Georgia Men Down Ohio State 4-3, Tennessee and Texas Women Upset; Hayley Carter Earns Family Circle Qualifying WC; Bollettieri's New Tournament
The Ohio State - Georgia match in Athens turned out to be every bit as exciting as anticipated, with the fourth-ranked Bulldogs pulling out a 4-3 win over the No. 2 Buckeyes after dropping the doubles point. Georgia got victories from KU Singh at line 2, Ignacio Taboada at 4, Nathan Pasha at 6 (winning the last four games after trailing Connor Smith 4-2 in the third) and Sadio Doumbia at 3. After pushing top-ranked USC in the semifinals of the Team Indoor and beating Ohio State today, Georgia can only be gaining confidence as May's NCAAs loom. As for Ohio State, playing in Athens in front of 1100 fans today can only provide valuable experience should they face the Bulldogs again in the late stages of the NCAAs. For more on the match, see georgiadogs.com.
There were two major upsets in women's play today, with No. 67 UNLV defeating No. 12 Tennessee 4-3, with the Volunteers missing their usual top two--Natalie Pluskota with an injury and Brynn Boren with illness. They forfeited the point at line six, and Caitlyn Williams retired midway through the first set of her match, leading UNLV to what their website calls its best win in program history.
No. 9 Texas was also short-handed in their match against No. 50 Illinois, with No. 1 Aeriel Ellis out, but the Longhorns did field six players in Austin, so their 4-3 loss to the Fighting Illini has to top the list of today's surprising victories. For more, see the Illinois website.
In Ann Arbor this afternoon, No. 20 Michigan women lost the doubles point to No. 17 Notre Dame, but came back to post a 5-2 win over the Fighting Irish. For more, see the Michigan website.
While I was busy with the Wayne Bryan/USTA discussion and the Men's Team Indoor, I neglected to monitor the annual Southern tournament that provides the girls 18s winner with a qualifying wild card into the Family Circle Cup in Charleston. Formerly the Smash Cup, Dunlop took over sponsorship this year, and Hayley Carter defeated Mariana Gould, both No. 5 seeds, 6-7(4), 6-2, 10-5 to earn the qualifying wild card. The the tournament's qualifying begins on Saturday, March 31st. The complete draws are available at the TennisLink site.
Nick Bollettieri is introducing a new tournament in Bradenton, called the Discovery Open, for age divisions 11, 13 and 15. The tournament, held at the IMG/Bollettieri academy, is June 1-4, 2012, with a week at the academy given to the winners of the six 32-draw fields. The overall winner will receive a year's scholarship at the academy. Entires close May 1. For more information, see the IMG website.
Today at the Sony Ericsson Open, qualifiers Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens advanced to the second round with three-set wins. Keys beat Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-1 and Stephens defeated Pauline Parmentier of France 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-4. Christina McHale is just beginning her first round match against Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan.