Kuhlman Earns Family Circle Cup Wild Card; Elbaba Wins in Mexico; New ITA Rankings See Big Jumps for Virginia Women, Duke Men; Emory Wins D III Indoor
The Smash Cup, which awards a qualifying wild card into the WTA Premier Tournament Family Circle Cup in Charleston in April to the Girls 18s winner, concluded yesterday, and 15-year-old Josie Kuhlman was the unexpected champion. Kuhlman, who is coached by former ATP Top 5 player Brian Gottfried, was unseeded in the field, which saw some late withdrawals, but still included top seed Caroline Price, the 18s clay court champion, and No. 2 seed Kaitlyn Ray, a blue chip recruit joining UCLA in the fall. Kuhlman beat Price in the round of 16, No. 5 seed Kendal Woodard in the quarterfinals and No. 4 seed Taylor Davidson in the semifinals. In the final against Leyla Erkan, another 5 seed, Kuhlman won the match, and the wild card, by a 6-3, 6-1 score. Kuhlman didn't lose more than three games in any set in her six victories.
For more on Kuhlman and the match, see this article in Charleston's The Post and Courier. The complete draws can be found at the TennisLink site.
In the ITF Grade 4 in Jalisco, Mexico last week, second seed Julia Elbaba took the singles and doubles titles. Elbaba beat top seed Annie Mulholland 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in the singles championship match, and also topped Mulholland in the doubles final. Elbaba and Camila Fuentes, the No. 4 seeds, beat Mulholland and Ana Lorena Belmar of Mexico, seeded second, 5-7, 7-6(6), 10-8.
Richard Del Nunzio reached the final, where the third seed lost to top seed Juan Pablo Murra of Mexico 6-7(7), 7-6(4), 6-1. Del Nunzio did collect a winner's trophy in Jalisco however, as he and Daniel Khanin beat Everth Dzib Peraza and Edgar Lopez of Mexico in the doubles final 6-1, 6-2.
For complete draws, see the ITF Juniors site.
In the Grade 2 in Chile, 14-year-old Indy de Vroome of the Netherlands and Matias Sborowitz of Chile won the single titles.
This week two Americans, Michael Rinaldi and Alexandria Stiteler, are the top seeds in the Grade 4 in El Salvador.
A new set of team rankings are out post-Team Indoor, and although the top teams stayed with same, with Virginia men and Stanford women solidifying their No. 1 rankings with their championships, there was some significant shuffling. The USC men fell from 2 to 9, while the Duke men went from 17 to 6. On the women's side, the Virginia women reached the Top 10 for the first time in school history, climbing all the way from 23 on the basis of their two victories, over Baylor and Northwestern, at the Team Indoor. Baylor fell from 3 to 7, and UCLA dropped from 7 to 11.
It is important to remember that these are still polled rankings, not computer rankings, which will debut next week. That can change positions dramatically, and for an explanation of why, see the the Frequently Asked Questions pdf on the ITA website.
The ranking page at the ITA website can be found here.
At the Division III Men's Indoor, No. 1 seed Emory took the championship with a 6-3 win over Washington University (St. Louis). From the recap on the Division III Tennis blog, it sounds as if Emory was nearly as dominant as Virginia was in the Division I Indoor.