How I'd Change Lineups in College Tennis; Fritz into Champaign Challenger Final; Anisimova, Sanford into Grade A Semifinal in Mexico; Three Teens in Pensacola Semis
Last month Bobby Knight of College Tennis Today wrote a guest post here providing his suggestions for growing college tennis. Only a couple of Bobby's excellent proposals mentioned lineups or format, but I've developed a pet concept of my own about lineup selection that I detailed today for the Tennis Recruiting Network. With drafts now a regular part of the sports landscape, why not set lineups for each dual match in a similar fashion, rather than a exceedingly hard to define and police "order of strength"? I would love to hear from you, pro or con, on what I've proposed. What are the drawbacks? How could it be improved? Does it promote parity, favor stronger teams, or is it neutral?
Taylor Fritz has reached his third Challenger final since October, defeating qualifier Mackenzie McDonald 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-2 in a two-hour battle at the Atkins Tennis Center in Champaign. Fritz, who saved 15 of 15 break points tonight, will play unseeded Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland in Saturday's final, after Laaksonen outlasted qualifier Clay Thompson 5-7 ,6-3, 7-6(2). After a week of multiple scenarios for the distribution of the USTA's Australian Open wild card, it is now simple: if Fritz wins the title, he will when the wild card. If Laaksonen, who will be playing in his first Challenger final, wins it, the wild card will go to Charlottesville champion Noah Rubin.
The doubles final will be between top seeds Austin Krajicek and Nick Monroe and unseeded David O'Hare of Ireland and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain, former University of Memphis players. That begins at 1 p.m. eastern Saturday, with the singles final to follow. Live streaming is available at the ATP Challenger website.
For additional coverage of the Champaign Challenger, visit Jonathan Kelley's On The Rise Tennis blog. He spoke with Clay Thompson after his quarterfinal win last in this post.
Two US girls have reached the semifinals of the ITF Grade A Abierto Juvenil Mexicano: unseeded Amanda Anisimova and No. 11 seed Alexandra Sanford. Anisimova defeated fellow 14-year-old Abigail Desiatnikov 6-3, 6-2 and has yet to lose a set in just her second Grade A tournament. She will play No. 7 seed Evgeniya Levashova of Russia, who took out top seed Sonya Kenin 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. The 16-year-old Sanford, who is into her first Grade A semifinal, beat unseeded Hanna Chang 6-1, 7-6(2) and will play No. 3 seed Katie Swan of Great Britain. Swan survived against Sofia Sewing 7-5, 3-6, 7-5.
Swan and Kenin, the top seeds in doubles, reached the final, where they will play No. 2 seeds Levashova and Anna Blinkova, also of Russia.
No. 8 seed Ulises Blanch, the last US boy still alive, lost to unseeded Genaro Alberto Olivieri of Argentina 2-6 6-3, 6-4. The boys top seed, Mate Valkusz of Hungary, also lost today, falling to No. 12 seed Benjamin Sigouin of Canada 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Live scores, live streaming, draws and schedules can be found at the tournament website.
Rybakov will be looking for his second straight Futures final when he takes on 26-year-old Maximiliano Estevez of Argentina, the No. 6 seed, Saturdya. Estevez defeated Nick Chappell 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4, while Rybakov took out No. 4 seed Wil Spencer 6-2, 6-4.