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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

My Interview with USTA Player Development GM Martin Blackman; Ohio State Women Move to No. 1; ITF Grade 1 in Paraguay Underway; Fritz Feature; Shape Invitational Results


When I was in Florida last month, I had an opportunity to sit down with USTA Player Development General Manager Martin Blackman to talk about his first few months on the job.  If you have any interest in American tennis, whether it is junior, college or pro (and why would you be on this site if you didn't?) you should read what Blackman says about his priorities, restructurings, innovations and yes, mistakes, in this article at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

The ITA Division I team rankings were released today and Ohio State moved to No. 1, passing Cal, which still has yet to lose a match (the Buckeyes are 21-1, with the loss to Cal in the Team Indoor Championships).  Ohio State had never been ranked higher than 17th before this year. In the men's rankings, North Carolina and Virginia remained 1 and 2, with Northwestern moving into the Top 10. Unusual to see more ACC(3) and Big 12(3) schools in the men's Top 10 than the SEC(1) and Pac-12(1) combined. No individual rankings were released this week. The link to the complete list of rankings is available by clicking on the headers below.

WOMEN:
March 1                                         Feb 23
1
    Ohio State
                          2
2
    Cal
                          1
3
    North Carolina
                          6
4
    Michigan
                          3
5
    Texas Tech
                          8
6
    Duke
                          9
7
    Georgia
                          5
8
    Vanderbilt
                          4
9
    LSU
                         12
10
    Oklahoma State
                         11

MEN:
March 1                                        Feb 23
1
    North Carolina
                          1
2
    Virginia
                          2
3
    TCU
                          8
4
    Ohio State
                          3
5
    Oklahoma St     
                          9
6
    UCLA
                          4
7
    Wake Forest
                          5
8
    Texas A&M
                          7
9
    Northwestern
                         15
10
    Texas Tech
                          6

Last week Division II team rankings were released for the first time in 2016, with Armstrong State No. 1 in the women's rankings and Barry No. 1 in the men's rankings.

In ITF junior action this week, the first of the South American Grade 1s, the Asuncion Bowl in Paraguay, is underway, with seven US boys and nine US girls in the main draw.  The boys: Tristan McCormick, JJ Wolf(7), Trent Bryde, Zeke Clark(10), John McNally, Gui Gomes(Q) and Nathan Ponwith(2).  This marks the 17-year-old Ponwith's first junior competition of 2016.  The girls: Caty McNally, Natasha Subhash, Chiara Lommer(Q), Ellie Douglas, Katya Townsend(Q), Morgan Coppoc(3), Victoria Emma, Sabina Dadaciu and Raquel Pedraza.  The top seeds are both Japanese, Yosuke Watanuki, who won the Grade 2 Argentina Cup last week, and Mai Hontama, who won the Grade A Osaka Cup in Japan last fall.

The Grade 3 in Costa Rica, always popular with Americans, has 14 US boys and 15 US girls in the 32-player singles draws.  Both top seeds are American: Liam Caruana and Kariann Pierre-Louis.

To mark his entry this week into the ATP Top 100, where he is currently No. 81, Taylor Fritz was the subject of this feature by the ATP's Josh Meiseles. In addition to many comments from Fritz, the article also provides a quote from Pete Sampras and insight from Fritz's mother, former WTA Top 10 competitor Kathy May.

The first two matches of the round robin portion of the Shape Invitational for American collegiate women are complete, with the final round and the semifinals scheduled for Wednesday.  The winner will receive a main draw wild card into the WTA's Volvo Car Open in Charleston next month. Tuesday's results:

Round 1:
Group # 1: Lauren Herring (B) defeated Katherine Schofield (A), 6-0, 6-4
Group #2: Beatrice Capra (B) defeated Chloe Gullickson (A) 6-0, 6-3
Group #3: Liza Fieldsend (B) defeated Caroline Dailey (A) 6-0, 6-2
Group #4: Makenna Jones (A) defeated Sydney Campbell (B) 6-4, 3-6, 1-0(6)

Round 2: 
Group # 1: Jacqueline Pelletier (C) defeated Katherine Schofield (A) 4-6, 7-6(3), 1-0(7)
Group #2: Frances Altick (C) defeated Chloe Gullickson (A) 6-1, 6-4
Group #3: Kaitlyn McCarthy (C) defeated Caroline Dailey (A) 4-6, 7-6(3), 1-0(2)
Group #4: Makenna Jones (A) defeated Paige Cline (C) 3-6, 6-3, 1-0(3)

Singles schedule: 
Tuesday, March 1st, 9am - Round One (A vs B)
Tuesday, March 1st, 1pm - Round Two (A vs C)
Wednesday, March 2nd, 10am - Round Three (B vs C)
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2pm - Semifinals (Winner from Group 1 vs Winner from Group 3, Winner from Group 2 vs Winner from Group 4)

Thursday, March 3rd, 11am - Finals

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