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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

More Rain Leaves First Round of French Junior Championships Incomplete; Fritz, Galfi Honored as 2015 ITF Junior Champions; Georgia Men, LSU Women Top Recruiting Class Rankings; D-I ITA Awards

After a complete washout on Monday, only seven first round French Open junior matches were finished today, with five matches in progress and five yet to start.

Sonya Kenin, the No. 10 seed, kept the US girls' perfect first round record intact, beating University of Georgia recruit Eleni Christofi of Greece, a qualifier, 6-1, 6-2, joining six other US girls in the second round.  Three more, No. 2 seed Amanda Anisimova, Michaela Gordon and Maria Mateas, did not take the court for their first round matches.

Only two US boys had yet to play their first round matches, with No. 15 seed John McNally, like the three US girls above, yet to start his first round match. Sam Riffice, in one of the seven matches completed today, lost to Patrik Rikl of the Czech Republic 7-5, 3-6, 6-1.

The most prominent seed to lose in the first round is No. 4 seed Yosuke Watanuki of Japan, who won the Grade A at Porto Alegre, Brazil. He was beaten by Geoffrey Blancaneaux of France 6-3, 6-3.  Top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece got off to a very slow start against Daniel Altmaier of Germany, who received main draw entry based on his ATP ranking, but ITF's top-ranked junior now leads 4-6, 6-1, 3-2 with play suspended.

The schedule for Wednesday is packed, of course, with all US juniors playing their first or second round matches. The four US women remaining in the draw--Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Shelby Rogers and Madison Keys--are also scheduled to play Wednesday.

The ITF has been providing daily stories by Sandy Harwitt even with all the rain. Today's article features Nicola Kuhn, who recently changed his country affiliation from Germany to Spain.

Tom Tebutt spoke with Belgium Grade 1 champion Benjamin Sigouin of Canada about his first round 7-6(0), 6-2 comeback over qualifier Francisco Vittar of Argentina in this post, which also features the news of the engagement of Taylor Fritz and Raquel Pedraza, which the longtime couple shared on twitter last night.

Fritz was honored, along with Hungary's Dalma Galfi, as World Junior Champions, at the ITF's annual dinner in Paris tonight.

During the past two weeks, the Tennis Recruiting Network has published its spring recruiting class rankings for the class of 2016.  Not all the commitments are complete and accurate (Lexi Milunovich is no longer Stanford, but now Harvard, for example), but it's an opportunity to see who is going where in one article.  The men's top recruiting class is Georgia, the women's top recruiting class is LSU.

I usually have an opportunity to post the Division I ITA Award winners before the start of the team finals, but this year I was in the middle of covering the semifinals of the Division III team events, so that fell by the wayside.

Today, the ITA announced that Virginia's Brian Boland was named men's Coach of the Year, the one ITA award that is not announced prior to the team finals.  Below is the list of awards, with the complete release by the ITA available here:

Women's Awards:

Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year: Amanda Augustus, University of California, Berkeley

ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Chris Hooshyar, Auburn University

ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award: Taylor Ng, Dartmouth College

ITA/Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship: Julia Elbaba, University of Virginia

ITA Senior Player of the Year: Danielle Collins, University of Virginia

ITA Most Improved Senior Player of the Year: Frances Altick, Vanderbilt University

ITA Player to Watch: Brooke Austin, University of Florida

ITA Rookie of the Year: Luisa Stefani, Pepperdine University

Men's Awards:

Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year: Brian Boland, University of Virginia

ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Tripp Phillips, University of North Carolina

ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award: Quentin Monaghan, University of Notre Dame

ITA Senior Player of the Year: Dominik Koepfer, Tulane University

ITA Most Improved Player of the Year: Benjamin Lock, Florida State University

ITA Player to Watch: Mikael Torpegaard, The Ohio State University

ITA Rookie of the Year: Alex Rybakov, TCU