BNP Paribas Women's Qualifying Draw; Top-ranked Duke Women Beat UNC; Virginia, Georgia Men Win; Rola Claims Challenge Title; Johns Hopkins Women Repeat as D-III Women's Indoor Champions
Qualifying begins on Monday for the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, after the rain-delayed pre-qualifying finished on Saturday. Nick Meister beat former UCLA teammate Dennis Novikov 7-6(5), 6-2 in the semifinals, while Dan Kosakowski, another former Bruin, beat 16-year-old Taylor Fritz 6-2, 6-2. Meister and Kosakowski did not play the final however, when Kosakowski learned he had advanced into the qualifying draw based on a protected ranking, so Meister was declared the recipient of the wild card reserved for the pre-qualifying winner.
The women's pre-qualifying final was played, with Australian Anastasia Rodionova beating former North Carolina All-American Sanaz Marand 7-6, 6-0 in the final. Marand had an excellent tournament however, beating top seed Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-2 in the quarterfinals and taking out Mayo Hibi 7-6, 6-4 in the semifinals. Frequently, the finalist also receives a wild card with late withdrawals, etc., but not this year. See the tournament website's events page for complete pre-qualifying draws.
All of the Americans in the women's qualifying draw received entry via wild cards. Grace Min will play top seed Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic, Irina Falconi faces No. 5 seed Camila Giorgi of Italy, Madison Brengle meets No. 24 seed Romina Oprandi of Switzerland and Allie Kiick plays No. 19 seed Mandy Minella of Luxembourg. The 18-year-old Kiick will be particularly motivated in her match with Minella, after losing 6-0, 6-0 to her in the semifinals of the $50,000 Captiva Island Challenger last November. The complete draw can be found here. The men's qualifying draw will be revealed on Monday, although it was announced that UCLA's Marcos Giron received a wild card, so he, Clay Thompson, Kosakowski and Meister will give the Bruins two alumni and two current players in the draw.
Ohio State's 2013 NCAA singles champion Blaz Rola won his first ATP Challenger title in singles over the weekend at the $50,000 plus hospitality tournament in Guangzhou, China. The left-hander from Slovenia, seeded second, beat No. 4 seed Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3 in the final. With the title, Rola will be ranked inside the ATP Top 130 for the first time in his career.
Former Illinois All-American Kevin Anderson reached his second consecutive ATP final in Acapulco, and the 27-year-old South African has also reached a career-high in the ATP rankings: 18. Anderson, the 2006 NCAA doubles champion (with Ryan Rowe), won the doubles title in Acapulco, with Australian Matt Ebden.
In high-profile college matches this weekend, the top-ranked Duke women repeated their Team Indoor quarterfinal win over over North Carolina, taking down the No. 11 Tar Heels 5-2 in Durham. Jamie Loeb did avenge her Charlottesville loss to Trice Capra by a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 score, but the team match had already been decided, with Duke getting the doubles point and wins from Rachel Kahan, Ester Goldfeld and Hanna Mar. A complete recap can be found at the Duke website.
If you think the University of Virginia men are actually the tenth-best team in the country (few do), then they claimed two upset wins this weekend in Charlottesville. On Saturday, the Cavaliers beat No. 8 Baylor 6-1 and today they downed No. 6 Notre Dame by the same score, with Mitchell Frank not playing against the Fighting Irish. Expect Virginia's ranking to reach a more appropriate elevation on Tuesday.
Speaking of jarring ranking numbers, Georgia at No. 35 is certainly one, but today the Bulldogs traveled to Knoxville and defeated the No. 11 Volunteers 4-0. Georgia won the doubles point by taking lines 2 and 3 in tiebreakers, after Tennessee had won at 1. Singles wins came from Austin Smith at 1, Nick Wood at 6 and Hernus Pieters at 5.
Top-seeded Johns Hopkins defended their Division III Women's Team Indoor title, beating No. 3 seed Carnegie Mellon 8-1 in today's final at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind.
Last year, Johns Hopkins came from 4-2 down to beat Carnegie Mellon 5-4; this year, the Blue Jays were much more dominant, with a 6-3 semifinal win over No. 4 seed Pomona-Pitzer the closest match they had. In today's final, Carnegie Mellon's only point came in doubles, with Johns Hopkins sweeping the singles. For the ITA's account of the championship match, click here.