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Monday, March 30, 2009

Sandgren Loses in Copa Gerdau Final; McKenna in College Spotlight; ITA's Off The Court

There's a lot of college items I want to get to today, but first a mention of the results at the just-completed ITF Grade A Copa Gerdau in Brazil. Silvia Njiric of Croatia and Jose Pereira of Brazil won the titles, but Tennys Sandgren of the U.S. had an outstanding run, reaching the singles final as the 10th seed. Pereira, the defending champion, defeated Sandgren 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, but Sandgren beat No. 2 seed Julien Obry of France in the semifinals, as well as the No. 7 and No. 4 seeds, both of whom were undoubtedly more comfortable on the red clay than he. Sandgren and partner Evan King reached the semifinals of the doubles before falling in a match tiebreaker. The ITF junior website has a brief story on the tournament, which is the last Grade A until the Italian Open in mid-May.

Now that the dual college season is in full swing, the USTA College Spotlights are coming fast and furious, with this week's Q and A devoted to Kelcy McKenna of Arizona State, the 2008 Riviera All-American champion who is currently ranked No. 3 in the country.

And speaking of rankings, this week's Texas College Tennis rankings have been released, with every team ranked from the men's No. 1 Virginia to No. 268 Northern Colorade (they can field a team and the Boulder school can't?); the women range from No. 1 Northwestern to No. 327 Utah State. It will again be interesting to compare when the new ITA rankings come out on Tuesday.

The ITA is working on creating a more interactive and dynamic website, and one of the latest additions is similar to Sports Illustrated's Pop Culture Grid, featuring short answers to non-tennis related questions. See the "Off The Court" page for that feature, one of several added to the new the ITA 360 section.

The Pro Circuit is Alabama this week, with the $25,000 women's event in Pelham and the $15,000 event in Mobile, at the same site and with the same management as the just completed Spring Nationals. Fred Saba, who earned a wild card with his win there, obviously declined it, but second and third place finishers Jack Sock and Sekou Bangoura did accept main draw wild cards. The other two went to Alex Domijan and Jarmere Jenkins. Top seed in the tournament is Ryler DeHeart, the former Illinois star, who is just coming back from surgery.

In the women's event, Asia Muhammad, Nicole Gibbs and Chichi Scholl received main draw wild cards.

For complete draws, visit the Pro Circuit results page at usta.com.