October Aces; Duval into Toronto $50K Semifinal; Virginia's Frank Out of Indoor Championships; Williams Tops D-III Preseason Rankings
I've been writing my monthly Aces column for the Tennis Recruiting Network since 2007, and I don't remember any month where I've had as many aces as I did in October--17. I'm not sure there's any significance to it, but I've noticed I rarely have less than 15 now. I guess part of that is due to the large photo library I've amassed, since a photo is essential. Anyway, check out the juniors and college players who are featured in this month's review.
I mentioned 17-year-old Louisa Chirico's big wins this week in the $50,000 New Braunfels, Texas Pro Circuit tournament (she lost today to Elitsa Kostova of Bulgaria), but she's not the only 17-year-old making waves in a $50K. Today in Toronto, No. 7 seed Vicky Duval, the 2012 USTA junior champion, defeated No. 2 seed Mandy Minella of Luxembourg, ranked 113, by a 6-3, 7-5 score. Of course Duval defeated Australian Samantha Stosur (now No. 19 in the world) in the US Open main draw this year, so her win over Minella is hardly her best, but Duval is now beginning to build on her US Open performance. She will play No. 4 seed Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic in the semifinals Saturday, whom she beat last week in the $50K in Canada and also in the main draw of the Sony back in March. Top seed Timea Babos and No. 3 seed Melanie Oudin are in the other semifinal.
Duval and partner Francoise Abanda of Canada, who were finalists last week in Saguenay, won the doubles title today in Toronto. Unseeded, the teens defeated No. 2 seeds Oudin and Jessica Pegula 7-6(5), 2-6, 11-9.
In New Braunfels, Southern California's Danielle Lao, who is just beginning her pro career after graduating this spring, won her sixth straight match, reaching the semifinals after qualifying. Lao advanced when Madison Brengle retired down 7-6(5), 2-2. She will play No. 6 seed Anna Tatishvili of Georgia in the semifinals. Two-time NCAA champion Nicole Gibbs, who is unseeded, beat No. 4 seed Maria Sanchez 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the semifinals, where she will play Kostova.
At the Charlottesville $75,000 Challenger, No. 7 seed Rhyne Williams reached the semifinals with a 7-6(4), 6-4 win over No. 2 seed Somdev Devvarman. He will play unseeded Peter Polansky of Canada Saturday. The other semifinal will feature unseeded Jesse Levine of Canada against No. 3 seed Michael Russell, who beat wild card Jarmere Jenkins 6-3, 7-6(4) tonight.
Mitchell Frank of the University of Virginia has withdrawn from the USTA/ITA Indoor, not due to injury, but rather to play in the Knoxville and Champaign Challengers that close out the Pro Circuit season in the United States. Maybe my regard for history is too great, but Frank has an opportunity to join a exceptionally elite group by winning a fourth singles major in college, and he would have been one of the favorites in New York. New Mexico's Samir Iftikhar, the Mountain regional finalist, will replace Frank.
The ITA Division III team preseason rankings were released yesterday, with both the Williams men and women at No. 1. Both won the NCAA titles last May. The top 10 men's teams:
4. Washington University
7. Cal Lutheran
8. Trinity (Texas)
10. Johns Hopkins
The top 10 men's players:
1. Abhishek Alla, Carnegie Mellon
2. Skyler Butts, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
3. Oliver Loutsenko, Skidmore
4. Sam Geier, Kenyon
5. Paxton Deuel, Trinity (Texas)
6. Luke Trink, Bowdoin
7. Eric Halpern, Emory
8. Jake Humphreys, UW-Whitewater
9. Andrew La Cava, Whitman
10. Deepak Sabada , Chicago
The top 10 women's teams:
7. Johns Hopkins
9. Carnegie Mellon
There are no national individual preseason rankings for women.
Complete rankings can be found at the ITA ranking page.