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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Stephens Qualifies at Indian Wells; Virginia, Northwestern Retain Top Rankings; Baylor Women Top USC

Sloane Stephens has advanced to the main draw of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Spain's Arantxa Parra Santonja Tuesday evening. Stephens, who turns 17 later this month, had defeated No. 22 seed and 111th-ranked Renata Voracova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-1 on Monday. Stephens, with her WTA ranking of 747, needed a wild card into the qualifying, and she was the only qualifying wild card to advance to the main draw. Tonight she trailed the 86th-ranked Spainard early in the second set, but she had no trouble breaking back; Stephens converted 7 0f 8 break points during the match.

Shenay Perry also advanced to the main draw, as did Michelle Larcher de Brito, who has been struggling lately. The men's qualifying is still in progress and will be completed late Wednesday. The men's main draw was released today, with Delray Beach doubles partners and Bollettieri mates Taylor Dent and wild card Ryan Harrison drawing each other in the first round. Jesse Levine was given a last minute wild card. For the complete results and draws, see the tournament website.

Ken Thomas of radiotennis.com will be broadcasting from Indian Wells beginning on Thursday, with televised coverage beginning on Friday with the "Hit For Haiti" exhibition. Tennis Channel and local Fox Sports Networks, not ESPN, are responsible for TV coverage of this tournament.

The latest team rankings were released today by the ITA, with the Virginia men and Northwestern women retaining the top spots. The UCLA women have moved into second place from fourth, while North Carolina, formerly No. 2, dropped to 4. Notre Dame retained the third spot, with Florida moving from sixth to fifth. There are bound to be changes next week with North Carolina and Florida meeting tomorrow in Gainesville. Cal dropped from fifth to eighth after their loss to Stanford. The biggest move was South Carolina, who climbed to 20 from 58 the week before.

The Baylor women stayed at the ninth spot. They are in Los Angeles this week, playing USC and UCLA back-to-back. Tonight they earned their second win over USC this season, having also beaten them at the Team Indoor, taking another 5-2 decision. USC's only points came on a retirement at court No. 5 and Maria Sanchez's third set tiebreaker win over Lenka Broosova at No. 1. Wednesday the Bears will play No. 2 UCLA.

In the men's rankings, Tennessee stays at No. 2, but USC moved up to No. 3, dropping Ohio State to No. 4. Texas dropped to No. 5 after its loss to Virginia Sunday. The men's matches to follow tomorrow include No. 19 Florida State at Texas and No. 17 Wake Forest at USC.

For the complete rankings, see the ITA website.