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Friday, October 28, 2016

My Interview with Wake Forest's Tony Bresky; Min, Day and Collins Advance to Macon $50K Semifinals; Atlanta G4 ITF Finals Set; Ayeni Defeats Top Seed in ITF Grade 2 in Japan

I don't get the opportunity to talk to Division I college coaches quite as much as I used to, now that I am not traveling to college tennis events, but I try to make up for that when I see them on the recruiting trail.  Earlier this month in Tulsa, I spoke with Wake Forest men's head coach Tony Bresky, who is now in his sixth year with the Demon Deacons, after eight years as an assistant at Virginia and one year as head coach at Cornell.  Bresky got an MBA, but it didn't take him long to learn that finance was not going to be satisfying career. In addition to how he started in coaching, I spoke to Bresky about his time at Virginia, his coaching philosophy, the difference between college and junior tennis, the importance of honesty in the recruiting process and many other topics in this article for the Tennis Recruiting Network.

Three Americans have advanced to the semifinals of the $50,000 Women's USTA Pro Circuit event in Macon, Georgia, which is the first of three tournaments that will decide the USTA's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge.  In the only match featuring Americans that was streamed, No. 4 seed Grace Min defeated unseeded Jamie Loeb 6-2, 6-3.  The two matches on the non-streamed court were much more dramatic, with Kayla Day defeating Sesil Karatantcheva of Bulgaria 6-0, 6-7(5), 7-6(4) and qualifier Danielle Collins beating Francesca Di Lorenzo 6-1, 7-5.

Day and Karatantcheva played for just over three hours, which is remarkable given that the first set went to Day in just 24 minutes.  Day served for the match on three separate occasions; after going up 4-0 in the second set, the 17-year-old Californian couldn't close it out serving at 5-4 and 6-5.  In the third set, Day was up 2-0, 3-1 and 5-2, but again she could not serve out the match at 5-4, getting broken without reaching match point.

Day went up 5-1 in the tiebreaker, with the 27-year-old former WTA Top 100 player closing the gap to 5-3 and 6-4, but Day finally was able to avoid what would have been a painful loss. She is in the semifinals of a $50,000-level event for the first time, and will play Min next.

The 22-year-old Collins, who just graduated from Virginia this summer, reached her first semifinal at the $50,000 level by winning the last six games of the second set, after Ohio State sophomore Di Lorenzo had taken a 5-1 lead in the second set.  Collins will play No. 3 seed and defending champion Rebecca Peterson of Sweden, who defeated unseeded Alize Lim of France 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

The doubles final is set with top seeds Taylor Townsend and Michaella Krajicek taking on unseeded Keri Wong(Clemson) and Sabrina Santamaria(USC).

At the $25,000 Futures in Burlingame, California, No. 4 seed Raymond Sarmiento(USC) and unseeded Mico Santiago have advanced to the semifinals.  Sarmiento defeated Benjamin Hannestad 6-4, 6-1, while Santiago beat wild card Andre Goransson, the Cal senior, 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-1.  Sarmiento will play top seed Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium, with Santiago's opponent No. 2 seed Sam Barry of Ireland.

At the $75,000 ATP Challenger in China, Stefan Kozlov has advanced to the semifinals.  The No. 5 seed defeated No. 3 seed Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 in today's quarterfinals and will face unseeded Alexander Kudryavtsev of Russia Saturday.

The finals are set for the ITF Grade 4 in Atlanta, with all four finalists unseeded.  Sebastian Mermersky of Bulgaria will play Jaycer Lyeons in the boys final, with Victoria Hu and Chloe Beck meeting in the girls final.  It's a young group, as well, with Memersky the oldest at 17. Lyeons will be 16 next month, Beck is 15 and Hu is 14.

No. 9 seed Alafia Ayeni has reached the semifinals of the ITF Grade 2 in Japan, taking out top seed Toru Horie of Japan 6-2, 6-4.  Ayeni, who lost in the second round of the Grade A Osaka Mayor's Cup last week to eventual champion Yosuke Watanuki of Japan, faces No. 4 seed Naoki Tajima of Japan in the semifinals.  Naomi Cheong has advanced to the semifinals in doubles.