NCAA Individual Recap; Recruiting Class Rankings; ITA Kickoff Draft Complete; US Girls Fall in Paris; USTA's Sell Talks with Cronin
My recap of the NCAA individual championships can be found today at the Tennis Recruiting Network. While you are there, take a look at the spring recruiting class rankings for the men, which rates Duke as No. 1, and the women, who are led by Georgia.
I'm not sure how much these rankings figure into the draft that has taken place the past two days to determine who will play where in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, which is basically a regional for the Team Indoor championships in February. The format is the same as the NCAAs, with four teams at 15 regional locations (the host team gets a bye), but instead of a committee selecting the regional host schools and placing teams in them, the teams can pick where they want to play. (Although not technically geographic regions, I'm using the term for want of an alternative). The school with the highest final ranking that is not hosting selects first and on down the line until all 15 locations are filled.
Some teams opt out. The Stanford women did not participate in 2010, and in 2011, the Baylor men will not be in the Team Indoor mix.
The Oklahoma men had first pick and chose to travel to Illinois, which was the last team to qualify for hosting, and only then because Baylor declined to participate. Some regionals filled up quickly, with spots at Duke, UCLA and Texas going fast, while Tennessee, Florida, Ohio State and Virginia were among the last regionals to fill. I'm sure travel considerations, including other previously scheduled trips and budgets, play a large role in the selection process, and no team wants to play in a regional hosted by someone in the same conference. I would want to go someplace where I was assured of playing indoors if at all possible, but others may not consider that important. In hindsight, it's easy to see who made good selections last year: the Michigan women chose to travel to Arkansas, and won the regional as a No. 3 seed. The Fresno State men, a No. 4 seed, won the regional played at Texas A & M, and the Florida State women accurately predicted that Fresno State had a down year coming, and the No. 2 seeded Seminoles advanced to Madison.
In the women's draw, Georgia and its No. 1 recruiting class chose to travel to North Carolina, who are losing three starters from this year's NCAA semifinal team. Texas, the first team to select, opted to travel to Florida State, while Mississippi chose Tennessee (I guess my conference theory isn't airtight). Florida and Baylor were among the last regionals to fill. Indiana and Wake Forest passed up their opportunity to make a selection.
For the draft order and complete regional fields for the women, click here. For the men's draft and fields, click here.
It was a dispiriting day for the U.S. girls in Paris, as all three in the quarterfinals lost to unseeded players. Top seed Monica Puig lost to Silvia Njiric of Croatia 6-0, 3-6, 6-3; No. 9 seed Beatrice Capra lost to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 and 2009 semifinalist Sloane Stephens was beaten by Ons Jabeur of Tunisia 6-3, 6-4. Stephens and doubles partner Timea Babos did win their quarterfinal match today. No. 3 seed Irina Khromacheva of Russia is the only seeded girl remaining in the singles draw.
Andrea Collarini, who played for Argentina until this spring, advanced to the semifinals with a 1-6, 6-3, 5-2, ret. victory over No. 11 seed Renzo Olivo of Argentina. Collarini will play the only seeded boy remaining, No. 9 Duilio Beretta of Peru. In the other semifinal it will be James Duckworth of Australia against Agustin Velotti of Argentina. Duckworth beat No. 3 seed and 2009 Roland Garros boys finalist Gianni Mina of France 6-3, 6-4, while Velotti ended Brazil's No. 5 seed Tiago Fernandes' dream of a second straight Junior slam title, taking a 7-6(9), 6-1 victory from the Australian Open boys champion.
For draws, see rolandgarros.com.
I knew when I didn't see former Georgia Bulldog and current USTA National Coach Mike Sell in Athens, that there must be a good reason, and sure enough, he was again working with Serena Williams, this time at the French Open. Sell spoke with Matt Cronin not only about his role with Williams, but also about the prospects of some the top U.S. juniors competing there.