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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Great Day for US Men, UCLA Alums at Wimbledon; Michelsen Beats Top Seed at Roehampton J1; Five USTA Pro Circuit Events This Week Include $100K in Charleston

US men picked up three victories Monday on Day One of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships and today they added 10 more; the 13 American men in the second round is the most since 1995, when 16 won their first round matches.

The most impressive victory came courtesy of former UCLA Bruin Maxime Cressy, who ousted No. 6 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(9), 7-6(5). Cressy, who reached the final at Eastbourne last week, did not qualify for Wimbledon last year, falling in the final round of qualifying to former teammate Mackenzie McDonald, so this was his first main draw appearance at Wimbledon. Grass should be his best surface, given his relentless serve and volley game style, but as a late bloomer and the pandemic, the 25-year-old hasn't had too many opportunities to play on the surface.

Cressy, the 2019 NCAA doubles champion, was one of three former UCLA men to advance today, with 2016 NCAA champion McDonald and 2014 NCAA champion Marcos Giron also picking up victories.

The fourth former Bruin to make the second round in singles is qualifier Catherine Harrison, who defeated Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands 6-1, 6-4 for her first slam main draw victory in her first main draw slam appearance.

While the US men had impressive results in the first round, going 13-3, the US women did not. No. 8 seed Jessica Pegula's match with Croatia's Donna Vekic was postponed until Wednesday, so the first round is not yet complete, but American women are 7-10 pending that result.

Tuesday's first round results of Americans:
Harmony Tan(FRA) d. Serena Williams[WC] 7-5, 1-6, 7-6(7)
Coco Gauff[11] d. Elena-Gabriela Ruse(ROU) 2-6, 6-3, 7-5
Paula Badosa[4](ESP) d. Louisa Chirico[Q] 6-2 6-1
Claire Liu d. Nuria Parrizas Diaz(ESP) 7-5, 6-3
Petra Martic(CRO) d. Shelby Rogers[30] 6-2, 7-6(5)
Amanda Anisimova[20] d. Yue Yuan[LL](CHN) 6-3 6-4
Lauren Davis d. Madison Brengle 6-2, 7-5
Sara Sorribes Tormo[32](ESP) d. Christina McHale[Q] 6-2, 6-1
Elena Rybakina[17](KAZ) d. Coco Vandeweghe[LL] 7-6(2), 7-5 
Bianca Andreescu(CAN) d, Emina Bektas[Q] 6-1, 6-3
Qinwen Zheng(CHN) d. Sloane Stephens 7-6(1), 7-5
Catherine Harrison[Q] d. Arantxa Rus(NED) 6-1, 6-4

Steve Johnson d. Grigor Dimitrov([18](BUL) (moved from Monday) 4-6, 5-2 ret.
Maxime Cressy d. Felix Auger-Aliassime[6](CAN) 
Taylor Fritz[11] d. Lorenzo Musetti(ITA) 6-4, 6-4, 6-3
Christian Harrison[Q] d. Jay Clarke[WC](GBR) 7-6(3), 6-1, 7-6(6) (held over from Monday)
Diego Schwartzman[12](ARG) d. Stefan Kozlov[LL] 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
Reilly Opelka[15] d. Carlos Taberner(ESP) 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4 (held over from Monday)
Ricardas Berankis(LTU) d. Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-5, 6-3
Brandon Nakashima d. Nicola Kuhn[Q](GER) 6-3, 6-6(1). 6-3, 6-2
Jenson Brooksby[29] d. Mikhail Kukushkin[Q](KAZ) 6-3, 6-2, 6-3
Lorenzo Sonego[27](ITA) d. Denis Kudla 6-7(6), 6-3, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2
Mackenzie McDonald d. Nuno Borges[LL](POR) 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(3)
Jack Sock[Q] d. Bernabe Zapata Miralles[Q](ESP) 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-4
Marcos Giron d. Holger Rune[[24](DEN) 6-3, 7-5, 6-4

Wednesday's matches featuring Americans:

First round:
Jessica Pegula[8] v Donna Vekic(CRO)

Second round:
John Isner[20] v. Andy Murray(GBR)
Steve Johnson v Ryan Peniston[WC](GBR)
Tommy Paul[30] v Adrian Mannarino(FRA)
Reilly Opelka[15] v Tim Van Rijthoven(NED)
Frances Tiafoe[23] v Maximilian Marterer(GER)
Christian Harrison[Q] v Oscar Otte[32](GER)

Alison Riske[28] v Maja Chwalinska[Q](POL)
Ann Li v Marie Bouzkova(CZE)

The quarterfinals are set at the ITF J1 in Roehampton, with three Americans advancing with wins today. 

Alex Michelsen defeated top seed Jakub Mensik of the Czech Republic 5-7, 6-3, 6-1, the second win over Mensik Michelsen has had this year, and will play William Jansen of Great Britain, who beat Michael Zheng 6-3, 6-1 in the third round today.

Sebastian Gorzny beat Roland Garros finalist Gilles Bailly of Belgium, the No. 6 seed, 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-2. The TCU rising freshman will play No. 2 seed Mili Poljicak of Croatia, who beat No. 16 seed Ozan Colak 6-4, 6-3.

Liv Hovde is the only US girl in the quarterfinals, with the top seed defeating Nottingham J1 champion Taylah Preston of Australia 7-6(5), 6-2. She will face No. 7 seed Annabelle Xu of Canada Wednesday.

Two rounds of doubles were played today, with top seeds Hovde and Qavia Lopez advancing to the girls quarterfinals, as did No. 4 seeds Alexis Blokhina and partner Luca Udvardy of Hungary, and Sonya Macavei and partner Julie Struplova of the Czech Republic. 

Michelsen and Gorzny have reached the boys doubles quarterfinals, as have Learner Tien and Cooper Williams. Jonah Braswell and his partner Lorenzo Ferri of Italy, who received entry as alternates, are also through to the quarterfinals.

There are five USTA Pro Circuit tournaments this week in the United States, but because I'll be covering the Junior Championships at Wimbledon onsite this year, I won't be able to keep up with the results as I normally would.

The biggest of the five is the $100,000 tournament in Charleston South Carolina, with qualifying just now finishing.  Americans through to the main draw are:  Christina Rosca(Vanderbilt), Maegan Manasse(Cal), Chanelle Van Nguyen(UCLA), Erica Oosterhout(Harvard) and Rasheeda McAdoo(Georgia Tech). 

Wild cards were awarded to Jessie Aney(North Carolina), Katarina Jokic(Georgia) and Dalayna Hewitt.

The top seed is Alycia Parks, with Despina Papamichail of Greece the No. 2 seed, and Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic seeded No. 3. (Linda and younger sister Brenda, who is not playing Charleston, both were late withdrawals from the Wimbledon Junior Championships). Virginia's Emma Navarro, who turned pro prior to this event, is the No. 7 seed.

Qualifying is complete at the $25,000 USTA women's event in Columbus Ohio, with six Americans advancing to the main draw:
Kyle McPhillips(UCLA), Carmen Corley(Oklahoma), Sara Daavettila(North Carolina), 15-year-old Akasha Urhobo, Kari Miller(Michigan) and Ava Catanzarite(UCLA).

Wild cards were given to three Ohio State players: Isabelle Boulais, Irina Cantos Siemers and Sydney Ratliff, as well as Eleana Yu. Katherine Sebov of Canada is the top seed, with Katrina Scott the No. 2 seed. NCAA champion Peyton Stearns, the No. 4 seed, won her first round match today.

At the $25,000 USTA men's tournament in Dallas, the American qualifiers are Keshav Chopra(Georgia Tech), Ron Hohmann(LSU), Chad Kissell(Valparaiso), Arman Sharma(Cornell), Jibril Nettles and Jacob Brumm(Cal, Baylor).

Wild cards went to Tyler Zink(Oklahoma State), Adam Neff(SMU), Liam Krall(SMU) and Antonio Muniz Hidalgo(SMU). They all played each other in the first round today, with Zink defeating Neff and Muniz beating Krall.

Li Tu of Australia is the No. 1 seed, with Yibing Wu of China the No. 2 seed. Tu plays Martin Damm in the first round Wednesday.

The SoCal Pro Circuit is back after a week off, with both men and women at the $15,000 tournaments in Los Angeles. 

Women's qualifiers from the United States are Makenna Jones(North Carolina), Princeton recruit Katherine Hui and Maxine Murphy(Washington State). 

Wild cards were given to USC's Salma Ewing and Erin Cayetano, UCLA's Kimmi Hance, and 14-year-old Iva Jovic.

Ya Yi Yang of Taiwan is the No. 1 seed, with USC's Snow Han of China the No. 2 seed.

Men's qualifiers from the US are Keenan Mayo(Illinois), Austin Ansari(Clemson), Eric Hadigian(Pepperdine), Bryce Nakashima, Perry Gregg(Holy Cross).

Wild cards were given to Hudson Rivera, Masato Perera(Harvard), Alex Petrov(Illinois) and Jacob Bullard(Arizona State).

Southern Californians Brandon Holt and Zachary Svajda are the top two seeds.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Five Americans Through to Wimbledon Second Round, 27 in Action Tuesday; Eight US Juniors Reach Third Round at ITF J1 in Roehampton; Fakih Wins First ITF Junior Circuit Title; How Todd Wojtkowski Built Case Western into D-III Powerhouse

photo credit: AELTC/Jed Leicester

The first day of Wimbledon 2022 did not go as scheduled, with two separate rain delays leading to cancelled matches and others that had to be stopped for darkness. Only ten of the 34 Americans in the draw were on Monday's schedule, and even then, three of the men either did not start, or were unable to finish.

All four of the US women on the scheduled did get their matches in, with wins for Alison Riske and Ann Li and losses for Danielle Collins(Virginia) and Bernarda Pera.

Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul and John Isner(Georgia) earned victories, while Christian Harrison and Reilly Opelka held two-set leads when their matches were suspended. Steve Johnson(USC) had his match with Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria postponed until Tuesday. 

Monday's first round results of Americans:

John Isner[20] d. Enzo Couacaud[Q](FRA) 6-7(6) 7-6(3) 4-6 6-3 7-5
Tommy Paul[30] d. Fernando Verdasco(ESP) 6-1, 6-2, 7-6(4)
Frances Tiafoe[23] d. Andrea Vavassori[Q](ITA) 6-4, 6-4, 6-4

Anett Kontaveit[2](EST) d. Bernarda Pera 7-5, 6-1 
Marie Bouzkova(CZE) d. Danielle Collins[7] 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
Ann Li d. Lucia Bronzetti(ITA) 6-1, 6-4
Alison Riske[28] d. Ylena In-Albon(SUI) 6-2, 6-4

Tuesday's first round matches featuring Americans:
Serena Williams[WC] v Harmony Tan(FRA)
Coco Gauff[11] v Elena-Gabriela Ruse(ROU)
Louisa Chirico[Q] v Paula Badosa[4](ESP)
Claire Liu v Nuria Parrizas Diaz(ESP)
Shelby Rogers[30] v Petra Martic(CRO)
Amanda Anisimova[20] v Xinyu Wang(CHN)
Madison Brengle v Lauren Davis
Christina McHale[Q] v Sara Sorribes Tormo[32](ESP)
Coco Vandeweghe[LL] v Elena Rybakina[17](KAZ)
Emina Bektas[Q] v Bianca Andreescu(CAN)
Sloane Stephens v Qinwen Zheng(CHN)
Catherine Harrison[Q] v Arantxa Rus(NED)
Jessica Pegula[8] v Donna Vekic(CRO)

Steve Johnson v Grigor Dimitrov([18](BUL) (moved from Monday)
Maxime Cressy v Felix Auger-Aliassime[6](CAN)
Taylor Fritz[11] v Lorenzo Musetti(ITA)
Christian Harrison v Jay Clarke[WC](GBR) 7-6(3), 6-1, 5-5 (held over from Monday)
Stefan Kozlov[LL] v Diego Schwartzman[12](ARG)
Reilly Opelka[15] v Carlos Taberner(ESP) 7-6(5), 6-4, 1-2 (held over from Monday)
Sam Querrey v Ricardas Berankis(LTU)
Brandon Nakashima v Nicola Kuhn[Q](GER)
Jenson Brooksby[29] v Mikhail Kukushkin[Q](KAZ)
Denis Kudla v Lorenzo Sonego[27](ITA)
Mackenzie McDonald v Nuno Borges[LL](POR)
Jack Sock[Q] v Bernabe Zapata Miralles[Q](ESP)
Marcos Giron v Holger Rune[[24](DEN)

The rain showers also disrupted the ITF J1 in Roehampton, leading to the cancellation of today's first round of doubles, but the second round of singles were completed. Eight of the nine US juniors in action today won their matches, with qualifier Kaitlin Quevedo the only one who didn't, losing to Texas A&M incoming freshman Mia Kupres of Canada 6-2, 6-1. 

Top seed Liv Hovde defeated Michaela Laki of Greece 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 and will play No. 13 seed and Nottingham J1 champion Taylah Preston of Australia Tuesday. No. 6 seed Qavia Lopez beat Lucciana Perez Alarcon of Peru 6-0, 6-1 and Alexis Blokhina downed lucky loser Mathilde Ngijol Carre of France 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. No. 2 seed Celine Naef of Switzerland lost to 14-year-old British wild card Mingge Xu 6-1, 4-6, 6-0.

Ozan Colak[16] defeated qualifier Jack Loutit of New Zealand 6-3, 6-3 and will play No. 2 seed Mili Poljicak of Croatia, who he beat at the Australian Open this year. Alex Michelsen, a 6-4, 6-4 winner over Dylan Dietrich of Switzerland, will face top seed Jakub Mensik of the Czech Republic. Michelsen defeated Mensik at the J1 in Traralgon Australia in January. 

Sebastian Gorzny defeated No. 9 seed Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez of Mexico 6-1, 6-4 and will play Roland Garros finalist Gilles Bailly of Belgium, the No. 6 seed.  Learner Tien advanced when lucky loser Massimo Giunta of Italy retired trailing 4-2 in the first set and will take on British wild card Patrick Brady in the third round.

Live scoring is available via the Tennis Ticker app.

There were three titles for Americans on the ITF Junior Circuit last week, with 15-year-old Californian Kate Fakih earning her first title at the J4 in Leon Mexico. Unseeded, Fakih had to play six matches in the 48-draw, but never lost more than three games in any of them, and a total of just 15. She beat four seeds
to reach the final, where she defeated unseeded Ximena Garzon Martinez of Mexico 6-0, 6-3.

Sixteen-year-old Jose Murariu won his first ITF Junior Circuit title in doubles, with parnter Yi Zhou of China. The top seeds defeated American twins Abhinav and Prathinav Chunduru, the No. 3 seeds, 6-1, 6-1 in the final. 

At the J3 in Calgary Canada, top seeds Duncan Chen of Canada and John Kim won the doubles title, beating unseeded Emmett Potter and Tyler Waddock of Canada 6-3, 6-4 in the final. Chen then went on to defeat Kim in the boys singles final, with No. 1 seed Chen getting the 7-5, 6-4 win over No. 2 seed Kim.

Every program building story is interesting, as it's always fascinating to try to isolate the reasons some tennis programs are outstanding for decades, while others struggle to sustain any success they may have. This cleveland.com article about Case Western Reserve men's head coach Todd Wojtkowski provides a detailed look at the unlikely trail he's blazed to build a top program, one that has reached the NCAA Division III final the past two years.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Navarro Turns Pro; Ten Seeds Ousted in First Round at Roehampton J1; Monday and Nanda Take Pro Circuit Titles; Ten Americans in Action Monday at Wimbledon

After two years at the University of Virginia, Emma Navarro will not return, with the 2021 NCAA champion's first tournament as a professional next week at the $100,000 ITF tournament in her home town of Charleston South Carolina

Navarro, currently 240 in the WTA rankings, was 51-3 in her two seasons at Virginia, losing to Estela Perez-Somarriba of Miami last year and Eden Richardson of Miami this year, with both those losses in regular season dual matches. Her final collegiate match was the third loss, when North Carolina State's Abigail Rencheli defeated Navarro 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 in the third round of the NCAAs in Champaign. There was speculation that Navarro might return this year, even though she had been dominating the competition in college, because her younger sister Meggie is set to join the Cavaliers this fall. But I don't think anyone would question the 21-year-old's decision to devote herself to professional tennis full time now after proving herself on the collegiate level.

For comments from Navarro and Virginia head coach Sara O'Leary, see this article from VirginiaSports.com.

As an aside, Linda Fruhvirtova is still on the acceptance list for the $100K in South Carolina, while also still appearing on the acceptance list for the Junior championships at Wimbledon. I thought there was an automatic withdrawal feature to prevent this, but perhaps, even though it begins Saturday, the Wimbledon Junior tournament is considered as being held the following week. 

The first day of the J1 at Roehampton was not a good one for seeded players, with ten seeds, including both No. 3 seeds, eliminated.

Texas A&M rising freshman Mia Kupres of Canada defeated No. 3 seed Nikola Daubnerova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-4 and Joao Fonseca of Brazil beat No. 3 seed Gonzalo Bueno of Peru 6-3, 7-5.  

No. 4 seed Nishesh Basavareddy lost to Connor Henry Van Schalkwyk of Namibia 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, while Michael Zheng defeated No. 8 seed and Roland Garros boys semifinalist Dino Prizmic of Croatia 6-1, 1-6, 7-5. The other four American boys to advance to the second round are Ozan Colak[16], Learner Tien, Sebastian Gorzny and Alex Michelsen. Michelsen defeated another Roland Garros semifinalist, No. 14 seed Martyn Pawelski of Poland, 6-3, 6-1.

Top seed Liv Hovde survived in three sets, as did No. 6 seed Qavia Lopez. Alexa Blokhina defeated No. 11 seed Kayla Cross of Canada 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 and qualifier Kaitlin Quevedo also won her opening match, over British wild card Isabelle Lacy.  

The other top 8 seed to lose in the girls draw was No. 8 Luciana Moyano of Argentina who went out to Andrea Obradovic of Serbia 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. 

The two Nottingham champions had no day of rest between their finals Saturday and their first round matches today, but both Martin Landaluce of Spain[13] and Taylah Preston[13] of Australia did manage to post wins today.

Live scoring for the Roehampton Grade 1 is available on the TennisTicker app.

Tennessee rising junior Johannes Monday won his first title on the professional circuit today in South Bend, with the 20-year-old left-hander from Great Britain defeating No. 5 seed Sekou Bangoura(Florida) 6-3, 7-5. Monday, playing in his first main draw of a pro tournament, came through qualifying to earn the title at the $15,000 event. 

Govind Nanda(UCLA) won the $25,000 USTA Men's Pro Circuit tournament in Tulsa, defeating wild card Stefan Dostanic(USC) 6-3, 7-5. It's the first title since last June for the No. 3 seed, who left the Bruins for professional tennis after the 2020-21 season.

No. 4 seed Elli Mandlik won the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Wichita, defeating top seed Kayla Day 6-3, 6-3. It's Mandlik's third title of 2022, all at the $25K level.

At the $15,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Colorado Springs, former Furman standout Katarina Kozarov defeated Veronika Miroshnichenko(Loyola Marymount) of Russia 6-3, 6-4. It's the first professional singles title for the 24-year-old from Serbia.

Wimbledon begins Monday in London, but it's a light day for Americans, with only 10 of the 34 players from the US on the schedule. Stefan Kozlov, who lost in the final round of qualifying, upped the original total of American competitors by one when he received entry as a lucky loser following the withdrawal of Croatia's Borna Coric.

All matches are available on ESPN, ESPN 2 or ESPN3 and ESPN+, with ABC also broadcasting matches for the first time. For more on the ESPN schedule for Wimbledon, see this article.

Wimbledon first round matches featuring Americans Monday:

Bernarda Pera v Anett Kontaveit[2](EST)
Danielle Collins[7] v Marie Bouzkova(CZE)
Ann Li v Lucia Bronzetti(ITA)
Alison Riske[28] v Ylena In-Albon(SUI)

Steve Johnson v Grigor Dimitrov[18](BUL)
John Isner[20] v Enzo Couacaud[Q](FRA)
Christian Harrison[Q] v Jay Clarke[WC](GBR)
Tommy Paul[30] v Fernando Verdasco(ESP)
Reilly Opelka[15] v Carlos Taberner(ESP)
Frances Tiafoe[23] v Andrea Vavassori[Q](ITA)

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Dostanic Reaches Tulsa $25K Final; Corleys, Zamarripas Win Pro Circuit Doubles Titles; 17 US Juniors Begin Play at ITF J1 in Roehampton Sunday; Fritz Defeats Cressy in ATP Eastbourne Final

Two weeks ago in East Lansing, Georgia Tech rising junior Andres Martin made the final of his first USTA Pro Circuit tournament, a $25,000 event that he accessed via qualifying. Stefan Dostanic, a rising senior at the University of Southern California, had a bit more experience than that, but he hadn't earned an ATP point until this week at the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Tulsa, but he has posted three victories over seeds this week and is into Sunday's final.

Dostanic, a 20-year-old from Irvine California, defeated No. 5 seed Sho Shimabukuro of Japan 7-6(9), 6-3 in today's semifinals, posting his third ATP Top 500 win of the week. He will face former UCLA star Govind Nanda, the No. 3 seed, who beat wild card Martin 6-4, 6-3. Both Dostanic and Nanda are former Kalamazoo Nationals finalists, with Dostanic finishing runner-up to Brandon Nakashima in the 16s in 2017 and Nanda falling to Zachary Svajda in the 18s in 2019.

In today's doubles final in Tulsa, top seeds Yu Hsiou Hsu of Taiwan and Dane Sweeny of Australia defeated No. 3 seeds Zeke Clark(Illinois) and Nate Ponwith(Arizona State) 6-3, 6-2.

At the $15,000 men's tournament in South Bend Indiana, Sekou Bangoura and Great Britain's Johannes Monday will play for the title Sunday. Monday, who qualified for the main draw at a Pro Circuit event for the first time this week, probably welcomed the day off he got today when 2015 NCAA champion Ryan Shane was unable to play due to injury. The 20-year-old rising junior at Tennessee lacks the experience of 30-year-old Bangoura, who played collegiately at Florida. Bangoura defeated Ohio State rising junior JJ Tracy 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 in the semifinals today.

The doubles title went to No. 2 seeds Sid Banthia(Wake Forest) and James Trotter(Ohio State), who defeated No. 4 seeds Felix Corwin(Minnesota) and Noah Schachter(Texas A&M) 6-2, 7-6(3).

The singles title at the $25,000 USTA women's Pro Circuit tournament in Wichita will be decided by top seed Kayla Day and No. 4 seed Elli Mandlik. Day defeated Samantha Crawford 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and Mandlik beat Adriana Reami(NC State) 6-1, 7-6(5) in today's semifinals.

In the all-collegiate doubles final, No. 2 seeds Allura and Maribella Zamarripa won their fifth professional title, with the twin sisters defeating unseeded Carolyn Ansari and Canada's Ariana Arseneault(Auburn) 6-4, 6-2. The Zamarripas, who did not drop a set all week, announced early this month that they would be turning pro and not returning to Texas for their sophomore year.

Two former collegians will face off for the title at the $15,000 USTA women's Pro Circuit tournament in Colorado Springs, with former Furman star Katarina Kozarov of Serbia, the No. 3 seed, taking on wild card Veronika Miroshnichenko of Russia, who just completed her eligibility at Loyola Marymount. Miroshnichenko needed three hours to defeat Virginia rising junior Hibah Shaikh 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(1) and Kozarov took out No. 7 seed Gianna Pielet, a rising sophomore at Texas A&M, 6-1, 7-5.

In doubles, another pair of sisters, although not twins, won the title, with top seeds Ivana and Carmen Corley getting their first Pro Circuit championship. Ivana and Carmen, who just completed their senior and junior years at Oklahoma, defeated No. 3 seeds Miroshnichenko and Poland's Daria Kuczer(Tennessee) of Poland 7-6(4), 6-2.

Main draw matches at the ITF J1 in Roehampton begin Sunday, with seven US girls and ten US boys in the main draw. Aidan Kim is not one of the boys; I'm not sure why he did not get a special exemption into the main draw as he was in the doubles final today at the J1 in Nottingham. Kim and Nicholas Godsick, the No. 6 seeds lost to Florida rising freshman Tanapatt Nirundorn of Thailand and Jaden Weekes of Canada, the No. 5 seeds, 6-2, 6-7(5), 10-3.

No. 5 seed Martin Landaluce of Spain won the boys singles title, with No. 4 seed Bor Artnak of Slovenia retiring trailing 6-3, 1-0. No. 3 seed Taylah Preston of Australia won the girls singles title, beating unseeded Ela Nala Milic of Slovenia 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-3.

The girls doubles title went to No. 2 seeds Luciana Moyano of Argentina and Lucciana Perez Alarcon of Peru, who beat No. 7 seeds Milic and Lucia Peyre of Argentina 6-2, 6-0 in the final.

The American boys competing in Roehampton are: Nishesh Basavareddy[4], Ozan Colak[16], Michael Zheng, Godsick, Cooper Williams, Learner Tien, Alex Michelsen, Leanid Boika, Alexander Frusina and Sebastian Gorzny.  

Jakub Mensik of the Czech Republic is the top boys seed.

The US girls in Roehampton are: Liv Hovde[1], Qavia Lopez[6], Alexis Blokhina, Mia Slama, Sonya Macavei and two qualifiers: Kaitlin Quevedo and Theodora Rabman.

The final of the ATP 250 in Eastbourne was an entertaining battle between two Americans, with Taylor Fritz, the No. 3 seed, defeating Maxime Cressy(UCLA) 6-2, 6-7(4), 7-6(4). Fritz dominated the first set, but Cressy found his form midway through the second set and it was even from then on. Fritz, who had not won a match in either of the previous grass court tournaments he played this month, didn't face a break point in the final, capturing his third ATP title, with his first also coming at Eastbourne, in 2019. The second was this spring's BNP Paribas Open. For more on the Eastbourne final, see this article from the ATP website.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Thirty-three Americans in Wimbledon Draws; Roehampton J1 Qualifying Underway; USTA Wild Card Challenge Set for July; Collegians Advance to Semifinals at USTA Pro Circuit Tournaments

The Wimbledon draws were released this morning, with the United States leading all nations with 33 participants: 15 men and 18 women. Six US men are seeded, the most in the 32-seed era (2001), and seven US women are seeded, the most since 8 were seeded in 2004.

Here are the Americans competing; I'll post the matchups for Monday's first round in my Sunday post. The women's draw is here; the men's draw is here.

Reilly Opelka[15]
John Isner[20]
Christian Harrison[Q]
Frances Tiafoe[23]
Steve Johnson
Tommy Paul[30]
Jenson Brooksby[29]
Brandon Nakashima
Maxime Cressy
Jack Sock[Q]
Marcos Giron
Taylor Fritz[11]
Mackenzie McDonald
Denis Kudla
Sam Querrey

Claire Liu
Catherine Harrison[Q]
Sloane Stephens
Emina Bektas[Q]
Shelby Rogers[30]
Jessica Pegula[8]
Louisa Chirico[Q]
Coco Gauff[11]
Madison Brengle
Lauren Davis
Amanda Anisimova[20]
Christina McHale[Q]
Serena Williams[WC]
Danielle Collins[7]
Ann Li
Allison Riske[28]
Madison Keys[19]
Bernarda Pera

The doubles draws were also released today, with Rajeev Ram(USA) and Joe Salisbury(GBR) No. 1 in the men's draw and Elise Mertens(BEL) and Shuai Zhang(CHN) the top seeds in the women's draw.

Qualifying at the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton began today, with the main draw beginning on Sunday. Four Americans have advanced to Saturday's final round of qualifying: Jelani Sarr, Jonah Braswell, Kaitlin Quevedo and Theodora Rabman.  Aidan Kim was initially in qualifying, but he is playing the J1 in Nottingham and is into the boys doubles final, with Nicholas Godsick, and either moved into the main draw or got a special exemption, as he's not able to play qualifying. 

No. 2 seed Qavia Lopez, the last American remaining in the Nottingham singles, lost to unseeded Ela Nala Milic of Slovenia 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-1 in today's semifinals. Milic will play No. 3 seed Taylah Preston of Australia in the final. The boys final features No. 4 seed Bor Artnak of Slovenia and No. 5 seed Martin Landaluce of Spain. Top seed and Roland Garros boys champion Gabriel Debru of France lost to unseeded William Jansen of Great Britain in the quarterfinals. 

The USTA today announced the return of its US Open Wild Card Challenge, which was not held in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. As with the recent Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge, the points accumulated at any hard court event at the $25K level and above will be counted, with the best three results comprising a player's total. The men's race begins July 11 and runs for five weeks; the women's race begins July 18 and runs for four weeks. 

College players have fanned out across the country this month after the NCAA tournament and they've had a lot of success on the USTA Pro Circuit the past three weeks.  That has continued this week, with two wild cards reaching the semifinals of the $25,000 men's tournament in Tulsa.  It comes as a surprise to me that USC rising senior Stefan Dostanic didn't have an ATP point until this week, but the 20-year-old Southern Californian hasn't played all that many USTA Pro Circuit events and was usually in qualifying when he did. This week in Tulsa, he has defeated Donald Young, No. 4 seed Yunseong Chung of Korea, both by retirements, and today got a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 6 seed Omni Kumar(Duke). He will face No. 5 seed Sho Shimabukuro of Japan in the semifinals.

Wild card Andres Martin, a rising junior at Georgia Tech, defeated qualifier Murphy Cassone(Arizona State) 6-0, 6-2 and will play No. 3 seed Govind Nanda(UCLA) in the semifinals. Martin, also 20, reached the final of the $25K in East Lansing two weeks ago as a qualifier, and he is 7-1 on the Pro Circuit since losing to Stanford's Arthur Fery in the second round of the NCAA singles competition last month. Martin had not played a Pro Circuit event until East Lansing.

JJ Tracy, the rising junior at Ohio State, is into the semifinals at the $15,000 tournament in South Bend after defeating No. 8 seed Patrick Kypson(Texas A&M) 3-6, 6-2, 6-1. It's the third three-set victory for Tracy this week. He will play No. 5 seed Sekou Bangoura(Florida), while in the bottom half, 2015 NCAA champion Ryan Shane(Virginia) will face Tennessee rising junior Johannes Monday of Great Britain.

The only collegian still competing at the women's $25,000 tournament in Wichita is former North Carolina State star Adriana Reami. The unseeded 24-year-old, who has yet to drop a set, beat No. 2 seed Ana Sofia Sanchez of Mexico in the second round and defeated No. 5 seed Ashlyn Krueger, the 2021 USTA National 18s champion, 6-2, 6-2 today. Reami will play No. 4 seed Elli Mandlik, who beat No. 7 seed and 2022 NCAA singles champion Peyton Stearns(Texas) 6-4, 6-1. In the top half, No. 1 seed Kayla Day will play unseeded Samantha Crawford, a meeting between two former US Open girls champions, with Day winning in 2016 and Crawford in 2012.

At the $15,000 women's tournament in Colorado Springs, Texas A&M rising sophomore Gianna Pielet defeated top seed Connie Hsu(Penn) of Taiwan 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the semifinals of a USTA Pro Circuit event for the first time. Pielet will play No. 3 seed Katarina Kozarov(Furman) of Serbia, who beat No. 5 seed Ivana Corley(Oklahoma) 6-0, 6-3. In the bottom half, Virginia rising junior Hibah Shaikh continued her run, beating No. 8 seed Paris Corley(LSU) 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. The 19-year-old, who earned her first WTA points this week, will face wild card Veronika Miroshnichenko(Loyola Marymount) for a place in the final. 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Six Americans Qualify for Wimbledon Main Draw; USTA Announces Summer Collegiate Team; Martin, Tracy Oust Top Seeds in Men's Pro Circuit Events; Shaikh and Reami Upset No. 2 Seeds in Women's Pro Circuit Tournaments

Catherine Harrison in action at
WTA 125 Dow Classic in Midland in 2021

Catherine Harrison had never gotten into qualifying at a slam until this week, when she moved from her position as alternate into the women's qualifying after several withdrawals. The 28-year-old from Tennessee, who was accepted into the Wimbledon doubles draw, traveled to Great Britain last week and competed in singles and doubles at the WTA 250 tournament in Birmingham. This week she played on the Roehampton courts for the first time since 2012, when she qualified for the Junior Championships on those same courts.

The former UCLA standout did not drop a set in her three qualifying wins, and today she beat a seed for the second consecutive day. Up 6-1, 5-2 and serving for the match against No. 15 Yue Yuan of China, Harrison had a match point, but lost the next four games. She held to force a tiebreaker and recovered for a 6-1, 7-6(3) victory over a player more than 100 places ahead of her in the WTA rankings. Harrison will not earn any points for this run, so her ranking will not improve, but the $50,000 British pounds she earns for reaching the main draw will help ease that pain. When I spoke with Harrison last fall for this Tennis Recruiting Network article, she discussed how difficult it is to fund the travel necessary to move up into the top echelons of the game.

For more on Harrison's win, see this article from Wimbledon.com. The tournament does a fantastic job covering the qualifying, and you can see interviews with or articles about nearly all the qualifiers here.

In addition to Harrison, the other American women who advanced to the main draw are Emina Bektas(Michigan), Christina McHale and Louisa Chirico. The men's qualifiers are Jack Sock and Christian Harrison. Today's results are below. The draw will be held at 10 am local time in London Friday.

Final round qualifying results for Americans:

Jack Sock[14] d. Hugo Grenier[21](FRA) 7-5, 7-5, 6-4
Christian Harrison d. Daniel Masur(GER) 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 6-1
Dennis Novak[23](AUT) d. Stefan Kozlov[3] 7-5, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-3
Maximillian Marterer(GER) d. Nicolas Moreno de Alboran 7-6(2), 7-6(11), 6-3

Louisa Chirico d. Kathinka Von Deichmann(LIE) 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-1
Christina McHale d. Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove[14](NED) 7-6(3), 7-5
Catherine Harrison d. Yue Yuan[15](CHN) 6-1, 7-6(3)
Emina Bektas d. Fiona Ferro[16](FRA) 6-4, 6-4
Maja Chwalinska(POL) d. Coco Vandeweghe[2] 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 
Nastasja Schunk[21](GER) d. Danielle Lao 6-1, 6-3

In addtion to Harrison and Bektas, former collegians qualifying are Virginia's Alexander Ritschard(Switzerland) and former Vanderbilt stars Fernanda Contreras(Mexico) and Astra Sharma(Australia).

The USTA officially announced the Summer Collegiate teams, with the full release below:

ORLANDO, Fla., June 23, 2022 – The USTA today announced the 10 top American college players named to the 2022 USTA Collegiate Summer Team, the training program designed to help America’s premier college players assimilate to professional tennis in a team-oriented environment via USTA Player & Coach Development:
2022 USTA Collegiate Summer Team
Murphy Cassone (Fr., Arizona State; Overland Park, Kan.)
Stefan Dostanic (Jr., USC; Irvine, Calif.)
Cannon Kingsley (Jr., Ohio State; Northport, N.Y.)
Sam Riffice (Sr., Florida; Orlando, Fla.)
Ben Shelton (Soph., Florida; Gainesville, Fla.)
Eryn Cayetano (Jr., USC; Long Beach, Calif.)
Sarah Hamner (Fr., South Carolina; Boca Raton, Fla.)
Connie Ma (Fr., Stanford; Dublin, Calif.)
Emma Navarro (Soph., Virginia; Charleston, S.C.)
Peyton Stearns (Soph., Texas; Mason, Ohio)
Each of the players was selected based on a number of criteria, including rankings, individual collegiate tournament results or Intercollegiate Tennis Association honors. Players on the team are eligible to receive a grant for travel to USTA Pro Circuit events and coaching support over the summer.
USC assistant coach Rich Bonfiglio and Louisville assistant coach Mario Rincon will accompany the men and Vanderbilt assistant coach Hayley Carter will accompany the women. All three coaches will also provide assistance to any American collegians playing at tournaments throughout the summer. 

The quarterfinals at the two USTA men's Pro Circuit events this week will not feature either of the top seeds, as two current collegians, neither of whom were selected for the Collegiate Team above, took them out.

JJ Tracy, the Ohio State rising junior, defeated former teammate and No. 1 seed Kyle Seelig 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals at the $15,000 tournament in South Bend. He will face No. 8 seed Patrick Kypson(Texas A&M), the 2017 Kalamazoo 18s champion, who is playing his first tournament since last September.

At the $25,000 tournament in Tulsa, Andres Martin, the Georgia Tech rising junior, defeated top seed Yu Hsiou Hsu of Taiwan 6-3, 6-0 to set up a meeting with Arizona State rising sophomore Murphy Cassone, a qualifier, in the quarterfinals. Martin, currently ranked 843 after reaching the final of the East Lansing $25K two weeks ago, has already been awarded a wild card into next month's ATP 250 in Atlanta.

The top seeds in the two women's Pro Circuit tournaments have advanced to the quarterfinals, with Kayla Day, at the $25,000 tournament in Wichita, and Connie Hsu(Penn) of Taiwan, at the $15,000 tournament in Colorado Springs getting straight-sets wins today. The No. 2 seeds weren't as fortunate. In Colorado Springs, Anna Morgina of Russia lost to University of Virginia rising junior Hibah Shaikh 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, and Adriana Reami(NC State) defeated Ana Sofia Sanchez of Mexico 6-0, 6-4 in Wichita today.