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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Three U.S. Teams Qualify for ITF World Junior Competition; Bolender Sweeps Titles at Naples ITF; Florida High School State Championships; Other Notes

Three of the four U.S. junior teams have qualified for the ITF's world junior championships, but for the second year in a row, one of the 16-and-under teams will not be in Mexico in September for the international finals. Last year it was the Junior Fed Cup team that didn't advance, after Nicole Gibbs was unable to play in the match with Canada because she had reached the final of the French Open wild card tournament. This year it is the Junior Davis Cup team that will not be among the 16 teams in Mexico, but there isn't the drama there was last year. The U.S. lost 2-1 to Canada on Friday, with both Mitchell Krueger and Alexios Halebian falling in singles, and with only one team besides Mexico advancing, the U.S. was eliminated when Canada beat Mexico today.

Although the usta.com article doesn't say so, both U.S. 14-and-under teams have qualified for August's World Junior Team Competition in the Czech Republic with wins today, even though there is another set of matches on Sunday. Unlike the 16-and-under competition, two of the four teams advance, and with 2-0 records, the U.S. teams will finish in the top half of both draws even if they should lose Sunday. Friday's results are available at the ITF junior site.

At the ITF Grade 4 in Naples today, Brooke Bolender won both the singles and doubles titles. Seeded third in singles, Bolender defeated No. 4 seed Christine Kandler of Austria 7-6(6), 6-4 in the championship match. Bolender and Lauren Herring, the top seeds in doubles, beat fifth seeds Beatrice Cedermark of Sweden and Xue Zhang of China 6-0, 6-7(6), 10-8 for the doubles crown. The boys singles title went to Peru's Rafael Aita, the fourth seed. For complete results, see the ITF junior website.

The Florida State High School championships were played over the last six days, and because I am familiar with so many of the players, I thought I would do a brief rundown of the overall champions. I think the winner of No. 1 singles on the team that wins the championship plays the winner of the tournament held for those whose teams don't qualify, to decide an "overall" champion. Someone please correct me if I am wrong about that. Here are the overall singles winners in the four divisions:

D I: Carolina Dailey and Andrew Butz
D II: Jacqueline Kasler and Blaine Willenborg
D III: Danielle Collins and Alex Robles
D IV: Bianca Sanon and Michael Alford

And in other high school news, Jack Sock is playing for Blue Valley North again this year, and the Kansas City Star asked him why he is seeking a third straight state title, what his plans are in the next five years and what it was like to hit with Roger Federer.

And a couple of local notes. The Kalamazoo College men defeated Hope College 5-0 to win the MIAA tournament and advance to the NCAA Division III regionals. See the college website for more on the tournament and on their 72nd consecutive conference title. The Western Michigan men earned a spot in the NCAA Division I tournament, upsetting regular season conference champion Buffalo 4-0 to win their fifth straight conference tournament. For more, see wmubroncos.com. The Western Michigan women downed Akron 4-3 to reach the tournament final against Miami of Ohio on Sunday.

Big Ten tournament finals are Michigan vs. Northwestern on the women's side, and, for the seventh straight year, Illinois and Ohio State on the men's side. Marcia Frost has covered both tournaments for her site on examiner.com.

Texascollegetennis.com is covering the Big 12, where the men's tournament final will feature Texas vs. Texas A & M, and the women's will be Baylor against Texas.