Crawford, Blanch to Meet in Banana Bowl Semifinals; Florida State Hands No. 1 North Carolina Men First Loss; Pro Circuit Update
At least one American will be in the ITF Grade 1 Banana Bowl on Sunday, with Oliver Crawford and No. 2 seed Ulises Blanch meeting in Saturday's semifinals after victories today.
The 16-year-old Crawford, who is unseeded, dropped his first set of the tournament against No 8 seed Nicola Kuhn of Germany, but came back to post a 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory. Blanch, who had a first round bye as a seed, earned his third consecutive straight-set win, beating No. 7 seed Gabriel Decamps of Brazil 6-3, 6-1. Decamps had beaten Vasil Kirkov 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in a rain-delayed second round match.
Both Caty McNally and Natasha Subhash lost in the singles quarterfinals and doubles semifinals, leaving the US without any girls playing this weekend.
The qualifying draws for next week's Grade A in Porto Alegre Brazil have been posted. Usue Arconada and Amanda Anisimova, who have not played on the ITF South American circuit this year, lead the American acceptances.
Although rain has caused many college tennis delays and postponements throughout the country today, two of the men's conference matches that were completed were significant upsets.
In the biggest, No. 51 Florida State defeated No. 1 North Carolina 4-3, handing the Tar Heels their first loss of the season. The host Seminoles won the doubles point and got singles victories from Aziz Dougaz at line 4, Benjamin Lock at line 1, and the clincher from Marco Nunez at line 2. Florida State had lost to then-unranked Miami 4-3 last weekend and yet beat the top-ranked team five days later. There's not much more that needs to be said about parity in Division I men's tennis than those two results. An account of Florida State's win can be found here.
The other surprise came in the SEC, when No. 7 Texas A&M went to No. 32 Arkansas and lost 5-2 to the Razorbacks. Arkansas lost the doubles match, then won five of six singles, with Michael Redlicki beating Arthur Rinderknech 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 at line 1 and Jose Salazar defeating Shane Vinsant at line 2 7-6(5), 7-5 to clinch the victory. The box score for that match can be found here.
In USTA Pro Circuit action at the $10,000 tournament in Weston, Florida top seed Katerina Stewart has reached the semifinals in singles and the finals in doubles. Stewart will play former ITF Junior No. 1 Shilin Xu of China, the No. 3 seed in a battle of 18-year-olds. No. 4 seed Chanelle Simmonds of South Africa will play unseeded 17-year-old Nina Alibalic of Croatia in the other semifinal. Stewart is playing doubles with Tess Sugnaux of Switzerland.
The semifinals are set at the $25,000 Futures in Sherbrooke, Canada, with teens Stefan Kozlov and Felix Auger-Aliassime advancing to the final four. Kozlov, the No. 6 seed, defeated Hugo Nys of France 6-4, 7-6(5), while 15-year-old wild card Auger-Aliassime downed qualifier Mico Santiago 7-6(4), 6-3. Kozlov will play former ITF World Junior Champion Filip Peliwo of Canada, a qualifier, in the semifinals. Auger-Aliassime will face 2015 NCAA doubles champion Lloyd Glasspool of Great Britain in the other semifinal. Glasspool, the former Texas Longhorn, beat No. 5 seed Eric Quigley 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.
Keith-Patrick Crowley of South Africa and Max Schnuur, the No. 2 seeds, won the doubles title today, beating the British pair of Luke Bambridge and Liam Broady, the No. 3 seeds, 3-6, 7-6(3), 10-6.
At the $25,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Brazil, fifth-seeded Robin Anderson has reached semifinals, with the former UCLA Bruin defeating Conny Perrin of Switzerland 6-4, 6-3 in today's quarterfinals. Anderson will play No. 2 seed Cindy Burger of the Netherlands in the semifinals.
Two-time NCAA singles champion Nicole Gibbs, who qualified at the BNP Paribas Open this week, is into the third round after beating No. 23 seed Madison Keys 6-3, 6-3. Other US winners so far today include CoCo Vandeweghe, who beat No. 16 seed Svetlana Kuznetsov of Russia 6-4, 6-3, and qualifier Bjorn Fratangelo, who defeated Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia 6-4, 6-4 for his first ATP-level victory. Fratangelo will play world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the the second round.