The USTA Texas Summer Grand Slam always has some great tennis, but today there were also some great rumors.
The biggest has to be that both Rodney Harmon and John Roddick are interested in the Oklahoma coaching job. The AD at Oklahoma, Joe Castiglione, is regarded as one of the best in the country and will certainly listen and look for the best person available.
Truthfully, I am not so surprised about the John Roddick mention, as he has lobbied for positions in the past. I actually heard him complain just recently that coaches like himself and Grant Doyle don’t get collegiate coaching jobs. He certainly has had results and I believe he loved his time in Athens, but I am not so sure you can be a college coach and just disappear across the globe to go follow your brother for weeks at a time.
The idea of Harmon heading north of the Red River is perplexing. Is Joe C throwing gobs of money around to get a big name coach to fill that new beautiful facility (never been there, but that’s what people say). I know he coached two years at Miami.
GREAT MATCHES—BOYS 18S
I watched every division play, but the matchups in the Boys 18 draw were outstanding.
Top-seeded Ben Chen (UT-signee) had his hands full with Tyler Brown (UTSA-signee). Brown came out aggressively and took the first set in a tiebreaker (8-6). Chen fought hard to stay in the match, getting a break and taking a 3-2 lead. Brown lost his concentration for a brief period, losing six-straight games, giving Chen the second set (6-2) and a 3-0 lead in the third.
With Chen serving at 40-love and seemingly about to put this thing away, he played a few loose points and gave Brown the opening he needed to get back. Brown fought back to break, then held serve to pull within 2-3, but his mind wasn’t completely there and Chen finished off the third, 6-2.
Both players played some good tennis, but Chen showed he could make the big last shot when he needed. I was real impressed with Brown and if he can keep his head together, he will be a solid player for the Roadrunners.
Chen will face Shane Vinsant in the semifinals. Vinsant and Daniel Whitehead had a brutal match. Whitehead was still suffering from complete heat exhaustion after his rough win over Alex Van Velzer. It was so bad that last night he apparently couldn’t keep any food down. That seemed to be key to today’s match.
Whitehead fought hard, while Vinsant struggled knowing that Whitehead was not in top physical form. Somehow Whitehead managed to scrape out the first set in a tiebreaker and got an early break in the second.
Unfortunately, his body wasn’t keeping up and he started suffering from cramps. When Whitehead lunged to hit a volley to hold serve to, taking a 5-3 lead in the second, the cramps came harder. He tanked the next game to save the energy to serve, but it was to no avail. He lost his serve at love, even getting a time violation at love-30 due to his cramps and needing to massage them out.
Vinsant easily took the next two games and the second set. During the break, Whitehead realized there was no way he could survive a third and retired.
On the other half of the draw, Dane Webb took care of second-seeded Bryan Welnutz (Penn State-signee), 76 63 in a routine match compared to the rest of the draw.
Webb will face David Holiner (UT-signee), who is playing his first tournament after a six month layoff with a back injury. Holiner edged Jose Martinez, 62 36 76, in a phenomenal match.
In the third set, both players held serve until 5-all when Martinez broke Holiner to take a 6-5 lead. As he went to his towel, Martinez’ calf began to cramp and a trainer was called. It took several minutes, but he received treatment and began to serve for the match. Holiner took advantage for the first time all set, winning the first three points. Martinez saved one break point at love-40, but was broken on the next.
Things took a turn in the breaker when Martinez shot out to a 3-0 lead. Holiner fought back, winning six-straight points to take a 6-3 lead. Martinez pulled to 4-6, but then double-faulted to end the match.
Martinez is a wonderful player and is supposedly only going to be a junior next year. I expect to hear his name often in the future.
GIRLS 18 SEMIS
I didn’t watch too much of the girls’ semifinals, as they were on the good courts, while the boys were down below on the IM courts. What I did see was fairly routine, as Lilly Kimbell got past Millie Nichols, 63 64 and Elizabeth Begley dispatched Megan Horter 63 61. Don’t you just love the word ‘dispatched’? I sound like some grizzled writer behind my typewriter.
Anyhow, these were pretty straight forward.
PRO CIRCUIT NEWS OF THE DAY
Ashley Weinhold lost to Dianne Hollands of New Zealand 62 62 in Brownsville. updated draw
Conor Pollock had a rough outing in Sacramento, falling to Nick Monroe, 64 60. Denes Lukacs also lost to Phillips Simmonds, 57 63 64. updated draws.