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Thursday, April 25, 2013

USTA Announces Teams for ITF Team Qualifying; 133th Annual Ojai Tournament Underway; USTA Collegiate Spotlight on Zoe Scandalis

The USTA has selected its teams for the ITF North/Central American/Caribbean qualifying next week in Montreal, Canada. The qualifying will determine the region's teams for the World Junior Tennis 14-and-under competition in August in the Czech Republic and the 16-and-under Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup teams, which will compete in San Luis Potosi Mexico in September. Unless there has been a change from two years ago, when the JDC and JFC were also held in Mexico, that means only one additional team will go from this qualifying. with Mexico getting an automatic bid. The top two finishers from the 14-and-under competition will advance to the Czech Republic.

The teams:

Junior Davis Cup
Stefan Kozlov, 15, Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Francis Tiafoe, 15, College Park, Md.
Henrik Wiersholm, 16, Kirkland, Wash.
Coach: Nicolas Todero

Junior Fed Cup
Nicole Frenkel, 15, Winchester, Mass.
Jessica Ho, 16, Wexford, Pa.
Katerina Stewart, 15, Miami
Coach: Freddy Rodriguez

World Junior Tennis - Boys
Patrick Kypson, 13, Greenville, N.C.
Sam Riffice, 14, Roseville, Calif.
Gianni Ross, 14, Burr Ridge, Ill.
Coach: Andy Brandi

World Junior Tennis - Girls
CiCi Bellis, 14, Atherton, Calif.
Michaela Gordon, 13, Los Altos Hills, Calif.
Claire Liu, 12, Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Coach: Richard Ashby

A few interesting omissions, including Tornado Alicia Black, Easter Bowl 14s champion Jaeda Daniel, Michael Mmoh, but it's important to remember that these teams are not necessarily the ones that will be chosen for the World finals (assuming they qualify, of course). 

There also seems to be more flexibility in inviting younger players than there used to be, although Sloane Stephens and the Harrison brothers also played when they were in their first year in age eligibility.

The competition is May 2-4, and I will link to the draws when they are posted. The ITF has given a lot of coverage recently to the other qualifying tournament in Asia, so I expect they will also provide daily updates for this event.

The USTA release is available here.

The 113th edition of The Ojai is underway in Ojai, California, which includes nearly every imaginable level of organized tennis, from junior to high school to college to open events.  The Ventura County Star always provides great coverage of many of the events, and has published two advance pieces.  Easter Bowl champion Gage Brymer is attempting to become the first boy since Bobby Riggs in the 1930s to win three straight CIF titles. This is the individual competition for those who play high school tennis.  This article looks at the local players in the tournament, and reveals that Dominique Schaefer, who had to withdraw from her third round match with CiCi Bellis at the Easter Bowl, has a stress fracture in her foot.

The San Bernadino Sun adds this article called "Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament: Ten Players to Watch This Weekend."

Links to draws can be found at the tournament website and the daily recaps there also highlight the most important daily action, with links to the appropriate draws.

The Pac-12 tournaments began there today, with the early rounds of the men's team event and two rounds of the women's individual event. Cal's Zsofi Susanyi and Anett Schutting are the top two seeds. Nicole Gibbs of Stanford has reached the quarterfinals of the $50,000 Charlottesville Pro Circuit tournament this week, so she is not competing, but teammates Krista Hardebeck and Kristie Ahn are.  USC's Sabrina Santamaria is not playing singles, but is entered in the doubles competition with Kaitlyn Christian.  USC's Zoe Scandalis, the No. 5 seed, lost in the first round to Arizona's Lacey Smyth.

Scandalis is the subject of the latest College Spotlight at usta.com. She offers advice on choosing the right school, the highs and lows of team competition, and USC's goals for this year.