June 20th, 2014

Friday Tennis Blog: Wimbledon Draw Released, U.S. Preview

Friday Blog

spongebob tennis4 AMERICANS THROUGH WIMBLEDON QUALIFYING — One woman and three men flying the U.S. flag fought through the qualifying tournament to reach the Wimbledon main draw on Thursday. Four women were competing for main draw spots on the last day of the tournament, but only Floridian Vicky Duval advanced to the main draw for the first time in her career after a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory over countrywoman Nicole Gibbs. “[The] match point, was sheer luck,” said the teenage Duval on a ball that clipped the net. “I was like ‘Thank you God’…I thought I was really courageous today because of the [back] pain but that’s part of the game.” Not as lucky were Americans Irina Falconi, Madison Brengle and Shelby Rogers who lost in the final round of qualifying. On the men’s side Tim Smyczek (who defeated fellow American Alex Kuznetsov in four sets), Ryan Harrison and Denis Kudla all reached the main draw, while the U.S’s Rajeev Ram lost in the final round of qualifying.

Krajicek MichaellaKRAJICEK ACCEPTS MARRIAGE PROPOSAL ON COURT — Dutch player Michaella Krajicek (distant cousin to Floridian and NCAA doubles champion Austin Krajicek and half-sister to former Wimbledon champ Richard Krajicek) said “yes” to an on-court proposal, caught on YouTube, by boyfriend and fellow pro Martin Emmrich at the combined ATP/WTA Topshelf Open in The Netherlands this week. The two had met one year prior at the same event. Emmrich was egged on by the thousands of people watching in the stands after Krajicek’s match when he took the court for his proposal. “The first 10 or 15 seconds when he came on the court I thought, ‘Okay, it’s nice to see him, but this is strange,'” Krajicek said. “But then I saw he had tears in his eyes, and I was like, ‘Oh wow,’ and I realized what was going to happen! I was so focused on him the whole time I didn’t hear anything he was saying!” Fellas don’t let your girlfriends see this as it’s a tough one to top.

Nadal and MickeyNOW YOU CAN ‘VISIT ORLANDO’ VIA THE US OPEN — US Open visitors and viewers will get a dose of the Sunshine State this fall. The partnership between the new USTA 100-plus court “Home of American Tennis” in Orlando and ‘Visit Orlando,’ Orlando’s tourism association, will kick off with Orlando sponsorship of Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day in addition to other marketing outreach. Visit Orlando CEO George Aguel says the affluent tennis market is the perfect target. “By working closely with the USTA through our US Open partnership, as well as leveraging the USTA’s future presence in Orlando, we plan to attract incremental visitation to [Orlando],” he said. According to Travel Weekly, the state’s official tourism marketing corporation ‘Visit Florida’ is also partnering with Visit Orlando and the USTA on marketing programs and will be the exclusive tourism sponsor of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

Keys, Querrey, Vandeweghe Growing Games on Grass

Three U.S. players, all unseeded, have upended the competition to make it to Friday play at the combined men’s and women’s grasscourt events this week in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, and Eastbourne in Great Britain.

Qualifier Coco Vandeweghe is into the semifinals in The Netherlands after Thursday defeating Serena Williams’ conqueror at the French Open, No. 7-seeded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza 7-6(3), 6-1. Vandeweghe delivered 11 aces and came back from a 2-5 deficit in the opening set.

In the Friday semifinals she will meet No. 8 seed Klara Koukalova.

Both unseeded Madison Keys and Sam Querrey are into the semifinals at the Aegon International in Eastbourne, with fortuitous draws or circumstances awaiting on Friday.

Keys, who on Thursday defeated fellow American and qualifier Lauren Davis 6-2, 6-1, will on Friday meet a wildcard in Brit Heather Watson, who gained the semifinals when her quarterfinal opponent, No. 2 seed Petra Kvitova, handed her a walkover due to a leg injury.

Keys will be attempting to reach her first WTA final after semifinals at Osaka in 2013, and Sydney and Strasbourg this year.

“We know each other really well,” Keys said of Watson. “We played each other last year at Wimbledon. It was a close match. She’s obviously been playing very well. I think it will be a really close match.”

Querrey on Thursday rained down 16 aces on unseeded French veteran Julien Benneteau in a 7-6(5), 6-4 win. In the Friday semis he will meet either Jeremy Chardy or No. 3 seed Feliciano Lopez. Chardy and Lopez, after rain on Thursday, will play their quarterfinal on Friday morning, and Querrey will meet the winner in the afternoon semifinal.

Americans at Wimbledon

Wimbledon logoThe Wimbledon draw was released this morning — here are the American players in the 2014 Wimbledon men’s and women’s fields and their first round opponents:

(9) John Isner vs. (WC) Daniel Smethurst (GBR)
Steve Johnson vs. (27) Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)
Sam Querrey vs. Bradley Klahn
Donald Young
vs. Benjamin Becker (GER)
Michael Russell vs. Julian Reister (GER)
Jack Sock vs. (Q) Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA)
(Q) Denis Kudla vs. (Q) Marsel Ilhan (TUR)
(Q) Ryan Harrison vs. (11) Grigor Dmitrov (BUL)
(Q) Alex Kuznetsov vs. (16) Fabio Fognini (ITA)

(1) Serena Williams vs. Anna Tatishvili (USA)
(18) Sloane Stephens vs. Maria Kirilenko (RUS)
(30) Venus Williams vs. Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor (ESP)
Allison Riske vs. (26) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)
Coco Vandeweghe vs. (27) Garbine Murguruza (ESP)
(Q) Vicky Duval vs. (29) Sorana Cirstea
(WC) Taylor Townsend vs. (31) Klara Koukalova (CZE)
Christina McHale vs. Chanelle Scheepers (RSA)
Madison Keys vs. Monica Puig (PUR)
Varvara Lepchenko vs. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL)
Lauren Davis vs. Alisa Kleybanova (RUS)
Vania King vs. Yvonne Meusburger (AUT)

They Said It

martina serena“Eventually age will catch up. It just hasn’t happened to her yet.”
Martina Navratilova speaking to ESPN on her favorite for Wimbledon, world No. 1 Serena Williams

“There was one Croatian guy who was all about the girls at that age already. He was looking good, putting on perfume, sunglasses, going to talk to the girls. I see Novak, he’s going to stretch.”
Ernests Gulbis, who trained with Novak Djokovic as a child at a German academy, on the always-focused Serbian

“Just to be across the net from him, just handling the ball is an exciting day for me.”
— U.S. No. 1-ranked junior Francis Tiafoe on practicing with world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, speaking to the Washington Post. Nadal went through four shirts and three racquets during the 90-minute workout.

Tennis on TV This Weekend

(all times EST)

TV multi colorFriday
2:30-6:30pm — WTA ‘s-Hertogenbosch (delay), Tennis Channel
8pm-2am — WTA/ATP Eastbourne (delay), Tennis Channel

12-12:30pm — Tennis Channel Live, Tennis Channel
12:30-2:30pm — WTA Eastbourne final (delay), Tennis Channel
2:30-4:30pm — ATP Eastbourne final (delay), Tennis Channel
4:30-6:30pm — WTA ‘s-Hertogenbosch final (delay), Tennis Channel

no live tennis

7-11:30am — Wimbledon (live), ESPN
11:30am-4pm — Wimbledon (live), ESPN News
2-3:30pm — Wimbledon (live), ESPN2