JMTA’s Sasha Lebedev captured his first ITF title last week at the Safina Cup in Prague, The Czech Republic by beating the #5 seed, Pawel Zawisza of Poland 7-5, 6-2 in the final. Though unseeded, Sasha ran through the draw, dropping only 1 set in the entire tournament. In addition, Sasha and partner, American Jean Thirouin, reached the semifinals of the 2014 Safina Cup. Sasha (who is a “blue chip” recruit on www.tennisrecruiting.net) has made a verbal commitment to attend Notre Dame in the fall of 2015.
Click here to read more about Sasha from a recent piece on Tennis Recruiting.
JMTA’s Jessica Golovin and Sasha Lebedev were both in action yesterday on different continents. Jessica, playing in the Copa Barranquilla in Colombia, took on 14th seeded Anna Blinkova of Russia in a 2nd round match-up. Though Jessica fought hard, Anna took the match in two tough sets, 6-3, 6-4. Jessica and her Japanese partner, Mayuka Aikawa, remain alive in the doubles and are looking to upset top seeded Dasha Ivanova and Jacqueline Adina Cristian when they play the duo on Thursday.
Sasha Lebedev made the long trip to The Czech Republic to play in the 2014 Safina Cup. In the first round, Sasha defeated Ukrainian Vitaliy Sachko 6-0, 6-4. Yesterday, facing Russian Artem Dubrivnyy, Sasha won a key, 1st set tiebreaker 10-8 on his way to a hard fought 7-6 (8), 2-6, 6-3 victory. Next match, in the quarterfinals, Sasha faces Croatian Mladen Mitak. Mladen has lost a total of only 10 games in the 4 sets he’s played, so Sasha has his work cut out for him.
Copa Barranquilla, a Grade 1 ITF Tournament in Colombia, kicked off the main draw this week and JMTA’s Jessica Golovin is participating. Jessica, playing in both the singles and the doubles, began her tournament with three wins – two in doubles and one in singles.
In the doubles, Jessica with partner Mayuka Aikawa of Japan won their first and second round matches, both in nail-biting fashion. Their first round match, against a Colombian tandem, Jessica and Mayuka won 7-6 (4), 4-6, [10-7]. In their second round match, the girls beat a French team in a see-saw 0-6, 6-0, [10-4] match. On Wednesday, in the quarterfinals, Jessica and Mayuka face the top seeded team of Dasha Ivanova and Jacqueline Adina Cristian. Jacqueline and Dasha are the #2 and #4 seeds in the singles draw, respectively.
In singles, Jessica has reached the 2nd round after defeating Canadian Alexis Prokopuik in a close 7-6 (9), 6-2 victory. Next up for Jessica is the 14th seeded Russian Anna Blinkova.
JMTA’ers Jamie Loeb and Noah Rubin are in Florida this week competing in pro level tournaments.
Coming off of an impressive first semester of NCAA DI tennis, North Carolina freshman Jamie Loeb received a wild card into the Tesoro Challenger, a $25,000 pro level event. She dismantled 8th seed, Hungarian Reka-Luca Jani, earlier in the week 6-2, 6-3, and Thursday morning defeated the 8th ranked junior in the world and fellow New Yorker, Lousia Chirico, in a streaky 6-4, 0-6, 6-2 victory. Next up for Jamie is Canadian qualifier Francoise Abanda, with the winner earning a spot in the semifinals. Jamie’s match against Louisa had her coach, Felix Alvarado, on an emotional roller coaster. “I am happy with her results this week,” said Felix, “The extra time she spent outdoors on the clay definitely helped her. Both Jamie and Francoise are coming off of tough 3 set matches, so their quarterfinal match should be a good one. I am excited for it and confident that Jamie will come out swinging.” The pair has played once before when Abanda squeaked out a 3-set victory over Loeb. Loeb will try to even out the score later this week.
Also in Florida this week and competing in the City of Sunrise Pro Tennis Series, is soon to be 18 year old Noah Rubin. Noah, unlike Jamie, had to qualify for the main draw and did so by winning four consecutive matches. In the main draw, Noah continued his winning ways by beating fellow American Sekou Bangoura 6-3, 6-2 in the first round before ousting Portuguese Leonardo Tavares 5-7, 6-3, 6-3. Noah’s coach, JTMA Director Lawrence Kleger, commented on Noah’s ability to persevere, “After leading for most of the first set, serving for it at 5-4 and then losing the set 5-7, most players would pack it in and say ‘It’s not my day.’ Noah just never stops fighting. That is why he’s special.” Noah’s quarterfinal match will be against 6th seeded player, Adam Pavlasek of the Czech Republic.
According to a recent New York Times article, “someone asked [Rafael Nadal] about the trend of elite players hiring retired elite players. [Nadal] smiled, and he joked, ‘I am thinking with McEnroe for me now.’” Despite Nadal’s pedestrian career thus far – only 13 Grand Slam titles and an Olympic Gold Medal – McEnroe would still take a chance on him. “The kid’s a good player”, says Mac, “ and he does have an asteroid named after him, and that’s pretty cool. So, I am fulfilling his request of becoming my student by offering him a full scholarship to join the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in my hometown of New York City.”
Toni Nadal, Rafael Nadal’s uncle and current coach, has led Rafa into the conversation of being one of the greatest players of all-time. So when asked the obvious question, why Nadal would switch to JMTA after having so much success with his coaching team, McEnroe said, “Success? 8 French Open titles sounds pretty good, but he has won the other grand slams only once or twice. I need to help him beef up his hard and grass court games.”
“I am willing to help,” said Mac, “and my scholarship offer is proof of that.”
To read the full New York Times article, click here.
Seventeen year old JMTA student, Noah Rubin, has won his first three rounds of the qualifying draw and is one win away from the main draw of the City of Sunrise Pro Tennis Series Futures event taking place this week in Sunrise, Florida. Seeded 10th in the qualifying, in the first round Noah beat fellow American Bryan O’Lone 6-0, 6-0; in the second round he beat Chris Morin Kougoucheff of France 6-2, 6-1; and in the third round Noah beat Spain’s Jaume Pla Malfeito of Spain 7-5, 6-0. Next up for Noah is Swede Jonathan Mridha who took out the 7th seed in the first round and hasn’t lost a set since. The two will face off Tuesday for a place in the main draw.
On Friday, January 10th, Colette Lewis of ZooTennis.com commented on the NCAA Women’s Tennis end of season rankings labeling the ranking system as ‘flawed’:
“As for the singles and doubles, here’s where I’m at a loss. The computer is responsible for the rankings, but the ITA Rankings Guide states that the ranking committee can review this first set of rankings and make adjustments. They did not adjust them, however, with Jamie Loeb, the North Carolina freshman coming in at No. 2 behind UCLA’s Robin Anderson, whom she beat in both finals of the ITA fall majors. Loeb has lost once in her freshman year, to NCAA semifinalist Breaunna Addison of Texas, has made ITA history with her two titles as a freshman, and yet she is not No. 1. If this doesn’t scream that the ranking system is flawed, nothing does. Of course, all this can be settled on the court at the NCAA tournament, but it sure doesn’t inspire confidence that the seedings there will be indicative of the player’s true stature.”
JMTA’s Noah Rubin has received the honor of being named as a practice player for the U.S. Davis Cup team in its up-coming match against Great Britain in San Diego on January 31-February 2nd. Noah will join Captain Jim Courier and likely U.S. team members John Isner, Sam Querrey and the Bryan Brothers as the U.S. begins its quest to win back the Cup for the first time since 2007 against a strong team from Great Britain, expected to be led by current world #4, Andy Murray. No one knows the significance of the Davis Cup better than our own John McEnroe. John was on five US Davis Cup winning teams and served as its captain, and is given credit for revitalizing US interest in Davis Cup competition.
BG 18, 16s at Scottsdale, AZ
Oliver Sec-Randall’s Island- B18-Round of 16; Beat #16 and #17 Seeds on the way; round of 32 in Doubles
Sabrina Xiong-Randall’s Island-G16-Semifinals in Doubles; Singles round of 32
Jimmy Wasserman-Randall’s Island- Semifinals of Boys 18 Doubles; Won 1 round in Boys Singles
Justin Lee- Randall’s Island- B16-Won 1 round in Singles
Lubo Cuba-Bethpage – B16 Won 2 rounds in Doubles
Ekim Buyuk-Lake Isle/Randall’s Island– G16 Won 1 round in Doubles
Stepanie Barisano-Lake Isle – G16 Won 1 round in Doubles
Lucas Pickering-Randall’s Island- B18 Main Draw
Richard Sec-Randall’s Island- B18 Main Draw
BG 14, 12s at Tucson, AZ
Spencer Brachman-Bethpage- B12 Singles and Doubles Quarterfinals
Danny Pellerito-Bethpage- B14 Singles Round of 32; Beat #11 Seed
Luke Smith-Lake Isle-B14 Singles Won 4 rounds in consolation
Perene Wang-Randall’s Island- G12 Won 3 rounds in consolation
Ashley Lessen-Bethpage- G14 Quarterfinals in Doubles; Beat the #4 Seeds; Round of 32 in singles
Nathalie Rodilosso-Randall’s Island- G14 Main Draw
16 year old JMTA’er, Jessica Golovin, posted an impressive semifinal result at the USTA National Open Division Indoors at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, NY. Also reaching the semifinals was JMTA alum Josh Levine, currently playing at Duke University. JMTA alum Zach Lessen (University of Pennsylvania) reached the final of consolation and JMTA alum Josh Yablon (Princeton University) reached the round of 32, taking out the #2 Aidan Talcott 6-4, 6-2.