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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Q and A with Caroline Dolehide; Day, Higuchi Among Rancho Santa Fe Qualifiers; First Computer Rankings Name USC Men, UNC Women No. 1

When I was in Midland earlier this month I spoke with 16-year-old US Open Junior semifinalist Caroline Dolehide about her experience at her first high-level pro event, her thoughts on college vs. professional tennis, Novak Djokovic's influence on her game and her move to online schooling. That interview can be found at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

The final round of qualifying at the $25,000 women's Pro Circuit event in Rancho Santa Fe, California is now complete, with 17-year-old Emma Higuchi and 15-year-old Kayla Day among those earn a place in the main draw.  Day, who has played only two other Pro Circuit tournaments, both last year at this time and each time losing in qualifying, beat three fellow teenagers to advance: Riley McQuaid, No. 12 seed Ellie Halbauer(both in three sets) and today, unseeded Charlotte Petrick of Canada, 6-4, 6-2.

After beating former Clemson start Kerri Wong in the first round, Higuchi took out top seed Chloe Paquet of France(WTA 375) Monday, and advanced to the main draw of a $25,000 for the second straight week, having made it through in Surprise as well, by defeating Oleksandra Korashvili of Ukraine 7-6(4), 6-1. Higuchi still has some work to do in matching her best Pro Circuit showing however, as she reached the quarterfinals as a qualifier last year in Rancho Santa Fe.

Katherine Sebov of Canada, Natalia Vikhlyantseva of Russia and Mari Osaka of Japan are other teens who reached the main draw through qualifying.

At the $10,000 men's Futures in Sunrise, Florida, Tommy Paul and Dennis Uspensky both advanced to the second round. The 17-year-old Paul, who received a special exemption from qualifying due to reaching the quarterfinals last week in Plantation, beat Temur Ishmailov of Uzbekistan 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. The 18-year-old Uspensky beat fellow wild card Sekou Bangoura (Florida) 6-2, 6-4.  The remaining 11 first round matches will be played on Wednesday.

The first computerized team rankings were released today by the ITA, with the Oklahoma men dropping to No. 2 and Southern California retaking its spot at the top. The North Carolina women retained the No. 1 ranking they earned with their win at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. As usual, the first computer rankings provide some surprises, with the Virginia men dropping to No. 11 and the Miami women to No. 20 for example, but generally those issues work themselves out over the course of the next two months. Also check out College Tennis Today, which has discovered two errors in the ITA's calculation of the men's team rankings.

The Top 10 Men's Teams:
1. Southern Cal
2. Oklahoma
3. Illinois
4. Duke
5. Baylor
6. Texas
7. Georgia
8. Ohio State
9. Texas A&M
10. Mississippi

The Top 10 Women's Teams:
1. North Carolina
2. Georgia
3. Florida
4. Southern Cal
5. Virginia
6. Baylor
7. Stanford
8. Cal
9. Alabama
10. Michigan

Virginia has nabbed the top spots in both the men's and women's individual singles rankings.

The Top 10 men:
1. Thai Kwiatkowski, Virginia
2. Ryan Shane, Virginia
3. Mackenzie McDonald, UCLA
4. Soren Hess-Olesen, Texas
5. Sebastian Stiefelmeyer, Louisville
6. Yannick Hanfmann, Southern Cal
7. Axel Alvarez, Oklahoma
8. Nicolas Alvarez, Duke
9. Gonzales Austin, Vanderbilt
10. Brayden Schnur, North Carolina

The Top 10 women:
1. Julia Elbaba, Virginia
2. Maegan Manasse, Cal
3. Robin Anderson, UCLA
4. Carol Zhao, Stanford
5. Brooke Austin, Florida
6. Lauren Herring, Georgia
7. Chanelle Van Nguyen, UCLA
8. Jamie Loeb, North Carolina
9. Josie Kuhlman, Florida
10. Stephanie Wagner, Miami

The top-ranked doubles teams are Clemson's Beatrice Gumulya and Jessy Rompies and Vanderbilt's Austin and Rhys Johnson.

For the entire list of men's and women's team and individual rankings, see the ITA website.