Burel, Andreev Lead Eddie Herr Acceptances; Collins, Kenin Named to Fed Cup Team for Final; A Deep Dive into Impact of New ITF World Tennis Tour on College Players

Because the Eddie Herr is a Grade 1, not a Grade A, the acceptances come out after those for the Orange Bowl, which is actually a week later.  I went over the acceptance lists for

Because the Eddie Herr is a Grade 1, not a Grade A, the acceptances come out after those for the Orange Bowl, which is actually a week later.  I went over the acceptance lists for the Orange Bowl and the Grade A in Mexico last week; today the Eddie Herr acceptances were published, and in a surprise, the cutoffs are much higher than for those two events, which provide substantially more points. For example, Pan Am Closed finalist Savannah Broadus made the main draw of both Grade As, but because the cutoff for the Eddie Herr is 85, while Orange Bowl’s cutoff for girls was 97 and Yucatan 121, she is currently in qualifying at the Eddie Herr.

Aside from Broadus,  the US girls cohort at the Eddie Herr is very similar to that of the Orange Bowl, with only Caty McNally entered to play in Plantation but not Bradenton.

US girls main draw entries:
Coco Gauff
Alexa Noel
Lea Ma
Elli Mandlik
Dalayna Hewitt
Hurricane Tyra Black
Gabby Price
Chloe Beck
Emma Navarro
Peyton Stearns
Vanessa Ong
Kacie Harvey

World No. 1 Clara Burel of France, who reached the final last year, losing to Whitney Osuigwe, is on the Eddie Herr entry list, as well as the Yucatan Grade A and the Orange Bowl.

The boys cutoff for the Eddie Herr is 103, which is lower than the 109 mark for the Orange Bowl and 126 for Yucatan.

US boys main draw entries:
Brandon Nakashima
Drew Baird
Govind Nanda
Tyler Zink
Emilio Nava
Eliot Spizzirri
Toby Kodat

This is the same group as in Plantation and Yucatan, with the exception of Cannon Kingsley, who has entered the Orange Bowl. Defending champion Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria is the highest ranking boy entered, at No. 4, one spot ahead of Nakashima.

The top American women–Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, the Williams sisters– are not playing in the Fed Cup final next month in the Czech Republic, giving Sonya Kenin, Danielle Collins(Virginia), and Nicole Melichar (No. 15 in the world in doubles) the opportunity to represent their country in the competition for the first time. Captain Kathy Rinaldi’s team of Collins, Kenin, Melichar and Alison Riske will take the courts in Prague against a formidable Czech team: Petra Kvitova, Karolina Pliskova, Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Strycova. For more on the final, which will be November 10th and 11th, see this article from usta.com.

Lisa Stone has a guest post up today at her site Parenting Aces that delves into great detail on the implications of the ITF’s new World Tennis Tour being introduced next year. I wrote briefly on this when the USTA announced its new wild card structure last Friday, but this post incorporates a lot more analysis and detail than has been available before today. The focus is on Americans and on the likelihood that collegiate players will be hurt the most by these changes, primarily because they simply can’t play as many tournaments as those not in college from February through May. I was told today that the new ITF calendar for the first three months of 2019 has just 41 events, as opposed to 114 in the same time frame this year. There’s no question that the ITF’s focus on its Top 100 junior rankings as a valid entry criteria for the lower level events is meant to strengthen its own pathway, and there is no evidence they have considered the US college pathway, which has produced two current Top 10 players on the ATP tour, in formulating these changes.  So, understanding the challenges ahead is critical for everyone considering playing on the Pro Circuit, and this post goes a long way toward anticipating many of the problems that may arise in the first quarter of 2019. 

Also of note, a change I missed when reading through the USTA’s FAQ last week, is that the qualifying for the ITF tournaments, now fields of 24 rather than the usual 64, will be played with a match tiebreaker in lieu of a third set. Even with the shortened weeks for these events, down from 9 days to 7, I don’t see why this is necessary, since there are only two rounds to be played, while before there were (generally) three rounds to be played in three days.

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