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Author Topic: Women's Tennis: Two More Tournaments  (Read 438 times)

Offline ColoradoTree

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Women's Tennis: Two More Tournaments
« on: January 10, 2018, 10:30:35 am »
Before the dual match season starts for #1 Stanford, there are two more tournaments to take care of before we get there, and both start Friday morning--the Freeman Memorial Championships in Las Vegas, NV, and the National Collegiate Tennis Classic in Rancho Mirage, CA.  We'll send split squad delegations to each, though with a stronger team going to the Freeman.  Why?  The Freeman has an absolutely stacked draw, with players from #1 Stanford, #3 Florida, #5 North Carolina, #6 Pepperdine, #12 Texas, #16 Oklahoma State, and #17 UCLA.  Some of those teams will also send players to the NCTC, but the better test is the Freeman.

Last Year

Melissa Lord won the 2017 Freeman Memorial Championships, beating two Top 10 players (including then-No.4 Ena Shibahara of UCLA in the championship match) and another ranked player along the way.  It didn't go as well for the other players we sent to Las Vegas, as Taylor Davidson, Caroline Doyle, and Emily Arbuthnott all lost in the first round.  (Thus, we sent our intended 1, 2, 3, and 5 singles players, and both of our top doubles teams.) 

Caroline Lampl was joined by Emma Higuchi and Kimberly Yee at the NCTC last year, where Lampl made a run to the semifinals before falling to U$C's Gabby Smith (currently #35), while Higuchi lost in the quarterfinals to the #4 player from Texas last year, Anna Turati (currently #87).  The NCTC is still a very good tournament, and it'll give our players a good early test. 

This Year

No announcement yet, but I expect Lele to keep to form and send the stronger squad to the Freeman.  Assuming she wants to keep this fall's doubles pairings together, it makes it nice and neat to send our likely top 4 singles players (Lord, Michaela Gordon, Arbuthnott, and Lampl) and top 2 doubles teams from this fall (Arbuthnott/Gordon and Lampl/Lord). 

Expect Emma Higuchi to headline the squad headed to the NCTC, where she should be joined by freshman Janice Shin and junior Kimberly Yee, each of whom could hold down the #6 spot in the singles lineup this year.  Watch who is paired with Higuchi in the doubles competition, however, as that should be a strong indicator of what Lele intends to do with the #6 spot.

As for the walk-ons, expect to see them split as well, with most competing in the "B" flight at the Freeman.  While 7 scholarship players on the roster means seeing walk-ons in dual matches is unlikely, it's always good to see who can respectably hold down the #6 spot in a pinch if injuries require it.

Can I watch?

Sorry, no, unless you'll be on site at either place.  No video at either tournament, and no live scoring, either, so tracking results as they happen will require the hit-or-miss strategy of following opposing teams' accounts on Twitter (the official Stanford account is great, and will presumably tweet out an article with the results at the end of each day, but other teams' accounts tend to go in for more live score updates than ours does).  If you live near Las Vegas and don't have other plans, however, you could do worse than seeing 18 Top 50 players face off in the field of 32. 

Schedules

Freeman

The draws aren't out yet, but the schedule at the Freeman Memorial Championships (which has a 16-team tournament in doubles and a 32-player main flight in singles, plus consolation matches and a "B" flight in singles as well) is as follows:

Friday, 1/12:

* Doubles Round of 16 at 10:00am
* Singles Round of 32 to follow
* Singles Round of 16 to follow

Saturday, 1/13:

* Doubles Quarterfinals at 10:00am
* Singles Quarterfinals to follow
* Singles Semifinals to follow

Sunday, 1/14:

* Doubles Semifinals at 10:00am
* Doubles Final to follow
* Singles Final to follow

NCTC

Singles and doubles action will also kick off on Friday at the National Collegiate Tennis Classic in Rancho Mirage.  Like the Freeman, singles will see the Rounds of 32 and 16 take place Friday, with the quarterfinals and semifinals on Saturday, and the final on Sunday.  We'll have to wait until Friday morning for the draw and Stanford's matchups, as the draw will get put together Thursday evening.

I'll update when we have more details, but I'm excited to see this team get started!
« Last Edit: January 10, 2018, 11:30:47 am by ColoradoTree »

Offline Card Fan in OR

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Re: Women's Tennis: Two More Tournaments
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2018, 05:50:24 pm »
CTree,

Lest you think differently, I am sure I am not alone in being very appreciative of you keeping us informed about women's tennis and who and where the team is playing. I am always a Stanford fan, and enjoy even more following sports like tennis where I know a little about the sport. Despite my interest, I would not go out and search for information on the team and its matches, etc. I appreciate what you (and others) do tremendously. It's one of the main reasons I am on the card board (Trying to avoid any word substitutions.). A big thanks.

Offline TheFarm07

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Re: Women's Tennis: Two More Tournaments
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2018, 06:41:56 pm »
CTree,

Lest you think differently, I am sure I am not alone in being very appreciative of you keeping us informed about women's tennis and who and where the team is playing. I am always a Stanford fan, and enjoy even more following sports like tennis where I know a little about the sport. Despite my interest, I would not go out and search for information on the team and its matches, etc. I appreciate what you (and others) do tremendously. It's one of the main reasons I am on the card board (Trying to avoid any word substitutions.). A big thanks.

I wholeheartedly second that opinion. Thank you very much for taking the time and effort to write such detailed posts not only about our team, but about the overall collegiate tennis scene. I am a big tennis fan, but just pay attention to the professional circuit and only really follow Stanford tennis when it comes to the collegiate level.

Offline ColoradoTree

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Re: Women's Tennis: Two More Tournaments
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2018, 08:27:28 am »
Thanks, all.  I really appreciate that, just like I appreciate the effort other members of this board go through in updating us on other sports I don't have time to follow so closely (BobK comes to mind most readily, but there are many), the many insights people have on football, and things like BigEasyCard keeping us up to date on the Directors' Cup standings.  This board is a special place. 

Heck, I love Stanford football as much as the next person here, but unlike some schools, our athletic department is so much more than football.  It's fun to highlight the sports that deserve more attention. 
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 08:47:25 am by ColoradoTree »

Offline oldalum

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Re: Women's Tennis: Two More Tournaments
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2018, 02:41:12 pm »
I also add my thanks for your in-depth articles! I actually follow the women's tennis team pretty closely (I thought) but don't know 90% of the stuff you write.

Really interesting article on GoStanford.com written by D.ick Gould looking back on his career. He is retiring on Monday. Can anyone add some perspective to his comment about him and Ralston being instrumental in starting Stanford's athletic rise to its current heights? And about his tantalizing but unspecific current complaint at the end?

http://stanford_ftp.sidearmsports.com/Feature/DickGould/

Offline ColoradoTree

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Re: Women's Tennis: Two More Tournaments
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2018, 03:10:50 pm »
Stanford just posted this article about the upcoming tournaments (http://www.gostanford.com/news/2018/1/11/womens-tennis-split-squad-action.aspx), and there are some interesting tidbits. 

* Melissa Lord isn't going to either tournament.  As the defending Freeman champ, I assumed she'd go there, but perhaps she's dealing with an injury?
* In a bit of a flip from last year, the NCTC--not the Freeman--is getting the stronger squad, as Arbuthnott, Gordon, Higuchi, and Shin are heading there.  Meanwhile, only Caroline Lampl and Kimberly Yee are going to the Freeman as scholarship athletes, while three walk-ons (Paulette Wolak, Elizabeth Yao, and Naomie Rosenberg) will join them in Las Vegas. 
* With Higuchi and Shin heading to the same tournament, I'm assuming that's your #3 doubles team, which further suggests that Shin has a leg up in playing #6 singles this year. 
* So, of the projected 6 singles players, #1 is staying home, we're sending #4 to the better tournament and #2, #3, #5, and #6 to the traditionally weaker tournament.  Of course, that's my personal view of how our lineup shakes out.  Perhaps Lele isn't putting Arbuthnott above Lampl, and Lord's withdrawal is a relatively recent occurrence, in which case she intended to send #1 and #3 (along with #7) to the Freeman and #2, #4, #5, and #6 to the NCTC.  We'll very likely never know, but it's curious nonetheless. 

Really interesting to me.  I wonder whether Lele got word that other split-squad teams like UCLA and Texas were considering sending stronger players to the NCTC, and she followed suit?  Once we find out the draws, I'll update this thread with more info, but at first blush, it's disappointing that our top singles players won't be getting more matches against other highly ranked players.  (They'd still get good matches at the NCTC, but the Freeman field is just usually that much stronger.)

Offline ColoradoTree

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Re: Women's Tennis: Two More Tournaments
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2018, 08:41:10 am »
OK, folks, the draws haven't been publicly posted, but the Freeman tournament director was kind enough to send theirs to me, and the NCTC confirmed they won't be posting one. 

Freeman:

Singles:

11:00am: #69 Caroline Lampl vs. #63 Marina Guinart (Oklahoma State).  If Lampl wins, she'd get the winner of #119 Jada Hart (UCLA) and #32 Petra Granic (Texas) at 2:00pm.  If she wins that, I'd expect her to win her next match, which would set up a very tough semifinal against #18 Jessie Aney (UNC, the 2nd seed), if both make it that far. 

11:00am: Kimberly Yee vs. Evgeniya Levashova (Pepperdine).  If Yee wins, she'd get the winner of #21 Vladica Babic (Oklahoma State, the 3 seed) and Peggy Porter (Florida). 

Doubles

First up, however, is doubles.  At 10am, Lampl/Yee play the pair of Victoria Emma and McCartney Kessler from Florida.  A win would mean a quarterfinal match tomorrow morning at 10am, likely against #20 Babic/Blanco from Oklahoma State.

NCTC

No public information, but apparently because of numbers, the coaches decided to play a round robin rather than a pure bracket.  I take that to mean they'll play in 4- or 5-player pods and there won't be a true winner of the tournament, but rather a winner of one's flight.  We know UCLA and Texas are sending contingents, and it appears Texas is sending two of its three ranked players (#10 Bianca Turati and #87 Anna Turati) to the NCTC rather than the Freeman, while UCLA went the other way, with #76 Alaina Miller being the only ranked UCLA player at the NCTC, with the rest going to the Freeman.  I know Memphis will also be there, but I don't know who else. 

Disappointing, particularly since we're sending our better split squad to the NCTC, but the whole point of this weekend is getting in good matches to get ready for the dual season, so as long as you can get a couple matches against ranked players in there, we're on track.  It's just that there look to be more ranked players at the Freeman. 

Offline ColoradoTree

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Re: Women's Tennis: Two More Tournaments
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2018, 01:20:59 pm »
Lampl won her first-round match over Oklahoma State's Guinart, 6-3, 6-4.  This afternoon, she'll face #119 Jada Hart of UCLA, who upset #32 Petra Granic from Texas, 6-3, 6-2.  Lampl and Hart didn't play each other last year (Hart played #3 vs. Melissa Lord, and Lord beat her 6-4, 6-4), but they very well could this year, so it'll be nice to see how they match up.

But that's a nice, solid win over a similarly ranked player.  If she can make a run here, that's a nice sign that she has no intention of playing another year at #4, and is staking a claim to go higher in the lineup.

No news yet from the NCTC, or how Yee's singles match and Lampl/Yee's doubles match went this morning....

Offline ColoradoTree

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Re: Women's Tennis: Two More Tournaments
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2018, 07:56:38 pm »
Yee won her first match in strong fashion, 6-1, 6-4, but both Stanford players lost their second round matches in three sets. Thatís better than expected from Yee, who took a set of the #21 player in the country.  But itís worse than expected from Lampl, even though the three sets couldnít have been tighter (7-6, 5-7, 5-7). If Lampl has taken a leap similar to what Lord did last year and what Arbuthnott appears to have done, then she doesnít lose to Jada Hart. Hart is a good player! But she might play 4 this year to make room for Abi Altick above her, so they may see each other again.

So, their singles runs are over, but theyíll still play some added matches tomorrow afternoon at 12:30, after doubles.

Speaking of doubles, Lampl/Yee won 6-4 over a Florida pair, so they advance to play the #20 team in the country in the quarterfinals, a duo out of Oklahoma State.

Still no word on what happened at the NCTC today, but Iíll update when we learn more.

Offline ColoradoTree

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Re: Women's Tennis: Two More Tournaments
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2018, 08:35:09 am »
So, I was hoping that this weekend would give me some confidence that our #1 ranking was well-earned, and that several of our players would show they were ready to handle those increased expectations.  But I was not left brimming with confidence.  Nor am I panicking.  Here's why:

* Melissa Lord didn't play at all, so here's hoping she's healthy by the time the dual season starts in a week and a half.
* Caroline Lampl had a chance to make a run through a fairly wide open bottom half of the draw at the Freeman, but fell in the second round to UCLA's Jada Hart.  Hart played #3 for UCLA last year, and came into the tournament ranked #119, though in fairness, she did reach the final before losing to her teammate, top seed Ena Shibahara. 
* That's right, the Freeman had an all-UCLA final, even though top players from Florida, North Carolina, and other programs were present.  I am not excited about this.  I continue to think UCLA is criminally underranked at #17.  Perhaps the ITA will remedy that in the updated rankings that come out tomorrow.
* At the NCTC, which turned from an expected 32-player tournament into a round robin of several flights after some teams and players pulled out, Emily Arbuthnott went 0-2.  She lost to #10 Bianca Turati of Texas, 6-3, 7-6, which is fine, but also lost to Bianca's twin and teammate Anna, 6-4, 7-6, and Anna isn't nearly the player her sister is. 
* Every other Stanford player won their singles matches at the NCTC, but the problem is that they didn't really play anyone.  Michaela Gordon played just one match, a routine 6-3, 6-1 takedown of UCLA's Gabby Andrews, who played #5 for them last year.  Emma Higuchi went 2-0, beating an unranked player from Memphis 6-2, 6-1, before beating UCLA's Kristin Wiley 6-1, 6-1.  Janice Shin went 3-0, beating a UCLA walk-on and an unranked Memphis player easily, and then having a closer win over a fellow freshman, Bojana Markovic from Texas, 7-6, 6-3.  The problem with gauging any of those results, however, is that Andrews and Wiley may not even play for UCLA this dual season, with the additions of transfer Ayan Broomfield and freshman Abi Altick, and it doesn't tell me much about a player's level when they handily beat players that they should beat handily.  That said, Higuchi beat Wiley 7-5, 6-4 last year in the dual match, so to beat her so thoroughly this time around is a nice sign of improvement. 
* Thus, the only real takeaways I can have from the NCTC is that (1) Arbuthnott's terrific fall shows she improved from last year, but our enthusiasm should be tempered a bit by these two results, (2) Higuchi will probably be just fine, but it would have been nice to see her against tougher competition to better gauge her improvement, and (3) there's no reason to think Shin won't hold down #6 singles admirably, but she also wasn't tested by known quantities. 
* As for the Freeman, my preseason thought on Lampl is that she'd likely remain at #4, with Gordon debuting above her and Arbuthnott jumping ahead of her based on her offseason and fall success.  I can't say how the internal battles are going, but from the outside, I still think Gordon is our #2, and it'll be Arbuthnott and Lampl in some order at #3 and #4. 

Offline oldalum

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Re: Women's Tennis: Two More Tournaments
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2018, 09:20:22 am »
Overall Stanford record at the Freeman was 3-17. Most of the losses were from players not likely to be in our top 6, and it doesn't take into account the opponent quality, but, broad-brush, it's not a look I'm accustomed to seeing!

Offline ColoradoTree

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Re: Women's Tennis: Two More Tournaments
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2018, 09:49:37 am »
Overall Stanford record at the Freeman was 3-17. Most of the losses were from players not likely to be in our top 6, and it doesn't take into account the opponent quality, but, broad-brush, it's not a look I'm accustomed to seeing!

Certainly not! 

When I look at tournaments like this, I make a distinction in how the scholarship student-athletes did, and how the walk-on players did, as the latter are extremely unlikely to ever see the court in a dual match, so their results don't correlate to how well or how poorly our team performs in the spring. 

Looking at it that way, the two scholarship players at the Freeman (Lampl and Yee) went 2-3 in singles (Lampl 1-1, not bothering to play an added match, and Yee 1-2, losing her added match to a good player who played #6 for Oklahoma State last year), and 1-1 in doubles, beating a Florida pair and losing to a highly ranked Oklahoma State pair.  Decent--not great, but not worth despairing over, either.  That said, the walk-ons went 0-10 in singles, and 0-3 in doubles, with an additional loss coming when Yee paired with a walk-on (Paulette Wolak).  That'll hurt the overall record, to be sure, but I don't expect walk-ons to beat scholarship players at other schools, even if that school isn't a terribly strong program.  And aside from UNLV, every team at the Freeman is a very strong program. 

We have seven scholarship athletes, so we can withstand one injury and still be a pretty good team, as Yee should be able to hold down #6 without too much problem against most teams.  Another injury and we'd be in trouble, but that's true of most teams, since you only get 8 scholarships in tennis.