Thursday, November 3, 2016

Top Seeds Advance at USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate Championships; Branstine to Canada; Day Rolls On in Scottsdale; McDonald Takes Out Top Seed Tiafoe in Charlottesville

The first round of singles action produced no major upsets Thursday at the USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate Championships at the USTA Billie Jean King National tennis Center, although four seeds, two men and two women, and the 2015 men's finalist failed to advance.

Last year's men's runner-up Andre Goransson of Cal, who won the ITA Northwest regional and immediately made the final of the $25,000 Futures in Berkley late last month, was not seeded in this tournament, and he fell to No. 7 seed Michael Redlicki of Arkansas 6-1, 6-4.  The two seeded men's players to lose in the opening round were No. 5 Alfredo Perez of Florida, who was beaten by UCLA's Gage Brymer 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-2 and No. 6 seed Yuya Ito of Texas, who lost to Chris Eubanks of Georgia Tech 7-5, 6-7(8), 6-2.  Eubanks was a semifinalist at the NIIC last year.

Top seed Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State defeated Texas freshman Christian Sigsgaard 6-4, 6-0 and No. 2 seed Thai Kwiatkowski of Virginia, fresh off his successful qualifying run at the Charlottesville Challenger, beat Nicolas Alvarez of Duke 6-4, 6-3.

The women's draw lost its No. 6 and No. 7 seeds, with Lily Miyazaki of Oklahoma beating No. 6 seed Sara Daavettila of North Carolina 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 and ITA wild card Viktoriya Lushkova of Oklahoma State defeated No. 7 seed Sinead Lohan of Miami 6-4, 6-4.

Top seed Francesca Di Lorenzo had no difficulty with Nevada's Claudia Herrero, taking a 6-1, 6-1 decision, but No. 2 seed Ena Shibahara of UCLA needed three sets to beat NAIA champion and Oracle Cup winner Camille Gbaguidi of Savannah College of Art and Design 6-2, 6-7(1), 6-1.

Form did not hold in doubles, with Valparaiso's Jeffrey Schorsch and Charlie Emhardt taking out top seeds and All-American champions Florian Lakat and Filip Bergevi of Cal 7-5, 4-6, 11-9, No. 4 seeds Julian Cash and Arjun Kadhe of Oklahoma State falling to Morgan Mays and Simon Freund of UC-Santa Barbara7-6(5), 2-6, 10-8 and No. 3 seeds Tommy Bennett and David Warren of Rice losing to Jathan Malik and Kevin Wong of Michigan 6-3, 6-7(0), 10-7.

In women's doubles action, No. 2 seeds Jean Runglerdkriangkrai and Luisa Stefani of Pepperdine lost to Vladica Babic and Carla Tur Mari of Oklahoma State 6-0, 6-4 and Alabama's  Erin Routliffe and Andie Daniell defeated No. 3 seeds Maegan Manasse and Denise Starr of Cal 7-5, 6-4.

Live scoring is available here and live streaming($) is available here.  There will be two rounds of singles on Friday: the round of 16 and the quarterfinals.

Sixteen-year-old Californian Carson Branstine received a wild card into the $50,000 tournament in Toronto this week, which was puzzling to me until I read this article from Open Court's Stephanie Myles. Myles reports that Branstine, whose mother is Canadian, will be moving to Montreal to train at Tennis Canada's National Centre and will be competing for Canada going forward.

Speaking of the Toronto tournament, top seed CiCi Bellis advanced to the quarterfinals with a 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 win over qualifier and fellow 17-year-old Katherine Sebov.  The top half of the draw is all teens, with Bellis facing unseeded 18-year-old Tessah Andrianjafitrimo of France and Bianca Andreescu meeting Raveena Kingsley in the other quarterfinal.  A fifth teen, Nicole Frenkel has also reached the quarterfinals, and she was joined there by qualifier Ronit Yurovsky, the recent Michigan graduate, who defeated Jessica Wacnik 6-2, 7-6(5) today.  Yurovsky will play No. 2 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium, who defeated qualifier Julia Elbaba 6-3, 6-3.

At the $50,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Scottsdale, Kayla Day defeated Melanie Oudin 7-5, 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals, and with every win Day is extending her lead in the USTA Australian Open Wild Card Challenge.  Day had ten double faults, just one ace and her first serve percentage was just over 50, but she survived. In Friday's quarterfinal, she will face Sesil Karatantcheva of Bulgaria, who defeated No. 5 seed Rebecca Peterson of Sweden 6-3, 6-1.  In the quarterfinals last week in Macon, Day and Karatancheva played over three hours before Day could secure a 6-0, 6-7(5), 7-6(4) victory.  Day is the only US player in the top half, after No. 1 seed Nicole Gibbs lost to Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 6-4, 6-1.  Three Americans are in the bottom half of the draw, with No. 6 seed Grace Min facing No. 4 seed Jennifer Brady and Kristie Ahn playing Varvara Flink of Russia.  Ahn took out Sonya Kenin 6-2, 6-4.

At the $50,000 ATP Challenger in Charlottesville, wild card Mackenzie McDonald cruised past top seed Frances Tiafoe 6-0, 6-3 to earn his second win over the 18-year-old in their three meetings during the past two months.  McDonald faced just one break point in the match, which he saved, while breaking Tiafoe four times in seven opportunities.  The NCAA champion will meet No. 7 seed Peter Polansky in the quarterfinals, with Reilly Opelka and No. 4 seed Denis Kudla facing off in the other top half quarterfinal. In the bottom half, No. 5 seed Tim Smyczek will play unseeded Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium and No. 2 seed Jared Donaldson will play No. 6 seed Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland.  Live streaming is available here.