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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

UVA's Jenkins Takes Over Top Spot in ITA Rankings; ITF Junior Rankings Watch for French Open Entry

Although I've been away from college tennis the past two weeks, concentrating on the juniors, the rankings, at least at the top, didn't show much movement. Today's release again has the Virginia men and the North Carolina women at No. 1, but the men's second-ranked team is now the University of Georgia, which has bumped UCLA into third.

Today's rankings also brought changes to the top of the individual rankings, with Virginia's Jarmere Jenkins now No. 1 in both singles and doubles. Jenkins has inched past teammate Alex Domijan, who had been No. 1 since mid-February,  for the top spot in singles, while he and Mac Styslinger also overtook Duke's Henrique Cunha and Raphael Hemmeler for No. 1 in the men's doubles.

The limitations of the rankings are spotlighted in the women's doubles this week. Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria of USC, who have won the two collegiate majors in the fall and are 25-0 overall, are no longer No. 1. They have been passed by Georgia's Silvia Garcia and Kate Fuller, who are 20-1, but do not have the fall tournament results to bolster their case, with Garcia a January freshman.

The men's team Top 10:
1. Virginia
2. Georgia
4. USC
5. Ohio State
6. Mississippi
7. Tennessee
8. Pepperdine
9. Mississippi St.
10. Duke

The men's singles Top 10:
1. Jarmere Jenkins, Virginia
2. Alex Domijan, Virginia
3. Mikelis Libietis, Tennessee
4. Emilio Gomez, USC
5. Henrique Cunha, Duke
6. KU Singh, Georgia
7. Matija Pecotic, Princeton
8. Peter Kobelt, Ohio State
9. Sebastian Fanselow, Pepperdine
10. Evan King, Michigan

The women's team Top 10:
1. North Carolina
2. Florida
3. Georgia
4. Texas A&M
5. USC
6. Michigan
8. Alabama
9. Cal
10. Miami

The women's singles Top 10:
1. Lauren Embree, Florida
2. Sabrina Santamaria, USC
3. Robin Anderson, UCLA
4. Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar, Texas A&M
5. Zsofi Susanyi, Cal
6. Lauren Herring, Georgia
7. Anett Schutting, Cal
8. Danielle Lao, USC
9. Gina Suarez-Malaguti, North Carolina
10. Ema Burgic, Baylor

For complete rankings, see the ITA website.

Coming up this week in college tennis are the men's and women's SEC tournaments, in Oxford and Starkville Miss., respectively, and USC vs. UCLA, both men and women.  The USC women host UCLA on Thursday, with coverage available on the Pac12 Network. The UCLA men host USC on Friday at 3 pm PDT,  which is a College Matchday and will be broadcast on radiotennis.com.  In their last two meetings, the USC and UCLA men have split, with both matches ending in third-set tiebreakers.

Speaking of third-set tiebreakers, UCLA beat Pepperdine last night 4-3, with the last two matches on the court, at No. 1 and No. 5, both in third-set tiebreakers with UCLA leading 3-2. Pepperdine's No. 1 Fanselow beat Dennis Novikov 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) to make it 3-3, and UCLA's Clay Thompson and David Sofaer were well into their tiebreaker, with Thompson leading 5-2, before Sofaer tied it at 6. Sofaer had a match point leading 7-6, but Thompson took the last three points to give UCLA the win.

The ITF junior rankings that will count for the French Open will not be out for another three weeks, but for most US players, their performance at the International Spring Championships in Carson and the Easter Bowl determine whether they are likely to receive direct entry.  Last year's acceptance ITF junior ranking cutoff for the French Juniors was 76 for the boys and an extremely weird 827 for the girls. The 2011 was more indicative of what can be expected this year, with 63 for boys and 55 for girls.

Those likely to be accepted from the US and their current ITF junior rankings:

Thai Kwiatkowski(16)
Stefan Kozlov(18)
Noah Rubin(23)
Luca Corinteli(36)
Spencer Papa(38)
Martin Redlicki(47)
Others in the Top 100 who may get in: Francis Tiafoe(78), Dan Kerznerman(82), Michael Mmoh(85) and Mackenzie McDonald(92)

Taylor Townsend(11)
Christina Makarova(12)
Sachia Vickery(27)
Samantha Crawford(30)
Jamie Loeb(36)
Louisa Chirico(48)
Others in the Top 100 who may get in: Allie Kiick(69), Johnnise Renaud(82, who just won singles and doubles at the Grade 3 last week in Costa Rica), Katrine Steffensen(86), Rianna Valdes(87), Madison Bourguignon(89), Dasha Ivanova(90), Tornado Black(95) and Usue Arconada(99).  Mayo Hibi, who is a Japanese citizen but eligible to play in USTA events, is up to 62 with her California sweep.

Crawford, Kiick, Vickery, Townsend and Vicky Duval would all be eligible for main draw entry into the French juniors because their WTA ranking is inside 350 (it needs to remain there on the acceptance cutoff date). Hibi would just need a few wins at the upcoming Pro Circuit events, as she is now ranked 364, to be certain of main draw acceptance. Donna Vekic, Madison Keys and Yulia Putintseva are still age-eligible for the French juniors, but are unlikely to play since they've received main draw entry and only Vekic is still subject to the WTA's age restrictions regarding number of tournaments allowed.

Other international players who are currently inside that 350 cutoff are Australia's Ashleigh Barty, Germany's Carina Witthoeft and Russia's Irina Khromacheva, with several others very close to it.

It's unusual for a boy to be able to use an ATP ranking to receive direct entry into the main draw, with the cutoff at 550, but this year Kyle Edmund of Great Britain could need it, with his ITF junior ranking at 66, but his ATP ranking at 515. Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy, Nick Kyrgios of Australia and Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan are also inside that cutoff, but are assured entry with their current ITF junior rankings.


Hoosc said...

Colette, when you say "the limitations of the (ITA) rankings are spotlighted..." I think you are looking at the glass as half empty when there is also a glass half full view.

I think it's a positive that the rankings system also allows for a person or team to start in the spring dual season & move up the rankings if they play a strong enough schedule. Like say a Steve Johnson last year.

Shouldn't a player/team get rewarded for winning numerous matches against tough competition?

Yes the terrific team of Christian/Santamaria, had a great fall and are undefeated, but have you actually looked at their strength of schedule this spring? Through no fault of their own, Christian/Santamaria only have 1 win so far this spring against a top 20 team, Stanford's Ahn/Gibbs. The rest of their wins are against teams that are now in the 20-40 rankings range.

One of the real "limitations" in the rankings is that often top ranked teams/players get DNFs, so the result is not calculated
Christian/Santamaria got a DNF against a highly ranked Pepperdine team. Also, when they first played UCLA, they also got a DNF. And, they didn't even get a chance to matchup against UCLA's best ranked team of Anderson/Morton.
A result against Pepperdine as well as the chance to beat a ranked UCLA doubles team would have helped their ranking significantly. Christian/Santamaria hopefully will get the chance in the UCLA re-match this week.

I just don't think it's a "limitation" if another doubles team (Fuller/Garcia) is beating numerous top 20 ranked teams and getting to move up. They have 5 top 20 victories this spring to Christian/Santamaria's 1. Fuller/Garcia also beat two Top 10 teams last week, which enabled them to ascend to the top spot. I say Congrats to them!

All Christian/Santamaria have to do is win a match or two against a top 20 opponent to retake the #1 spot.

Anyways, can you remember the doubles rankings going into the NCAAs last year? I bet most can't, but they can tell you who won: Burdette/Gibbs (who were not the top ranked team heading into the NCAAs). The only ranking that really matters is the end of season.

One last thing, I write this info as a UVa fan and I understand that if UCLA beats USC on Friday that they will overtake an undefeated UVa for #1 spot in the computer. UCLA will have a better collection of "best wins."

If you are ranked/seeded #1 or #2, it's not really a big difference. The computer has identified you as one of the top teams and you still have to go out and beat other great opponents in the NCAAs.

Hoosc said...

Sorry, correction Christian/Santamaria have beaten two top 20 teams, I forgot Texas's Addison/Scott, but you get my point.

Another match (in their collections of DNFs) that could have helped Christian/Santamaria was the DNF vs Arizona St.

Colette Lewis said...

Thanks for providing that explanation. You make some excellent points. Rankings are never perfect and ultimately irrelevant, so it's best not to make a big deal about this, which I hope I didn't. On the other hand, if there is a way to make them better, everyone benefits, although I have no indication that's a priority.

Colette Lewis said...

Thanks for providing that explanation. You make some excellent points. Rankings are never perfect and ultimately irrelevant, so it's best not to make a big deal about this, which I hope I didn't. On the other hand, if there is a way to make them better, everyone benefits, although I have no indication that's a priority.