Allie Will Turns Pro, Kauffmann Takes Over at Kentucky, Merzbacher Moves to Minnesota; Jung, Elbaba, Kudla Reach Pro Circuit Finals
Allie Will, who played No. 1 singles for the NCAA champion University of Florida for most of the last two years, has turned pro and will not be returning to Gainesville for her senior year.
Will, a six-time All-American, won two collegiate majors during her career at Florida: the 2011 ITA Riviera All-American singles championship, and the 2010 USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate doubles championship with Sofie Oyen. She leaves Florida with the second highest winning percentage in the Gators' illustrious history, with her singles winning percentage of 90.4% (104-11) second only to that of Lisa Raymond (95.4%, 84-4). Raymond is currently in London, representing the United States in doubles at the Olympics.
This summer Will has played the 10K in Evansville, where she reached the semifinals, and the final round of qualifying in this week's Lexington 50K. She is listed in the qualifying for the $100,000 Vancouver Challenger next week.
Her loss leaves a big hole to fill for the two-time defending NCAA champions, who also lost Joanna Mather to graduation. Clay champion Danielle Collins is their sole recruit, but one that is expected to contribute immediately, as have all the Florida freshmen recently.
At the University of Kentucky, longtime assistant and former Wildcat Cedric Kauffmann has been named to replace Dennis Emery as men's head coach. After 30 years of coaching at Kentucky, Emery has taken a position as Special Assistant to the Athletic Director.
Chuck Merzbacher, who for 16 years was the women's head coach at Ohio State, has been hired to fill that position at the University of Minnesota, his alma mater. The previous coach at Minnesota, Tyler Thomson, left for the head women's position at William and Mary.
Sunday's finals are set in the Pro Circuit events, the two $10,000 tournaments, and the joint $50,000 Challenger in Lexington.
In the women's $10,000 tournament in New Orleans, wild card Julia Elbaba, who reached the semifinals in Evansville last week, is into her first Pro Circuit final after beating No. 5 seed Jacqueline Cako 6-3, 7-5 today. The unseeded Elbaba, who has committed to the University of Virginia, hasn't lost a set this week, beating three seeds in her four matches. She'll need to make that four of five to pick up the title, as she plays No. 3 seed Hua-Chen Lee of Taiwan in the final.
The doubles title in New Orleans went to Macall Harkins and Zoe Scandalis. The unseeded pair defeated the sister team of Roxanne and Sierra Ellison, also unseeded, 7-5, 6-2.
In Lexington, Denis Kudla reached the final with a 6-3, 7-5 win over 18-year-old wild card Christian Harrison this evening. Kudla, the No. 4 seed, will meet No. 8 seed Eric Chvojka of Canada in the final. Chvojka got a walkover from Great Britain's Alex Bogdanovic in the semifinals.
Eighth-seed Madison Keys lost to unseeded Julia Glushko of Israel today in the semifinals 6-3, 6-3. Glushko will play unseeded Johanna Konta of Great Britain in the final. Konta came from behind to defeat No. 4 seed Misaki Doi of Japan 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.
Complete results are available at the women's Pro Circuit page at usta.com.
At the men's $10,000 Futures in Godfrey, Illinois, Jason Jung of Michigan beat former Big 10 rival Dennis Nevolo of Illinois 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the semifinals to advance to his first professional final. Jung, who like Nevolo was unseeded, meets No. 2 seed Cesar Ramirez of Mexico for the championship Sunday. The doubles title went to the unseeded pair of Ryan Rowe and Marcelo Arevalo, who defeated top seeds Sebastien Boltz of France and Luca Margaroli of Switzerland 6-4, 6-4 in the final.
For the men's results, and the qualifying draws for next week's Pro Circuit events in Vancouver and Decatur, Illinois, see usta.com.