My Recap of Michigan's Victory over Yale; Young Named to Replace Isner at Davis Cup; Rybakov, Kenin, Arconada in Grade 1 Semis; Stanford Women, Virginia Men Retain Top Rankings
Much of the discussion at Sunday's ITA Kickoff Weekend final between Michigan and Yale centered on the format change, and in my recap, posted today at The Tennis Recruiting Network, Michigan's head coach Ronni Bernstein and No. 1 player Emina Bektas give some of their thoughts. It's still early in the experiment of using a match tiebreaker in lieu of a third set; I intend to discuss it with as many coaches as I possibly can at the women's Team Indoor next weekend to gauge its popularity, at least among the upper echelon of Division I women's tennis.
Davis Cup weekend begins tomorrow, and the United States received some bad news today when John Isner was declared out of the tie with Great Britain, due to the ankle problem that caused him to retire in Australia. Donald Young, who was in San Diego with the team, I presume because there was always doubt about Isner's condition, will substitute for Isner. This is Young's first appearance in Davis Cup, and he will take on Andy Murray in the first match, with Sam Querrey facing James Ward in the second match Friday. The Bryan brothers will be playing doubles for the United States against Colin Fleming and Murray, although former Virginia star Dominic Inglot was also named to the team, so he could play if Murray doesn't.
Eighteen-year-old Nick Kyrgios of Australia will make his debut in the world group first round tie with France.
There are many, many former college players competing for their countries, and at least two current ones tapped for singles. Nik Scholtz of Ole Miss is playing for South Africa against Monaco, and John Morrissey of Stanford is playing for Ireland against Belarus.
For a complete list of all the nominations, see tennispanorama.com.
At the ITF Grade I in Ecuador, three Americans have reached the semifinals. Top seed Sonya Kenin defeated No. 6 seed Maria Herazo Gonzalez of Colombia 7-5, 3-6, 6-0 to set up a meeting with fellow 15-year-old Usue Arconada. Arconada, the No. 9 seed, defeated No. 15 seed Luisa Stefani of Brazil 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 in the quarterfinals. The other girls semifinal is between No. 4 seed Olga Fridman of Ukraine, who has won the last two South American Grade 1s, and No. 2 seed Greetje Minnen of Belgium, who beat No. 8 seed Dasha Ivanova of the US 6-1, 6-2.
Three of the top four seeds in the boys draw have reached the semifinals, with the lone exception No. 6 seed Alex Rybakov of the US. Rybakov beat No. 2 seed Joao Menezes of Brazil 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals and will play No. 3 seed Matias Zukas of Argentina. Top seed Nicolas Alvarez of Peru will play No. 4 seed Orlando Luz of Brazil, with Luz beating No. 9 seed Henrik Wiersholm of the US 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in today's quarterfinals.
The new ITA team rankings were released on Wednesday, with the defending NCAA champion Stanford women and Virginia men keeping the No. 1 positions. With no real upsets on the women's side during Kickoff Weekend, there was little movement there; on the men's side, Kentucky and Ole Miss dropped out of the Top 10 after Kickoff weekend losses, with Pepperdine and Vanderbilt also moving down. Texas moved up six spots and Notre Dame moved up seven spots. Mississippi State and Texas A&M moved into the Top 10. The ITA release is here.
The rankings page is available here.