Oracle and ITA to Sponsor New Junior Masters Championships; Four Americans Reach Round of 16 at ITF Grade 1 Santa Croce; Ewing Among Qualifiers in Naples $25K
The ITA today announced additional collaboration with Oracle, the company that has sponsored several collegiate events and the rankings since partnering with the ITA last year.
Using the Universal Tennis Rating system for entry, Oracle and the ITA are introducing the Oracle/ITA Junior Masters Championships, tournaments which will take place during August and September of this year. According to the ITA:
"The top 16 UTR-rated boys and girls who register in each region will participate in compass draws in those regional events with the winner of both the girl’s and boy’s events progressing to the October 14-16, 2016 Oracle/ITA Masters in Malibu, California – hosted by both the Malibu Racquet Club and Pepperdine University. The regional winners will receive up to a $750 travel/hotel stipend to play in the Masters Championships in Malibu."
These dates conflict with the ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed in Tulsa, so I presume they are targeting juniors who have not chosen the ITF pathway. The format will be no-ad in these junior tournaments, which makes sense given the tie-in with Division I tennis, but I'll continue to stick to covering the events that play traditional scoring. Entries open on June 1st at universaltennis.com.
The release also provides news of a major change to the Oracle Masters, held last September for the first time in Malibu. The location remains the same, but the date has been changed to October 13-16, and invitations will be given based on conference representation, with this spring's conference Players of the Year selected if they are returning for 2016-17. If not, the conference's selection will be based on 2016's final ITA ranking. The draw is being increased from 16 to 32 to accommodate this change. A mixed doubles competition will also be added to this year's event.
Oracle, whose co-CEO Mark Hurd played college tennis at Baylor, will also take over the presenting sponsorship of the fall Small College Championships, renaming it the Oracle Cup. The regional championships will also be sponsored by Oracle.
The complete release, which includes comments from ITA CEO Tim Russell, Hurd, Harvard men's coach Dave Fish and ATP player council president Eric Butorac, is available at the ITA website.
In second round action today at the ITF Grade 1 in Santa Croce, three US boys and one girl picked up victories. Unseeded Oliver Crawford defeated No. 16 seed Francisco Vittar of Argentina 6-4, 6-3, while No. 10 seed Sam Riffice needed nearly four hours to outlast Great Britain's Ewan Moore 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(2). No. 3 seed JJ Wolf advanced when his opponent, Italian wild card Samuele Ramazzotti, retired trailing 2-1 in the first set. No. 12 seed Vasil Kirkov fell to wild card Andrea Guerrieri of Italy 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
No. 13 seed Taylor Johnson was the sole US girl to advance, beating qualifier Elisa Vinsentin of Italy 6-0, 6-1. She will play top seed Katie Swan of Great Britain, who earned a tough 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 win over Vanessa Wong of Canada. No. 5 seed Morgan Coppoc was defeated by Nika Shytkouskaya of Belarus 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. Coppoc wasn't the only high seed to fall, with No. 2 Charlotte Robillard-Millette of Canada ousted by Ylena In-Albon of Switzerland 7-5, 6-1.
Qualifying is complete at the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Naples, with several teenagers advancing to the main draw with victories today. Seventeen-year-old Maria Shishkina will be playing in her first main draw of the year after beating No. 2 seed Piia Suomalainen of Finland 6-2, 7-6(2). Fifteen-year-old wild card Salma Ewing will make her debut in the main draw of a USTA Pro Circuit event after defeating Salome Devidze of Georgia 6-3, 6-0. Eighteen-year-old Sophie Chang, the top seed in qualifying, is through to the main draw, as is 17-year-old Sofia Munera Sanchez of Colombia. In a first round main draw battle of teenagers, wild card Caroline Dolehide defeated Usue Arconada 6-4, 6-3.