Rutledge Commits to Wake Forest; Blumberg, Arconada Reach Grade A Semifinals in Brazil; Liu, Kingsley Advance to $10K Semis; Tiafoe Makes Final Four in Bakersfield
During one of the many rain delays in Mobile last week, I had an opportunity to talk with Eric Rutledge about his commitment to Wake Forest. As a Fort Worth resident, Rutledge's choice to leave Texas is not surprising, as many young people opt to strike out in new directions after high school. In this article for the Tennis Recruiting Network, Rutledge explains his reasons for going east and how a family trip to take unofficial visits after his sophomore year led him to Winston-Salem.
At the ITF Grade A in Porto Alegre Brazil, Usue Arconada and William Blumberg both reached their first semifinal at that level with straight-set victories. No. 3 seed Arconada defeated No. 7 seed Chihiro Muramastu of Japan 6-2, 6-3 to advance to a second straight meeting with No. 2 seed Seone Mendez of Australia, whom she beat in the Banana Bowl semifinals 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-3. Mendez advanced with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Emilie Francatti of Denmark. It's rare for any tournament to feature the top four seeds in the semifinals, let alone a junior one, but that's the case in the girls draw, with No. 1 Julieta Estable of Argentina facing No. 4 seed Luisa Stefani of Brazil on Saturday. Stefani, who defeated No. 10 seed and doubles partner Francesca Di Lorenzo 6-3, 6-2, and Estable, who downed No. 5 seed Maia Lumsden of Great Britain 7-5 6-4, have not met in ITF junior competition before, unusual in that they are from the same continent and are the same age: 17.
Arconada and Di Lorenzo will be vying for the doubles title, although not together. Di Lorenzo and Stefani, the No. 3 seeds, beat unseeded Emiliana Arango of Colombia and Meghan Kelley 7-5, 6-3, while No. 4 seeds Arconada and Francatti defeated No. 6 seeds Alexandra Sanford and Kayla Day 6-4, 6-4.
Blumberg reached the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over unseeded Catalin Mateas, and will face another unseeded player, Alex Di Minaur of Australia, on Saturday. Top seed and defending champion Orlando Luz of Brazil will face No. 10 seed Manuel Pena Lopez of Argentina in the top half of the draw.
Luz will play for the doubles title on Saturday, with Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia, whom he defeated today in singles. The top seeds will play No. 6 seed Felipe Cunha Silva of Portugal and Alejandro Tabilo of Canada, who beat No. 3 seeds Ulises Blanch and Pena Lopez 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals.
All of singles matches in Brazil were decided in straight sets today, and in Orlando, at the USTA Women's Pro Circuit $10,000 tournament, an even shorter day was in store. Two of the four singles matches ended in retirements, and the other two in straight sets, with both doubles semifinals also completed in straight sets.
Fourteen-year-old wild card Claire Liu advanced when 17-year-old Ayan Broomfield of Canada retired trailing 6-1, 3-0, and 16-year-old wild card Raveena Kingsley advanced when Rianna Valdes retired trailing 5-2. Liu will meet top seed Irina Khromacheva of Russia, who beat qualifier Kylie McKenzie 6-3, 6-1, and Kingsley faces qualifier Fanni Stollar, also 16, after Stollar defeated No. 2 seed Katerina Stewart 6-4, 6-3.
Stewart and Stollar will meet again in the doubles final, after she and Katerina Kramperova of the Czech Republic defeated qualifiers Jessie Aney and Michaela Gordon 6-3, 6-1. Unseeded Stollar and Ingrid Neel will play the No. 4 seeds after they beat Andie Daniell and Sophie Chang 6-3, 6-3.
In the $15,000 Bakersfield Futures, Francis Tiafoe reached his third career Futures semifinal, all of this year, defeating No. 3 seed Darian King of Barbados 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. King, ranked 271, won a $10,000 Futures in Panama in his previous tournament. Tiafoe will now face former USC Trojan Emilio Gomez, the No. 8 seed. Gomez defeated top seed Fabiano De Paula of Brazil 7-6(5), 6-0.
Georgia recruit Walker Duncan, 18, picked up a huge win last night to reach the quarterfinals, beating No. 2 seed Gianni Mina of France 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 and is currently playing former UCLA Bruin Maxime Tabatruong of France. Connor Farren and Tommy Paul will play later to decide the fourth semifinalist.
At the BNP Paribas Collegiate Challenge, Oklahoma defeated Purdue 4-0 and will play Columbia in Saturday's semifinals, after the Lions downed Cal 4-1. Southern Cal got its revenge on Tulsa, who shocked them at home last month, cruising to a 4-0 win. The Trojans will play the winner of the Baylor-BYU match, currently in progress. Live streaming of two courts is available via Playsight, who provide the ITA Men's Indoor streaming last month.