August 5, 2015

USTA National Open Hard Court Championships – Tuesday Results

ustanhcc

San Diego, Calif. – (June 2, 2015) – The USTA National Open Hard Court Championships has been a showcase for young players who have gone on to compete at the highest levels of the game. Jack Sock, a Wimbledon doubles champion, won the tournament title here in 2010 and CoCo Vandeweghe, ranked as high as No. 32 in the world, was a semifinalist in 2007.

This year, a star of the future could be making his mark at the tournament. On a cool, breezy afternoon, 13-year-old Brandon Nakashima faced fellow San Diegan Jared Thompkins, a tall, hard-hitting 19-year-old, in a third-round match at the Balboa Tennis Club.

Nakashima, who ended 2014 as the top-ranked player in the country in the Boys’ 14s, played a solid baseline game from start to finish and patiently waited for the left-handed Thompkins to commit errors. In the end, he advanced to the fourth round with a 6-1, 6-4 victory.

“Once I got the first-set, I got my groove going. I played pretty well. I just kept getting the ball back to him consistently, and I eventually pulled through,” said the soft-spoken Nakashima.

Reaching the fourth round of the USTA National Open Hard Court Championships has been a big surprise for Nakashima, who had no expectations when he entered the tournament. “I didn’t expect to go this far. I’m pretty happy, and I’ll just keep going with my matches,” he added.

Nakashima, who is unseeded, will play his fourth-round match at 11 a.m. (PDT) on Thursday against ninth-seeded Rae Lan of San Diego.

Third-seeded Emmanuel Mensah of Imperial Beach, Calif., also moved into the fourth round as he defeated Christopher Dalton of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., 6-3, 6-1. The 26-year-old Mensah, a native of Ghana, has represented his country in Davis Cup, most recently in 2013.

Players in the men’s main singles draw will get a well-deserved day off and will play their fourth round matches on Thursday. Women’s first-round matches will highlight Wednesday’s schedule.

Alexandra Valenstein of Laguna Hills, Calif., the women’s top seed, received a first-round bye and will play her opening match on Thursday. The 18-year-old Valenstein has been competing in International Tennis Federation (ITF) and USTA Pro Circuit events this year. She will play collegiate tennis at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, this fall.

Complete scores and results as well as updated draws for all divisions can be found at:
http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=153113

The winners of each division will be awarded a USTA gold ball, while the runner-up will be awarded a USTA silver ball. There will also be a 3rd/4th place playoff for the USTA bronze ball.  All draws will have consolation events.

Matches will begin at 9 a.m. (PDT) each day of the tournament. The semifinals will be played on Saturday, June 6. The schedule on Sunday, June 7 will feature the women’s singles final at 9 a.m. (PDT), followed by the men’s singles final, not before 11 a.m. (PDT). Admission for spectators is free and open to the public. On-site parking is free.
Fans attending the tournament can dine at the Hidden Gem Café at Balboa Park, a new eatery located at the Balboa Tennis Club. The café offers breakfast items, sandwiches, salads, smoothies, drinks and more. The Café will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PDT) during the National Open Hard Court Championships.

Former tournament champions include current American star Jack Sock and former touring tennis professionals Gretchen Magers, Rosalyn Nideffer and Allison Bradshaw.  The tournament was voted, “2011 Tournament of the Year” by the San Diego District Tennis Association

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USTA National Open Hard Court Championships – Monday Results

ustanhcc

San Diego, Calif. – (June 1, 2015) – Top-seeded Rob Bellamy of Pacific Palisades, Calif., overcame a slow start to defeat unseeded Michael Sperry of Mill Valley, Calif., 7-5, 6-2 to reach the third round of the USTA National Open Hard Court Championships at the Balboa Tennis Club.

Bellamy, who recently completed his sophomore year at USC, where he posted a 14-6 singles record, will face unseeded Dhruv Yadav of Chagrin Falls, Ohio in a third-round match on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. (PDT).

“I had a good run last year. I lost in the semifinals. It’s a well-known tournament and you get a lot of good matches,” said the 20-year-old Bellamy. “You play these tournaments, not to win one or two rounds, but you want to go all the way.”

Third-seeded Emmanuel Mensah of Imperial Beach, Calif., eliminated Mason Beiler of Palm Harbor, Fla., 6-1, 6-4 to advance to the third round. The 26-year-old Mensah is a native of Ghana and has represented his county in Davis Cup matches, most recently in 2013.

Brandon Nakashima of San Diego moved into the third round when second-seeded Kalman Boyd of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., retired early in the first set of their second round match due to illness. The 13-year-old Nakashima finished 2014 as the top-ranked player in the Boys’ 14s division in the United States.

First-round women’s singles matches will be played on Tuesday and Wednesday, beginning at 9 a.m. (PDT).  Alexandra Valenstein of Laguna Hills, Calif., is the women’s top seed.

After receiving a first-round bye, Valenstein will play her opening match on Thursday against the winner of a first-round match between Hillary Ramage of Encinitas, Calif., and Desiree Tran of Lake Elsinore, Calif.

The 18-year-old Valenstein has been competing in International Tennis Federation (ITF) and USTA Pro Circuit events this year. She will be playing collegiate tennis at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, this fall.

Complete scores and results as well as updated draws for all divisions can be found at:
http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=153113

The winners of each division will be awarded a USTA gold ball, while the runner-up will be awarded a USTA silver ball. There will also be a 3rd/4th place playoff for the USTA bronze ball.  All draws will have consolation events.

Matches will begin at 9 a.m. (PDT) each day of the tournament. The semifinals will be played on Saturday, June 6 and the finals are scheduled for Sunday, June 7. Admission for spectators is free and open to the public. On-site parking is free.

Fans attending the tournament can dine at the Hidden Gem Café at Balboa Park, a new eatery located at the Balboa Tennis Club. The café offers breakfast items, sandwiches, salads, smoothies, drinks and more. The Café will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PDT) during the National Open Hard Court Championships.

Former tournament champions include current American star Jack Sock and former touring tennis professionals Gretchen Magers, Rosalyn Nideffer and Allison Bradshaw.  The tournament was voted, “2011 Tournament of the Year” by the San Diego District Tennis Association.

The USTA National Open Hard Court Championships is sponsored by San Diego District Tennis Association, CH Court Tech, Graphic Interfaces, Kashi, Third World Sports, Uptown Acupuncture, Wilson and Bauer Insurance Inc.

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Draws Announced for USTA National Open Hard Court Championships

ustanhcc

San Diego, Calif. – (May 29, 2015) – The list of seeded players and main draws have been announced for the upcoming United States Tennis Association National Open Hard Court Championships, according to tournament officials.

The national tournament, which features some of the top Open Division players in the country, is scheduled for June 1-7, 2015 at the Balboa Tennis Club, 2221 Morley Field Drive, San Diego, Calif., 92104.

The top seed in the men’s singles division is Rob Bellamy of Pacific Palisades, Calif.  The 20-year-old Bellamy recently completed his sophomore year at USC, where he posted a 14-6 singles record. Bellamy helped USC to a 4-0 win over the University of Idaho in the first round of the NCAA Championships earlier this month, as he won his singles match in the No. 6 position in straight sets.

Eighteen-year-old Alexandra Valenstein of Laguna Hills, Calif., is the top seed in the women’s singles division.  Valenstein, who has been competing this year in International Tennis Federation and USTA Pro Circuit events this year, will be playing collegiate tennis at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, this fall.

“This tournament has always had very tough draws.  In 2007, Coco Vandeweghe was a semifinalist, and in 2010, Jack Sock won the men’s singles title,” said Tournament Director Colleen Clery Ferrell.  “We have quite a few talented players looking to win the title this year and we’re expecting a great week of tennis at next week’s national tournament.”

The list of seeded players and complete draws for all divisions can be found at the following link:
http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=153113

The winners of each division will be awarded a USTA gold ball, while the runner-up will be awarded a USTA silver ball. There will also be a 3rd/4th place playoff for the USTA bronze ball.  All draws will have consolation events.

First-round matches are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. (PDT) on Monday, June 1. Admission for spectators is free and open to the public. On-site parking is free.

Fans attending the tournament can dine at the Hidden Gem Café at Balboa Park, a new eatery located at the Balboa Tennis Club. The café offers breakfast items, sandwiches, salads, smoothies, drinks and more. The Café will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PDT) during the National Open Hard Court Championships.

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Former USTA Chairman David Hagerty Among Candidates for President of the ITF

ITF

(May 26, 2015) The former chairman of the Unites States Tennis Association is running for president of the International Tennis Federation.

David Haggerty is a vice president of the ITF. The other candidates for the ITF top office are Anil Khanna of India, Juan Margets Lobato of Spain and Rene Stammbach of Switzerland.

The new President will replace outgoing ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti, who will step down after 16 years in office.

 

Nominations for election to the ITF Board of Directors have also been made by Class B Member Nations who fully meet ITF constitutional criteria. The following nominations have been received by the closing date for resolutions for the 2015 AGM, 25 May:

 

Katrina Adams (USA)

*  Tarak Cherif (TUN)

Martin Corrie (GBR)

Goran Djokovic (SRB)

*  Sergio Elias (CHI)

Ismail El Shafei (EGY)

Jose Luis Escañuela Romana (ESP)

Luisanna Fodde (ITA)

Rodolfo Garcia Muriel (MEX)

Bernard Giudicelli (FRA)

*  Jack Graham (CAN)

*  David Haggerty (USA)

*  Stephen Healy (AUS)

*  Anil Khanna (IND)

Ulrich Klaus (GER)

Thomas Koenigsfeldt (DEN)

Jorge Lacerda da Rosa (BRA)

Celia Patrick (NZL)

Aleksei Selivanenko (RUS)

*  Rene Stammbach (SUI)

Predrag Stojcevic (CRO)

Surendran Subramaniam (SRI)

Stefan Tzvetkov (BUL)

Ayda Uluc (TUR)

Bulat Utemuratov (KAZ)

Karin van Bijsterveld (NED)

* Incumbent Board Member

 

The length of term for Board members has been increased from two to four years after a motion was passed at the 2014 ITF AGM in Dubai.

 

The ITF is the world governing body of tennis and beach tennis, responsible for the rules of both sports and maintaining the integrity of tennis. The ITF is the owner and rightsholder of the two largest annual international team competitions in sport, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, and manages the Olympic Tennis Event on behalf of the IOC. The ITF’s highly regarded Tennis Development Department oversees the development of tennis worldwide and, through its Science and Technical Department, monitors both equipment and technology. Its Officiating Department oversees the education and advancement of officials worldwide. The ITF organises over 1,000 weeks of men’s and women’s professional tournaments on the ITF Pro Circuit and manages the ITF Junior Circuit and team competitions, the ITF Beach Tennis Tour, the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Tour and the ITF Seniors Circuit. The ITF also manages the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme on behalf of the sport and is a partner in the Tennis Integrity Unit. Visit www.itftennis.com, www.twitter.com/ITF_Tennis, www.Facebook.com/InternationalTennisFederation

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United States Tennis Association Media Conference with USTA French Open Wild Cards Louisa Chirico and Frances Tiafoe

United States Tennis Association Media Conference Transcript

May 11, 2015

Louisa Chirico

Frances Tiafoe

THE MODERATOR:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Welcome to today’s teleconference.  Joining us today on the line are Frances Tiafoe and Louisa Chirico, the winners of the 2015 Har‑Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge.
Both Frances and Louisa will be competing in the French Open for the first time later this month after earning wild cards into the main draw.
At this time we’ll open up the call for questions.

Q.  Frances, your first visit to the French Open last year didn’t go probably quite as well as you had expected.  What did you learn from that that you’ll take into this year’s tournament?
FRANCES TIAFOE:  Well, definitely this year I’m a wild card.  Last year I was one seed in juniors.  Had a lot of pressure on me.  Now I’m going in with no pressure.  Just going to have a lot of fun, just play my game.  Going to soak it all in.

Q.  Could you clarify for me what your coaching situation is.  I read recently that you’re working with Jose Higueras.  Can you explain how that is working.
FRANCES TIAFOE:  Today we had our first practice.  It went good.  I’ve worked with him in the past before.  I think he’s a really good coach.
I think it was a smart move for me.  He’s coached a lot of great players in the past.  He’s also a great player himself.  I thought I needed some extra information.

Q.  Have you played your last Kalamazoo?
FRANCES TIAFOE:  That’s a tough question.  I know you love the tournament more than anything.  I know you’re there every year.
I’m still up in the air whether I’ll be taking a flight to Kalamazoo in the future.

Q.  Frances, I’d read that you liked some of the clay court players from Argentina.  I wanted to ask about what’s drawn you to clay or what you most love about playing on clay courts, then also what you liked about del Potro and Puerta’s approach to playing clay court tennis?
FRANCES TIAFOE:  He’s really the only Argentinian player I like other than Nalbandian.  He has such a good game, hits the ball so hard.  I’d really like to model my game after that, first‑strike tennis, yeah.
I also like his personality.  He loves the game.  The crowds really love to watch him play, and so do I.

Q.  About signing with Roc Nation.  There have been some hip hop performers who know tennis really well.  What have your conversations with Jay Z been like in terms of tennis and also your future?
FRANCES TIAFOE:  We haven’t had too many conversations yet.  I’ve been on the road a lot.  Haven’t really seen him.
I’m sure he has great expectations for me.  Hopefully I can reach my goals, my ultimate goals.

Q.  Louisa, obviously a battle down the stretch for you and Kat to get the wild card.  What are you looking forward to for your first slam main draw?
LOUISA CHIRICO:  Yeah, I mean, we had a couple of tough battles over the last three weeks.  To win the wild card just means so much.
I’m really excited to go play in Paris.  It will be my first Grand Slam main draw.  It’s really exciting and I’m looking forward to it.

Q.  Frances, do you think having been on the grounds of the French Open, not having it be totally new, will make it an easier transition to this big level?
FRANCES TIAFOE:  Yeah, for sure, for sure.  Knowing everything, whatnot, it’s definitely going to be a better experience.
Louisa went pretty far in the juniors herself.  I think she likes Paris a little more than I do.

Q.  Louisa, can you talk about the Wild Card Challenge and how you feel about the process of earning the wild card through the USTA Pro Circuit events.
LOUISA CHIRICO:  Yeah, I think it’s a great idea.  It’s a great opportunity for all of us as players to compete for it.  Over the three weeks, there’s obviously very heavy competition.  It’s nice to be able to compete and then earn the wild card.
Yeah, I think it’s a great opportunity that the USTA’s given us.

Q.  What was it like for you?  It was a very tight race.  You clinched it at the very end.
LOUISA CHIRICO:  Yeah, I think all of us were kind of playing under pressure for those three weeks.  We all fought really hard and all obviously really wanted the wild card.
It did come down to the last week, which is great.  I’m really happy to have won it at the end.  So, yeah, I’m really excited.

Q.  Frances, what do you think of the whole process of earning the wild card through the USTA Pro Circuit?
FRANCES TIAFOE:  It was good.  Three weeks, I think whoever wins it well deserves it.  You have three good weeks, all the Americans that play, it’s well‑deserved.  It’s three tough events.
I think it’s good.  All the best young Americans are going to play.  I think it’s definitely a good way to get a wild card like that.  Everyone will compete harder knowing they have that on the line.

Q.  I wonder if it makes things a little easier playing your first Grand Slam not at the US Open, somewhere outside the States.  The US Open brings a whole different set of pressures.  Tell me if you’re happy to get started on this journey somewhere else.
LOUISA CHIRICO:  Yeah, to me, I don’t think it would really make a difference being at the US Open or any other Grand Slam.
I think playing Grand Slam main draw for the first time is obviously going to be a new experience.  There are going to be new feelings and emotions that you haven’t experienced before.  It’s all very new and very exciting.
But, yeah, I’m very excited it will be at the French Open.  I do love the clay.  I’ve had some good success in the juniors there.  I’m really looking forward to playing there for the first time in the pros.

Q.  How about you, Frances?  Similar feelings?
FRANCES TIAFOE:  I mean, I would prefer it to be the Open.  I love the clay and everything, but being an American, playing at the Open, I had an unbelievable crowd in quallies on Court 17 last year.  I really like playing in front of the big crowds, people going crazy for you.  You play better, it’s more fun.  Hopefully I can play main draw there this year.
But it’s going to be great for me to go and play in the French Open main draw.  I’m very excited.  Could be a good one, you know what I mean?

Q.  Louisa, you’ve always said that clay has been your favorite surface.  Usually someone from New York who plays a lot indoors doesn’t have that same affection for clay.  Where did that come from and how does it suit your game?
LOUISA CHIRICO:  Actually, I did grow up playing most of the summers on clay, which I know is rare, especially for someone from New York, because we play indoors most of the winter.
For the summertime I grew up on clay.  That’s maybe why I’m so comfortable on it.  It does suit my game.  I play a little bit heavier than some of the girls who play flat.  It suits my game.  I guess I’ve always just loved it.  I move pretty well on it, so yeah.

Q.  Do you notice a big difference between the Har‑Tru and the red clay?
LOUISA CHIRICO:  Yeah, I mean, they are different.  The red clay is a little bit softer.  The Har‑Tru, obviously it’s a little bit different.  The courts are not always the same.  It can vary based on clubs and different circumstances, where you’re playing.
But yeah, I mean, they are similar, too.  Movement‑wise.  They’re obviously much slower than hard court or grass.

Q.  A bit of a strange question.  Who would you most like to or least like to play in the first round at Roland Garros?
LOUISA CHIRICO:  That is tough.  This is maybe a weird answer, but I would actually like the opportunity to play Serena, just because you never know.  I think she’s obviously one of the best around right now.  It would be such a great opportunity to play her just to see what the level is like, how she competes and plays.  It would be such an honor to play against her.
I don’t really have an answer for a least favorite.  That’s pretty difficult to answer.  There’s no one that I would, you know, not want to play.

Q.  Frances?
FRANCES TIAFOE:  I mean, for me, everyone’s good.  For me, my most favorite would be to play Monfils.  That would be really fun.  He’ll get the crowd into it.  I’ll try to get the crowd into it.  You know what I mean?  I think it will be really fun.
My least favorite player, who wants to play Nadal at the French Open?  I mean, if I did play him, I obviously like him, but I think there’s better people to play than him in Paris.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, everyone, for joining us.  I’d especially like to thank Frances and Louisa.  We wish them both good luck in the French.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Related Story:

Louisa Chirico Claims USTA French Open Wild Card

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Louisa Chirico Claims USTA French Open Wild Card

(May 10, 2015) Harrison, New York teen Louisa Chirico, gained a USTA wild card into the French Open.

Stewart won the title in Indian Harbour Beach today in three sets and also reached the final in both Dothan and at the $50,000 event in Charlottesville, Va. However, by rule of the Har-Tru Wild Card Challenge, in the event of a tie, the player with the best WTA singles ranking in the published WTA rankings of Monday, May 11, 2015, will be awarded the wild card.  Since Chirico will have the better WTA singles ranking on Monday, she is awarded the wild card. As of Sunday, Chirico is ranked No. 120 in the world and Stewart is ranked No. 201. Chirico will be ranked higher than Stewart tomorrow.

The 18-year-old will join Frances Tiafoe, a 17-year-old from Maryland who is the men’s USTA wild card, at the French Open which begins May 24 in Paris.

Any American that did not receive direct entry into the 2015 French Open was eligible for the wild card, awarded to the man and woman who earn the most ATP/WTA ranking points at select USTA Pro Circuit clay court events. The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2015 French and US Opens are exchanged. USTA Player Development awards the women’s wild card to the player who accumulates the greatest number of WTA ranking points at two of three USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 clay-court events—the Hardee’s Pro Classic in Dothan, Ala., the Boyd Tinsley Clay Court Classic in Charlottesville, Va., and the Revolution Technologies Pro Tennis Classic in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla.

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Teenager Frances Tiafoe Claims USTA French Open Wild Card

Francis Tiafoe photo by Cynthia Lum / USTA

Francis Tiafoe photo by Cynthia Lum / USTA

(May 2, 2015) Frances Tiafoe, 17, of College Park, Md., will make his Grand Slam main draw debut after earning a main draw wild card into the French Open by winning the 2015 Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge. Tiafoe, who turned pro in early April and is currently ranked a career-high No. 381 in the world, clinched the wild card on Friday evening by winning his semifinal match at the $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit Challenger in Tallahassee, Fla., against fellow American Tennys Sandgren. On Saturday, Tiafoe competed in his first career USTA Pro Circuit Challenger final in Tallahassee against Facundo Arguello, falling in three sets. Tiafoe finished the wild card challenge with 77 points, reaching the Tallahassee final and advancing to the semifinals of the $50,000 Challenger in Savannah, Ga., and the quarterfinals of the $100,000 Challenger in Sarasota, Fla. Tiafoe led the Har-Tru Wild Card Challenge standings throughout the three weeks of the challenge.

 

“I am excited to play in my first career main draw Grand Slam,” says Tiafoe. “This is a big opportunity for me, as it’s a stepping stone for my career. I plan on competing as hard as I can to give myself the best chances to win.”

 

The USTA awards one men’s and women’s singles wild card into the French Open to an American, who may not have otherwise had the opportunity, based on results on the USTA Pro Circuit. The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2015 French and US Opens are exchanged. USTA Player Development awards the men’s wild card to the player who earns the greatest number of ATP ranking points at a series of USTA Pro Circuit clay-court challengers—$100,000 Sarasota and two $50,000 events in Savannah and in Tallahassee.

 

The women’s Har-Tru Wild Card Challenge concludes next week with the $50,000 event in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. Louisa Chirico, Katerina Stewart, and Allie Kiick are frontrunners, as Chirico won the $50,000 event in Dothan, Ala., last Sunday and Stewart will be competing in her second consecutive USTA Pro Circuit final tomorrow in Charlottesville, Va., set to face Kiick.

 

Tiafoe won his first USTA Pro Circuit singles title earlier this year at the $15,000 Futures in Bakersfield, Calif. He also reached two additional USTA Pro Circuit singles finals earlier in the year and served as a practice partner for the U.S. Davis Cup team against Great Britain in Scotland this March. Last year, Tiafoe competed in US Open qualifying, but has never competed at any other Grand Slam event.

 

As a junior, Tiafoe ascended to No. 2 in the ITF World Junior Rankings last year and reached the boys’ singles semifinals at the 2014 US Open. He won the prestigious Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships in December 2013 in Plantation, Fla., becoming the youngest Boys’ 18s champion in the 67 years of the event. He also took the title at the 2014 Easter Bowl junior tournament and reached the final of the 2014 USTA International Spring Championships. In 2012, Tiafoe won two significant 14-and-under tournaments (Les Petits As in Tarbes, France, and Teen Tennis in Bolton, England) and helped lead the United States to a gold medal in World Junior Tennis—the premier 14-and-under team competition. He is a product of the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md., a USTA Certified Regional Training Center, where he is coached by Misha Kouznetsov and Frank Salazar. Tiafoe’s upbringing has been the subject of national attention, as he and his brother, Franklin, practically grew up at the JTCC while their father, an immigrant from Sierra Leone, worked there as a maintenance man.

 

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

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Three Americans Headline Tallahassee Semifinals, Race For French Open Wild Card Continues

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By Taylor Crosby

(April 30, 2015) Tallahassee – Three Americans highlight the singles semifinals at the Tallahassee Tennis Challenger, kicking off Friday at 3pm at Forestmeadows Tennis Complex.

It’s an all-American semifinal as 23-year-old Tennys Sandgren and 17-year-old Frances Tiafoe face off.

Sandgren, who was a doubles champion here in 2013, defeated No.3 seed Frank Dancevic, Argentina’s Renzo Olivo, and No.6 seed Bjorn Fratangelo this week in Tallahasse.

Tiafoe is through to his second consecutive Challenger semifinal. The young gun defeated No.1 seed Facundo Bagnis, former FSU No.1 Jean-Yves Aubone, and Ecuador’s Emilio Gomez en route.

Both men are vying to win the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge for a chance to play in the French Open.

18-year-old American Jared Donaldson continues his run for a maiden Tallahassee

Tennis Challenger title as he takes on Argentina’s Facundo Arguello in the semifinals.

Donaldson, who won his first Challenger tour title earlier this year in Maui, won three tough battles en route to the semis, defeating FSU’s No.1 Benjamin Lock in the first round, No.8 seed James McGee in the second, and France’s Vincent Millot in the third.

No.5 seed Facundo Arguello is through to his first semifinal in Tallahassee. The Argentine has qualified for three ATP main draw events this year. He beat three Americans to advance to the semis: Stefan Kozlov, Tommy Paul, and Mitchell Krueger.

The Indian duo of Somdev Devvarman and Sanam Singh booked their spot in the doubles final with a tough 7-6(10), 6-4 win over the Argentinian pair of Facundo Arguello and Andrea Collarini.

Devvarman/Singh are looking for their first Challenger doubles title together.

In 2013, the tournament made a switch from hard courts to Har-Tru green clay, making it the final stop of the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge and joining forces with other USTA Pro Circuit events in Sarasota and Savannah. In the Challenge, the American with the most rankings points in two of the three events earns the U.S. wild card into the French Open. Tiafoe leads the Wild Card Challenge Standings with 47 points. Donaldson follows with 33 and Sandgren has 7.

 

Results – Thursday, April 30

Singles Quarterfinals

Tennys Sandgren (USA) d [6] Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) 6-2, 6-2

[5] Facundo Arguello (Argentina) d Mitchell Krueger (USA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4

Jared Donaldson (USA) d Vincent Millot (France) 6-4, 7-6(4)

Frances Tiafoe (USA) d Emilio Gomez (Ecuador) 6-1, 7-6(2)

Doubles Semifinal

Somdev Devvarman (India)/Sanam Singh (India) d Facundo Arguello (Argentina)/Andrea Collarini (Argentina) 7-6(10), 6-4

Order of Play – Friday, May 1

Center Court – 3pm

Frances Tiafoe (USA) vs. Tennys Sandgren (USA)

Not before 5:30pm

Jared Donaldson (USA) vs. Facundo Arguello (Argentina)

Alex Kuznetsov (USA)/Tennys Sandgren (USA) vs. Dennis Novikov (USA)/Julio Peralta (Chile)

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US Falls to Italy in Fed Cup World Group Play-off

Flavia Pennetta

Flavia Pennetta

(April 19, 2015) Italy has now won five straight Fed cup ties against the United States with their 3-2 win on Sunday in the World Group playoff in Brindisi, Italy.

No. 1 Serena Williams had to fight her way back against Sara Errani to take the first match of the day 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3 to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead over Italy.

“Today has been a big eye opener,” Williams said. “I need to go home and train.  I am totally not ready for clay court season as I thought I was.  This was a great match for me, even if I had lost, I think it would have been a wonderful match.  That is one good thing about playing Fed Cup and things like this it gives you the practice that you normally would not get.”

 

In the second match, hometown girl Flavia Pennetta demolished Christina McHale 6-1, 6-1 to even up the tie at 2-2.

The final rubber of the tie which was the doubles, saw Williams lost her first match of her Fed Cup career when she paired with Alison Riske and fell to Pennetta and Errani 6-0, 6-3 which sealed the tie for Italy.

Williams is now 13-0 in Singles and 3-1 in doubles in Fed Cup competition.

On playing against Pennetta and Errani in doubles, Williams said: “They are a very solid team and obviously, they have both been No. 1 in doubles.  I have been No. 1, so I felt like I had the opportunity to take some chances and do the best I can.  They were the better team today and ultimately, they got the win, which they deserved since they played better.”

Italy will return to the World Group and can compete for the Fed Cup trophy in 2016 while the U.S. will fall to World Group II.

Asked about the future of the U. S. Fed Cup team, Captain Mary Joe Fernandez said: “I think it is a big challenge.  We have to work harder.  We came close today and just keep plugging away.  The good news is that we have a lot of players in the Top 100 and hopefully, we can get two wins next year and get back into the World Group.”

 

The 2016 Fed Cup draw will be made in June.

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U.S. and Italy End Day One at 1-1 in Fed Cup

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(April 18, 2015) After day one, the United States and Italy are ties at 1-1 in the Fed Cup World Group Playoff being played at Circolo Tennis Brindisi in Brindisi, Italy.

World No. 1 Serena Williams led off the day holding off world No. 36 Camila Giorgi, 7-6(5), 6-2, raising her Fed Cup singles record to 12-0.

“The first set was tough,” said Williams. “I needed to stay calm and make more shots, especially the deeper ones. I think I was hitting them short. So once I started hitting deeper, things worked out.”

“Camila played really well and had a great game plan. That is the player she is. She goes for it a lot. I love to watch her play because she is so feisty on the court. I love her game how she hits so hard.  I know her game really well, so it was not a surprise.”

Sara Errani leveled the tie in the next match, demolishing Lauren Davis, making her singles debut for the United States 6-1, 6-2 in 70 minutes.

“It was a good experience for me,” Davis said.  “I thought I handled myself well.  Sara played very well and was solid and consistent. Given the situation, I think I did okay.”

“Lauren competed really well,” said US Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “It is a tough match-up on clay.  Sara has so much experience and defends so well and is also very aggressive.  I thought there were a few games where Lauren had opportunities where it was deuce or break point.  Against a player of that caliber, you have to win those games and then maybe you have a chance.  Sara played really well under pressure and those points very well.”

The winner of the tie this weekend will return to World Group 1 and can compete for the Fed Cup next year while the loser will fall back into World Group II.

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