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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Virginia Men, Florida Women Top ITA Preseason Rankings; Day Turns Pro; ESPN Feature on Cori Gauff; Dozen US Juniors into Coffee Bowl Quarterfinals

The ITA preseason team rankings were announced today, with the Virginia men and Florida women in the top spots.  These rankings are done by poll, not by computer, for the next several ranking periods. After there is enough dual match data in the ITA system, their algorithm will do the work throughout the rest of the season.

Men's Team Top 10 (final 2016 ranking in parentheses)
1. Virginia (1)
2. Wake Forest (8)
3. Ohio State (4)
4. Texas (16)
T5. California (9)
T5. Georgia (7)
7. TCU (3)
8. UCLA (2)
9. North Carolina (5)
10. USC (12)

Voters were obviously impressed by the recruits Wake Forest has coming in for January and with the performance of the Texas freshmen this fall. The individual rankings also were released today and these are done by computer, with fall results included for the first time. There are only two Virginia men in the top 125, JC Aragone(58) and Thai Kwiatkowski(39) but that isn't indicative of the Cavaliers strength in going for their third straight NCAA title. Today at the Los Angeles Futures, five current Virginia players advanced to the second round, with qualifier Colin Altamirano defeating top seed Tommy Paul 4-6, 6-0, 6-3.

Men's Singles Top 10 (preseason fall ranking in parentheses)
1. Petros Chrysochos Wake Forest University (8)
2. Mikael Torpegaard Ohio State University (1)
3. Mike Redlicki          University of Arkansas (11)
4. Skander Mansouri Wake Forest University (7)
5. Hugo Di Feo                Ohio State University (33)
T6. Nuno Borges         Mississippi State University (43)
T6. Christian Sigsgaard University of Texas (NR)
8. Tom Fawcett          Stanford University (6)
9. Christopher Eubanks  Georgia Tech (5)
10. Nicolas Alvarez          Duke University (14)

Women's Team Top 10 (final 2016 ranking in parentheses)
1. Florida (3)
2. North Carolina (4)
3. Pepperdine (9)
4. Stanford (1)
5. Oklahoma State (8)
6. Georgia (7)
7. Ohio State (6)
8. California (2)
9. Vanderbilt (5)
10. Duke (14)

Women's singles Top 10 (preseason ranking in parentheses)
1. Francesca Di Lorenzo  Ohio State University (3)
2. Astra Sharma Vanderbilt University (19)
3. Sara Daavettila North Carolina (freshman 1)
4. Ena Shibahara UCLA (freshman 2)
5. Hayley Carter North Carolina (1)
6. Sinead Lohan University of Miami (5)
7. Blair Shankle Baylor University (54)
8. Luisa Stefani Pepperdine (2)
9. Jessie Aney           North Carolina (31)
10. Lily Miyazaki University of Oklahoma (72)

The reshuffling of the women's rankings based on the fall tournament play was significant, with Sharma, Shankle, Aney, Miyazaki and, of course, Di Lorenzo, having impressive results that boosted their rankings.

The top-ranked women's doubles team did not change from the preseason with Kentucky's Aldila Sutjiadi and Mami Adachi retaining the No. 1 ranking.  The men's No. 1 doubles team after fall results is Christian Seraphim and Skander Mansouri of Wake Forest.

For more on the rankings, see College Tennis Today, and for an alternate way to compile men's singles rankings, see this post from Texas College Tennis.

Kayla Day was in no hurry to turn pro, even after winning the USTA 18s, a round at the US Open and the US Open junior championship. But after winning the USTA's reciprocal wild card for the Australian Open and cracking the WTA Top 200, she finally decided to give up college and pursue a professional career immediately.  More on Day's decision, and on the Santa Barbara coach who worked with her from a young age, see this article from the Santa Barbara Independent.

Greg Garber of ESPN.com spoke recently with Junior Orange Bowl 12s champion Cori (Coco) Gauff and her family about her current success and future dreams for a career in tennis.  Garber spoke with USTA Player Development GM Martin Blackman about Gauff's prospects, and I was also asked for my opinion for this article. Blackman's comments on the way the USTA now prefers to interact with young prodigies is instructive.

The ITF Grade 1 Coffee Bowl will have at least 12 American quarterfinalists, with two semifinalists in both the boys and girls draws assured.  According to the results posted at the tournament website, top seed Ellie Douglas was defeated by No. 13 seed Draginja Vukovic of Serbia 7-5, 6-3. I wouldn't doubt that result, except the draw had previously shown Douglas losing 6-1, 6-1 in the first round, with Douglas not showing as the winner until the next day.  Anyway, presuming the draw is correct this time, there are two all-US quarterfinals, with Salma Ewing taking on Imani Graham, both unseeded, and No. 8 seed Nicole Mossmer against No. 3 seed Sofia Sewing.  No. 6 seed Hurricane Tyra Black, a finalist last year, will play Vukovic and either Victoria Hu or No. 5 seed Victoria Emma will play No. 2 seed Emily Appleton of Great Britain. The draw is showing Hu as the winner, but the score shows Emma as the winner.

Three US boys play tonight (live stream is here) with No. 5 seed Oliver Crawford taking on No. 11 seed Alafia Ayeni, with the winner meeting Sangeet Sridhar in an all-US boys quarterfinal. Patrick Kypson, seeded 10th, follows Crawford and Ayeni, against No. 7 seed Juan Martin Jalif of Argentina.  If Kypson wins, he will play No. 4 seed Vasil Kirkov.  No. 3 seed Trent Bryde faces No. 8 seed Constantin Bittoun Kouzmine of France and No. 12 seed Sebastian Korda plays No. 2 seed Sam Riffice in a rematch of their third round match in Kalamazoo last August, which Riffice won 6-3, 6-3.