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Monday, May 16, 2016

D-III Quarterfinalists Set for Kalamazoo; Five US Men Advance to French Open Qualifying Second Round, 13 US Women in French Open Qualifying Draw; Seven US Juniors Advance to Milan Grade A Second Round

The NCAA Division III Team Championships are different from the Division I version, with eight teams advancing to the finals site, not 16. Over the weekend, the 43 men's teams and 49 women's teams were reduced to eight, who will begin play next Monday in Kalamazoo.  As you can see from the photo, the Stowe Stadium courts are currently being resurfaced for the tournament.

Although none of the survivors are obscure (and all are ranked in the Top 20 except the Johns Hopkins men), seeds were knocked out, but only a couple were genuinely unexpected, both on the men's side.  For instance, in the women's draw, No. 3 seed (and third-ranked) Pomona-Pitzer had to go against unseeded (but fourth-ranked) Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the round of 16, and CMS came out on top 5-3, in a match that finished after 8 p.m. Pacific time Sunday. I can't imagine the howls that would ensue in Division I if No. 3 UCLA and No. 4 TCU had to play in a men's regional final. Such is the geographic nature of the Division III tournament however, as unfair as it must seem to a strong region.

The women's matchups (if not seeded, I've provided national ranking in brackets) with next Monday's times and sites:

Emory(1) vs Washington St. Louis[10]  Stowe, NB 2 pm
Amherst(4) vs Middlebury[5] Western Michigan, NB 2 pm

CMS[4] vs Bowdoin(6) Western Michigan, NB 5 pm
Williams(2) vs Chicago(7) Stowe, NB 5 pm

The men's matchups, also next Monday:

Emory(1) vs. Kenyon[17] Stowe, 8:30 am
Bowdoin(4) vs. Johns Hopkins[26] Western Michigan, 8:30 am

Middlebury(3) vs. Washington St Louis(6) Western Michigan, NB 11 am
Chicago(7) vs. CMS(2) Stowe, NB 11 am

You'll notice that although there are 16 teams, only ten schools are represented, with both men and women's teams from Emory, Bowdoin, Middlebury, Washington-St. Louis, Chicago and CMS sending both men's and women's teams to the final site.

For more on some of the top performances in the men's regionals, see the Division 3 Tennis blog.

At the French Open men's qualifying today, US men went 5-4, with Dennis Novikov's 6-3, 6-4 win over Noah Rubin accounting for one win and one loss. Frances Tiafoe was down 6-1, 4-2 to Guilherme Clezar of Brazil, got the break back, then fell behind serving at 5-5, 0-40. He held, broke and went on to post a 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 win.  Tommy Paul defeated Adrian Menendez-Maceiras of Spain 7-6(4), 7-6(6), saving a set point in the tiebreaker.  Ryan Harrison defeated Alessandro Giannessi of Italy 6-3, 6-2 and Jared Donaldson advanced when Denys Molchanov of Ukraine retired at 4-5 in the first set.  Stefan Kozlov, Daniel Nguyen and Tim Smyczek lost in three sets.

The women's qualifying draw came out today, with matches beginning on Tuesday.  A total of 13 US women will be competing for the 12 main draw spots, with Louisa Chirico the top seed.  The other 12 are Katerina Stewart*, Vania King*, Sachia Vickery*, Kristie Ahn*, Anna Tatishvili(7)*, Jennifer Brady*, Jessica Pegula*, Julia Boserup*, Melanie Oudin*, Lauren Davis(10), Grace Min and Robin Anderson*. Those with asterisks are on Tuesday's schedule.

In first round action today at the Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan, seven US juniors claimed wins: Sam Riffice, Nathan Ponwith, Brandon Holt, John McNally(12), Claire Liu, Maria Mateas and Natasha Subhash. JJ Wolf, Vasil Kirkov, Ellie Douglas and Taylor Johnson lost, with the ten other US juniors, including six qualifiers, beginning play on Tuesday. Quite a few first round doubles matches were also played today.  Live scoring is available at Tennis Ticker.