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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Recap of Miami's 4-3 Win Over Arizona State; Southern Mississippi Men Hit with NCAA Sanctions; Pro Circuit Update

As I mentioned yesterday, my recap of the Miami women's 4-3 ITA Kick-off Weekend win over Arizona State last Saturday is available today at the Tennis Recruiting Network. I've been fortunate to have competitive matches to cover whenever I travel to a dual match, and this was one of the more dramatic ones.

The new ITA Division I team rankings were released today, and there were few changes, with the Virginia men and Florida women retaining the top spots.

The Tennessee and Texas A&M men made the biggest jumps: Tennessee moved from 19 to 15 and A&M from 26 to 16 based on their road wins in the Kick-off Weekend finals. As for the two men's hosts who lost, Stanford fell from 10 to 18 and Illinois from 16 to 25.

There were no changes in the top 8 of the women's rankings. Miami fell from a tie for ninth with Alabama to tenth, while Ole Miss, the only women's host to lose in the Kick-off competition, went from 19 to 27. These are the last women's rankings before the Team Indoor, so the seeding will be based on these.  The men will have one more set of rankings next week, with their tournament a week later than the women's. 

For the complete rankings see the ITA website.

The NCAA announced sanctions today against Conference USA member Southern Mississippi for violations in their men's tennis program.  The head coach and assistant coach were cited for "unethical conduct" which included offering money and a car to a student-athlete to keep him from transferring, and paying another student-athlete to write a paper for the student-athlete the coach wished to keep. The program will be banned from the postseason for one year, which isn't a particularly harsh penalty, as they didn't qualify for the NCAAs last year, although they did play in the Conference USA season ending championships in 2012. Other sanctions are detailed in the NCAA announcement with the complete report available as a download in the upper right corner of the announcement.  For reasons I don't understand, the coaches were not named by the NCAA, but they are named in this article by the local Hattiesburg, Mississippi newspaper.

I'm late with a Pro Circuit update this week due to the Tennis Plaza Cup, but 19-year-old Bjorn Fratangelo (2009 B18s Plaza Cup champion) won his first Futures title in Weston Sunday. Unseeded and receiving entry via a special exemption for reaching the semis in Sunrise the previous week, Fratangelo beat No. 8 seed Jason Kubler 6-4, 7-6(7) in the first round, No. 4 seed Robby Ginepri 6-3 3-6 6-4 in the semifinals and No. 5 seed Arthur DeGreef of Belgium 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 in the final.  The doubles title went to Brazilians Daniel Dutra da Silva and Caio Zampieri, the No. 3 seeds, who beat unseeded Sekou Bangoura and Patrick Daciek of the US 7-6(4), 6-2.

In the $10,000 ITF Men's Circuit event in England, former Texas Longhorn Ed Corrie won his first singles title as a professional, beating 18-year-old Christian Harrison 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 in a final featuring two unseeded players. The doubles title went to former LSU players Ken and Neal Skupski, who, like Corrie, are from Great Britain. Ken Skupski is ranked 51 in ATP doubles, which means he was doing his younger brother a favor by competing at that level.

There was no Pro Circuit women's event in the United States last week, and there isn't one this week either, but the men have another $10,000 Futures, this one in Palm Coast, Florida.  The first round was completed today, with 17-year-old Spencer Papa picking up his first ATP ranking point with a 6-3, 6-4 win over former Florida State standout Vahid Mirzadeh. Stefan Kozlov, in his second tournament after being out four months with an injury, qualified, but lost in the first round to former Georgia Tech star Kevin King. Henrik Wiersholm also qualified, but he too lost to a former collegian--Jason Jung from the University of Michigan.

In the $10,000 ITF Men's Circuit tournament in Tijuana, Mexico, 16-year-old Ernesto Escobedo of qualified and won his first round match, the second main draw match he has won at that level. Duke recruit TJ Pura, who like Escobedo is from Southern California, qualified but dropped his opening round match.