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Florida Tennis Briefs: Jidkova Wins US Open Playoffs Berth; Keys, Couts Win Titles; Tampa's Isner on Letterman

June 29, 2010 11:05 AM
Alina Jidkova
by Rick Vach, ustaflorida.com

Jidkova Makes 4th Florida Winner of USTA Sectional US Open Playoffs Qualifying Title

Another Florida-based player qualified for the US Open Playoff Qualifying-National Tournament this past weekend when long-time WTA Tour pro Alina Jidkova, originally from Russia, defeated University of Tennessee senior Rosalia Alda in the final of the USTA Texas US Open Playoff Qualifying.

Jidkova, who lives in Boca Raton, Fla., had to overcome heat exhaustion in the Texas temperatures, outlasted 18-year-old Lilly Kimbell 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 in the semifinals. Kimbell will start this fall for the University of Georgia team.

"The difference was that I was a little stronger mentally," Jidkova said of the two-hour semifinal when she had to be iced-down afterwards, speaking to the Star-Telegram. "I just got really hot and tired. I started feeling it at the end of the second set and my legs started shaking. I'm older than her, so it's physically tougher."

The 33-year-old Jidkova, who has career wins over current No. 1 Serena Williams and former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic, is newly engaged, and says 2010 will be her final year on the tour.

Jidkova is the fourth Florida-based player to win a US Open Playoffs Qualifying National Tournament spot following Olivier Sajous (Plantation, Fla. -- USTA Florida men's event), Jan Abaza (Deerfield Beach, Fla. -- USTA Florida women's) and Jessica Pegula (Boca Raton, Fla. -- USTA Intermountain women's).

The next phase of the US Open National Playoffs kicks off in July with the men's and women's championships featuring the top finishers from the 16 sectional qualifying tournaments. The men's championships will be held July 22-25, 2010, in conjunction with the ATP Tour Atlanta Tennis Championships, while the women's championships will be held July 28-Aug. 1 in conjunction with the WTA Tour Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, Calif.

Keys, Couts Win USTA Pro Circuit Titles

Boca Raton 15-year-old Madison Keys won her first pro title last weekend in Cleveland, Ohio, at a $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit event, defeating No. 3 seed Piia Suomalainen of Finland 6-2, 6-4 in the final. Keys was unseeded and had no WTA Tour ranking entering the event due to injuries and limited play at the pro level.

Keys started the event with a tough three-setter over fellow American Kaitlyn Christian, then did not drop a set en route to the title.

Also at the Sportsmen's Tennis Club USTA Pro Circuit Challenger last week in Boston, Bradenton's Kimberly Couts won the doubles title with Tetiana Luzhanska of the Ukraine.

John Isner Does David Letterman's 'Top Ten' List

Tampa's John Isner stopped by The Late Show with David Letterman to do the Top Ten list of "Thoughts that went through John Isner's mind during the 11 hour tennis match" at Wimbledon.
Click here to see the video.

New Florida Juniors Join USTA Training Center in Boca Raton

Six new Florida players have been admitted to the USTA Player Development program for the 2010-11 class at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla.

Spencer Newman of Miami, Reilley Opelka of Palm Coast, and Boca Raton's Bridget Forster, Jake DeVine, Ally Miller-Krasilnikov, and Julia O'Loughlin are the new class among the 14 boys and six girls who have been accepted into the 2010-11 program.

Also returning to train in the program are Florida players Joseph DiGiulio of Newport Beach, and Jeremy Efferding of Lake Worth, the Boys' 18 champion at the USTA Florida Jr. State Closed tournament.

O'Loughlin was the runner-up in the Girls' 14 division to top-seeded 11-year-old Maria Shishkina of Bradenton at the USTA Florida Jr. State Closed tournament.

"I think we are bringing in a very dynamic group of kids of all age groups from across the country," said Patrick McEnroe, general manager, USTA Player Development. "These kids have demonstrated their commitment to improvement on and off the court, and have consistently displayed a strong work ethic and desire. Our hope is that they will continue to push each other to become the best players they can be."

Other players in the 2010-11 class will be Jordan Belga of Elk Grove Village, Ill.; Luca Corinteli of Alexandria, Va.; Mia King of Hendersonville, N.C.; Grace Min of Duluth, Ga.; Alexios Halebian of Glendale, Calif.; Taylor Townsend of Stockbridge, Ga.; Hunter Harrington of Spartanburg, S.C.; Daniel Kerznerman of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Thai Kwiatkowski of Charlotte, N.C.; Nikko Madregallego of Duarte, Calif.; Spencer Papa of Edmond, Okla.; and Konrad Zieba of Glenview, Ill.
In addition to the players listed, the USTA Training Center Headquarters also hosts a number of players who train throughout the year but are not enrolled in the full-time program, including 2010 Roland Garros boys' singles finalist Andrea Collarini, 2008 US Open girls' singles champion Coco Vandeweghe, and 2008 Dunlop Orange Bowl champion Julia Boserup. 

Pate, H.S. Tennis Player Since 7th Grade, Plays David to Opponent's Goliath

Lake Alfred's Tyler Pate, who now "officially" enters the high school tennis ranks as a 9th grader, comes in with a full resume. While not as big or strong as most of his competition, he has been playing his school tennis for All Saint's Academy in Winter Haven, Fla., since he was a 7th grader.

"I was not intimidated," Pate told newschief.com. "Those high school players don't train like I do. Most of them do not train the same as me."

This year Pate reached the state tournament in both singles and doubles, losing in the singles final to Lakeland sophomore Danny Mack. He is currently ranked No. 7 in the state in the 14-and-under age group. At the recent USTA Florida Jr. State Closed tournament, which crowned the Florida 2010 age group champions, Pate was defeated in the Boys' 14 quarterfinals 6-1, 6-4 by Carter Lin of Bradenton.






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