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Friday Tennis Blog: Federer Shocker; Osuigwe at ‘Bobby Curtis;’ More

FRENCH JR. GIRLS’ WINNER OSUIGWE AT ‘BOBBY CURTIS’

Whitney Osuigwe and younger sister Victoria at Altamonte Springs

Newly-minted French Open junior girls’ champion Whitney Osuigwe was at the USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior State Championships over the weekend at the Sanlando Park site in Altamonte Springs, supporting her younger sister Victoria who was competing in the Girls’ 12s division.

The 15-year-old Bradenton resident is a former “Bobby Curtis” champion herself, winning the Girls’ 14s doubles title with friend Sophia Edwards in 2014.

In Paris she was the first American to win the French Open girls’ title since fellow Floridian Jennifer Capriati raised the Roland Garros girls’ trophy in 1989 as a 13 year old. Capriati had won the “Bobby Curtis,” then known as the Florida State Junior Closed Championships, that same year.

 

PRO NOTES: MATTEK-SANDS DOING DOUBLES DUTY; FED FANS CAN DRY THEIR EYES

Bethanie Mattek-Sands (left) and CoCo Vandeweghe during the Fed Cup community event earlier this year in Tampa

Nineteen years ago the Florida-raised Bethanie Mattek-Sands won the USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior State Championships (then known as the Florida State Closed) in the Girls’ 14 division. One year later she turned pro, and the rest, as they say, is history.

With Serena Williams sidelined due to pregnancy, Mattek-Sands has taken over the mantle of No. 1 American simply because…she’s the No. 1-ranked doubles player in the world. The 32-year-old last weekend won the French Open with Czech partner Lucie Safarova, their third consecutive Grand Slam title. M-S’ next three goals: Wimbledon, the US Open, and the November Fed Cup final where she will attempt to help the U.S. to a first title in 17 years.

Roger Federer fans had to do some deep-breathing into paper bags this week when the Swiss GOAT returned after skipping the clay court season and promptly lost in his first match back on grass. Not a disaster, as the loss was to former world No. 2 and his lawns-rival Tommy Haas. When Federer won his last Wimbledon title in 2012 he lost to Haas weeks before in the Halle final. Deep breaths, everything will be OK.

 

MISCELLANEOUS

Get ready for the US Open with a poster celebrating the 20th anniversary of Arthur Ashe Stadium

Maria Sharapova announced the thigh muscle tear she suffered in Rome during the claycourt season will force her to miss the entire grass court season including Wimbledon…French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko is also a former Wimbledon juniors champion so watch out…Last weekend’s USTA Pro Circuit Bethany Beach (Del.) final saw two-time NCAA champion Danielle Collins beat Lauren Embree in a battle of former University of Florida teammates…In capturing his 10th French Open title, Rafael Nadal lost the fewest games of any of the 10 wins…According to the SportsBusiness Journal, “If Tavistock gets regulatory approval to build on a wetland [near the USTA National Campus in the Lake Nona area of Orlando], it plans to build a nearby beach volleyball complex on the shores of an 11-acre lagoon, and is hoping to land USA Rugby’s new headquarters.”…Serena Williams’ pregnancy apparently doesn’t involve a lot of couch-sitting: this week she hit tennis balls and is preparing for next week’s SheKnows Media conference as the keynote speaker in Orlando…The average age of the Top 10 on the ATP rankings is over 31 years old. Twenty years ago it was under 23…When Serena and Venus Williams came on the pro scene, black women participation in college tennis quickly doubled — to 4 percent. A Great Read: The Washington Post profiled Brienne Minor, her deep-rooted tennis family and their journey through the “overwhelming whiteness of tennis” and becoming the first-ever African-American woman to win the NCAA singles championships titleRafael Nadal withdrew from the prestigious Queen’s Club grass court tournament citing a need for rest after winning the French Open…Do large city tennis centers bring in revenue? Abilene, Texas is hosting the USTA Grand Slam junior tournament which will have a $1.8 million economic impact this year.

 

Ahn Time, On Grass at WTA Nottingham

Kristie Ahn

In the first week of grass court play in this three-week lead-up to Wimbledon, only one American, qualifier Kristie Ahn, remains alive entering weekend play from the two ATP and two WTA events this week.

Ahn, who qualified to the main draw at the Aegon Open Nottingham in England, is into the quarterfinals after main draw wins over No. 8 seed Naomi Osaka of Japan, and Magda Linette of Poland. Ahn is in her third year as a pro after starring for Stanford, and this week sits at a career-high No. 131 on the WTA rankings.

On Friday Ahn will meet Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova, who on Thursday upset No. 4-seeded American Alison Riske 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5. American Christina McHale, who in her first round upset No. 2-seeded Anastasija Sevastova, also lost Thursday to Maria Sakkari 1-6, 7-6, 7-5.

The last American on the men’s side exited the Ricoh Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands on Thursday when wild card Stefan Kozlov of Pembroke Pines, Fla., was defeated 6-4, 6-1 by No. 3 seed Ivo Karlovic.

 

They Said It

“He puts this doubt in your head when you play against him.”
Stan Wawrinka after losing to Rafael Nadal in the French Open final

“In 2005, I thought in 2017 I’d be fishing on my boat in Majorca.”
Rafael Nadal, who won his first French Open title in 2005

“I’ve been sick in the stomach with emotion. Maybe I was not ready to win it.”
— World No. 2 Simona Halep after losing the French Open final to unseeded Jelena Ostapenko

 

Tennis on TV This Weekend

(EST, times subject to change)

Friday
5am — ATP ‘s-Hertogenbosch (live), Tennis Channel
2pm — ATP Stuttgart (delay), Tennis Channel

Saturday
7:30am — ATP Stuttgart, ‘s-Hertogenbosch (live), Tennis Channel
8am — WTA Nottingham (live), BeIN Sports
5pm — ATP Stuttgart (delay), Tennis Channel

Sunday
7am — ATP Stuttgart, ‘s-Hertogenbosch (live), Tennis Channel
11am — ATP Stuttgart, ‘s-Hertogenbosch (replay), Tennis Channel

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