Zootennis

Sponsored by IMG Academy

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Fritz, Collins Earn Wild Cards at BNP Paribas Open via Oracle Challenger Series; Little Change in USTA D-I Team Top Ten; Bryde Commits to Georgia; Eight US Girls Advance to Round of 16 at Grade A in Brazil

Taylor Fritz and Danielle Collins have claimed wild cards into next month's BNP Paribas Open based on their performances at the two tournaments in the Oracle Challenger Series.  Fritz defeated Norbert Gombos of 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of this week's $150,000 ATP Challenger at Indian Wells, and with the points from winning the Newport Beach Challenger back in January, he has secured one of the two men's wild cards that will be awarded to Americans in this two-tournament competition. Americans still in the draw in Indian Wells are Mitchell Krueger, Marcos Giron and Dennis Novikov and Christian Harrison, who meet in the second round Thursday.  Novikov and Krueger both won one match in Newport Beach.

Collins, the champion at Newport Beach, won her first round match at the WTA 125 this week in Indian Wells, to clinch at least one of the two main draw wild cards being awarded to American women. Amanda Anisimova, who beat Nicole Gibbs 6-4, 6-0 today to reach the quarterfinals, is still in the running for the second wild card, as are Kristie Ahn and Caroline Dolehide, who play their second round matches Thursday.

The USTA's weekly poll of the Division I men's and women's Top 25 has been released, and as with the ITA rankings, Team Indoor champions Wake Forest and North Carolina remain at No. 1.  The complete rankings can be found here.

USTA Men’s Top 10 February 28, 2018 (previous week's rankings in parentheses)
1. Wake Forest (3)
2. UCLA (8)
3. Ohio State (1)
4. Stanford (4)
5. North Carolina (6)
6. USC (7)
7. Texas A&M (5)
8. Georgia (8)
9. Columbia (10)
10. Oklahoma State (11)

USTA Women’s Top 10 February 28, 2018
1. North Carolina (1)
2. Pepperdine (2)
3. Vanderbilt (3)
4. Duke (4)
5. Georgia Tech (6)
6. Texas Tech (7)
7. Georgia (5)
8. Mississippi (8)
9. UCLA (11)
10. Oklahoma State (T9)

The Georgia Bulldogs received a significant blue chip commitment this week, with Suwanee Georgia resident Trent Bryde deciding to stay close to home. The 18-year-old Bryde, who was been ranked as high as 8 in the ITF World Junior rankings last year, will join Georgia this fall.


The second round is complete at the ITF Grade A in Porto Alegre Brazil, with one US boy--No. 4 seed Drew Baird--and eight US girls advancing to the round of 16.  Although No. 3 seed Alexa Noel went out to Canadian Leylah Fernandez, the other six seeded Americans advanced: Chloe Beck[16], Peyton Stearns[7], Gabby Price[11], Elli Mandlik[10], Hailey Baptiste[15] and Lea Ma[5]. Only Mandlik was taken to three sets.  Two unseeded Americans moved into the third round, with Kacie Harvey continuing her impressive play in South America with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 win over No. 8 seed Mariam Dalakishvili of Georgia and Sabina Dadaciu defeating unseeded Ariana Arseneault of Canada 6-0, 6-1.  On Tuesday, Dadaciu had taken out US Open semifinalist Maria Carle of Argentina, the No. 2 seed, 7-6(2), 6-4.   Harvey vs Mandlik is the only all-US girls match in the third round.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Wake Forest Men, North Carolina Women Remain No. 1 in ITA Rankings; ITF Transition Tour Notes; Kozlov Downs Second Seed Basic at Oracle Challenger

Both the Men's and Women's Team Indoor Champions remained atop the ITA rankings this week, with Wake Forest, who has not played since taking the men's title in Seattle last Monday and North Carolina, who lost a 4-3 decision to Vanderbilt at home over the weekend still No. 1.  Wake is not scheduled to play as a team again until the start of ACC conference play March 16th at Virginia Tech, with four Pro tournaments filling the gap for the Demon Deacons.

The men's Top 10 didn't change much, although with Michigan and Duke moving up, the Big 10 and ACC now have three teams in the Top 10. The Pac-12 has two, the Ivy one and the SEC one, while the Big-12's highest-ranked program is Oklahoma, at 14.

Men’s ITA Division I Top 10 February 27, 2018

(previous ranking of Feb. 20 in parentheses)

1. Wake Forest (1)

2. Stanford (2)

3. Ohio State (3)

4. UCLA (4)

5. Columbia (8)

6. North Carolina (6)

7. Texas A&M (5)

8. Michigan (12)

9. Illinois (7)

10. Duke (13)

Georgia Tech, who beat Georgia over the weekend, made the biggest move at the top of the women's rankings, going from 12 last week to 3 this week. Duke has moved up to No. 2, giving the ACC the top three this week. The SEC has also three teams in the Top 10: Vanderbilt, Mississippi and Georgia.

Women’s ITA Division I Top 10 February 27, 2018 (previous ranking of Feb. 20 in parentheses)

1. North Carolina (1)

2. Duke (4)

3. Georgia Tech (12)

4. Vanderbilt (7)

5. Illinois (5)

6. Pepperdine (2)

7. Mississippi (3)

8. Texas Tech (8)

9. UCLA (9)

10. Georgia (6)

The ITF's Transition Tour has been the subject of much discussion recently, especially how it relates to college tennis in the United States. As I mentioned in my interview with USTA Director of Collegiate Tennis Stephen Amritraj, the USTA is not yet prepared to release anything official on its response to and participation in the Transition Tour until after next month's annual meeting. But in this memo published today on the ITA's website, the USTA has provided an overview of the issues that will be addressed and finalized at the annual meeting.

Rain has caused delays at the ITF Grade A in Porto Alegre Brazil, keeping the first round from being completed, but US juniors getting first round victories on Monday include Ronan Jachuk, Sangeet Sridhar, Brian Shi, Elli Mandlik[10], Hailey Baptiste[15], Gabby Price[11], Alexa Noel[3] and Kacie Harvey.

Stefan Kozlov hasn't had the best of starts to the year, with just two Australian Open qualifying wins and a first round win at the Newport Beach Challenger on the positive side. Perhaps inspired by friend and fellow 20-year-old Frances Tiafoe, Kozlov came up with a big win today at the $150,000 Oracle Challenger at Indian Wells, beating No. 2 seed and ATP No. 74 Mirza Basic of Bosnia and Herzegovina 7-5, 6-4.  Other US men to advance to the second round are No. 3 seed Taylor Fritz, who beat Noah Rubin 6-3, 6-3, qualifier Christian Harrison who defeated No. 9 seed Yannick Hanfmann of Germany 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, qualifier Marcos Giron, Dennis Novikov and qualifier Mitchell Krueger. Krueger took out wild card Reilly Opelka, who had reached the quarterfinals of the ATP Delray Beach Open last week.

In the WTA 125 at Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Sonya Kenin beat Sachia Vickery and Kristie Ahn defeated Taylor Townsend. Kenin, Ahn and Varvara Lepchenko[2] were the only American women to advance to the second round in Day Two of first round action. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

ITF Grade A Porto Alegre Underway with 29 Americans in Main Draw; Collins, Anisimova Advance at WTA 125 in Indian Wells; Kingsley Among Qualifiers at $25K Futures in Canada

The second Grade A of the ITF's 2018 Junior Circuit is underway in Porto Alegre Brazil, with 13 US boys and 16 US girls competing in the 64-player singles draws.

The US has seven of the 16 girls seeds: No. 3 Alexa Noel, No. 5 Lea Ma, No. 7 Peyton Stearns, No. 10 Elli Mandlik, No. 11 Gabby Price, No. 15 Hailey Baptiste and No. 16 Chloe Beck.  Fourteen-year-old Charlotte Owensby was the only American to get through qualifying, although two US boys--Milledge Cossu and Benjamin Kittay--were given wild cards.  The other US girls in the draw are: Vanessa Ong, Katie Volynets, Shelly Yaloz, Kacie Harvey, Addison Guevara, Alexandra Yepifanova, Sanyukta Gawande and Sabina Dadaciu.  Top seed Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia has won four straight ITF Grade 1 titles since the first of this year, including last week's Banana Bowl. Ong, who lost to Osorio Serrano last week in the semifinals, drew her in the first round this week.

Only two US boys are seeded: No. 4 Drew Baird and No. 6 Tristan Boyer. Boyer was a finalist at last week's Grade 1 Banana Bowl.  The other US boys in the draw are: Ronan Jachuck, Sangeet Sridhar, Eliot Spizzirri, William Grant, Tyler Zink, Govind Nanda, Pierce Rollins, Nathan Han and Brian Shi. Nicolas Mejia of Colombia is the boys top seed.

The tournament website is here, and it has printable draws and orders of play, but I am unable to find any scoring or results.

The BNP Paribas Open begins next week in Indian Wells, but the Tennis Garden is hosting tennis this week as well, with the second of two tournaments in the inaugural Oracle Challenger Series.  The men's event is a $150,000 ATP Challenger; the women's event, also with $150,000 in prize money, is part of the WTA's 125 series.  The first events were back in January in Newport Beach California, with Taylor Fritz and Danielle Collins claiming the titles.  Those two are now in the lead for the BNP Paribas Open wild card given to the American man and woman who amass the most ATP and WTA points in the two tournaments.  Two-time NCAA singles champion Collins received a wild card into the main draw and today won her opening round over 2009 BNP Paribas champion Vera Zvonareva of Russia 6-1, 6-4. Zvonareva received a wild card into the main draw, as did USTA 18s National Champion Ashley Kratzer.  Another two-time NCAA champion in the draw, Nicole Gibbs, won her first round match, defeating No. 7 seed Natalia Vikhlyantseva of Russia 7-5, 6-2.  Reigning US Open girls champion Amanda Anisimova, who has played just two tournaments this year with the first being Newport Beach, beat fellow qualifier Naomi Broady of Great Britain 6-1, 6-1. Wild card Caroline Dolehide reached the second round with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Spain Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain.

The results of the final round of qualifying on Sunday:

Men:

[1] C. Harrison (USA) d [7] M. Matosevic (AUS) 64 64

[2] M. Krueger (USA) d S. Fanselow (GER) 61 64

[3] A. Sarkissian (USA) d [6] N. Scholtz (RSA) 76(0) 36 63

[8] M. Giron (USA) d E. Song (USA) 64 75


Women:

Y. Wang (CHN) d L. Chirico (USA) 63 75

N. Broady (GBR) d J. Boserup (USA) 63 57 63

M. Doi (JPN) d V. Lapko (BLR) 76(1) 63

S. Errani (ITA) d C. Liu (USA) 63 36 63

V. Duval (USA) d F. di Lorenzo (USA) 63 62

A. Anisimova (USA) d S. Jang (KOR) 63 36 60

World No. 1 junior and Australian Open boys champion Sebastian Korda received a wild card, as did Reilly Opelka, Noah Rubin and Evan King.  Korda played his first round match today and lost to Norbert Gombos of Slovakia 6-0, 6-4.


With no USTA Pro Circuit events in the US this week, many American men are in Gatineau Canada for a $25,000 ITF Men's Circuit Futures.  Qualifying was completed today, with Michael Redlicki, DJ Thomas, Strong Kirchheimer, Jonathan Chang, Junior Ore and Cannon Kingsley advancing to the main draw.  Kingsley, a 16-year-old New Yorker who recently announced his verbal commitment to Ohio State, defeated No. 8 seed and former Texas A&M standout Harrison Adams 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 in the final round of qualifying.  He has drawn top seed Dominik Koepfer of Germany in the first round.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Emory Earns Third Straight D-III Indoor Title in Thriller; Tiafoe Wins ATP Delray Beach Open; Muhammad Claims $25K; Vanderbilt Women Top No. 1 North Carolina; Woodall, Andreach Champions at ITF Grade 4

Emory has a lot of experience and has had a lot of success at the ITA Division III Men's Team Indoor Championships, with the top-seeded Eagles playing No. 2 seed Claremont-Mudd-Scripps for their third consecutive Indoor title.  They have also had a lot of experience and success in close matches this weekend at Gustavus Adolphus College, with two 5-4 victories in the quarterfinals and semifinals, over the host team and the University of Chicago.  Emory needed all that experience and confidence today in their closest victory yet, coming from 4-1 down to beat CMS, with senior Andrew Harrington clinching the title with a 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(3) victory over Matthew Jacobs at line 5.

The ITA's recap of the championship is available here.

Sunday was a great day for former USTA National 18s champions, with both the singles and doubles titles at the ATP Delray Beach Open going to those who took national titles in Kalamazoo.  Wild card Frances Tiafoe, who won the 2015 18s title in Kalamazoo with an epic victory over Stefan Kozlov, claimed his first ATP title with a 6-1, 6-4 win over unseeded Peter Gojowczyk of Germany.  Tiafoe breezed through the first set, although the 20-year-old from Maryland would have been expected to suffer from more nerves than the 28-year-old, who won his first ATP event last fall. The second set was trickier, although Tiafoe never trailed, and he mostly served his way out of trouble when necessary.  For more on Tiafoe's win, which will send him up to 61 in the ATP rankings, see the ATP website.

Jack Sock and Jackson Withrow won the 2011 doubles title in Kalamazoo, but with Sock moving quickly into the top ranks of pro doubles players, he and Withrow, who completed his eligibility at Texas A&M, didn't have much opportunity to reunite.  This week, everything clicked for them, with the friends from their junior days in Nebraska beating the Bryans earlier in the week.  In the final, Sock and Withrow again went down a set, but Sock took over in the tiebreaker, to give them a 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 victory over JP Smith and Nick Monroe.  It is Withrow's first ATP doubles title. For more on their week in Delray Beach, see the ATP website.

In addition to Withrow, another former collegian won an ATP doubles title Sunday, with former LSU star Michael Venus of New Zealand and Raven Klaasen of South Africa taking the championship at the ATP event in Marseille France.  Venus and Klaasen defeated Marcus Daniell of New Zealand and former Virginia star Dominic Inglot of Great Britain 6-7(2), 6-3, 10-4 for their first victory as a team. Venus has eight titles in his career, including last year's French Open. For more, see the ATP website.

Asia Muhammad won her fifth ITF Women's Circuit singles title today at the $25,000 tournament in Rancho Santa Fe California.  The 26-year-old, who was unseeded, saved match points in her 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(3) win over No. 2 seed Kurumi Nara of Japan in the final.  Muhammad, who reached the final of a $25,000 tournament in Australia earlier in the month, won three three-setters for her first title since last February.

Fernanda Contreras and Coach Geoff Macdonald
The seventh-ranked Vanderbilt women, who were shocked by No. 24 Northwestern earlier this weekend, ended their road trip much better than they started it, beating No. 1 North Carolina 4-3 in Chapel Hill today.  The match came down to UNC's Makenna Jones and Vanderbilt's Fernanda Contreras at line 2, with Contreras coming from 5-2 down in the final set to post a 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(4) victory.  According to the recap from North Carolina, the match took four hours to decide.

Americans swept the singles titles at the ITF Grade 4 in Guatemala, with William Woodall, the No. 1 seed, beating Keshav Chopra 2-6, 6-1, 6-0 in the all-American boys final.  Fifteen-year-old Julia Andreach, playing in her first ITF tournament, won the girls singles title, beating top seed Rut Galindo of Guatemala 6-4, 6-1 in the final.

Chopra did get a title in the boys doubles, partnering with Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan. The No. 3 seeds defeated unseeded Jorge Jimenez of Colombia and Martin Maldonado of Ecuador 6-4, 6-4 in the final.  No. 2 seeds Imani Graham and Nikki Redelijk took the girls doubles title by walkover from Dyane Barcena Del Bosque of Mexico and Galindo.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Tiafoe Reaches Delray Beach Final; Novikov Wins Challenger; Emory and CMS Advance to D-III Men's Team Indoor Final; Oklahoma Men Beat Texas A&M, Florida Women Top Stanford; Illinois Women, Arizona State Men Claim Blue Gray Titles


Twenty-year-old American wild card Frances Tiafoe reached his first ATP semifinal earlier today and his first ATP final tonight, beating two of the top young players in the game at the Delray Beach Open.  After rain delayed the completion of his semifinal match with Australian Open semifinalist Hyeon Chung, the No. 8 seed, Tiafoe, who was up 5-3 when rain stopped play, finished off the 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory.  A little more than five hours later, he was back on court against 18-year-old Denis Shapovalov of Canada with the 2015 Kalamazoo 18s champion earning an impressive 7-5, 6-4 win. Tiafoe got a break at 5-5 in the first set and closed out the set, then took a 3-0, two-break lead.  Shapovalov got one of the breaks back for 3-2, but Tiafoe continued to relentlessly attack the Canadian's one-handed backhand and kept his advantage with surprisingly little drama. After needing eight match points to subdue Chung, Tiafoe made it easy on himself, serving out the match with confidence.  He will face Germany's Peter Gojowczyk in the final, after Gojowczyk defeated Steve Johnson 7-6(3), 6-3.

At the $50,000 ATP Challenger in Mexico, former UCLA star Dennis Novikov, seeded No. 3, won his third career Challenger title and first since 2015, beating unseeded Christian Garin of Chile 6-4, 6-3. The 24-year-old, who won the 2012 Kalamazoo 18s title, lost only one set all week, in his opening match.  Venezuela's Roberto Maytin, the former Baylor star, won the doubles title with Fernando Romboli of Brazil. The unseeded pair defeated unseeded Evan King and Nathan Pasha 7-5, 6-3 in the final.

The top two seeds have advanced to Sunday's ITA Division III Men's Team Indoor final, with Emory and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps earning victories today.  Emory, the top seed and two-time defending champion, posted its second consecutive 5-4 victory; after beating host Gustavus Aldophus by that score last night, the Eagles downed the University of Chicago in today's semifinals, with Hayden Cassone defeating Jeremy Yuan 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 at line 4 to clinch the victory.  CMS defeated Washington-St. Louis 6-3, with Avinash Vemuri earning the fifth point a 7-6(6), 6-2 win over Mark Wu at line 6.

The final begins at 9 a.m. Eastern Sunday morning, with live scoring and live streaming available here.

Several big Division I dual matches were on the schedule today, with the most visible being No. 29 Oklahoma's 4-3 win over No. 5 Texas A&M. Broadcast on Tennis Channel from the USTA's National Campus in Lake Nona, the match came down to No. 4 singles, with Oklahoma freshman Jake Van Emburgh defeating Valentin Vacherot 1-6, 7-6(4), 7-5. Vacherot served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, and had a match point in the deciding point in that game. But the sophomore from France double faulted, and Van Emburgh played a bit more freely in the final stages of the match to earn the fourth singles win of the day for the Sooners.

In one of college tennis's top rivalries, the Florida women got a big win, beating Stanford 4-3 in Palo Alto, despite the loss of the doubles point.  Josie Kuhlman clinched the victory at line 2, beating Caroline Lampl of Stanford 7-5, 1-6, 6-2.  Neither Brooke Austin of Florida nor Melissa Lord of Stanford played.

The Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic wrapped up today in Montgomery Alabama, and the University of Illinois claimed the women's title, beating two top 10 teams--Auburn(correction: Auburn's highest ranking this year is 12) and Wake Forest--to take the title.  In something of a theme of today's wins, Illinois lost the doubles point to Wake Forest in the final, but got four singles wins, with freshman Asuka Kuwai completing the comeback from 3-1 down with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Emma Davis at line 1. See the Illinois website for details.  The men's final was also a tense 4-3 contest, with Arizona State handing Alabama its first loss of the season. Michael Geerts defeated Mazen Osama 2-6, 7-6, 6-4 to clinch for the Sun Devils.

Both Americans in the ITF Grade 1 Banana Bowl finals were defeated, with top seeds Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia and Sebastian Baez of Argentina taking the singles championships.  Osorio Serrano defeated No. 2 seed Alexa Noel 6-3, 6-4 and Baez beat No. 5 seed Tristan Boyer 6-4, 6-3.

At the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit in Rancho Santa Fe California, unseeded Asia Muhammad reached the final with a 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 win over No. 3 seed Sachia Vickery.  She will face No. 2 seed Kurumi Nara of Japan, who beat lucky loser Ann Li 6-4, 2-6, 6-1.  Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria won their second doubles title of the month, with the top seeds beating unseeded Taylor Townsend and the Czech Republic's Eva Hrdinova 6-7(6), 6-1, 10-6. This is the 2013 NCAA champions' fourth title as a team.

Friday, February 23, 2018

My Conversation with USTA's Stephen Amritraj; Noel, Boyer Reach Banana Bowl Finals; Li Advances to Semis in Rancho Santa Fe $25K; Novikov in Challenger Final; Men's D-III Indoor Underway; Georgia, Vanderbilt Women Lose

While I was in Lake Nona last week for the National Level 2 event, I had a chance to talk to Stephen Amritraj, the Director of Collegiate Tennis for the USTA. Because I'm not on site for college matches as much as I used to be, I'm not always up on the latest happenings in the sport, and I was interested in hearing about the new agreement with Tennis Channel to air live matches from the USTA campus (tomorrow morning's men's match between Texas A&M and Oklahoma is next up). Although unable to provide any information on how the USTA is approaching the new ITF Transition Tour, he did say more information would be available following next month's annual meeting in California. Our conversation is available today at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

Alexa Noel and Tristan Boyer have reached the final of the ITF Grade 1 Banana Bowl in Brazil.  No. 2 seed Noel defeated unseeded Kacie Harvey 7-6(5), 6-1 and will face top seed Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia, who beat Vanessa Ong 6-4, 6-3.  Boyer, the No. 5 seed, will also play the top seed in the final. Boyer defeated No. 9 seed Clement Tabur of France 7-6(2), 6-7(2), 6-3, while Argentina's Sebastian Baez beat No. 10 seed Facundo Diaz Acosta, also of Argentina, 6-4, 7-6(8).

Baez already has one Banana Bowl title, winning the doubles championship today. He and Tabur, the No. 3 seeds, beat top seeds Drew Baird and Colombia's Nicolas Mejia 6-4, 6-7(3), 10-7 in the final. Noel and her partner Elli Mandlik lost in the girls doubles final, with the No. 2 seeds falling to No. 3 seeds Mariam Dalakishvili of Georgia and Ania Hertel of Poland 6-3, 5-7, 10-7.


At the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit women's tournament in Rancho Santa Fe California, Ann Li has advanced to the semifinals with a 7-5, 2-6, 6-0 win over No. 4 seed and WTA No. 111 Evgeniya Rodina of Russia.  She now has two wins over players in the Top 120 since last fall. Li, who got in as a lucky loser after falling in the final round of qualifying, will face No. 2 seed Kurumi Nara of Japan in the semifinals.  The other semifinal is an all-American contest between No. 3 seed Sachia Vickery and unseeded Asia Muhammad.

Dennis Novikov has advanced to the final of the $50,000 ATP Challenger in Mexico. Novikov, the No. 3 seed, defeated No. 7 seed Pedja Krstin of Serbia 6-1, 6-4 in today's semifinal and will face unseeded Christian Garin of Chile in the championship match.  Evan King and Nathan Pasha have reached the doubles final.

The ITA Men's Division III Team Indoor Championships are underway at host Gustavus Adolphus, with eight teams vying for the title.

Emory is the top seed, and they will play Gustavus Adolphus, the No. 8 seed later tonight. The winner of that match will take on No. 4 seed University of Chicago, who beat No. 5 seed Carnegie Mellon 6-3.

No. 3 seed Washington-St. Louis defeated No. 6 seed University of Redlands 9-0 earlier today and will play No. 2 seed Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, who beat No. 7 Trinity (Tex) 9-0.

In college dual matches today, No. 24 Northwestern surprised No. 7 Vanderbilt 4-2, with the Wildcats winning the doubles point and getting singles points from Erin Larner, Alex Chatt and Julie Byrne.

No. 12  Georgia Tech defeated No. 6 Georgia 4-2, in a match that ended with the default of Georgia's Elena Christofi, who was overruled for a fifth time in the second-set tiebreaker of her match with Johnnise Renaud, giving the Yellow Jackets the game and the match.  Georgia's two points came from the top of the lineup, while Georgia Tech won the doubles point and got additional singles wins from Kenya Jones and Nami Otsuka.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Four Americans Reach ITF Grade 1 Banana Bowl Semifinals; Other Notes from Around Tennis World

Three of the four semifinalists in the girls singles at the ITF Grade 1 Banana Bowl are from the United States, with top seed Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia the fourth participant.  Osorio Serrano, who beat unseeded Varvara Gracheva of Russia 6-2, 5-7, 6-3, will face unseeded Vanessa Ong in the semifinals, after Ong defeated No. 11 seed Hailey Baptiste 6-2, 6-4 in the all-American quarterfinal.

The all-American semifinal will feature unseeded Kacie Harvey, into her first Grade 1 semifinal, against No. 2 seed Alexa Noel.  Harvey beat qualifier Olympe Lancelot of France 6-2, 6-2, while Noel came back to defeat No. 8 seed Georgia Drummy of Ireland 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(4).

No. 5 seed Tristan Boyer downed No. 2 seed Juan Cerundolo of Argentina 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 to reach his first Grade 1 semifinal (although the 16-year-old has reached a Grade A final previously, at last October's tournament in Japan). Boyer will face No. 9 seed Clement Tabur of France in the semifinal in the bottom half.  Top seed Sebastian Baez and Facundo Diaz Acosta will meet in an all-Argentina semifinal in the top half.

Drew Baird, playing with Nicolas Mejia of Colombia, and Eliot Spizzirri, playing with Sebastian Rodriguez of Peru, have reached the doubles semifinals.  The girls doubles final is set, with Noel and Elli Mandlik, the No. 2 seeds,  facing No. 3 seeds Mariam Dalakishvili of Georgia and Ania Hertel of Poland.


The ITA announced the All-Tournament team for the Division I Men's Team Indoor, with champion Wake Forest taking four of the six singles berths, and Petros Chrysochos named Most Outstanding Player.  Complete results for those named to the team can be found here.

ITA Men's Division 1 Team Indoor All-Tournament Team:

1. Will Blumberg, North Carolina
2. Petros Chrysochos, Wake Forest
3. Skander Mansouri, Wake Forest
4. Bar Botzer, Wake Forest
5. Walker Duncan, Georgia
6. Julian Zlobinsky, Wake Forest

Doubles
1. Robert Kelly and Will Blumberg, North Carolina
2. Keegan Smith and Austin Rapp, UCLA
3. Daniel Cukierman and Tanner Smith, USC

Most Outstanding Player: Petros Chrysochos, Wake Forest

The ITA released its Division II team rankings today, with the University of West Florida men and the Lynn women retaining their No. 1 positions.

The men's complete listing is here; the women's complete listing is here.

US Open men's finalist Kevin Anderson has been named to the University of Illinois Hall of Fame.  Anderson won the 2006 NCAA doubles championship with Ryan Rowe and played in the 2007 Team final.

University of Tennessee men's head coach Chris Woodruff is the subject of this feature article in the Memphis Daily News.

Reilly Opelka defeated top seed Jack Sock 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the second round of the Delray Beach Open Wednesday for his first Top 10 win on the ATP tour.  Opelka is joined in Friday's quarterfinals by NextGen players Taylor Fritz, Denis Shapovalov of Canada and No. 8 seed Hyeon Chung of Korea.  Steve Johnson has also advanced to the quarterfinals, with Frances Tiafoe taking on No. 2 seed Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina later tonight.

Wimbledon girls finalist Ann Li is among the quarterfinalists at the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Rancho Santa Fe California.  Li, who received entry as a lucky loser, defeated qualifier Lorraine Guillermo 7-6(2), 6-3 today after beating Louisa Chirico in the opening round Wednesday.  Sachia Vickery[3], Vicky Duval and Asia Muhammad are the other Americans advancing to Friday's quarterfinals today, with Danielle Lao yet to finish her match.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Four US Girls, One US Boy Reach ITF Grade 1 Banana Bowl Quarterfinals; Lilov Turns Pro; This Week's USTA Rankings Diverge from ITA's

The quarterfinals are set for the ITF Grade 1 Banana Bowl this week in Brazil, with US girls making up half the participants.

No. 2 seed Alexa Noel was expected to advance that far, but the other three were not.  No. 11 seed Hailey Baptiste defeated No. 7 seed Mariam Dalakashvili of Georgia 6-1, 6-4 to advance and she will face fellow 16-year-old American Vanessa Ong in Thursday's quarterfinals. Ong, who is unseeded, took out No. 4 seed Lea Ma 6-4, 6-3 in Wednesday's third round.


Kacie Harvey, also 16, who reached the first Grade 1 quarterfinal of her ITF junior career last month in Colombia, has had two more impressive wins this week. Yesterday she defeated No. 3 seed Maria Rivera Corado of Guatemala 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 and today Harvey took out No. 13 seed Ana Makatsaria of Georgia 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.  Harvey will face qualifier Olympe Lancelot of France in the quarterfinals. Noel, who defeated No. 14 seed Loudmilla Bencheikh of France 6-2, 6-4, will take on No. 8 seed Georgia Drummy of Ireland in the quarterfinals.

In the only girls quarterfinal without an American, top seed Maria Osorio Serrano will play Varvara Gracheva of Russia. Gracheva, a 17-year-old who hadn't played a junior event since last year's French Open, lost in the first round last week in Paraguay in her return to the ITF Junior Circuit, but today she eliminated No. 6 seed Peyton Stearns 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.  Her WTA ranking, boosted by a title at a $15,000 tournament last month, is at 570, so her lack of seeding this week is a bit deceptive. Osorio Serrano is on an 18-match ITF junior winning streak, having won three Grade 1 titles this year, and she has beaten Gracheva in their only previous meeting, but I expect a competitive match.

Only one American boy, No. 5 seed Tristan Boyer, survived the third round. Boyer defeated Joao Ferreira of Brazil 6-0, 6-2 and will face No. 2 seed Juan Cerundolo of Argentina in the quarterfinals.

Bolton and Les Petits As champion Victor Lilov has turned pro, according to this article by Stephanie Myles at TennisLife. Lilov, who just turned 14 and has yet to play on the ITF Junior Circuit, joins Coco Gauff and Zane Khan as Americans who have signed with management agencies at a very young age.

The USTA's weekly poll for Division I teams was released today, and I as expected, there are differences with the ITA's first computer-generated rankings, although not at the top, where the Wake Forest men and North Carolina women are lodged in both polls.

Team Indoor finalist UCLA is now No. 2 in the men's poll, and the Illinois women, ranked No. 5 in the ITA poll, are 20th in the USTA poll. The complete polls can be found at usta.com.

USTA Men’s Top 10 February 21, 2018
(previous week's ranking in parentheses)

1. Wake Forest (3)
2. UCLA (8)
3. Ohio State (1)
4. Stanford (4)
5. Texas A&M (6)
6. North Carolina (2)
7. USC (7)
8. Georgia (4)
9. Illinois (9)
10. Columbia (11)

USTA Women’s Top 10 February 21, 2018

1. North Carolina (1)
2. Pepperdine (2)
3. Vanderbilt (3)
4. Duke (5)
5. Georgia (4)
6. Georgia Tech (8)
7. Texas Tech (7)
8. Mississippi (10)
T9. Stanford (6)
T9. Oklahoma State (12)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Wake Forest Men, North Carolina Women Remain No. 1 in ITA Team Rankings; Five American Women Qualify at Rancho Santa Fe $25K; Eight US Men Through to Delray Beach Second Round

The latest ITA Division I team and individual rankings were released today, and for the first time this year, the team rankings are done not by ballot, but by the computer.  The women's post-Team Indoor rankings last week were by ballot and pretty much adhered to the results from that tournament at the top, but the men's rankings don't look quite as neat.  Finalist UCLA moved up from 7 to 4, but Ohio State, whom the Bruins beat 4-1 in the quarterfinals, is ahead of them, while Stanford moved into the No. 2 spot, probably due to a win earlier this year over UCLA.  Columbia took a big jump, from tied for 14th to 8th.

Although Team Indoor champion North Carolina and finalist Pepperdine stayed at 1 and 2 in the women's rankings, the computer did produce some surprises, with Ole Miss moving to No. 3, and Illinois to No. 5, after being ranked tied for 24th in the last ballot.  The USTA poll doesn't come out until tomorrow, but I would be surprised to see either of those teams in the Top 5.


North Carolina sophomore Will Blumberg has reached the No. 1 singles ranking for the first time, while Anastasia Rychagova of Kansas returns to the top rankings in women's singles, which she reached at the end of the fall season.  Full rankings can be view by clicking on the heading below.

February 21, 2018

ITA Men’s Team (previous ranking of Feb. 7 in parentheses)

1. Wake Forest (1)
2. Stanford (5)
3. Ohio State (2)
4. UCLA (7)
5. Texas A&M (6)
6. North Carolina (3)
7. Illinois (10)
8. Columbia (T14)
9. USC (8)
10. Oklahoma State (9)

Men’s Singles: (previous ranking of February 7 in parentheses)

1. William Blumberg, North Carolina (4)
2. Mikael Torpegaard, Ohio State (5)
3. Martin Redlicki, UCLA (1)
4. Nuno Borges, Mississippi State (2)
5. Alex Knight, Michigan (3)
6. Petros Chrysochos, (6)
7. Victor Pham, Columbia (15)
8. Brandon Holt, USC (11)
9. Johannes Ingildsen, Florida (7)
10. Alfredo Perez, Florida (9)

Men’s Doubles:

1. Johannes Ingildsen and Alfredo Perez, Florida (2)
2. Petros Chrysochos and Skander Mansouri, Wake Forest (1)
3. Rodrigo Banzer and Leonardo Telles, Texas (4)
4. Chema Carranza and Josef Dodridge, Wisconsin (3)
5. Will Little and Johannes Schretter, Baylor (12)

ITA Women’s Team: (previous ranking of Feb. 14 in parentheses)

1. North Carolina (1)
2. Pepperdine (2)
3. Mississippi (9)
4. Duke (4)
5. Illinois (T24)
6. Georgia (5)
7. Vanderbilt (3)
8. Texas Tech (8)
9. UCLA (10)
10. Wake Forest (11)

Women’s Singles: (previous ranking of February 7 in parentheses)

1. Anastasia Rychagova, Kansas (2)
2. Andrea Lazaro, Florida International (3)
3. Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov, Florida Atlantic (4)
4. Bianca Turati, Texas (1)
5. Fernanda Contreras, Vanderbilt (5)
6. Katarina Jokic, Georgia (8)
7. Gabriela Talaba, Texas Tech (13)
8. Alle Sanford, North Carolina (6)
9. Anna Danilina, Florida (7)
10.  Samantha Harris, Duke (9)

Women’s Doubles:

1. Emily Arbuthnott and Michaela Gordon, Stanford (6)
2. Erin Larner and Maddie Lipp, Northwestern (1)
3. Ellyse Hamlin and Kaitlyn McCarthy, Duke (2)
4. Paige Hourigan and Kenya Jones, Georgia Tech (3)
5. Jada Hart and Ena Shibahara, UCLA (4)

The USTA Pro Circuit has moved from Arizona to Rancho Santa Fe California this week, with another women's $25,000 tournament now underway.  Qualifying was completed today, with five Americans--Pepperdine junior Ashley Lahey[16], Claire Liu[2], Ingrid Neel, Robin Anderson[8] and Lorraine Guillermo--advancing to the main draw.  Vanderbilt senior Astra Sharma of Australia also earned her way into the main draw, beating top qualifying seed Chiara Scholl 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(1).

Wild cards in Rancho Santa Fe went to Vania King, Julia Elbaba, Allie Kiick and former UCLA star Pamela Montez, who hasn't played on the ITF Women's Circuit in 10 years.  Montez lost to Caroline Dolehide 6-3, 6-2.

Top seed Taylor Townsend lost today to Great Britain's Katie Boulter 6-3, 7-5.

Three young Americans qualified yesterday for the $25,000 ITF Women's Circuit event this week in Brazil: 16-year-old Alexa Ryngler, 17-year-old Elysia Bolton and 21-year-old Jessica Ho.  Ryngler and Ho dropped their first round matches today, but UCLA recruit Bolton picked up her first win above the $15,000 level today, beating fellow qualifier Carla Lucero of Argentina 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(4) in three hours and seven minutes.  WTA No. 112 Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia is the top seed.

There are no men's USTA Pro Circuit events this week, but the ATP event in Delray Beach Florida has a host of Americans in the draw, with eight of them advancing to the second round:  Jack Sock[1], Reilly Opelka, John Isner[6], Donald Young, Steve Johnson, Jared Donaldson, Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe.  Opelka, a wild card, beat Ryan Harrison 7-6(5), 7-6(6) in one of two all-US first round matches. In the other, Fritz defeated No. 4 seed Sam Querrey 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(4).

Monday, February 19, 2018

Wake Forest Claims First Men's ITA Team Indoor Title with 4-2 Win Over UCLA


Wake Forest has been among the top teams in the country over the past several years, but today will be remembered as a special day in the program's history, as the Demon Deacons collected their first national title with a 4-2 victory over No. 7 seed UCLA in the ITA Men's Team Indoor Championships in Seattle.

Wake, seeded No. 1, dropped a close doubles point, but they had survived the loss of the doubles point against USC in the quarterfinals, so they had no reason to panic. Wake took the first doubles match at line 3, but a late surge on courts 1 and 2 delivered the point to the Bruins.

In singles, Wake took four first sets, and was up a break in the second set in three of those matches, so UCLA never appeared in control of the match despite their lead after doubles.  Wake's Julian Zlobinsky, a transfer from Texas, gave his team its first point with a 6-3, 6-0 win over freshman Connor Hance at line 6.  Junior Maxime Cressy put UCLA back in the lead with a 6-3, 6-2 win over freshman Rrezart Cungu, who had not played in the singles lineup until today.  In the meantime, UCLA freshman Keegan Smith had taken a 5-2 lead in the second set against senior Skander Mansouri at line 3, and senior Martin Redlicki was up a set and 4-3 over sophomore Borna Gojo at line 1, giving the Bruins a path to their fourth point.

Wake took the lead for the first time when freshman Bar Botzer defeated senior Logan Staggs 6-4, 6-4 at line 4, meaning that UCLA needed both matches still on court.

Smith was unable to serve out the second set, losing four straight games to give Mansouri a chance to close out the championship.  Serving for the match and Wake's fourth point at 6-5 in the second set, Mansouri couldn't reach match point, with Smith hitting two stellar returns to get the break back and send the match to a tiebreaker.  Mansouri got off to a great start in the tiebreaker, going up 4-0, but Smith made it 4-2 at the changeover, just as Redlicki and Gojo had split at line 1, with Gojo taking that tiebreaker 7-3.

Serving at 5-4 in the tiebreaker, Mansouri hit an excellent first serve that Smith couldn't put in play to give himself two match points, but he missed a forehand badly on his own serve to waste the first one. Smith didn't get a first serve in on the second match point, but Mansouri couldn't get a good second serve back in play and they changed ends again. Mansouri earned a third match point with a deft lob winner, but Smith countered again with a sizzling backhand winner to deny Mansouri. At 7-all, Smith netted a backhand that he'd probably like to have back, giving Mansouri a fourth match point, and when Smith's forehand went long, Wake Forest had claimed its first national team title.

The recap of the final from Wake Forest is here. The recap from the UCLA perspective is here.

Wake Forest had been No. 1 in the ITA rankings prior to the tournament, so that will not change, while UCLA will certainly move up, given their wins over No. 2 Ohio State and No. 6 Texas A&M in the quarterfinals and semifinals.

ITA Men’s Division I Team Indoor Championships
Final, February 19, 2018, Seattle WA

No. 1 Wake Forest 4, No. 7 UCLA 2

Doubles
1. Martin Redlicki/Evan Zhu(UCLA) def. Christian Seraphim/Ian Dempster(Wake), 7-5
2. Keegan Smith/Austin Rapp(UCLA) def. Borna Gojo/Skander Mansouri(Wake), 7-6(3)
3. Petros Chrysochos/Bar Botzer(Wake) def. Maxime Cressy/Bryce Pereira(UCLA), 6-4

Order of finish: 3, 1, 2

Singles
1. Martin Redlicki(UCLA) vs Borna Gojo(Wake), 6-4, 6-7(3), unfinished
2. Petros Chrysochos(Wake) def. Evan Zhu(UCLA), 6-3, 6-4
3. Skander Mansouri(Wake) def. Keegan Smith(UCLA), 6-4, 7-6(7)
4. Bar Botzer(Wake) def. Logan Staggs(UCLA), 6-4, 6-4
5. Maxime Cressy(UCLA) def. Rrezart Cungu(Wake), 6-3, 6-2
6. Julian Zlobinsky(Wake) def. Connor Hance(UCLA), 6-3, 6-0

Order of finish:
6, 5, 2, 4, 3

Sunday, February 18, 2018

UCLA, Wake Forest Advance to ITA Men's Team Indoor Final; Grade 1 Banana Bowl Begins Monday; Anderson Wins New York Open; Photo Gallery of USTA Level 2 in Lake Nona

Top seed Wake Forest advanced to the final of the ITA Men's Division I Team Indoor Championships for the first time in its history, while No. 7 seed UCLA reached its first final since 2004 with nail-biting wins on Sunday in Seattle. UCLA claimed a 4-2 victory over No. 6 seed Texas A&M with senior Martin Redlicki clinching the win for the Bruins at line 1, while Wake Forest outlasted No. 5 seed Stanford 4-3, with sophomore Borna Gojo coming from behind to win a third set tiebreaker, also at line 1.


UCLA won the doubles point, as it has done in all three of its wins this weekend, but Texas A&M took four first sets in singles, and quickly tied the score with a win by freshman Juan Carlos Aguilar at line 5.  UCLA started its comeback in singles by earning splits at lines 3, 1 and 6, while Logan Staggs made it 2-1 Bruins with a straight-sets win over Valentin Vacherot  at line 4. Freshman Keegan Smith put UCLA ahead 3-1 with a three-set victory over Jordi Arconada, meaning Texas A&M had to win all three matches still on court.  Redlicki and Patrick Kypson were tied at 3 in the third set at line 1, while A&M's AJ Catanzariti, playing for the first time in the tournament was also at 3-3 in the third at line 6, against freshman Connor Hance. UCLA's Evan Zhu had a chance to end the match against Arthur Rinderknech in straight sets, but he lost the second set tiebreaker just as Redlicki was breaking Kypson to serve for the match at 5-4 in the third.

Redlicki saved a break point at 30-40, but Kypson hit a backhand crosscourt pass on the deciding point to keep his team alive, and held easily in the next game.  Redlicki had to win a deciding point on his serve, which he did with a good first serve, to send the match to a tiebreaker, and he led 3-1 and then again 5-4 with two serves to come in the tiebreaker, but couldn't close out Kypson. Redlicki had to save another match point at 5-6, which he did with a big forehand that forced an error from Kypson.

Kypson netted a forehand to give Redlicki a second match point, and he missed his first serve. On his second serve, a deep one, Kypson called the ball out as he returned it, but the chair umpire overruled him, giving Redlicki the match and UCLA the victory.

In the evening match, Wake Forest won the doubles point quickly, but the teams split first sets in singles, indicating the match would be a lengthy one. Wake went up 2-0 with Petros Chrysochos defeating Axel Geller 6-4, 6-3, and Stanford countered with a 6-4, 6-2 win by David Wilczynski over Christian Seraphim at line 5, but nothing came easy for either team after that.  Stanford tied it up with Eric Fomba's 7-5, 7-5 win over Bar Botzer at line 4, with the other three matches all in the third set.  Stanford's William Genesen was up a break in the final set at line 6, but Julian Zlobinsky roared through the final five games for a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 victory that gave Wake Forest a 3-2 lead. Stanford's Sameer Kumar held on to his early break and closed out Skander Mansouri 6-7(10), 6-3, 6-4 at line 3, just as Tom Fawcett and Gojo were heading to a third set tiebreaker at line 1.

Fawcett, who had been up a set and 4-2 earlier in the match, took a 4-1 lead in the tiebreaker, but lost four consecutive points.  At 5-5, Gojo stayed aggressive, executing a perfect forehand volley winner to earn a match point, but on Fawcett's serve. Fawcett did get his first serve in and he also committed to aggressive play, coming to the net. But a net cord threw his timing off and he netted a volley, giving Gojo and Wake Forest the victory.

The final on Monday is scheduled for 3 p.m. eastern time, and live streaming will be available here.

ITA Men’s Division I Team Indoor Championships
Semifinals, February 18, 2018, Seattle WA

No. 7 UCLA  4, No. 6 Texas A&M 2

Doubles
1. Patrick Kypson/Arthur Rinderknech(TexasA&M) vs Martin Redlicki/Evan Zhu(UCLA), 6-5, unfinished
2. Keegan Smith/Austin Rapp(UCLA) def. Jordi Arconada/Juan Carlos Aguilar(TexasA&M), 6-4
3. Maxime Cressy/Bryce Pereira(UCLA) def. Valentin Vacherot/Barnaby Smith(TexasA&M), 6-3

Order of finish: 3, 2

Singles
1. Martin Redlicki(UCLA) def. Patrick Kypson(TexasA&M), 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(6)
2. Evan Zhu(UCLA) vs Arthur Rinderknech(TexasA&M), 7-6(5), 6-7(1), 2-2, unfinished
3. Keegan Smith(UCLA) def. Jordi Arconada(TexasA&M), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
4. Logan Staggs(UCLA) def. Valentin Vacherot(TexasA&M), 7-5, 7-5
5. Juan Carlos Aguilar(TexasA&M) def. Maxime Cressy(UCLA), 6-2, 6-2
6. AJ Catanzariti(TexasA&M) def. Connor Hance(UCLA), 6-3, 4-6, 6-3

Order of finish: 5, 4, 3, 6, 1
==========================================

No. 1 Wake Forest 4, No. 5 Stanford 3 

Doubles
1. Sameer Kumar/Michael Genender(Stanford) vs Christian Seraphim/Ian Dempster(Wake), 4-2, unfinished
2. Borna Gojo/Skander Mansouri(Wake) def. Axel Geller/Tom Fawcett(Stanford), 6-3
3. Petros Chrysochos/Bar Botzer(Wake) def. David Wilczynski/Timothy Sah(Stanford), 6-1

Order of finish: 3, 2

Singles
1. Borna Gojo(Wake) def. Tom Fawcett(Stanford) 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(5)
2. Petros Chrysochos(Wake) def. Axel Geller(Stanford), 6-4, 6-3
3. Sameer Kumar(Stanford) def. Skander Mansouri(Wake), 6-7(10), 6-3, 6-4
4. Eric Fomba(Stanford) def. Bar Botzer(Wake), 7-5, 7-5
5. David Wilczynski(Stanford) def. Christian Seraphim(Wake), 6-4, 6-2
6. Julian Zlobinsky(Wake) def. William Genesen(Stanford), 7-5, 3-6, 6-3

Order of finish: 2, 5, 4, 6, 3, 1
========================================

Qualifying was completed today at the ITF Grade 1 Banana Bowl in Brazil, with 14-year-old Alexandra Yepifanova the only American to get through to the main draw. The 13 US girls in the 48-player draw, with the seeds getting first round byes:  Addison Guevara, Sabina Dadaciu[15], Peyton Stearns[6], Lea Ma[4], Yepifanova, Vanessa Ong, Hailey Baptiste[11], Shelly Yaloz, Elli Mandlik[10], Kacie Harvey, Katie Volynets, Chloe Beck[12] and Alexa Noel[2].  Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia, who has already won three Grade 1s this year, is the top seed.

The eight US boys in the 48-player draw are Eliot Spizzirri, Drew Baird[6], Tyler Zink[16], Will Grant, Govind Nanda, Nathan Han, Tristan Boyer[5] and Brian Shi.  Sebastian Baez of Argentina is the top seed.

The only USTA Pro Circuit event this week was a $25,000 tournament in Surprise Arizona. Julia Boserup[8] was the only American to reach the singles quarterfinals, with No. 2 seed Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium winning the title with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over qualifier Ana Sofia Sanchez of Mexico.  Wickmayer and partner Misaki Doi of Japan won the doubles title, with the No. 3 seeds beating No. 4 seeds Jacqueline Cako(Arizona State) and Caitlin Whoriskey(Tennessee) 2-6, 6-3, 10-8 in the final.

Former University of Illinois star Kevin Anderson won the ATP New York Open, with the top-seeded South African beating No. 2 seed Sam Querrey 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(1).  With his fourth ATP title, the 31-year-old Anderson moves to a career-high ranking of 9. For more, see the ATP website.

The Tennis Recruiting Network has posted a Zootennis photo gallery from the USTA National Level 2 in Lake Nona. Photos of 34 of the participants in that 18s tournament can be viewed here.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

UCLA, Stanford, Wake Forest and Texas A&M Advance to Men's Team Indoor Semifinals; Shaikh Wins Second Straight ITF Junior Title


The first round of the ITA Men's Division I Team Indoor Championships went according to form, with the top 8 seeds advancing to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2004, according to Bobby Knight at College Tennis Today.  It was surprising that this year, which is considered to feature plenty of parity, would be so predictable, but that lasted only one day, with No. 2 seed Ohio State, No. 3 seed North Carolina and No. 4 seed Georgia all falling in today's quarterfinals.

Ohio State, the runner-up to Virginia last year, lost the doubles point for the first team this season to No. 7 seed UCLA, and the Bruins didn't let up, getting impressive wins from freshman Connor Hance, Evan Zhu and Logan Staggs, who clinched the 4-1 upset.

No. 5 seed Stanford took the doubles point from Georgia without much fuss, but the next three points were harder to come by.  William Genesen and freshman Axel Geller provided two straight-set wins, with Tom Fawcett clinching the 4-2 victory for the Cardinal with a three-set win at line 1.

Top seed Wake Forest lost the doubles point to No. 8 seed USC, but came out strong in singles, getting straight-sets wins from the top 4 in their lineup to close out the 4-1 victory.

The first match to go the distance was No. 6 Texas A&M's 4-3 win over North Carolina.  The Aggies dropped the doubles point, but took five first sets in singles, and they held on to four of those points, but not without plenty of drama.  The match was decided at No. 2, between freshman Benjamin Sigouin of North Carolina and Texas A&M's Arthur Rinderknech.  Rinderknech took the first set 6-4, lost the second 7-5, and early in the third set, they were the only match still going.  Serving at 3-4, Rinderknech saved a break point on a deciding point. Sigouin then fell behind 15-40, saved two break points, but not a third, giving Rinderknech the opportunity to serve for the match. He closed it out at 40-30, a result that had to be particularly satisfying as Rinderknech lost the deciding match in last weekend's 4-3 loss to Ohio State in Columbus.

Texas A&M will face UCLA at 3 p.m. Eastern Sunday, with Stanford and Wake Forest following at 6:30 p.m. I believe both matches will be live streamed here.

ITA Men’s Division I Team Indoor Championships
Quarterfinals, February 17, Seattle WA

No. 5 Stanford 4, No. 4 Georgia 2

Doubles
1. Sameer Kumar/Michael Genender(Stanford) vs Robert Loeb and Jan Zielinski(Georgia) 3-4, unfinished
2. Tom Fawcett/Axel Geller(Stanford) def. Wayne Montgomery/Walker Duncan(Georgia), 6-3
3. David Wilczynski/Timothy Sah(Stanford) def. Alex Diaz/Paul Oosterbaan(Georgia), 6-3

Order of finish: 2, 3

Singles
1. Tom Fawcett(Stanford) def. Wayne Montgomery(Georgia), 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-3
2. Axel Geller(Stanford) def. Emil Reinberg(Georgia), 7-5, 6-3
3. Sameer Kumar(Stanford) vs Nathan Ponwith(Georgia), 6-3, 4-6, 6-6, unfinished
4. Jan Zielinski(Georgia) def. Eric Fomba(Stanford), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
5. Walker Duncan(Georgia) def. David Wilczynski(Stanford), 6-3, 6-3
6. William Genesen(Stanford) def. Paul Oosterbaan(Georgia), 7-5, 6-3

Order of finish: 5, 6, 2, 1
===========================================

No. 7 UCLA 4, No. 2 Ohio State 1 

Doubles
1. Mikael Torpegaard/Martin Joyce(Ohio State) vs Martin Redlicki/Evan Zhu(UCLA) 6-5, unfinished
2. Austin Rapp/Keegan Smith(UCLA) def. John McNally/JJ Wolf(Ohio State), 6-4
3. Maxime Cressy/Bryce Pereira(UCLA) def. Hunter Tubert/Matthew Mendez(Ohio State), 6-4

Order of finish: 3, 2

Singles
1. Mikael Torpegaard(Ohio State) def. Martin Redlicki(UCLA), 6-4, 6-4
2. Evan Zhu(UCLA) def. JJ Wolf(Ohio State), 6-3, 7-6(5)
3. John McNally(Ohio State) vs Keegan Smith(UCLA), 6-4, 2-6, 3-1, unfinished
4. Logan Staggs(UCLA) def. Tim Seibert(Ohio State), 7-5, 6-3
5. Maxime Cressy(UCLA) vs Kyle Seelig(Ohio State), 7-6(3), 5-6, unfinished
6. Connor Hance(UCLA) def. Martin Joyce(Ohio State), 6-3, 6-4

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

No. 1 Wake Forest 4, No. 8 USC 1

Doubles
1. Brandon Holt/Riley Smith(USC) def. Christian Seraphim/Ian Dempster(Wake), 6-4
2. Borna Gojo/Skander Mansouri(Wake) def. Jack Jaede/Laurens Verboven(USC), 6-1
3. Tanner Smith/Daniel Cukierman(USC)def. Petros Chrysochos/Bar Botzer(Wake), 6-3

Order of finish: 2, 3, 1

Singles
1. Borna Gojo(Wake) def. Brandon Holt(USC), 6-3, 6-3
2. Petros Chrysochos(Wake) def. Daniel Cukierman(USC), 6-4, 6-3
3. Skander Mansouri(Wake) def. Logan Smith(USC), 6-1, 6-1
4. Bar Botzer(Wake) def. Jack Jaede(USC), 7-5, 6-2
5. Christian Seraphim(Wake) vs Laurens Verboven(USC), 6-3, 5-6, unfinished
6. Jake Devine(USC) vs Julian Zlobinsky(Wake) 7-6(5), 2-5, unfinished

Order of finish: 3, 1, 2, 4

No. 6 Texas A&M 4, No. 3 North Carolina 3

Doubles
1. William Blumberg/Robert Kelly(UNC) def. Patrick Kypson/Arthur Rinderknech(TexasA&M), 6-2
2. Benjamin Sigouin/Anu Kodali(UNC) vs Jordi Arconada/Juan Carlos Aguilar(TexasA&M), 3-5 unfinished
3. Mac Kiger/Simon Soendergaard(UNC) def. Barnaby Smith/Valentin Vacherot(TexasA&M), 6-4

Order of finish: 1, 3

Singles
1. William Blumberg(UNC) def. Patrick Kypson(TexasA&M), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1
2. Arthur Rinderknech(TexasA&M) def. Benjamin Sigouin(UNC), 6-4, 5-7, 6-4
3. Jordi Arconada(TexasA&M) def. Robert Kelly(UNC), 7-6(6), 6-1
4. Valentin Vacherot(TexasA&M) def. Simon Soendergaard(UNC), 6-0, 4-6, 6-4
5. Juan Carlos Aguilar(TexasA&M) def. Josh Peck(UNC), 6-2, 6-4
6. Bo Boyden(UNC) def. Barnaby Smith(TexasA&M), 6-3, 7-6(3)

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

=========================================

In ITF junior circuit news, 15-year-old Hibah Shaikh won her second consecutive ITF tournament in her second ITF tournament played. Last year, Shaikh won a Grade 5 in Antigua and Barbuda in her ITF junior debut. Today, she claimed the title at the Grade 4 Jalisco Junior Cup in Mexico. Shaikh, who was unseeded, defeated No. 12 seed Jada Bui of Canada 7-6(3), 7-5 in the final, collecting her 10th straight singles win on the ITF Junior Circuit.   Unseeded Kailey Evans and Savannah Broadus reached the doubles final, losing to No. 3 seeds Romary Cardenas Rifka of Mexico and Jessica Plazas of Colombia 7-5, 6-3.

The top-seeded Colombians swept the singles titles at the ITF Grade 1 in Paraguay.  Maria Osorio Serrano defeated unseeded Ana Geller of Argentina 6-3, 6-1 and Nicolas Mejia downed No. 5 seed Filip Jianu of Romania 7-6(6), 7-5.

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

Doubles
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

Singles
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

Doubles
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 Kovacevic (ILL) 5-4, unfinished No. 3: Maxime Cressy/Bryce Pereira (UCLA) def. Alex Brown/Caleb Chakravarthi (ILL) 6-4
Order of Finish: 1, 3

Singles
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

Doubles
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

Singles
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

Doubles
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

Singles
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

Doubles
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

Singles
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

Doubles
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

Singles
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

Doubles
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

Singles
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

Doubles
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

Singles
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 of 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
7. UCLA
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]

noon:
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

Singles

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

Doubles

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.