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Monday, February 27, 2017

What Stanford and USC must be thinking

'Couldn't(Bellis for Stanford, Day for USC) attend even for half a season like Noah Rubin..'

Lol.

Baylor at Ohio State results

Scores from OSU;

Baylor vs Ohio State Feb 26, 2017 at Columbus (Varsity Tennis Center)
#2 Ohio State 4, #10 Baylor 0 Singles competition

1. #1 Francesca Di Lorenzo (OSU) vs. #14 Blair Shankle (BU) 6-6 (2-5), unfinished

As I said Blair is having a helluva senior year.

2. #53 Anna Sanford (OSU) def. #105 Rhiann Newborn (BU) 6-3, 6-0
3. #57 Gabriella De Santis (OSU) vs. Theresa Van Zyl (BU) 6-4, 2-0, unfinished
4. #42 Miho Kowase (OSU) def. Elizabeth Profit (BU) 6-2, 6-2
5. #84 Sandy Niehaus (OSU) def. Jessica Hinojosa (BU) 6-3, 6-2
6. #120 Ferny Angeles Paz (OSU) vs. Angie Shakhraichuk (BU) 6-4, 3-3, unfinished

Doubles competition
1. #26 Miho Kowase/Francesca Di Lorenzo (OSU) def. #18 Blair Shankle/Elizabeth Profit (BU) 6-2

What took so long for Francesca to play #1 doubles :p  Routing the Shankle team, impressive.

2. Anna Sanford/Sandy Niehaus (OSU) vs. Jessica Hinojosa/Angie Shakhraichuk (BU) 5-4, unfinished
3. Gabriella De Santis/Ferny Angeles Paz (OSU) def. Theresa Van Zyl/Rhiann Newborn (BU) 6-1

Match Notes:
Baylor 7-2; National ranking #10
Ohio State 11-1; National ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (2,5,4)
Official: Jerri Banks T-1:47 A-128

Last's week's ITA team ranking is just....so weird.

Vandy at Stanford score

Scores from Stanford

No. 25 Stanford 4, No. 7 Vanderbilt 3

The ranking, Stanford has only itself to blame. Not playing NTI, so..

DOUBLES
1) No. 32 Sharma/Smith (VANDY) d. Arbuthnott/Davidson (STAN) 6-3
2) No. 36 Doyle/Lord (STAN) d. Campbell/Sellyn (VANDY) 6-4
3) Higuchi/Lampl (STAN) d. Kurtz/Rosca (VANDY) 6-0

Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2

A rare winning of doubles point by Stanford. Surprisingly lopsided score at #3.

SINGLES
1) No. 5 Astra Sharma (VANDY) d. No. 65 Taylor Davidson (STAN) 6-4, 6-1
2) No. 16 Sydney Campbell (VANDY) d. No. 37 Caroline Doyle (STAN) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 3) No. 8 Melissa Lord (STAN) d. Georgina Sellyn (VANDY) 6-0, 7-5
4) Christina Rosca (VANDY) d. No. 83 Caroline Lampl (STAN) 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (5)
5) No. 49 Emily Arbuthnott (STAN) d. Emma Kurtz (VANDY) 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (5)
6) No. 43 Emma Higuchi (STAN) d. Emily Smith (VANDY) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4

Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2, 6, 4, 5

One would've thought Stanford's lower positions were formidable. Well, Vandy put off a stiff fight and actually could've won the match, at Taube..!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Pepperdine at UCLA

Birded all day from 8am, again braving the rain, so was absolutely exhausted by the time I arrived at UCLA(Red Knot and Bonaparte's Gull at Ballona creek middle jetty, and TUNDRA SWAN at Pierce College were notable finds today). And, I totally forgot the way to Sunset Court, headed to Sycamore Court lol and had to ask 2 students to finally get my bearing, embarrassing.

Feb 26, 2017 at Los Angeles, CA (Sunset Canyon Tennis Courts)
#12 Pepperdine University 5, #9 UCLA 2

Just got to sit on the stand and who came up, La Voz de Tenis!! Sat right in front of me with two girls.  Didn't really bother him because the match was played right in front of us, and I assumed I could say hello to him after the doubles finish. And didn't want to interrupt their 'family time(looked like his daughters?)'.  But they left before the match finish, and couldn't spot them later on. Oh well, maybe I'll see him at ISC or something.

And, Alaina after her win was chatting with...was that Jill Craybas?!!(Luckily unlike Poorta, this time I was able to remember the name lol). What is she doing recently. Who's she coaching, or is she coaching for USTA.

Doubles competition

So I arrived late but thankfully only 3 games were elapsed. 'Only'? Nope I guess, in this ludicrous 6-game format. The score was quite tight though, but can't really form a coherent impression. Well who can lol.
Methinks most of them served well, or their serve returns was suspect.

1. #4 Shibahara/Hart (UCLA) def. #2 Maddox/Sherif Ahmed (PEP) 6-4

2. #37 Stefani/Runglerdkriangkrai (PEP) def. Fleming/Miller (UCLA) 6-4

Bruins were actually leading at first, but later Luisa dazzled as usual. Now when did WAATC finalist's ranking fall so low. By the way isn't ITA's ranking(especially team) ludicrous. What exactly do they do right, anyway.

3. Milovanovic/Lahey (PEP) def. Andrews/Wiley (UCLA) 6-3

Pretty much concentrated on this match, of course to see Gabby. Well, not bad, but not stellar either. The Bruins couldn't really gain advantage at the net, it was Lahey who made some fine net plays.

Singles competition
1. #6 Luisa Stefani (PEP) def. #2 Ena Shibahara (UCLA) 6-2, 7-6 (3)

Luisa was pretty composed. Didn't rush much, didn't approach the net too often.  Was prepared to rally with Luisa, which is probably possible in the first place due to her exceptional defensive ability lol. Her movement really is superb, once she made an impossible return on a drop shot by Ena, running across the net. So fast...!(well Ena put it back gently lol for the winner, but I can't think of anybody who can reach that distance aside from Luisa).
So probably the more solid player. Made some drive winners on the stretch as well.
Ena, well she was aggressive as usual, but some of her net plays seemed rushed. And, I don't think her serve was quite potent today. Can't remember her scoring an ace out-wide. Didn't really watch the 2nd set, had to watch other matches including Gabby's.

2. #25 Ashley Lahey (PEP) def. Terri Fleming (UCLA) 6-3, 6-4

Ashley too good. Drive condition seemed pretty good today. Exceptional flat hitting. Terri's defense is good, but Ashley probably overpowered to the win.
Again, watching Terri play #2, I'm absolutely traumatized that Meredith Xepoleas was stuck at #6 in her two seasons. I just can't understand the logic of it, only that it's an absolute stacking. What a waste of talent..

3. Jada Hart (UCLA) def. #17 Mayar Sherif Ahmed (PEP) 6-4, 3-6, 1-0 (7)

Couldn't really watch much, only the later 2nd set, but Mayar's condition didn't seem too good overall. Left after the 2nd set, when Luisa won(to avoid traffic of course, and was just darn too tired, what with the whole week of SD morning birding/attending ITF RSF)

4. Alaina Miller (UCLA) def. #51 Laura Gulbe (PEP) 6-3, 6-2

Alaina was ON today. Gosh...! Her orgasmic drive itself was worth the drive and the toil to finding the court lol.  Laura is a good defender, but today Alaina was just too good, blasting at will.
I actually would've liked a matchup of Alaina vs Ashley. Now THAT match would be absolute gold, what with both being able to make winners at will!

5. Dzina Milovanovic (PEP) def. Gabby Andrews (UCLA) 7-5, 6-4

The score was actually tight despite my impression of the match. Could watch some of the 2nd set.  Dzina was scoring winners at will. Gabby's drives weren't that bad, but my impression was that she isn't fit enough yet.  She still defeated Mad Westby, no?  And Dzina herself is a very good hitter anyway, so.... Give her time, I'm looking forward to what Gabby can do next season.

6. A.Runglerdkriangkrai (PEP) def. Kristin Wiley (UCLA) 7-5, 6-3

Match Notes:
Pepperdine University 4-3; National ranking #12
UCLA 6-3; National ranking #9
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (4,2,6,5,1,3)

UCLA isn't bad. Just that Pepperdine this season is exceptional. They have just recruited so well for the last few years. Looking forward to next season, when they might contend for the Championship against each other.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

On Kayla Day

Just some notes;

She's quite slimmer now, whereas she was a bit on the chubby side before. Hence probably could move even more better now.

Her bh is the weaker side, whether driving or receiving serve. So the opponents should target that side repeatedly, then finish on the forehand side.

Big part of her strategy would be based on breaking the opponents with her relentless serve on the opponent's bh side, with her lefty serve. So, can the opponents hold onto their bh side. Mayo did well yesterday, including slice return, so could have a good match(really her defense is superb, but always has been. Many tried to expose her supposedly weaker one handed bh to no avail lol, since juniors).

As I said, why are opponents 'afraid' to do a drive duel with Day. Lao, Hantu and Hibi all came to grief trying to approach. I mean it is a good tactic against a defensive rallyer, but against a good mover and passer like Day, it's just asking for trouble.
For to make that happen you first have to open the court effectively, stretching Day out wide in the first place(say with painting the sidelines and such).

As I said Mayo actually won plenty of long drive duels, resulting in Day's errors. It's not like Day can relentlessly aim the sidelines like Kenin. She will exploit weak returns and punish with drive winners, but if you don't give her good opening in the first place with good placement and controlled aggression, she can implode.
Again, it's about patience.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Is college really helpful for pro hopefuls?

That's the current ITA/USTA's stance. Martin Blackman just confirmed it in his interview with Colette.

But is it, really.

Then why do so many young talents forego college and just turn pro. Many top players also quit early; Falconi, Loeb and Brady just played two years. Will, Burdette, Gibbs, Zhao played 3 years. McCray from Oklahoma State also turned pro early.
And there's Rubin on the men's side, who didn't quite play one whole season.

There are cautionary tales; some top junior players struggled or was 'misused' at college; Hardebeck(Stanford), Collins(Florida), Scholl(Duke), Austin(Florida), Kuhlman(Florida), Porter(Florida), Xepoleas(USC)..to name a few.

And it's a norm that college tennis is more 'conservative'. Because winning is so important.  Can't lose, so 'play safe'!  There's also the difference of level. More 'pushers', because many can't generate pace on their own, and even if they can, can't sustain it.

Furthermore, now there's a difference of RULE; no ad. Jared Donaldson explicitly mentioned this.

Many young talents who verballed just turn pro. Sam Crawford(USC, did not verbal), Mayo Hibi(UCLA), Allie Kiick(Florida), Sophie Chang(UVA), Louisa Chirico(heard she considered Stanford), Hanna Chang(Pepperdine), Raveena Kingsley(LSU), Cici Bellis(Stanford), Kayla Day(USC, didn't verbal).
Alex Sanford(UNC) is considering pro. Caro Dolehide(UCLA), who knows. And what of other elite players from the class of 2017, Sofia Kenin, Usue Arconada, Kylie McKenzie, Sofia Sewing..and there's Claire Liu from the class of 2018(UCLA or Stanford).

Why do you think they just turn pro. Could it be that college tennis actually hinder their development? Wouldn't college experience 'dull' their aggressive instinct, forcing them to play more conservatively?


If that really is so, what are we to make of ITA/USTA's assertion that college experience helps elites to prepare for pro. It's a recent slogan of theirs. Is no ad really beneficial for their development?
And, if youngsters are still turning pro, are they making that decision 'despite' USTA's advice(if we are to believe Martin Blackman).

What about recent freshmen's astonishing success at WAATC; Julia Elbaba, Jamie Loeb, Francesca DiLorenzo, Ena Shibahara. DiLorenzo wasn't even the very best, nor was she the biggest hitter during juniors. For example she was routined by Kylie McKenzie at the National. So, which is true; is college level not very high in the first place, or did she improve much during her short stay at OSU. And will these kind of 'weird' phenomenon influence current junior's decision regarding pro/college.

Personally, am sceptical as hell. That's why I said it's hogwash(especially concerning recent players foregoing college). The reality seems quite different from their assertion. College and pro is indeed different, and no ad makes doubly so.

If all or most of those players I've mentioned turn pro, USTA's assertion will merit zero credibility. Because it will only mean that they don't think college tennis will help their game, even hinder it. It all will have been mere hogwash lol. A blatant lie. So let's see how it goes, eh?

P.S. On a related topic, I'll probably have a look at USC's recruiting(or the failure of it).

Patience / the ability to pick & choose

Those traits are the hallmark of the very elite player.

It's especially important to big hitters. You can't just hit every ball flat and hard, at will. Trying low percentage shots too often is just foolish.

You have to be patient, and if you can actually pick and choose your favorite ball to whack/attack, all the more better.

It's similar to baseball, you see. Excellent hitters have good eye, and have patience, so can literally pick and choose their favorite balls. Difficult and iffy balls, they just cut it to make foul balls. And when the pitcher gives his favorite ball, many times by mistake, they then attack those.

Most top players are very consistent;

College greats, Robin Anderson, Jamie Loeb, Danielle Collins, Hayley Carter, Francesca Di Lorenzo..Krista Hardebeck in her prime pre-Stanford was also very consistent.

Juniors?  Cici Bellis can rally all day. 'Rally-o-Day' of course. Sofia Kenin, has absolute control of her shots. I'll include Caro Dolehide as well.

2017 ITF RSF 6th day

As I said, final day for me.

Spotted a Scaly-breasted Munia at the San Dieguito Lagoon(didn't bother driving to La Jolla, got sick of morning traffic, and didn't want to increase my gas expense. Too bad since La Jolla is a de rigeur for the area birding. Oh well, maybe next time..), and that clinches it! Now one more than Orange County lol, 165 species! Saw 91 species during this tournament.
But hopefully I can spot that Rusty Blackbird at Centennial Regional Park, and Greater Roadrunner and Mountain Bluebird as well, at Upper Newport Bay Mute Interpretive Center area tomorrow.

Bid Sophie Chang safe travel back! Should've also mentioned that 'Umbrella incident' at EB lol. Thinking of making a nickname for her, regarding that Umbrella..'Belle de Jour' maybe?! (1968 movie featuring Catherine Deneuve)

Again score from Meelis

Quarterfinal
(1)Kayla Day (USA) d. (5)Mayo Hibi (JPN) 26 63 75

Mayo played so well yet basically handed the match over with..

UEUEUEUEUEUEUEUEUEUEUEUEUE
...lol.

Way better than Hantu in every department, maybe that killer one-shot isn't as good as Hantu, but knifing fh, serve, service return, defense, net approach timing, serve and volley, the ability to win the sustained rally..superb.

But dunno why she approached the net that often, it's a brave decision against a good passer like Day. All the more curious because she actually won quite a lot of long rallies against Day(ending in Day's errors).

I mean her approach timing wasn't bad, actually. But the execution itself? Quite suspect. Success rate...dunno, 35%?  Got passed tons by Day, or botched some. Especially botched some attempts at crucial moments.

Not only volley, later in the 3rd, drive, overhead, drive volley..just made error after error, it was painful to watch.

The more proactive player lost, bad for the game.
And, serve and volleyers both lost, Hibi and Sanchez.

(Q)Katherine Sebov (CAN) d. (Q)Maria Sanchez (USA) 67(5) 61 64

Maria moved well from the start, so the points were quite long. Maybe Maria had a bit more winners, mostly from that backhand drive, but similar overall.
Didn't approach the net too often like Mayo, but the success rate wasn't too high either, got passed some. Unstable serve didn't help either.
Both expressed dissatisfaction against the line calls.
Couldn't really watch much of the 3rd set because by then the doubles matches started.

(SE)Caroline Dolehide (USA) d. (4)Sofia Kenin (USA) 26 64 76(4)

Impressed with Caro. She's actually quite patient. Serve and drive, top notch. And really moves well for her size, that was a revelation for me lol. So like Kalinina, could return lots of Sofia's lethal drives painting the sidelines. Slice, on par with Sofia.

So at first Sofia was only having advantage on longer points(which ended in Caro's errors). But crucially, her serve was working. In the end, did not really lose the serve battle; so I was actually quite impressed with her serving. As I said she's not a bad server at all, but today's performance was impressive; made very few DFs, like one?

And, her drop shot. Persistently tried, and probably was effective in the end, considering Caro's size. Just fantastic execution, the ball starting to drop 'before' the net lol. Almost impossible to reach.

Respected Caro's firepower, so later on generally stayed way behind the baseline, whether receiving serve or driving.

She really doesn't falter much on rallies; just ultra solid, that's saying something, having to react against such strong hitters like Kalinina and Dolehide. As I said, she can absolutely handle pace.

One of the shots of the day was her usual 'insouciant' painting the sideline. Caro just cranked up the pace, the drive pace was murderous; what did Sofia do, she just put back, quite gentlely, painting the sideline. Induced Caro's FE. Caro did return lots of those, but also committed FEs trying to reach those. Some of Caro's weak returns Sofia finished with good net approaches(She really just does everything well, even net plays).

As I said, her ability to create width is second to none. She's not a type of player who will benefit from playing college, because she loves to PAINT the sidelines(she also could paint the baseline a lot, Caro returned those well).
But considering college's 'conservative' atmosphere, she'll likely become 'traumatized' by; 'play safe!' 'more spin!' 'when in doubt, call it out!'  Lol.

How about Dolehide; what can she learn from college, actually. She's already so good. She'll probably have to play lesser college players, whereas she'll have to battle equals or better players at pro circuit. Totally different. It'll be fortunate if she doesn't lose the aggressive instinct which is crucial for survival in the pros.  Well, Ena is uber-aggressive so maybe UCLA could be a good choice. Laissez-faire in the case of Caro? Just touching point construction and tactic? We'll see.

If we are to believe Martin Blackman(Colette's interview at TRN), USTA would 'advise' Caro to attend UCLA, no? But Bellis and Day already turned pro. Sanford is considering pro.  For now the evidence doesn't match Mr. Blackman's comment.

 Bianca Andreescu (CAN) d. (8)Michelle Larcher de Brito (POR) 62 61

A was just too good. MLDB had her share of winners for sure, but A was just too powerful. Surprisingly easy win..

Semifinal

Day/Dolehide (USA/USA) d. Kenin/Stefani (USA/BRA) 64 46 11-9

K/S had match point. Kenin returned Dolehide's serve, but returned weakly(or was it the next drive return); got poached by Day. Then they lost the next 2 points to lose the match.

Stefani dazzled at net as usual, defensively(that was 2nd sp, returning Dolehide's consecutive net attacks and finishing in a volley winner) and offensively, but her service return was dire haha. Could not return Day and Dolehide's serve at all, She even mishit their serve like 3 times lol(couldn't even touch it).  She actually did return well at TB though.

But that was not the only error from Stefani. Maybe tried to poach too aggressively like KK; so got passed by Dolehide who was patient enough to recognize Stefani's overeager poaching.

Again Dolehide's incredible defensive movement helped, and although she wasn't exactly winning the net duel against Stefani lol, eventually served well enough. Their serve is just too good, definitely helped in pinch.

Kalinina/Scholl (UKR/USA) d. (Q)Gordon/Hibi (USA/JPN) 63 75

I thought Kalinina's superior drive ability against Gordon would decide the match, but actually Scholl was the clincher. Not only did she play well at net, she actually passed quite well.
Hibi was hit and miss, brilliant net plays mixed with botched attempts. Gordon's drives as usual was attacked countless times lol(direction problem maybe, carelessly sending into the 'danger zone', middle of the court), but she actually could hold her own decently against Kalinina.
Kalinina also has decent touch.

Player of the week; Stephanie Lin

Score from Cal.

No. 7/18 California (5-2) defeated No. 9/14 UCLA (6-2), 6-1
Feb. 24, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif. Hellman Tennis Complex

Manasse didn't even play. 

Doubles
1. No. 4 Jada Hart/Ena Shibahara (UCLA) vs. Maya Jansen/Denise Starr (Cal), 5-3 Unfinished
2. No. 50 Olivia Hauger/Karla Popovic (Cal) def. Terri Fleming/Alaina Miller (UCLA), 6-1
3. Stephane Lin/Alexis Nelson (Cal) def. Gabby Andrews/Kristen Wiley (UCLA), 6-3

Cal won the doubles point Order of Finish: 2, 3* *Clinched the doubles point

  Singles
1. No. 23 Karla Popovic (Cal) def. No. 2 Ena Shibahara (UCLA), 6-3, 6-3
2. Denise Starr (Cal) def. Terri Fleming (UCLA), 7-5, 6-2
3. No. 90 Olivia Hauger (Cal) def. Alaina Miller (UCLA), 6-2, 7-5

4. Maya Jansen (Cal) def. Jada Hart (UCLA), 7-5, 4-6, 1-0(5)

Jansen is also contributing in singles..unexpected?

5. Gabby Andrews (UCLA) def. Maria Smith (Cal), 1-6, 7-6(5), 1-0(10)

6. Stephane Lin (Cal) def. Kristen Wiley (UCLA), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4

Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3^, 4, 5, 6
^Clinched the overall match

Thursday, February 23, 2017

2017 IW PQ draw out

Douglas is playing, and possible 2nd rd match against McNally, whose first name is actually Catherine(so why isn't she also called Cici lol, she's Caty).

That last section is loaded with talented youngsters,

Dolehide, Douglas, McNally, Sanford, Jankowski, Kenin.

Wait a minute didn't Jankowski meet Kenin last year as well lol. Possible 2nd rd match.

2nd section, Kiss vs Keberle/Deming could be interesting.
Kelly Chen might meet MLDB as well, in the 2nd rd.
Kratzer vs Mossmer possible 3rd rd.
Gordon vs Boren possible 2nd rd.

I mean, I'm tempted, maybe I should watch Mar. 1st and 2nd day..? Especially to watch those 4th quarter matches.

2017 ITF RSF Day 5

Tomorrow will be the last day here for me. Plan to bird La Jolla Cove, hope I can spot at least Wandering Tattler, and some spectacular bird like Jaeger, Booby or Frigatebird!

Shots of the day;

Kenin's slice
Sebov's in and out drive
MLDB's solid serve
Stefani's awesomeness lol

Second Round

(1)Kayla Day (USA) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 76(3) 61

Pro players have obligation to provide high level play for us fans. It was good while it lasted, but evidently Dani is on the cusp of retirement. Just horrible performance, spewing errors after rallies. Even made a basic drive volley error when she opened up the court.
Variety, hit and miss. Drop shot was at times effective, but approaches got passed from time to time.

Evidently Day's defense is on a whole different level, say compared to Stefani(who's actually one of the best defenders in Div. I). While Stefani couldn't sustain the rally and spewed the ball wide after some exchanges, Day could prolong the rally, long enough for Dani to break down. And her drives were good enough.

And serve, of course. As I said, her biggest weapon.

I guess we were just fortunate to watchi Dani at all here.

(5)Mayo Hibi (JPN) d. Chloe Paquet (FRA) 62 75

Paquet rallied, serving well and attacking, but overall Mayo was just a bit more solid. It's always a joy to watch Mayo play, with her sharp fh and excellent variety.

(Q)Maria Sanchez (USA) d. (wc)Alexandra Sanford (USA) 36 62 64

Maria was dire at first, but managed to recover. Movement was sluggish, had trouble reacting to Alex's drive pace(which was enormous), net approach timing was suspect, serve was unstable...but all got better later on.

Began to backpedal well, could prolong the rally, attacked when the opportunity presented(as I said her bh was the best in college)..eventually was just a bit more solid. Also served solidly later on.

Alex certainly can produce enormous pace, but methinks lacked patience. Netted a lot. Probably Maria's experience prevailed.

(Q)Katherine Sebov (CAN) d. Renata Zarazua (MEX) 64 61

Kat played smartly, with great execution. Was prepared for prolonged rallies, so was patient, and moved Z effectively around. Especially her in and out shots were pure gold. 1st serve wasn't bad either.  Z throws the racquet into the air when frustrated, way tamer than others who tend to throw the racquet haha(Paguet for instance!).

(SE)Caroline Dolehide (USA) d. Danielle Rose Collins (USA) 75 63

Errors cost Dani the match, which includes DFs.
Caro probably produced a bit higher pace on her drives, but Dani could construct points nicely, using angles effectively. Probably scored a bit more winners than Caro, methinks. And she really is a decent mover, hence could also prolong the rallies(Caro netted the ball quite a lot).
Variety wasn't bad either, actually pretty good, making quite a lot of approach volley winners.
But. At crucial points, made errors, some at net(netting a drive volley, netting a drop shot at net), and some drive errors when she had open looks.
Also, serve. At first she was serving quite well, even acing some, and finishing strong at gamepoints. It was Caro at first who was serving unstablely. But later on, especially in the 2nd, Dani began to falter, committing quite a lot of DFs.
And, just could not effectively, consistently return Caro's serve, many returning long. So eventually Caro won the serve duel, and that was probably the decider.  Also sliced a lot, not ineffective methinks.

(4)Sofia Kenin (USA) d. (Q)Anhelina Kalinina (UKR) 63 16 63

Great match. AK really is a heck of a hitter. Beautiful, even.  From that great form, could produce monstrous pace. Probably scored like twice the winners than Sofia.
Also, could move really well. Could actually return tons of Sofia's canny shots painting the sidelines, that was mucho impressive as well(anybody saying Sofia is a pusher doesn't know tennis lol; Sofia's uncanny ability to produce width with seemingly little effort is such a joy to watch). Dare I predict good things from her in the future.

You really have to hand it to Sofia. Withstood AK's relentless barrage, an herculean feat. Especially her bh slices; it was absolute gold. Against AK's bullet drives(especially bh), no less. Many others would've botched the slice attempt trying to handle the pace; Sofia, no problema. Could slice quick enough, and the slice itself was top notch quality, sailing low and deep, not giving AK easy looks to finish.  Many should envy Sofia's skill-set, like her slice and drop shot.

So in the end, it was AK who crumbled, even her bh. Also, serve. I've noticed AK's unstable serve in her previous matches, and it was probably her bane; Sofia was probably a bit more solid in that department.

(8)Michelle Larcher de Brito (POR) d. (JE)Claire Liu (USA) 64 75

Liu played well, actually. Could rally with MLDB, no small feat. Difference from Hantu Day match; MLDB was in-form, Dani wasn't.
My first 'MLDB experience' was at 2009? Carson WTA; she was DFing like crazy then lol.
No mas. Solid serving! Hence there were very few breaks in this match, which were all Liu's methinks. At crucial moments MLDB attacked Liu's serve well.

Liu didn't have much opportunity to approach the net as her wont, because MLDB didn't let her lol, being her usual relentless self, pinning Liu at the baseline. And, passed well on some of Liu's approaches.

Bianca Andreescu (CAN) d. (Q)Chanelle Van Nguyen (USA) 64 62

Forgot to mention this but hitting while backpedalling seems second nature to Bianca lol, in her 1st match.
VN tried, not bad actually, but eventually, Bianca was probably just a bit better. More powerful, and managed to pierce VN's oustanding defense, no mean feat.

Gordon/Hibi def. Ianchuk/Marand(Meelis haven't updated the doubles results yet)

Michaela's weak returns got pounced countless times lol. Her volleys, hit and miss. And Mayo tried too much to cover the net, resulting in her errors.
But still, in the end, Mayo's net presence definitely was crucial to the win, and Michaela managed to defend the baseline just enough to ensure the win. Again passed quite well at crucial moments, and managed to win some rallies.
They were probably just a bit more solid from the baseline; I/M committed drive errors especially Ianchuk.

Kenin/Stefani def. Cristian/Von Deichmann

Luisa won the ace battle against KVD, dominating the net, flying like a bee lol. CVD definitely underperformed, but you have to hand it to Luisa, who was superb at net, whether offensively or defensively. Also served really well today, another crucial factor.
Kenin was as usual, rock solid. Even could return some difficult balls with great racquet manipulation.

Day/Dolehide def. Chang/Kobelt

Was actually real impressed with C/K. Sophie was equally good at net and at the baseline, and Kobelt had excellent touch at net. She actually held her service games.
That said, they also committed some errors, and just could not break Day and Dolehide(they broke very few, once or twice methinks).

Kalinina/Scholl def. Wacnik/Zarazua

W could produce monstrous pace on her drives, and Z was quite good at net. Scholl really shined in this match, showing great touch and reflex at net. AK's drive were also quite effective.

9:23pm, done!

After tomorrow, next match I'm covering will be at UCLA, against Pepperdine on Sunday. Hope it doesn't rain, nowadays it rains a lot at the LA area in the weekends lol.

2017 ITF RSF Day 4

Just had to have my beauty sleep first(was struggling with the lack of sleep the last few days).

SD impresses me yet again. Again birded San Dieguito Lagoon, this time going a bit further than last time(which was interrupted by a downpour), till the bridge, and glad I did! Female adult CANVASBACK was with a female adult Bufflehead and male adult Redhead!  I did see that female adult Canvasback at Legg Lake this year, but there the bird was in the middle of the big lake, quite far, and was tucking its head in, resting. This time, it was just swimming a few feet from me! Took pictures of course. Saw some Scaups(could be Greater? Not only the usual Lesser) and Clark's Grebe up close and personal, as well.

Hence improved my SD list to 163, just 1 below OC! Oh earlier birded the the river mouth again, and found 5 Semipalmated Plovers with 18 Marbled Godwits, Willets and Whimbrels. So was the flock of peeps gettting harassed by a dog last time those SEPLs? But I thought the color was lighter gray(which means Snowy Plovers)..anyway, tried to access that part below and across the bridge, but found that it was prohibited as an environmentally sensitive area. Which means that guy with a dog was trespassing that day, harassing the birds. Should've taken his picture and posted somewhere..lol.

About buying a scope, I do like mine, but too less power. I strongly recommend Ultima 80, which is one of the cheapest yet gives great quality. Confirmed it looking through another birder's one at those parrots at the Pasadena Audubon parrot roost outing. It may be a bit heavier than mine, but if you're buying a scope, power is of utmost consideration, especially if you're going to do seebird watching.

I'm thinking of writing a critique of USC recruiting. Losing once is one thing(Sam Crawford), but again(Kayla Day)? Should we just say, 'tough luck', again? I think not. 'On the menu' is the current dire strait(Zoe Katz is playing #1), USTA's hogwash about college tennis helping pro hopefuls(when clearly the players don't give a damn. According to Colette Alex Sanford is also considering turning outright pro, and who knows Dolehide will also take that route. Further ahead, Claire Liu as well).
I might hold on to this until the class of 2017 recruiting is complete(I sincerely hope for USC's sake that they're still holding a 'Trump' card or something); or should I wait for the class of 2018. But UCLA already recruited Bolton and will also be aiming for Claire Liu, non?  Gloomy times for Trojans fans..

Forgot to mention this but MLDB isn't even the loudest player, hasn't been for some time lol. And Sophie Chang impressed me with her ability to hit the ball on the rise, even on service returns. hitting just a bit early to rob the opponents' response time.

Again thanks to Meelis for the update;

Singles Main Draw

(1)Kayla Day (USA) d. (SE)Danielle Lao (USA) 62 64

Naturally rooted for Lao.
Lao trying to overcome that comfort zone, trying to play more aggressively. 'Usual play' didn't work, allowing Day's driver winners on the stretch. So naturally should play more aggressively, aiming for the lines, or hitting with more pace. And she did, hence could have a tighter 2nd set.

Allowing those drive winners though, says something of Lao's limitation. 'Froze', or that her anticipation or speed(defense) isn't good enough. Well, one can compenstate it for attacking, and Lao did manage to do it later on.

And net approaches, laudable, but half-baked ones are just asking to be crushed by a good defender like Day. And also did commit some crucial volley errors, like KK and Sabs yesterday.

Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) d. (Q)Luisa Stefani (BRA) 60 60

Couldn't really watch much, but Luisa's serve wasn't clicking, which is a prerequisite dealing with superior players. Variety? Hantu is known for her drop shot and lob ability. H also managed to make winners on the run. Later I watched, Luisa also had trouble handling H's pace, many drives sailing wide.

Chloe Paquet (FRA) d. (wc)Hanna Chang (USA) 63 63

(5)Mayo Hibi (JPN) d. (Q)Michaela Gordon (USA) 61 61

Mayo's variety too good(along with Von Deichmann, the most who impressed me with her variety this day). Michaela will likely succeed Emma Higuchi as Stanford's #6 next season. Yeah, she who defeated UT's #1 Turati..tells Stanford's incredible talent and depth lol.

(Q)Maria Sanchez (USA) d. Jacqueline Cako (USA) 60 76(5)

(wc)Alexandra Sanford (USA) d. Jovana Jaksic (SRB) 62 76(4)

Renata Zarazua (MEX) d. (Q)Elizaveta Ianchuk (UKR) 46 61 63

Ianchuk, not without effort. Although was the bigger hitter, was also committing tons of errors, so tried to play more conservatively later. But Zarasua was a veritable human wall, just didn't miss.

(Q)Katherine Sebov (CAN) d. (7)Fiona Ferro (FRA) 63 63

Concentranted on this match. Ferro's 1st serve had power, 2nd not so much, attackable. Sebov's 2nd was similar. Sebov's drives are so low, F committed some errors trying to deal with it. F's small steps seemed good, and although not as flat a hitter as S, could certainly create width.

(SE)Caroline Dolehide (USA) d. (6)Daniela Seguel (CHI) 63 63

S wasn't without power. So plenty of winners from both sides. Probably D overpowered to the win though, and probably serve was crucial; D crushed lots of S's serves, and managed to hold with her strong serve.

I thought if UCLA coaches weren't coming to watch this match, it would mean that Caro will likely turn pro lol. Coach Brown did come by though. So does UCLA still have a hold(a toehold? Haha). USC should pray that Caro just turns pro.

Danielle Rose Collins (USA) d. Sofya Zhuk (RUS) 63 61

Tried to watch this match a lot, forgoing other matches such as Stefani vs Hantu, etc. Since I haven't watched Zhuk at all(she applied for ISC last year but pulled out).

And glad I did, methinks it was a HQ match.

Dani has plenty of merits. Too many lol.

Was surprised with her defense, especially her slice, made some crucial plays with it, either making a very difficult winner or forcing Z's error. And of course, her excellent service return. Mind you Z didn't serve bad, but Dani's bh service return was just rock solid, hitting back with pace. Fh return wasn't bad either.

Back step, excellent. Can reset points with lobbing the ball deep, as well.

Her attacking ability is well known, and her drive volley as I've mentioned was the best in college, even creating width with sharp angles.  Which makes her occasional drop shots just that more effective.

Even though she's an ultra aggressive player, attacking from the get-go, she can actually keep the ball in play. Really, overall, a nice balance of offense and defense. Add to the champion mentality, and you get how she dominated the college scene, in her years at UVA.

The reason why I dubbed her 'T-rex' and 'Regina' lol, as an 'Apex Predator'. Her barking pose in most of her photos helped enhance that image too, haha. Is her 'forelimb' also short like T rex lol, whatever.  USTA should market her, if they're really serious about 'helping' college tennis; she played all 4 years, just like S. Johnson.

Now, Zhuk. Impressed. Excellent hitting, decent moving(crushed some of Dani's slices). Variety wasn't bad either. Just that Dani was a bit better, that's all. Dani didn't wait for it, 'took it', just like a predator lol(truth be told, many predators are also excellent opportunists, waiting patiently for the prey's 'errors' lol. They also usually target the weak and young, you could say they also 'vulture' haha).

Just glad both came here to play, enjoyed this one.

(Q)Anhelina Kalinina (UKR) d. (LL)Tereza Mihalikova (SVK) 61 60

M was doing a 'Vera Zvonareva', putting a towel on her face(definitely on her head!) during rest. Says a lot about how the match went. Couldn't really watch much though, since I was focusing on Ferro vs Sebov. K seemed to be in good condition, and M couldn't seem to handle K's aggression, allowing many winners from what I've glimpsed.

(4)Sofia Kenin (USA) d. Kathinka von Deichmann (LIE) 67(7) 76(5) 64

Kenin whined away as usual lol, would've thought she was losing haha. Understandable though, I mean D was super frustrating to play against, what with her great defense and consistency. K actually was dictating the match most of the time, yet D managed to return tons of it, an impressive feat, considering K's ability to create width. And also had great variety, which was a harbinger of her doubles prowess later. Drive form was quite concise, so that was useful in counterattacking.
K did not let go of the initiative though, attacked and attacked, and it bore fruit I guess.

(8)Michelle Larcher de Brito (POR) d. (wc)Mishel Okhremchuk (UKR) 62 62 (JE)

Claire Liu (USA) d. (Q)Caroline Dunleavy (USA) 62 62

Caro definitely is the player to watch this year. Her fh really is devastating. Put L on the defensive lots of times, even creating outright winners! Good lord. Bh wasn't bad either, and even 'played defense' against L lol, putting the balls back deep(L attacked those well eventually though). Caro really seems to have upped her level now. Not just raw power; her ability to read the game, making adjustments..you know, she even hustled well against L's trademark net approaches; had lots of looks to pass actually, meaning her movement isn't bad at all. Once even made a spectacular passing shot winner off it. Maybe tried to attack L's serve a bit too hard, but otherwise, mucho impressed with her game.

 (Q)Chanelle Van Nguyen (USA) d. (wc)Sabrina Santamaria (USA) 62 62

Couldn't watch much, but Sabs was attacking well from what I glimpsed, whether driving or drop shotting, but probably VN put tons of balls back. And her attacks were effective as well I guess.  Oh her boyfriend is with her, you know, NCAA singles champ(should we say, Power couple? Haha. VN also has WAATC singles final resume, and she's NCAA championship member).

Bianca Andreescu (CAN) d. (2)Catalina Pella (ARG) 62 62

A seems to have a big game. And hits quite effortlessly. Didn't even seem like an upset, too good.

Doubles Qualifying Draw
(1)Carruthers/Kopinski (SAM/USA) d. Leon/Urbina (MEX/MEX) 76(4) 63
(2)Gordon/Hibi (USA/JPN) d. (wc)Duva/Luk (USA/USA) 62 60

Doubles Main Draw

Cristian/Von Deichmann (ROU/LIE) d. (1)Cako/Jaksic (USA/SRB) 61 75

So impressed with this team, C/VD. VD, wow. She's one of the most impressive doubles players I've seen in recent years.  Great touch and composure at net. Just like KK, tried to poach too aggressively haha, but C backed her up well, maintaining court balance. C herself was quite good, too.

Don't think C/J were that bad, they also attacked decently, passing and such, but C/VD were just too good. Quite talented..

Kenin/Stefani (USA/BRA) d. Santamaria/Wong (USA/USA) 61 57 10-2
(3)Chang/Kobelt (USA/USA) d. Bekker/Wei (RUS/CHN) 63 62
Day/Dolehide (USA/USA) d. Kramperova/Krawczyk (CZE/USA) 60 61

(Q)Gordon/Hibi (USA/JPN) d. Ferro/Paquet (FRA/FRA) 76(3) 26 10-5

Mayo's variety again. And although Michaela's volley ability left a lot to be desired haha, did pass well later at crucial moments.

(4)Ianchuk/Marand (UKR/USA) d. (Q) Carruthers/Kopinski (SAM/USA) 75 61
Kalinina/Scholl (UKR/USA) d. Christian/Lao (USA/USA) 63 62

(2)Wacnik/Zarazua (USA/MEX) d. Guillermo/N Smith (USA/USA) 60 62

Too bad couldn't watch this court 6 match.

Now 3:39am, back to sleep!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Spotting 100 birds

Spotting 100 birds is really possible.

Behold:

Checklist S34628609

 
Location
Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park, Los Angeles County, California, US Map) Hotspot )
Date and Effort
Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:30 AM
Protocol:
Traveling
Party Size:
1
Duration:
6 hour(s), 2 minute(s)
Distance:
3.5 kilometer(s)
Observers:
John Garrett
Submitted from eBird for iOS, version 1.4.114
Species
94 species (+8 other taxa) total
3
Graylag Goose (Domestic type)
2
Domestic goose sp. (Domestic type)
21
Canada Goose
13
Muscovy Duck (Domestic type)
10
Gadwall
2
American Wigeon
55
Mallard
12
Mallard (Domestic type)
2
Blue-winged Teal
Trailer park
11
Northern Shoveler
4
Green-winged Teal
16
Ring-necked Duck
12
Lesser Scaup
20
Bufflehead
3
Common Merganser
2 "females" and a male
175
Ruddy Duck
2
California Quail
6
Pied-billed Grebe
2
Horned Grebe
7
Eared Grebe
185
Western Grebe
18
Clark's Grebe
10
Western/Clark's Grebe
70
Double-crested Cormorant
101
American White Pelican
Exact count of a distant migrant flock heading north
1
Great Blue Heron
5
Great Egret
8
Snowy Egret
2
Black-crowned Night-Heron
11
Turkey Vulture
1
Osprey
1
Cooper's Hawk
1
Red-shouldered Hawk (elegans)
Adult
1
Swainson's Hawk
8
Red-tailed Hawk (calurus/alascensis)
325
American Coot
7
Killdeer
2
Spotted Sandpiper
1
Bonaparte's Gull
32
Ring-billed Gull
164
California Gull
21
Band-tailed Pigeon
18
Mourning Dove
1
Greater Roadrunner
Singing on west side
1
Barn Owl
1
Great Horned Owl
Breeding Code
ON Confirmed--Occupied Nest
20
White-throated Swift
18
Anna's Hummingbird
Breeding Code
ON Confirmed--Occupied Nest
2
Rufous Hummingbird
Adult males coming to flowering eucalyptus on north side; my first of spring.
6
Allen's Hummingbird
7
Rufous/Allen's Hummingbird
1
Belted Kingfisher
8
Acorn Woodpecker
6
Nuttall's Woodpecker
1
Downy Woodpecker
1
Northern Flicker
2
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)
1
Merlin
11
Black Phoebe
1
Say's Phoebe
8
Cassin's Kingbird
8
Hutton's Vireo
7
California Scrub-Jay
3
American Crow
6
Common Raven
20
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
30
Tree Swallow
2
Violet-green Swallow
2
Cliff Swallow
2
Oak Titmouse
60
Bushtit (Pacific)
1
Marsh Wren
11
Bewick's Wren
Breeding Code
CN Confirmed--Carrying Nesting Material
4
Cactus Wren
1
California Gnatcatcher
Mewing in sage scrub
6
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
13
Western Bluebird
2
Hermit Thrush
6
American Robin
3
California Thrasher
6
Northern Mockingbird
3
European Starling
2
American Pipit
25
Cedar Waxwing
1
Orange-crowned Warbler
3
Common Yellowthroat
2
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)
25
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's)
1
Townsend's Warbler
18
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)
8
White-crowned Sparrow (Gambel's)
20
Song Sparrow
2
Lincoln's Sparrow
12
California Towhee
8
Spotted Towhee
23
Red-winged Blackbird
12
Brewer's Blackbird
9
Great-tailed Grackle
45
House FinchSo