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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Former Kentucky All-American Agostinelli Dies in Motorcycle Accident; Tiafoe Beats Fritz at BNP Paribas Open; Four Americans in G1 Banana Bowl Quarterfinals; Cal Women Return to No. 1 in ITA Rankings

Tennis journalist Stephanie Myles of Yahoo Sports Canada reported this morning that Tennis Canada coach and former University of Kentucky All-American Bruno Agostinelli died in a motorcycle accident Wednesday night in Toronto. Agostinelli, who reached the NCAA singles quarterfinals in 2009, his senior year at Kentucky, had been coaching 14-and-under players at Tennis Canada's National Training Centre after playing on the tour briefly post graduation.  I had an opportunity to catch up with Agostinelli last spring at the North American qualifying for the ITF World Junior Tennis competition in Boca Raton, and we spoke about how much he enjoyed coaching young players.  Agostinelli is survived by his wife of less than a year and a newborn son.

Kentucky coach Cedric Kauffman spoke of the shock and sadness at Kentucky following the tragic news of Agostinelli's death in this Lexington Herald-Leader article. Tennis Canada also issued a statement with its condolences.

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In the first round of the BNP Paribas Open today in Indian Wells, Frances Tiafoe defeated Taylor Fritz 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 to earn his first ATP Masters 1000 win and to extend his winning streak over his fellow 18-year-old to four matches.  Tiafoe had beaten Fritz in the ITF B1 Pan American Closed final in 2013, the Easter Bowl quarterfinals in 2014, and the Kalamazoo back draw in 2014 prior to today's meeting.


Comments from both Fritz and Tiafoe can be found in this article from the tournament website. (A correction to the article: Tiafoe did not get 93% of his first serves in in the first set. He did win 93% of his first serve points.)

Five American men qualified for the main draw yesterday: Ryan Harrison, Bjorn Fratangelo, Alex Sarkissian, Tim Smyczek and Noah Rubin.  Harrison defeated Dusan Lajovic of Serbia 6-3, 7-6(3) tonight to advance to the second round. Rubin and Rajeev Ram are playing now.

Qualifier Nicole Gibbs won her first round match yesterday and will play Madison Keys, the No. 23 seed, in the second round.

At the ITF Grade 1 Banana Bowl in Brazil, two US girls and two US boys have advanced to the quarterfinals, with another US boy in the quarterfinals still a possibility.

Caty McNally defeated Rafaella Baquerizo of Ecuador 6-4, 6-0 and fellow 14-year-old and doubles partner Natasha Subhash beat No. 7 seed Melany Solange Krywoj of Argentina 7-5, 7-5. Both McNally and Subhash are in the top half of the draw and will meet in the semifinals if both win on Friday. McNally and Subhash are also through to the doubles semifinals.

Oliver Crawford and No. 2 seed Ulises Blanch are both through and are also in the same half of the draw.  Crawford defeated No. 3 seed Toru Horie 6-3, 6-3, and Blanch beat Matias Soto of Chile 6-3, 6-2. Blanch will face Vasil Kirkov in the quarterfinals if Kirkov can get through his third round match with No. 7 seed Gabriel Decamps of Brazil, which was interrupted by rain.

The weekly ITA rankings were released on Tuesday, and the major change was the Cal women returning to the No. 1 position after Ohio State had taken it from them the week before.  North Carolina continued to occupy the top spot in the men's rankings.

Individual rankings were released this week, with Dominik Koepfer of Tulane staying at No. 1 in the men's rankings.  Hayley Carter of North Carolina has moved into the No. 1 spot in the women's rankings, and, with Whitney Kay, is also No. 1 in the doubles rankings.

Complete rankings can be found at the ITA website. Bobby Knight has his usual detailed analysis of the rankings at College Tennis Today, and also has posted an interesting comparison of ITA individual rankings with Universal Tennis Ratings.

MEN:
March 8                                          March 1
1
    North Carolina
                          1
2
    Ohio State
                          4
3
    TCU
                          3
4
    Virginia
                          2
5
    Oklahoma State    
                          5
6
    UCLA
                          6
7
    Texas A&M
                          8
8
    Illinois
                         11
9
    Wake Forest
                          7
10
    Texas Tech
                         10


WOMEN:
March 8                                      March 1
1
    Cal
                          2
2
    Ohio State
                          1
3
    Georgia
                          7
4
    North Carolina
                          3
5
    Vanderbilt
                          8
6
    Michigan
                          4
7
    Texas Tech
                          5
8
    Duke
                          6
9
    Miami
                         21
10    Virginia                         16


6 comments:

News Flash! said...

Rajeev Ram defeats Noah Rubin 7-6(3), 7-6(2) in the first round of Indian Wells

Lin said...

Look for a shift in the Women's ITA D1 rankings next week. Last night, the #12 University of South Carolina women beat defending NCAA champion #5 Vanderbilt 4-3.

Real tennis is still better said...

There is some things certain about no ad scoring - it makes the matches unpredictable and rankings crazy every week. While some people may feel there are more teams in the chase this way, I think it is unfortunate that the best teams are not necessarily the ones winning. As predicted, the end result is based on a lot of luck rather than traditional tennis skill. It has made it a bit more recreational in tone. There are a lot of teams that are only contenders because of the new scoring. While some may see it as interesting, it is certainly watered down tennis. The teams that won all the years prior to this year with traditional scoring will remain the only true NCAA Champions in my mind.

Haters want to hate hate hate said...

News flash- Ram v. Rubin was unreal tennis. That kid will be Top 100 for sure. He is a winner - unreal competitor who looks a ton better. He has a top 20 win his year and a top 100 win. American men's tennis on the upswing. Would love to hear these blog haters try to say anything different. 16 players in the main draw of Indian Wells. Five qualified out of 12 spots. Would love to hear what the group thinks?

Em said...

This "group" wishes all the best to US tennis teens and hopes they have great careers! Who are these blog haters? Who in their right mind wouldn't wish all the best to bunch of kids starting their careers?

Keep it up said...

Solid tennis by Rubin against Ram, who is in the best form (and highest ranking) of his career