2012 @CitiOpen Mens Qualifying Final: @AussieWildCard Rematch For @JesseLevine7, Robby Ginepri

Jesse meets the Press

There’s a big rematch today between Jesse Levine and Robby Ginepri on Stadium Court at CitiOpen in Washington. Last time these two played was for a main draw wild card to the Australian Open back at the USTA’s AO Wild Card Playoffs at Racquet Club of the South in Norcross, Georgia in December. Tennis East Coast was there for Levine’s victory lap in suburban Atlanta and I expect nothing less than a close match between the two.



–S.Fogleman

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U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship ATP Houston: Draw News Release @MensClayCourt #ROCC

MAIN DRAW RELEASED; HAAS, GINEPRI, RUSSELL IN QUALIFYING

Qualifying FREE; Starts at 10 a.m. Saturday

The main draw for the 2012 US Men’s Clay Court Championship was made Friday at River Oaks Country Club in advance of the tournament there next week, April 9-15. The top four seeds for the tournament — No. 1 Mardy Fish, No. 2 John Isner, No. 3 Feliciano Lopez and No. 4 Juan Monaco — all have first round byes. The remaining 20 players were placed for their opening round matches.

In addition, the qualifying draw was made, and the three-round qualifying event will feature 2004 tournament champion Tommy Haas, 2005 US Open semifinalist Robby Ginepri, Houston resident Michael Russell and top seed Go Soeda, who is ranked No. 79 on the ATP World Tour.

There is no admission charge for the qualifying rounds, which begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday.    

ORDER OF PLAY – SATURDAY, APRIL 7, 2012

COURT 3 start 10:00 am  

Qualifying – Frank Moser (GER) vs (8) Michael Yani (USA)    

Qualifying – Harry Fowler (USA) vs (WC) Nicholas Naumann (USA)    

Qualifying – Alex Kuznetsov (USA) vs Robby Ginepri (USA)

COURT 4 start 10:00 am    

Qualifying – Dennis Lajola (USA) vs Jan Hernych (CZE)    

Qualifying – Mischa Zverev (GER) vs Daniel Kosakowski    

Qualifying – Chris Wettengel (USA) vs James Cerretani (USA)

COURT 5 start 10:00 am    

Qualifying – Catalin-Ionut Gard (ROU) vs Scott Lipsky (USA)    

Qualifying – Denes Lukacs (HUN) vs Amrit Narasimhan (USA)    

Qualifying – Joshua Zavala (USA) vs Peter Polansky (CAN)

QUALIFYING FIRST ROUND BYES    Go Soeda (JPN)    Horacio Zeballos (ARG)    Ricardo Mello (BRA)    Michael Russell (USA)    Tommy Haas (GER)    Teymuraz Gabashvili (RUS)    Yichi Sugita (JPN)

NOTES – This marks the second year in a row a former champion has played in qualifying at the US Men’s Clay Court Championship. Tommy Haas, who has a bye in the 2012 qualifying draw, won the event in 2004. The 2007 champion Ivo Karlovic successfully qualified last year. – Qualifying is a rare event for Tommy Haas. This is just the seventh time since he began playing on the ATP World Tour in 1996 that he has played qualifying. He has successfully reached the main draw just twice in his previous six attempts, including last fall in Vienna where he reached the quarterfinals. – Five participants in the US Men’s Clay Court Championship are playing Davis Cup this weekend. Ryan Harrison and John Isner split their matches in an away tie at Franch on Friday. Ivo Karlovic was defeated in straight sets as Croatia is playing at Argentina where Juan Monaco is on the team but has not played. Joao Souza is representing Brazil in a home zonal tie against Colombia. – Thirteen different countries are represented in the main draw for the 2012 US Men’s Clay Court Championship, led by eight Americans. Argentina, Russia and Spain are the only other countries with multiple players, as each have two in the field.

ONLY LIMITED TICKETS REMAIN for the 2012 US Men’s Clay Court Championship. Information on tickets can be found at www.mensclaycourt.com or by calling 713-527-0345. Once again, the US Men’s Clay Court Championship will provide the Texas Children’s Ticket Turnback program. Any fans holding tickets for a session that they cannot use are invited to return those tickets to the box office where they will be sold for face value and the entire resale price will be donated to Texas Children’s Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Institute.

Australian Open Wild Card Video: Patrick McEnroe on Bogomolov’s Defection to Russian Davis Cup

USTA Player Development General Manager Patrick McEnroe told the media on Friday that while he personally harbors no ill feelings for Alex Bogomolov’s jump to Russia to play for the Kremlin’s Davis Cup team, he did indicate that the USTA is looking into requiring him to reimburse American tennis for their exhaustive support of his career to date. Was McEnroe convincing in stating that he personally didn’t care about Junior’s decision? Judge for yourself. The entire twenty minute press conference may be viewed below, and includes Madison Keys, Robby Ginepri and Gail Brodsky.

Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs: Ice, Ice Baby

Robby Ginepri was on ice yesterday after his 5 and 2 win over Rhyne Williams. He said the cool right arm was simply a precationary measure. If he wins the Wild Card this afternoon, he’ll have plenty of time to relax before heading to the other side of the world in a quest to reach the semifinals (or better) of another Grand Slam.

Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs: Semifinal Super Saturday

Sorry 'bout knocking off 2 RCS favorites

With the local women out of the event, it’s up to Robby Ginepri to keep the hometown mesmerized. Alison Riske and Madison Keys kick it off at 1:00 pm today at Racquet Club of the South. Riske didn’t have much competition yesterday while Keys dug down in three grueling sets for her victory. Today, we’ll know if Riske’s game is that good, since Keys will hardly be a walkover. These matches are difficult to predict. The easy way out is Vandeweghe and Keys. So let’s go for broke, take the points and look for Riske and Brodsky in the final.

We’ll also know if yesterday was a fluke for Rhyne Williams and Jesse Levine, who greatly outperformed their quarterfinal competitors. But Denis Kudla advanced the hard way, and in reality, he was not on top form. Jack Sock had beaten him in the previous four matches. Even so, he tenaciously battled Sock in the 2nd set and blew him out in the tiebreak. Kudla knows he is lucky to be in the semifinals of this event, and it would be surprising if he were to let down today.

Georgia's last hope?

As far as Robby Ginepri, you’ve got to love his chances even more. His fitness level is extraordinarily high, and he said yesterday that he knows “the window is closing”. This might be the beginning of the exciting conclusion to his pro playing career.

Against all odds, look for Kudla to advance in three. Not surprisingly, expect Ginepri in straight sets.

Friday’s Quarterfinal Scores

MEN

No. 8 Rhyne Williams (Knoxville, Tenn.) def.No. 1 Bobby Reynolds (Acworth, Ga.), 4-6, 6-4, 10-8

No. 2 Jesse Levine (Boca Raton, Fla.) def. No. 7 Daniel Kosakowski (Downey, Calif.), 6-2, 6-4

No. 3 Denis Kudla (Arlington,Va.) def. No. 6 Jack Sock (Lincoln, Neb.),3-6, 7-6 (4), 5-4, ret.

No. 4 Robby Ginepri (Kennesaw, Ga.) def. No. 5Steve Johnson (Orange, Calif.), 7-6 (4), 6-0

WOMEN

No. 1 Coco Vandeweghe (Newport Beach, Calif.)def. No. 8 Taylor Townsend (Stockbridge, Ga.),6-4, 6-4

No. 5 Gail Brodsky (Brooklyn,N.Y.) def. No. 4 Melanie Oudin (Marietta, Ga.),6-4, 4-6, 6-4

No. 6 MadisonKeys (Boca Raton, Fla.)def. No. 3 Jamie Hampton (Auburn, Ala.), 3-6, 6-4, 9-7

No. 2 Alison Riske (McMurray,Pa.) def. No. 7 Grace Min (Duluth, Ga.),6-0, 6-0

Saturday’s Semifinal schedule

Beginning at 1p.m. on Court 2

Alison Riske vs. Madison Keys

Followed by Denis Kudla vs. Jesse Levine

Beginning at 2p.m. on Stadium Court

Coco Vandeweghe vs. Gail Brodsky

Followed by Robby Ginepri vs. Rhyne Williams

Australian Open Wild Card Draw (Norcross, GA December 16-18, 2011)

1. Bobby Reynolds (127)

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8. Rhyne Williams (511) |
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4. Robby Ginepri (318) |
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5. Steve Johnson (369) |
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3. Denis Kudla (275) |

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6. Jack Sock (380) |
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2. Jesse Levine (164) |
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7. Daniel Kosakowski (410) |
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1. CoCo Vandeweghe (127)

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8. Taylor Townsend (432) |
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4. Melanie Oudin (164) |
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5. Gail Brodsky (227) |
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3. Jamie Hampton (141) |

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6. Madison Keys (270) |
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2. Alison Riske (135) |
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7. Grace Min (352) |
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Kangaroos and Didgeridoos: Pat Jensen Prepares to take Atlanta Tennis Down Under

On Thursday, we had a great conversation with the First Mother of American Tennis, Patricia Jensen, who is also serving as Director of tournament operations for the Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs in Norcross, Georgia next weekend. When we learned that Jensen raised four children who played professional tennis at some point in their lives, doubling our guess, it became clear that she is easily up to the task of organizing a national event with international implications. 

Jensen confirmed that USTA Director of Player Development Patrick McEnroe will once again be playing in the WTT Exhibition match on Friday night, and although Courier is not 100% confirmed to play as of the date of the interview, the tournament will set up separate cheering sections for each player. They’re even bringing in the Master of Ceremonies from the Kansas City Explorers and a US Marines Color Guard with US and Australian flags. Finally, there will be the singing of  both national anthems to open the ceremonies on Saturday night.

The Player party on Friday night is sponsored and inspired by Outback Steakhouse, and will include decorating the entire banquet room in Aussie flair complete with didgeridoos. Only Australian wines will be served at the event. Unfortunately, Foster’s and Cooper’s will not be served due to other brewer commitments.

Woz is cuckoo for Kangaroo (stories)

The Australian theme is pervasive, and could include kangaroos again on display during kid’s day activities on Saturday. Kid’s day activities are Jensen’s personal favorites. “Last year, we did as much as we could to create a virtual experience in Australia”. An entire ‘Down Under Village’ is once again under construction, and consultation and items will again be provided by the Australian Embassy in Washington and the Australian Business Consulate in Atlanta to authenticize the event.

The Racquet Club of the South will also be the first location outside of Australia to purchase official 2012 Australian Open commemorative posters, It’s a great gift for a tennis fan.

Jensen readily made her case when asked if Atlanta was the “best tennis town” in the United States. “We are the world capital of tennis”, she declared, and noting that Atlanta didn’t even enter itself into the 2010 nationwide contest. Without campaigning, it came in second to Charleston, S.C.  “Atlanta has 12 different competitive leagues, 125,000 recreational players and a magazine distribution of 87,000. ALTA is very competitive with the USTA.” It appears the USTA also knows there’s tennis gold in those Georgia hills.

Jensen was diplomatic when asked who would get the biggest cheers at Racquet Club of the South next weekend. Jamie Hampton used to drive from Birmingham, Alabama every day to train at RCS. Although Melanie Oudin may train in Boca Raton as of late, “she will always be from Marietta”. On the men’s side, she expects crowd support for Bobby Reynolds, but notes that “Atlanta loves Jesse Levine and fell in love with Robby Ginepri”.

Though Tennis Maryland won’t be in Norcross until Thursday, there will be interview opportunities with Irina Falconi and Donald Young on Wednesday, with a possible hit with Young and the press.  We are truly crushed. If you’re weren’t already, we bet you wish you were going to the Wild Card Playoffs now.

In other news, 15-year-old Ashleigh Barty has powered her way into the final of Australia’s own Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs and will face last year’s champion Olivia Rogowska tonight.