Norrie Wins Opener at US Open, Kwaitkowski Loses Tough Five-Setter; Isner/Johnson/Anderson Into Round TwoWritten by Bobby Knight
Monday was opening day at the 2017 US Open and while the established players like John Isner, Steve Johnson, and Kevin Anderson picked up wins there were several other former collegians that couldn't quite get over the hump. One former collegian that did get over the jump was Cameron Norrie as the 3-time All-American from TCU picked up his first main draw grand slam win after his opponent, Dmitry Tursunov, retired before the start of the third set.
Norrie and Tursunov played a break-free first set though each player had multiple opportunities to pull ahead. Tursunov had two break points on Norrie's opening service game and then another two when Norrie served at 3-4. Norrie had two break points on Tursunov's 2-2 service game and then another when Tursunov served at 4-4. In the tiebreak the opening two points went to the server then the next four went to the returner which made it 3-3 at the changeover. The server won the next nine points which gave Norrie a set point at 6-5 and 8-7 while Tursunov had a set point at 7-6. Norrie managed to win the 16th point of the tiebreak which gave him the set 7-6(7).
Tursunov broke Norrie to start the second set but it was all Norrie the rest of the way. Norrie won the next six games, which included three love holds, to take the set 6-1. Tursunov, who got his right knee taped at 4-1 in the second set, retired before the start of the third set and that was it. Norrie has now picked up 70 ATP points by qualifying and winning today's match plus he has banked just over $100K in prize money. Next up for Norrie will be the No. 12 seed Pablo Carreno Busta after the Spaniard defeated former Michigan Wolverine Evan King in straight sets.
World University Games Into Medal Rounds; Talaba Sweeps Singles/Doubles in Romania; Monteiro Wins Again; Puetz Takes SwitzerlandWritten by Bobby Knight
The World University Games in Taiwan are nearing its conclusion with the doubles gold medal match taking place late Sunday/early Monday while singles wraps up tomorrow. Great Britain's Jack Findel-Hawkins (North Florida '17) and Luke Johnson (Clemson '16) will play in the doubles gold medal match against Russia's Richard Muzaev and Aslan Karatsev with the match scheduled for no sooner than 2:30 a.m. eastern. Mississippi State junior Nuno Borges will meet the top seed Jason Jung (Michigan '11) in the singles semifinal with first serve scheduled for roughly 11:30 p.m eastern on Sunday night.
UCLA's Logan Staggs and Jada Hart are playing in the mixed doubles semifinals at roughly 1:30 a.m. eastern while Baylor sophomore Jessica Hinojosa is playing in the singles consolation final on Sunday night at 10 p.m. eastern. Live scoring for all matches will be available at this link.
There were seven players with college ties in action on Friday in the final round of the qualifying draw at the US Open and by the time the dust had settled six of them had secured a spot in the main draw. JC Aragone, Evan King, and Danielle Lao will each be making their grand slam debuts next week while Cameron Norrie advanced to his second grand slam main draw, JP Smith his fourth grand slam main draw, and Nicole Gibbs her 13th grand slam main draw.
For the first time since 1987 there will be four men in the main draw that played college tennis in the same year because Aragone and Norrie join Thai Kwiatkowski and Chris Eubanks who were both granted main draw wild cards. In the 1987 US Open there were five same-year college players to make the main draw - Phil Williamson (Columbia), Andrew Burrow (Miami FL), Richey Reneberg (SMU), Shelby Cannon (Tennessee), Rick Leach (USC).
Aragone was the most improbable of the six to qualify after playing at No. 5 and No. 6 for most of his collegiate career at Virginia. In the opening match of the day on court 7, Aragone found himself down a quick break at 2-1 against Australia's Akira Santillan however he'd immediately break back, hold, and then break again to go up 4-2. Santillan got it back on serve with a break for 4-3 but Aragone broke back and then held at love to take the opening set 6-3.
The second set started off with five routine holds before Santillan broke Aragone in a four-deuce game for 4-2 and then two games later he'd break again to take the set 6-2.
Aragone bounced back in the third set by breaking Santillan in a two-deuce game for 1-0 but Santillan broke back from 15/40 to even it at 1-1. Aragone made it three breaks in a row to go up 2-1 and he'd hold on from there to win it 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.
JC Aragone was awarded a last minute wild card into this year's US Open qualifying draw and now he's just one match away from the main draw after a come from behind win over Italy's Riccardo Bellotti. Aragone dropped the opening set 6-3 and went down a break at 3-2 in the second but he broke back in the next game to even it at 3-all. After an exchange of holds, Aragone went up 40/0 on his 4-4 service game but Bellotti took the next four points to take the advantage. Aragone worked it back to deuce but Bellotti would have the advantage three more times until Aragone finally managed to win two straight and then after getting the advantage he held for 5-4. Aragone jumped on Bellotti's 5-6 service game by going up 0/40 and he'd break from 15/40 to send the match to a third set.
Aragone held and broke to start the third set but Bellotti broke back and held for 2-2. Aragone rattled off three straight games to go up 5-2 and actually had two match points to win it 6-2 but Bellotti managed to hold. Aragone fell behind 0/30 on his next service game but then won the final four points to close it out 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. Aragone will face Japan's Akira Santillan (ATP 171) on Friday morning in the opening match on court 7 which is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. ET.
The opening round of qualifying at the US Open wrapped up on Wednesday with the guys with college ties going 12-14 while the girls went 5-5. UCLA and USC were the only schools to put more than one player through to the men's second round while on the women's side Stanford was the only school to do the same. Those that played college tennis last season went 2-4 with Cameron Norrie and JC Aragone picking up wins while JJ Wolf, William Blumberg, Francesca Di Lorenzo, and Ashley Lahey came up short. Second round matches will be played on Thursday with live scoring available here.
It'll be a busy week for many current and former collegians as they try to qualify for the 2017 US Open. There are 26 players with college ties in the men's qualifying draw with two first round matches pitting one against another. There are 10 players with college ties in the women's draw with the only college versus college match coming when Francesca Di Lorenzo faces Nicole Gibbs. To see all the first round matchups scroll down and to see the order of play for Tuesday click here and to track the live scoring click here.
The World University Games are underway in Taiwan with plenty of representation from college tennis players here in the United States. The draws, which are a little tricky to find, are available at this link (click Sport Reports) plus you can get full stats from each match by going through the list of results. UCLA Martin Redlicki, Florida State's Lucas Poullain, Baylor's Jimmy Bendeck, Old Dominion's Adam Moundir, and former UNC Tar Heel Esben Hess-Olesen have each advanced to the third round of the men's draw with the top half to be played late Monday night/early Tuesday morning in the US. The requirements to play in the WUG are listed at this link.