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.