Great Day For Doubles - Venus/Harrison Win French Open; Alcantara/Verbeek Singing In Singapore, Dougaz/Mansouri Take Tunisia, Santamaria/Tere-Apisah First in DelawareWritten by Bobby Knight
Prior to this week Michael Venus (LSU '09) had never made it past the round of 16 at a grand slam but today he and Ryan Harrison are French Open doubles champions after the duo defeated Donald Young and Santiago Gonzalez in a tough three-setter. There were no breaks of serve in the first two sets with Venus and Harrison taking the first set 7-6(5) while Young and Gonzalez claimed the second set 7-6(4). In the third and final set, Venus and Harrison broke for 4-2 but Young and Gonzalez broke back in a four-deuce game for 4-3. Venus and Harrison broke again for 5-3 and then Harrison served it out in a one-deuce game to give the guys with Louisiana ties their first grand slam trophy.
Venus and Harrison split the €660,000 payout which is roughly $739,000 US. There were a couple of good articles written about Venus and his friendship with Harrison. The article from Stuff New Zealand is here and the one from RolandGarros.com is here.
Michael Venus (LSU '09) and his doubles partner Ryan Harrison advanced to the French Open doubles final with a come from behind three set win over Robert Farah (USC '10) and Juan Sebastian Cabal. Farah and Cabal won the opening set 6-4 with the lone break of serve coming in the third game of the match. Venus and Harrison opened up a 3-0 lead in the second set, after breaking for 2-0 in a three-deuce game, and would go on to take the set 6-3. The third and final set stayed on serve until Venus and Harrison broke for 5-4 in a one-deuce game and then they served it out in a two-deuce game to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
If Venus and Harrison can defeat Donald Young and Santiago Gonzalez in Saturday's final it'd be the second straight major for a guy with college ties after John Peers (Baylor '11) won the Australian Open Doubles Championship.
The women had their Kick-Off Weekend draft on Wednesday which meant the men were up today. There are four regional hosts (Cal/Oklahoma/Oklahoma State/Virginia) that have to replace three singles starters and sure enough those were the first four regionals to get filled. It only took seven picks for the Oklahoma regional to fill up with Georgia Tech, Illinois, and Northwestern choosing to play indoors in Norman. Oklahoma has a large incoming class of recruits scheduled to arrive in the fall but they'll be some drop off with Andrew Harris, Alex Ghilea, and Florin Bragusi all graduating. Georgia Tech returns everyone except Carlos Benito, Illinois returns everyone, while Northwestern has to replace its top three of Strong Kirchheimer, Konrad Zieba, and Sam Shropshire.
The Oklahoma State regional was full after the 13th pick with Mississippi State, Wisconsin, and Kentucky deciding to play indoors in Stillwater. Oklahoma State has to replace Arjun Kadhe, Lucas Gerch, and Lukas Finzelberg while Wisconsin returns all its starters, Mississippi State returns everyone except Mate Cutura, and Kentucky returns four starters with Beck Pennington and Nils Ellefsen out of eligibility.
Alison Swain New USC Coach, Women's KOW Draft Completed, Milwaukee Tennis Classic, French Open Update, Team Luke DocumentaryWritten by Bobby Knight
The biggest coaching opening on the women's side was filled today when USC Athletic Director Lynn Swann announced the hiring of Alison Swain as the Trojans new women's head coach. Swain, who is a 2001 Williams graduate, had been coaching at her alma mater since 2007 and in those 10 years she won a staggering 8 NCAA Division III National Championships while her squads went 224-28 (.889). Swain replaces six-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year Richard Gallien who stepped down after 22 years on the job. Below are a few quotes from USC's release and the Williams College release also has some quotes as well.
“We are delighted and excited to welcome Alison Swain to the Trojan Family,” said USC AD Lynn Swann. “She is a proven winner as a head coach. Winning a national championship at any level is difficult to do; winning 8 of them like Alison has done in a 10-year span is beyond impressive. We are confident that she can bring the Women of Troy to that championship level.
“She has a vision and a plan for our program. She is an educator and a developer of tennis players, of scholar-athletes and of women. She will create a supportive and healthy culture for our program that will lead to success in the classroom, in life and on the tennis court.”
The 2016-17 season may have just wrapped up but there's a pretty big event taking place this week that will help set the stage for the 2017-18 season. The ITA Kick-Off Weekend Draft will be held on Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 3 p.m. ET with the women taking center stage on Wednesday while the men make their picks on Thursday. The final ITA team rankings determine the 15 regional hosts plus they determine the order of selection for everyone else. The National Team Indoor Championship host get an automatic bid so the Washington men and Wisconsin women get the free pass.
There are only a handful of lower ranked men's teams (#26 Cornell/#44 Rice) that are skipping the event but on the women's side they'll be three top 20 teams, including No. 2 Stanford, that will take a pass. Notable women's teams skipping the KOW are #16 Texas A&M, #17 Baylor, #24 Tennessee, #29 Notre Dame, #43 Alabama, #48 Harvard, and #49 Cornell. There are some schools that are taking finals that week so that accounts for a few but for the others it comes down to either not wanting to play indoors or lining up matches that are deemed more winnable.
Weekend Recap: Anderson Into Fourth Round at the French; Nguyen, Sarkissian, Maden, & Gleason Win Pro Events, CVITT ResultsWritten by Bobby Knight
It was a busy and successful weekend for several players with college tennis ties. Kevin Anderson (Illinois '07) surged into the fourth round at the French Open, which equals a career-best performance, after defeating Great Britain's Kyle Edmund in five sets. Anderson trailed Edmund two sets to one but he cruised through the fourth set 6-1 and then broke Edmund for 5-4 and served it out to win 6-7, 7-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 in 3 hours and 59 minutes. Next up for Anderson will be the No. 8 seed Marin Cilic with Cilic leading the head-to-head 5-1 although Anderson won the last time they met on clay back in 2013.
Both Robert Farah (USC '10) and Michael Venus (LSU '09) have advanced to the quarterfinals of the men's doubles draw for the first-time ever. Farah and his longtime doubles partner Juan Sebastian Cabal pulled out a three set win over Tommy Robredo and David Marrero in the third round and will now face Julio Peralta and Horacio Zeballos. Venus and Ryan Harrison came back from a set and 5-6* down to defeat Purav Raja and Divij Sharan in the third round and now they'll meet the No. 7 seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcel Granollers in the quarters.