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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Texas's Ito, Vanderbilt's Contreras Top Oracle Masters Draws; Top Three Seeds Out in Lubbock; Nava Earns First ATP Point; Semifinals Set at ITF Grade 2 in Montreal

The ITA Oracle Masters begins Thursday in Malibu, with University of Texas junior Yuya Ito the top seed in the men's draw and Vanderbilt's Fernanda Contreras the top seed in the women's draw.  The 32 players in each draw are taken from conferences big and small, which gives this tournament a different flavor from most ITA fall tournaments, with the mixed doubles competition also a unique feature at this tournament, played at the Malibu Racquet Club and Pepperdine University. The draws are structured differently than usual, with players ranked 1-32 and 1 playing 32, 2 playing 31, etc. Live scoring is available via Tennis Ticker and live streaming is also being advertised.  It was also announced today that Sunday's finals will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the ESPN app, with tape delayed coverage on ESPNU Monday and Tuesday.

The seeds:
1. Yuya Ito, Texas
2. Daniel Cukierman, USC
3. Aleks Kovacevic, Illinois
4. Zeke Clark, Illinois
5. Christian Sigsgaard, Texas
6. Laurens Verboven, USC
7. Nicolas Moreno, UC-Santa Barbara
8. Mitch Harper, Virginia Tech

1. Fernanda Contreras, Vanderbilt
2. Kate Fahey, Michigan
3. Michaela Bayerlova, Washington State
4. Estela Perez-Somarriba, Miami
5. Elysia Bolton, UCLA
6. Evgeniya Levashova, Pepperdine
7. Makenna Jones, UNC
8. Giulia Pairone, Michigan

Draws and links to live scoring and streaming are available at the ITA's tournament page.

The top three seeds at the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Lubbock were eliminated in today's second round, with Sanaz Marand(UNC) defeating No. 1 seed Naomi Broady of Great Britain 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3; Robin Anderson defeating No. 2 seed Grace Min 6-3, 6-1, and US Open girls semifinalist Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia defeating No. 3 seed Vicky Duval 6-4, 0-6, 6-4. Qualifier Hayley Carter and No. 8 seed Emina Bektas(Michigan) have advanced to the quarterfinals, as has the ITA's top-ranked player, Bianca Turati of Texas, who got in as a lucky loser.

At the $15,000 Futures in Laguna Niguel California, top seed Joao Reis da Silva of Brazil lost to qualifier Korey Lovett(Alabama/Central Florida) 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, the second week in a row Reis da Silva has gone out in the first round to a player outside the ATP Top 1000. Sixteen-year-old qualifier Emilio Nava earned his first ATP point, defeating 18-year-old Igor Gimenez of Brazil 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, and Cal sophomore Jacob Brumm,  a wild card, picked up his first ATP point with a 6-3, 6-4 win over qualifier Oleksiy Arovin of Ukraine. Other Americans reaching the second round are Henry Craig[2], Martin Redlicki[4], Michael Zhu[5], Paul Osterbaan[6] and 17-year-old wild cards Govind Nanda and Brandon Nakashima.

At the $75,000 ATP Challenger in Columbus, qualifier Thai Kwiatkowski claimed the best win by ATP ranking of his career, with the former Virginia star and 2017 NCAA singles champion beating No. 2 seed and ATP No. 112 Peter Polansky of Canada 7-6(5), 2-6, 7-6(7).  Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark defeated former Ohio State teammate JJ Wolf 6-1, 6-4 and two former USC teammates (and cousins) Emilio Gomez and Roberto Quiroz of Ecuador also advanced. Gomez defeated Cary Challenger champion James Duckworth of Australia 6-7(7), 7-6(6), 6-3 in a first round match, and No. 7 seed Quiroz downed Tommy Paul 7-6(4), 3-6, 7-6(6) to reach the quarterfinals.

The semifinals are set at the ITF Grade 2 in Montreal, with the top four seeds advancing in the girls draw, and four Canadian boys still alive in the boys draw.  Top seed Chloe Beck, No. 2 seed Emma Navarro, No. 3 seed Lauren Anzalotta of Puerto Rico and No. 4 seed Kylie Collins earned straight-sets wins in today's quarterfinals, with a US finalist assured in the Navarro/Collins winner.  All four are also in the doubles final, with Beck and Navarro, the No. 1 seeds, facing Collins and Anzalotta, the No. 2 seeds.  Only one of the four Canadian boys left is seeded, No. 4 Taha Baadi, who plays wild card Joshua Lapadat. Liam Draxl will face Nicolas Ocana Lavoie in the other semifinal.  Draxl and Cleeve Harper of Canada will face off against No. 4 seeds Ronan Jachuck of the US and Alexandre Leblanc of Canada in the boys doubles final.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Top Boys Seeds Fall at ITF G2 in Canada; Buckeye Wild Cards Advance at Columbus Challenger; Lubbock, Laguna Niguel Pro Circuit Events Underway; Tseng Signs with IMG

The quarterfinals are set at this week's ITF Grade 2 in Montreal, with both the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds missing from the last eight.  No. 2 seed Ronan Jachuck lost in the first round Monday, and in today's second round top seed Eliot Spizzirri fell to Canada's Cleeve Harper. Harper, who has committed to Texas and is scheduled to join the team in January, defeated Spizzirri 6-2, 6-4 and will play fellow Canadian Joshua Lapadat in the quarterfinals Wednesday. Eleven US boys began the tournament in singles, but only two unseeded Americans remain: unseeded Andres Martin and Alex Kiefer. Canada has the other six boys in the quarterfinals.

The US girls, 19 strong in the 32-player draw at the start, have six remaining, including top seed Chloe Beck and No. 2 seed Emma Navarro. No. 4 seed Kylie Collins, No. 6 seed Sanyukta Gawande and unseeded Tara Malik and Elvina Kalieva are the other four, with Canada's Ariana Arseneault and Puerto Rico's Lauren Anzalotta joining them in the quarterfinals.

There are three events on the USTA Pro Circuit this week, with a $75,000 ATP Challenger in Columbus Ohio, a $25,000 women's event in Lubbock Texas and a $15,000 Futures in Laguna Niguel California. The $80,000 tournament in Albuquerque, which was on the Pro Circuit fall schedule for 20 years, is not being held this year.

In Columbus, Buckeye sophomore John McNally received a wild card into the main draw and won his first round match today, beating 2015 NCAA champion Ryan Shane(Virginia), a qualifier, 7-6(5), 7-5. Ohio State junior JJ Wolf defeated Jan Choinski of Germany 7-5, 6-4 and will face former Buckeye and fellow wild card Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark, who won this Challenger title back in 2016. Torpegaard defeated No. 8 seed Maverick Banes of Australia Monday.  In addition to McNally and Wolf, other Americans advancing to the second round are Michael Mmoh[3], Tommy Paul and qualifier Thai Kwiatkowski(Virginia).

In Laguna Niguel, the top seeds are again Joao Reis da Silva of Brazil and Henry Craig(Denver). Sixteen-year-old Emilio Nava won four qualifying matches and will play for his first ATP point against 18-year-old Igor Gimenez of Brazil. Former UCF standout Korey Lovett is the only other American to qualify.  Kalamazoo 18s finalist Brandon Nakashima received a wild card, as did Cal sophomore Jacob Brumm, 17-year-old Govind Nanda and 15-year-old Zachary Zvadja, who beat Reis da Silva in the first round last week in Claremont.

Six of the seven seeds in action today in Lubbock posted victories, with only No. 5 seed Jovana Jaksic of Serbia suffering a first round loss. Jaksic lost to qualifier Jennifer Elie 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-2, and yesterday, No. 6 seed Katerina Stewart fell to Nadia Podoroska of Argentina 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. Top seed Naomi Broady of Great Britain, No. 2 seed Grace Min, No. 3 seed Vicky Duval and No. 4 seed Victoria Rodriguez of Mexico all advanced. Other Americans reaching the second round include qualifier Hayley Carter(UNC), No. 8 seed Emina Bektas(Michigan), Sanaz Marand(UNC) and Robin Anderson(UCLA).

IMG announced the signing today of Chun Hsin (Jason) Tseng of Taiwan. The 17-year-old won the French Open and Wimbledon boys singles titles this year and is No. 1 in the ITF World Junior rankings.

Monday, September 17, 2018

ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed Acceptances; Division III Teams Participate in ITA Grass Court Invitational; Saddlebrook Wins Florida Academy Cup

The acceptances are out for next month's ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed, the next big ITF tournament in the United States.  The tournament, which has relocated this year from Tulsa Oklahoma to Charlotte North Carolina, begins with qualifying on October 6, with the main draw from October 8-13.

There is only one ITF Top 50 player in the boys field, Trey Hilderbrand, who has begun his freshman year at the University of Central Florida. There are four Top 50 girls in the acceptances: Margaryta Bilokin of Ukraine, Hurricane Tyra Black, Elli Mandlik and Nastasha Subhash.
South American participation, never strong, looks even less than usual this year, and Mexico and Canada, whose best players frequently challenge the top Americans for the titles, have fewer entries than is typical.

Few tennis players ever get the opportunity to compete on grass courts, but dozens of Division III players checked that off their bucket list this past weekend at the third annual ITA Grass Court Invitational at the International Hall of Fame in Newport Rhode Island. Men's teams from Bowdoin, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Trinity(TX) and Washington-St. Louis and women's teams from Emory, Chicago, Carnegie Mellon and Washington & Lee participated in the three-day event.

Flighted play began on Friday in singles and doubles, with the singles finals on Sunday.  Grant Urken of Bowdoin, the NCAA champion this year, won the Michael Stich flight, beating Jack Katzman of CMS 3-6, 6-1, 10-5 in a rematch of the NCAA singles final.  Emory's Daniela Lopez won the Helena Sukova flight, beating teammate Ysabel Gonzalez Rico 6-4, 7-6(8). Below are the finals results from the singles and doubles flights.  Complete coverage, with photos, is available at the ITA website. The Tennis Recruiting Network also provided a look at the Division III participation this year in this article.

Michael Stich Flight
Grant Urken (Bowdoin) def. Jack Katzman (CMS) 3-6, 6-1, 1-0 (5)

Arthur Ashe Flight
Konrad Kozlowski (WashU) def. Radha Vishnubhotla (WahsU) 7-5, 7-6

Helena Sukova Flight
Daniela Lopez (Emory) def. Ysabel Gonzalez-Rico (Emory) 6-4, 7-6 (8)

Virginia Wade Flight
Defne Olcay (Emory) def. Lauren Yoon (Emory) 6-4, 5-7, 1-0 (5)

Seixas/Trabert Flight
Pitts/Lambeth (Trinity) def. Zhao/Wang (Bowdoin) 8-5

Woodbridge/Woodforde Flight
Neves/Vishnubhotla (WashU) def. Patel/Yang (Bowdoin) 8-4

Bueno/Court Flight
Rao/Strome (CMU) def. Wright/Garcia (WLU) 8-5

Navratilova/Shriver Flight
Lopez/Cartledge (Emory) def. Vizelman/Ollis (CMU) 8-3

USTA Florida reported recently on a new competition at the USTA's National Campus in Lake Nona, with eight Florida academies taking part in round robin play to determine the two finalists. As with college tennis, six singles matches were played, with a point for each win, but unlike college, doubles was played only if there was a 3-3 tie. In the final, Saddlebrook defeated Midtown 4-2.  For more on the competition, see this article from National Campus website.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Holt Wins First Futures Title at Claremont; Pegula, Anisimova, Opelka and US Davis Cup Team Fall Short; 30 US Juniors Begin Play at Grade 2 in Montreal Monday

USC junior Brandon Holt earned his first singles title on the professional circuit today, beating recent UCLA graduate Martin Redlicki 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 at the $15,000 Claremont California Futures. The 20-year-old son of Scott Holt and Tracy Austin had lost to Redlicki three times last year when they played at the No. 1 line, including a three-set win clinching the Bruins place in the NCAA team semifinals back in May, but today Holt came through, beating the 2017 Claremont finalist, who was also seeking his first pro circuit singles title. For more on the final, read this recap from Press Aide Steve Pratt, who also reveals the tournament will not be on the schedule in 2019.

Redlicki joined a raft of Americans who lost in the finals, or in the case of the US Davis Cup team, in the semifinals. After Sam Querrey beat Marin Cilic  6-7(2). 7-6(6), 6-3 6-4 in the first singles match to pull the US even with Croatia, Frances Tiafoe got the call for the deciding match. Tiafoe took a two sets to one lead--after trailing 5-1 in the third set, he won a tiebreaker 13-11--but Borna Coric closed out the American as the light faded, taking a 6-7(0), 6-1, 6-7(11), 6-1, 6-3 decision. Croatia will play France in France November 23-25, in the last Davis Cup under the old format. The ITF has announced a new format for Davis Cup for 2019 and as a semifinalist this year, the US will not have to play in the February's qualifying.  This article explains the new format.

Amanda Anisimova lost 6-2, 6-2 to No. 2 seed Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan in the final of the WTA International tournament in Japan, and Jessica Pegula, like Anisimova a qualifier, lost to No. 8 seed Pauline Parmentier of France 7-5, 6-2 at the WTA International tournament in Canada.  An American team did win the doubles in Quebec, with unseeded Asia Muhammad and Maria Sanchez(USC) defeating No. 2 seeds Darija Jurak of Croatia and Xenia Knoll of Switzerland 6-4, 6-3 in the final.

At the $50,000+H ATP Challenger in Cary North Carolina, unseeded James Duckworth of Australia defeated No. 4 seed Reilly Opelka 7-6(4), 6-3 in today's final.  Opelka also fell in the final of last week's Challenger in Chicago.  The doubles title went to the unseeded American pair of Hunter Reese(Tennessee) and Evan King(Michigan), who beat top seeds Hugo Nys and Fabrice Martin of France 6-4, 7-6(6). It's the fourth title for the pair, with the first two at 2017 Futures and both titles this year at Challengers.

This week's lower level ITF Junior Circuit tournaments produced only one American winner, with 17-year-old Ashley Vielma taking the doubles title at the Grade 4 in Chile. Vielma and her partner Josefa Fernandez of Chile won via walkover with top seeds Lorena Medeiros Cardoso of Brazil and Antonia Samudio of Colombia.

The ITF Grade 2 in Montreal begins tomorrow, with Americans holding the top two seeds in both the boys and girls 32-player draws.  Eliot Spizzirri and Ronan Jachuck are No. 1 and No. 2 in the boys draw and Chloe Beck and Emma Navarro and No. 1 and No. 2 in the girls draw. Alexandra Yepifanova and Sophie Hatton qualified for the main draw with wins today, giving the US 19 girls in the draw. With more than half the entries, three Americans have to play each other: Jennifer Gadalov drew Navarro, Jenna Dean plays Rachel Gailis and Zoe Hitt faces Sanyukta Gawande[6]. The boys draw has 11 American entries, so they can, via ITF rules, all be separated in the first round.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Chappell Wins First Futures Title in Toronto; USC vs UCLA in Claremont Futures Final; Qualifiers Pegula, Anisimova Reach WTA Finals; Opelka Advances to Second Straight Challenger Final

The third time was a charm for former TCU Nick Chappell, who won the $25,000 Futures in Toronto today with a 6-2, 6-0 win over No. 2 seed and former Texas star Lloyd Glasspool of Great Britain. Chappell, who turns 26 next week, had reached two Futures finals at $10,000 tournaments in Israel back in 2016, but this week he cruised to the title, surrendering no more than four games in any set and winning three 6-0 sets. For a player now outside the ATP Top 1000, this is a crucial result, because the points from this final will transfer directly to ATP points come January 2019, which will make entry into the 2019 $25,000 tournaments much easier.

At the $15,000 Claremont Futures in California, Brandon Holt, a junior at USC and No. 3 seed Martin Redlicki, who recently graduated from UCLA, will assume their rivalry after both picked up victories today. Redlicki defeated Oklahoma State sophomore and No. 7 seed Matej Vocel of the Czech Republic 7-6(6), 6-4 and Holt beat Sam Shropshire(Northwestern) 6-2, 6-1. Redlicki is returning to the Claremont final after losing to Karue Sell of Brazil there last year; Holt is making his debut in a Futures final.  Redlicki and Holt played four times last year at the No. 1 line, with Redlicki winning three and one going unfinished.

Two Americans have advanced to the finals of WTA International events after wins Saturday, with 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova beating top seed Shuai Zhang of China 7-6(4), 7-5 in Japan and 24-year-old Jessica Pegula defeating No. 5 seed Sonya Kenin 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in Quebec. Anisimova and Pegula, both qualifiers, will be making their first appearance in a WTA final, with Anisimova facing No. 2 seed Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan and Pegula playing No. 8 seed Pauline Parmentier of France. Regardless of the outcome in the final, Anisimova should break into the WTA Top 100 for the first time.

Reilly Opelka has advanced to an ATP Challenger final for the second week in a row with a win indoors today in rainy Cary North Carolina. Opelka, the No. 4 seed, defeated Kaichi Uchida of Japan 6-3, 6-4 and will face unseeded James Duckworth of Australia in the final of the $50,000+H tournament. Duckworth defeated No. 5 seed Bjorn Fratangelo 6-3, 6-4 to prevent an all-American final.  Opelka lost in the final of the $150,000+H Challenger last week in Chicago.

The US Davis Cup team stayed alive in their semifinal tie with Croatia Saturday, with Mike Bryan and Ryan Harrison defeating Mate Pavic and Ivan Dodig 7-5, 7-6(5), 1-6, 6-7(5), 7-6(5) in the longest Davis Cup doubles match (4 hours and 43 minutes) since the tiebreaker was introduced in 1989, according to Davis Cup historian Randy Walker. For more on the match, see this daviscup.com article.

Friday, September 14, 2018

US Open Juniors Recap; Chappell Reaches Toronto Futures Final; Three Americans Advance to Semis in Claremont Futures; Kenin, Pegula, Anisimova into WTA Semifinals

Condensing a tournament into one article isn't easy, especially this year's US Open Junior Championships, where weather was the story above and beyond the actual tennis played. But for the first champions from China and Brazil, the weather will be secondary when Xiyu Wang and Thiago Seyboth Wild look back on winning a first junior slam singles title.  My article on last week's tournament is available now at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

The singles final is set at the $25,000 Futures in Toronto, with former TCU star Nick Chappell facing former Texas star Lloyd Glasspool of Great Britain meeting for the title. The 25-year-old Chappell has reached the final in a Futures event twice before, at back-to-back $10,000 tournaments in Israel in 2016, while No. 2 seed Glasspool, 24, has won five Futures titles, including the $25,000 Iowa City Futures back in July.  Glasspool defeated Chappell in the quarterfinals that week, by a score of 6-4, 7-6(3).

The doubles final was played today, with Francesco Ferrari of Italy and Michail Pervolarakis(Portland) of Cyprus beating No. 4 seed Felix Corwin(Minnesota) and Takuto Niki of Japan 6-3, 6-3.

At the $15,000 Futures in Claremont California, three Americans have advanced to the semifinals. Sam Shropshire(Northwestern) reached his first Futures semifinal with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 win over qualifier Nicolas Moreno(UC-Santa Barbara) and will face Brandon Holt, who won the all-USC quarterfinal with Daniel Cukierman of Israel 1-6, 6-4, 6-2.  Recent UCLA graduate Martin Redlicki, the No. 3 seed, defeated 18-year-old Igor Gimenez of Brazil 6-3, 6-2 and will take on Oklahoma State sophomore and No. 7 seed Matej Vocel of the Czech Republic. Vocel beat No. 2 seed Henry Craig(Denver) 6-2, 1-6, 6-3.

In the Claremont doubles final, recent graduates Robert Kelly(UNC) and Korey Lovett(UCF), who received a wild card into the tournament, beat No. 4 seeds Shropshire and Paul Oosterbaan(Georgia) 7-6(3), 6-4. It's the first Pro Circuit title for both Kelly and Lovett.

In WTA events, qualifier Amanda Anisimova reached her first WTA semifinal with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia in the International level WTA tournament in Japan. The 17-year-old Floridian will face top seed Shuai Zhang of China, a 29-year-old currently 41 in the WTA rankings. 

At the WTA International in Quebec City Canada, No. 5 seed Sonya Kenin and qualifier Jessica Pegula will meet in Saturday's semifinals. Kenin defeated No. 3 seed Monica Puig of Puerto Rico 6-3, 6-1 in less than an hour, and Pegula beat No. 2 seed Petra Martic of Croatia 6-3, 7-5.  The other semifinal will feature No. 8 seed Pauline Parmentier of France against Heather Watson of Great Britain.

The US Davis Cup team lost both singles matches today at their semifinal with Croatia. Borna Coric beat Steve Johnson 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-3 and Marin Cilic defeated Frances Tiafoe in the latter's Davis Cup debut 6-1, 6-3, 7-6(5).  Ryan Harrison and Mike Bryan are scheduled to take on Mate Pavic and Ivan Dodig in Saturday's doubles, which the US needs to win to avoid a sweep. For more on today's matches, see this article from Daviscup.com.