May 22nd, 2015

Friday Tennis Blog: U.S. Player Draws Out for French Open, More

Friday Blog Youth Tennis News



Teliana Pereira

Juniors, don’t try this at home. Or on the tennis court. Or for that matter, anywhere. Brazilian player Teliana Pereira, the top seed at the ITF pro event in Saint Gaudens, France, was defaulted after seemingly accidently flinging her racquet sideways at high speed into the crowd (luckily not injuring anyone). After failing to stick a volley and getting passed at the net, Pereira looked like she tried to throw the racquet at the backstop, but instead her racquet toss veered to the side and into the crowd. What or where was her intended target? You make the call. Regardless, she needs to work on that. Last month the 26-year-old Pereira became the first Brazilian to win a WTA singles title in 27 years with victory in the Copa Colsanitas final over Yaroslava Shvedova. She is the top seed in the women’s qualifying this week at the French Open.


national sweet 16This weekend will see America’s top juniors in Delray Beach for the 2nd annual USTA National Sweet 16 tournament, featuring the Top 16 highest-ranked amateur juniors each in the boys’ and girls’ 14-16 (and under) age groups. Nicole Conrad of Boca Raton is the lone Florida seed at No. 2 in the Girls’ 14s among 12 total Florida participants, including Sebastian Korda, the son of former Australian Open winner Petr Korda and last year’s Sweet 16 Boys’ 14 finalist. Singles are contested in a compass draw format, and doubles (required) is single elimination. High school freshman Emma Decoste (Stuart, Fla.), the reigning champion in the Girls’ 16s from last year’s USTA Florida ‘Bobby Curtis’ Junior State Championships, is the defending champ in the Girls’ 14s at the Sweet 16.


Rafa memeThis is the first year since 2004 that Rafael Nadal will go into the French Open without having won a Masters-level title on the yearTake a look at how the much-anticipated new roof is progressing on the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center…American Ryan Harrison will miss the French Open, tweeting “Unfortunately my ankle isn’t quite ready…Looking forward to some great tennis on the grass.”…Patrick McEnroe talks about the upcoming crop of American boys, including Jared Donaldson who is one match away from qualifying at the French Open…In Minnesota a girl is playing on her boys high school team since she was injured during the girls’ season and state rules allow it. “I’ve had players who have asked their coaches if they have to finish the match, halfway through,” she says. “A few moms were very angry. When I lose, nobody seems to have a problem with it.”…Jeanmarie Papelian is the new ATP executive director with a directive to “grow” the organization…Former Duke star and projected top NBA pick Jahlil Okafor can hold 13 tennis balls in one hand…Top-seeded Oklahoma, coached by John Roddick, lost in the NCAA tennis men’s final to Virginia as Andy Roddick cheered on from the stands. Vanderbilt (which started the season 4-4) beat defending champ UCLA for the women’s title…ESPN’s Jim Caple reviews tennis players’ highlights on the Late Show with David Letterman, including John McEnroe’s Top 10 List on why he would make a good talk show host (“No. 10, You never know when I’ll go nuts and beat a guest with a tennis racket.”)…Controversy as a chair umpire who upholds time violations against Rafael Nadal has apparently been removed from doing the Spaniard’s matches in Paris.

Isner, Stephens Into Weekend Play at Nice, Strasbourg

Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens

Americans John Isner and Sloane Stephens stayed alive into the weekend at Nice and Strasbourg respectively on Thursday, while top-seeded American Madison Keys withdrew citing injury at the Internationaux de Strasbourg in France.

The No. 2-seeded Isner beat unseeded Serb Dusan Lajovic 7-6(3), 6-4 to move into the semifinals at the Open de Nice Cote d’Azur in France. On Friday he will face unseeded Austrian Dominic Thiem, who on Thursday upset No. 3 seed Ernests Gulbis 6-2, 6-4.

Stephens, unseeded in Strasbourg, on Thursday upset No. 2 seed Jelena Jankovic, who retired with injury after losing the first set 6-1. In the semifinals Stephens will face No. 3 seed and Grand Slam champ Sam Stosur.

“Sloane can do anything on the court — she’s a very talented player — and even though her ranking has dropped a bit lately she still has the capability to play very well,” Stosur said. “I think looking past your opponent at this stage is a trap that you can fall into.”

Keys withdrew from the Strasbourg International on Thursday citing an elbow injury, looking to rest it a few days before attempting her Roland Garros campaign.

U.S. Player 1st Rd. Draws at the 2015 French Open

Seven men and 14 women make up the American contingent going into next week’s French Open, with the draws released early this morning. Roughly half of the U.S. players drew seeds, highlighted by two all-American match-ups with (15) Venus Williams vs. Sloane Stephens, and (16) Madison Keys vs. Varvara Lepchenko.

Here are the U.S. player first-round draws:FrenchOpen


(16) John Isner vs. Andreas Seppi (ITA)
(WC) Frances Tiafoe vs. Martin Klizan (SLO)
Donald Young vs. Santiago Giraldo (COL)
Sam Querrey vs. Borna Coric (CRO)
Jack Sock vs. (10) Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)
Tim Smyczek vs. (15) Kevin Anderson (RSA)
Steve Johnson vs. (26) Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP)


(1) Serena Williams vs. QUALIFIER
(15) Venus Williams vs. Sloane Stephens (USA)
(16) Madison Keys vs. Varvara Lepchenko (USA)
(WC) Louisa Chirico vs. (9) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS)
Shelby Rogers vs. (10) Andrea Petkovic (GER)
Alison Riske vs. (17) Sara Errani (ITA)
Madison Brengle vs. (26) Sam Stosur (AUS)
Bethanie Mattek-Sands vs. (30) Irina-Camelia Begu (ROM)
Christina McHale vs. QUALIFIER
Irini Falconi vs. (WC) Manon Arcangioli (FRA)
CoCo Vandeweghe vs. Julia Goerges (GER)
Taylor Townsend vs. Tereza Smitkova (CZE)
Nicole Gibbs vs. Alexandra Dulgheru (ROM)
Lauren Davis vs. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO)

They Said It

“I just finished a semester of pre-med classes. I want to know how to get healthy and not rely on other people telling me what to do. Been there, done that!”
Serena Williams speaking to People magazine

“[The French Open] is the Slam that Novak Djokovic has never won and he promised his first coach Jelena Ristic, who passed away a couple of years ago, that he would win the French Open. I know that is on his mind a lot and so he’s playing with a lot of emotion. He has been amazing so far this year.”
Martina Navratilova on Novak Djokovic entering the French Open, speaking to The Tennis Podcast

“You athletes have a mission to fulfill — to be, for those who admire you, good role models. And also you managers, coaches and others working in sport — you are called to give a good witness to human values, practitioners of a sporting profession that is always fair and transparent.”
Pope Francis, speaking to Florida’s Nick Bollettieri and nearly 7,000 other coaches and sports figures at the Vatican earlier this month in Rome during the 2nd Annual International Tennis Coaches Symposium

Tennis on TV This Weekend

(times subject to change)

7-11am — ATP Geneva QFs (delay), Tennis Channel
11am-1pm — WTA Nurnberg QFs (delay), Tennis Channel
4-6pm — ATP Geneva SFs (delay), Tennis Channel
6-8pm — WTA Nurnberg SFs (delay), Tennis Channel

4-6pm — ATP Geneva Final (delay), Tennis Channel
6-8pm — WTA Nurnberg Final (delay), Tennis Channel

5-10am — French Open (live), ESPN2
7-9am — ATP Nice Final (delay), Tennis Channel
10am-7pm — French Open (live), Tennis Channel
1-3:30pm — French Open (live), NBC