March 14th, 2016

Tennis Briefs(3): U.S. Fed Cup on Clay, Stewart Wins, USTA Hires Allaster

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Aussies Pick Clay for U.S. Fed Cup Playoffs Round Next Month

Fed-Cup-2016-HawaiiClay will be the Australian surface of choice next month when the U.S. Fed Cup team travels Down Under to try and regain a spot in the elite Fed Cup World Group.

A clay court will be constructed on Pat Rafter Arena at Brisbane’s Queensland Tennis Centre for the April 16-17 meeting between two of the most storied countries in the Fed Cup competition, both battling to rejoin the World Group for 2017.

Led by former US Open winner Sam Stosur, the Australian team includes rising star Daria Gavrilova and doubles specialists and former Grand Slam winners Casey Dellacqua and Ashleigh Barty. The U.S. team is yet to be announced, but could include world No. 1 Serena Williams, former No. 1 Venus Williams, Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens as the top four-ranked players.

The U.S. advanced to the playoffs round after winning its World Group II first-round tie last month, defeating Poland 4-0 at the Holua Tennis Center in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

The winner of the April playoffs tie advances to the World Group in 2017, while the losing nation will compete in World Group II next year. The U.S. is the most successful nation in Fed Cup history with 17 titles. Australia sits third on the all-time list with seven titles, the most recent in 1974.

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Miami Teen Stewart Wins Singles, Doubles at ITF Weston


Photo: Juan Ceballos

Teen Katerina Stewart of Miami won the Midtown Weston $10,000 ITF event, on Sunday defeating No. 4-seeded Chanel Simmonds of South Africa 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the final in Weston, Fla.

The top-seeded Stewart in the quarterfinals defeating No. 5 seed Ulrikke Eikeri, and in the semifinals beat No. 3 seed Shilin Xu.

The 18 year old ended a three-tournament losing streak entering Weston, having lost first round in her previous three events at the WTA Rio de Janeiro qualifying, the ITF Sunrise main draw, and the Australian Open qualifying. It was her first ITF circuit title of the year, improving to 7-3 in career ITF-level singles finals.

Stewart also won the Weston doubles as an unseeded pair with Swiss player Tess Sugnaux. They upset the No. 4 and No. 2 seeds en route to the final, and in the championship match beat unseeded Julieta Lara Estable of Argentina and Jasmine Paolini of Italy 6-2, 3-6, 10-5.

Simmonds fell to 15-10 career in ITF singles finals, losing in her first 2016 final after claiming two titles in 2015.

Former WTA CEO Allaster Named New USTA Chief Executive of Professional Tennis

allasterThe United States Tennis Association announced that former WTA Chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster has been named chief executive, professional tennis for the USTA. Allaster will report to USTA Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director Gordon Smith in the newly-created position.

Allaster will be tasked with setting the strategic vision for the USTA’s pro tennis division and will work closely with the USTA Board of Directors and the current USTA pro tennis staff to ensure the continued viability of professional tennis in the United States.

“Stacey’s track record in tennis is exemplary,” said USTA Chairman of the Board and President Katrina Adams. “She is a role model, has been a success at every level of the sport, and is driven by a passion for tennis. We know that she will help bring the USTA’s professional tennis interests to even greater heights.”

During her tenure at the WTA, Allaster is credited with generating an estimated $1 billion in diversified contracted revenues; building and growing the brand globally with an emphasis in China and Asia Pacific; transforming the WTA Finals into a 10-day sports entertainment extravaganza; maximizing the fan experience through product innovations in media, data and technology; and securing a 10-year media agreement, the largest live media rights and production venture in women’s sports history.

Allaster has been named the Sports Media Canada Executive of the Year, the WISE Woman of the Year, a SBJ Gamechanger, and has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the top 10 most powerful women in sports. In 2015, Allaster was recognized and commended by the International Tennis Hall of Fame for her contributions to the sport.

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