Junior tennis schedule heats up
While this was the first time in recent memory that at least one local player didn’t win a singles title at Belton’s Palmetto Championships, there might have been a good reason. A scheduling conflict between many of the state’s schools, especially SCISA schools such as Porter-Gaud, kept some local players in school and appears to have contributed to the area’s drought.
But the summer junior schedule has since heated up with the Southern Closed Championships. No singles titles, but some sparkling success.
Matthew Mendez advanced to the boys 18 quarterfinals in Mobile, Ala., while in Rome, Ga., Scotty Cameron was a boys 16 quarterfinalist, and in boys 14 in Macon, Ga., Jared Pratt made the quarterfinals.
Former Pinewood Prep ace and now home-schooled Adam Elliget went to Mobile unseeded but upended No. 9 seed Thomas Spratt, the two-time Lowcountry boys high school player of the year, in the round of 64 before falling in the round of 16.
Emma Navarro made the round of 32 in girls 14, while Lauren Quinn and Lillian Conant advanced to the round of 64 in girls 14. Brant Fenno and Earl Navarro made the boys 14 round of 64.
In girls 12 in Cary, N.C., Gianna Pielet was a semifinalist and in boys 12 Luke Prendergast made the round of 32.
Daniel Island’s Shelby Rogers is scheduled to return to the United States the first of the week after competing in several European events, including the French Open main draw, the Wimbledon qualifying and the main draw of a $235,000 WTA tournament in Strasbourg, France. Her results in Europe, led by her initial Grand Slam tournament win, have lifted her world ranking 54 places to a career-high No. 134.
Rogers suffered a first-round 6-3, 0-6, 6-4 loss to An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium last Tuesday in the Wimbledon qualifying tournament.
Now, it’s back to the USTA’s national training center in Boca Raton, Fla., where her primary concentration will be on preparing for a chance to possibly win a wild card into the U.S. Open or at least participate in the U.S. Open qualifying tournament.
Similarly to the USTA’s venture to hold a series of clay-court tournaments to determine French Open wild cards for a U.S. man and a U.S. woman, the USTA is offering the same type of deal for the U.S. Open. Rogers won the women’s French wild card by her play in two of three tournaments in the segment.
The women will have three $50,000 events in which to make their points. A U.S. Open wild card will be awarded to the American woman who earns the most WTA Tour ranking points in two of the USTA Pro Circuit events, which will be held in Yakima, Wash. (July 8), Portland, Ore. (July 15) and Lexington, Ky. (July 22).
Rogers won the Yakima event last year and has not decided if she will defend that title, but she plans to play in at least two of the tournaments. While Rogers has had a productive 12 months that have pushed her world ranking up approximately 300 notches, she now faces the obstacle of defending those points in the months ahead.
The local league tennis mixed doubles season is in its final few weeks of the regular season, facing the task of trying to beat the weather in making up matches from the last three weeks when it rained virtually every league tennis evening.
The Lowcountry Tennis Association’s local league playoffs are scheduled to begin July 19-20 with the 40-plus 7.0 playoffs at LTP Tennis and the 6.0 18-plus at Mount Pleasant Rec. The 7.0 18-and-over playoffs will be held July 26-27 at Charleston Tennis Center, while the 8.0 18-and-over is set for the same weekend at the St. Andrew’s Playground complex on Playground Road.
Looking ahead to the mixed state championship competition, the 18-plus and the 40-plus state tournaments will be held Sept. 14-16 in Florence, while the 55-plus and 65-plus state playoffs are scheduled for Oct. 11-13 in Aiken.
The Southern Championships for 18-plus and 40-plus will be held in Mobile, Ala., Oct. 11-13.
Registration is now underway for league tennis’ summer combo doubles and will continue through next Sunday. Play is expected to begin in mid-July.
With three weeks remaining in Courting Kids’ summer season at the Jack Adams Tennis Center (adjacent to Johnson Hagood Stadium) and the Alan Fleming Tennis Complex on Johns Island, spots are still available. Sessions are held on Mondays from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Jack Adams complex, while the Alan Fleming sessions are on Saturdays from 10-11:30 a.m. Contact Courting Kids director Delores Jackson at Charleston Tennis Center (766-7401).
Junior Girls Day Out is launching a Junior Girls Olympics 2013 program that includes tennis along with several other sports for girls 7-12 years old. A launch party will be held for parents and girls next Sunday from 3-4:30 p.m. at the Charleston County Library at 68 Calhoun St.
Reach James Beck at email@example.com. See his columns on pro tennis at ubitennis.com/english.