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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

New Tournament for College Players to Award WTA Main Draw Wild Card in Charleston; Top Seeds Out in Australian Open Juniors; Ong, Leustian Reach Last 16 in Tarbes; ITA Rankings Change Little

There's some exciting news for college tennis today. The WTA's Volvo Car Open, known for many years as the Family Circle Cup, is sponsoring a tournament for college players that will result in a main draw wild card for the Charleston, South Carolina, event April 4th through the 10th. The wild card tournament, called the Shape Magazine Invitational, will be held March 1st through the 3rd, and feature four round robin groups of four players, with the four group winners advancing to the semifinals.

The winner will receive a main draw wild card into the WTA Premier event, with the finalist receiving a qualifying wild card.  According to the release (the full release can be found here), women eligible "must be affiliated with a NCAA school, either as a current player, past player (within the last three semesters), or with a signed letter of intent or verbal agreement for Fall 2016."  The format for group play will feature a tiebreaker in lieu of a third set, with the semifinals and finals the best of three tiebreak sets. There is no mention of no-ad, so I assume it is not being used. Schools mentioned in the release are Georgia, Alabama, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, South Carolina, Duke and College of Charleston, but no player names are given. I will post the names when I receive them.

As of January 28, here are the participants:
Chloe Gullickson, Virginia fall 2016
Lauren Herring, Georgia, 2015
Frances Altick, Vanderbilt senior
Sydney Campbell, Vanderbilt junior
Jamie Loeb, North Carolina 2015
Makenna Jones, Alabama fall 2016
Liz Fieldsend, College of Charleston junior
Kaitlyn McCarthy, Duke freshman
Beatrice Capra, Duke senior
Caroline Dailey, South Carolina junior
Paige Cline, South Carolina freshman
Alexa Graham, North Carolina fall 2016

The quarterfinals at the Australian Open Junior Championships are set, with the surprises absent in the first four days coming all at once in Wednesday's third round.

Bianca Vanessa Andreescu of Canada, the top seed, withdrew with a foot injury prior to her match with wild card Baijing Lin of Australia. Lin and qualifier Sara Tomic of Australian will meet for a place in the semifinals. The remaining girls matches went according to seed. No. 4 seed Anna Kalinskaya of Russia will play No. 5 seed Vera Lapko of Belarus; No. 9 seed Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland faces No. 16 seed Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine; and No. 8 seed Anastasia Potapova of Russia plays defending champion and No. 2 seed Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia.

The 1, 2 and 4 seeds exited from the boys draw Wednesday. Perhaps the least surprising was wild card Oliver Anderson's 6-4, 6-3 win over top seed Mate Valkusz of Hungary.  Anderson had qualified for the ATP event in Brisbane with wins over Tim Smyczek and Dennis Novikov and won a round in the Australian Open men's qualifying, so he is obviously playing some great tennis right now.  That goes for his fellow wild card Max Purcell, who has not lost a set in reaching the quarterfinals. Like the Australian girls, they play each other for a place in the semifinals.

No. 15 seed Kenneth Raisma of Estonia quickly dispatched No. 4 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada 6-3, 6-1 and will play No. 5 seed Yunseong Chung of Korea in the quarterfinals.  In the one quarter that has gone according to seed, No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece will face No. 6 seed Alex De Minaur of Australia. Tsitsipas did not face a break point in his 6-4, 6-4 victory over Liam Caruana, the last American in the tournament.

Last year's semifinalist Djurabeck Karimov of Uzbekistan is closing in on another appearance in the last four, but he will need to get past No. 13 seed Yosuke Watanuki of Japan, who outlasted No. 2 seed Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia 4-6, 6-2, 8-6.  Watanuki, who was hitting some amazing backhands throughout the match, served for the match at 5-4 and 6-5 before finally holding after breaking Kecmanovic for a third straight time.

Complete draws can be found at the Australian Open website.

At the Grade 1 in Ecuador, Taylor Johnson has reached the quarterfinals, beating fellow American Amanda Meyer 6-1, 7-6(3) in today's third round. Johnson is the only US junior still alive in singles.

Two Americans have advanced to the round of 16 at Les Petits As: No. 12 seed Vanessa Ong and No. 8 seed Stefan Leustian.  Ong defeated Lissi Kubre of Estonia 6-3, 6-4, and Leustian downed Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard of France 6-2, 6-4.  Nicolas Garcia and Victoria Hu both lost in today's second round.  Ong and Alexa Noel have advanced to the doubles quarterfinals, as have Garcia and Zane Khan and Leustian and Faris Khan.

The ITA ranking were released today, with one team, the UCLA women, falling out of the Top 10, and the Oklahoma State women moving into the Top 10.  The complete rankings can be found by clicking on the links below.

MEN:
Jan 27                                            Jan 20
1
    Virginia
                          1
2
    Oklahoma
                          2
3
    TCU
                          3
4
    Texas A&M
                          5
5
    Baylor      
                          4
6
    Georgia
                          6
7
    Illinois
                          7
8-T
    USC
                          8
8-T
    Ohio State
                          9
10
    North Carolina
                         10

WOMEN:
Jan 27                                            Jan 20
1
    Vanderbilt
                          1
2
    Georgia
                          4
3
    Florida
                          3
4
    USC
                          2
5
    North Carolina
                          5
6
    California
                          6
7
    Virginia
                          8
8
    Stanford
                          7
9
    Texas A&M 
                         10
10
    Oklahoma State
                         11

The Tennis Recruiting Network's men's recruiting class January rankings are out, with Georgia unanimously selected as No. 1.

The Top 10:
Georgia
USC
Duke
Illinois
Notre Dame
Columbia
South Florida
California
Harvard
Penn State

1 comments:

sportsmanship said...

Wait for it…wait for it…there it is..serving at 3-6-6-6, 5-6 in second set TB…Fritz Dbl Faults and heaves his racquet….only thing worse than seing the toss of his racquet, or seeing Duckworth play..not a big duckworth fan…and seeing fritz move side to side…one word comes to mind…"awkward"…seems way to flat footed…Is listening to the USTA Announcer on the Live Stream…. and Dave…don't know bloogers babies r us ..or not impressed….:)