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Friday, November 4, 2016

October Aces; Top Seeds Torpegaard and Di Lorenzo Advance to National Indoors Semifinals; Day, Bellis Reach Semis at $50Ks in Scottsdale and Toronto; McDonald and Opelka to Meet in Charlottesville Challenger

My review of the top October performances, all 17 of them, is available now at the Tennis Recruiting Network. It was a great month for Kayla Day, CiCi Bellis and Francesca Di Lorenzo, and none of the three teenagers show any signs of slowing down in November.

Di Lorenzo, who won the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships last month in California and is the defending champion at the USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in New York, has returned to the semifinals of this year's NIIC with two victories today.  The 19-year-old Ohio State sophomore, seeded No. 1, defeated Cal's Karla Popovic 6-0, 6-4 in the second round and beat unseeded Sydney Campbell of Vanderbilt 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.

Di Lorenzo's opponent in Saturday's semifinals is 17-year-old Duke freshman Meible Chi, who took out No. 3 seed Luisa Stefani of Pepperdine 7-6(3), 7-6(13) in the second round and Josie Kuhlman of Florida 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals. For more on Di Lorenzo's background and future plans, see this usta.com interview.

Chi, an at-large selection, did not reach the main draw of the All-Americans after getting through pre-qualifying, but she was No. 6 on the ITA's pre-season newcomers list, and with Pepperdine's Ashley Lahey and UCLA's No. 2 seed Ena Shibahara losing in the second round earlier today, she has outperformed the other nine on that list this week.

The other semifinal will feature No. 4 seed Hayley Carter of North Carolina, who has won three matches without losing more than three games in a set, and No. 5 seed Astra Sharma of Vanderbilt.

Men's top seed Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State has been impressive in his three wins, dropping just three games in each of his victories today over Virginia's JC Aragone and UCLA's Gage Brymer.  Torpegaard, a junior from Denmark, will face Mississippi State sophomore Nuno Borges of Portugal, the No. 4 seed, who defeated Florian Lakat of Cal and Skander Mansouri of Wake Forest to reach the semifinals.

The only unseeded player in the men's draw is Chris Eubanks of Georgia Tech, who, as a semifinalist last year at the Indoor, can hardly be considered a surprise member of the final four.  Eubanks, who defeated Hugo Di Feo of Ohio State and Wayne Montgomery of Georgia to advance, will play No . 7 seed Michael Redlicki of Arkansas in Saturday's semifinal.  Montgomery had taken out No. 2 seed Thai Kwiatkowski of Virginia in three sets in the second round.

Redlicki defeated Gustav Hansson of Ole Miss in the second round and eliminated No. 3 seed and All-American champion Petros Chrysochos of Wake Forest 0-6, 6-1, 7-5 in the quarterfinals.

In doubles, the last two seeded women's teams were eliminated in the quarterfinals, with North Carolina's Carter and Jessie Aney, the No. 1 seeds, losing to Kentucky's Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi 7-6(1), 6-3 and No. 4 seeds Mayar Ahmed and Christine Maddox of Pepperdine losing to Gabriela Knutson and Valeria Salazar of Syracuse 6-2, 6-4. Unseeded US Open girls doubles champions Shibahara and Jada Hart of UCLA reached the semifinals with a 6-4, 4-6, 10-4 win over Alabama's Erin Routliffe (a two-time NCAA doubles champion) and Andie Daniell.

The men's doubles draw had lost three of its four seeds on the first day, and the sole surviving team, No. 2 seeds Christian Seraphim and Skander Mansouri of Wake Forest, barely squeezed by today, beating host Columbia's team of Shawn Hadavi and Jackie Tang 6-2, 0-6, 15-13.

Live scoring for the tournament is here and live streaming($) is available here.

Bellis continued her winning streak in Toronto, claiming her fourth straight match over a fellow teenager, and her third this week, taking a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 decision from Tessah Andrianjafitrimo of France. With the win, the 17-year-old will move into the WTA Top 100 for the first time, and become its youngest member.  Top seed Bellis, who won the $50,000 Saguenay tournament two weeks ago with a win over 16-year-old Canadian Bianca Andreescu, faces yet another teenager in Saturday's semifinals--18-year-old Raveena Kingsley. Kingsley, who is playing her first tournament since July due to injury, defeated Andreescu 6-1, 6-4.

The other semifinal has No. 2 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium, who beat qualifier Ronit Yurovsky 2-6, 6-3, 6-1, facing No. 4 seed Jesika Maleckova of the Czech Republic. Maleckova downed 18-year-old Nicole Frenkel 6-1, 6-2.

At the $50,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Scottsdale, Day won her 14th straight match(including juniors) to reach the semifinals. The US Open girls champion got past Sesil Karatantcheva of Bulgaria 7-6(3), 6-4 and will play unseeded Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil for a place in the final. With every victory, Day moves closer to the USTA's Australian Open wild card, but the two Americans in the other semifinal are still in the running, with the tournament next week in Waco the last one to earn points.  No. 4 seed Jennifer Brady defeated No. 6 seed Grace Min 6-0, 7-6(5) and will play unseeded Kristie Ahn, a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 winner over Varvara Flink of Russia today.

As in Scottsdale, there's an American assured of reaching the final at the $50,000 ATP Challenger in Charlottesville, with Mackenzie McDonald and Reilly Opelka advancing to the semifinals in the top half. McDonald reached his third Challenger semifinal since September by defeating No. 7 seed Peter Polansky of Canada 7-5, 6-4.  Opelka has made an ATP semifinal, in Atlanta this summer, but this is the 19-year-old's first Challenger semifinal.  He defeated No. 4 seed Denis Kudla 6-3, 7-6(7), hitting 26 aces.  The other semifinal has No. 6 seed Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland against unseeded Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium. Laaksonen defeated No. 2 seed Jared Donaldson 6-3, 7-5 and Bemelmans took out No. 5 seed Tim Smyczek 6-2, 6-4.

Speaking of Challengers, 17-year-old Alex De Minaur of Australia has reached the semifinals of the ATP Challenger this week in Germany. The 2016 Wimbledon boys singles finalist, who qualified for his first Challenger main draw this week, defeated former ATP Top 10 player Jurgen Melzer of Austria 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 in the quarterfinals. He will play unseeded Franko Skugor of Croatia next.  The ATP has been doing an outstanding job writing about the young players on the Challenger tour, and they spoke with De Minaur about his breakthrough this week.

There are no Americans left at the $10,000 Birmingham Futures after No. 2 seed Wil Spencer and No. 3 seed Nick Chappell lost in the quarterfinals today and 16-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada eliminated Austin Smith 6-2, 6-1.  Auger-Aliassime, the No. 4 seed, will play former Auburn standout Lukas Ollert of Germany in one semifinal, with Baylor's Juan Benitez Chavarriaga, the No. 7 seed from Colombia, facing unseeded Samuel Bensoussan of France.

The US did capture a title in Birmingham however, with twin brothers Hunter and Yates Johnson earning their third Futures doubles title.  The SMU seniors, seeded No. 4, defeated No. 2 seeds Smith and Alex Lawson 6-2, 6-4 in the final.