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Thursday, April 28, 2016

USA Dominates First Day of ITF Junior Team North American Qualifying; Kirkov Reaches Vero Beach Futures Quarterfinals; Emory Men, Women Top Division III Rankings; Men's SEC, ACC, Big Ten and Ivy Year End Awards

Last year I was in Boca Raton for the North American qualifying for the ITF World Junior Tennis competition for 14-and-unders and the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup for the 16-and-unders. The drama was minimal, with the US finishing first in all four events and Canada finishing second, with both qualifying for the World Finals.

After checking that off my bucket list last year, I didn't make the trip this year, but after today's first round robin results, it appears to be more of the same for the US and Canada.  The US won all four of its matches 3-0, with only one of those against Canada. In the 14U girls event, Whitney Osuigwe and Alexa Noel got the singles wins against Canada.  In the Junior Fed Cup, Claire Liu and Amanda Anisimova won their singles matches against Mexico and in Junior Davis Cup, Keenan Mayo and Sebastian Korda picked up singles wins, also against Mexico. In the boys 14U event, Nicholas Garcia and Stefan Leustian won their singles matches against Mexico.

Friday's matches do not feature any US vs Canada matches, with those coming on Saturday, the final day of competition.  For today's complete results and tomorrow schedule, see the ITF tournament website.

Vasil Kirkov lost in the final round of qualifying to fellow teen Hady Habib at the $10,000 Vero Beach Futures, but received entry as a lucky loser when Alejandro Gomez of Colombia withdrew. The 17-year-old from Florida is now into his first Futures quarterfinal after beating Daniel Garza of Mexico, 4-6, 6-4, 4-1 ret.  Kirkov will play former USC star Roberto Quiroz of Ecuador, who outlasted wild card Gianni Ross 6-7(2), 6-4, 7-5. Eighteen-year-old Marcelo Barrios Vera of Chile defeated top seed Gonzalo Escobar of Ecuador 6-4, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals, and the third teenager in the quarterfinals is last week's Orange Park Futures winner Denis Shapovalov of Canada, who squeezed past former Michigan standout Michael Zhu, a qualifier, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(1).

The last rankings for Division III before the NCAAs were released today, with the Emory men and women staying at No. 1.  The NCAAs are here in Kalamazoo this year, and I'll be staying home to cover them instead of traveling to Tulsa for the Division I tournament this year. It's only a six-day tournament, compared to the 12-day Division I NCAAs, with eight men's and women's teams, instead of 16 of each. The individual tournament is a 32 draw that is completed in three days, with first and second rounds on the first day and quarterfinals and semifinals on the second day. The manual for the tournament can be found at ncaa.org.

The men's Top 10 (previous week)
1. Emory (1)
2. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (3)
3. Middlebury (4)
4. Bowdoin (2)
5. Carnegie Mellon (8)
6 Washington St. Louis (7)
7. Case Western (6)
8. Chicago (5)
9. Williams (9)
10. Pomona-Pitzer

The women's Top 10 (previous week)
1. Emory (1)
2. Williams (2)
3. Pomona-Pitzer (3)
4. Claremonth-Mudd-Scripps (4)
5. Middlebury (7)
6. Bowdoin (6)
7. Amherst (5)
8. Wesleyan (8)
9. Chicago (16)
10. Washington St Louis (12)

The ACC, SEC, Big Ten and Ivy League released their men's year-end awards today. You can view the all-conference teams by using the link in the header.

Player of the Year: Chris Eubanks, Georgia Tech
Freshman of the Year: Petros Chrysochos Wake Forest
Coach of the Year: Tony Bresky, Wake Forest

Player of the Year: Diego Hidalgo, Florida
Co-Freshmen of the Year: Alfredo Perez, Florida and Ryotaro Matsumura, Kentucky
Coach of the Year: Bryan Shelton, Florida

Big Ten:
Player of the Year: Mikael Torpegaard, Ohio State
Freshman of the Year: Hugo Di Feo, Ohio State
Coach of the Year: Ty Tucker, Ohio State

Ivy League:
Player of the Year: Shawn Hadavi, Columbia
Freshman of the Year: David Wolfson, Cornell
Coach of the Year: Chris Drake, Dartmouth