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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Chirico Joins Townsend in French Junior Quarterfinals; Jenkins, Embree Top Final ITA Singles Rankings; Nebraska, Texas and Northwestern Popular Destinations for Women's Kick-off Weekend

The US juniors still competing in Paris are dwindling, but Louisa Chirico advanced to Thursday's quarterfinals with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-0 victory over Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain, joining Taylor Townsend, who reached the quarterfinals with a win on Tuesday.

Chirico, who received entry into the main draw with a special exemption due to her performance at last week's Astrid Bowl, started slowly against the 16-year-old qualifier, who plays few junior tournaments and received entry into the qualifying draw based on her WTA ranking, now at 355.  Chirico failed to hold serve until the seventh game of the first set, and suffered her fourth break of the set to end it.

In the second set, Chirico was up a break at 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3 and each time she gave the break right back, and Sorribes Tormo took the lead by finally holding for 5-4. Chirico held for 5-5 and took a 6-5 lead with another break of Sorribes Tormo, and she evened the match by holding again, the first time in the match she had won two consecutive service games.  With 13 breaks in 21 service games in the first two sets, it was difficult to put any importance on Chirico's break in the first game, but something must have clicked, as she ended up winning the last nine games of the match.

Chirico, now into the quarterfinals of only her second junior slam (she qualified at the US Open last year, but lost in the first round), will play another qualifier in the quarterfinals, 15-year-old Kristina Schmiedlova of Slovakia, who won a long tough match from Ilka Csoregi of Romania 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 today.  The other girls quarterfinal in the bottom half has No. 2 seed Belinda Bencic taking on No. 11 seed Taylor Townsend.  Townsend did a lengthy interview with Tennis Panorama a few days ago, which contains information about her schedule in the next few weeks, and she is also featured in this ESPN W article, focusing on the fitness questions that accompany her no matter where she plays.

Top seed Ana Konjuh has had no easy matches in her attempt to win her second junior slam of the year. Today she dropped the first set to unseeded Petra Uberalova of Slovkia in a tiebreaker but managed to eke out a 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-4 victory that took more than two and a half hours to complete.  She will play No. 6 seed Darya Kasatkina of Russia in the quarterfinals. The other top half quarterfinal will find No. 5 Antonia Lottner of Germany playing unseeded Elizaveta Kulichkova of Russia.  Lottner, the only 2013 quarterfinalist who also reached the quarterfinals last year, beat University of Georgia freshman Ayaka Okuno of Japan 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-1 to advance against Kulichkova, who defeated No. 14 seed and Stanford recruit Carol Zhao of Canada 6-3, 2-6, 9-7 today. Lottner owns a 2-0 head-to-head advantage over Kulichkova, while Konjuh is 1-0 against Kasatkina. There have been no ITF junior meetings between the bottom half quarterfinalists.

The boys quarterfinals will all be first time ITF junior meetings. No. 8 seed Borna Coric of Croatia will play No. 13 seed Guillermo Nunez of Chile for a place in the semifinal, and unseeded Christian Garin will play Calvin Hemery of France in the other top-half quarterfinal. Garin took out No. 3 Laslo Djere, again, coming from behind, if not quite so dramatically as in the Eddie Herr final, for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over the Serbian. Hemery, playing in his first junior slam at age 18, defeated fellow wild card Enzo Couacaud 6-0, 6-4.

Great Britain's Kyle Edmund reached the quarterfinals for the second straight year and prevented Noah Rubin from doing so, with a 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 victory over the New Yorker.  Rubin had a break chance at 5-5 in the first set, which he didn't convert, with Edmund making the most of his chance in the next game to take the set.  Rubin was down 2-0 in the second set, but got the break back immediately and he seized his opportunity this time at 5-5, breaking Edmund and holding for the set.

Rubin couldn't convert any of the three break points he had in the opening game of the third set, while Edmund took his first break point to open a 2-0, then 3-0 lead.  Both players held serve the rest of the way, although Rubin had two chances to break in the final game to get the match back on serve, but he didn't convert them, and the No. 5 seed moved on to face No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany.  The second quarterfinal in the bottom half has No. 2 seed Nikola Milojevic of Serbia against No. 6 seed Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy. Milojevic breezed past unseeded Lucas Gomez of Mexico 6-1, 6-0, while Quinzi played his third consecutive three-set match, beating qualifier Albert Alcaraz-Ivorra of Spain 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.

In doubles, the top half of the girls draws and the bottom half of the boys draw played their quarterfinal matches. Top girls seeds Bencic and Lottner lost to Domenica Gonzalez of Ecuador and Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 6-2, 7-5, leaving just three seeded teams in the girls draw.  The three seeded boys teams still remaining all won today. For complete results, see the Roland Garros website.

The ITA released its final rankings for the season, and only one of the four NCAA champions, Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria of Southern Cal, finished number one.  Blaz Rola of Ohio State and Nicole Gibbs of Stanford were second, to Virginia's Jarmere Jenkins and Florida's Lauren Embree, while NCAA men's doubles champions Jenkins and Mac Styslinger finished behind Duke's Raphael Hemmeler and Henrique Cunha.  All three had direct wins over the No. 1s at the NCAAs, which makes the final rankings feel a bit off, but it is supposed to reflect an entire year's results, and both Jenkins and Embree won major titles in the fall.

Here are the Top 10 in singles and Top 5 in doubles:

1. Jarmere Jenkins, Virginia
2. Blaz Rola, Ohio State
3. Mikelis Libietis, Tennessee
4. Alex Domijan, Virginia
5. Henrique Cunha, Duke
6. Anthony Rossi, Kentucky
7. Peter Kobelt, Ohio State
8. Sebastian Fanselow, Pepperdine
9. Emilio Gomez, Southern Cal
10. Ryan Lipman, Vanderbilt

1. Henrique Cunha and Raphael Hemmler, Duke
2. Jarmere Jenkins and Mac Styslinger, Virginia
3. Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese, Tennessee
4. Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen, Ole Miss
5. Ben Wagland and Hernus Pieters, Georgia

1. Lauren Embree, Florida
2. Nicole Gibbs, Stanford
3. Sabrina Santamaria, Southern Cal
4. Robin Anderson, UCLA
5. Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar, Texas A&M
6. Mary Weatherholt, Nebraska
7. Lauren Herring, Georgia
8. Gina Suarez-Malaguti, North Carolina
9. Zsofi Susanyi, Cal
10. Anett Schutting, Cal

1. Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria, Southern Cal
2. Kate Fuller and Silvia Garcia, Georgia
3. Alexa Guarachi and Mary Anne Macfarlane, Alabama
4. Brooke Bolender and Emina Bektas, Michigan
5. Kata Szekely and Brynn Boren, Tennessee

Complete rankings for team and individuals can be found at the ITA website.

The Kick-off Weekend draft for the women was held today, and three of the host sites filled up fast. The first three teams to select their destination went for No. 16 Nebraska, with Texas Tech(18), Vanderbilt(19) and Georgia Tech(21) making Lincoln the regional to watch come January. Also popular were Texas, ranked No. 17, and Northwestern, ranked No. 12.  The last regionals to fill up were Miami(No. 8), Florida(2) and Texas A&M(3), with the Aggies getting the last two teams, DePaul and Mississippi State, both unranked.   Florida's guests next January are No. 66 Missouri, No. 68 Harvard and No. 72 Louisville, which will probably not make head coach Roland Thornqvist happy.  Surprisingly unpopular also were Georgia and Duke, who will not host any Top 40 teams in the Team Indoor regionals.

The list of schools who did not participate in this year's women's Kickoff Weekend draft (with rankings in parentheses):
South Carolina(34)
Long Beach St(40)
San Diego St(41)
NC State(43)
Penn St(47)
Boston College(64)
College of Charleston(74)
Georgia State(75)

The complete results of the women's draft can be found at the ITA page. The men's draft is Thursday.