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Friday, February 16, 2018

My Recap of USTA 18s Level 2 in Orlando; Baird, Noel Win Doubles Titles at G1 in Paraguay; First Round Underway at ITA Men's Division I Team Indoor;

As I mentioned earlier this week, I spent Sunday and Monday at the USTA National Level 2 tournament in Lake Nona Florida and my coverage of the titles by 16-year-olds Briana Crowley and Ron Hohmann is available now at the Tennis Recruiting Network. These 3-day tournaments squeeze a lot of tennis--five best of three singles matches for the semifinalists and finalists, plus doubles--into a short period of time, but at least for this age group, the players seemed able to handle the workload.

Both Drew Baird and Hailey Baptiste lost in the singles semifinals of the Grade 1 Asuncion Bowl today in Paraguay.  Baptiste, the No. 4 seed, lost to top seed Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(1), while Baird, also seeded No. 4, was beaten by No. 5 seed Filip Jianu of Romania 6-4, 6-4.  Baird did pick up a title however, in doubles.  He and Nicolas Mejia of Colombia, the No. 1 seeds, defeated the No. 4 seeds Igor Gimenez and Joao Reis da Silva of Brazil 6-3, 6-3 in the final. The top seeds in the girls doubles, Alexa Noel and her partner Ana Markatsaria of Georgia, defeated No. 2 seeds Kacie Harvey and Vanessa Ong 6-3, 6-1 in the final.

The opening day of competition at the ITA Men's Division I Team Indoor Championships has yet to produce an upset, or any compelling match really, with No. 2 seed Ohio State, No. 3 seed North Carolina and No. 6 seed Texas A&M blanking Duke, Notre Dame and Florida respectively.  No. 4 Georgia beat Columbia 4-1 and The only close matches were No. 7 UCLA's 4-2 win over No. 10 Illinois and No. 5 Stanford's 4-2 win over No. 12 Baylor.

Because it could be after midnight when results of the last two matches (No. 1 Wake Forest v No. 16 Washington and No. 8 USC v No. 9 Oklahoma State) are known, I won't wait for them before posting, but I will add those results to this post Saturday morning.

For a preview of the tournament, which includes a UTR for each of the players, see College Tennis Today.

ITA Men’s Team Indoor
First Round, February 16

No. 2 Ohio State 4, No. 15 Duke 0

No. 1: Mikael Torpegaard/Martin Joyce (OSU) def. Nick Stachowiak/Sean Sculley (DUKE) 6-3 No. 2: JJ Wolf/John McNally (OSU) vs. Nicolas Alvarez/Catalin Mateas (DUKE) 4-5, unfinished No. 3: Hunter Tubert/Matt Mendez (OSU) def. Jason Lapidus/Ryan Dickerson (DUKE) 6-3
Order of Finish: 3, 1

No. 1: Mikael Torpegaard (OSU) vs. Nico Alvarez (UGA) 2-6, 6-2, unfinished
No. 2: JJ Wolf (OSU) def. Catalin Mateas (DUKE) 6-2, 5-5, unfinished
No. 3: John McNally (OSU) vs. Nick Stachowiak (DUKE) 3-6, 6-2, 1-2, unfinished
No. 4: Tim Seibert (OSU) def. Sean Sculley (DUKE) 6-4, 6-2
No. 5: Kyle Seelig (OSU) def. Ryan Dickerson (DUKE) 6-0, 6-2
No. 6: Martin Joyce (OSU) def. Robert Levine (DUKE) 6-3, 6-4

Order of finish: 5, 6, 4

No. 7 UCLA 4, No. 10 Illinois 2

No. 1: Martin Redlicki/Evan Zhu (UCLA) def. Aron Hiltzik/Aleks Vukic (ILL) 6-3
No. 2: Austin Rapp/Keegan Smith (UCLA) vs. Zeke Clark/Aleks Kovecevic (ILL) 5-4, unfinished No. 3: Maxime Cressy/Bryce Pereira (UCLA) def. Alex Brown/Caleb Chakravarhti (ILL) 6-4
Order of Finish: 1, 3

No. 1: Martin Redlicki (UCLA) def. Aleks Vukic (ILL) 6-4, 2-6, 6-3
No. 2: Aron Hiltzik (ILL) def. Evan Zhu (UCLA) 6-3, 7-5
No. 3: Keegan Smith (UCLA) def. Alex Brown (ILL) 7-6 (8), 6-3
No. 4: Zeke Clark (ILL) def. Logan Staggs (UCLA) 6-2, 6-4
No. 5: Maxime Cressy (UCLA) vs. Aleks Kovacevic (ILL) 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-6, unfinished
No. 6: Connor Hance (UCLA) def. Caleb Chakrvarthi (ILL) 6-3, 7-5

Order of finish: 4, 3, 6, 2, 1

No. 6 Texas A&M 4, No. 11 Florida 0

1. Patrick Kypson/Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU) def. McClain Kessler/Duarte Vale (UF) 7-5
2. Alfredo Perez/Oliver Crawford (UF) def. Juan Carlos Aguilar/Jordi Arconada (TAMU) 6-4
3. Valentin Vacherot/Barnaby Smith (TAMU) def. Johannes Ingildsen/Chase Perez-Blanco (UF) 6-2

Order of finish: 3, 2, 1

1. Patrick Kypson (TAMU) def. #9 Alfredo Perez (UF) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
2. Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU) def. #7 Johannes Ingildsen (UF) 7-6(4), 6-4
3. Jordi Arconada (TAMU) def. #43 Duarte Vale (UF) 6-2, 6-1
4. Valentin Vacherot (TAMU) vs. Oliver Crawford (UF) 7-6(4), 4-6, 0-1, unfinished
5. Juan Carlos Aguilar (TAMU) vs. Andy Andrade (UF) 5-7, 6-5, unfinished
6. Barnaby Smith (TAMU) vs. McClain Kessler (UF) 6-1, 4-6, 4-2, unfinished

Order of finish: 3, 2, 1

No. 3 North Carolina 4,  No. 14 Notre Dame 0

1. No. 11 William Blumberg/Robert Kelly (UNC) def. Brendon Kempin/Tristan McCormick (ND) 6-1
2. Benjamin Sigouin/Anu Kodali (UNC) def. Alex Lebedev/William Howells (ND) 7-5
3. Richard Ciamarra/Matt Gamble (ND) def. Mac Kiger/Simon Soendergaard (UNC) 6-3

Order of finish: 1, 3, 2

1. No. 4 William Blumberg (UNC) def. No. 28 Alex Lebedev (ND) 7-5, 6-0
2. No. 57 Benjamin Sigouin (UNC) def. No. 118 Guillermo Cabrera (ND) 6-2, 6-1
3. Tristan McCormick (ND) vs. No. 81 Robert Kelly (UNC) 3-6, 4-3, unfinished
4. No. 124 Simon Soendergaard (UNC) def. Richard Ciamarra (ND) 6-4, 6-1
5. Matt Gamble (ND) vs. Josh Peck (UNC) 3-6, 5-4, unfinished
6. Grayson Broadus (ND) vs. Bo Boyden (UNC) 1-6, 2-4, unfinished

Order of finish: 2, 1, 4

No. 4 Georgia 4, No. 13 Columbia 1

1. Robert Loeb/Jan Zielinski (Georgia) def. Victor Pham/Jackie Tang (COL), 7-6(6)
2. Walker Duncan/Wayne Montgomery (Georgia) def. Jack Lin/William Matheson (COL), 6-2
3. Adam Ambrozy/Michael Rolski (COL) def. Alex Diaz/Paul Oosterbaan (Georgia), 6-4

Order of finish: 2, 3, 1

1. Wayne Montgomery (Georgia) vs. Victor Pham (COL), 4-6, 5-5, unfinished
2. Jackie Tang (COL) def. Emil Reinberg (Georgia), 6-2, 7-5
3. Nathan Ponwith (Georgia) vs. Jack Lin (COL), 5-7, 3-4, unfinished
4. Jan Zielinski (Georgia) def. Adam Ambrozy (COL), 7-5, 6-4
5. Walker Duncan (Georgia) def. Alex Keyser (COL), 6-4, 6-3
6. Paul Oosterbaan (Georgia) def. Tim Wang (COL), 6-2, 6-3

Order of finish: 6, 5, 2, 4

No. 5 Stanford 4, No. 12 Baylor 2

1. Johannes Schretter/Will Little (Baylor) def. Michael Genender/Sameer Kumar (Stanford), 6-4
2. Tom Fawcett/Axel Geller (Stanford) def. Bjoern Petersen/Jimmy Bendeck (Baylor), 6-3
3. David Wilczynski/Timothy Sah (Stanford) def. Matias Soto/Roy Smith (Baylor) 7-6(6)

Order of finish: 2, 1, 3

1. Tom Fawcett (Stanford) def. Bjoern Petersen (Baylor), 6-2, 6-1
2. Axel Geller (Stanford ) def. Johannes Schretter (Baylor), 6-4, 6-3
3. Matias Soto (Baylor) def.  Sameer Kumar (Stanford) 6-1, 2-6, 6-3
4. Eric Fomba (Stanford) def. Will Little (Baylor) 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
5. Roy Smith (Baylor) def.  David Wilczynski (Stanford) 6-2, 6-4
6. William Genesen (Stanford) vs. Constantin Frantzen (Baylor) 4-6, 6-6, unfinished

Order of finish: 1, 5, 2, 3, 4

No. 1 Wake Forest 4, No. 16 Washington 0

1. Enzo Sommer/Kawika Lam (UW) def. Christian Seraphim/Ian Dempster (WF), 6-4
2. Borna Gojo/Skander Mansouri (WF) def. Jake Douglas/Jack Davis (UW), 6-4
3. Petros Chrysochos/Bar Botzer (WF) def. Piers Foley/Mitch Stewart (UW), 6-2

Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2

1. Borna Gojo (WF) vs. #48 Jake Douglas (UW), 6-3, 5-4, unfinished
2. Petros Chrysochos (WF) vs. Mitch Stewart (UW), 6-2, 5-3, unfinished
3. Skander Mansouri (WF) vs. Enzo Sommer (UW), 6-4, 5-3, unfinished
4. Bar Botzer (WF) def. Amit Batta (UW), 6-3, 6-1
5. Christian Seraphim (WF) def. Piers Foley (UW), 6-4, 6-1
6. Julian Zlobinsky (WF) def. Seb Hawken (UW), 6-4, 6-2

Order of Finish: 5, 6, 4


No. 8 USC 4, No. 9 Oklahoma State 1

1. Julian Cash/Luke Hammond (OKST) def. Brandon Holt/Riley Smith (USC), 6-2
2. Jack Jaede/Laurens Verboven (USC) def. Artur Dubinski/Eleftherios Theodorou (OKST), 6-2
3. Daniel Cukierman/Tanner Smith (USC) def. Jurence Mendoza/Mathieu Scaglia (OKST), 6-1

Order of finish: 3, 1, 2

1. Brandon Holt (USC) def. #88 Julian Cash (OKST), 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
2. Daniel Cukierman (USC) vs. #94 Artur Dubinski (OKST), 5-7, 6-4, 5-1,  unfinished
3. Tristan Meraut (OKST) def. #119 Logan Smith (USC), 6-1, 6-4
4. Jack Jaede (USC) def. #55 Mathieu Scaglia (OKST), 6-4, 6-4
5. Laurens Verboven (USC) def. Jurence Mendoza (OKST), 7-6(6), 6-3
6. Jake DeVine (USC) vs. #125 Luke Hammond (OKST) 7-6 (4), 4-6, 3-4, unfinished

Order of finish: 3, 4, 5, 1

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Baird and Baptiste Reach Semifinals at ITF Grade 1 in Paraguay; Daavettila Named Most Outstanding Player at Team Indoor; Bellis and Tiafoe Through to Quarterfinals

This week's ITF Grade 1 in Paraguay is the start three consecutive tournaments, which culminates in the Porto Alegre Grade A in Brazil. Several of the US juniors who are playing in this South American swing did not play in the previous Grade 1 events in Central and South America: Drew Baird, who played Australia instead, Katie Volynets, who hadn't played in 2018 until this week, Hailey Baptiste, who played just one Pro Circuit tournament last month and Charlotte Owensby, who played only the Coffee Bowl back in early January.

All four have had good weeks at the Asuncion Bowl this week, with the 14-year-old Owensby, a qualifier, and 16-year-old Volynets reaching the quarterfinals before losing today. Owensby lost to Ana Geller of Argentina 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 and Volynets, the No. 9 seed, was beaten by top seed Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia 6-3, 7-6(4).  Osorio Serrano won the Grade 1 in Costa Rica and the Grade 1 in Colombia back-to-back late last month.  The fourth-seeded Baptiste, who struggled in the second half of 2017, last made a Grade 1 semifinal at last February's Banana Bowl. She defeated No. 7 seed Loudmilla Bencheikh of France 6-4, 7-5 in today's quarterfinals and will face Osorio Serrano in Friday's semifinal.  Alexa Noel, the No. 2 seed, lost to unseeded Leylah Fernandez of Canada in the third round.

Baird, the No. 4 seed, defeated No. 7 seed Taisei Ichikawa of Japan 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals to set up a semifinal meeting with No. 5 seed Filip Jianu of Romania. Baird has also reached the doubles final, with Nicolas Mejia of Colombia.  At least one of the girls doubles champions will be from the United States, with Noel and Ana Makatsaria of Georgia, the No. 1 seeds, facing No. 2 seeds Kacie Harvey and Vanessa Ong.

The ITA announced the All-Tournament team for the Women's Division I Team Indoor, with champion North Carolina's Sara Daavettila named the Most Outstanding Player.  The All-Tournament team is below, with details on each player's results available in the ITA release.

No. 1 singles: Ashley Lahey, Pepperdine
No. 2 singles: Sara Daavettila, North Carolina
No. 3 singles: Christina Rosca, Vanderbilt
No. 4 singles: Alexa Graham, North Carolina
No. 5 singles: Meible Chi, Duke
No. 6 singles: Amanda Meyer, Vanderbilt

No. 1 doubles: Jessie Aney and Alexa Graham, North Carolina
No. 2 doubles: Mariana Gould and Katarina Jokic, Georgia
No. 3 doubles: Christina Rosca and Amanda Meyer, Vanderbilt

Most Outstanding Player: Sara Daavettila, North Carolina

Two young Americans earned professional milestones today, with CiCi Bellis getting her first WTA Top 5 win and Frances Tiafoe reaching his first ATP quarterfinal.  Bellis, a qualifier, defeated No. 5 seed and defending champion Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 7-6(4), 6-3 to advance the the quarterfinals at Doha's WTA Premier 5 event, where she will face No. 2 seed Simona Halep of Romania. For more on the Bellis upset, see the WTA website.

Tiafoe downed Dudi Sela of Israel 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 in the second round of the ATP 250 New York Open to reach an ATP quarterfinal for the first time. The 20-year-old will face top seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa, who just squeezed by qualifier Ernesto Escobedo 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(5). 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

North Carolina Women Move to No. 1 in ITA Rankings; Men's D-I Team Indoor Draw Released; Bellis Defeats Keys in Doha

The new ITA women's team rankings reflect the results of the recently completed Team Indoor Championships, with winner North Carolina taking over the top spot and finalist Pepperdine moving to No. 2.  Florida dropped all the way from 3 to 18, while Wake Forest moved from 21 to 11.

ITA Women's Division I Top 10 Feb 14 (previous ranking in parentheses):
1. North Carolina (5)
2. Pepperdine (6)
3. Vanderbilt (2)
4. Duke (9)
5. Georgia (4)
6. Stanford (1)
7. Georgia Tech (7)
8. Texas Tech (8)
9. Ole Miss (15)
10. UCLA (13)

There were no new ITA individual rankings this week, and the with the Men's Team Indoor Championships beginning Friday, men's team rankings were not released, but the seeds reflect the rankings, particularly with all the top men's teams playing.

The men's Team Indoor seeds:

1. Wake Forest
2. Ohio State
3. North Carolina
4. Georgia
5. Stanford
6. Texas A&M
8. USC
9. Oklahoma State
10. Illinois
11. Florida
12. Baylor
13. Columbia
14. Notre Dame
15. Duke
16. Washington (host)

The pairings and times for Friday's first round:

9 a.m. (Pacific)
Ohio State[2] v Duke[15]
UCLA [7] v Illinois [10]

North Carolina[3] v Notre Dame[14]
Texas A&M[6] v Florida[11]

3:30 p.m.
Georgia[4] v Columbia[13]
Stanford[5] v Baylor[12]

6:30 p.m.
Wake Forest [1] v Washington[16]
USC[8] v Oklahoma State[9]

The USTA weekly rankings were also released today, with Ohio State holding on to its top spot in the men's rankings.

USTA Men's Top 10 rankings Feb. 14 (last week's ranking in parentheses):

1. Ohio State (1)
2. North Carolina (2)
3. Wake Forest (3)
T4. Georgia (4)
T4. Stanford (5)
6. Texas A&M (6)
7. USC (7)
8. UCLA (8)
9. Illinois (9)
10. Oklahoma State (10)

The USTA women's rankings also changed based on the results from the Team Indoor.

USTA Women's Top 10 rankings Feb. 14:

1. North Carolina (3)
2. Pepperdine (4)
3. Vanderbilt (1)
4. Georgia (2)
5. Duke (8)
6. Stanford (5)
7. Texas Tech (6)
8. Georgia Tech (7)
9. Wake Forest (T12)
10. Mississippi (T12)

At the WTA event in Doha, a couple of young qualifiers picked up big victories in the second round.  Nineteen-year-old Anna Blinkova of Russia beat No. 11 seed Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-3, 6-3, and 18-year-old CiCi Bellis beat No. 12 seed Madison Keys 2-6, 6-3, 6-0.  Blinkova will play No. 7 seed Caroline Garcia of France in the round of 16 Thursday, with Bellis taking on No. 5 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic.  Comments from Bellis can be found in this recap of today's action from the WTA.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Korda, Auger-Aliassime Fall in ATP Debuts; Surprise $25K Qualifying Complete; Texas A&M's Kypson Apologizes for Conduct at Ohio State

Sebastian Korda made his ATP debut last night at the New York Open, the indoor tournament that moved to Long Island this year from Memphis. The 17-year-old Australian boys champion took the first set from from Frances Tiafoe, but couldn't manage another one, falling 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Noah Rubin, who like Korda, received a wild card into the New York Open, lost to top seed Kei Nishikori tonight 7-5, 6-3.

Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, also 17, made his ATP debut today at the ATP event in Rotterdam, and he came even closer to a victory, but fell to Filip Krajinovic of Serbia 6-2, 3-6, 7-5. Auger-Aliassime, who has already won two Challenger titles and is currently ranked 168, was injured early this year and unable to play the Australian Open qualifying. He did take the doubles title at the Budapest Challenger last week with fellow 17-year-old Nicola Kuhn of Spain.

There is no men's event on the USTA Pro Circuit this week, but the women are back at a $25,000 tournament in Surprise Arizona.  Qualifying was completed today, with Sabrina Santamaria, Maria Mateas, Robin Anderson and Salma Ewing the Americans advancing to the main draw.  Mateas will play Claire Liu in the first round on Wednesday. Wild cards went to Ann Li, Ashley Kratzer, Lauren Marker and Francesca Di Lorenzo. Di Lorenzo and Kratzer, the USTA 18s champion, have drawn each other in the first round.  Evgeniya Rodina of Russia is the top seed.

Last Friday night in Columbus, the Ohio State men's tennis team defeated Texas A&M 4-3. A tight match between two of the best teams in the country normally would be talked about for a day or two, but on Saturday, the discussion centered on the behavior of freshman Patrick Kypson, who spit in his hand before shaking hands with opponent JJ Wolf after the match.  (Since I have been in Florida, several comments have been posted here by those who heard about Kypson actions). Kypson did not play against Texas Tech, but until today, the reason for that was conjecture.  Tonight, Texas A&M released the following statements from head coach Steve Denton and Kypson:

College Station, Texas –Texas A&M freshman Patrick Kypson was suspended for Sunday’s match against Texas Tech for his actions at the conclusion of Friday’s match against Ohio State. The Texas A&M coaching staff reached out to the Ohio State staff following the match and Kypson issued apologies to JJ Wolf and the Ohio State team.

Statement from Patrick Kypson, Texas A&M freshman:
“I want to apologize for my actions in my recent match against Ohio State Friday night. What I did was completely unacceptable. I would like to apologize to JJ, the entire Ohio State faculty and staff, my teammates at A&M, the entire A&M program as a whole, and my family. Again, my actions were inexcusable and I will learn from this mistake to become a better player and a better person.

Statement from Steve Denton, Texas A&M men's tennis head coach:

“Sportsmanship and respect are pillars of the sport of tennis and Texas A&M, and Patrick Kypson’s actions at the conclusion of his match at Ohio State were counter to that. He has been appropriately disciplined for his behavior. Patrick’s not only remorseful for what he did, but is acting on that to show that he learned a valuable lesson. We will support him in that effort. We have addressed his actions with him and with our friends at Ohio State.”

Monday, February 12, 2018

North Carolina Beats Pepperdine to Claim ITA Division I Women's Team Indoor; Hohmann and Crowley Capture Titles at USTA Level 2 in Lake Nona

North Carolina's past two appearances in the ITA Women's Team Indoor Championships had ended in losses, but today the Tar Heels claimed the title, beating Pepperdine 4-2.

None of the North Carolina players on court today had been on the 2015 team that won the title over Georgia, so they had some motivation to avoid a third strike.  North Carolina never trailed in the match, taking the doubles point, but Pepperdine tied it with freshman Evgeniya Levashova, who was ranked as high as 12 in the ITF junior rankings, beating Makenna Jones at No. 3.  Jones, who had played at line 2 in the first round and quarterfinals, switched with Sara Daavettila in the semifinals and today, and Jesse Aney, who went on to clinch the match, switched positions with Alexa Graham, who was at line 5 in the first two rounds.  Jones was the only player in the switch that did not get a win; Pepperdine got its two victories from Ashley Lahey at line 1 and Levashova.

North Carolina will undoubtedly move to No. 1 in this week's rankings, and will become the favorite to win the NCAAs in May, but the many close matches during this tournament suggest another exciting conference season to come.  And with injuries always looming as a disruption to a team's momentum and improvement throughout the season, it's best to enjoy the title before looking ahead.

For more on North Carolina's victory, see the ITA recap and the North Carolina recap.

No. 3 North Carolina 4, No. 4 Pepperdine 2


1. #27 Ashley Lahey (Pepp) def. #6 Alle Sanford (UNC) 7-5, 4-6, 6-3
2. #52 Sara Daavettila (UNC) def.. #20 Mayar Sherif Ahmed (Pepp) 7-5, 6-2
3. Evgeniya Levashova (Pepp) def. #10 Makenna Jones (UNC) 6-0, 6-2
4. #78 Alexa Graham (UNC) def. #75 Laure Gulbe (Pepp) 6-4, 6-3
5.#21 Jessie Aney (UNC) def. #82 Dzina Milovanovic (Pepp) 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
6. Chloe Ouellet-Pizer (UNC) vs. Adrijana Lekaj (Pepp) 0-6, 7-6 (5), 2-3, unfinished

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


1. #30 Aney/Graham (UNC) def. #5 Lahey/Sherif Ahmed (Pepp) 7-5
2. Levashova/Milovanovic (Pepp) def. #20 Daavettila/Sanford (UNC) 6-2
3. Marika Akkerman/Jones (UNC) def. Lekaj/Gulbe (Pepp) 6-2

Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1


I again spent the day at the USTA's Lake Nona National Campus for the finals of the USTA 18s Level 2 tournament.  I will have a complete recap, with comments from all four singles finalists, for the Tennis Recruiting Network on Friday.

In the boys final, No.8 seed Ron Hohmann defeated No. 3 seed Henry Cacciatore 6-2, 6-4 and in the girls final, No. 3 seed Briana Crowley defeated No. 4 seed Alana Wolfberg 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.

Top seeds Robert Cash and JJ Mercer won the boys doubles title, beating Juan Bianchi and Tyler Stice 6-4 in the final.  Unseeded Ruth Marsh and Ava Hrastar won the girls doubles title, beating top seeds Clarissa and Christina Hand 6-3 in the final.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

North Carolina and Pepperdine Reach Women's Team Indoor Finals; Top Seeds Fall at 18s USTA Level 2; US Fed Cup Team Moves into Semifinals; Jung Wins San Francisco Challenger

When No. 3 seed North Carolina and No. 4 seed Pepperdine meet Monday for the ITA Women's Division I Team Indoor Championship, all the experience will be with the Tar Heels, who have now reached the title match for a fourth consecutive year.  Pepperdine will be playing in its first Indoor final, but they proved oblivious to pressure in today's semifinal, taking down top seed Vanderbilt 4-3 after dropping the doubles point.  Playing without Luisa Stefani, who was listed as their No. 1 for this event but didn't play, Pepperdine was forced to move everyone up a spot. And it was Ashley Lahey, playing at No. 1, who clinched the match for the Waves, beating Vanderbilt veteran Astra Sharma 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-1 in the last match on court.

North Carolina had earned a 4-1 victory over ACC rival Duke, and given how close that match was, despite the score, I would imagine they will have several more battles ahead of them in conference, and possibly, NCAA, play later this year.

The final is scheduled for 11 a.m. Central Time on Monday, with live scoring and live streaming available through links at the ITA tournament home page.

Feb 11, 2018
ITA Women's Team Indoor Semifinals

No. 3 North Carolina 4, No. 7 Duke 1

No. 1: Jessie Aney/Alexa Graham (UNC) def. Samantha Harris/Kelly Chen (DUKE) 6-4
No. 2: Alle Sanford/Sara Daavettila (UNC) def. Kaitlyn McCarthy/Ellyse Hamlin (DUKE) 6-4
No. 3: Marika Akkerman/Makenna Jones (UNC) vs. Hannah Zhao/Meible Chi (DUKE) 5-4, unfinished
Order of Finish: 2, 1

No. 1: Alle Sanford (UNC) vs. Samantha Harris (DUKE) 3-6, 6-4, 6-6, unfinished
No. 2: Sara Daavettila (UNC) def. Kaitlyn McCarthy (DUKE) 6-2, 6-2
No. 3: Makenna Jones (UNC) def. Kelly Chen (DUKE) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
No. 4: Alexa Graham (UNC) def. Ellyse Hamlin (DUKE) 7-6 (3), 6-1
No. 5: Meible Chi (DUKE) def. Jessie Aney (UNC) 6-2, 6-4
No. 6: Chloe Ouellet-Pizer (UNC) vs. Hannah Zhao (DUKE) 3-6, 7-6 (2), 4-3, unfinished

Order of Finish: 5, 2, 4, 3
No. 4 Pepperdine 4, No. 1 Vanderbilt 3

No. 1: Ashley Lahey/Mayar Sherif Ahmed (PEPP) def. Astra Sharma/Fernanda Contreras (VANDY) 7-5
No. 2: Emma Kurtz/Emily Smith (VANDY) def. Evgeniya Levashova/Dzina Milovanovic (PEPP) 7-6(1)
No. 3: Christina Rosca/Amanda Meyer (VANDY) def. Adrijana Lekaj/Laure Gulbe (PEPP) 6-1

Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2

No. 1: Ashley Lahey (PEPP) def. Astra Sharma (VANDY) 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-1
No. 2: Mayar Sherif Ahmed (PEPP) def. Fernanda Contreras (VANDY) 7-5, 6-0
No. 3: Christina Rosca (VANDY) def. Evgeniya Levashova (PEPP) 6-3, 6-4
No. 4: Laure Gulbe (PEPP) def. Emma Kurtz (VANDY) 6-0, 6-3
No. 5: Dzina Milovanovic (PEPP) def. Summer Dvorak (VANDY) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
No. 6: Amanda Meyer (VANDY) def. Adrijana Lekaj (PEPP) 6-2, 7-6(3)

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

I spent the day at the USTA's Lake Nona Campus, watching the National Level 2 18s event.  Both No. 1 seeds lost in Sunday's action, with boys top seed Noah Schachter losing to No. 8 seed Ronald Hohmann 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals and girls top seed Anika Yarlagadda falling to No. 4 seed Alana Wolfberg 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinals. 

Hohmann, the 2017 Eddie Herr 16s champion, then defeated No. 4 seed Matthew Segura 6-4, 6-2 to reach Sunday's final.  Segura is a tricky opponent, not least because he serves right-handed, but hits his forehand left-handed.  Hohmann will face No. 3 seed Henry Cacciatore in the final, with Cacciatore needing just one win to advance.  He defeated Daniel Gale 6-4, 6-2 in the quarterfinals, but received a walkover into the final when No. 2 seed JJ Mercer was too ill to play his afternoon singles match.

Wolfberg's opponent in the girls final is No. 3 seed Briana Crowley, who put an end to the run of unseeded Kylie Collins 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 in the semifinals.  Crowley had also survived in three sets in the quarterfinals, beating No. 8 seed Carly Briggs 6-4, 0-6, 7-5, while Wolfberg defeated No. 6 seed Sophie Hatton 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3.

As an aside, I ran into Rhyne Williams at the site. The former University of Tennessee star, who last played a tournament back in May of 2017, told me he has retired, with his back injury costing him the mobility that he needs to compete on the tour.  Williams, now 26, was at the tournament as a coach of a junior player, and said he is currently helping out coach Bill Heiser, Sr., who has moved to the Tampa area. 

The US Fed Cup team got their third point in singles today from Venus Williams, meaning the fourth singles match and the doubles match were not necessary. Williams defeated Richel Hogenkamp7-5, 6-1but the doubles match was played, with Venus and Serena Williams losing to the Netherlands' Demi Schuurs and Lesley Kerkhove 6-2, 6-3.  The US now advances to a semifinal tie with France after they beat Belgium 3-2.   That tie, which will be played in France, is in April. For more, see usta.com.

At the $100,000 ATP Challenger in San Francisco, two unseeded former collegians battled in the final, with Taiwan's Jason Jung(Michigan) defeating Germany's Dominik Koepfer(Tulane) 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(5). It's the 28-year-old Jung's third career Challenger title, and he beat No. 2 seed Mackenzie McDonald and No. 6 seed Noah Rubin en route to the final.

The doubles title went to El Salvador's Marcelo Arevalo(Tulsa) and Venezuela's Roberto Maytin(Baylor), with the No. 4 seeds beating Great Britain's Luke Bambridge and Joe Salisbury(Memphis) 6-3, 6-7(5), 10-7.