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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New College Team Rankings; Checking in with Former Collegians Levine and Anderson

The latest college rankings were released today (team only) with the Northwestern women and Virginia men retaining the top spots. But with Georgia Tech's women losing to Duke last weekend, the No. 2 position was up for grabs, and Baylor nabbed it. The Bears are setting new records for highest ranking nearly every week now, and they are 17-1, with their only loss to Stanford at the Team Indoor last month. Northwestern also suffered its only loss in Madison, in the finals to Georgia Tech, but something is going to give tomorrow in Waco when No. 1 and No. 2 meet in a non-conference dual match. I would expect the Wildcats, who beat Texas 5-2 today, to get past Baylor, but as wacky as the women's results have been this season, it's hard to bet against the underdog.

For complete rankings, see the ITA website.

Last year at this time, Jesse Levine and Kevin Anderson were competing for Florida and Illinois; this year they are preparing for their opening round matches at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne. Charlie Bricker of the Sun-Sentinel talked with Anderson after the 21-year-old South African had qualified, and unearthed the news that Anderson had needed two withdrawals to even get into the qualifying. Such is the fate of a non-U.S. citizen without IMG backing, I guess.

There were no such roadblocks for Jesse Levine, who received a main draw wild card, although this story from the Miami Herald reveals that he has neither racquet nor clothing endorsement contracts. But access to the Bollettieri facilities and influence is an enormous advantage, and Levine is taking it. This long feature provides an interesting look at the training and practice regime at the IMG facility.

And speaking of endorsements, John Isner has signed on with Olympus, according to this piece on TennisWeek.

Finally, Ashley Weinhold earned one of her biggest wins today, taking out the Hammond La.'s top seed Shuai Zhang of China in straight sets. Zhang's WTA ranking is 141. Madison Brengle, Chelsey Gullickson and Jamie Hampton also posted first round wins. For complete results, see the Pro Circuit home page.


scott said...

Watched the Florida women take on Arkansas today. Florida winning 5-2, sweeping the doubles and taking the 3-6 spots in singles, the bottom 3 very easily. Arkansas is very good at the top of the lineup but Florida's depth is superior. The match on court 1 featured Florida's super freshman Julia Cohen against the nation's #1 player, Aurelija Miseciviute. The first set was very entertaining. Quite a few breaks, both players fighting hard and playing pretty well and it went to a breaker. At that point, Florida clinched the match winning on courts 4, 5 and 6 and I thought it took a little steam out of Cohen. But take nothing away from Miseciviute, she is very deserving of her ranking. She won the breaker 7-1 and then rolled 6-1 in the 2nd.

I can see how this team beat UGA last weekend. In fact, Thornqvist called them the best team Florida has played all year and they've faced some really good teams. Arkansas is poised to make a run at NCAA's, and if they win the doubles point, watch out. That program has really improved.