My Conversation with John McNally on His Ohio State Commitment; Brady, Tatishvili, Townsend Still Fighting for French Open Wild Card; ITF Junior Update
While at the Easter Bowl, I had an opportunity to talk with John McNally and his mother Lynn, who is also his coach, about his recent verbal commitment to Ohio State. The article from those conversations is up today at the Tennis Recruiting Network.
The quarterfinals were completed today at the $75,000 Women's USTA Pro Circuit event in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida and the plot for the USTA's French Open wild card has certainly thickened. No. 3 seed Anna Tatishvili defeated Grace Min 7-5, 6-1 to eliminate Min from contention for the wild card, but two other contenders won. Jennifer Brady, who a year ago was preparing for the NCAA team event while a sophomore at UCLA, defeated top seed Shelby Rogers 7-6(1), 6-2 to stay alive in the competition. She will play Tatishivili in Saturday's semifinal, with the loser eliminated, but the winner one step closer to the title. The leader in the race for the wild card, Taylor Townsend, also won, beating No. 4 seed Alexandra Panova of Russia 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. Townsend will play friend and doubles partner Asia Muhammad in the semifinals, and if she wins, she will clinch the wild card. Muhammad, who is not in contention for the wild card, advanced when qualifier Bernarda Pera gave her a walkover in their quarterfinal match.
Townsend can also clinch the wild card if Muhammad wins the tournament. If either Brady or Tatishvili wins the tournament, they will win the wild card. Although Townsend already won last week's Charlottesville tournament, that $50,000 event offered fewer points than this week's tournament, and even though Townsend has by far the most points in all three events included in the Wild Card Challenge, only the two best count.
This is the time of year that many US juniors head to Europe to prepare for the two Grade A tournament on clay. Next week is the Grade 1 warmup to the Italian Open in Santa Croce, Italy with nine US boys and four US girls accepted into the main draw. Brian Cernoch, who is the No. 1 seed in qualifying in Santa Croce, reached the quarterfinals of this week's Grade 2 in Austria, while Chiara Lommer is in the singles semifinals and doubles final at the Grade 2 in Italy. Trent Bryde, who received direct entry into Santa Croce, played the Grade 1 in Morocco this week, reaching the semifinals in singles and winning the doubles title with Alexander Donski of Canada.
Closer to home, at the Grade 4 in Delray Beach, the singles finals are set, with three of the four finalists from the US. Fourteen-year-old Katie Volynets, a qualifier, will play No. 3 seed Jimena Rodriguez-Benito for the girls title. Volynets took out No. 4 seed Whitney Osuigwe 7-5, 6-2 today, while Rodriguez-Benito defeated Meg Kowalski 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.
The boys final has wild card Brian Berdusco playing unseeded Nicolas Mejia of Colombia. Berdusco defeated Ammar Alhogbani of Saudi Arabia 6-2, 6-2 and Mejia advanced by beating Easter Bowl 16 finalist Lukas Greif, a wild card, 6-3, 6-4.
The doubles finals were played today in Delray Beach, with Zane Khan and Danny Thomas taking the boys title over Christian Alshon and Tyler Zink 7-5, 6-3 in a battle of unseeded teams. The girls doubles champions are unseeded Angelica Blake and Kowalski, who beat top seeds Dalayna Hewitt and Alana Smith 7-5, 7-6(5).