Tech men get Brazilian for Spring

Texas Tech head men’s tennis coach Tim Siegel has announced the signing of Vitor Manzini (Sao Paulo, Brazil) to a financial aid agreement. Manzini will enroll at Texas Tech in January.

Manzini will be the fifth Brazilian on the men’s roster.

“I am very excited to have Vitor join our program,” said Siegel. “He is not only a very talented tennis player, but more importantly, he is an extremely hard worker and a terrific young man.”

Manzini graduated from Objetivo de Alphaville in 2007. He was a member of the Confederation Cup 18 Championship. He was also the junior individual champion at the Sao Paulo Cup in 2007 and 2008. Manzini earned three nation titles in Brazil as a juniors player. He was ranked the fourth-best juniors player in Brazil.

Baylor Women Add DII Champ to Roster

Baylor has signed two-time DII ITA champion Sona Novakova for the Fall 2010 season. I get it that she wants to move on considering she hasn’t ever lost a match to a DII opponent, but I find it interesting that she just happened to play in the HEB Baylor Invitational last month, two weeks before signing week.

She hails from the Czech Republic and there is actually a nice Czech community just 16 miles north of Waco in the town of West. There are several Kolache places just off the highway and the town holds an annual Westfest Czech Festival on Labor Day. But the best place to eat is the Czech-American in downtown. I am curious to know what she thinks about it. It probably made the difference in her decision.

Here’s the official Baylor release. No mention of food or festivals, though.

WACO – Baylor head women’s tennis coach Joey Scrivano announced the future addition of two-time ITA D-II champion Sona Novakova for the Fall 2010 season.

“We’re excited to have Sona join us next fall,” Scrivano said. “She an outstanding player and a great fit for Baylor. Her competitive drive and passion for tennis is exactly what we are looking for in a recruit. Her father is a top notch coach in the Czech Republic and has done a great job of giving his daughter the tools to be successful.”

Novakova, who is currently a sophomore at Armstrong Atlantic State University, will join the Lady Bears next Fall as a junior. During the past two seasons, the Slapanice, Czech Republic, native has put together an astounding 51-6 record in singles play. During this stretch, Novakova has not lost a singles match to any D-II opponents on her way to back-to-back ITA D-II singles titles, as well as two ITA Southeast Regional Championships.

Earlier this Fall, Novakova won the ITA “Super Bowl” of Small College Tennis, one of 32 coveted berths to the ITA Intercollegiate Indoor Championships. In the first round, Novakova took Baylor’s 23rd-ranked Lenka Broosova to three sets, losing in a tie-breaker. Novakova was the only non-Division I player in the field.

“She’s gained a lot of valuable experience playing for Armstrong Atlantic State and winning a National Championship there,” Scrivano said. “Under the guidance of Coach Earnshaw she has developed into the No. 1 ranked player in the nation in Division II and won the Small College Superbowl this past fall.”

Novakova also competed in the HEB Baylor Invitational this season, making it to the finals of the doubles bracket, and the semifinals of the singles bracket, before falling to BU’s Csilla Borsanyi in three sets.

“Sona is going to have a huge role on our team and she’ll impact our team’s success for years to come,” Scrivano said. “We can’t wait to get her on campus and begin helping her progress in the next phase of her tennis career.”

Not Dead Yet: Me or Tennis

This is just a quick post to explain that I have a ton of catching up to do here. I never properly concluded the ITA Indoor results and then Signing Day Fall 2009, which I ignored.

Basically I was on the road last week and had a really crummy Internet connection. Then I returned only to have the server I host everything on crash for about 15 hours. That was painful to watch.

I did get to spend a few minutes with Timon Corwin face-to-face and should probably discuss that too. Heck, there’s no time like the present. Timon is a great guy and we really just caught up. It is exciting to see the sport growing and to have the USTA so focused right now on developing the younger 6-10 age group. The USTA will be pushing the QuickStart format and encouraging more play, both casual and competitive, in several ways.

I was also able to hear Dr. Robert Pangrazi, who has been instrumental in developing the Schools curriculum for the USTA, as well as Dr. Dan Gould, the Director of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State, who has been an adviser as well to the USTA. Both gentlemen are leaders in their respective fields and were just amazing to hear. As the parent of two small children, I could’ve listen to their advice for hours.

And then of course was the release that there are now over 30 Million tennis players in the U.S. That’s exciting for the future of the game.

I will write more soon. Promise.

ITA National Indoor Championships Preview

The ITA Division 1 Men’s & Women’s National Indoor Championships begin Thursday in New Haven, Conn. on the campus of Yale University. Several players with Texas ties are involved, so I am going to give a quick rundown of the draws.

FOR THE COMPLETE DRAWS

Starting near the top of the men’s draw is Dimitar Kutrovsky of Texas, the sixth seed. Kutrovsky faces Javier Garrapiz of Georgia. Kutrovsky has been hot of late, while Garrapiz reached the finals of the ITA Southeast Regional two weeks ago. The winner will play the winner of Michigan’s Jason Jung and Patricio Alvarado of Mississippi State, who was added to the draw today after Sanam Singh withdrew. Singh is still in the main draw of the Charlottesville Challenger.

Damian Hume, the JuCo player from Collin County, qualified for the event by winning the Super Bowl of Small Colleges. Hume will have his hands full with Southern Cal’s Steve Johnson, the fifth seed. My inductive reasoning says he won’t be around long. Sorry, trying to ingest a little David Hume on the subject. (on a side note, Hume will be playing on one of Bob Bender’s 3.0 league teams out of Collin County in a matter of years — joke, maybe).

Back to the draws. The winner of the Hume-Johnson match must face the winner of Baylor’s Jordan Rux and Virginia freshman, Jarmere Jenkins. Rux has been all over the place this fall, but has the potential.

Texas’ Ed Corrie plays Moritz Baumann of Wisconsin, which sounds more like a hotel chain that the pretty good player he is.

Austin Krajicek of Texas A&M plays Robert Farah of USC. I have always liked both of their games and if Krajicek had maybe had some better results this fall, would pick the upset. Truthfully, this is a chance at redemption after what can only be described as an underachieving fall season for.

At the very bottom of the draw if Raony Carvalho of Texas Tech against Oleksandr Nedovyesov of Oklahoma State. Carvalho played well two weeks ago at the Texas Regional, but Nedovyesov finally turned the corner on his season, capturing the singles and doubles titles at the Central Regional. I expect this to be a great match.

Overall this is a great draw and will be extremely interesting to follow this weekend.

Three ladies with ties to Texas are in the women’s draw.

Sanaz Marand of Katy (and North Carolina) plays Stanford’s Hilary Barte, with the winner to face either Denise Dy of Washington or Noemie Scharle of Florida State.

Ariel Ellis, the freshman from UT who won the Texas Regional, plays Kristi Boxx of Ole Miss.  The winner will face Jana Juricova of Cal or Reka Zsilinszka. Yikes. That’s a tough draw.

Lenka Broosova of Baylor faces Sona Novakova of Armstrong Atlantic, the Super Bowl champ. Novakova fell last week at the HEB Baylor Invitational to Broosova’s teammate, CsillaBorsanyi, in three tough sets, so I bet they learned a few things there.

In doubles, Texas A&M’s men’s team of Jeff Dadamo and Krajicek are in the draw with a potential second round match-up with the top seeds, J.P. Smith and Davey Sandgren of Tennessee.

The women’s doubles draw actually has quite a few Texans.

First off are the SMU pair of Pavi Francis (Lewisville) and Marta Lasniak.  Also in the draw is Marand and her partner, Sophie Grabinski. A third Texan is Vanderbilt’s Heather Steinbauer (The Woodlands) and her partner Erica Robertson.

Texas, Baylor Invite Round-ups with plenty of fall upsets

The Texas Invitational was held in Austin for the men, while the HEB Baylor Invitational was this weekend in Waco. The weather was perfect and the results were at times strange.

I was able to attend the Texas Invitational Friday afternoon for a bit. It was a gorgeous day, clear but a little cool. I had been following the morning matches online via TennisLink (since they were not using any live scoring) and already knew a few upsets had occurred.

The biggest of the morning had to be Texas’ Alex Hilliard topping the fifth-seed, Baylor’s Julian Bley, 62 62. Hilliard is a player than has practiced hard with the Horns, but really hasn’t been expected to get into the lineup. Hilliard decided his morning wasn’t enough to show how well he was playing and went out and defeated Rice’s Michael Nusslein, 63 62. Nusslein had reached the quarterfinals of the ITA Texas Regional in just the last week. It was without a doubt the freshman redshirt’s greatest day as a collegian.

One of the other big afternoon upsets had to be UT Freshman Chris Camillone’s upset of Marquette’s top player, Dusan Medan, 75 64. Medan played in the All-American last month and defeated Texas A&M’s Austin Krajicek in the consolation of that tournament.

The third so-called upset was Texas freshman Daniel Whitehead’s, 57 61 61, win over teammate Josh Zavala for the second-straight tournament. Whitehead was actually in control from the start, jumping out 5-2, before losing the next six games and the set. He rallied and put away the senior from Amarillo.

Two other matches of interest Friday were UT freshman Vasil ‘Vasko’ Mladenov’s 63 76 win over Rice’s Isamu Tachibana and Baylor’s Attila Bucko’s win over UT freshman Ben Chen, 26 62 64. Bucko, the fourth seed, had his hands full with Chen, who left the court to throw up before the third set.

Cinderella did not make an appearance on Halloween and the seeds went to form the rest of the way. Ed Corrie ended Hilliard’s run, Kellen Damico ended Camillone’s journey, Bucko cruised past Whitehead and Dimitar Kutrovsky got past his countryman, Mladenov.

In Sunday’s final, Corrie and Kutrovsky matched up in what was supposed to be the semifinals of the Regional a week ago. This match was everything it was expected to be, as two of the hottest players in the state bucked heads. Kutrovsky won 36 62 75 for the title.

The doubles had its share of upsets too, as Nusslein and Christian Saravia of Rice beat Corrie and Damico, 8-4. The biggest upset though was John Wiegand and Mladenov beating Bucko and Maros Horny, 9-8, in the second round.

In the final it was Kutrovsky and Zavala prevailing over Nusslein and Saravia, 8-4.

FOR COMPLETE RESULTS CLICK HERE

HEB BAYLOR INVITATIONAL

The women were much more predictable this weekend in Waco.

Texas A&M’s Elze’ Potgieter, the third seed, defeated sixth-seeded Abigail Guthrie of Ole Miss, 26 61 63, in one semifinal. On the other side of the bracket, second-seed Csilla Borsanyi of Baylor topped Rice’s Rebekka Hanle, the eighth seed, 61 46 64.

Borsanyi edged Potgieter, 16 63 63, for the title.

The top seed, Taylor Ormond, withdrew before her second round match with an injury.

The doubles was a little trickier. The unseeded Aggie duo of Sheri Olivier and Nazari Urbina captured the championship with an 8-5 win over the unseeded team of Gabriella Kovacs and Sona Novakova of Armstrong Atlantic.

Oliver and Urbina topped the top seeds, Borsanyi and Ormond, 8-5, in the second round. The defeated their teammates, Stephanie Davidson and Morgan Frank, 8-6, in the semifinals.

Kovacs and Novakova defeated the second-seeded Gabriela Rangel and Connor Vogel of Ole Miss in the semis,8-4.

FOR A COMPLETE LOOK AT THE DRAWS