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Friday, March 25, 2016

Adam Ambrozy on Selecting Columbia; Gibbs Keeps Rolling in Miami; World Team Tennis Draft; Li Upsets Gordon to Reach Final in Newport Beach Grade 4

Earlier this month in Mobile, I had an opportunity to talk with blue chip Adam Ambrozy about his commitment to Columbia for the fall of 2016. I had spoken to Ambrozy after he qualified for the Eddie Herr last year, and again after he qualified for the Plantation Futures last month, but this conversation was the first that centered on his college choice. This Tennis Recruiting article, which also features comments from his coach Scott Dei, provides some insight into how the Ivy League recruiting process differs from the Division I schools who offer athletic scholarships.

Nicole Gibbs, who is at a career-high of 74 in the WTA rankings, has been playing great tennis of late, having qualified at the BNP Paribas Open and won three rounds there before falling to Petra Kvitova in three sets.  This week she received a wild card into the Miami Open, and she has picked up two wins, with today's 6-2, 6-4 victory over No. 27 seed Kristina Mladenovic of France putting Gibbs into the third round against No. 4 seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain.

CoCo Vandeweghe had a big win over 2015 finalist and No. 6 seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-4, 6-2 and will play No. 32 seed Monica Niculescu of Romania next.  No. 22 seed Madison Keys, who lost to Gibbs in Indian Wells, won her first match since the Australian Open when she defeated Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-4, 6-2.

Men's 2012 NCAA champion (Gibbs won the women's title that year) Steve Johnson advanced to the third round with a 7-6(9), 7-6(3) win over Alexander Zverev of Germany.

Taylor Fritz hung with No. 8 seed David Ferrer of Spain in the opening set of their second round match, holding two set points--one at 5-6 with Ferrer serving, the other at 6-5 serving in the tiebreaker--but he was unable to convert either and ended up on the wrong end of a 7-6(6), 6-1 decision.  After the 75-minute first set, Fritz looked tired and as if he might have tweaked something that kept him from serving with his usual effectiveness, but he kept fighting, even after going down 5-0 15-40 in the second set.  The 18-year-old saved four match points to hold for 5-1 and another as Ferrer served for the match, but on his sixth attempt, Ferrer closed out the victory.  With both Top 10 opponents he's played in the past two months, Fritz has shown he can be competitive at that top level, but sustaining it over the course of a match is a bigger task. Yet the opportunity to play the Ferrers and Nishikoris is vital to his development and improvement, which is proceeding faster than anyone could have imagined just six months ago.

The order of play for Saturday, which will feature the first matches of the tournament for Jack Sock, John Isner and Sam Querrey, is here.

Mylan World Team Tennis held its draft today, with Gibbs among the eight former college players selected for the six teams that will compete this summer.  The season is later than usual this year, from July 31-August 13, instead right after Wimbledon, as it has been in the past. The rosters, which are still subject to change, are below.

At the Newport Beach Grade 4, 15-year-old Ann Li, ranked 326 and seeded No. 5, defeated top seed Michaela Gordon, ranked 43, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 to earn a place in Saturday's singles final.  Li will play No. 3 seed Carson Branstine, who took out No. 2 seed Hanna Chang 6-4, 6-2.  Li and Branstine played last year in a Grade 2 round of 16, with Branstine taking a 7-6(1), 6-3 decision.

The boys final will feature No. 6 seed Keenan Mayo against No. 4 seed Govind Nanda.  Mayo beat No. 3 seed Ming Chun Alan Sou of Hong Kong 6-3, 7-6(9), while Nanda outlasted unseeded Jenson Brooksby 6-3, 5-7, 7-5.  Mayo and Nanda met in the final of the Grade 3 Costa Rica Bowl just a few weeks ago, with Mayo winning 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.

Li has already earned one title, regardless of the outcome of Saturday's singles final. She and Elysia Bolton, the No. 1 seeds, beat unseeded Chloe Beck and Emma Navarro 6-4, 4-6, 10-6 in the doubles final. The boys doubles championship went to Great Britain's Luke Hammond and Matthew Story, the No. 3 seeds, who beat top seeds Sou and Ching Lam, also of Hong Kong, 6-3, 6-3 in the final.


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