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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

No US Juniors Reach Quarterfinals at Australian Open; Six of Eight Americans Advance to Third Round at Les Petits As; Virginia Men, Florida Women Remain No. 1 in Division I Rankings; ITA Kickoff is This Weekend

All three US juniors lost last night in third round action at the Australian Open Junior Championships, with No. 2 seed Taylor Johnson, No. 13 seed Carson Branstine and Alexandre Roetsaert falling in straight sets.

Branstine went out to top seed and French Open champion Rebekah Masarova of Switzerland 6-2, 7-5 and Alexandre Rotsaert failed to win a game in his loss to No. 4 seed Yshai Oliel of Israel.  Johnson lost to No. 16 seed Elena Rybakina of Russia 6-3, 6-2.

Johnson was not the only No. 2 seed to lose on Wednesday, with boys second seed Yu Hsiou Hsu of Taiwan falling to No. 15 seed Zsombor Piros of Hungary by the same 6-3, 6-2 score.

The seeds have held up much better in the girls draw than in the boys, with six of the eight quarterfinalists seeded.  In the boys draw, only four of the eight players remaining are seeded, but two of the favorites going in, China's Yibing Wu, the top seed, and No. 5 seed Corentin Moutet of France have advanced.  A qualifier, Menelaos Efstathiou of Cyprus, beat Florida recruit Duarte Vale of Portugal, the No. 6 seed, 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-4 and will play Oliel Thursday (tonight in the US).  For more on Efstathiou, including his recent selection to the Cyprus Davis Cup team, see the ITF Junior website.

The doubles semifinals are set and there will be an American girl in the final, possibly two.  No. 5 seeds Caty McNally and Natasha Subhash beat top seeds Jodie Burrage and Emily Appleton of Great Britain 6-4, 6-3 in Wednesday's quarterfinals and will play No. 3 seeds Carson Branstine and her partner Bianca Andreescu of Canada in Thursday's semifinals.

Draws are available at ausopen.com.

At Les Petits As, six of the eight Americans in the second round moved into the third round. Girls Cori Gauff[5] and Elvina Kalieva[6] advanced, while No. 7 seed Charlotte Owensby and qualifier Alexandra Yepifanova were defeated.  All four boys--Toby Kodat[5], Martin Damm[6], Aidan Mayo[7], and Alexander Bernard--won their matches, with only Mayo needing three sets.  Both boys teams have made the quarterfinals in doubles, as have Gauff and Kalieva, who are the No. 2 seeds.

The ITA Division I team rankings have been released, but as with last week, there is little change to note, with some teams not yet playing a dual match and others beating less highly regarded opponents.  The women's Top 10 didn't change at all.  In the men's, Northwestern moved up to 10 after a win over TCU, while Texas fell from 4 to 9 after losing to Tulsa.  Bobby Knight has more on the rankings at College Tennis Today.  The ITA has also published an explanation on how the rankings work, with voting by a committee now, and computer rankings taking over next month.

Speaking of rankings, the USTA announced yesterday a panel of experts will provide their own team rankings, with nine voters submitting ballots.  I was invited, but could not fit another obligation into my schedule.  The Tennis Recruiting Network spoke with Scott Treibly about the reasons for an additional poll, not connected to that of the ITA, in this article.

Men's Team Top 10 (previous ranking in parentheses)
1. Virginia (1)
2. Wake Forest (2)
3. Ohio State (3)
4. Cal (5)
5. Georgia (6)
6. UCLA (T7)
7. North Carolina (9)
8. USC (10)
9. Texas (4)
10. Northwestern (13)

Women's Team Top 10 (previous ranking in parentheses)
1. Florida (1)
2. North Carolina (2)
3. Pepperdine (3)
4. Stanford (4)
5. Oklahoma State (5)
6. Georgia (6)
7. Ohio State (7)
8. California (8)
9. Vanderbilt (9)
10. Duke (10)

The next individual rankings will come out on February 8th.

The annual Kickoff Weekend, the qualifying for the Division I National Team Indoor Championships, begins Friday, with 15 teams earning spots in February's tournaments. Similar to the NCAA regionals, three teams travel to a host site to play two matches, with the team going 2-0 advancing to the Nationals.  A notably absent team is the 2016 NCAA champion Stanford women, who rarely play the Team Indoor.