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Friday, March 20, 2015

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.


Brent said...

How can Connor Farren make the semis of a Futures and not crack top 6 for USC? This hurts my head.

Big picture said...

Because his overall team results were consistently poor and the other guys deliver the wins. One good event does not a player make.

J R Johnson said...

And, he can't crack the top 6 of a team that just lost to another team that had 6 foreign professional tennis players on it. One of their sophomores played 34 pro tournaments last year. He quartered 4 times and got to the semi's twice and earned over $15K in prize money. Wonder what his freshman report card looked like? Tomorrows final of Baylor with 6 foreign players and Oklahoma with 4 foreign players should be great for tennis in our country!

bystander said...

I'm seriously starting to get sick and tired of all the complaining about how all these tennis teams and chalked full of foreigners. Do you really think a team like Tulsa or Baylor really could compete with a team like USC or Texas if they didn't recruit internationally? Bottom line, these coaches get paid to win and they are going to recruit the players who can help them win. Take a look at the top kids who have already committed for the 2016 class. You will see the same 6 or 7 schools: ucla, usc, stanford, florida, texas, North Carolina, Texas, etc. That doesn't leave much left for the other schools. If we want more Americans on teams, we need to build stronger players. It's a simple numbers game.

5.0 Player said...

Bystander - wake up. The vast majority of the people who advocate putting a limit on the number of foreign scholarships do not blame the coaches who are resorting to every legal trick in the book to keep their jobs. That's why the NCAA, ITA and/or USTA must put a rule in place to prevent the coaches from doing this.

Also, take a look, but the vast majority of the top teams ALSO have a lot of foreign players. Look at Ohio State, USC, Duke, Virginia, Cal, Texas, Miss., Miss. State, and especially Oklahoma and Baylor. All teams must be prevented from doing this mercenary/hired gun garbage.

And, it won't matter how good the US players get, any coach will ALWAYS tap the international market for ADDITIONAL foreign players regardless because the US will never have a monopoly on ALL of the best players in the entire world. We are only one country.

Look at the facts, the reality and the logic before you make a statement which was at a similar level of "analysis" to that Daniel poster a few days ago.

Quit blaming the American players like Daniel tried to. It was a good thing that he got slammed on this board for that.

Sick and tired too. said...

To Bystander, I am sick and tired of this level of entitlement that state schools should have a tennis team that is 100$ chocked full of foreigners.

I am sick and tired of paying taxes to support my state school and their foreign tennis team....

See how that works? I can stick the words,
"sick and tired" too.

We ( uh Americans) are asking for a cap of two men per team.

Then no team can stack their team with older foreigners that seem to be graduating at age 23, and 24 over and over again.

No one is blaming the coaches, this decision has to come from above... Unfortunately the tennis governing bodies don't care at all about American tennis for the boy down the street, just their chosen few.

Brian said...

Bystander, check out the many countries on the round thing called a globe. If Americans had to compete for spots at school for math, we would have no Americans at our American universities. I didn't realize we had set up this grand educational system in the US for all foreign tennis teams. And you wonder why no one yawns when they drop a tennis team.

J R Johnson said...

It is one thing to have foreign players and it is another to have professional foreign players, which is what so many of these teams are filled with. College is supposed to be for amateur players. The amount of money that some of these players are making is clearly way outside of the rules. Compliance departments from all of these shady schools pull every BS move conceivable to sneak 20+ year old freshman in. They have kids who can barely speak English on academic scholarship. The whole thing is a farce.

UVa fact checker said...

5.0 player,
you need to take Virginia off your list of teams with "a lot" of foreigners.

This year's team has 1 foreigner among the top 7-8. Last year's team was All-American in the top 8 guys.
The National Championship team had 1 foreigner in the top 8 (Uriguen at #6).

In fact, UVa has had more Americans in their top 6-8 than most in recent years, especially among the top teams

5.0 Player said...

Thanks UVA Fact Checker. I will take UVA off my list. I stand corrected and can admit when I'm wrong.

missing one said...

Throw Oklahoma on the list, they have a half foreign players, last year their senior was two weeks shy of 25 when playing the NCAAs.

New Junior tournaments? said...

Does it seem like the futures and women pro events going on are drawing in more teenagers? Is it a slow time or are more kids playing these events? Whether they should be or not it another matter...