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Saturday, November 5, 2016

Di Lorenzo and Carter Meet for Women's Indoor Title, Torpegaard and Redlicki to Decide Men's Championship; Bellis, Opelka, Ahn Reach $50K Finals; Beck Wins Second Straight ITF Grade 4

Ohio State has an opportunity to earn two collegiate majors on the same day Sunday morning, when top seeds Francesca Di Lorenzo and Mikael Torpegaard take the courts for the singles finals of the USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate Championships. On the opposite side of the nets in those finals will be North Carolina's Hayley Carter, the No. 4 seed and Arkansas's Michael Redlicki, the No. 7 seed.

Di Lorenzo, the defending champion, had the easier semifinal today, defeating Duke freshman Meible Chi 6-1, 6-2.  Carter struggled a bit to close out No. 5 seed Astra Sharma of Vanderbilt, but came through on her fifth match point for a 6-4, 6-3 victory. Carter, a senior, is also aiming for a second consecutive indoor title, as she and Whitney Kay won the doubles championship last year in New York.

Torpegaard had breezed through his first three matches, but Mississippi State sophomore Nuno Borges gave him all he could handle in the semifinals before Torpegaard, the 2016 NCAA singles finalist, regrouped for a 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-0 win. Redlicki took out unseeded Chris Eubanks, who also reached the semifinals of the NIIC last year, 7-6(1), 7-6(4) to advance to his first collegiate major final.

Kentucky's team of Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi are returning to the women's doubles final after falling last year to Carter and Kay. Adachi and Sutjiadi, surprisingly unseeded after their preseason No. 1 ranking, will face unseeded wild cards Ena Shibahara and Jada Hart of UCLA in the final. Adachi and Sutjiadi won their semifinal over unseeded Gabriela Knutson and Valeria Salazar of Syracuse 6-3, 4-6, 10-8, while US Open girls doubles champions Shibahara and Hart defeated Vladica Babic and Carla Tur Mari of Oklahoma State 6-3, 6-3.

In the men's doubles final, No. 2 seeds Skander Mansouri and Christian Seraphim of Wake Forest advanced to the final, where they'll play the Cinderella team from Valparaiso, Jeffrey Schorsch and Charlie Emhardt. Wild cards Schorsch and Emhardt, one of eight teams that had to play a first round match, defeated Columbia's Victor and Richard Pham 7-6(8), 6-3 in the semifinals.  Mansouri and Seraphim downed the unseeded Michigan team of Jathan Malik and Kevin Wong 3-6, 7-5, 10-4, preventing a rematch of last month's Midwest Regional final, which saw Malik and Wong defeat Schorsch and Emhardt 6-7, 7-6, 15-13.

Stanford's Tom Fawcett and Duke's Nicolas Alvarez are meeting in the men's singles consolation final, with North Carolina's Sara Daavettila and Miami's Sinead Lohan in the women's singles consolation final.

Pat Mitsch of the USTA has been talking with the top American collegians this weekend, and in addition to the Di Lorenzo interview I linked to yesterday, he has added interviews with Eubanks, Carter, Redlicki and Jessie Aney at the USTA college tennis news page.

And of course, Bobby Knight has more on the NIIC at College Tennis Today.

The women's singles and women's doubles finals are scheduled for 10 am, with the men's singles and doubles finals not before 11 am.  Live scoring is here.  Live streaming (now with commentary)$ is here.

Three Americans will be playing for $50,000 titles on Sunday in three different tournaments.  Top seed CiCi Bellis will face No. 4 seed Jesika Maleckova of the Czech Republic in the Toronto final, looking for her second straight win at the $50,000 level.  Bellis got by Raveena Kingsley 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 and Maleckova beat No. 2 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-2, 6-3.  The doubles title went to top seeds Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada and Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands, who beat No. 2 seeds Caitlin Whoriskey and Ashley Weinhold 6-4, 6-3.

In ATP Challenger in Charlottesville, Reilly Opelka defeated Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 6-4, hitting 14 aces and facing no break points.  He will play unseeded Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium, who won last week's Futures in Burlingame, California.  Bemelmans beat No. 6 seed Henri Laaksonen 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) to reach his first Challenger final this year.

For Opelka, it's his first final at any professional level.  Regardless of the outcome, he will have the lead in the men's USTA Australian Open Wild Card Challenge after the first of three tournaments. Opelka, who turned 19 in August, is the seventh different American teenager to reach a Challenger final this year, following Fritz, Tiafoe, Donaldson, Kozlov, Escobedo and Mmoh, according to the ATP's Josh Meiseles.

At the ATP Challenger in Eckental Germany, 17-year-old qualifier Alex De Minaur of Australia has advanced to the final after defeated Franko Skugor of Croatia 7-6(5), 7-6(1).  He will play No. 5 seed Steve Darcis of Belgium for the title. De Minaur is the second 17-year-old to reach a Challenger final this year, along with Casper Ruud of Norway.

In Scottsdale, Kayla Day's impressive run came to an end, with a 6-4, 6-1 loss to Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil.  Day had won eight straight matches at the $50,000 level but was unable to challenge the 20-year-old left-hander, who served an improbable 93 percent of first serves in the second set.  Although there is one tournament left to go, next week in Waco, Day has a large lead in the women's USTA Australian Open Wild Card Challenge, with just a handful of players still having a mathematical chance to catch her.  One of them is former Stanford All-American Kristie Ahn, who defeated No. 4 seed Jennifer Brady 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 today to advance to her first $50,000 final.

At the $10,000 Birmingham Futures, US Open boys champion Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada will go for his first Futures title Sunday against Baylor sophomore Juan Benitez Chavarriaga of Colombia. Sixteen-year-old Auger-Aliassime, seeded fourth, defeated unseeded Lukas Ollert of Germany 7-6(2), 6-2 in the semifinals.  No. 7 seed Benitez downed unseeded Samuel Bensoussan of France 6-0, 4-6, 6-3.

The second of three ITF Grade 4s in the United States was completed today with Chloe Beck winning again.  The 15-year-old from Georgia, who didn't drop a set in her six wins last week in Atlanta, came from a set down twice this week in South Carolina, but she won her 12th straight ITF Junior circuit match in the final, beating unseeded Angelica Blake 6-3, 6-1.

Victoria Flores also earned back-to-back titles in Atlanta and South Carolina, taking the doubles last week with Madeline Meredith and this week with Georgia Drummy of Ireland.  Drummy and Flores defeated Beck and Emma Navarro 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

After reaching the final last week in Atlanta, Sebastian Mermersky of Bulgaria won the boys singles title in South Carolina, with the No. 12 seed beating No. 7 seed Vikash Singh of India 6-2, 6-1. No. 2 seeds Vasyl Kiselyov of Ukraine and Jacob Beasley won the boys doubles title, beating Harry Cacciatore and Andres Martin 7-5, 7-5 in the final.