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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Grade 1 Banana Bowl Semifinals Feature Four Americans; Qualifying for Orlando Futures Begins Friday; New Tennis Recruiting Network Site for College Tennis

The semifinals are set for Friday at the ITF Grade 1 Banana Bowl, with three US girls and one US boys advancing to the final four.

No. 6 seed Gianni Ross, who has been the highest seed remaining since the second round, defeated No. 15 seed Alexandre Rotsaert 6-2, 7-5 in Thursday's all-US quarterfinal.  Ross will face unseeded Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil for a place in the final.

In the girls semifinals, doubles partners Whitney Osuigwe and Hailey Baptiste will meet for the second time in ITF junior play, with Osuigwe winning their previous meeting last year at a Grade 4.  Today, No. 11 seed Osuigwe defeated No. 15 seed Draginja Vukovic  6-1, 6-2, the second straight week Osuigwe has downed the Serbian, after beating her in the final of the Grade 1 Asuncion Bowl.  Baptiste, seeded No. 12, beat No. 13 seed Anhzelika Isaeva of Russia 6-2, 0-6, 6-1.  Unseeded Victoria Flores joined them in the semifinals, beating unseeded Layne Sleeth of Canada 6-1, 6-0 to reach her first Grade 1 semifinal.  Flores will face top seed Emily Appleton of Great Britain, who defeated No. 10 seed Ann Li 5-7, 6-3, 6-3.

Baptiste and Osuigwe, the No. 5 seeds in doubles, are through to the semifinals, where they will face unseeded Alexa Noel and Peyton Stearns. Unseeded Elysia Bolton and Vanessa Ong have also advanced to the semifinals.  In the boys doubles, the unseeded team of Rotsaert and Sangeet Sridhar have advanced to the semifinals, as have No. 2 seeds Danny Thomas and Ross.

I am in Orlando, where I'll be checking in on the $15,000 Men's USTA Pro Circuit event at the USTA National Campus.  Qualifying begins tomorrow morning, with no byes in a 128-player qualifying draw. Former Ohio State standout Connor Smith, who took a wild card, and ITF No. 1 junior Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia are the top seeds in qualifying.

At the $100,000 ATP Challenger in San Francisco, Frances Tiafoe[1], Michael Mmoh, qualifier Eric Quigley and Denis Kudla[6] are the Americans through to the quarterfinals, with Reilly Opelka playing his second round match later tonight.

Noah Rubin[7] and Mitchell Krueger have advanced to the semifinals of the $75,000 ATP Challenger in Launceston Australia. Daniel Nguyen is playing his quarterfinal tonight. The $60,000 ITF Women's Circuit event in Launceton has Americans Asia Muhammad[5], Jamie Loeb[6] and Kristie Ahn in the quarterfinals, all in the top half of the draw.

The Tennis Recruiting Network is participating in the new USTA Division I team rankings, and they have added a website explaining how they come up with the rankings they submit every week.  Check out their introduction on TRNet or go to the website, SLAM.tennis.