115th Ojai Underway; Austin and Austin Win SEC Player of the Year Awards; Liu Out of Junior Fed Cup Qualifying with Injury; Stewart Beats Konta in Dothan
The Southern California tennis festival that is the Ojai tournament is underway, for the 115th year, and while the centerpiece is usually the PAC-12 tournaments, there's plenty of other tennis to follow this weekend.
The Men's Open began today, with Canadian Philip Bester the top seed in the 32-draw, with Connor Farren No. 2, Clay Thompson No.3 and Haythem Abid No. 4. I presume Farren's appearance in the Open draw means he will not be playing for the USC Trojans when they begin team play Friday against the winner of tonight's UCLA-Washington match.
The Women's Open starts Friday, with Emma Higuchi the top seed in the 16-player draw. The No. 2 seed is Ena Shibahara, Felicity Maltby in No. 3 and Megan McCray is No. 4.
There is a total of $22,500 in prize money available in the Open tournaments.
In the CIF tournament for boys high school players, which began today, Michael Genender and Connor Hance are among the favorites, with Brandon Holt and Riley Smith also in the draw.
Top juniors competing in the Girls 18s are Ryan Peus, Seira Shimizu and Kenadi Hance.
In the Pac-12 women's tournament, which, unlike the men, continues to be an individual tournament, Giuliana Olmos of Southern Cal and Chanelle Van Nguyen of UCLA are the top two seeds. UCLA's Jennifer Brady, the defending champion, is not seeded after taking the fall off and playing little this spring due to an injury. She needs to pick up some good wins this week to qualify for the NCAA singles tournament next week.
Stan Smith is being honored at tonight's opening barbecue and will be the featured guest at a wine reception/fundraiser for the tournament on Friday. For more on Smith's experience at The Ojai, see this recent interview.
For links to all the draws, see the tournament's website.
The ACC has announced its women's awards, with North Carolina's Jamie Loeb named Women's Player of the Year and North Carolina's Brian Kalbas named Coach of the Year. Miami's Sinead Lohan was named the Freshman of the Year.
With its postseason tournaments completed, the SEC has announced its award winners for both men and women.
Brooke Austin of Florida was named SEC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. Vanderbilt's Geoff Macdonald was named Coach of the Year. The list of the All-SEC teams can be found here.
Gonzales Austin of Vanderbilt was chosen as the SEC men's Player of the Year, with Steven Denton of Texas A&M the Coach of the Year and Wayne Montgomery of Georgia the Freshman of the Year. The list of the All-SEC teams can be found here.
The USTA sent out a release regarding the upcoming Junior Fed Cup, Junior Davis Cup and World Junior Tennis North/Central American qualifying in Boca Raton next weekend, which I will be covering onsite, with the news that Easter Bowl champion Claire Liu will not be participating due to injury. Kayla Day will be joining CiCi Bellis and Michaela Gordon on the Junior Davis Cup team. The boys Junior Davis Cup team is Sam Riffice, Gianni Ross and Vasil Kirkov. The 14-and-under boys team is Govind Nanda, Adam Neff and Brandon Nakashima. The 14-and-under girls team is Hurricane Tyra Black, Caty McNally and Amanda Anisimova.
At the $50,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Dothan, 17-year-old wild card Katerina Stewart beat WTA 147 Johanna Konta of Great Britain 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals, where she will face Samantha Crawford. It's Stewart's first quarterfinal at the $50,000 level. Louisa Chirico, Jessica Pegula and wild card Alexandra Stevenson are the other Americans to have reached the quarterfinals. Fourth seed Chirico will play Pegula, while Stevenson faces Paula Goncalves of Brazil. There are no seeds remaining in the top half of the draw.