UT’s Ellis, SMU’s Francis, Lesniak Capture ITA Regional; My Texas Top-10 and Mansfield

As I tweeted earlier, University of Texas freshman Aerial Ellis completed a monster run all the way to the singles title at the 2009 ITA Texas Regional Championships held at Baylor University this week. In the final, Ellis defeated Baylor’s Nina Secerbegovic, 61 63, for a berth in next month’s ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in New Haven, Conn.

You never really know how much stock to put into these Fall results, but she had some pretty significant wins en route to the title. In the quarterfinals, she defeated Rice’s Rebekkah Hänle, Baylor’s Csilla Borsanyi and teammate Krista Damico. Damico also had significant wins over Baylor’s top-seeded Lenka Broosova in the quarterfinals and a couple of players from Texas A&M, Lauren Santocroce and Elze Potgieter.

Secerbegovic raced to the final, defeating Texas A&M’s Stephanie Davidson (62 60) and SMU’s second-seeded Marta Lesniak (63 76) in quarterfinals. In the semifinal, she topped TCU’s Kayla Duncan, 60 61.

Duncan had reached the semis with wins over Baylor’s Taylor Ormond (64 75) and UT’s Amanda Cradock (62 62).

A Texan, Pavi Francis, teamed with Marta Lesniak to capture the doubles title for SMU. This is a huge win for SMU, which has really improved over the last two years. Lesniak and Francis were the No. 3 seed and defeated ninth-seeded Morgan Frank and Lauren Santocroce of Texas A&M 8-4 in the final.

Texas A&M had a tremendous tournament in doubles. The Aggies had three teams reach the quarterfinals, including Sheri Oliver and Stephanie Davidson and Elzé Potgieter and Nazari Urbina.  Potgieter and Urbina fell to their teammate in the semifinals.

The biggest upset of the draw was North Texas’ Irina Paraschiv and Madura Ranganathan, who made it all the way to the semifinals before falling to Francis and Lesniak. Along the way they defeated the top-seeded team of Borsanyi-Broosova from Baylor.

In the end, UT looked stronger than they have in a couple of years, while Baylor looked vulnerable a bit. Of course, if you were betting on the strength of the teams from Texas in the Spring, you’d be remiss to not have Baylor in the top spot. Here are my preliminary top-10 rankings of the women’s programs in the state.

1. Baylor, 2. Texas, 3. Texas A&M, 4. SMU, 5. TCU, 6. Rice, 7. Texas Tech, 8. UTEP, 9. Houston, 10. North Texas

Now, as opposed to last year, I actually think these teams are a lot closer than before. Texas had an overall better tournament than anyone else this week, but when you have not defeated Baylor in a duel match in years 92005 Big XII Championship), it is hard put them on top. Texas A&M has addedNazari Urbina to their young roster that make them better from top-to-bottom. From what I have seen and read, Urbina will play fairly high in their line-up and allow then some depth. TCU added Megan Alexander, but lost Macall Harkins. SMU didn’t add anyone, but is a year stronger. Rice was young last season and they look a year better. Tech will be a wild card. The Red Raiders added a bunch of new faces and we aren’t real sure how good they all are. #8 and #9 could be flip-flopped line many of the others around. Heck, TCU, SMU and Rice will all be great competitive matches this year with each other.


Not too much action in Mansfield. They did play a full round of doubles and the top seeds did lose, but not too much to point out. I mean, the infamous John Valenti did make the doubles draw and came points away from getting his first doubles win since 2006 over two kids from UT-Arlington. For more, read on here.

In the singles draw, it was the old guys getting back at the young bucks. Jack Sock could not continue his streak from last week and fell 63 64 to Jonathan Eysseric from France. Raymond Sarmiento fell to Nick Monroe, 76 64.

Lots of singles on tap manana.

Mansfield Qualies in the Books and a Look Ahead at the Draws

I am in the strange predicament of being at home with the kids today because their school is closed (don’t ask me why they were open on Columbus Day and closed today). They are currently napping and ping!, the Mansfield draws show up.

First let’s see how the qualies finished up. From the top-down, Paul Todd beat Jordan Rux, 63 62. Not much to be upset about for Jordan, other than a bad draw, having to play the top seed.

Jordan Cox made it 1-1 for the Jordan’s today, beating Jan Plewinski. The 24-year old Plewinski, from Poland, apparently played at Ouachita Baptist and has no real significant wins, other than beating Christopher Price on Sunday.

Bob Van Overbeek beat Andrew Korinek, 62 61, which was to be expected. BTW, I do think Van Overbeek should go by his given first name of Johannes. I named by oldest after another famous Johannes. Oh well, my first name is actually Frank, go figure.

Young Mitchell Krueger gets into the main draw with a 64 61 win over Matt Kuzdub, a 24-year old Canadian who played a bit at DII Davis and Elkins College. Truthfully, that sounds more like a law firm, but the Senators are from Elkins, West Virginia. The research I put in for you guys is astounding. Is anyone actually reading this?

Maksim Tikhomirov defeated Mlandeli Ndela, 63 60.

David Holiner fell to Abhaya Prakash, 63 64. Prakash is another 24-year old from India, who played at Alcorn State. He had some decent results in college, but played in relative obscurity in the SWAC. He had defeated TCU’s Marius-Adrian Cirstea, 62 61, on Sunday.

Tyler Hochwalt defeated Ruben Gonzales, 76 36 63. That was probably a pretty good match to watch. Does anyone know if Tyler has actually just gone ahead and turned pro? The transferring in at January rumors seem to have quieted all around.

And finally, Robbye Poole took out Dane Webb, 62 36 63. Now I would have loved to have seen this match. It must’ve been a good one.

Off to the main draw….

Hochwalt gets top-seeded Victor Estrella, but the match below that looks interesting, as Van Overbeek and Poole draw each other.

Just below that, Mitchell Krueger has to play Austin Krajicek. After watching him at the Open, I am not sure how well Krueger hangs in there.

Other matches of interest: Jordan Cox v. UT-ex Luis Diaz-Barriga, Raymond Sarmiento v. Nick Monroe, Baylor’s Denes Lukacs v. Sekou Bangoura, Arnau Bruges v. Daniel Garza and Jack Sock v. Jonathan Eysseric, the former world #1 junior from France.

In doubles I will mention only one match, Ashwin Kumar-Michael Venus v. Brett Joelson and Todd Paul. Kumar and Joelson reached the finals together last weekend and lost their first match after 11-straight wins. Kumar and Venus had a match where the chair umpire was off his game and had both players shaking their heads and talking about how bad he was during changeovers. It is funny how the Pro Circuits work some weeks.


Hopefully tonight I can get something going on the Ladies ITA Regional.

Collin County’s Hume Captures “Super Bowl”

Collin County Community College’s Damian Hume defeated Alberto Gonzalez of Auburn Montgomery at the ITA’s “Super Bowl” Champions of Small College Tennis, where the 2009 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Small College Championships, from the NCAA Division II and III, NAIA and Junior College title-winners squared off to determine the overall champions.

Hume lived up to the lofty expectations of being the No. 1 seed in the JUCO men’s singles draw defeating the defending JUCO men’s singles champion, Cledson Carvalho of Laredo, 7-5, 6-3, who last year finished second in the Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings.

Hume, a sophomore from Johannesburg, South Africa also received the 2009 James O’ Hara Sargent Sportsmanship Awards presented by Rolex Watch USA yesterday. The James O’ Hara Sargent Sportsmanship Awards go to players who display outstanding sportsmanship and exemplify the spirit of college tennis during the course of the ITA National Small College Championships hosted by the Copeland-Cox Tennis Center in Mobile.

“To me I think sportsmanship means not only being nice to everyone around you, including your opponent, but to really have fun out there and truly enjoy it,” said Hume. “When you do face adversity, it can be tough but be sure to have a strong mind and keep yourself calm.”

“Entering the tournament as the top seed can definitely create a target for yourself,” said Hume. “The guy I played has been the top Junior College player for a year and a half now and has not even lost a match. I played him in the Regionals and was able to come through in a really tough match but I knew he would be coming out to be me. In today’s match, I just stayed strong and was able to get the win again.”

“I’m looking forward to playing at Yale and know that as long as I keep playing hard and believe in myself, we’ll see what happens. I don’t think my game has reached its peak so I know I need to keep training and work on improving certain elements of my game and taking it on from there while learning to enjoy it and just have fun.”

The Kids are Alright, as Youth Busts up the College Talent in Mansfield and the Austin 15k Finals

Crazy goings on in Mansfield today in their15k event qualies. Truthfully, the match-ups were insanity and the kids took it to the older kids for the most part.

In the normal category, Baylor’s Jordan Rux edged Texas’ Ed Corrie, 26 63 75. This is a repeat result from last year’s Big XII championship where Rux won 64 in the third. Obviously these guys are extremely close, with Rux just being a bit better.

Back to the young guns taking out their elders. Jordan Cox topped Texas A&M’s Alexei Grigorov, 61 64. Next was Bob Van Overbeek taking it to Rice’s Christoph Muller by the same score. Also making it one more round were Andrew Korinek and Mitchell Krueger.

In other big action, David Holiner, who will head to UT in January got past Zach Nichols, 62 46 64. That’s a huge win for Holiner and bodes well for UT on if he can play in the line-up immediately. The last big win for a junior was Dane Webb defeating Texas A&M’s Alexis Klegou, 46 63 64. Klegou has been on a roll and is thought to be probably lined up for a top-3 spot int he Aggie line-up come the Spring.

Monday marks the final round of qualifying, so I hope we get a few Texans through.

Austin 10SPortal.com 15k

Conor Pollock and Cory Parr broke the 11-match winning streak of Brett Joelson and Ashwin Kumar, winning 64 16 10-8 to capture the doubles final. This match featured three Texans and Parr, who says his favorite team is the Cowboys, so that might make him one too. The title marks the second for Pollock since turning pro in June.

The singles final was dominated by Michael McClune, who defeated UT’s Dimitar Kutrovsky, 76 63. The first set was tight, but a few loose point in the tiebreak by Kutrovsky gave McClune the opening he needed to take the set.

McClune’s serve was too much for Kutrovsky, who managed only four break points in the entire match and those all came in a single game. Serving up a break at 4-3, McClune crushed two aces and appeared to be on his way to the win. All of a sudden, he started missing first serves and played three very loose points. Facing his first break point of the match, McClune again missed his first serve, but threw a great second serve kicker out wide. Kutrovsky’s return was weak and McClune crushed a forehand for a winner. That seemed to be the routine on all four break chances, no matter how good the return, McClune crushed a winner on each.

The best news for Kutrovsky was gaining the 14 points, as he had never reached deeper than the second round in any main draw and had not played an ITF event in over a year. Those points and the confidence of reaching the final could propel him some confidence he might not have been playing with at the All-American as he heads to the ITA Regional next weekend.


Sock, Kutrovsky Coming Out Party and a Doubles Homecoming

I really don’t feel like saying too much here and will run everything down tomorrow, but here’s a synopsis… I am basically using twitter to fill in the gaps because I just cannot seem to find the time to post something.

At the Austin 10sPortal.com 15k, the play has been good and there has been a ton of local representation. Lots of kids playing well that have local or Texas ties. The biggest news of the week on the singles side has to be the play of Jack Sock, who is decked out in more UT gear than kids that play on the team. He apparently went to the University Co-op and bought a ton of stuff. He has been playing lights out and finally lost to Dimitry Kutrovsky today. Kutrovsky is a great story too because he rarely plays these things too. Both of these guys can really use the points and I am happy for them. They are also really great kids.

There was some talk that Sock could play #1 for UT right now, but that has been put to rest. He can obviously play for anyone right now, although he has two full years of school remaining. The biggest obstacle for him not making it to the 40 Acres would be keeping him from going pro. As one person told me, “he’s a lot like Ryan Harrison right now,” in describing Sock’s playing style and size.

In doubles, Conor Pollock and Cory Parr have reached the doubles final against Ashwin Kumar and Brett Joelson. This is about as local as you can get here. Ashwin grew up in Round Rock and played at Harvard, Conor is from San Antonio and TAMU, while Brett grew up in Austin and Oregon before playing at TAMU also. I am sure Cory has a cousin or something from around here.

Ashwin and Brett have won 11-straight matches as a doubles team. They won the USA F22 (Claremont) and Mexico F11 (Monterrey) before coming to Austin. That’s real darn impressive.

Women’s ITA in Waco

I really don’t want to dwell on this too much. There are so many matches being played and a couple of days of tennis left. I will just do a rundown.


I am just going to repost my tweets from earlier. I really wish I could be there tomorrow. wow.

Mansfield 15k–interesting match-ups for Sunday, Cox v. Grigorov, Klegou v. Webb, Rux v. Corrie, Muller v. Van Overbeek, Nichols v. Holiner

…and yesterday, For the second week in a row TCU’s Zach Nichols must play a teammate in the 1st rd of qualies. vs Brighiu in Mansfield 15k tomorrow… btw, Zach has come out on top in both matches.

Day 1 at ITA Small College Championships

Several players from Texas schools are competing at the 2009 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Small College Championships, one of collegiate athletics’ most unique events, taking place October 15-18 at the Copeland-Cox Tennis Center in Mobile, Alabama.

In men’s Division II action, Vjekoslav Stipanic and Bozo Ziputovic of Midwestern State were topped by Armaun Emami/Austin West of UC San Diego, 76 62. I am pretty sure that Vjekoslav and Bozo (or Bo as he is known) don’t stand out in Wichita Falls.

Abilene Christian’s Jaclyn Walker and Dina Pavlin def. Sharon Gill and Milena Vuksanovic of Wayne State, 75 64 in Women’s DII play. They fell in semifinal action to Yuan Jia and Seul Ki Chin of BYU Hawaii, 60 61.

UT-Tyler’s Brad Fenter and Nick Kreinas fell in DIII action to Taylor Borda and Josh Rifkin of Ithaca, 63 64.

Katty Poettcker of Trinity lost to Laura Chen of Carnegie Mellon, 62 61.

In JuCo play, Texas boasts the top two seeds. Top-seeded Damian Hume of Collin Community College def. Lloyd Bruce-Burgess, Cowley, 75 61. Laredo Community College’s Cledson Carvalho, who won the UTSA Invitationals last weekend, won over Joao Nogueira of Fresno City, 63 75.

Carvalho teamed with Felipe Baptista to roll Jacob Smith and Ryan Wilson of Gadsden State, 60 61.

Nadia Lee of defending National Champions, Lee College in Baytown defeated Rachel Rossi of Marion Military 60 61.

In doubles action, Katherine Kelly and Cimen Soy of North Central Texas topped Yumiko Justin and Amy Busch of  Reedley 62 60. Lee College’s Lee teamed with Dionica Akina to edge Nachell Proctor and Courtney Spafford of Hillsborough, 63 36 10

Lee and Akina advanced to the final with a 62 63 win over Kelley and Soy.

On a side note, Akina is the daughter of University of Texas Assistant Head Football Coach, Duane Akina.

10sPortal.com Wednesday

Was able to get away from a possible swine flu case at my house and a confirmed one at work to catch a little tennis at the Polo Tennis and Fitness Club today here in Austin.

This new event, a 15k, struggle through the weekend with all of the rain we have been having, but they finally finished the qualies Tuesday. A few first rounders were played too.

TUESDAY – main draw
Victor Estrella (1), Dominican Republic, def. Tyler Hochwalt, United States, 6-2 7-5
Dimitar Kutrovsky, Bulgaria, def. Austin Krajicek, United States, 1-6 6-2 6-0
Jack Sock, United States, def. Matej Bocko (4), Slovakia, 6-4 6-3
Luis Diaz-Barriga, Mexico, def. Gonzalo Escobar, Ecuador, 1-6 6-3 6-2
Eric Nunez (3), United States, def. Tennys Sandgren, United States, 6-2 6-3
Michael McClune (2), United States, def. Michael Rubin, United States, 6-1 6-1

Most notable of these are Jack Sock’s win over Bocko and Kutrovsky beating Krajicek love in the third. Diaz-Barriga over Escobar was an all-Big XII affair.

I also heard that Tennys sprained his ankle or something like that and withdrew from doubles. That allowed Jack Sock and Kutrovsky to get into the doubles as the first alternates.

WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS – I’ll just run down the order of play in singles and what I saw.

Ashwin Kumar v. Michael Venus – This match was tight in the first set. Kumar was serving at 5-6 40-0 and lost the game after a little disagreement with the chair. Personally I thought the chair missed the call at 40-30, but oh well. Ashwin was coming to net on everything and really didn’t want to stay back with Venus. Interestingly enough, all I could think about during the match was whether these guys worked out together at Newks when they were there. Ashwin told me later Venus didn’t come until the year after he left. The second set had the chair call a let claiming a ball had gotten wet or something mid-point. Venus went ballistic and called for the supervisor.  He ended up winning the game and during the changeover the supervisor arrived. Venus and Kumar were sitting on the bench waiting, discussing their dislike for the chair. The chair was actually told he had made an incorrect ruling and Venus asked for an apology, which the chair didn’t really give. Ashwin played well and came back to win 57 63 63.

Conor Pollock v. Antonio Ruiz-Rosales

Ruiz-Rosales seemed disinterested from the get-go and Conor’s early dominance added to that. He picked up his effort level in the second but this was a routine 62 64 win for Pollock. No big drama.

Dennis Zivkovic v. Till Heilshorn

This was full of drama. Zivkovic got drilled in the first set 61, then took the obligatory 10 minute bathroom break (it just seemed like that). While up a break, 4-3 in the second, he breaks his third set of strings of the match. It becomes apparent he only has one racquet left and no string to re-string and decides to borrow one from his doubles partner Victor Estrella. He plays the rest of the match with a Babolat (he uses Prince) and wins 16 64 76. Heilshorn was serving for the match at 54 40-15 in the third and double-faulted three straight points.  That could leave a mark. It was painful to watch.

Brett Joelson v. Juan-Manuel Elizondo

Not a whole lot to report here but some racquet throwing from Elizondo. Joelson won 64 76 (7), but it seemed routine.

Raphael Shiikuma Pfister v. Mick Monroe

Pfister is at Tech now. Not a bunch to report on this, as Monroe won 62 61.

Daniel Garza v. Erling Tveit

Garza is so nonchalant. He was cruising in the first set and gave it away, only to come back and win the match, 67 63 63. I say nonchalant, but he was cussing a blue streak in Spanish. I have no idea why he was never coded. You are telling me there was a single official knew what he was saying? Let’s remember the tournament was in South Texas. Come on.

Jonathan Eysseric v. Christoph Muller

Muller of Rice gave a run against the former Junior World #1, losing 63 64. The match was extremely close with one game lasting over 20 minutes alone. This was a slugfest.

Nima Roshan v. Ilie Babinciuc

Babinciuc played at Tech and was in the match with Roshan. No big deal as Roshan won 64 61. The biggest splash from this one may have been Roshan having words with the tournament supervisor twice in the lounge for trying to get into the officials area to eat and rest.

Ruben Gonzales v. Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela

Mickey, as he is affectionately known around here, looked completely outclassed at the beginning of this one. He was down 3-0 in a hurry before fighting back. He fought his way to the second set and a split. Gonzales appeared to lose his nerve in the third and lost it at love, playing sloppy and rushing everything. MARV wins, 36 62 60, winning 15 of the last 20 games. When he walked off the court, I said out loud, “where was that last year”. An ex-teammate of his (there were several there) responded “where was that the last four years”.

Jeff Dadamo v. Sinisa Markovic

The new Aggie versus the ex-Red Raider. This may have been one of the biggest slugfests of the day and nobody was going to out-slug Dadamo today. He was impressive. I honestly think he might play #1 for A&M. He is certainly playing better that Krajicek for the time being. Coach Denton has got to be excited, although I did hear him say Dadamo is going to think he is on the track team with the fitness he will go through this fall. Just a real impressive effort. We’ll see how he does.

All-American and UTSA recap

Well there really isn’t a whole bunch to recap after last week’s post on the tournaments. The best result (for kids with Texas ties, I know JPS won both events) was probably Dimitar Kutrovsky of Texas, who lost in the first round to Andrie Daescu of Oklahoma, but made it all the way to the consolation finals, falling to SMU’s Robin Fahgen. What puts Kutrovsky’s accomplishment over Fahgen’s would be the fact that he and Josh Zavala won two rounds of doubles before falling in the quarters to eventual champions Boris Conkic and John Patrick Smith of Tennessee, 10-8.

Nobody else had that great a tournament. Jamie Hunt won a round in singles, but he has to be disappointed he and Nate Schnugg only got to the second round of dubs.

Texas A&M’s Jeff Dadamo won a round, but fell to UVA’s Michael Shabaz in three. Jordan Rux won a great match over Jaak Poldma of USC, but fell to Eric Quigley of Kentucky in the second round. Ed Corrie won a round, but fell to Neal Skupski of LSU, 64 in the third.

In the consolation, Fahgen defeated Kutrovsky, like I said, but Bruno Rosa of Rice also made it to the semifinals.

UTSA Invitational

UTSA hosted their tournament this past weekend too and had a decent turnout of some smaller schools, as well as a few guys from A&M.

Cledson Carvalho of Laredo Community College defeated Ashwin Vijayaragavan of UT-Pan American in the final of the main singles draw, 76 57 63. Carvahlo is from Brazil, but i am not sure if he’s related to Raony at Tech. He is 24 years old – hmmm.

Calon Alpar of Texas A&M won the consolation draw.

UTSA’s Rodrigo Morgado and Martin Ayala captured the doubles main draw with a 9-8 win over Vijayaraguavan and Brett Bernstein.


I’ll talk about the 10sPortal.com 15k later tonight and give a rundown of the ITA action coming this weekend.

Hey Ladies! Not a whole lot of W’s at the Riviera/ITA Women’s All American Championships

Still jacked up on coffee, so it’s time to check the ladies’ draws at the Riviera/ITA Women’s All American Championships in Pacific Palisades. Lo and behold, there’s not much left on the platter here.

Texas freshman Aeriel Ellis makes a great run to the main draw through pre-qualifying and qualies, but gets beat by fellow qualifier Danielle Lao of USC, 76 62.

Lenka Broosova of Baylor gets beat by Washington’s Venise Chan, 75 76. Florida super-frosh, Lauren Embree eliminates SMU’s Marta Lesniak routinely, 62 62. Duke’s Ellah Nze beats Vanja Corovic, who qualied in, 62 64.

The lone victory for Texans was by an actual Texan, Sanaz Marand of North Carolina. She beat Miami’s sixth-seeded, Laura Vallverdu, 62 62. Marand is looking to add on the success of last spring where she reached the quarterfinals of the NCAAs.

In doubles Marand teamed with to beat Arizona State’s Kelcy McKenna and Micaela Hein, 8-6.

Borsanyi and Broosova of Baylor advanced to the second round with a 8-3 win over Princeton’s Hilary Bartlett and Marable.