Baylor to Host Women’s HEB Invitational

WACO – Baylor’s women’s tennis team is set to host the HEB Baylor Invitational on Friday, Oct. 30, at the Baylor Tennis Center. Doubles action is set to begin at 8 a.m., with singles starting at 9 a.m.

The tournament features the Lady Bears, along with players from North Texas, Rice, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Texas-Arlington, Wichita State and Armstrong Atlantic State.

“This is a great way for us to wrap up the fall season,” head coach Joey Scrivano said. “Playing at home against strong competition is always a positive experience for our student-athletes. Hosting another great event like the HEB BU Invite gives us another opportunity to showcase our world class facilities and tennis program.”

FOR MORE INFO AND COMPLETE DRAWS

Where’s the Beef? Dimi’s Ranked and Draws up at Texas Invite

It’s the Evening Edition of TexasCollegeTennis.com.

I failed to mention that Texas A&M has announced the signing of British junior tennis player Niall Angus (pronounced Nile) who will join the Aggies in January for the upcoming 2010 spring season. The Ags are high on Angus, whose nickname is ‘Beef’ (I kid not). The only thing that would be better would be if he studied in their Range Management or Vet School (which are top flight), but alas, the boy is seeking a degree Sports Management.

My concern, as with Texas, is the fact the Aggies now seem to have about 20 people on their roster. I kid, but UT and A&M will be floating a bunch of guys this spring when the season starts. This will provide some great depth, but could put a strain on things when guys who think they should be playing don’t get into the lineup. As we all know, winning helps, but once you lose a few matches, people can get testy.

This will certainly be something to follow come the Spring.

Dimi Enters Rankings at #867

On the heels of his finals appearance at the 10sPortal.com 15k event in Austin a week ago, Texas’ Dimitar Kutrovsky entered the ATP Singles Rankings at #867. His 14 points are a nice starting point that he will be able to build on once he graduates in May. For someone who has been unable to play many events, that is a nice cushion.

Texas Invitational

The draws are out and there are some interesting match-ups early.

Laredo College’s Cledson Carvalho faces UT’s Vasil Mladenov in the first round with the winner likely facing Isamu Tachibana. Josh Zavala and Daniel Whitehead could have a rematch of last week’s upset by Whitehead in the second round. Michael Nusslein of Rice plays Otavio Perim of Marquette, then will likely face Julian Bley, who faces Alex Hilliard in the first round. Alberto Bautista faces Marquette’s Dusan Medan.

The “B” draw has a bunch of Texans mixed in.

Play begins at 8:30 in the “B” draw and 9:30 in the main draw, with two rounds of singles scheduled for the day.

ALL THE DRAWS

No Tennessee, Back draws and recruiting

Last night I wrote that JP Smith and Tennessee were heading to Austin to play in the Texas Invitational. Well, that was wrong. Tennessee decided last night that they would not make the trip. That opened up some spots in the draws, so Laredo College will be making the trip up from the Valley. That means that Cledsoe Carvalho of Laredo College, who reached the final at the ITA JuCo All-American National Championships a few weeks back, will get to take on a few of the big boys. He also won the UTSA Invitational earlier this fall.

Jordan Rux also appears to not be making the trip this weekend. He was initially seeded, but I figure he’s probably had too much tennis of late and is taking the weekend off.

An interesting bit of trivia for this weekend’s Texas Invitational: Marquette’s Dusan Medan of Serbia happens to be former University of Texas players Milan Mihailovic’s cousin. Medan actually beat Austin Krajicek in the consolation of the All-American.

ITA Texas Regional

One thing I forgot to mention was how great the back draws were at the ITA Texas Regional. The second round consolation had some great tennis before in all came to a screeching halt by rain and ended up getting cancelled.

The quarterfinals included: Chris Camillone (UT and Austin) v. Ben Chen (UT and Houston), Beau Bernstein (UT-Pan Am and Sugar Land) v. Marcus Lunt (A&M and San Antonio), Tyler Brown (UTSA and New Braunfels) v. Isamu Tachibana (Rice and Austin) and Martin Ayala (UTSA and Quito) v. Alex Hilliard (UT and Corpus Christi). The only non-Texan in the bunch is UTSA’s Ayala, who hails from Ecuador. It’s a shame the rains came because that would’ve been some great tennis for some of the young talent coming up.

To get to the quarters, UT’s Ben Chen put up a couple of nice wins, rebounding from his tough loss to A&M’s Alberto Bautista. Chen defeated John Lewis, who recently transfered from Alabama to A&M, and Maros Horny of Baylor.

Christopher Price was still in the ‘normal’ consolation semifinals, having won three rounds before the rain.

Signing Time

It is that time of year where high school seniors decide on where they want to play next fall. The official signing day is Thursday, November 12th. I wrote about Lilly Kimbell and Millie Nichols yesterday making their intentions known in the past week. I was also informed that several other players like Elizabeth Begley (Texas), Samantha Adams (Tech), Ariel Morton (LSU) and Russell Bader (Penn State) have all committed recently.

For the best coverage on this, follow www.tennisrecruiting.net. They have a terrific series going, leading up to signing day where they will have ‘live’ coverage.

BTW, with Bader going to Penn State, they have quite the Texas pipeline (Bryan Welnetz and Adam Slagter).

Corrie, Dadamo & Krajicek Capture ITA Titles, Lilly to UGa and All-American champ coming to town

I just want to get this out there: I have NEVER tried crystal meth, nor had a hair weave.

Now that I have cleared the air, let’s get straight to the ITA Texas Regional Championship held at Texas A&M. First of all, I really appreciate the updated links and the live video streaming that A&M provides. Without a doubt, this kept me informed and able to follow much of the action despite not getting to attend in person. I had been planning on attending this week, but a second H1N1 in the house (and today a confirmed case of Strep) kept me in Austin. Like I always say, GOOD TIMES.

In the singles final,  UT’s Ed Corrie continued his amazing run to the title with a 64 61 win over Texas Tech’s Raony Carvalho. Hopefully this isn’t the high point for Ed’s year, as he seemed to peak a bit early last Spring, playing his best match against Michael Shabaz before the rest of the team starting truly playing well. I didn’t get to see any of this match online, as life got in the way.

Austin Krajicek and Jeff Dadamo of Texas A&M rallied from a set down and actually saved one match point in the second set tiebreak to defeat Carvalho and Rafael Garcia of Texas Tech, 36 76 76. I was able to catch the end of the second set and all of the third online.

Tech got a quick mini-break in the second set breaker when A&M double faulted on the first point and rushed out to a quick 3-0 lead. A&M came right back and each team had set points (Tech a MP) while receiving. A&M grabbed it on their second attempt to even the match.

The Aggies then immediate broke Carvalho’s serve in the third set. But Tech immediately broke Krajicek back to even the match. Both teams held serve pretty easily to force a third set tiebreak. A&M got a quick minibreak and held it until Krajicek was serving at 6-4. With a solid return and a long point, Tech got the mini back. Unfortunately for them a great return by  the Ags put an end to the match, giving the A&M their second straight regional doubles crown. Krajicek and Conor Pollock won the title a year ago.

The singles and doubles champions from the Wilson/ITA Texas Regional Championships advance to the 2009 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships to be held on Nov. 5-8 at host Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

In other news, two of the state’s biggest female recruits have decided on where they will attend school next year. Millie Nichols and Lilly Kimbell have opted to attend school in the SEC. These two have had quite a rivalry even at the high school level, meeting in the last two state championships. Kimbell, who won both of those meetings, will reportedly attend Georgia. Millie will attend Tennessee. Good luck to both of these girls. I have thoroughly enjoyed covering them over the years and wish them the best.

The Texas Invitational will be huge this weekend in Austin, as quite a few great teams will be in town. In addition to a bunch of great Texas squads (Rice, Texas, A&M and Baylor), Tennesee and Marquette will make the trip. The top seed in the top draw will be none other than JP Smith of Tennessee, who grabbed the double at the All-American a few weeks ago. The second seed will be a hot Dimitar Kutrovsky of Texas. Complete draws and info can be found here, http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=90488.

Baylor Names Tennis Building

WACO – Baylor University announced today the naming of the Hurd Tennis Building within the Baylor Tennis Center. The Hurd Tennis Building honors the generosity of Mark V. and Paula R. Hurd’s support of Baylor’s national championship tennis program and facilities.

The Baylor Tennis Center, a component of the Julie and Jim Turner Riverfront Athletic Park, features 12 outdoor tennis courts and a clubhouse. The Hurd’s philanthropy provides for renovations that will bring the Hurd Tennis Building to a premier level. From upgrading the locker rooms and coaches’ offices to updating the lobby with trophy cases and graphics depicting Baylor student-athletes in action, the Hurd Tennis Building will be a facility befitting Baylor Tennis’ championship level of competition.

“Mark and Paula Hurd’s passion for Baylor Tennis led them to make this generous gift to renovate the Hurd Tennis Building,” Ian McCaw, Baylor’s director of athletics, said. “This facility renovation will ensure that Baylor’s tennis programs have facilities among the nation’s very best, in keeping with the level of success that the teams have experienced.”

“Mark Hurd was a superb tennis athlete when he was a Baylor student, so it’s fitting that he continues to serve as an inspiration to our tennis program,” said Dr. David E. Garland, Baylor’s interim president and dean of George W. Truett Theological Seminary. “We thank Mark and Paula for their dedication to Baylor’s tennis student-athletes.”

Mark Hurd attended Baylor on a tennis scholarship and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1979. Hurd began his business career at NCR Corp., where his 25 years with the corporation culminated in his appointment as chief executive officer. Hurd joined HP in 2005 as chief executive officer and president and was named chairman of the board of directors in 2006. Under his leadership, HP has grown into the world’s largest technology company and has seen earnings per share double since 2004.

Mark and Paula, a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, also have supported the Baylor Bear Foundation and the Men’s Tennis Excellence Fund.

For information about ways to support Baylor’s tennis program, contact Rick Darnell at (254) 710-2561.

Regioanls, Swine Flu, Rumors and Such; Hilliard co-host of TV Show

With the Texas ITA Regional rained out, there isn’t a whole lot to write about today.

Alex Hilliard of Corpus Christi, who plays for Texas, is the co-host this week for Longhorn Sports Center Weekly, a news show that airs across the state on a variety of networks, including Fox SW. The show includes several features on a variety of sports and gives a rundown the weekly results. All of the interviews are done by student-athletes. To see the show, check you local listings or this page on TexasSports.com, http://www.texassports.com/multimedia/sportscenter-tv-affiliates.html.

I actually caught the show while trying to distract my youngest who is now the second child in three weeks to probably have H1N1 in my household. Good times.

Speaking of H1N1, it was rumored that the entire Texas Tech men’s team was affected about a week ago with the flu, not swine. It was so bad, they almost didn’t make the trip to College Station for the ITA Regional. Luckily, they are all healthy and recovered in time to play.

Another team that was hit hard by illness was SMU. A few players were able to make the trip to the Regional, but quite a few, including Robin Fahgen, who had defeated Dmitar Kutrovsky in the All-American Consolation Finals just two weeks ago.

At the Women’s Northeast Regional, Hideko Tachibana fell to Magdalena Ploch, 62 62, in the round of 16. She and her teammate, Samantha Rosekrans fell to the top-seeded pair of Hilary Bartlett and Taylor Marable of Princeton in the round of 16 also.

In the Women’s Carolinas Regional, Katy’s Sanaz Marand teamed with Sophie Grabinski to grab the title for North Carolina. Marand and Grabinski defeated Sophie GrabinskiJosipa Bek and Ina Hadziselimovic of Clemson, 8-6.

Day Two at the Texas ITA and other News

I am not sure where to start. As expected, there were quite a few upsets and interesting results at Day 2 of the Texas ITA Regional at College Station.

The biggest surprise of the day had to be Artem Baradach of SMU, who defeated Baylor’s ninth-seeded Julien Bley, 62 64, in the morning them upset second-seeded Bruno Rosa of Rice, 64 62 in the afternoon. This is by far the biggest day of the junior from Belarus’ career. He had never before defeated a ranked player.

Baradach will now face Texas A&M’s Jeff Dadamo, who has played real well the last few weeks and defeated Texas’ Kellen Damico, 46 63 61. This was Damico’s first tournament of the Fall.

Rice’s Michael Nusslein continued his run, upsetting fifth-seed Slah Mbarek of TCU. In the afternoon, he topped Texas Tech freshman, Rafael Garcia, a ninth-seed, 64 76.

Nusslein must now face Dimitar Kutrovsky of Texas. Kutrovsky is coming off a finals appearance last weekend at the Austin 15k and the consolation finals of the All-American the week before.

The other huge upset of the day was Texas freshman Daniel Whitehead defeating his teammate, senior Josh Zavala, 6464. Whitehead is a grinder and I guess wanted to show that he deserves a look when it is time to make line-ups in the Spring.

Whitehead fell in the round of 16 to Texas Tech’s Raony Carvalho, 64 61. Carvalho now faces Austin Krajicek of Texas A&M. That should be a great match.

Krajicek won two big matches, first over Texas’ new freshman, Vasil Mladenov, 63 61, then Marius Cirstea of TCU, 76 63.

The last quarterfinalists are Jordan Rux and Ed Corrie — AGAIN. They have already played this week, as the Mansfield Future qualifying, with Rux winning 75 in the third last Sunday. Rux also won in the deciding match of the Big XII Championships last Spring, 64 in the third. He beat him 62 in the third last year in this event.

So basically, I am saying, if you want to watch a very competitive match, this is a good one. Just be prepared to stay awhile.

Rux has been playing very good tennis. The Baylor junior, who hails from the Hill Country hamlet of Kerrville, defeated good friend John Wiegand in the morning, 61 76. He later defeated Gonzalo Escobar from Tech, 64 75.

Corrie topped Dmitri Novikov of TAMU-CC, 64 62. In the afternoon, he beat TCU’s Emmanuel Brighiu, 64 62.

The doubles were their usual unpredictable craziness. The semifinals will be Marcus Lunt and Alexi Grigorov of Texas A&M vs. third-seeded Carvalho and Garcia of Texas Tech. The fourth-seeded Corrie and Damico of Texas play fifth-seeded Dadamo and Krajicek of A&M.

Now how they got there was the fun part.

Lunt and Grigorov upset the top-seaded team of Kutrovsky and Zavala in the round of 16. They also defeated Chris Camillone and Wiegand of Texas in the quarters.

The doubles upset of the day had to be Texas’ Whitehead and Alex Hilliard over Baylor’s Rux and Maros Horny. Dadamo and Krajicek put an end to that Cinderella run.

MANSFIELD FUTURE

Arnau Brugues took the singles title with a 60 63 win over Bruno Rodriguez. By all accounts Brugues was on fire. Brett Joelson and Todd Paul fell to Philip Bester and Jonathan Eysseric, 64 67 10-7,  in the doubles final.

OTHER REGIONALS

The top-seeded and defending champion duo of Sophie Grabinski and Sanaz Marand of North Carolina (and Katy, Texas) outlasted Duke’s Amanda Granson and Ellah Nze, 9-8, Sunday to advanceto the finals of the Wilson/ITA Carolinas Regional Championships at theIndoor Tennis Center on the campus of Wake Forest University. Grabinski and Marand, who are ranked No. 5 in the preseason ITA national poll,will face second-seeded Josipa Bek and Ina Hadziselimovic of Clemson on Monday. Marand, the top seed in the singles event, fell in thequarterfinals to sixth-seeded Reka Zsilinkska of Duke in three sets,7-5, 2-6, 6-4.

I would also like to update the status of Hideko Tachibana, who now plays at Harvard, who is playing in the Northeast Regional in New Haven, Conn. Unfortunately, they haven;t updated the site in awhile. All I know is she’s the third seed and has made the round of 32.

Texas ITA Regional Day One – Early Notes

I am not able to be in College Station, but the Aggies are to be commended for their updating of the site and live streaming of matches. TOURNAMENT SITELINK TO VIDEO

As I write this, the singles are in the books for today and doubles in on the courts.

There was only one seed upset today at the tournament, Baylor’s Maros Horny (who is mistakenly being called Marcos in the tournament draw). Horny lost to Rice’s Michael Nusslein, a sophomore transfer from South Florida, 75 76.

There were plenty of good matches. The match of the day, however, may have been A&M’s Alberto Bautista over Texas ‘ Ben Chen, 76 57 76. Bautista was up 4-2 in the second set, only to drop it. Then Chen served for the match at both 5-4 and 6-5.

Texas’ Josh Zavala must be playing well, as he defeated Isamu Tachibana, 75 61.

One almost upset was Calon Alpar and Kellen Damico. Alpar had several set points in the first set before Damico finally won the set, 13-11, in a tiebreak. He eventually won, 76 63, in his first match of the Fall season.

With so many actual Texans playing, it sometimes must’ve felt like the later rounds of the USTA’s Summer Grand Slam, held on the same courts in June.

Some interesting match-ups tomorrow in the round of 32 include: TCU’s Slah Mbarek (5) v. Nusslein, TCU’s Marius Cirstea (17) v. Attila Bucko (9), Texas’ Vasil Mladenov (17) v. A&M’s Austin Krajicek, a UT dual match of Daniel Whitehead v. Josh Zavala, a Tech dual match of Raphael Pfister v. Raony Carvalho (3), Tech’s Andre Stabile (17) v. Damico (17) and Zach Nichols v. Bruno Rosa (2).

Weak Journalism on Wozniacki, Gulbis and Player-x Dramas and Why the WTA Needs to Nut-up

OK, so they played two rounds of singles in Mansfield and the ITA Men’s Texas Regional Championships will be played at Texas A&M beginning Saturday., I really don’t want to talk about that.

Why discuss those when the biggest news in tennis involves prostitution and gambling?

Right now, the story about Caroline Wozniacki defaulting after a leading 75 50 is getting all kinds of scrutiny. One headline from an AP article even stated, “Wozniacki Match Under Investigation for Betting Irregularities.”

If you don’t know the story, google it or just go to any of the top sports news sites.

The irresponsible journalism continues because it follows to say, “apparently sparked bettors to pile money on her opponent when she was on the verge of losing in straight sets.”

Unfortunately this isn’t true. Anyone who has actually read the articles and quotes from Betfair, the biggest player in in-match gambling across the pond, saying there were no irregularities. Buried down in the bottom of the article is this nugget.

“Betfair, however, said it did not have any concerns about the match at this stage, and that the money won or lost was not unusual.”

OK, if the guys losing all of the money don’t have a problem with it, then pardon my French, but WTF?

Yes, the WTA needs to look into this, just to make sure, but people, this is a non-story.

The truth of the matter is Wozniacki did the WTA and the tournament a HUGE favor. She let a hometown girl advance rather than defaulting the next round and having pissed patrons who paid for a match and get nothing because Wozniacki was injured.

If the ITF fines her the $2000 for “lack of effort”, that is a joke too. Lack of effort? She was destroying the girl on one leg. Had there been any more lack of effort, she would have won…

The WTA needs to suck it up and take the fall on this. Somebody needs to get to a podium and back her up and say, “yup, she defaulted. Yup, this looks a bit awkward, but folks, we are in the entertainment business and this is actually what is best for our business and fans. Of course we would prefer that Caroline play tomorrow night, but we understand her injury from playing for 40 weeks this season. We could care less how the betting houses do in relation to our business. They take an inherent risk when our matches are televised and some degenerate polish-speaking gamblers take advantage of the on court coaching we allow. That is not for us to worry about. We are worried about our players and our fans.”

The lesson to this story is to open an online betting account, learn some eastern European languages and sit at home all day watching women’s tennis online, waiting for that moment when someone calls for a coach and they discuss something very few people understand.

–<insert eastern European languages Baylor joke here>

<insert eastern European languages Baylor joke her

I am actually amazed this one has more legs than the fact that two ATP players were busted for solicitation of prostitution in Sweden. You cannot even get the official word on what is going on in Stockholm.

Again, if you have no idea what I am talking about, google it. There are a few random stories.

When I first heard this news, I raced to the ATP site and scoured the draw for who it could be. It was an interesting game.

Amazingly, three days later, we still only know that Latvian Ernests Gulbis is involved. Dude has all sorts of money. Is it a cultural thing? No clue here. I am just stunned that nobody seems to care that these guys resorted to this. From all reports, it’s not like they don’t have options at these events, especially in Sweden.

But you never know. I was at the Masters in Houston a few years back when Marat Safin cut his practice short because not enough hot women were watching him. I kid you not. It was early in the day and there was only this one semi-crazy, semi-hot “fan” watching. He and Peter Lundgren were talking and Safin kept asking where all the hot women were. He finally got bored and called it a day.

I am a bit stunned there is very little non-Swedish reporting on this. It must be a European thing.

Poor Ernests is being hung out to dry. The other “John” has been rumored to either Simone Bolelli, Juan Monaco, Alberto Montanes, Leonardo Mayer or Tomaz Bellucci. The big money seems to be on Bolelli, who is listed in the draw as withdrawing for personal reasons.

I guess spending the night in the Swedish pokie is good as any personal reason.

Krajicek Selected to Master’U BNP Paribas Team

Note: I forgot to add this story, although I tweeted about it the day it happened

Texas A&M men’s tennis All-American Austin Krajicek (pronounced CRY-check) was one of the top American collegians selected to represent the United States in the fourth annual Master’U BNP Paribas, an international collegiate competition to be held on Dec. 9-14 in Poitiers, France.

Krajicek, a junior left-hander from Brandon, Fla., is currently ranked No. 30 in the preseason Campbell/ITA Division I men’s singles rankings and reached the doubles final at two USTA Pro Circuit events this past summer, capturing the title in Loomis, Calif.

The two-time All-Big 12 Conference selection and All-American was the youngest player and lone collegian to compete in the 2008 U.S. Open men’s singles main draw and was selected by Patrick McEnroe to serve as a practice player for the 2008 U.S. Davis Cup Team in Madrid, Spain.

The men’s team will be coached by Boise State head coach Greg Patton and will also feature Steve Johnson of defending national champion USC and Eric Quigley of Kentucky. Both Krajicek and Johnson were members of the 2009 USTA Summer Collegiate Team, an elite training program funded by the USTA to provide top American collegians with valuable exposure to the USTA Pro Circuit in a team-oriented environment.

The event will feature eight teams composed of college and university players from around the world. The U.S. will be competing for the second consecutive year against a talented field that includes teams from Belgium, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland and Mexico. The teams will compete in a best-of-seven format consisting of two men’s and two women’s singles matches, one men’s and one women’s doubles match, and one mixed doubles match.

The U.S. team was selected through a joint partnership between the USTA and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) using the following criteria: (1) the top American male and female finishers at the 2009 ITA All-American Championships, (2) the top male and female American applicants in the 2009 Men’s and Women’s ITA Preseason Division I Singles Rankings and (3) remaining roster spots were selected by a committee of USTA Player Development and ITA coaches and staff.