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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

ITF Team Qualifying Recap; Oosterhout Upsets Top Seed Townsend; NCAA Final Lineups Posted; Assorted Features on Young Pros

My recap of the three days of North/Central American qualifying for the ITF team events is available today at the Tennis Recruiting Network. It was my first opportunity to cover an ITF team competition and although it was short on drama, I'm sure the US is happy with four first-place finishes and a chance to compete again with the other 15 teams seeking a world championship.

Qualifying was completed at the $50,000 Pro Circuit event in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida, which is the third and final tournament which will decide the USTA's French Open wild card.  Louisa Chirico, one of the three women still in the running for the wild card, qualified today with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Sonya Kenin, and although she would have been seeded under the men's ITF rules, she is not seeded in the main draw, despite having the second highest WTA ranking of any of those in the main draw.  She drew Justyna Jegiolka of Poland for her first round,  and cannot meet Katerina Stewart or Allie Kiick, her two rivals for the wild card, until the finals. Kiick and Stewart could meet in the semifinals.

Chirico will not have to face top seed and defending champion Taylor Townsend, who was playing her first match since Indian Wells today.  Townsend, who won the reciprocal wild card to the French Open last year, lost to 17-year-old Harvard recruit Erica Oosterhout 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. The wild card, ranked 894 to Townsend's 115, kept her composure and didn't beat herself, while Townsend looked rusty and often impatient.

Oosterhout was not the only incoming freshman with a big win today, as wild card Rianna Valdes, who will be joining the Southern Cal team this fall, defeated No. 4 seed Patricia Tig of Romania, ranked 179, 6-2, 6-3.

Live streaming of the tournament is available through the USTA Pro Circuit website.

The final NCAA Division I lineups, which have gone through the challenge process, have been posted.  The lineups for the men's teams are here.
The women's lineups are here.

Several features on young pros came out in the past several days.  Hyeon Chung of Korea, one of just two teenagers in the ATP Top 100, had a conversation with Hyung-taik Lee, the 39-year-old Korean who reached the ATP rank of 36 back in 2007, the highest ranking of any man from that country.

A detailed look on Reilly Opelka's decision to turn pro, with quotes from Jay Berger, Tom Gullikson, Lagardere's Sam Duvall and Justin Gimelstob, can be found at Flaglerlive.com.  Lisa Stone also spoke at length with Reilly's father George for her weekly blog radio show, which can be found here.

Christian Harrison is back on the court, playing points and preparing for a return late this summer, according to this article from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Few players, save maybe Brian Baker, have every dealt with so many injuries and illnesses, and they are all detailed here. Everyone who knows Christian is hoping all that is behind him and he can have a stretch of good health that will allow him to compete regularly.

Jon Wertheim spoke with Frances Tiafoe about his recent success, the French wild card, his coaching situation and Jay-Z in this article for Sports Illustrated.


ih said...

thanks for sharing..