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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Men's D-I Sweet Sixteen Missing 4 Seeds; Nine American Men Begin French Open Qualifying Monday; 21 US Juniors in Milan Grade A Main Draw

The men's Division I Sweet Sixteen is set after ten second round matches today, with four seeded regional hosts failing to advance to Tulsa.  Yesterday action saw No. 15 Illinois go out to Mississippi State, and by early afternoon another seed was out, in the most excruciating fashion, with No. 12 seed Texas A&M falling 4-3 to Texas in a match decided in a third-set tiebreaker.  The Aggies had won the doubles point yesterday when rain washed out play for the day, with Texas looking good in the singles.  Texas took a 3-1 lead, but A&M tied it, with the match coming down to George Goldhoff of Texas and Arthur Rinderknech of A&M at line 1.  Goldhoff trailed 3-0 in the final set, then led 5-3 and had a match point on the deuce point serving at 5-4. He lost that, and trailed 4-1 in the tiebreaker, but played some high quality tennis to take the next five points. He missed an overeager forehand into the net on the first match point, but finished with a backhand winner to send Texas to the Sweet 16.

Another 4-3 win to a visiting team came in Evanston, Illinois, where Stanford defeated Northwestern to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2012.  That match also came down to No. 1 singles, with two Chicago-area players competing in front of their hometown fans.  Stanford's Tom Fawcett outlasted Northwestern's Konrad Zieba 5-7, 6-0, 6-4 to deliver the win to the 29th-ranked Cardinal.  Jonathan Kelley was in Evanston for the regional; his coverage is available at On The Rise, A Tennis Blog.

Stanford's No. 29 ranking was not the lowest to advance to Tulsa however. That honor goes to SMU, ranked No. 30, who closed the day's action by defeating No. 8 seed Texas Tech 4-2.  The match, delayed due to weather until 6:30, went in the Mustangs favor from the start. They took the doubles point and got wins from their Hunter Johnson, Nate Lammons and Samm Butler at lines 1, 2, and 3 to close out the Red Raiders.

Today's men's regional final results:
Virginia(1) def. Penn State 4-1
Oklahoma State(16) def. Arkansas 4-0
Florida(9) def. South Florida 4-0
SMU def. Texas Tech(8) 4-2
Ohio State(5) def. Virginia Tech 4-2
Texas def. Texas A&M(12) 4-3
Cal(13) def. Ole Miss 4-0
Georgia(7) def. Baylor 4-1
North Carolina(2) def. Tulane 4-0
Stanford def. Northwestern(14) 4-3

Saturday's men's regional final results:
TCU(4) def. LSU 4-0
UCLA(3) def. San Diego 4-0
Oklahoma(11) def. Oregon 4-2
Wake Forest(6) def. Michigan 4-2
Southern Cal(10) def. Georgia Tech 4-2
Mississippi State def. Illinois(15) 4-0

The matchups and times (Eastern) for the men's Sweet 16 on Friday, May 20:

Virginia(1) vs. Oklahoma State (16) 1 p.m.
Florida(9) vs. SMU 1 p.m.

Ohio State(5) vs. Texas 10 a.m.
California(13) vs. TCU(4) 10 a.m.

UCLA(3) vs. Stanford 8 p.m.
Oklahoma(11) vs. Wake Forest(6) 8 p.m.

Georgia(7) vs. Southern Cal(10) 5 p.m.
Mississippi State vs. North Carolina(2) 5 p.m.

The men's draw is here.

The women's draw is here.

Men's qualifying for the French Open begins on Monday, with nine Americans included in the 128-player field, three of whom are seeded.
Unlike junior ITF draws, pro draws do not protect players of the same country from meeting in the first round, and one of two Kalamazoo champions, 2012's Dennis Novikov and 2014's Noah Rubin, will be eliminated when they play tomorrow.  Novikov is the No. 32 seed.

2015 French boys champion Tommy Paul plays Adrian Menendez-Maceiras of Spain and Daniel Nguyen, who is competing in the French qualifying for the first time, faces another Spaniard, No. 7 seed Roberto Carballes Baena.  No. 9 seed Tim Smyczek plays Adrian Ungur of Romania and reigning Kalamazoo champion Frances Tiafoe has drawn Guilherme Clezar of Brazil. Ryan Harrison will meet Alessandro Giannessi of Italy, Stefan Kozlov will play Grega Zemlja of Slovenia and No. 29 seed Jared Donaldson faces Denys Molchanov of Ukraine.

The draw is here and Monday's schedule is here.  Pay special attention to the matches on Court 6, as, according to the tournament website, some of those matches will be shown on Tennis Channel in the United States.  Women's qualifying will begin on Tuesday.

Qualifying is complete at the Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan, with American boys having a banner day.  Of the seven who started in qualifying, five won the required three matches over two days: Trent Bryde, Oliver Crawford, Alexandre Rotsaert, Alafia Ayeni and Patrick Kypson.  They join Sam Riffice, JJ Wolf, Nathan Ponwith, Brandon Holt and Vasil Kirkov as unseeded players in the main draw. The two US boys seeded are No. 5 Ulises Blanch and No. 12 John McNally.  The boys field is particularly strong, with multiple seeds who have recently made the finals or won Futures, including Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who won a $10,000 event yesterday in Greece, the third of his career. He is the No. 2 seed; top seed Yosuke Watanuki of Japan won two $10,000 Futures last month.

There are nine US girls in the 64-player draw, including Chiara Lommer, who qualified.  The only seeded American girl is Amanda Anisimova, who is No. 1; the other US girls in the draw are Morgan Coppoc, Caty McNally, Ellie Douglas, Claire Liu, Natasha Subhash, Maria Mateas and Taylor Johnson.  No. 2 seed Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine won a $25,000 ITF Women's Circuit tournament in March, and No. 5 seed Olesya Pervushina of Russia won the title at a $10,000 ITF tournament in Italy today.

Live scoring is available via Tennis Ticker.

At the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Naples, wild card Valeria Solovyeva of Russia defeated Kayla Day 6-4, 6-0 to win her second career singles title and first since 2010.  Solovyeva has had the bulk of her success in doubles, with 2 WTA titles and 9 ITF titles, but at only 23, she has every reason to concentrate on singles after this result.