Fifteen US Juniors Receive Direct Entry into French Open Junior Championships; Auburn's Shore Retires; Pac-12, Big Ten Women's Awards Announced; Chirico Reaches Madrid Semifinals; Pro Circuit Update
The acceptances for the French Open Junior Championships have been released, with six US boys and eight US girls receiving direct entry into the year's second slam, which begins May 29th in Paris.
As is always the case with the French, the cutoff is extremely high; this year a boy had to be 47 in the ITF junior rankings to get in, with only two of Top 45, Michael Mmoh and Sweden's Mikael Ymer not competing, as of now. There is one player, Daniel Altmaier of Germany, who received entry based on his ATP ranking of 723. A boy ranked of 750 or higher receives direct entry into the main draw.
The US boys receiving entry are Ulises Blanch, John McNally, JJ Wolf, William Blumberg, Nathan Ponwith and Sam Riffice. Vasil Kirkov is the next player into the main draw, with Brandon Holt and Oliver Crawford in the qualifying draw. Easter Bowl champion Gianni Ross is currently an alternate, but just one out of qualifying.
The US girls receiving entry are Amanda Anisimova, Kayla Day, Usue Arconada, Sonya Kenin, Alexandra Sanford, Maria Mateas, Michaela Gordon, Morgan Coppoc and Caty McNally. Kenin will be playing her first junior tournament of the year in Paris, not counting the Junior Masters last month in China. Mateas is currently competing in a $10,000 tournament in Croatia, where she qualified and has reached the quarterfinals.
The girls cutoff is 51, with several of the top ITF junior girls passing on the French this year, including Australian Open champion Vera Lapko of Belarus, currently No. 1, and 2015 US Open champion Dalma Galfi of Hungary, currently No. 2. Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia, the 2015 Australian Open girls champion and 2016 finalist, is not entered, nor are Junior Masters Champion Anna Blinkova of Russia and Fanni Stollar of Hungary. Tessah Andrianjafitrimo of France, ranked 291 in the WTA, received entry based on that ranking, which must be inside 400 for main draw entry.
US girls in qualifying are Taylor Johnson, Kylie McKenzie, Ellie Douglas, Natasha Subhash and Claire Liu.
Auburn's coach Eric Shore has retired after 26 years heading the men's program. Auburn made the NCAA tournament 20 of the 26 years he was the coach, although they did not this year. For more on Shore's career with the Tigers, see this announcement. Three Power 5 schools--Arizona, Arizona State and Auburn--are now looking for head coaches for their men's programs.
The Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences announced their women's year-end awards this week.
Player of the Year: Maegan Manasse, Cal
Freshman/Newcomer of the Year: Olivia Hauger, Cal
Doubles Team of the Year: Manasse and Denise Starr, Cal
Coach of the Year: Shelia McInerney, Arizona State
The all-conference selections are here.
Freshman of the Year: Francesca Di Lorenzo, Ohio State
Coach of the Year: Melissa Shaub, Ohio State
Ohio State swept all year-end awards for both men and women this year. The women's all-conference selections are here.
Yet to be released are the men's awards for the Pac-12 and Big 12 and the women's awards for the Big 12.
The final rankings for Division I team, singles and doubles were released today, and these are the last rankings until after the NCAAs have been completed. I discussed the changes the committee made to the top 16 seeds' positions in Tuesday's post, and with two exceptions, the seedings in singles and doubles that I posted yesterday follow the rankings released today.
The two exceptions are Jared Hiltzik of Illinois, who is ranked 16th, but not seeded in favor of Georgia's Austin Smith. I don't see any head-to-head that would explain that change. And in men's doubles, Oklahoma State's Julian Cash and Arjun Kadhe are ranked tenth, but were seeded, ahead of No. 8 Arthur Rinderknech and Jackson Withrow of Texas A&M and No. 9 Filip Bergevi and Florian Lakat of Cal. Again, no justification for that change that I can find.
In pro news, Louisa Chirico has advanced to the semifinals of the WTA Premier tournament in Madrid, after defeating Daria Gavrilova of Australia 7-6(1), 6-2. Chirico, who wasn't even sure she would get into to qualifying, will break into the WTA Top 100 for the first time on Monday, regardless of the result of her match against Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia. For more on Chirico's breakthrough, see the WTA website.
At the $75,000 women's tournament in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida two rounds were played today as the result of a complete washout on Wednesday. Seven of the eight quarterfinalists are Americans, with four of them still in the hunt for the French Open wild card. Taylor Townsend leads that competition and she plays the only non-American remaining, Alexandra Panova of Russia, the No. 4 seed. Grace Min and Anna Tatishvili will meet in another quarterfinal, with the loser eliminated from the wild card race. Jennifer Brady can also overtake Townsend if she wins the tournament; she plays top seed Shelby Rogers in Friday's quarterfinals.
Rain also washed out play on Wednesday at the $10,000 men's Futures in Tampa, with two rounds played today. The only American left in the draw is No. 2 seed Sekou Bangoura, Jr. Recent USC graduate Roberto Quiroz of Ecuador defeated top seed Tennys Sandgren 1-6, 6-1, 6-2. Sixteen-year-old Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia is continuing to find success at the Futures level, reaching the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Nathan Pasha, the former Georgia star.