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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Virginia Men, Baylor Women Have Top Ranking Spots with Only One More Week of Play Before NCAAs; USTA French WC Tournament Results

The North Carolina women lost their No. 1 ranking this week to Baylor, while the Virginia men barely held on to their top spot over Tennessee. The Tar Heels were upset by Georgia Tech in the finals of the ACC tournament Sunday in a match that came down to last-match-on, third-set drama again. (The women's ACC conference tournament seems to specialize in these endings, with Duke in 2009 and Clemson in 2008 winning third set tiebreakers for the titles).

Following Baylor and North Carolina in the new rankings are Florida, who won the SEC tournament over Tennessee, Michigan, Northwestern and Notre Dame, who won the Big East title Sunday over DePaul. Michigan ended Northwestern's string of regular season conference titles at 11, but they could meet again in this weekend's conference tournament at Iowa. Baylor will also be playing in their conference tournament this weekend; their toughest test is likely to be surging Texas, who is now ranked 18th and could conceivably host a regional with a win. The Longhorns lost to the Bears 5-2 last month.

The Georgia women, who lost to South Carolina in the SEC quarterfinals, have dropped to 19th, and are in danger of not hosting a regional and not making the final 16, which would be a huge disappointment given that Athens is the site this year.

In the men's rankings, the difference between Virginia's ranking points and Tennessee's is .04, 78.92 to 78.88, which is a number that seems more relevant to Olympic skiing or speed skating than tennis. Virginia held off a stiff challenge from Duke to capture the ACC conference tournament, while Tennessee chalked up an impressive three consecutive shutouts in claiming the SEC title, beating Florida in the final. They are followed by Texas, Ohio State, who won its fifth straight Big Ten title Sunday, and defending NCAA champion Southern California. The Big Ten conference tournament is this weekend at Indiana; the Big-12 tournament in Austin should be a doozy, with three top 10 and five top 20 teams vying for the automatic bid: No. 3 Texas, No. 7 Baylor, No. 10 Texas A & M, No. 15 Texas Tech and No. 20 Oklahoma.

Georgia, who was upset by Auburn in the SEC quarterfinals, dropped only one spot, to No. 12, but their prospects for going deep in NCAAs this year was dealt a blow when freshman Bo Seal was suspended from the team for a violation of academic policy. This is not the news usually featured by SIDs, but to Georgia's credit, they announced it yesterday on the men's tennis site. Today they had better news to post, announcing that Wil Spencer had been admitted to the school and will play for the Bulldogs, beginning in the fall.

JP Smith of Tennessee and Irina Falconi of Georgia Tech retain the top spots in the singles rankings, with Duke's Reid Carleton and Henrique Cunha the No. 1 men's doubles team. Tennessee's Natalie Pluskota, who has been injured during the bulk of the conference season, was back on the court in doubles for the SEC tournament. She and Caitlin Whoriskey are still atop the women's doubles rankings.

See the ITA page for all the team, singles, and doubles rankings.

The NCAA selection show is scheduled for next Tuesday, May 5th between 5 and 6 p.m. EDT on ESPNews.

In today's opening round of play at the USTA's French Open wild card tournament, the men's seedings held with just one exception. No. 1 Jesse Levine defeated No. 8 seed Jeremy Efferding 6-2, 6-4, No. 2 Ryan Sweeting defeated No. 7 Bjorn Fratangelo 7-5, 6-3, No. 4 Alex Kuznetsov defeated No. 5 Tim Smyczek 6-3, 6-4 and No. 6 Ryan Harrison defeated No. 3 Donald Young 7-6(5), 6-1.

In the women's draw, top seed Christina McHale was the only winner among the top 4 seeds and played the only three-set match of the day, beating No. 8 Julia Boserup 7-6(1), 3-6, 6-1. No. 7 Beatrice Capra defeated No. 2 Alison Riske 7-6(6), 7-6(5), No. 6 Asia Muhammad beat No. 3 Jamie Hampton 6-4, 7-5, and No. 5 Sloane Stephens beat No. 4 CoCo Vandeweghe 7-5, 7-6(2).

For the draws and the order of play for Wednesday, see usta.com.


David said...

Any word on who's going to represent the U.S. in Junior Davis Cup qualifying? It starts April 30th.

tennisfan said...

Does that means Seal cheated? Spencer is a great player and a great kid.

Colette Lewis said...

As I reported earlier, it's Alexios Halebian, Mitchell Krueger and Harrison Richmond.

Tennis Guru said...

Does Donald Young tank every second set after he loses the first set? His parents did an amazingly bad job coaching him.

I do give credit to Ryan Harrison for apparently staying on top of Donald.

getreal said...

to collette

I don't think it is appropriate to print speculation on the reason behind Seal's academic violation because "tennisfns' tone is somewhat malicious. I have NOT defending Seal at all but this is not the first time a student-athlete has had trouble balancing athletics and academics. A Princeton tennis player took a leave last year for an academic violation but the only difference was that Princeton did not issue a press release. I am not condoning missing class or cheating, or whatever was behind the academic suspension, but this again begs the question if tennis is constantly put above learning how to study in high school by having these kids home school and travel non-stop from one tournament to another, (and I don’t know what Seal’s issues were), it’s not a formula for success in college. What is surprising is that the Georgia coach was not more on top of the situation and if Seal was struggling academically pulled him from the line-up to focus on getting his school in order.

Colette Lewis said...

@tennisfan, @getreal:
I have no additional information on the academic violation that led to Seal's suspension.

getreal said...

to collette

I really dont think it is anyone's business on what the academic violation was. I only wish Seal the best in getting his academic life together. Again, he is not the first atheltic, or student for that matter, who has had a blip in thier academic journey and I just hope this is a lesson learned.

been-there said...

It makes me sad. You really want the best for these kids. Sometimes it gets very easy to be swayed by the wrong choices.

We all make mistakes. I too have heard of different "quieter" situations with different schools.

On the other more uplifting topic of tennis losses (funny how tennis seems trivial to the above topic, doesn't it?), why doesn't Donald Young at least try a different coach besides his parents? I'd sure do that if I were him. What could it hurt?

getreal said...

to been there

Agree with you. I don't know any child, or for that matter any parent, who is perfect and makes the right choices all the time. I wish life and parenthood were that easy. But the lining in the cloud is with the right guidance and support a bad choice can always turn into a positive life lesson. And to tennisfan, same on you for you cheap comment because as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow you also have probably made some bad choices along the way. That's life and that is what growing up is all about.

tennisbuddy12 said...


The Princeton player you are talking about is also transferring. Is it a coinicidence? I don't know, as I have heard they weren't so happy on the team. Not only was no press release put out, but there was also really no big news regarding the player, almost as if them not playing the season was an injury.

Coach said...

I agree it is nobody's business regarding the situation surrounding Seal's suspension but it was NOT cheating or poor academic performance. To speculate the worst (tennisfan) is unfair and unnecessary. I also agree that when these kids home school and train at academies they get used to putting their emphasis on tennis first and handling their academics on their own time. To jump back into a college environment where they are required to be places for anything other than tennis can be difficult for them. Unfortunately these kids are 17-21 years old and although they can play an extremely high level of tennis that does not mean they are any more mature than an average teenager. Hopefully the consequences Seal has received for violating Georgia's academic policy will help him make better decisions in his journey toward adulthood. Kudos to UGA for having strict standards for their student athletes. It is a shame that these high level players aren't held more accountable when they are younger then adjusting to adulthood and the "real world" wouldn't be such a shock.

Frank said...

It is definitely no one's business what happened at UGA. Being a student athlete is a very difficult job. And yes, it is a job. Players often must practice beyond the time alloted by the NCAA. Coaches are generally more concerned about winning than grades. They beat these kids down both mentally and physically. It takes a tremendous amount of strength and brains to do well in both the classroom and on the court. The reality is that coaches do not help. They might talk in public like they do, but that's not what goes on in the locker room. Hats off to all the athletes for putting up with their coaches. And to the coaches, you might want to take a good look at yourselves in the mirror.

getreal said...

To Coach

Kudos to GA????? Not so sure about that one. My question is if there was an academic problem, and I would bet that was apparent early on the semester, probably within the first few weeks of class...why wasn't the coach, the GA academic support team etc. etc., not micromanaging the situation to keep it in check even if that meant pulling him from the lineup and focus on school?

wi tennis said...

Looks like Texas Tech could bump out a host school from last year, if they have a good Big 12 Tourney. Great prediction by wi tennis in the pre-season post! haha. (knock on wood)

Love the college posts! Keep 'em coming. Looking forward to going to Athens!

been-there said...

It isn't anyone's business. But then why is it posted nebulously on the UGA website?

I think if it were me, and they were already going to post it on the website, I'd want them to tell the truth. At least then it was real and the speculation would stop. If you are in the limelight, I think it is better to just address issues head-on.

Puzzled said...

To Frank,

Gee Frank you sure seem to understand a lot ......too bad we can't get you to Coach in the NCAA and provide all your extensive insites and ethics where you could have the maximum impact.

uva said...


Sorry, but can you think of any "academic violation" that results in suspension that doesn't have to do with poor academic performance or cheating?

...no. The kid either cheated or had bad grades.

Coach said...

It is my understanding that UGA has an Athletic Department policy that if you miss 3 required academic appointments ( tutors, advisors, etc. ) you are suspended 10% of your season. Perhaps that is what happened.

Tennis said...

Coach: "Perhaps" that is what happened?!

So, now you're the one who is speculating. You are the one earlier who indicated that you knew it wasn't cheating and chastised everyone else for speculating that it might be cheating.

Now it turns out that you don't really know what happened do you?

been-there said...

I don't know "Coach" but I have a feeling that he/she does know what happened, and probably just told us. Coach HAS to say "perhaps" because otherwise people would be able to narrow down his/her identity, and it probably is supposed to be kept pretty quiet.

So someone needs to get a cattle prod and get that kid to tutoring, ha ha!

Colette Lewis said...

For some additional information on the Bo Seal suspension, click here