA Boys’ 18s national champion who defeated 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz in the first round of last year’s US Open; local teenager Noah Rubin (17, Rockville Centre, N.Y.), who has been as high as No. 6 in the world junior rankings; and Tennys Sandgren (22, Gallatin, Tenn.), a former standout at Tennessee who has won five USTA Pro Circuit Futures singles titles in the last two years.

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James Blake Leads List of Wild Cards for Cincinnati

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CINCINNATI (August 8, 2013) — Seven of the eight men’s wild cards for the 2013 Western & Southern Open have been awarded to American players, with four US players being added to the main draw and three entered into qualifying.

 

James Blake, Brian BakerRyan Harrison and Jack Sock have been granted wild cards in to the main draw.

 

In qualifying, Australian Bernard Tomic joins a trio of Americans who each reached a career high ranking last month – Steve Johnson, Denis Kudla and Rhyne Williams - in the field.

 

“We’re happy to welcome a familiar face like James back to a tournament where he has had a tremendous amount of success in his career,” said Tournament Director Vince Cicero. “At the same time, it’s exciting to offer these younger players a chance to participate in a tournament of this caliber. We look forward to having all eight of these players in Cincinnati for the Western & Southern Open.”

 

Blake, the 2007 Western & Southern Open finalist, will be making his 12th apperance at the tournament, third among active players behind Tommy Haas (14) and Roger Federer (13). He also ranks sixth among active players for wins in Cincinnati with a 15-10 record.

 

Baker, from Nashville, returned to tennis in 2012 after a series of injuries kept him sidelined for nearly six seasons. He climbed to almost No. 50 in the rankings before suffering a knee injury at the Australian Open in January that has kept him out of action until this week’s Aptos Challenger.

 

Harrison, a 21-year-old who now calls Austin, Texas, home, reached the semifinals last month at the ATP event in Atlanta. He also claimed the title at the Savannah Challenger this season. It will be his third Western & Southern Open main draw appearance.

 

Sock, a 20-year-old from Lincoln, Neb., won the title at the Challenger event in Winnetka, Ill., last month. He reached his second career ATP quarterfinal in February at Memphis. In 2010, Sock won the US Open Juniors title.

 

The four wild card entrants to the qualifying field will compete in a two-round tournament over this coming weekend for one of seven spots in the main draw.

 

Tomic, 20, is the top-ranked player from Australia. He recently reached the fourth round at Wimbledon and early this season claimed his first career title with a win in Sydney.

 

Kudla, a 20-year-old who grew up in Virginia, reached the quarterfinals at Queen’s Club in London in June.

 

Johnson, 23, won back-to-back NCAA singles champions in 2011-12 while playing for the University of Southern California. He won the Nottingham Challenger in June.

 

Williams, 22, turned pro after his sophomore year at the University of Tennessee, and was the NCAA singles finalist in 2011. He reached his first career ATP semifinal at Houston in April.

 

In addition, the following players have been added to the main draw – Radek Stepanek , Thomaz Bellucci and Denis Istomin. These three were entered following the withdrawals of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (knee), Viktor Troicki (suspension) and Marin Cilic (personal).

 

The draws for both the main draw and qualifying will be made on Friday. Qualifying begins Saturday, which is also AdvancePierre Foods Kids Day, and tickets start as low as $5. WTA main draw play begins Monday. All matches will take place at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio.

 

The Western & Southern Open hosted 176,000 fans in 2012, recording a record 10 sellouts over the 16 total sessions spanning nine days. The event drew fans from all 50 states and 19 countries. Cincinnati is one of the last stops on the Emirates Airline US Open Series leading up to the US Open, and often critical points and bonus money are on the line adding drama to the week.

 

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Ryan Harrison Tops Fourth Seed Sijsling in Atlanta

Ryan harrison

By Herman Wood

(July 26, 2013) ATLANTA, GA – “Hotlanta” lived up to its nickname on Thursday!  Though 84 degrees at match time, the match between Ryan Harrison and Igor Sijsling on stadium court this afternoon felt more like 94.  Sijsling was the one who started with a hot hand, while Harrison was ice cold.  Harrison contributed two service breaks with double faults at game point to boot to spot Sijsling a 4-0 lead.  Harrison finally began to find the court in the fifth game with a hold.  At that point, Sijsling started contributing a few loose errors and Harrison got one break back and held again to get to 3-4.  Sijsling continued his generosity and let Harrison back in the match, getting broken again.  An easy hold took Harrison to 5-4.  On Harrison’s serve, Sijsling netted ball after ball to give Harrison the set.  In all, Harrison reeled off seven straight games before Sijsling got back on track.  Harrison noted that he knew that once he got the first set he had to just keep the momentum going and stay positive it would give him a good chance to get up.

In the second set, Harrison again let his serve get wayward, and was broken, allowing Sijsling to serve at 2-3.  Harrison rallied again to earn the break right back – his shot-making featured noticeably harder shots.  Sijsling tried to counter with touch and forays to the net, though it just didn’t work.  Harrison broke again to get to 5-3 and served it out easily.

Brad Gilbert, via Twitter, complimented Harrison on the hard work he put in at Boca, saying it really paid off.  In the press conference, Harrison thanked Gilbert, Jay Berger, and the whole player development crew for helping him stay in a hard working mind set at Boca.  He had eleven days after going out in the first round of Newport to have a mini-training block.  “I know if I keep putting in that kind of work in that I was putting in the last couple of weeks it’s going to bring nothing but good things.”   Sijsling was the tournament’s number 4 seed.

Harrison will play Santiago Giraldo in the next round.  Giraldo prevailed when Michael Russell had to retire.

RESULTS – THURSDAY, 25 JULY, 2013

Singles – Second Round
[1] J Isner (USA) d [WC] C Harrison (USA) 76(9) 46 75
[2] K Anderson (RSA) d [Q] M Ebden (AUS) 67(7) 62 62
R Harrison (USA) d [4] I Sijsling (NED) 64 63
D Istomin (UZB) d [5] Y Lu (TPE) 75 62
J Blake (USA) d [8] E Donskoy (RUS) 63 62
S Giraldo (COL) d M Russell (USA) 57 63 30 ret. (illness)

Doubles – Quarter-finals
[PR] J Erlich (ISR) / A Ram (ISR) d [1] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) 75 46 10-8
[3] C Fleming (GBR) / J Marray (GBR) d J Blake (USA) / J Sock (USA) 63 62
C Guccione (AUS) / L Hewitt (AUS) d R Ram (USA) / K Skupski (GBR) 61 62

Doubles – First Round
[4] E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) / I Sijsling (NED) d [WC] K King (USA) / J Spir (COL) 75 63
R Berankis (LTU) / S Giraldo (COL) d D Kudla (USA) / M Russell (USA) w/o (Russell – illness)

SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 26 JULY, 2013

STADIUM start 1:00 pm
[3] I Dodig (CRO) vs [7] L Hewitt (AUS)
Not Before 4:00 PM
[1] J Isner (USA) vs J Blake (USA)
Not Before 7:00 PM
S Giraldo (COL) vs R Harrison (USA)
Not Before 9:00 PM
D Istomin (UZB) vs [2] K Anderson (RSA)

AJC GRANDSTAND not before 8:00 PM
[4] E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) / I Sijsling (NED) vs R Berankis (LTU) / S Giraldo (COL) – After Necessary Rest

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Isner Rallies to Top Harrison

JohnIsnerFHMonteCarlo

(May 31, 2013) American John Isner ended his six-match losing streak in five-set match, and for the first time in his career came back from two sets to none down to top countryman Ryan Harrison 5-7, 6-7 (7), 6-3, 6-1, 8-6 to move into the French Open third round on Friday.

The No. 19 see Isner who is best known for winning the longest match match in tennis history, 6-4, 3-6 6-7, 7-6, 70-68 to Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon back in 2010 in 11 hours and five minutes.

Isner needed 3 hours, 50 minutes to knock out No. 92 Harrison.  Harrison still has never won a five-set match.

At 6-6 in the fifth set, Harrison double-faulted on a break point, giving Isner the decisive break in the set and match. Isner closed out the match on his serve.

“I started out a little ‑‑ I don’t know if the word is “tight,” but I had three days off and I didn’t start out that well., Isner said. “ It was slow, the conditions, a bit sleepy out there I felt like.  And the next thing you know I lost the first set, and we got in the second set tiebreaker, a situation that I have been in before, and a lot of times in matches of mine I’m able to win that tiebreaker and completely turn it around in my favor.

“That just wasn’t the case today, but what I did exceptionally well, more than serving, my forehand, everything else, was I just stayed composed and, you know, just told myself if I’m going to lose I’m going to want him to beat me and not beat myself.

I got up pretty quick in that third set and he gave me some momentum, and I really knew it was anybody’s match.”

Isner gets 12rh seed Tommy Haas in the third round.

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Americans in Paris – Day Two at Roland Garros

SloaneStephens

Sloane Stephens

(May 27, 2013). Americans went 8-4 in Paris on the day 2 of the French Open. Here is a look at how they all fared:

First round: Sloane Stephens (17) (USA) def. Karin Knapp (ITA) 6-2, 7-5

In a bit of a slump since reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open and the recent coverage of her controversial comments during an ESPN magazine interview, Stephens said that she was positive about her win.

“Obviously really excited to be back here.  Had a great year last year, and this was one of my favorite tournaments.  So it’s good to be back and playing a lot better than a couple weeks ago.

Just excited to be back on the court and playing well again.

Stephens commented  on the media attention since her ESPN interview after aftermath off-court:

“Yeah, I mean, it’s been okay for me.  Obviously I haven’t had that many good results leading up to the clay season, so to get some match in on my favorite surface and get some confidence back and kind of just start feeling ball better.

“It wasn’t that my mind wasn’t on the court.  I just needed to find a balance, and obviously that’s tough.

“I’m only 20 years old, so I have a lot to learn and a long ways to go.  Just finding the right balance is what we’re doing.

“It’s been fine for me.  My really good friend came and my mom is here.  I’m just having a good time.  It’s been fun.

“I mean, obviously attention is attention.  It comes, it goes.  When you’re winning they love it; when you’re losing they love it.  It’s all the same really.”

 

First round: John Isner (19) (USA) def. Carlos Berlocq (ARG) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4

 

First round: Varvara Lepchenko (29)(USA) def. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) 6-1, 6-2

 

First round: Martin Klizan def. Michael Russell (USA) 3-6 6-3 6-1 Ret. Left hamstring injury

 

First round: Madison Keys (USA) def. Misaki Doi (JPN) 6-3, 6-2

At 18, Keys is the youngest of the American women in the main draw. She is No. 58 in the world.

 

First round: Jana Cepelova (SVK) def. Christina McHale (USA) 7-6(3) 2-6 6-4

McHale who was struck with glandular fever last year is ranked 53rd in the world.

 

First round: Albert Montanes(ESP)  def. Steve Johnson (USA) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1

The former NCAA champion Johnson extended the recent Nice Open titlist to five sets.

 

First round: Ryan Harrison (USA) def. Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4)

Harrison will play fellow American and Davis Cup teammate John Isner in the second round.

 

First round: Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) def. Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) 6-4, 6-1

With 15 women in the main draw of the French Open at the beginning of the tournament, Mattek is proud of so many U. S. women moving up in the rankings. “It’s a great group of girls coming up. They’re talented. They’re all pretty fun to be around. They got good personalities.”

She commented that just a few years ago, people kept asking her about the state of U.S. women’s tennis.

 

First round: Vania King (USA) def. Alexandra Cadantu (ROU) 7-6(3), 6-1

King made it through to the main draw by going through the qualifying tournament.

 

First round: Michal Przysiezny (POL) def. (LL) Rhyne Williams (USA) 6-3, 6-7, 7-5, 7-5

Williams who came into the tournament as a lucky loser, lost to the same person who defeated him in the final round of the Qualifying tournament.

 

First round: Melanie Oudin (USA) def. Tamira Paszek (28) (AUT) 6-4, 6-3

Almost four years ago Oudin made it to the quarterfinals of the U. S. Open as 17-year-old. She spoke about pressure on her then as an American player.

“I definitely put a lot of pressure on myself after everything, “she said to media. “It’s a totally different story now. There’s so many Americans now coming up, and so many in the top 100. It is nice to not have it all on me….I mean, it really was all on me at that time. Like, besides the Williams sisters, everyone was like, `Oh, who’s going to be the next upcoming American?’ And it’s like, `OK, it’s going to be Melanie, because you got to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open.’ It was a lot. And I was young.”

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Harrison, Sock, Johnson Headline Tallahassee Tennis Challenger Field

TALLAHASSEE, Florida, April 10, 2013 – The USTA announced the line-up for the Tallahassee Tennis Challenger set for April 27-May 4, including a slew of up-and-coming Americans headlined by Ryan Harrison, Jack Sock, Steve Johnson, defending champion Tim Smyczek and 2011 winner Donald Young.

 

The Tallahassee Tennis Challenger is the third of three events in the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge series, which will determine which American male earns a wild card into the 2013 French Open.

 

The field is revealed on the heels of the announcement last week that Mardy Fish, the former world No. 8 and current No. 42, was awarded a wild card for the $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit event, held at the Forestmeadows Tennis Complex. He won here in 2006.

 

Thirty-four-year-old Michael Russell is the highest-ranked player on the acceptance list at No. 73. The Houston resident made the quarterfinals of the ATP event in Memphis this February. In 2001, he reached the fourth round of the French Open, losing to eventual winner Gustavo Kuerten.

 

World No. 93 Harrison is making his main draw debut in Tallahassee at 20 years old. He played in the qualifying here at the age of 16 in 2009. The Shreveport, La., native has been ranked as high as No. 43 and has one USTA Pro Circuit title to his credit at Honolulu in 2011.

 

Sock, also 20, enters the Tallahassee field at a career-high No. 119 after a quarterfinals effort – like Russell – in Memphis. The big-serving Lincoln, Neb., native also paired with veteran James Blake to win his first-ever ATP doubles title in February in Delray Beach.

 

Former two-time NCAA champion Johnson, ranked No. 130, leads a host of top college alumni that includes No. 144 Rhyne Williams (Tennessee), 2008 Tallahassee winner and No. 145 Bobby Reynolds (Vanderbilt), No. 189 Bradley Klahn (Stanford), No. 210 Somdev Devvarman (Virginia) and No. No. 213 Tennys Sandgren (Tennessee).

Written by Nick McCarvel

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Sam Querrey, Jack Sock Commit to play Hall of Fame Tennis Championships

 

NEWPORT, R.I., April 4, 2013 - No. 1 American Sam Querrey and rising American star Jack Sock will join fellow top Americans John Isner and Ryan Harrison in the player field for the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, to be played on the grass courts of the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, July 8 – 14. Hosted right after Wimbledon, the tournament kicks off the United States summer swing for the ATP World Tour.

Sam Querrey“Sam Querrey, Jack Sock, John Isner, and Ryan Harrison are all fan favorites in Newport- and rightfully so. They always deliver exciting tennis, and we look forward to welcoming them back to Newport for a great tournament, ” said Tournament Director Mark Stenning. “Having four of the top American players in our field is a great way to kick off the American summer swing of the ATP World Tour.”

Sam Querrey is currently ranked No. 20 on the Emirates ATP World Tour rankings. As the No. 1 American player he will lead the United States team in Davis Cup action this weekend when they take on Serbia in the second round. In February, Querrey led the team to victory over Brazil (3-2) in a dramatic first round, when he defeated Thomaz Bellucci in 3 sets and Thiago Alves in 4 sets in the deciding rubber. This season Querrey has had two semifinal results- at Auckland and San Jose, and he was in the Round of 16 at both Indian Wells and Miami. Querrey is a seven-time singles champion on the ATP World Tour and he has also won four doubles titles. Since 2008, Querrey has won at least one singles or doubles title every year. This will be Querrey’s fourth appearance in Newport, where he was a finalist in 2009.

Jack SockRising American star Jack Sock, currently world No. 121, returns to Newport for the second year in a row. He advanced to the second round at Newport last year, in what was his first grass court tournament ever. Earlier this year, Sock captured his first ATP World Tour title, winning the doubles title with James Blake at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships. The week prior, the pair advanced to the finals at Memphis, falling to the Bryan Brothers. In singles action, Sock was a quarterfinalist at Memphis this year. Last year, in his first full season on the ATP World Tour, Sock jumped from world No. 380 at the start of the season to close the year at No. 150 in the ATP World Tour rankings. In 2011, Sock caught the attention of tennis fans worldwide when he won the US Open Mixed Doubles title with Melanie Oudin.

Complementing a full week of exciting ATP World Tour tennis, special events during the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships include junior tennis clinics, a pro am with the ATP World Tour pros, family activities, and more. Complete event details are available on the tournament website.

A highlight of the week is always the Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony, when the highest honor in the sport of tennis is presented to great champions and leaders in the sport. Former world No. 1 Martina Hingis will be enshrined this year, along with Australian tennis great Thelma Coyne Long, and longtime tennis industry leaders Cliff Drysdale, Charlie Pasarell, and Ion Tiriac. The Enshrinement Ceremony will be held on Saturday, July 13, just prior to the semifinals of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.

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Notes from the Front – SAP Open Day Two

 

Ryan Harrison

Ryan Harrison

By Kevin Ware

(February 12, 2013) SAN JOSE, California – One of the great things about watching live tennis in a tournament setting is that you get a better feel for the character of the match and the players.  Here are some courtside impressions from Day Two action at the SAP Open.

  • I arrived at just after Lleyton Hewitt’s dramatic 3-set victory over Blaz Kavcic to find that no one was surprised to see this match go the distance.  Even though he’s one of the older guys on tour, long grinding matches still seem to be Hewitt’s preferred method of advancing through the draw.  His next opponent is Sam Querrey, making his tournament debut after receiving a first-round bye. It will be interesting to see if Sam’s late tournament start against a cagey veteran who’s “into” the tournament has a factor on the match outcome.
  • Though he was suffering from low energy due to illness, Ryan Harrison lost a winnable 3-set match against German veteran, Benjamin Becker.  It wouldn’t have been a particularly spectacular win under the circumstances, but it was doable.  Unfortunately, Ryan couldn’t keep his focus on the important points in the second and third sets the way he had in the first set tiebreak. This was especially true when he got broken at the end of the second set.Illness aside, Ryan is a talented and thoughtful player who can sometimes makes things complicated for himself in his matches. He’s struggled in 2013, and his ranking has dropped from last year’s high of 43.  Because he’s defending a semifinal appearance in last year’s tournament, his ranking is going to take a pretty big hit. Hopefully he can turn things around in Memphis.
    (NOTE:  He’ll be playing doubles with his brother Christian)
  • As I was watching Jack Sock in his match against Marinko Matosevic, I tweeted, “While Ryan Harrison sometimes thinks too much on court, Jack Sock maybe needs to think a bit more…” That about sums up Sock’s match strategy, or lack thereof.  Sock is a big strong guy who hits a heavy ball, but that’s pretty much where it ends. Even when Sock broke Matosevic to serve for the first set, I had the feeling that the veteran Matosevic would find a way to out-think his younger opponent, and capitalize on the nerves of the moment.  That’s exactly how it played out, with Matosevic going on to take the first set tiebreaker before sweeping the second set 6-1.I don’t begrudge the big hitting, because the younger guys on tour definitely need big games in order to be competitive. But they also need to think clearly and give themselves options.  Sock’s not there yet, and I’m not sure that he sees the need for options and nuance.  I also look at Sock’s football player-like build and can’t help but think that maybe if his fitness were improved, it could pay dividends in the development of his game.  He’s young though, so he’s got time to pull those pieces together.  At least, I hope he does.
  • It was a rough day for young Americans, and Ryan Sweeting’s straight-sets loss against last year’s finalist, Denis Istomin, did little to stop the bleeding.  But then again, Sweeting was always going to have a tough time of it since he doesn’t have the weapons needed to trouble Istomin.
  • The world No. 1 Bryan brothers weren’t as dominant over their younger American opponents as one would expect. Jack Sock and Steve Johnson played well with no signs of intimidation at the Bryans credentials as one of the greatest doubles teams ever. But once again, experience and mental toughness won out over big hitting as the Bryans took the match in two tiebreak sets. I hope the young guys are paying attention to these lessons of strategy/mental fortitude!
  • Fernando Verdasco, with coach/dad by his side, seemed to have a decent on-court warm-up prior to the start of the doubles match.  But something must have happened to him between the warm-up and his match.  That would be the only explanation for his flat performance against an inspired Tim Smyczek.  Fernando played without purpose.  Smyczek, on the other hand, played as though his life depended on the win; and it showed.  The difference between the two couldn’t have been starker, with Smyczek looking much more like a higher-ranked player than Verdasco.There might have been an injury with Verdasco, who seemed to pull up on shots as the match progressed.  But it was still a disappointing match for a former Top 10 player who at one time, challenged for Slam titles against the top guys. Disappointing, that is, except for Smyczek.  At least one American young gun made it through!

That’s all for now.
More after Day Three action with Donald Young, John Isner, and Tommy Haas.

Kevin Ware is in San Jose covering the SAP Open as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his live updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.  Follow his personal twitter @SFTennisFreak.

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