Ryan Sweeting Falls In First Round In Comeback Attempt

Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting watches new husband Ryan Photo by Cynthia Lum / For the USTA Sweeting in the first round of the USTA Calabasas Men's Pro Tennis Championships Of Calabasas, a USTA $15,000 Pro Circuit Futures event.

Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting watches new husband Ryan Sweeting in the first round of the USTA Calabasas Men’s Pro Tennis Championships Of Calabasas, a USTA $15,000 Pro Circuit Futures event. Photo by Cynthia Lum / For the USTA


Ryan Sweeting in the first round of the USTA Calabasas Men’s Pro Tennis Championships Of Calabasas, a USTA $15,000 Pro Circuit Futures event. Photo by Cynthia Lum / For the USTA

CALABASAS, Calif., (March 19, 2014) – USTA Director of Coaching Jose Higueras watched on Wednesday as two United States teenagers won opening-round matches at the USTA Men’s Pro Tennis Championships of Calabasas, a USTA $15,000 Pro Circuit Futures event being played at the Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center.

Eighteen-year-old Collin Altamirano beat 17-year-old and fellow Californian qualifier Ernesto Escobedo 6-1, 7-6 (4), while Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., 16-year-old wild card Taylor Fritz beat No. 7-seeded Dimitar Kutrovsky of Bulgaria, 6-3, 6-4.

In the last match of the day, wild card Ryan Sweeting fell to Roberto Marcora, the No. 4 seed from Italy, 6-1, 6-2. It marked the former Calabasas $50,000 Challenger finalists’ first tournament back since back surgery in September and the first as a married man. On Dec. 31, Sweeting married TV star and former ranked junior tennis player and fan Kaley Cuoco, who attended the match.

“Honestly, it was a lot harder than I thought it would be,” said Sweeting, 26. “I’ve actually only been playing sets for the past week and a half. The quality of players out here is actually really impressive. It’s not like I remember playing my last Futures tournament back in 2007. It was a tough first match back.”

He added: “I need to get a lot more work done. I need to work on my fitness and my footwork and my movement. You can’t just hit balls and then come out here and compete. So there’s going to be a lot more weeks to get my game going.”

The plan is to continue with his comeback, if his back holds up, but Sweeting is enjoying life as a newlywed with Kaley. “It’s going to be a lot tougher to leave my wife and go out on Tour if that’s what I decide to do,” he said.

Fritz said Higueras gave him some post-match pointers. “He told me what some guys at the next level are doing so I can get there,” Fritz said. “He gave me some good advice.”

Fritz qualified last week at the Bakersfield Futures event dropping just three games in three matches. He then beat former Michigan All-American Evan King in the first round before falling to another qualifier and his Calabasas doubles partner Altamirano. Fritz plays King today for a possible spot in the quarterfinals in the first match on Stadium Court at 10 a.m.

Fritz, ranked around No. 80 in the ITF junior rankings, said he will play three weeks of junior tournaments in Claremont, Carson and the ASICS Easter Bowl starting next Monday with the goal to increase his ranking and qualify into the French Open and junior Wimbledon. Fritz’s father Guy was an ATP doubles standout in the 1970s and his mother Kathy May Fritz is a former Wimbledon quarterfinalist.

Wednesday’s Main-Draw Singles Scores

WC: wild card; Q: qualifier
Collin Altamirano, U.S., def. Ernesto Escobedo, U.S. (q), 6-1, 7-6 (4)
Evan Song, U.S. (q), def. Mbonisi Ndimande, Zimbabwe (q), 6-1, 7-6 (3)
Gianni Mina, France, def. Andre Dome, U.S. (q), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Kyle McMorrow, U.S. (q), def. Michael Shabaz, U.S., walkover
Daniel Nguyen, U.S., def. Joshua Milton, Great Britain, 6-3, 6-1
Taylor Fritz, U.S. (wc), def. Dimitar Kutrovsky, Bulgaria (7), 6-3, 6-4
Ryan Agar, Australia, def. Dennis Novikov, U.S., (q), 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
Sekou Bangoura, U.S. (q), def. Tyler Hochwalt, U.S., 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3
Marcos Giron, U.S., def. Mico Santiago, U.S. (q), 6-2, 6-4
Roberto Marcora, Italy (4) def. Ryan Sweeting, U.S. (wc), 6-1, 6-2
Mitchell Krueger, U.S., def. Nicolas Meister, U.S. (2), 6-4, 7-6 (6)

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.


BNP Paribas Open Day Six: “No Ruffling” for Wozniacki, Nadal, Sharapova

Photo courtesy of Tennis Served Fresh

Hardly a ruffle for Wozniacki

One can argue about the much talked about Caroline Wozniacki’s latest designer tennis dress,  but there was no dispute about her play on Monday at the BNP Paribas Open. Despite a career 0-3 record against Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, the World No. 1 took apart the Spaniard 6-1, 6-3.

Keys to victory said Wozniacki,“It was important to move my feet, try to get as many returns back, and it helped me a little bit that she didn’t get too many first serves in so I could go in and dictate the game.”


More cupcakes for Nadal

Rafael Nadal continues his smooth sailing in the desert by dispatching qualifier American Ryan Sweeting 6-3, 6-1. Nadal won 95 percent of his first serve points.

“I didn’t play nothing really impressive, but I played solid. I didn’t have big mistakes,”  said Nadal. “The more positive thing is I finished much better than the beginning of the match. So improve during the match always very good news, no?”

His benevolent draw will continue as he‘ll face his third qualifier in a row in the fourth round – Somdev Devvarman who stopped Xavier Malisse.


Winning Ugly

Sixteen double faults does not a pretty match make, but Dinara Safina will take it. The determined Russian toppled fourth seeded Samantha Stosur 7-6, 6-4. The slumping Safina notched her first win over a top five player in almost two years.


Birthday bad luck, Concern for Japan

Maria Sharapova gave no gifts to Aravane Rezai celebrating her 24th birthday.  The Russian pushing aside the Frenchwoman 6-2, 6-2. Sharapova appeared to be trying to adjust to a new service stance.  Sharapova on Rezai –” She had a lot of errors. I returned a lot better, and served a lot better in the second set.”

During her news conference, Sharapova wore a T-shirt commemorating Chernobyl’s 25th anniversary. She’s a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Development  Fund and contributed money  to aid victims of Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Her family left the area that was part of Russia a year before she was born.

She spoke about the recent natural disasters in Japan, “It opens your eyes, and obviously puts a lot of perspective in your life. It’s a country where I have very great memories from. I started playing there when I was very young and I always loved my experiences there.”


Upset Special

World No. 4 Robin Soderling said he should have never taken court against Philipp Kohlschrieber due to a left foot injury, but did so anyway. “I lost the match when I decided to go on court,” Soderling said. He had been in bed for five days before the tournament with a fever.  The Swede paid the price and was stopped by the German 7-6 (8), 6-4.


Dangerous Floater Moves on

Juan Martin Del Portro was in a first set dog fight with the Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov but finally took control in the second set surviving for 7-6, 6-3 victory. He’ll face Philip Kohlschreiber next. He could be on a semifinal collision course with Rafael Nadal.


Back to Earth

It happens so many times, a player gets a “career” win and then fails to back it up in the very next match. Latest victim Donald Young, who took out No. 5 Andy Murray on Saturday, but was destroyed on Monday by veteran Tommy Robredo 6-0, 6-4.


Twitter Curse?

Eleventh -seeded Nicolas Almagro just joined the world of twitter on Sunday (@NicoAlmagro) and was taken out of the tournament on Monday by Spanish compatriot Alberto Montanes 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.


Surviving ruffles and wearing ruffles

A woman known for wearing a ruffle or two or three or more, Russia’s Nadia Petrova found herself in a battle with young American Christina McHale. Petrova held off McHale 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.


Getting a groove back?

Sam Querrey has strung a couple of good wins together this week at the BNP Paribas Open.  He was victorious over Janko Tipsarevic on Saturday and Monday night he outgunned ninth seeded Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 6-4.  The American advances to the fourth round and will  face Verdasco’s countryman Tommy Robredo.



BNP Paribas Open Day 5: Americans Continue Winning Streak in the Desert.

By Eric Gudris

Ryan Sweeting

It’s a misleading to say that the first Sunday of the BNP Paribas Open is when the tournament really begins as the event has been going strong for almost a week now. But this is the time when the big names, especially on the men’s side finally start to play their opening singles matches while on the women’s side, exciting matchups start to fall into place as the quarterfinals beckon.

If there’s been a trend or developing story this first week, it has to be that of the young Americans who picked probably the best place outside of the U.S. Open to not only play some good ball but also earn some much needed respect after the lengthy debate so far on “what’s wrong with American tennis.”  Ryan Sweeting, fresh off his three set win over Juan Monaco, was mobbed by autograph seekers during his practice session today hoping to get a signature and even a photograph with Sweeting who was likely unheard of by most fans a week ago. The other Ryan, Ryan Harrison to be exact, continued the streak of upsets by American players on Stadium 2 with a 6-4, 7-6 victory over No. 22 seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez that saw Harrison get into a heated exchange with the umpire after she made Harrison replay the point on a challenge he won when Garcia just tipped the ball with his racquet. Harrison will now face  Milos Raonic match and though many wanted to see Fish keep the American streak going, the prospect of a Harrison/Raonic encounter is likely what most fans want to see.

But it was some “older” Americans facing each other in a second round encounter that ended up being the match of the day, if nothing more for the sake of nostalgia. Despite displaying flashes of the game that got him to No. 4 in the world, James Blake couldn’t summon enough of it to get past friend and fellow Davis Cup teammate Andy Roddick who won 6-3, 7-5. The question now for Blake, who is currently ranked 158 in the world, is how he will fare the rest of the year, especially if he’s unable to get wildcards into big events. For Roddick, the win over Blake sets up another battle with another American as he faces John Isner in the next round.

Kim Clijsters won in three sets over Italy’s Sara Errani despite the reigning U.S. and Australian Open champion hitting more errors than winners in the match. Clijsters later said she’s been dealing with some nagging shoulder pain but thinks she can manage it through the rest of the spring hardcourt season. The end of the day session saw Roger Federer win 7-5, 7-6 (4) over Igor Andreev in a tight match that saw the Russian test Federer quite a bit throughout the match. Federer will now face Juan Ignacio Chela next.

Can the American winning streak continue? And which one of the big names on both the men’s and women’s side will prevail in the finals next Sunday. Stay Tuned!


Erik Gudris writes and moderates the tennis news and commentary site Adjustingthenet.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adjustingthenet