Tag Archive: Jack Carpenter


USA F3 Futures Update – What The Hell Is Going On In Weston?

“So, what the hell is going on in Weston?” you may be wondering, if you’re a particularly curious type. After all, I’ve been going there almost every day since last Friday and have yet to write a damn word about it. But keeping my Westonian insight and experience from the world only increases it as a commodity by making it scarce and in demand, don’tcha know?* And yet here I go cheapening things again by pressing fingers to keyboard.

Well, after witnessing the madness that was the Jesse Witten vs. Daniel Garza USA F2 Tamarac semi on Friday, I hightailed it over to the Midtown Athletic Club in Weston, a gorgeous and sprawling 25-court establishment located off the same lot as the Weston City Hall (which is decidedly less gorgeous and sprawling); the sign on the street literally directs you to the “City Hall/Midtown Athletic Club.” Which is a pretty convenient setup when it comes to enforcing code violations, I suppose. I thought it was strange at first, but after five days I’m starting to kind of like it. If I ever run for office now, it’ll be on a “racquet club for every city hall” platform, I think.

So tennis? Of course. A ridiculous amount of it. Sickening, even. Or maybe that was just the smell of the wet clay – hard to say. The 128 qualifying draw format employed on these USTA Pro Circuit Futures events ensures an orgy of frenzied activity in the early going. On the first days, with 64 matches, no posted court assignments, and no on-court officials, it’s as close to athletic anarchy as one could hope to find at a combination tennis club/city hall.

On the way past one of my favorite signs on the grounds…

…I catch my first recognizable player sighting, and it’s none other than Wayne Odesnik, walking back to the clubhouse, sweaty, towel around his neck. Since it’s only about 45 minutes after his match was scheduled to begin, I just assume that Wayno took Nikki Madregallejo to the cleaners. Turned out, however, that Odesnik retired in the first set tiebreak. Some spectators I spoke with later told me they saw Odesnik actually win that breaker (which wouldn’t be the first time the ITF, the USTA, the spectators and/or the players haven’t been in agreement on the score or even outcome of a particular match). Hard to say for sure either way, and I haven’t yet been able to determine what exactly happened in that one.

I wander out near Court 23-ish to the player check-in and ask annoying questions about court assignments. Then I complete my trek over the spacious layout and plop my ass in the comfy grass near Court 22, where Austin Smith takes on 7th seed Joel Kielbowicz. For those who don’t remember (or never knew in the first place), it was Austin who’s credited with coming up with that infamous B-word on then-girlfriend Melanie Oudin’s sneakers during her spirited US Open run (“Believe”, by the way – I have no idea what you’re thinking). Kielbowicz is a 27 year-old four-year UNLV product with a monster serve. As there are no chair umps and players only sometimes call the score (or call it loudly enough when they do), the only way to determine where one is in a match is by checking the tennis ball scoring devices or by paying very close attention.

I’m not doing a good job of either, but it seems like Smith is handling the heat from Kielbowicz, so I amble away to the opposite corner of the grounds; there, 18-year-old, 12th-seeded 1,068th-ranked Brit Jack Carpenter, semifinalist of the 2009 Eddie Herr International junior championships, is taking on unranked 19-year-old American Kurt Thein. The only other people watching the match are each player’s coach. That is, until the affable Alex Ward comes round the corner.  The 8th seed in the main draw and the funniest sub-250-followed tennisser on the twitter had seen me skulking about Tamarac for the better part of the week, and now here I am in the furthermost corner of the complex at the other place, watching his roommate play quallies. What else was there to do but point and laugh? (Amiably, of course.)

I pick myself up out of my comfy chair to have a chat. I plead guilty to their suspicion that, yes, I am the idiot who’s been tweeting every last bit of nonsense from Tamarac the past few days (although they phrase their accusation in a much friendlier fashion). I, in turn, ask Alex whether Katie O’Brien is still kicking his ass in fantasy footy, but he insists he’s had a good week. He tells me about a race to 500 Twitter followers he’s having with another British player and I promise to aid him in his quest. Later, I send out an urgent plea to my loyal minions (or so I thought) to start following him immediately, but his numbers don’t budge. Come on, disloyal minions – do what I tell you, damn it! You’re making me look bad. The next day, I see him again (the entire Brit crew must be convinced I’m stalking them at this point, but it’s not my fault they’re always at the damn tennis) and I ask, “Ya hit 500 followers yet?” “Not quite,” he says, diplomatically. Anyway, here’s you’re last chance to get in on the ground floor of the next Tennis/Twitter superstar. Follow him, you fools.

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The final qualifying round of the $10K USA F1 Futures has been played, and here are your results:

Christian HARRISON (USA) defeated Thai-Son KWIATKOWSKI (USA) 6-3 6-1
Dennis ZIVKOVIC (USA) (2) defeated Jack CARPENTER (GBR) 6-3 7-6(5)
Andrei DAESCU (ROU) (11) defeated Olivier SAJOUS (HAI) (3) 7-6(9) 2-6 6-3
Phillip SIMMONDS (USA) (4) defeated Alexander RITSCHARD (SUI) 7-6(5) 6-2
Andrea COLLARINI (USA) (5) defeated Daniel KOSAKOWSKI (USA) (9) 6-4 6-2
Thomas CAZES-CARRERE (FRA) (6) defeated Devin MULLINGS (BAH) 6-2 6-3
Teodor-Dacian CRACIUN (ROU) (7) defeated Jan KUNCIK (CZE) 6-3 6-7(2) 7-6(2)
Chris KWON (USA) (12) defeated Marcos GIRON (USA) 4-6 6-3 6-3

Ryan’s little bro making a name for himself, getting through over the precocious 15-year-old KwiatkowskiZivkovic continues the kind of play that saw him reach the semis of four Futures events last year, again at the expense of a game, young British competitor (he beat Oliver Golding in a tough first round on his way to the Mexico F8 semis this past November).  Sajous, the Plantation-based local fave who lost to Wayne Odesnik in the wildcard tourney, takes a tough loss at the hands of erstwhile Oklahoma Sooner Andrei Daescu.  Challenger Tennis 2011 Player To Watch Andrea Collarini with a decisive victory over UCLA freshman Kosakowski. 

Collarini has now drawn top seed Jesse Levine in the main draw.  I’m excited to see how Andrea fares in that one.  Zivkovic goes from second seed in quals to facing the main draw second seed in the form of Mr. Alex Bogdanovic.  Daescu slated to meet Simmonds in the main, in a Q v Q clash.  Harrison gets to test his mettle against fellow promising junior Jeremy Efferding.  Craciun gets a crack at Odesnik in the first round.  And Kwon gets the big Slovenian Luka Gregorc.

Other notable main draw Round One matches:

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Update on the Futures/Future

So look, people.  It’s no secret, and there’s no need to pussyfoot around it.  Let’s just get it right out there in the open: I’ve been horribly remiss in not giving you any updates from the Futures tour this week, it’s true.  But here are my excuses: 1) the Sao Paulo Challenger has completely overshadowed the Brazil F2 Futures tourney in Salvador, even though Salvador is Brazil’s capital of happiness; b) I’m moving to Florida, duh, and such things require preparation that may limit my coverage and/or output; iii) though it may take place in Brazil’s happiness capital, the $10K Brazil F2 has an extremely watered-down field and didn’t really merit coverage until this weekend.

I mean, I know my job here is to chronicle and celebrate and all, but with only 11 Top Thousand players in the Salvador field, and an 8th seeded player ranked #658 in the world, well… it’s hard to get inspired about day-to-day coverage until the weekend, I admit.  But I will now, OK? 

So, in a tournament where the top 3 seeds are the only ones in the Top 400, and the rest of the field is outside the Top 500, it should come as no surprise that the top seeds are the ones who made it to the final weekend, no?  For me, the tournament started on Saturday, as it was almost predestined that #1 Eladio Ribeiro Neto (ATP #317), #2 Andre Begemann (#348), #3 Andre Miele (#398) and #4 Thales Turini (#530) would make it through to the final four.

Three Brazilians, two Andres and one German (Begemann).  But who would win out of them?  The answer may surprise you! 

Well, the semifinals may not surprise you, as top-seeded Ribeiro continued his dominance over 4th seed Turini, 7-6(3) 7-5, for his third win in three tries in this inter-Brazilian affair.  The 21 year-old Turini has yet to win a set over his 25 year-old countryman.  But second seeded Begemann had a tougher time against the third seed Miele, eking out a close 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4 win and evening their head-to-head at one apiece in this inter-Andre affair.  

But in the finals?  Surprise!  The second seed (Begemann, for those hard of memory) upset the 1st (Ribeiro-Neto, ditto), 1-6 6-4 6-4 to take the Salvador da Bahia title.  The win indicates a profound change in fortunes for the 26 year-old German, who just five months ago was at a career high #166 in the world, after reaching the semifinals at the Nottingham Challenger (l. Go Soeda) and almost making the main draw at Wimbledon.  He also partnered Dustin Brown to a dubs final at the Cairo Challenger and won the Zagreb Challenger championship teamed up with Matt Ebden.  But then, after a retirement in Round 2 of the Winnetka Challenger, the former Pepperdine standout went 1/15 for the rest of the year, his ranking plummeting almost 200 places. 

So, to say that this was a surprise result would actually be a bit of an understatement, I’d say.  Talk about turning over a new leaf in the new year! 

The Begemann Gets Paid

Meanwhile, in Plantation, Florida, the $10K USA F1 Futures are underway with a lot of interesting stories already (and the main draw hasn’t even begun).  Not the least of which is the return of Wayne Odesnik, the self-proclaimed “American Nadal” (he’s a lefty, he likes clay, just go with it), from a slashed-in-half two-year drug suspension, his penalty reduced due to the ongoing “Substantial Assistance” he’s been providing to the ITF (Code Name: Whistleblower).  I’m not big on moralizing/judging, so I’ll steer clear of L’affaire Odesnik for now, and will just note that it’s happening.

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