2014/07/31

BNP Paribas Open Names Wildcards – Includes Nalbandian, Blake and Date-Krumm

(February 27, 2013) INDIAN WELLS, Calif., – Former top-five players David Nalbandian, Tommy Robredo, James Blake and Kimiko Date-Krumm; Americans Tim Smyczek, Steve Johnson, Madison Keys, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Maria Sanchez, Melanie Oudin and Taylor Townsend; and Shahar Peer and Kristina Mladenovic were granted wildcards into the main draws of the BNP Paribas Open, to be held March 4 – 17 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, it was announced today by Steve Simon, tournament director.

David Nalbandian has won 11 ATP World Tour titles since turning professional in 2000 and reached the 2002 Wimbledon finals in his first appearance at the event. The Argentine and former World No. 3 will be making his tenth appearance at the BNP Paribas Open. Last year in Indian Wells, Nalbandian equaled his best result, reaching the quarterfinals for the second time in his career.

Former World No. 5 Tommy Robredo is continuing his comeback to the ATP World Tour after an injury derailed much of his 2012 season. The Spaniard has won 10 career titles and has reached five Grand Slam quarterfinals. American James Blake, former World No. 4, also has 10 career titles and defeated then-World No. 2 Rafael Nadal to reach the 2006 BNP Paribas Open finals. Kimiko Date-Krumm turned pro in 1989 and is currently the oldest player in the top 100 at 43 years old. The former World No. 4 has eight career singles titles and four doubles titles, including one in 2013 at Pattaya City.

In addition to Blake, seven other Americans have been granted wildcards into the main draws including two-time NCAA Champion from USC Steve Johnson, who reached the third round of the 2012 US Open; Milwaukee native Tim Smyczek, who is at a career-high ranking just outside the top 100 and pushed World No. 4 David Ferrer to four sets at the 2013 Australian Open; 19-year-old breakout star Madison Keys, who has already defeated five top-50 players in 2013 and cracked the top 80 earlier this month; WTA veteran Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who won the 2012 Australian Open Mixed Doubles title; another USC standout – Maria Sanchez, who is at a career-high ranking after jumping 560 ranking places in 2012 – more than any other player in the WTA; Georgia native Melanie Oudin captured her first WTA title last year in Birmingham (UK); 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 Israeli Shahar Peer, who was a BNP Paribas Open quarterfinalist in 2007 and 2011 and reached a career-high ranking of No. 11 and French teenager Kristina Mladenovic, who is at a career-high ranking after defeating three top-25 players to reach the Paris semifinals earlier this year.

“This year’s main draw wildcards span from seasoned veterans, to rising American and international stars to those returning from injury,” said Simon. “Awarding wildcards to players like David Nalbandian, James Blake, Madison Keys and Taylor Townsend add to the allure of early-round matches for fans and provide the potential for these deserving athletes to break through and make a move up their respective Tour’s rankings.

Qualifying wildcards were given to Americans Christian Harrison, Jack Sock, Rhyne Williams, Dennis Novikov, Grace Min, Jessica Pegula and Irina Falconi, German Andrea Petkovic and Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic.

Harrison, the 18-year-old younger brother of American No. 6 Ryan Harrison, reached the quarterfinals in doubles with his brother at the 2012 US Open and is making his debut to the BNP Paribas Open. Sock is at a career-high ranking after reaching his first ATP World Tour quarterfinal in Memphis earlier this month. Williams, a former University of Tennessee standout, is also at a career-high ranking after capturing the ATP Challenger tour title in Dallas. Novikov, who won the 2012 BNP Paribas Open pre-qualifying tournament, is now a sophomore playing at UCLA and won the 2012 USTA Boys Championships in Kalamazoo. Min won the 2011 US Open Junior Championship and three ITF titles in 2012. Pegula won two matches in the qualifying tournament to reach the 2012 BNP Paribas Open main draw. Falconi cracked the WTA top 100 in 2011 and has won 4 ITF singles titles.

Petkovic is a former World No. 9 and has reached the quarterfinals in every Grand Slam. She is returning to tennis after a series of injuries kept her from competing consistently for more than a year. Tomljanovic has three ITF singles and 3 ITF doubles titles.

In addition to the aforementioned qualifying wildcards, the winners of each pre-qualifying tournament, which takes place February 25 – March 2, will also be granted a berth into the 2013 BNP Paribas Open qualifying draw. Women’s qualifying starts March 4 and men’s qualifying begins March 5 at 10:00am.

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Top Seed Davis Holds Off Kudryatseva at Dow Corning Tennis Classic

LaurenDavis9-27

Lauren Davis

By McCarton Ackerman

(February 8, 2013) MIDLAND, Mich.The hallmark 25th anniversary of the Dow Corning Tennis Classic at the Midland Community Tennis Center continued on Friday with all quarterfinal singles matches and remaining quarterfinal doubles matches taking place. Two of the four semifinalists in the singles draw are Americans, with top seed Lauren Davis and 2012 NCAA singles finalist Mallory Burdette prevailing in tough matches on Stadium Court.

In the comeback of the tournament, top seed Davis rallied from behind on numerous occasions to defeat Alla Kudryatseva of Russia 5-7, 7-6 (4), 7-5, after more than three hours of play. Kudryavtseva served for the match at 5-4 in the second set and led 4-0 in the tiebreaker. In the third set, the Russian led 5-2 and had a match point on her serve at 5-3, but was unable to convert. Davis converted on her first match point opportunity with a backhand winner down the line.

“I just never stopped believing in myself,” said Davis. “It seemed like it was almost impossible to come back at that point, so I just asked God to give me strength and help make the impossible to be possible.”

The 19-year-old Davis has come into her own over the last six months, breaking into the world’s top 100 on the back of strong results including quarterfinal finishes at WTA events in Quebec City, Canada and Hobart, Australia, as well winning two USTA Pro Circuit titles last fall at the $75,000 challenger in Albuquerque, N.M. and $50,000 event in Las Vegas.

Burdette and No. 7 seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia engaged in a hard-hitting baseline match that took over two hours to complete, but Burdette utilized some markedly improved defense to hang in the rallies and prevail 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. “Today was obviously about first strike tennis, but this is the best I’ve ever felt in terms of my movement and the ability to play defense,” said Burdette. “I’ve been doing a ton of fitness, especially during the off-season and pushing it as hard as I can in that regard.”

Burdette didn’t even have a WTA Tour ranking last July, but opted not to return for her senior year at Stanford University after a stellar summer that included winning the $10,000 futures event in Evansville, Ind., $100,000 challenger in Vancouver, Canada and reaching the third round of the US Open.

“I really wanted to give myself a shot at this and in order to do that, I had to put all of my time and energy into my tennis,” said Burdette. “It’s been great so far. There have definitely been some rough patches, but I’m just trying to do the best I can on a daily basis.”

In the final match of the day session, No. 8 seed Monica Puig of Puerto Rico defeated American teen Jessica Pegula 6-3, 7-5. Puig, ranked No. 116, is the only singles semifinalist who has yet to lose a set. In the evening session, Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia defeated American Maria Sanchez 6-2, 6-2. The 19-year-old, currently ranked No. 370, is enjoying the best tournament of her career after an injury-plagued 2012 limited her to just six events. The lone match to be completed as of press time is an all-American doubles quarterfinal between Jill Craybas and CoCo Vandeweghe against Chieh-Yu Hsu and Shelby Rogers.

All semifinal singles and doubles matches will take place during Saturday’s play, which begins at noon. The day session will see the American-Russian team of Julia Cohen and Alla Kudryavtseva take on the Brazilian-British team of Maria-Fernanda Alves and Samantha Murray, followed by Mallory Burdette against Ajla Tomljanovic. In the night session, Lauren Davis will square off against Monica Puig, followed by the Hungarian-Croatian team of Melinda Czink and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni against the American team of either Jill Craybas and CoCo Vandeweghe or Chieh-Yu Hsu and Shelby Rogers.

The Dow Corning Tennis Classic is in its 25th year on the USTA Pro Circuit, making it the longest-running women’s event on the USTA Pro Circuit.

Dow Corning Tennis Classic
A USTA Pro Circuit Event
Friday, February 8
Midland Community Tennis Center
Midland, Mich.
Purse: $100,000
Surface: Hard-Indoor

Friday, February 8 – RESULTS

Main Draw Singles – Quarterfinals
Lauren Davis, United States (1), def. Alla Kudryavtseva, Russia, 5-7, 7-6 (4), 7-5
Mallory Burdette, United States, def. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, Croatia (7), 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
Monica Puig, Puerto Rico (8), def. Jessica Pegula, United States, 6-3, 7-5
Ajla Tomljanovic, Croatia, def. Maria Sanchez, United States, 6-2, 6-2

Main Draw Doubles – Quarterfinals
Julia Cohen, United States, and Alla Kudryavtseva, Russia (3), def. Nicole Melichar and Chiara Scholl, United States 6-4, 6-2
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, Croatia, and Melinda Czink, Hungary, def. Alexa Glatch and Asia Muhammed, United States, 6-3, 6-3

Saturday’s February 9 – SCHEDULE

Stadium Court – starting at 10 a.m.
Julia Cohen/Alla Kudryavtseva vs. Maria-Fernanda Alves/Samantha Murray, followed by Mallory Burdette vs. Ajla Tomljanovic

Stadium Court – starting at 7 p.m.
Lauren Davis vs. Monica Puig, followed by Melinda Czink/Mirjana Lucic-Baroni vs. Jill Craybas/CoCo Vandeweghe or Chieh-Yu Hsu/Shelby Rogers

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Duval Stuns Vandeweghe, Vickery Over Townsend in Michigan

 

Victoria Duval photo by Steve Pratt

Victoria Duval photo by Steve Pratt

MIDLAND, Mich., February 6, 2013 – The hallmark 25th anniversary of the Dow Corning Tennis Classic at the Midland Community Tennis Center continued on Wednesday with all remaining first round singles match taking place. 17-year-old American Victoria Duval stunned No. 2 seed CoCo Vandeweghe in the day session, while qualifier Sachia Vickery prevailed in an evening session match between American teens.

Duval, who won the Girls’ 18s National Championship last August, was responsible for the upset of the day by taking out Vandeweghe 7-5, 4-6, 6-1. Duval, who lost in the final round of qualifying yesterday, only moved into the main draw match as a “Lucky Loser” due to a player withdrawal.

“I was really lucky that I got that second chance and tried to make the most of it today,” said Duval. “Yesterday, I was rushing a lot because I really wanted to get into this main draw and was too nervous out there, but I played much smarter today.”

The win was also by far the biggest of her career and the first against a top 100 player on the WTA Tour.

“I’ve smelled those wins against top 100 players before, but to actually come through and pull it out is really nice,” she said.

In the evening session, 17-year-old Vickery used an aggressive baseline game to unseat 16-year-old wildcard Taylor Townsend 6-4, 6-3. Townsend was making her pro debut in Midland after finishing 2012 as the No. 1 ranked junior player in the world.

While Townsend used plenty of off-speed slices and spins to try and throw off Vickery, the 17-year-old had too much firepower for her opponent and won four consecutive games at one stage in the second set.

“This is my first win at the $100,000 level and I’ve had some really tough losses in the last few challengers I’ve played, so I’m thrilled to have gotten through this match,” said Vickery. “I just need to stay focused and keep doing the right things so I can hopefully keep playing better this week.”

Vickery, currently ranked No. 376 on the WTA Tour, has not lost a set in her four matches this week. She will play Monica Puig tomorrow for a place in the quarterfinals.

In other day session matches, Alexa Glatch prevailed against fellow American Julia Cohen in a nearly three-hour match 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. Maria Sanchez of the US also moved into the second round by easing past Maria-Fernanda Alves of Brazil 6-4, 6-1.

Other players moving into the second round after today include No. 4 seed Melinda Czink of Hungary No. 5 seed Tatjana Malek of Germany, No. 6 seed Olga Puchkova of Russia, No. 7 seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia, No. 8 seed Monica Puig of Puerto Rico and Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia. The lone match to be completed as of press time was a first round doubles match between Americans Nicole Melichar and Chiara Scholl against the Dutch team of former top-10 player Brenda Schultz-McCarthy and her niece, Jainy Scheepens.

First round doubles: Nicole Melichar and Chiara Scholl, United States, def. Brenda Schultz-McCarthy and Jainy Scheepens, Netherlands (WC), 6-3, 6-1,

All second round singles matches and remaining first round doubles matches will take place during Thursday’s play, which begins at 10:00am. The feature match of the day session will see No. 1 seed Lauren Davis take on fellow American Alexa Glatch, while No. 7 seed and 1999 Wimbledon semifinalist Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia will take on two-time Dow Corning Tennis Classic champion Jill Craybas of the US in the evening session.

The Dow Corning Tennis Classic is in its 25th year on the USTA Pro Circuit, making it the longest-running women’s event on the USTA Pro Circuit. Several former competitors at the event have gone on to win Grand Slam titles and reach the top 10 in the rankings. Past competitors include seven-time Grand Slam singles champion and Olympic gold medalist Justine Henin, three-time Grand Slam singles champion Maria Sharapova, two-time Grand Slam singles champion Mary Pierce, 2011 French Open singles champion Na Li, 2010 French Open singles champion Francesca Schiavone, and two-time Grand Slam doubles champion Anna Kournikova.

By McCarton Ackerman

Dow Corning Tennis Classic
A USTA Pro Circuit Event
Wednesday, February 6
Midland Community Tennis Center
Midland, Mich.
Purse: $100,000
Surface: Hard-Indoor

Wednesday, February 6 – RESULTS

Main Draw Singles – 1st Round

Victoria Duval, United States (LL), def. CoCo Vandeweghe, United States, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1
Melinda Czink, Hungary (4), def. Chieh-Yu Hsu, United States (Q) 6-3, 7-5
Tatjana Malek, Germany (5), def. Shelby Rogers, United States, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (5)
Olga Puchkova, Russia (6), def. Asia Muhammed, United States (WC) 6-3, 6-2
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, Croatia (7), def. Alexandra Mueller, United States (Q), 6-1, 6-2
Monica Puig, Puerto Rico (8), def. Alexandra Stevenson, United States, 7-5, 6-4
Alla Kudryavtseva, Russia, def. Anne-Liz Jeukeng, United States (WC), 6-4, 6-2
Sachia Vickery, United States (Q), d. Taylor Townsend, United States (WC), 6-4, 6-3

Main Draw Doubles – 1st Round
Maria-Fernanda Alves, Brazil, and Samantha Murray, Great Britain, def. Irina Falconi and Maria Sanchez, United States, 3-6, 6-1, 10-6
Mallory Burdette and Jessica Pegula, United States, def. Irena Pavlovic, France, and Olga Puchkova, Russia, 7-6 (3), 6-2

Thursday’s February 7 – SCHEDULE

Stadium Court – starting at 10 a.m.
Lauren Davis vs. Alexa Glatch, followed by Maria Sanchez vs. Victoria Duval, followed by Melinda Czink vs. Jessica Pegula, followed by Sachia Vickery/Victoria Duval vs. Julia Cohen/Alla Kudryavtseva

Stadium Court – starting at 7 p.m.
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni vs. Jill Craybas, followed by Mallory Burdette/Jessica Pegula vs. Maria Fernanda-Alves/Samantha Murray

Court 5 – starting at 10 a.m.
Olga Puchkova vs. Ajla Tomljanovic, followed by Tatjana Malek vs. Alla Kudryavtseva, followed by Samantha Crawford vs. Mallory Burdette

Court 3 – starting at 10 a.m.
Jacqueline Cako/Natalie Pluskota vs. Chieh-Yu Hsu/Shelby Rogers, followed by Monica Puig vs. Sachia Vickery

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Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams Named 2012 ITF World Champions

(December 11, 2012) The ITF announced that Novak Djokovic of Serbia and American Serena Williams are the 2012 ITF World Champions. This is the second successive year Djokovic has received this honor, while Williams is named Women’s World Champion for the third time.

 

Americans Bob and Mike Bryan are named Men’s Doubles World Champions for the ninth time in 10 years, while Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci of Italy become Women’s Doubles World Champions for the first time.

 

Canada’s Filip Peliwo and Taylor Townsend of USA are named ITF Junior World Champions, while the ITF Wheelchair World Champions are Esther Vergeer of Netherlands and France’s Stephane Houdet. Vergeer becomes world champion for an astonishing 13th successive year.

 

The ITF World Champions will receive their awards at the ITF World Champions Dinner on Tuesday 4 June, in Paris, during Roland Garros.

 

Novak Djokovic finished on top of the rankings and as ITF World Champion for the second straight year. The 25-year-old successfully defended his Australian Open title and went on to reach the finals at Roland Garros and the US Open. Despite losing the No. 1 ranking to Roger Federer in July, he regained the top position in November and went on to win the ATP World Tour Finals. He won a total of six titles in 2012.

 

Djokovic said: “I am proud to have been named ITF World Champion for the second successive year. It was very difficult to follow up such a successful season in 2011, but it was extremely satisfying to win another Grand Slam title, reach two other major finals and finish the year at No. 1.”

 

Serena Williams’s superior record in the year’s major events sees her crowned Women’s World Champion ahead of Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova. The 31-year-old captured Olympic singles gold for the first time, and won Wimbledon and the US Open to take her total number of Grand Slam titles to 15. She went on to capture the year-end WTA Championships to finish the season with a tour-best seven titles and a 58-4 win-loss record.

 

Williams said: “It means a lot to be named ITF World Champion for the third time. It has been such an amazing experience this year to win the Olympics and two Grand Slam tournaments, and I look forward to having an awesome 2013.”

 

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “This has been another memorable year for our sport, highlighted by the most successful Olympic Tennis Event in history. In such a strong era for men’s tennis, it is a great achievement for Novak to retain his year-end No. 1 ranking, while on the women’s side Serena proved herself to be one of the finest competitors of all time.”

 

Bob and Mike Bryan are named Men’s Doubles World Champions after a year in which they captured their first Olympic gold medal at Wimbledon, having won bronze in Beijing. The brothers equalled the all-time record for Grand Slam doubles titles by capturing their 12th title at the US Open, and were also runners-up at the Australian Open and Roland Garros. They won five more events in 2012 to stand at 82 career titles.

 

Bob Bryan said: “Mike and I are very grateful for receiving this honor, and we’d like to thank the ITF for this prestigious award. This is one of our achievements that we are most proud of, and we look forward to celebrating it next year in Paris.”

 

Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci are the first all-Italian pairing to be named Women’s Doubles World Champions. The duo captured their first two Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros and the US Open, and were also runners-up at the Australian Open. They won a tour-high eight titles during the year, including five successive tournament wins between April and June. They ended the year as the No. 1-ranked team.

 

Errani said: “We have had an amazing year and are proud to be named ITF World Champions. There have been so many highlights in singles and doubles, but we are very happy to be the first Italian pair to finish the season at No. 1. We’re already looking forward to next season.”

 

The ITF’s selection of its senior World Champions is based on an objective system that considers all results during the year, but gives weight to the Grand Slam tournaments, Olympic Tennis Event and two ITF international team competitions, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.

 

Filip Peliwo is only the second Canadian after Daniel Nestor to be named ITF World Champion in any category after securing the year-end No. 1 junior boys ranking. The 18-year-old became the first player since Mark Kratzmann in 1984 to reach all four junior Slam finals in a calendar year. He lost his first two finals at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, before winning Wimbledon and the US Open.

 

Peliwo said: “This is such a great achievement and a huge honour to be recognised by the ITF for this award. I exceeded even my own expectations this past year and to have the year-end No. 1 ranking is something really special that I am proud of.”

 

Taylor Townsend is the first American girl since Gretchen Rush in 1982 to be named Junior World Champion. The 16-year-old captured her first major singles title at the Australian Open, and narrowly failed to achieve the Grand Slam in doubles, winning three titles at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. She also led her country to victory in the finals of the Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.

 

Townsend said: “It’s a great honor. I mean, there’s so much that goes into the title World Champion, and I’m honored and blessed that they would even crown me that.”

 

Stephane Houdet enjoyed a breakthrough year to be named Wheelchair World Champion for the first time at the age of 42. The Frenchman won his first Grand Slam singles title on home soil at Roland Garros to take over the No. 1 ranking, and stayed at the top for the rest of the year. He was also a singles silver medallist at the Paralympic Tennis Event and led France to victory in the BNP Paribas World Team Cup.

 

Houdet said: “This has been my best year with my first Grand Slam victory in my country in front of my friends and family, two Paralympic medals, and winning the World Team Cup. These are dreams come true, but also give me new dreams to continue along the same path.”

 

Esther Vergeer extended her winning streak to 470 matches en route to the year-end No. 1 wheelchair tennis ranking for the 13th consecutive year. The 31-year-old became tennis’s most successful Paralympian, winning her fourth successive singles gold in London. She won a total of 10 singles titles during the year, including the Grand Slam events at the Australian Open and Roland Garros.

 

Vergeer said: “Again I am very proud to be the year-end No. 1. My main goal for this year was winning a gold medal in London, but being No. 1 at the end of this year is something that I have worked for all-year long. So it is a crown for all the hard work I put in.”

 

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “I would like to pay tribute to all the 2012 ITF World Champions, who have contributed to a successful year for the sport at all levels.”

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Taylor Townsend Clinches Year-End No. 1 Junior Ranking at Orange Bowl

PLANTATION, Fla., Dec. 7, 2012 – One top seed stumbled at the Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships on Friday. Another found its footing on top of the world.

 

While 10th-seeded Laslo Djere of Serbia took down No. 1 Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy, 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-1, in the Orange Bowl Boys 18s draw quarterfinals at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center, Taylor Townsend (Stockbridge, Ga.), the top seed in the Girls 18s draw, grinded out a 7-5, 5-7, 7-6(2) victory over No. 5 Carol Zhao of Canada.

 

With Townsend’s singles victory, and the doubles win of Great Britain’s Katy Dunne and Christina Makarova (San Diego) over Austria’s Barbara Haas and the Czech Republic’s Katerina Siniakova, the 16-year old Townsend solidified her year-end ITF No. 1 junior ranking, becoming the first American girl to hold that position since Gretchen Rush in 1982.

 

Only Siniakova, the current world No. 3, could have caught Townsend in the year-end rankings, by winning the singles and doubles titles.

 

“When I step out onto the court, I really just play tennis,” said Townsend, who will turn pro beginning in 2013. “I mean, if I just play well and do what I know I can do, everything else will take care of itself.”

 

Meanwhile, Djere moves on to the boys 18s semifinals, where he’ll meet No. 9 seed Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (Charlotte, N.C.), who had little trouble with 6-foot-5 Deiton Baughman (Carson, Calif.) in Friday’s quarterfinals, seemingly breezing to a 6-2, 6-2 win.

 

“For sure, he’s got a great serve, and normally my game is to hit high and heavy and get the ball above the guy’s shoulders. But when the guy’s 6-5, his shoulders are a little bit higher than the rest of the people I’m playing,” Kwiatkowski said. “So, I had to figure out what to do, and I think before the match I had a good strategy with my coach, and I feel like that went pretty well.”

 

An American each advanced to Saturday’s Boys and Girls 16s finals. No. 12 seed Tommy Paul (Coconut Creek, Fla.) defeated Sameer Kumar (Carmel, Ind.), 6-0, 6-7, 6-2 in the semifinals, and Chloe Michele Ouellet-Pizer (Chapel Hill, N.C.) took down Germany’s Lisa Ponomar, 7-6(6), 7-5.

 

“I think this whole tournament I’ve competed really well. My second round, I was down, 5-4, and 30-all in the third set, so I was two points from losing. I just think I’ve played really clutch this tournament. I think on big points, before this, I’ve been rushing too much, so I’ve been trying to keep it longer on big points and not rush it,” Ouellet-Pizer said. “I can’t believe I’m in the finals. Either way, it’s a win-win, so I’m just going to play with no pressure and just see what happens.”

 

One of Paul’s coaches, meanwhile, is Timothy Neilly, the last American to win the Orange Bowl Boys 18s title, in 2004, who gave his student specific, if simple, advice.

 

“He just said, ‘Work the forehand cross-court,’” Paul said.

 

In doubles play, No. 7 Lamar Remy (Roslyn, N.Y.) and Alejandro Tabilo of Canada defeated Sumit Nagal of India and Dennis Uspensky (Atlantic Beach, N.Y.), 6-3, 6-3, for the Boys 16s title, while No. 2 Ponomar and Johnnise Renaud (North Miami, Fla.) defeated No. 6 Gloria Liang and Marie-Alexandre Leduc of Canada, 6-0, 6-1, for the Girls 16s title.

 

For updated draws and each day’s order of play, visit http://orangebowltennis.org.

Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships

 

Frank Veltri Tennis Center, Plantation, Fla.

 

Singles

 

Boys

 

18-and-under

 

Quarterfinals

 

(10) Laslo Djere, SRB d. (1) Gianluigi Quinzi, ITA, 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-1

(12) Elias Ymer, SWE d. (2) Frederico Ferreira Silva, POR, 6-1, 1-6, 6-1

(9) Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, USA d. Deiton Baughman, USA, 6-2, 6-2

(8) Filippo Baldi, ITA d. (3) Yoshihito Nishioka, JPN, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4

 

16-and-under

 

Semifinals

 

(4) Andrey Rublev, RUS d. (14) Dennis Uspensky, USA, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1

(12) Tommy Paul, USA d. Sameer Kumar, USA, 6-0, 6-7(5), 6-2

 

Girls

 

18-and-under

 

Quarterfinals

 

(1) Taylor Townsend, USA d. (5) Carol Zhao, CAN, 7-5, 5-7, 7-6(2)

(2) Katerina Siniakova, CZE d. Chalena Scholl, USA, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2

(7) Ana Konjuh, CRO d. (4) Belinda Bencic, SUI, 6-4, 6-2

(6) Marcela Zacarias, MEX d. Natalia Vajdova, SVK, 6-3, 6-4

 

16-and-under

 

Semifinals

 

(8) Gloria Liang, CAN d. (5) Usue Maitane Arconada, USA, 6-2, 6-3

(16) Chloe Michele Ouellet-Pizer, USA d. Lisa Ponomar, GER, 7-6(6), 7-5

 

Doubles

 

Boys

 

18-and-under

 

Quarterfinals

 

(1) Gianluigi Quinzi, Filippo Baldi, ITA d. (8) Anton Desyatnik/Aleksandr Ivanovich Spirin, RUS, 6-3, 2-6 (10-5)

Christian Garin, CHI/Nicolas Jarry, USA d. Skander Mansouri, TUN/Mazen Osama, EGY, 6-4, 6-4

Lukas Mugevicius, LTU/Alexander Vasilenko, RUS d. Deiton Baughman/Ronnie Schneider, USA, 3-6, 6-2 (10-6)

(2) Borna Coric, CRO/Elias Ymer, SWE d. Lucas Miedler, AUT d. Dominic Weidinger, AUT, 6-4, 6-3

 

16-and-under

 

Finals

 

(7) Lamar Remy, USA/Alejandro Tabilo, CAN d. (1) Sumit Nagal, IND/Dennis Uspensky, USA, 6-3, 6-3

 

Girls

 

18-and-under

 

Quarterfinals

 

Jennifer Brady/Jamie Loeb, USA d. Klaartje Liebens/Michelle Werbrouck, BEL, walkover

Katy Dunne, GBR/Christina Makarova, USA d. (4) Barbara Haas, AUT/Katerina Siniakova, CZE, 7-5, 1-6 (10-7)

Gabrielle Andrews/Taylor Townsend, USA d. Rebecca Peterson, SWE/Aldila Sutjiadi, INA, 6-2, 3-6 (11-9)

(8) Victoria Rodriguez/Marcela Zacarias, MEX d. Brooke Austin/Rasheeda McAdoo, USA, 6-4, 6-1

 

16-and-under

 

Finals

 

(2) Lisa Ponomar, GER/Johnnise Renaud, USA d. (6) Marie-Alexandre Leduc/Gloria Liang, CAN, 6-0, 6-1

 

Townsend photo courtesy of the USTA

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Townsend, Chirico and Andrews Lead US to Junior Fed Cup Title

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., October 1, 2012 – The USTA announced today that the U.S. Junior Fed Cup team of Taylor Townsend (Stockbridge, Ga.), Louisa Chirico (Harrison, N.Y.) and Gabrielle Andrews (Pomona, Calif.) captured the championship at the Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Final on Sunday in Barcelona, Spain, defeating Russia, 3-0, in the final. This is the second title for the U.S. in the 16-and-under version of Fed Cup, both coming in the last five years.

 

The U.S. Junior Davis Cup team of Noah Rubin (Rockville Centre, N.Y.), Stefan Kozlov (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) and Jared Donaldson (Cumberland, R.I.) took third place in the Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Final, defeating France, 2-0, in the third-place match-up (doubles not played).

 

Of the 11 nations with teams competing in both Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup, only the United States finished in the top three of each event. Overall, 21 nations were represented across the two events.

 

“We’re extremely proud of our juniors and what they accomplished this past week against the world’s toughest competition and the job that Kathy and Nicolas did as coaches,” said General Manager, USTA Player Development Patrick McEnroe. “It was a tremendous week, especially for the girls, and the results are certainly encouraging for the future of both these players and American tennis.”

 

The top-seeded U.S. Junior Fed Cup Team, captained by USTA National Coach Kathy Rinaldi, went 14-0 in singles and doubles matches throughout the 16-nation World Final. Townsend, 16, ranked No. 1 among all players 18 and younger in the ITF World Junior rankings, went 5-0 in singles, and partnered with Andrews, 15, to win all four of their doubles matches. Chirico, 16, who trains at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., did not lose a set in going 5-0 in singles play.

 

The U.S. Junior Fed Cup team defeated Spain, Korea and Egypt in group play, all by a 3-0 score, and dropped Brazil, the third-place finisher, 2-0, in the semifinal (doubles not played). The 14-0 match record for the U.S. replicates the performance by the 2008 U.S Junior Fed Cup championship team, which included Sloane Stephens and Christina McHale.

 

The U.S. Junior Davis Cup team, captained by USTA National Coach Nicolas Todero, achieved its best finish since winning its second Junior Davis Cup title in 2008. The U.S., the No. 1 seed in the 16-nation field, defeated Brazil, Japan and Russia in group play before falling to Australia, the runner-up to champion Italy, in the semifinal.

 

Rubin, 16, and Kozlov, 14, each went 4-1 in singles play, their only losses coming against Australia. Donaldson, 15, paired with Kozlov, the youngest player in the entire Junior Davis Cup field, to go 2-0 in doubles matches, while he and Rubin fell to Brazil in their only doubles match together.

 

The U.S. qualified for the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup World Finals by going undefeated in the North/Central America and Caribbean Regional Championships in April.

 

Former U.S. junior international team members include James Blake, Jennifer Capriati, Michael Chang, Jim Courier, Lindsay Davenport, Mardy Fish, Lisa Raymond, Andy Roddick, Sloane Stephens and Christina McHale.

 

 

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Getting to Know No. 1 Junior Taylor Townsend

The World’s No. 1 Junior girl Taylor Townsend, from Stockbridge, Georgia participated in a USTA media conference call with General Manager of USTA Player Development Patrick McEnroe on Thursday afternoon. Here is a transcript of the call:

TIM CURRY:  Thanks, everyone, for joining us.  We have with us Patrick McEnroe, the General Manager for USTA Player Development, and Taylor Townsend, who is the No.1 junior girls tennis player in the world.
Wanted you guys to have an opportunity to get to know Taylor a little bit more.  Taylor swept the singles and doubles title at the Australian Open in January, the first American to do that at a Junior Slam since Lindsay Davenport at the ’92 Open.  Since everyone wasn’t in Melbourne, we thought it would give you a chance for you to get to know her before Paris.
With that said, we will start the queue for questions.

Q.  Patrick, when you’re looking for young talent, what is the key thing that you look for?
PATRICK McENROE:  How about desire?  I mean, I think that’s obviously crucial.  Overall athleticism.  Certainly tennis IQ is up there on the list.
But I think the thing I’ve learned in my four and a half years on this job is that there’s a lot of talent out there.  Obviously Taylor is one of those young players.
What helps differentiate the players as they get a little bit older and play with the pressure of obviously high‑level juniors, then start their pro careers is that hunger, that desire to keep working and keep improving.
The trajectory of getting from being a top junior nowadays to becoming a top player in the men’s and women’s game, it’s a little bit longer than it was certainly when I was growing up and playing where you had 16‑, 17‑year‑olds getting to the last four of majors.  Those days are probably over.
That means you really have to have a lot of hunger, have to keep improving.  Taylor has had a lot of success in the juniors.  We hope she continues to do that.
What I’m most proud of about her is that she wants to get better.  She’s working hard, working on her overall game, which is a great tennis game.  She has a lot of natural ability as a player.
What’s going to determine whether or not she makes it to the top of women’s tennis is going to be her desire, her work ethic day in and day out.  Once you start to make that transition to the pros, it’s inevitable that you’re going to suffer some losses, have some bumps and bruises along the way.  The players that are really focused and determined and that can go through that have the best chance of making it all the way to the top.

Q.  What’s the key to that focus?
PATRICK McENROE:  As I said, I think it’s desire to want to get there.  Being the No.1 junior in the world is a great accomplishment.  I can tell you that Taylor has much higher goals for herself.  It’s not going to happen, as I said, overnight.  She’s still quite young and she’s got a couple of years ahead of her to keep playing some juniors and obviously start transitioning to the pros, as well.
We’ll all work with her and her coaches and her parents and everyone on what makes the most sense for her to keep progressing and keep pushing herself to get better.

Q.  We have an incredible situation with the top three or four in men’s tennis.  The younger generation is not breaking through.  Could you comment about the big picture there.
PATRICK McENROE:  Well, when someone like Andy Murray can’t break through and win a major, that tells you how difficult it is.
You’re dealing with, in the men’s game, three of arguably the greatest players of all time.  Certainly if Djokovic can win the French, you have to start thinking of him in those terms career‑wise along with Federer and Nadal.  Those guys have already done it, won all the majors.
It’s pretty amazing when you think in the Open era when Agassi finally did it and won the French, he’s the first guy since the Rocket to win all four majors.  Now you have potentially three players in a row with a chance to do that.
I think it’s really more a testament to how good those three guys are rather than sort of the deficiencies in a Raonic or Ryan Harrison.  They’re young and they have a lot of work to do to keep improving.  The bar has been raised incredibly high.

Q.  Patrick, Taylor doesn’t have a regular game for a junior girl.  She’s very aggressive and looks like she likes to attack the net.  Can you describe her game.
PATRICK McENROE:  I’ll let Taylor answer that first.
Go ahead, T.
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  Well, I’ve always been comfortable at the net.  When I started playing tennis, we did a lot of volleys.  It was just something that I pretty much just came up with.  It was kind of normal to me.
Now that I’ve been able to travel and see how a lot of other girls play around the world, I see that it’s not really normal.  It’s normal to me, but not normal to other people.
I mean, I’m glad I’m able to have a game that’s different and unique, be able to use it to my advantage.

Q.  Taylor, can you describe your move from California to South Florida.  Did you start at the Plantation or go right to Boca?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  I’m originally from Chicago, then I moved to Atlanta.  I mean, my transition, I moved from Atlanta straight to Boca.  I was pretty comfortable with the transition, though.  I was really comfortable with Kathy.  I had been going on trips with her during my eighth grade year.  I was really comfortable with her, the way she coached me.  We had a good connection.  She understood my game, what I needed to do.  She pinpointed some things out to me that were really helpful to continue to help me progress.
We kind of had a good relationship.  So it wasn’t really a hard transition for me.  I was really excited about coming to the program.  I love the environment here.  It’s a lot of fun.

Q.  What is your personal timetable to turn pro?  College or right to the circuit?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  I like to keep my options open as of right now.  My goal is to go pro.  Until I feel like it’s the right time, and I consult with my family and everyone, then I’m just going to stay amateur for now.

Q.  Patrick, how significant is it to be the No.1 junior in the world?  We see a lot of guys peter out once they got there.  Remind me of the last few Americans that had that title.
PATRICK McENROE:  That’s a good question.  As Tim says, she’s the first to get to No.1 since Lindsay.  Obviously, those are big shoes to fill.  As Taylor said, she’s on her own timeline.  As long as she keeps working hard and keeps improving and gets in better shape, her overall game is obviously very sound, but everything has to get better.
That will happen in due time.  But, as I said in the answer to my first question, the game is a lot tougher physically now than it’s ever been.  You’re seeing that a lot more in the women’s game in addition to the men’s game.
It takes longer to get there, so you’ve got to keep working.  Taylor, as she talked about, her game is different than a lot of the players.  But she also has to go out there and hit a lot of balls to be able to use her weapons, coming forward, variety, she likes to serve and volley.  You need the other pieces of the puzzle as well.
You can be a great volleyer, but if you can’t move around the court and get to the net, chances are you’ll be exposed the higher level you go.
So I think that’s why you have to continue to work hard all the time.  You have to in some ways be more patient that it’s not going to happen overnight.  We’re not talking about No.1′s from America, but look at No.1′s in the juniors.  You can go down the list in the last 10, 15 years.  It’s not the automatic to be the No.1 junior, to all of a sudden be in the top 5 or the top 10.
TIM CURRY:  As a point, the ITF can’t verify on the weekly rankings whoever has been No.1 since they changed the ranking system in 2004 to the combined singles and doubles ranking, so Taylor is the first American girl to be the No.1 player since ’04.  Prior to that, any of the Americans that were year‑end No.1′s were based on kind of a voting system rather than the ranking‑point formula.
Taylor could definitely be the first American junior No.1 girl under the ITF ranking program.

Q.  Taylor, I was wondering about what you’ve been doing since the Easter Bowl, if you’ve been training on red clay to prepare for the French, and if you’re going to go over and play Belgium first?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  After Easter Bowl I came back to Boca for a few days and really hit the fitness pretty hard.  I went to the junior Fed Cup in Mexico.  After that I came back to Boca for two weeks and I really hit fitness really hard.  I just came back last week from Pat Etcheberry’s place in Orlando.  We’ve been working on my fitness and strength.  I’ve been hitting on the clay.
But I’m not playing Belgium.  We’re going to go over to Spain for about a week and train on the red clay.  We’re really familiar with BTT, that’s the academy we’re going to.  We’re really familiar with them.  We went for three weeks last year, so we know the coaches, the drills and everything, so it should be really good.  We should be ready for the French.

Q.  Because of your game style, I don’t imagine red clay is high on your list of favorite surfaces, but how will you adapt to clay?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  I really like clay actually.  I can’t speak about grass, I’ve never played on grass.  I love hard court.  I like clay as well.
I think it really helps as far as like my heavy topspin, my slice, using my serve.  I think it’s more about not so much adjusting but it’s more about using the clay, using the surface to my advantage, making more my opponents move.
Obviously the points are going to be a lot longer on the clay.  That’s why we’re working on the fitness, being able to stay in points.  But I think my game is pretty well‑suited for clay, as well.

Q.  Patrick, what are your thoughts about tamping down the expectations of someone who has had the success that Taylor has at this early age?
PATRICK McENROE:  Quite honestly, I was a little torn about even doing this call for that very reason.  I don’t want Taylor to feel too much pressure, she understands what I’m saying, to get too big of a head.
But she’s done great, she’s working very hard.  As she said, Kathy Rinaldi and her have a great relationship.  Kathy has really poured her blood, sweat and tears into not only helping Taylor but Sam Crawford, a number of other girls down if Boca, Grace Min when she was down in Boca.  There’s a nice camaraderie with the girls down there.  Obviously Taylor has some really good friends down there.  That helps a lot when you’re away from home.  That’s difficult.
But I think she’s doing really well.  She’s handling success well.  To win the Australian, I was lucky enough to be there, sit behind Kathy during the last couple of matches, to see the emotion that the two of them had was great to see.  You can tell it means a lot more to them than just a tennis match.  That’s a great sign.  Then Taylor came back and had a great Easter Bowl and won there.
I think she’s handling the success well.  Again, it’s all about coming back, as she said, going back to work, working hard, getting better.  You have to enjoy the process.  You have to enjoy the people you’re working with, the people you’re around.  I think if you do that, in due course the results will come.
If you’re a happy person, you’re happy with how you’re improving, I think that’s what we’re looking for.  Obviously we’re looking for our players to do well, but we’re also looking to create an environment where they’re thriving as people and they’re enjoying themselves and they’re good citizens in addition to being hopefully great tennis players in the future.

Q.  Patrick, I know how hard you’ve worked with player development in the U.S.  If you would take one aspect of any country’s Player Development Program and use it in the U.S., something somebody else has been successful with, what would it be?
PATRICK McENROE:  I’m not skirting that question because I think it’s a good one.  To be honest, I think we’re kind of trying to do it our way.  We are the United States of America.  That’s not to say we haven’t looked at what Spain has done.  This is one of the reasons why we sent our girls over to BTT, which is a tennis academy in Barcelona.  By the way, Jose Higueras will be there with the girls next week.  He has a very good relationship with that academy.
You look at what the French have done with their sort of regional centers.  That’s something we’re trying to do in a similar fashion with our own regional training centers around the country, working more hand‑in‑hand with them, communicating the way we’re trying to coach and hopefully find out from them.  I don’t really think it’s taking one thing.
I remember, when I was playing, the Swedish players.  It wasn’t so much the way they played but their camaraderie.  They supported each other, were out there helping each other.  I think we have that with Taylor and the group of girls that were out there.
It was awesome to see the other girls that were there watching her play.  She won the doubles there with Gaby.  To see them supporting each other, watching each other’s matches, that’s what it’s all about.
I guess if there was one thing I could pinpoint, it’s this being a team effort on our part.  That starts from USTA Player Development, that’s the private academies, the personal coaches.  That’s not always easy to navigate those waters, nor is it easy to have players that are competing with each other out there supporting each other.
I guess that’s the one thing I’d like to see us do more of and I think as a group we are.

Q.  Taylor, now that you’ve won the Australian Open, you’re being compared to Serena and Venus at such a young age, what are your expectations heading into the French?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  I mean, I set high expectations for myself for each tournament.  I’ve always kind of lived by the motto that I’m not going to go to a tournament if I don’t feel like I can do well.
My expectations, I’m going to do the best that I can.  But I feel like I can do well at this tournament.  I started off my year great.  I feel like I can continue that success, so…

Q.  You said you’ve never played on grass.  Obviously you’ve played on hard court and clay.  How many times have you played on a clay court?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  Well, I’ve played on clay not a lot, but I’ve played on clay a good bit of my life.  Red clay I’ve only played an actual event on red clay one time, and that was in Prostejov in the Czech Republic for the World Junior Cup, I played doubles there.  That’s the only time I’ve had competition on the red play.
But I trained on red clay three weeks last year in Spain.  That’s the last time I was on the red clay.  It should be fun.
PATRICK McENROE:  In all three of our centers, we have the green clay, we have the Har‑Tru.  It’s a little bit different than the red clay.  But we’re having them play as much as possible on the clay to get used to the movement, sliding, patience, building points, all that stuff.

Q.  Patrick, what do you think is the biggest reason why an American hasn’t been able to break through?  We’ve seen John Isner.  But break through and stay there.  If you could say there’s one specific reason, what do you think the biggest reason is?
PATRICK McENROE:  Are you talking about at the French or in general or you don’t know?

Q.  It was more general, but if you want to aim at the French as well.
PATRICK McENROE:  You mean like break through and win a major?  I’m trying to specify what you mean.

Q.  Not just win a major, but stay there, too.  Yes, win a major.
PATRICK McENROE:  I’m trying to think about who else, other than Djokovic, Nadal and Federer, who have.  There’s a short list.
This is what we’re trying to accomplish.  We’re trying to get more kids playing tennis, number one.  It’s the same old refrain:  there’s not one issue.  The issue is that there’s phenomenal athletes playing tennis from all over the world.  We’ve got to do a better job getting those kind of kids playing tennis, then we’ve got to do a better job coaching them and mentoring them as a country.  The USTA, we’ve got to do a better job.
If you do everything right, you’ve got a chance.  You’ve got a chance to make it.
I can’t pinpoint one thing at all.  I think this is a long‑term project, at least for me when I took over this position four years ago.  We’re happy with the progress but we realize we’ve got a long way to go.

Q.  Taylor, possibly a sensitive issue.  You never like to ask a woman about weight issues.  Early on I noticed you were pretty overweight.  I saw you recently and I marveled at how svelte you looked.  Can you talk about your battle with that over the years and what you’ve done to get in better condition.
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  Well, I’ve always been pretty comfortable with my body.  I know and I’ve been told, it’s obvious for me, that I don’t have a typical body type of everyone else.  Really I just have to work with what I have pretty much.  I use it.  To me it’s been working pretty well (laughter).
Being down at USTA I’ve learned the importance of my fitness level.  I learned that just skill alone, talent, being able to use your hands isn’t always enough.  If I can’t get to the ball, if I can’t stay in the point long enough, I won’t be able to give myself an opportunity to be able to use what I have.
Fitness is really important.  I’ve learned that over the course of these years being here.  I definitely made a transition, a positive transition, in the way that my body has come along.  I think as well as losing weight, dropping weight, but growing as well.
I was young probably when you saw me.  So just being able to grow into my body, get a little taller, all that stuff, it’s helped a lot.  Hopefully I can grow a few more inches.  But I’m just pretty much using what I have.
PATRICK McENROE:  You’re using it pretty darn well, Taylor.  Don’t worry about it.

Q.  How tall are you?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  I’m 5’6″ and a half‑ish.

Q.  What junk food have you given up?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  I’ve given up a lot actually.

Q.  Your favorite one?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  Fast food, like burgers and all that stuff, it makes me sick now.  I can’t eat stuff like that.  Like McDonald’s, fries, all that stuff, if I eat it, I get a bad stomachache.  I’ve given up ice cream.  Went to Froyo.  It’s a little bit healthier.

Q.  What flavor did you give up?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  Cookie dough.

Q.  After the Australian I hope you treated yourself.
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  I had frozen yogurt.

Q.  Taylor, of all the things you do in life, tell us something you want the world to know about you, whether it’s on or off court, that maybe we don’t know.
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  Well, I love to dance.  I know they all talk about Azarenka, how she dances before she gets ready.  That’s me, too.  When I was at the Easter Bowl, they all talked about how I had on my beads, I was in my zone.  That’s how I get ready for my matches.  I have my music.
I love music as well.  I played the violin for three years in middle school.  I played from sixth to eighth grade.  In my seventh and eighth grade year, I was in honor orchestra.  I’m pretty good at it.

Q.  What kind of music do you play on the violin and what kind of music do you dance to?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  On the violin, I play a lot of stuff.  When I was in school, my instructor, she would kind of pick the music out depending on our performance or whatever.  But we did Pirates of the Caribbean, we did Bella’s Lullaby, which is from Twilight.  We do modern stuff, but a lot of different stuff like classical, jazz and blues.  It’s fun.

Q.  Is there a favorite composer in there?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  Not really.  I mean, I just recently got my violin fixed.  I started playing again.  But I haven’t played in a while.

Q.  And what do you dance to getting ready for a match?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  It depends on my mood.  Sometimes I like to listen to rap, but also it depends how I’m feeling.  Sometimes I listen to rock, sometimes pop.  Now I’ve started listening to house music a lot, so…
TIM CURRY:  Thanks, everyone, for joining us.  Thanks, Taylor and Patrick, for your time.  Taylor’s next event will be the Junior French Open, the second week of the French Open.  Patrick will be there with ESPN.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Townsend and Andrews Take Junior Girls Title

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Krueger Beats Doubles Partner Halebian To Reach Semis at USTA International Spring Championships

 

Mitchell Krueger

By Steve Pratt

CARSON, Calif., (Friday, April 6, 2012) – The way Mitchell Krueger see it, life as a pro tennis player probably won’t be much different than the way he’s spent the past six weeks.

 

The top-seeded player in the boys’ 18s at the eighth annual USTA International Spring Championships, Krueger beat USTA training and doubles partner and No. 5-seeded Alexios Halebian of Glendale, Calif., 7-6 (5), 6-2, on Friday at the Home Depot Center to reach the semifinals.

 

After shadowing ATP Pro Janko Tipsarevic at Indian Wells in March, Krueger then paired with two-time Grand Slam champion Marat Safin of Russia in the Zurich Open in an event that teams former ATP Tour stars with top-ranked juniors. It was then back home to hit with 2005 ISC winner Sam Querrey on the clay at the Dallas Country Club in his home state and then to California for the present two-week junior swing of the USTA ISC and Easter Bowl.

 

The nation’s top collegiate recruit, the 18-year-old Krueger is set to attend Texas A&M in the fall.

 

Krueger said he put it out of his mind that he was playing one of his best friends. “You have to,” he said. “We know each other so well, but when you’re out on the court you just have to play. No matter the outcome we’re still good. There’s no bad feelings.”

 

The match was intense and tight from the outset with both players returning extremely aggressive in the first set. “I was up a break twice but was broken back,” Krueger said. “It was a tight first set. I was happy to finally be able to hold serve when I needed to.”

 

Up 6-5 in the tiebreak, Halebian double-faulted giving Krueger the first set. Following a break point won by Krueger for a 4-2 second-set lead, Halebian smashed his racket and was issued a point-penalty. “Right then I knew the momentum was all mine,” Krueger said.

 

Momentum continues for two 1998-born players who are playing well beyond their years this week. Fourteen-year-old Stefan Kozlov (No. 12 seed) joined Krueger in the 18s semifinals with a hard-fought three-set win over Mackenzie McDonald, the No. 4 seed from Piedmont, Calif., 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

 

“I’m happy I’m playing so well,” said Kozlov, who has been training at the USTA Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla., for the past six months. “My game has really improved since I’ve been there. The results are starting to show.”

 

In the boys’ 16s, Kozlov’s fellow 1998-born Francis Tiafoe advanced to the finals with a three-set win against Sameer Kumar of Carmel, Ind. He will play qualifier Roman Safiullin, a Russian who is currently living in San Diego.

 

The top-seeded player in the girls’ 18s, reigning Australian Open Junior champion Taylor Townsend of Stockbridge, Ga., came back to beat Stephanie Nauta of Bradenton, Fla., 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. Townsend next gets No. 7-seeded Allie Kiick in the semis.

 

Jennifer Brady, the No. 8 seed from Boca Raton, Fla., pulled off a nice win over No. 2 and UCLA-bound Kyle McPhillips, 6-2, 6-1. Brady will play the third Floridian of the final as she meets No. 3 Chalena Scholl of Pompano Beach, Fla., in the other semi.

 

In the girls’ 16s final, Emma Higuchi of Los Angeles will face Jessica Ho of Wexford, Pa.

 

All finals except the boys’ and girls’ 18s singles will be contested on Saturday.

 

For complete draws log onto the website at www.usta.com/isc.

 

FRIDAY’S RESULTS

Boys’ 18 Singles (Quarterfinals)

Mitchell Krueger (1) Aledo, TX  def.  Alexios Halebian (5) Glendale, CA  7-6(5), 6-2

Noah Rubin (3) Rockville Centre, NY  def.  Ronnie Schneider Bloomington, IN  5-7, 6-0, 6-4

Stefan Kozlov Pembroke Pines, FL  def.  Mackenzie McDonald (4) Piedmont, CA  6-4, 3-6, 6-4

Luca Corinteli Alexandria, VA  def.  Ernesto Escobedo West Covina, CA  6-3, 7-6(3)

 

Boys’ 18 Doubles (Semifinals)

Thomas Colautti / Josh Hagar  def.  Lucas Gomez /  Ricardo Medinilla (4)  6-3, 7-6(6) Mackenzie McDonald / Trey Strobel (2)  def.  Carter Lin / Mohd Merzuki (8)  6-4, 6-3

 

Boys’ 16 Singles (Semifinals)

Francis Tiafoe College Park, MD  def.  Sameer Kumar Carmel, IN  4-6, 7-5, 6-3

Roman Safiullin San Diego, CA  def.  Logan Smith Carlsbad, CA  6-1, 6-3

 

Boys’ 16 Doubles (Semifinals)

Augustus Ge / Jean Thirouin  def.  Tommy Paul / Aron Pierce (3)  3-6, 6-4, 10-4

Yancy Dennis / Francis Tiafoe  def.  Carsten Fisher /  Anudeep Kodali  6-1, 6-7(3), 10-4

 

Girls’ 18 Singles (Quarterfinals)

Taylor Townsend (1) Stockbridge, GA  def.  Stephanie Nauta Bradenton, FL  2-6, 6-3, 6-3

Alexandra Kiick (7) Plantation, FL  def.  Mayo Hibi Irvine, CA  7-5, 6-0

Jennifer Brady (8) Boca Raton, FL  def.  Kyle McPhillips (2) Willoughby, OH  6-2, 6-1

Chalena Scholl (3) Pompano Beach, FL  def.  Christina Makarova (6) San Diego, CA  6-3, 6-2

 

Girls’ 18 Doubles (Semifinals)

Gabrielle Andrews / Taylor Townsend (1)  def.  Alexandra Kiick /  Ayaka Okuno (3)  2-6, 6-3, 10-5

Stephanie Nauta / Chalena Scholl (2)  def.  Samantha Crawford / Josie Kuhlman (4)  6-2, 7-6(2)

 

Girls’ 16 Singles (Semifinals)

Emma Higuchi Los Angeles, CA  def.  Raquel Pedraza Claremont, CA  6-2, 6-2

Jessica Ho Wexford, PA  def.  Andie Daniell Douglasville, GA  5-7, 6-4, 6-1

 

Girls’ 16 Doubles (Semifinals)

Yuki Asami / Ilana Oleynik  def.  Nicole Frenkel / Ndindi Ndunda (1)  2-6, 6-3, 10-8

Natalie Da Silveira / Ena Shibahara  def.  Kenadi Hance / Alexis Pereira  6-4, 7-5

 

 

www.USTA.com/isc—

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Taylor Townsend Opens With Win at USTA International Spring Championships

 

By Steve Pratt

CARSON, Calif., (Monday, April 2, 2012) – Fifteen-year-old American Taylor Townsend is fully aware her junior tennis days are coming to an end soon.

 

As the top-seeded player in the girls’ 18s at the eighth annual USTA International Spring Championships, Townsend was one of 208 of the top U.S. and international junior players who competed in matches Monday that lasted well over 14 hours at the Home Depot Center. Townsend, of Stockbridge, Ga., beat Las Vegas’ Kimberly Yee, 6-2, 7-5.

 

Currently ranked No. 2 in the International Tennis Federation world rankings, Townsend plans to play the ISC, next week’s Easter Bowl and the three remaining junior Slams: the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open before venturing out into the pro ranks.

 

Her goal is a simple one over the next two weeks: to take over the No. 1 ranking in the world. “This was just all part of the plan,” said Townsend of her reason for playing two weeks of junior events. “They are in States and I can get the ITF points I need to be No. 1. Plus, these are my last few junior tournaments so I want to go out and enjoy it.”

 

It marked the first tournament for Townsend since winning the Australian Open Juniors singles and doubles championships back in January and it was a revenge win for her as she lost to Yee in the semifinals of the Easter Bowl on her 14th birthday two years ago in the 14s. When not training at USTA headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., Townsend, who was watched Monday by her USTA coach Kathy Rinaldi, has been working out near her home at the Racquet Club of the South in Norcross, Ga.

 

This year, she’ll celebrate her Sweet 16 in Rancho Mirage at the Easter Bowl. “No plans yet,” said Townsend, adding that she will try and play three or four $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit events in the coming months. “It’s just fun being there with all my friends. My mom is going to come out and help me celebrate.”

 

Also posting a big win on Monday in one of the 104 matches was Indiana’s Ronnie Schneider, who won the USTA 18s National Spring Championship’s last month and was granted a wild card into Carson because of his strong results over the past few months. Schneider, a high school junior, has given a verbal commitment that he will play college tennis for the University of North Carolina.

 

“I had my visit during Super Bowl weekend and watched the game with all the guys on the team,” said Schneider, who beat No. 8 seeded Ricky Medinilla, the No. 77 world-ranked player from Mexico, 6-4, 6-2. “I’m happy to have the decision behind me to just concentrate on my tennis.”

 

Schneider will also play Easter Bowl next week. “It’s a new experience, kind of like a Grand Slam would be,” he said of traveling and playing back-to-back weeks.

 

Also posting wins on Monday in the 18s were seeded players Spencer Papa (No. 2), Mackenzie McDonald (No. 4), Alexios Halebian (No. 5), Austin Siegel (No. 6), Jordan Daigle (No. 9), Michael Redlicki (No. 13) and Luca Corintelli (No. 14).

 

In the girls’ 18s, American’s Chalena Scholl (No. 3), Alexandra Kiick (No. 7), Kelsey Laurente (No. 13), Catherine Harrison (No. 14) and Blair Shankle (No. 16) moved onto the second round while unseeded American Mia King upset No. 10 seeded Ayaka Okuno in three sets.

 

In the boys’ 16s, all 32 first-round matches were played on Monday with No. 1 seeded Ruadhan De Bruges leading the seeded winners. In the girls’ 16s, top-seeded players Nicole Frenkel and Alexandra Miller-Krasilnikov each posted victories.

 

For a complete run down of Monday’s scores and updated draws, log onto the website at www.usta.com/isc.

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Taylor Townsend Leads Field at USTA International Spring Championships

By Steve Pratt

CARSON, Calif.,  – Eight of the ITF world-ranked Top 50 junior girl tennis players, including two from Southern California, will contest the eighth annual USTA International Spring Championships taking place beginning Monday at the Home Depot Center.

 

Reigning Australian Open Junior Champion Taylor Townsend will hold down the top-seeded spot in the 64-player singles draw in the Grade 1 event. The 15-year-old Townsend, from Stockbridge, Ga., made international headlines back in January when she won a three-set final against a No. 4 seeded Russian player at Rod Laver Arena. Just a day before, Townsend paired with best friend Gabby Andrews of Pomona, Calif., to win the Aussie Open doubles title.

 

Townsend is the No. 2-ranked girls’ player in the world and teamed with Andrews to win the Carson ISC doubles title last year, although she fell in the second round in singles to No. 5 seeded Ellen Allgurin of Sweden. Andrews comes into Carson as the No. 4 seeded player ranked No. 34 in the world while future UCLA Bruin Kyle McPhillips of Willoughby, Ohio, is No. 2 and No. 11 in the world. Chalena Scholl is the No. 3 seed at No. 15 in the world.

“It’s another strong field of both girls and boys in the 18s, as well as the 16s,” said John Lansville, the tournament director who also serves as the director of the USTA Training Center – West. “Taylor is the head of the class, of course, but you have to watch out for the others like Gabby, Kyle, Chalena, Samantha (Crawford) and so many other strong competitors.”

 

Defending champion Crawford (No. 42) of Atlanta will be the No. 5 seed. She upset Madison Keys, who was ailing from a pulled stomach muscle, in last year’s final, 6-1, 6-1. The 17-year-old Crawford is currently training at the USTA Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla. San Diego’s Christina Makarova is at No. 6 (No. 43).

 

Current UCLA freshman Marcos Giron beat top-seeded Bjorn Fratangelo of Pittsburgh, Pa., in last year’s 18s final, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-4.

 

This year, Mitchell Kruger (No. 16 ITF ranked) will hold down the top-seeded spot in the 18s with streaking Spencer Papa No. 2 (No. 23). Noah Rubin is No. 3 (No. 37), Mackenzie McDonald No. 4 (No. 56) and Alexios Halebian (No. 50) of nearby Glendale No. 5 (No. 58).

In the 16s, American’s Nicole Frenkel, Alexandra Miller-Krasilnikov, Savannah Durkin, Camila Wesbrooks and Kaitlyn McCarthy are the top players. Another to watch for is Torrance’s Kenadi Hance who will be playing just a few miles from her home.
On the boys’ side in the 16s, Australia’s Ruadhan De Bruges is the top-seeded player followed by Japan’s Toshiki Matsuya, Aron Pierce and Alexandru Gozun, both from the U.S.

 

 

Past champions of the event include Sam Querrey (2005), Vania King (2005), Ryan Thacher (2007), Bradley Klahn (2008), Sloane Stephens (2009) and Melanie Oudin (2008), just a few who have gone on to bigger and better things on the pro and collegiate circuit.

 

Singles qualifying will take place this Saturday and Sunday with main-draw matches beginning on Monday. The finals will take place in the boys’ and girls’ 16s on Saturday, April 7, and boys’ and girls’ 18s on Sunday, April 8.

 

For more information on the tournament log onto the website at www.usta.com/isc.

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