USTA Juniors Fare Well On Day 1 of Unique Collegiate Event

ST. HELENA, Calif., (Sept. 24, 2010) – The USTA brought their best to Napa Valley for the annual Land Rover Napa Valley Tennis Classic and the elite eight juniors ended up having a  red-letter first day.

The juniors faced off against players from six of the nation’s top collegiate teams and won six of the eight singles matches, led by U.S. Open boys’ champion Jack Sock, who beat Johnny Hamui of Illinois, 6-4, 6-3, on Sock’s 18th birthday.

“I’m not tired because I actually haven’t been playing or practicing that much since the Open,” said Sock, a senior at Blue Valley North High School, who also won the Kalamazoo National 18s and played in the main draw at the Open. “I had kind of a long summer. It was nice to get back to school. I had people I didn’t even know coming up to me and congratulating me, like I was a mini-celebrity.”

This is the first year the juniors have been invited to play in the unique event run for the past 10 years by University of Cal-Berkeley Coach Peter Wright and Meadowood Director of Tennis Doug King.

Wright said he was elated to see the juniors do so well. “That’s part of the allure of this event; to see how well the juniors will do,” Wright said. “I think we have a pretty good cross-section of college players with some top guys and then some of the middle-range guys on the team.

“Some of the juniors are playing an incredible level of tennis. It’s great. I think after one day every one is encouraged. I think the juniors are happy, the USTA is happy and the college guys are happy. Someone asked me how I would feel if the juniors beat the college guys and I said that would actually be a good thing. It’s good for American tennis.”

Joining Sock in the winner’s circle on Friday were Alexios Halebian, Mitchell Krueger, Marcos Giron, Mitchell Frank and MacKenzie McDonald. Bjorn Fratangelo and Hunter Harrington each suffered defeats.

The collegiates did manage to win all three doubles matches played against the juniors, but it was a dominating day in singles for the juniors.

“My mindset was that it was just another match,” said the 17-year-old Giron of Thousand Oaks, Calif., who beat Vasko Mladenov of Texas, 6-3, 6-4. “Obviously he’s a good player because he’s in college. I actually feel less pressure because the college guys want to win and don’t want to lose to players so much younger than them.”

Sixteen-year-old Mitchell Krueger was another one of the elite eight juniors selected to play. In his match, he defeated USC’s Jaak Poldma, 7-6 (3), 6-2. “I played really well and served pretty well,” said Krueger. “It was fun. It’s so nice and relaxed up here. I love it.”

Poldma lost to Tennessee’s Rhyne Williams at No. 3 singles in the championship of the NCAAs last May. Despite his loss, the Trojans went on to win their second straight NCAA title. The Most Outstanding Player in that event was also in action on Friday in Napa as Daniel Nguyen fell to Halebian, 16, of Glendale, Calif., in an entertaining three-setter, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-4.

The two-time defending champion USC Trojans lost all four of their singles matches on Friday.

Krueger, 16, of Aledo, Texas, said he has played a few college players in the past, but was grateful for the experience on Friday. “I didn’t really know what to expect,” he said. “Now I know a little bit better where I’m at.”

Krueger said an event like this might even give him a better idea of whether or not to turn pro. “It just depends on how I do. I’m right in the middle right now.”

Each school is represented by four players to compete alongside the eight juniors, and the 32-man field is split into eight pools featuring three collegians and a junior. Following three matches in pool play, the eight pool winners will compete in a single-elimination, 10-point tiebreak tournament. The winner of the tournament will receive a USTA-sponsored wild card into a USTA Pro Circuit event that is yet to be determined.

The juniors were selected by USTA Player Development based on ATP rankings (if applicable), national rankings and results, and a selection of younger players for developmental purposes.

Friday’s singles results

Eric Quigley (Kentucky) def. Bjorn Fratangelo (USTA, Pittsburgh, Pa.), 7-6 (8), 6-7 (9), 6-1

Carlos Cueto (Cal) def. Raymond Sarmiento (USC), 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4)

Abe Souza (Illinois) def. Anthony Rossi (Kentucky), 7-5, 6-2

Jean Andersen (Texas) def. Nassim Slilam (Florida), 6-1, 6-2

Mitchell Krueger (USTA, Aledo, Texas) def. Jaak Poldma (USC), 7-6 (3), 6-2

Nick Andrews (Cal) def. Bruno Abdelnour (Illinois), 6-4, 6-2

Mitchell Frank (USTA, Annandale, Va.) def. Pedro Zerbini (Cal), 6-2, 6-7 (3), 7-5

Marcos Giron (USTA, Thousand Oaks, Calif.) def. Vasko Mladenov (Texas), 6-3, 6-4

Ed Corrie (Texas) def. Hunter Harrington (USTA, Spartanburg, S.C.), 6-4, 6-1

Alexandre Lacroix (Florida) def. Christoffer Konigsfeldt (Cal), 6-1, 6-3

Bob Van Overbeek (Florida), def. Alex Musialek (Kentucky), 6-4, 6-3

Jack Sock (USTA, Lincoln, Neb.) def. Johnny Hamui (Illinois), 6-4, 6-3

MacKenzie McDonald (USTA, Piedmont, Calif.) def. Maks Gold (Kentucky), 6-4, 6-2

Dennis Nevolo (Illinois) def. JT Sundling (USC), 6-4, 6-2

Sekou Bangoura (Florida) def. David Holiner (Texas), 2-6, 6-0, 6-1

Alexios Halebian (USTA, Glendale, Calif.) def. Daniel Nguyen (USC), 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-4

Friday’s doubles results

Nick Andrews / Christoffer Konigsfeldt (Cal) def. Dennis Nevolo / Johnny Hamui (Illinois), 8-4

Eric Quigley (Kentucky) / Alex Musialek (Kentucky) def. Ed Corrie / Jean Andersen (Texas), 9-7

Vasko Mladenov / David Holiner (Texas) def. Mackenzie Macdonald / Hunter Harrington (USTA), 8-5

Alexandre Lacroix / Nassim Slilam (Florida), def. Jaak Poldma / JT Sundling (USTA), 8-5

Bob Van Overbeek / Sekou Bangoura (Florida) def. Mitchell Krueger / Bjorn Fratangelo (USTA), 8-6

Daniel Nguyen / Raymond Sarmiento (USC) def. Jack Sock / Mitchell Frank (USTA), 9-7

DAY 2: Saturday’s Schedule

10:30 a.m.

Eric Quigley (Kentucky) v. Carlos Cueto (Cal)

Bjorn Fratangelo (USTA) v. Raymond Sarmiento (USC)

Dennis Nevolo (Illinois) v. MacKenzie McDonald (USTA)

JT Sundling (USC) v. Maks Gold (Kentucky)

Bob Van Overbeek (Florida) v. Vasko Mladenov (Texas)

11:30 a.m.

Pedro Zerbini (Cal) v. Abe Souza (Illinois)

Noon

Bruno Abdelnour (Illinois) v. Hunter Harrington (USTA)

Alex Musialek (Kentucky) v. Marcos Giron (USTA)

1:00 p.m.

David Holiner (Texas) v. Mitchell Krueger (USTA)

Ed Corrie (Texas) v. Nick Andrews (Cal)

Alexandre Lacroix (Florida) v. Johnny Hamui (Illinois)

2:00 p.m.

Christoffer Konigsfeldt (Cal) v. Jack Sock (USTA)

Anthony Rossi (Kentucky) v. Mitchell Frank (USTA)

3:00 p.m.

Daniel Nguyen (USC) v. Jean Andersen (Texas)

Nassim Slilam (Florida) v. Alexios Halebian (USTA)

4:00 p.m.

Jaak Poldma (USC) v. Sekou Bangoura (Florida)

DAY 3: Sunday’s Schedule

8:00 a.m.

Alex Musialek (Kentucky) v. Vasko Mladenov (Texas)

Bob Van Overbeek (Florida) v. Marcos Giron (USTA)

Alexios Halebian (USTA) v. Jean Andersen (Texas)

Jaak Poldma (USC) v. David Holiner (Texas)

Sekou Bangoura (Florida) v. Mitchell Krueger (USTA)

Ed Corrie (Texas) v. Bruno Abdelnour (Illinois)

9:15 a.m.

Christoffer Konigsfeldt (Cal) v. Johnny Hamui (Illinois)

Eric Quigley (Kentucky) v. Raymond Sarmiento (USC)

Pedro Zerbini (Cal) v. Anthony Rossi (Kentucky)

10:30 a.m.

Daniel Nguyen (USC) v. Nassim Slilam (Florida)

Nick Andrews (Cal) v. Hunter Harrington (USTA)

Alexandre Lacroix (Florida) v. Jack Sock (USTA)

Carlos Cueto (Cal) v. Bjorn Fratangelo (USTA)

Abe Souza (Illinois) v. Mitchell Frank (USTA)

Dennis Nevolo (Illinois) v. Maks Gold (Kentucky)

JT Sundling (USC) v. MacKenzie McDonald (USTA)

The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level — from local communities to the highest level of the professional game.  A not-for-profit organization with 750,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game.  It owns and operates the US Open, and launched the Olympus US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open.  In addition, it owns the 90-plus Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S., is a minority owner and promotional partner of World TeamTennis, and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games.  USTA Serves, the National Charitable Foundation of the USTA, provides financial support for disadvantaged youth and people with disabilities through tennis and education programs.  For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com.

Meltzer and Petzschner Qualify for ATP world Tour Finals

LONDON, ENGLAND – Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner have qualified for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, scheduled to take place at The O2 in London from 21-28 November. The Austrian-German team joins the world’s top 2 doubles teams, Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan and Daniel Nestor & Nenad Zimonjic, as the first three teams to qualify for the doubles event.

Melzer & Petzschner currently stand in 7th place in the 2010 ATP Doubles Team Rankings, but they are nevertheless assured of their place in London by virtue of their Wimbledon Grand Slam title combined with a guaranteed finish inside the world’s top 20.

The team’s qualification was confirmed following Bob and Mike Bryan’s triumph over Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi in last weekend’s US Open final. The Indian-Pakistani team represented the only remaining threat to the Wimbledon champions, but defeat for Bopanna and Qureshi at Flushing Meadows finally sealed qualification for Melzer & Petzschner regardless of whether they finish inside the Top 8 of the 2010 ATP Doubles Team Rankings.

The remaining 2010 Grand Slam winning teams – Bryan/Bryan (Australian Open & US Open) & Nestor/Zimonjic (Roland Garros) – have already qualified thanks to guaranteed finishes inside the year-end Top 8.

Following his qualification in doubles, Melzer has now set his sights on making history by becoming the first player to qualify in both singles and doubles at the season-ending event since Emilio Sanchez (w/Casal) in 1990. Currently lying in 11th place in the Year-To-Date South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings, Melzer is poised to challenge for one of the elite eight singles berths as the season unfolds over the next two months.

“To qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London is one of the best things you can do. It’s great to qualify in doubles already and we look forward to being there. Of course, it would be great to be there in singles as well – it would be a huge achievement. If you qualify in singles and doubles, it means you’ve had one hell of a season!” said the Austrian No.1.

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have already qualified for the season-ending singles event. The remaining six places are still up for grabs, as a chasing pack featuring the likes of Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Andy Roddick continue to battle for rankings points at ATP World Tour events during the remainder of the season in order to finish among the Top 8.

Barclays ATP World Tour Finals – The Contenders
Year-to-Date South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings & 2010 ATP Doubles Team Rankings
Rank Player Points* Rank Team Points
1 R. Nadal (ESP) 10,840 1 Bryan/Bryan 9,875
2 R. Federer (SUI) 6,025 2 Nestor/Zimonjic 7,325
3 N. Djokovic (SRB) 4,755 3 Dlouhy/Paes 3,835
4 A. Murray (GRB) 4,045 4 Kubot/Marach 2,925
5 R. Soderling (SWE) 3,960 5 Moodie/Norman 2,880
6 T. Berdych (CZE) 3,535 6 Bopanna/Qureshi 2,800
7 A. Roddick (USA) 3,170 7 Bhupathi/Mirnyi 2,745
8 F. Verdasco (ESP) 3,140 7=. Melzer/Petzschner 2,745
- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – - - – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -
9 D. Ferrer (ESP) 3,000 9 Aspelin/Hanley 2,690
10 M. Youzhny (RUS) 2,510 10 Lindstedt/Tecau 2,650

Players in bold have qualified.
* Year-to-Date South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings FAQ