Monday, May 4, 2015

Division I NCAA Roundtable; Division III Draws Announced; Wake Forest Adds $15,000 Futures in June; Delray Beach ITF Grade 4 Underway

Along with many others, I took part in the Tennis Recruiting's annual Division I Tennis Roundtable, the first half of which appears today. The first two questions--the best stories to close out the season and what regional we would like to attend--make for some interesting reading with few overlapping answers.  The upset picks and championship predictions in Part 2 are scheduled for publication on Friday. Don't forget to enter the May Madness Bracket Challenge, with the deadline Friday morning.

Bobby Knight at College Tennis Today is providing detailed previews of the men's regionals with predictions and to date he has published those for the Oklahoma and UCLA regionals, Texas and Georgia regionals, North Carolina and Illinois regionalsTCU and Wake Forest regionals, Virginia and Ole Miss regionals, Ohio State and Texas A&M regionals and USC and Duke regionals.  I'm sure he'll have the Virginia Tech and Baylor regional previews up soon.  Knight also posted an analysis of the ITA rankings vs. the Universal Tennis Rating of the players selected for the men's individual tournament, and provides a list of players highly rated by UT who are not in the field.

A complete list of times and sites for all men's and women's regional matches is here.

The NCAA Division III selections and draws have been released. The men's tournament in Division III has 43 teams, the women's 49, not the 64 teams that both men and women have in Division I.  Claremont-Mudd-Scripps is the top seed in the men's bracket and Williams is the top seed in the women's bracket.

For in-depth analysis, see the Division 3 Tennis blog.

Wake Forest announced today that it would be holding a $15,000 Futures tournament the first week of June at their facility. I was surprised by this, because the tournament doesn't appear in the USTA Pro Circuit calendar, but I was told it is an ITF-sanctioned event, not a Pro Circuit event, and it is listed on the ITF website as USA Futures16A. The deadline for entry is next Thursday, May 14th.

The main draw of the Grade 4 ITF tournament Delray Beach is underway, with Sami Kirberg and Kariann Pierre-Louis the top seeds. The draws and order of play can be found at the tournament website.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Kiick, Spencer Win Pro Circuit Titles; Rotsaert Claims First ITF Title at Grade 4 in Coral Gables

The women's race for the USTA's reciprocal wild card for the French Open will be decided this week in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida, the third and final stop on the Har-Tru Challenge.  Nineteen-year-old Allie Kiick kept her hopes alive by beating 17-year-old Katerina Stewart 7-5, 6-7(3), 7-5 in the $50,000 Charlottesville tournament final today,  in a match just as close as the score would suggest.

Kiick served for the match at 7-5, 5-3 and was broken, then earned a match point with Stewart serving at 4-5. She lost it when Stewart hit one of her devastating drop shots, and Stewart went on to hold.

At 4-all 30-all with Stewart serving in the third set, Kiick earned a break point with a perfectly executed drop shot-lob combination  and converted it with backhand short angle winner but she won only one point in her second attempt to serve out the match. She managed another break to take a 6-5 lead and serve for the match for a third time.  It wasn't easy, as Stewart saved two more match points at 40-15, but Kiick finally converted on her fourth match point, with Stewart netting a backhand.

Louisa Chirico, who won last week's $50,000 tournament in Dothan and lost to Stewart in the first round at Charlottesville, is in qualifying at Indian Harbour Beach, which she had previously not planned to play. Kiick and Stewart are also in the field, as is defending champion Taylor Townsend, so it should be an interesting final week with Chirico, Kiick and Stewart battling for the French Open wild card.

In the doubles final, unseeded Francoise Abanda of Canada and Maria Sanchez defeated Irina Khromacheva of Russia and Olga Ianchuk of Ukraine 6-1, 6-3.  Sanchez also won the doubles title in Dothan, with Johanna Konta of Great Britain.

In Sao Paulo Brazil, 2012 NCAA doubles champions Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola of Ohio State won their second Challenger title together. The unseeded pair defeated No. 4 seeds Guido Andreozzi of Argentina and Sergio Galdos of Peru 6-4, 6-4.

In Futures competition, Andre Dome, the former Cal Poly All-American, won his first ITF men's circuit at a $10,000 tournament in Thailand, coming through qualifying to do so. He beat Raymond Sarmiento 6-1, 5-7, 6-1 in the semifinals and 17-year-old Akira Santillan of Japan 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-1 in the finals. Alex Sarkissian made the finals of the $15,000 tournament in Mexico, and Deiton Baughman and Eric Quigley won the doubles at a $15,000 Futures in Nigeria.  Former Princeton All-American Matija Pecotic of Croatia won the singles title in Nigeria, beating Baughman 6-3, 6-4 in the final. It's Pecotic's first singles title on the ITF Men's Circuit.

In the $10,000 tournament in Vero Beach, Wil Spencer claimed his second career Futures title, with the unseeded former Georgia Bulldog beating No. 3 seed Facundo Mena of Argentina 6-3, 6-4 in final.

The first ITF Junior tournament of the trio making up the May Florida clay swing was last week in Coral Gables, Florida, with 15-year-old Alexsandre Rotsaert winning his first title at the Grade 4 Metropolia Open. Seeded 16th, Rotsaert dominated all week, losing only 15 games in six matches. He defeated No. 5 seed Jesus Santiago Rivas of Mexico 6-3, 6-1 in the final.  Two unseeded players met in the girls final, with 14-year-old Kamilla Kokeladze of Russia beating Madeline Meredith 7-5, 6-3.

Unseeded Caleb Chakravarthi and Oliver Crawford won the boys doubles title, beating top seeds Gabriel Nemeth of Brazil and Alvaro Regalado Pedrol of Spain 7-5, 6-4 in the final.  The girls doubles title went to the unseeded team of Jaeda Daniel and Stephanie Nemtsova, who beat No. 7 seeds Meredith and Anna Dollar 6-4, 6-3 in the final.

At the Grade 2 in Romania, Catalin Mateas won the doubles title with Benjamin Hannestad of Denmark.  The No. 2 seeds beat top seeds Lukas Klein and Patrik Nema of Slovakia 4-2, 4-2 in what was obviously a shortened scoring format due to the weather.  Maria Mateas, seeded third, reached the girls singles final, falling to No. 2 seed Ioana Minca of Romania 3-5, 5-4(4), 4-2. Hannestad, the No. 5 seed, won the singles title, beating unseeded Kacper Zuk of Poland 5-4(3), 4-5(2), 4-1.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

USA Takes First in All Four ITF Team Competitions; Stewart, Kiick in Charlottesville Final; Tiafoe Loses to Arguello in Tallahassee

©Colette Lewis 2015--
Boca Raton, FL--

Two of the matches between the USA and Canada were decided by the doubles, making the third and final day of the ITF's North/Central American Qualifying for Junior Davis and Fed Cups and World Junior Tennis competition the most dramatic, but when the Har-Tru dust had settled, the USA prevailed, finishing first in all four events.

The most dominant team of the competition was the US girls 14-and-under team, with Amanda Anisimova, Caty McNally and Hurricane Tyra Black losing only 22 games total in their nine matches, with 12 of those lost games coming in Thursday's first round against Canada.  On Saturday, Black won 6-0, 6-0 over Maria Gabriela Rivera of Guatemala at No. 2 singles and Anisimova beat Rut Galindo 6-0, 6-1 at No. 1 singles, with McNally and Anisimova winning the dead rubber in doubles 6-0, 6-2.

Coach Kathy Rinaldi knew she had a good team coming into the competition, but with the 13- and 14- year-olds competing in a team event for their country for the first time, nothing is routine.

"Caty came in with having a great Easter Bowl, Tyra came in winning some ITFs and Amanda has had some good results as well, and they all play really good doubles," Rinaldi said. "We've had some tough matches in the past with these countries in the qualifying, and when you're representing your country, representing your team, it's a much bigger deal and sometimes the nerves come out. But the girls worked hard, they had fun."

As for selecting which girls would play in such an accomplished trio, Rinaldi admitted it was a balancing act, but the team success comes first.

"Before we start we always sit down and tell them this is a team event, we're playing for the US, we're not playing for ourselves first," Rinaldi said. "It's all about the team and what's best for it. Everybody has a clear understanding of that, and we're open about it. They were very mature, though, which made it a lot easier on me."

The final standings of the Girls 14U World Junior Tennis qualifying:

USA 3-0*
Canada 2-1*
Guatemala 1-2
Mexico 0-3

*earn place in 16-team world finals in August in the Czech Republic

The US boys also finished in first place in their competition, beating Canada 2-1.  Brandon Nakashima put the US up 1-0 with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Alex-Antoine Marquis 6-1, 6-3 at No. 2 singles, but Luka Vukovic defeated Adam Neff 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 at No. 1 singles, meaning the doubles match would decide the winner.  Govind Nanda and Neff never let Vukovic and Marquis into the match, taking it 6-1, 6-1, despite playing together for the first time in the tournament today.

"To be honest, I was a little concerned about it," said coach Eric Nunez. "We practiced doubles a good bit three days before the event, and that was my number one team that I wanted to put in, but that said, they weren't able to play together. But  I really trusted that they would come up with the goods, and they did."

The final standings of the Boys 14U World Junior Tennis qualifying:
1. USA 3-0*
2. Canada 2-1*
3. Mexico 1-2
3. Guatemala 0-3

*earn place in 16-team world finals in August in the Czech Republic

Paul, Fritz and Opelka supporting Ross and Riffice Saturday
The top spot in the Junior Davis Cup standings also came down to a doubles point, and again it was an emphatic win by the US team deciding it.  Sam Riffice and Vasil Kirkov defeated Canada's Denis Shapovalov and Benjamin Sigouin 6-3, 6-1.  After a competitive first set, with just one break of serve and Riffice coming back from 0-40 down serving for the set at 5-3, Riffice and Kirkov didn't look back, cruising in the second set.

"I challenged them to play their best," said coach Sylvain Guichard, "and they actually did. Those two guys, I've seen them play lots of doubles, but that was the best. We had a little plan, they were very energized, and I couldn't be prouder of them."

Canada had taken a 1-0 lead with Sigouin defeating Gianni Ross at No. 2 singles  7-5, 6-7(5), 6-2. But Riffice denied the Canadians any hope for a sweep with a comprehensive 6-0, 6-2 win over Shapovalov.

"Gianni didn't play great, but he fought really hard," said Guichard. "After Gianni's loss Sam responded, and he exceeded my expectations. It was really impressive."

The final standings of the Junior Davis Cup qualifying:
1. USA 3-0*
2. Canada 2-1*
3. Mexico 1-2
4. Aruba 0-3

*earn place in 16-team world finals in Madrid in September

The Junior Fed Cup match between the US and Canada also started with a marathon match at No. 2 singles. Charlotte Robillard-Millette of Canada saved match points in the second set, but Michaela Gordon came away with the victory 6-4, 5-7 7-5. Gordon served for the match at 5-2 and 5-4, but on her third attempt to serve out the match in the third set, more than three hours after it started, she succeeded.

"I was proud of Michaela," said coach Adam Peterson. "She navigated, fought some nerves at critical points and was aggressive when she really had to be in the third set."

CiCi Bellis then defeated Katherine Sebov 6-3, 6-2 at No. 1 singles to give the US the victory, and finished the sweep with a 6-3, 6-4 win in doubles with Kayla Day over Sebov and Vanessa Wong.

Bellis may not be available to compete with the US team in Madrid in September, with her current WTA ranking of 173 giving her options for playing in Pro Circuit events, but Peterson was delighted she joined the team for this tournament.

"We're fortunate to have her on the team," Peterson said. "It seemed to fit her schedule for needing match play. She's limited by how many tournaments she can play, so any time she's ready to go in one of these, she's a star.  She gets the team atmosphere, she's a great teammate, and I'd take her into battle any time."

The final standings of the Junior Fed Cup qualifying:
1. USA 3-0*
2. Canada 2-1*
3. Mexico 1-2
4. Domincan Republic 0-3

*earn place in 16-team world finals in Madrid in September

For complete results of all matches played in the three-day event, see the ITF tournament website.

At the Tallahassee Challenger today, Frances Tiafoe's run came to an end in the final against No. 5 seed Facundo Arguello of Argentina. Trailing 4-0 in the third set, Tiafoe brought it back to 4-all, but was broken, and Arguello managed a hold for a 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 victory.  Dennis Novikov, playing with Julio Peralta of Chile, won the doubles title, with the unseeded team beating Somdev Devvarman and Sanam Singh of India, also unseeded, 6-2, 6-4.

For the second week in a row, the final of a women's $50,000 Pro Circuit event will feature two US women, with Katerina Stewart, the Dothan finalist last week, playing Allie Kiick.  Stewart defeated Florencia Molinero of Argentina 6-2, 6-3 and Kiick beat Elizaveta Ianchuk of Ukraine 6-4, 6-0.  The third and final tournament in the USTA's Har-Tru Challenge for the French wild card is next week in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida.

Wil Spencer has reached the final of the $10,000 Futures in Vero Beach, Florida. The unseeded former Georgia Bulldog defeated No. 4 seed Maximilano Estevez of Argentina 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 and will face No. 3 seed Facundo Mena, also from Argentina, for the title Sunday. Mena beat No. 5 seed Michael Mmoh 6-1, 6-0 in today's semifinals.

Friday, May 1, 2015

US Teams Secure Spots in ITF Junior Davis Cup, Junior Fed Cup and World Junior Tennis Finals; Tiafoe Wins French Open Wild Card by Reaching Tallahassee Final; Stewart Makes Charlottesville Semis

©Colette Lewis 2015--
Boca Raton, FL--

As for drama, there was none, but the US got what it came for, securing spots in the world finals of the 16-and-under and 14-and-under team competitions on a picture-perfect spring day in South Florida.

The four US teams have won all eight of the their matches by 3-0 scores, with only one set lost over the first two days.  Three of the four teams will take on their Canadian counterparts in Saturday's final day of competition, with nothing more, or less, than national bragging rights on the line.

In the girls 14s World Junior Tennis qualifying, the US and Canada played on day one Thursday, so technically there is still a chance one of those two teams will not qualify, but given the results so far, that scenario appears unlikely.  Canada will need to defeat Mexico to finish 2-1, and the US will be heavily favored to down Guatemala, currently 1-1, to finish 3-0.  In today's 3-0 win over Mexico, Hurricane Tyra Black defeated Daira Cardenas 6-0, 6-2, and Caty McNally secured the win with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Aida Garcia Mendez at No. 1 singles. Amanda Anisimova and McNally won the dead rubber in doubles 6-1, 6-0.

Brandon Nakashima earned the first point for the US boys in the 14s, beating Oscar Barranca 6-1, 6-1 and Adam Neff clinched their place in the Czech Republic competition in August with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Eduardo Molina. Govind Nanda and Nakashima won the doubles 6-0, 6-0.

The Mexican teams were more competitive in the Junior Davis and Junior Fed Cup contests with the USA.  Gianni Ross started out with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Alejandro Hernandez Serrano that was not as lopsided as the score, and Sam Riffice, who did not play singles on Thursday, was pushed in the second set by Alan Rubio before taking a 6-1, 6-4 victory.  Riffice and Vasil Kirkov won the doubles against Serrano and Rubio 6-2, 6-1. 

In the only truly tense match of the day, Denis Shapovalov clinched Canada's Junior Davis Cup spot in Madrid this September with a 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-1 win over Patrick Sydow of Aruba. With Shapovalov's victory, all the matches were decided prior to the doubles competition.

In Junior Fed Cup play, Kayla Day lost the plot a bit in the second set, but recovered for a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Katia De La Garza of Mexico. CiCi Bellis had breezed on Thursday, but she got the match play she was looking for today in her 6-1, 6-2 win over Maria Jose Portillo.  Bellis and Michaela Gordon dropped the only set the US has lost the past two days to open the doubles match, but recovered to beat Portillo and Mixcoatl Trabulse 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Canada's Junior Fed Cup team got wins from Vanessa Wong, who beat Laura Quezada of the Dominican Republic 6-0, 6-1 and Katherine Sebov, who topped Penelope Abreu 6-2, 6-2 to earn their place among the 16 teams in Madrid.

Last year, with host Mexico getting an automatic bid, the other three Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup teams were playing for just one spot, and the US, playing qualifying in Canada, won them both. This year, the Europe qualifying will result in one less European team earning a place, with Spain hosting, so the pressure is off in the final matches Saturday here in Boca, but US Junior Fed Cup coach Adam Peterson believes his players competitive instincts will take over.

"You wonder how it might have changed if the draw had us playing [Canada] first, with somebody getting a loss right away," Peterson said. "But I still think it will be highly competitive, absolutely. They're a good team, we're a good team. I'm sure in the back of their minds, both teams know they're in, but I think pride takes over.  Nobody wants to lose this match, even though they know if they lose, they're still in. Even though it's a dead tie, it's just as important to the players."

Complete results can be found at the ITF's tournament website.

Frances Tiafoe won the USTA's French Open main draw wild card today, defeating Tennys Sandgren 1-6, 6-4, 7-6(1) in the semifinals, while Jared Donaldson, the last American with a chance to win it with a title in Tallahassee, fell to No. 5 seed Facundo Arguello of Argentina 6-3, 6-2.  In his three career Challengers, all in the past three weeks, Tiafoe has made the quarterfinals, semifinals and now finals, and will be inside the ATP Top 300 when next week's rankings are released. 

Tiafoe admitted to livestream announcer Mike Cation that he did not expect this level of success, but mentioned his stint as a practice partner for the Davis Cup team back in March as a significant boost to his confidence.  He also mentioned that his success these past three weeks will necessitate a revision in his schedule, with Futures play no longer necessary.

Jonathan Kelley of the On the Rise blog, points out that in 2015, Tiafoe is an incredible 21-2 in three-set matches on the Pro Circuit (including qualifying). He also has won all seven tiebreakers he's played these last three weeks in Challengers, including three third-set tiebreakers. He told Cation that he's committed to "playing to win. You don't want to leave the court knowing you played not to lose."

Another 17-year-old is in the thick of things for the USTA's French Open wild card, with Katerina Stewart reaching the semifinals of the $50,000 Charlottesville tournament, the second of the three tournaments that will determine the women's wild card.

Stewart defeated Francoise Abanda of Canada 6-4, 6-4 and will play unseeded Florencia Molinero of Argentina in Saturday's semifinals.  Allie Kiick also reached the semifinals in Charlottesville, where she'll play qualifier Elizaveta Ianchuk of Ukraine.

At the $10,000 Futures in Vero Beach, Michael Mmoh and Wil Spencer have reached the semifinals.  Mmoh, the No. 5 seed, will play No. 3 seed Facundo Mena of Argentina, while Spencer faces No. 4 seed Maximiliano Estevez of Argentina.

April Aces, IMG Discovery Open Deadline May 4

Before I start coverage of the second day of North/Central American qualifying for the Junior Davis/Fed Cup and World Junior Tennis competition, I wanted to pass along the link to my monthly Aces column for the Tennis Recruiting Network, sponsored by Southern California Tennis Academy.  No fewer than 16 performances are spotlighted in a busy month on the junior and professional tennis circuits.

I also recently received information from the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida about its annual Discovery Open for 12s, 14s and 16s, boys and girls, which takes place May 29-June 1. A brief overview is below; for more details on how to apply, see the tournament website.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bellis Returns to Junior Fed Cup with two 6-0, 6-0 Victories; Tiafoe, Sandgren, Donaldson Reach Tallahassee Challenger Semifinals

©Colette Lewis 2015--
Boca Raton, FL--

CiCi Bellis has a ITF World Junior Tennis championship and an ITF Junior Fed Cup championship on her resume the past two years, so she would expect to have experienced just about everything those two competitions had to offer when she returned for the North and Central American Qualifying for Junior Fed Cup this weekend.  But Bellis, who turned 16 earlier this month, had never before had an opponent ask for a photo with her, which happened today after her second 6-0, 6-0 victory of the day.

"I don't think any of my opponents has ever wanted a picture with me," said Bellis, who had been asked for one earlier in the day by two older gentlemen on their way to hit on the Evert Academy courts. "It was fine, they were really nice girls, and we talked to them a little bit when we were having lunch. But I don't mind, I'm getting used to it, it's fun."

Bellis, who won her singles match over Penelope Abreu of the Dominican Republic 6-0, 6-0 to give the USA Junior Fed Cup team an insurmountable  2-0 lead, said the photo requests have been common since her first round win over Dominika Cibulkova at the US Open last year, but her two victories last month at the Miami Open have also raised her profile.  Bellis lost 6-1, 6-1 to Serena Williams in the third round, an experience she thinks will be valuable to her in the future.

"It was so scary, but it was a good experience," Bellis said. "I was really nervous and I couldn't get past playing Serena. I didn't really get past it this time, but if I ever play her again, I think it will be easier."

As for returning to junior competition this week, Bellis said she enjoys the team atmosphere and believes it will help prepare her for the French Open qualifying in a few weeks.

"This is for match play before the French," said Bellis, who will make her decision about competing in the French Junior Championships based on how the women's qualifying tournament goes for her. "Canada's a really good team, and the next team, Mexico, is pretty good too, so it's match play, and practice on the clay."

As for the team format, Bellis said, "it's so much fun. We put bows in our hair and paint our faces, it's so fun."

"And being on a team, you're not playing for yourself, but obviously, for your country and I like that. And I play so much better at these things."

Because Bellis is 16, she is restricted by WTA rules on the number of tournaments she can play, so junior competition can help fill that match play void.

"I have to have it scheduled out basically for the whole year and even next year, a calendar to make sure I don't play too many tournaments," said Bellis, who will also weigh her participation in the Wimbledon Junior Championships based on her performance in the women's qualifying there.

Kayla Day and Michaela Gordon are the two other USA Junior Fed Cup players, with Day winning 6-3, 6-0 in the opening match at No. 2 singles. Gordon and Bellis won the doubles against the Dominican team 6-0, 6-0.

As impressive a performance as that was, the US boys participating in the 14-and-under World Junior Tennis competition were equally dominant, losing only two games in three matches against Guatemala.  Brandon Nakishima won 6-0, 6-0 over Jonathan Hernandez, Adam Neff won 6-0, 6-1 over Juan Sebastian Dominguez and Nakashima and Govind Nanda won in doubles 6-0, 6-1.

The US girls 14-and-under team defeated Canada 3-0, with Amanda Anisimova winning over Ariana Arseneault 6-1, 6-4 and Caty McNally beating Leylah Fernandez 6-2, 6-3. McNally and Hurricane Tyra Black won the doubles 6-1, 6-1.

The US Junior Davis Cup team made it 12-0 for the US, with Vasil Kirkov beating Kyle Frankel of Aruba 6-1, 6-0 and Gianni Ross defeating Patrick Sydow 6-3, 6-3.  Sam Riffice and Kirkov took the doubles 6-3, 6-2.

The other teams to win in the first round Thursday: Canada's WJT boys team, Junior Fed Cup team and Junior Davis Cup team all beat Mexico, all by 3-0 scores.  Canada did have two late substitutions with Vanessa Wong taking Bianca Andreescu's place on the Junior Fed Cup team, and Benjamin Sigouin substituting for Felix Auger-Aliassime on the Junior Davis Cup team.

The only match decided by the doubles was the girls World Junior Tennis contest between Guatemala and Mexico.  Guatemala won at No. 2 in a three-setter, Mexico won at No. 1 in a three-setter, and the doubles also went three sets, with Guatemala taking a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 victory.  Although all doubles in ITF Junior (and Professional) events are no-ad with match tiebreakers for a third set, these team competitions play regular scoring, best of three tiebreak sets, so that match went more than two hours, with Mexico coming back from 5-1 down in the final set to get back on serve, only to be broken in the last game to end it.

All four US teams will play Mexico in Friday's second round.

Complete results can be found here.

Three Americans have reached the semifinals of the $50,000 Tallahassee Challenger: 17-year-old Frances Tiafoe, 18-year-old Jared Donaldson and 23-year-old Tennys Sandgren.  Sandgren knocked Bjorn Fratangelo out of the USTA's Har-Tru Wild Card Challenge for the French Open wild card with a 6-2, 6-2 victory, while Mitchell Krueger was eliminated from contention with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 loss to No. 6 seed Facundo Arguello of Argentina. Donaldson defeated Vincent Millot of France 6-4, 7-6(4), and tonight, Tiafoe downed Emilio Gomez of Ecuador 6-1, 7-6(2).  Tiafoe is now in the lead in the wild card race, but the other two Americans can win it if they claim the title Saturday. 

At the Women's Pro Circuit stop in Charlottesville, 16-year-old wild card Usue Arconada defeated Julia Boserup 6-7(2), 7-5, 6-2 to advance to the quarterfinals. Dothan finalist Katerina Stewart downed qualifier Nicole Frenkel 6-3, 6-0 and Allie Kiick beat Paula Goncalves of Brazil 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. 

The American quarterfinalists at the $10,000 Futures in Vero Beach include Wil Spencer, Greg Ouellette, Michael Mmoh and Ryan Haviland.