Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Mixture Of Veterans And Youths, Four Women Into The Second Week (2015 AO)

American women found success at the first grand slam of the year. A mixture of veterans and new faces, led by the Williams sisters, reached the second week of the Australian Open. 

Eighteen-time grand slam champion, Serena Williams, and her older sister, Venus, once again made the fourth round of a grand slam.  A first appearance at this stage for Venus in the singles since 2011, the year she was diagnosed with Sj√∂gren's syndrome.  On the brink of defeat in the previous round, the 34 year old showed resilience in a comeback over the big hitting Italian, Camila Giorgi.  Trailing a set and a point from double-break disadvantage, Williams fought off multiple break points to take the second set tiebreak before cruising in the decider to a 4-6 7-6(3) 6-1 victory.  The nearly 2.5 hour encounter was physical and emotional for the former World No. 1 trying to make her way back to the top echelon of tennis.  "It's definitely been a lot of work and a lot of learning and a lot of perseverance.  It will continue to be that for me.  Just have to come to terms with it", said Williams.  With the win, she is projected to rise to No. 12 in the WTA ranking and is slated to play No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska who defeated American Varvara Lepchenko in straight sets.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

2015 AO Qualifying in Pictures

Fourteen American men and four American women participated in the 2015 Australian Open qualifications, but only three successfully made it to the main draw.  Thirty-six year old Michael Russell, who declared 2015 as his last professional season,  27 year old Tim Smyczek, and the former Georgian representative, Anna Tatishvili, won three matches for a chance to compete with the best.  Nine men and three women claimed 1st round victories, six advanced to the final qualifying round including Jarmere Jenkins, Alex Kuznetsov, Chase Buchanan, and Alexa Glatch.  In the main draw, Smyczek draws wildcard and 2012 Junior AO winner, Luke Saville of Australia.  Russell gets No. 20 David Goffin (BEL) and Tatishvili opens her campaign against 44 year old Japanese, Kimiko Date-Krumm.  USA has a total of 24 players (7 men and 17 women) in the singles main events, spearhead by John Isner and World No. 1 Serena Williams.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Decent Start to the 2015 American Campaign

Not a bad start to the new season from the American bunch highlighted by Venus Williams' victory in Auckland and the Hopman Final.  The ATP performance may not be as good as the WTA's, but there were some nice results at the lower tour events including a surprising start for Ryan Harrison and strong showings by the teenagers on the futures tour.

In the first week of the 2015 season, Venus Williams claimed her 46th title at the ASB Classic in Auckland.  The 34 year old upended fellow former World No.1, Caroline Wozniacki, 2-6 6-3 6-3.  With the victory, Williams is back up at No.18 on the WTA tour ranking.  Also in New Zealand, 21 year old Lauren Davis reached her first career semifinal coming back from 1st set deficient each time.  She defeated fellow Americans, Shelby Rogers and Sloane Stephens, as well as Pole Urszula Radwanska before falling to Williams.  CoCo Vandeweghe also made the quarterfinals.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2015 ITF World Junior Rankings

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has released the first edition of its' 2015 World Junior Rankings this week.  After the removal of the no longer eligible 1996 born players, the United States is left with fourteen boys and fourteen girls in the Top 100, the most of any nation.  Russia has the next highest total, with twenty-one players, followed by Australia with fourteen.  Stefan Kozlov and Catherine Cartan Bellis lead the USA's contingent.

Joining the 3rd ranked Kozlov, who was as highest as No.2, in the Top 10 Boys club are Taylor Harry Fritz (5) and Michael Mmoh (8).  Former World Junior No.2, Francis Tiafoe, Alex Rybakov, and Reilly Opelka round up the Top 25.  Other players inside the Top 50 include Henrik Wiersholm, William Blumberg, Tommy Paul, and Sameer Kumar.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

First American Rankings of 2015: ATP, WTA, 21&Under (January)

At the start of each month, I will try to update the ATP and WTA Top 15 American and 21&Under Rankings.  The January edition is as follow.  Also included are the Australian Open main draw and qualifying lists.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Q&A With Junior Standout: Taylor Harry Fritz

Taylor Harry Fritz is one of America's top prospects to watch in 2015.  The 17 year old Californian is coached by his former pro dad, Guy Fritz.  His mom, Kathy May Fritz, is a former WTA Top 10 player.  2014 is a break out year in the juniors for Taylor, who has ended the season at No.6 on the ITF Junior Ranking.  Continue reading to learn more about Taylor including his game, favorite surface, and plans for the new season.

Taylor Fritz in semifinal action at Junior Wimbledon

Questions and Answers

Can you tell us a little bit about your game style?

My game style can change around, depending on my opponent, but ideally I like to be as aggressive as possible when I get the chance.