Inside The US Open Coming Out Later This Year

“After the epic Wimbledon match, Nadal hugged his parents,shook the hand of Federer’s father in the players’ box and shook the hands of the Spanish Crown Prince Felipe in the royal box.After beating Federer in straight sets in the final at Roland Garros in June, Nadal said he limited his celebration out of respect for his opponent.” p. 36.

That quote from Inside The US Open will be replicated with much more as one of our writers, Richard Kent will be updating his well received book on the ins and outs of the Open after this year’s event.

Kent will again focus on ballboys, referees, juniors, senior players, broadcasters,etc. in providing the reader with a true inside look at the greatest sporting event in the world.

The update is due out in December, 2011.

Florida’s Andre Alexandre Lacroix Beats Kentucky’s Eric Quigley To Win Wild-Card Into Future USTA Event

ST. HELENA, Calif., (Sept. 26, 2010) – The NCAA meets USTA experiment was deemed a huge success by all the parties involved as the final day of the Land Rover Napa Valley Tennis Classic concluded at the Meadowood Resort on Sunday.

Florida senior Alexandre Lacroix started his morning beating U.S. Open champion and newly turned 18-year-old Jack Sock, 6-3, 6-1 and then mowed his way through the championship tiebreaker round beating Cal’s Nick Andrews, 10-3, and then taking out a pair of Kentucky players — Alex Musialek, 10-6, in the semifinals and Eric Quigley, 10-7, in the final, to win the 10th annual event which pitted four players from six top collegiate teams and eight top USTA juniors.

USTA Director of Men’s Tennis Jay Berger announced after the match that Lacroix would receive a USTA wild card into a future professional event. Lacroix was also honored with the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player Award named in the memory of former Meadowood member Norma Miner.

“It was a great weekend for me,” Lacroix said. “It’s tough in those tiebreakers because not always the best player wins. I just tried to play smart and not make too many mistakes.”

After three days of round-robin play, the eight flight winners moved onto the quarterfinal tiebreaker round. Two USTA juniors advanced that far, including Mitchell Frank of Annandale, Va., who was the only junior on the weekend to win all three of his matches.

“You just kind of say a little prayer and hope you play well,” said Frank of the tiebreaker shootout in which he lost in the first round, 12-10, to Musialek. “It was a great weekend for me. I got some good experience and liked playing against the collegiate guys.”

USTA junior Alexios Halebian of Glendale, Calif., finished second in his flight, but advanced on to the tiebreaker shootout after Texas had to leave early. Halebian fell to Quigley 12-10 in his quarterfinal match. “I missed an easy forehand that would have given me a game-point,” Halebian said. “But what can you do? You just try and play it safe and not go for too much.”

Tournament Director Doug King said the Napa Valley event has been a huge success in the past and took a chance this year altering the format and inviting the USTA juniors. “We’ll tweak it a little bit if we think we can make it better in the future,” King said. “But all indications are it was a really great event. Everyone seemed happy.

“This is the highlight of the year for us. This is one of the premier events for the spectators and a little bit of a different venue then some of the players are used to. They get a little bit of a different flavor at an event like this.”

Marcos Giron of Thousand Oaks, Calif., was one of the day’s highlights for the USTA as he beat Florida’s Bob Van Overbeek, 7-5, 7-6 (5). He finished with two wins over the collegiates during the three days and just missed winning his flight.

In another tight match Sunday, USTA 15-year-old Mackenzie McDonald of Piedmont, Calif., fell to USC’s JT Sundling (USC) in a three-set tiebreaker, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (4).

Berger said Giron could have easily gone 3-0 as he was up a set and a break in his only loss, 6-4 in the third set to Musialek on Saturday. “This has overall been an incredible event,” Berger said. “It’s something if invited back we’ll do every year. The boys have taken it all in. They’ve competed hard and they’ve had a lot of success.

“We knew our olders players would do well and were a little concerned about our younger players, but they’ve all done well.”

USTA coach Ricardo Acuna agreed: “I think it’s a good environment to see what the next level is for them. I think they’ve done pretty well and still have a lot to learn. They’re young so this kind of opened their eyes a little bit on what they need to work on.”

USTA coach Jose Higueras said he hopes there will be more events featuring both collegiate players and the top juniors.

“We’re hoping to do this a couple of times during the year,” Higueras said. “I think it’s a great way for the USTA to deliver the message that we do care about college tennis and that we want to get some pros out of college tennis just like so many other sports do. Most of the kids are going to go to college. The percentage that turn pro is very, very small but at the same time just because you go to college doesn’t mean you can’t turn pro.”

DAY 3: Sunday’s Final Round-Robin Results

Note: Bold names moved onto tiebreaker shootout

Alex Musialek (Kentucky) def. Vasko Mladenov (Texas), 6-4, 6-2

Marcos Giron (USTA, Thousand Oaks, Calif.) def. Bob Van Overbeek (Florida), 7-5, 7-6 (5)

Jean Andersen (Texas) def. Alexios Halebian (USTA, Glendale, Calif.), 7-6 (3), 6-3*

Jaak Poldma (USC) def. David Holiner (Texas), 7-6 (3), 6-4

Sekou Bangoura (Florida) def. Mitchell Krueger (USTA, Aledo, Texas), 6-3, 4-6, 6-0

Ed Corrie (Texas) def. Bruno Abdelnour (Illinois), 6-4, 7-6 (4)*

Johnny Hamui (Illinois) def. Christoffer Konigsfeldt (Cal), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (5)

Eric Quigley (Kentucky) def. Raymond Sarmiento (USC), 6-7 (9), 6-4, 6-4

Anthony Rossi (Kentucky) def. Jonathan Dahan (Cal), 6-1, 7-5

Daniel Nguyen (USC) def. Nassim Slilam (Florida), wo, injury

Nick Andrews (Cal) def. Hunter Harrington (USTA, Spartanburg, S.C.), 6-3, 6-1

Alexandre Lacroix (Florida) def. Jack Sock (USTA, Lincoln, Neb.), 6-3, 6-1

Bjorn Fratangelo (USTA, Pittsburgh, Pa.) def. Carlos Cueto (Cal), wo, injury

Mitchell Frank (USTA, Annandale, Va.) def. Abe Souza (Illinois), 6-2, ret.

Dennis Nevolo (Illinois) def. Maks Gold (Kentucky), 6-1, 6-0

JT Sundling (USC) def. Mackenzie McDonald (USTA, Piedmont, Calif.), 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (4)

Note: Both Andersen and Corrie from Texas won their respective flights but had to leave early. Halebian and Andrews took their spots in the tiebreak tournament.

Championship Tiebreaker Round

Quarterfinals

Eric Quigley (Kentucky) def. Alexios Halebian (USTA, Glendale, Calif.), 11-9

Alex Musialek (Kentucky) def. Mitchell Frank (USTA, Annandale, Va.), 12-10

Dennis Nevolo (Illinois) def. Sekou Bangoura (Florida), 12-10

Alexandre Lacroix (Florida) def. Nick Andrews (Cal), 10-3

Semifinals

Eric Quigley (Kentucky) def. Dennis Nevolo (Illinois), 10-5

Alexandre Lacroix (Florida) def. Alex Musialek (Kentucky), 10-6

Final

Alexandre Lacroix (Florida) def. Eric Quigley (Kentucky), 10-7

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.

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.

It’s a Wonderful Life for Beatrice Capra

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Now that Melanie Oudin is out of the US Open, we reporter types always need a new Cinderella story to report.

Enter Beatrice Capra.

If you haven’t heard of her, don’t sweat it as she’s ranked 317 in the world. But with her first Top 20 win against the 18th seed Aravane Rezai, 7-5 2-6 6-3, has put the 18 year-old right in Oudin territory.

And that suits the Maryland native just alright.

“I really look up to Melanie,” said Capra, who is playing in her first US Open.  “I watched all of her matches last year, and I was just so happy for her.  You know, it was really inspiring to me because I played her a year before, and then she was getting to the quarters of a Grand Slam.  It was just unbelievable, and I was so happy for her.

“You know, I think she’s pushed all of the Americans to do better.  I mean, for sure I talk to Melanie a lot, and I will for sure ask anything about Maria Sharapova.”

Although she may be seeking Sharapova’s advice, that may have to wait, because Capra may play the 14th seed Russian pending the results against Iveta Benesova laster tonight.

And that’s alright because right now, Capra is the talk on the Open. She was born to an Italian family and her father emigrated to America. “He’s from Monza,” Capra said, “and he came over to start his business, which it’s called the Tenax Corporation.  It’s an Italian company, so he started it in America.  While he was there in Maryland, my mom taught tennis lessons.  He wanted to take tennis lessons, so they met up and here I am.”

Her last answer got a round of laughs from the press conference and much like Oudin this young lady is very engaging as she moves up the ranks.

She trains at Chris Everett’s Tennis Academy and earned a wildcard into this tournament. As such, she has a tremendous confidence in the last 12 months.

“A year ago today I was actually playing the juniors here,”   I’ve been playing mostly juniors tournaments the entire year and concentrating on that.  I’ve played a couple of pro circuit events and done okay, but it’s been mostly juniors.”

“I played a couple of WTA events this year, and lost first round in the quallies in all of them.  So, I mean, this is definitely the best I’ve done so far.”

She played a very strong defensive game today, but feels she needs to be more aggressive if she’s going to move forward.

Of course all of this may end on Saturday when she faces Sharapova or Benesova, but right now she’s enjoying it.

“Well, yeah.  I mean, I always wanted to play in one of the Grand Slams,” she said.  “You know, I would be watching the Tennis Channel leading up.  It’s just like, you know, I always wanted that.

“Whenever I want something, you know, I do my best to get it.  You know, every day I would be like, I want this, I want this, and I just can’t, you know, believe that it’s happening.”

Turely, this Capra is living a Wonderful Life.

Sweet Caroline Smiles To The Semis

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Although America’s Sweetheart is out, “Sweet Caroline” is still plaing music at the Open. And with Melanie Oudin going home, Caroline Wozniacki becomes the story in Flushing.

The attractive 19 year-old from Denmark, has slowly been improving and now has reached her first Semifinals at a Grand Slam. She is just soaking in every minute as she emerges into the tennis spotlight.

“It’s an amazing feeling, especially when you’re playing at night,” she said. “Playing on Arthur Ashe Stadium, 23,000 people watching you going on the court, I mean, you cannot really describe the atmosphere. It’s just magical. It’s amazing.”

What was amazing was how this cool Scandinavian came in with a game plan against the sentimental favorite Oudin. Instead of playing her game, she stayed back and let the 17 year-old’s inexperience come out. The result was a 6-2, 6-2 win and a trip to meet Yanina Wickmayer in the Semifinals.

“Yeah, today definitely I was like, I have to get as many balls back as possible and try to make her run,” she said. “Keep her on her backhand, but also, you know, make her run on her forehand. That was my goal, and I think it was a good way to play the match today.”

Even with Oudin on the court, it’s are to root against this attractive 19 year-old because of her sunny disposition. Her million dollar smile lights up the room as she graciously speaks about her opponents.

And that includes her Semifinal partner Wickmayer. Both player each other in juniors and Wozniaski says they are friends. Although she won’t let anything else out of the bag.

“I’ve tried not to watch too much tennis while I was here,” she said. “I mean, I watched Melanie’s matches because they were shown a lot. She’s a young player coming up, so I wanted to see her play. But I haven’t seen Yanina playing too much this tournament, but I know her really well from the juniors and we’ve played each other growing up.

“So, I mean right now I’m just so happy I’m in the Semifinals. I’m just going to enjoy a day off tomorrow, and I’ll talk to my dad who is also my coach about the strategy. But right now, I don’t really have any.”

One thing she will be doing is trying to stay positive and not let anything get to her. Against Oudin, Wozniacki just tried to stay positive through the whole match, which allowed her the easy victory.

“Today especially today it was important for me just to keep positive, try to just fight for every point,” she said. Because I knew if I show her too much emotions she will pick it up straightaway. I’ve seen that before in her matches. I mean, the crowd helped her through, as well. So today was just important, just to keep positive, keep fighting for every point.”

Off the court, Wozniacki just tries to keep it cool. Right now she doesn’t have a boyfriend, yet has a sense of humor about it. Earlier today Wickmayer joked to the Belgian press that there were 2000 boyfriends out there for her.

Not so in Denmark apparently.

“I haven’t read the newspapers in Denmark, but I’m sure they can find a boyfriend for me,” she said. “I don’t have any real boyfriends right now, and usually I keep to one.”

Don’t worry though with her style, looks and personality, Sweet Caroline should have no problem finding the right man.