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Friday, February 17, 2017

Sanford Considers Pro Tennis; Six Americans Reach Porto Alegre Semifinals; Only Two Top 8 Seed Lose in D-I Men's Team Indoor First Round; Dolehide, Lao into Surprise Semis

While at the Dow Tennis Classic late last month, I spoke to 18-year-old Alexandra Sanford about the choice she will be making in the next few months to either turn pro or join the North Carolina Tar Heels this fall. For this Tennis Recruiting Network article, I also spoke to Ohio State men's head coach Ty Tucker, who has spent time on court with Sanford over the past several years, about her development and prospects. Last year I had a similar conversation in Midland with Raveena Kingsley, who ultimately decided against joining the college team she had committed to, LSU.

It was another successful day for Americans at the ITF Grade A in Porto Alegre Brazil, with six of the eight semifinalists from the United States.

Top seed Amanda Anisimova had another easy win, beating unseeded Sofia Munera Sanchez of Colombia 6-2, 6-1 and will play No. 6 seed Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia in the semifinals. Osorio Serrano had another tough three-setter, beating unseeded Anhzelika Isaeva of Russia 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.  In the bottom half, unseeded Elysia Bolton downed No. 14 seed Hailey Baptiste 6-2, 7-5 to set up an all-US semifinal against No. 7 seed Sofia Sewing.  Sewing outlasted No. 2 seed Amina Anshba of Russia 1-6, 6-2, 6-2.  It is the first Grade A semifinal for both Sewing and Bolton.   For more on the girls quarterfinals, see the ITF Junior website.

In the boys draw, there was another No. 7 over No. 2 result, with Oliver Crawford taking out Yuta Shimizu of Japan 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Crawford will face Argentina's Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi in his first
Grade A semifinal.  The top half will feature an all-US semifinal between No. 8 seed Trent Bryde and No. 3 seed Vasil Kirkov.  Bryde defeated unseeded Matheus Pucinelli de Almeida of Brazil 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 and Kirkov won his fourth consecutive three-setter, beating No. 11 seed Gianni Ross 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-2.

Live streaming for Saturday's matches can be found at the tournament website.

The last US player in singles at the $15,000 Orlando Futures, unseeded Jared Hiltzik, bowed out today, falling to No. 4 seed Christian Lindell of Sweden 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.  Eighteen-year-old qualifier Genaro Olivieri of Argentina continued his fine run, defeating No. 2 seed Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina 6-4, 6-3 in today's quarterfinals.

Top seeds Connor Smith and Rhyne Williams took the doubles title, beating unseeded Dominik Koepfer of Germany and Boris Arias of Bolivia 3-6, 6-3, 10-8 in the final. It's Smith's 13th Futures doubles title, and his second with Williams, who has 10 Futures doubles titles and two Challenger doubles titles.

At the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Surprise Arizona, wild card Danielle Lao and qualifier Caroline Dolehide have advanced to the semifinals.  Lao defeated qualifier Jaqueline Cristian of Romania 6-1, 6-0 and Dolehide beat Mayo Hibi of Japan 6-3, 6-2.  Lao plays No. 7 seed Sesil Karatantcheva of Bulgaria Saturday, with Dolehide facing No. 2 seed Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia.  Duque-Marino defeated 16-year-old Bianca Andreescu of Canada 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 in today's quarterfinals.

At the $75,000 Tempe Challenger, unseeded Tennys Sandgren and No. 7 seed Dennis Novikov will face off for a place in the final. Sandgren defeated No. 5 seed Marco Trungelliti 6-3, 7-5 in the quarterfinals, while Novikov took out top seed Ernesto Escobedo 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4.

The first round of the ITA Men's Team Indoor Championships is complete, with many close matches, but only two featuring a lower seed winning.  That was No. 11 seed Oklahoma State taking out No. 6 seed Northwestern 4-2.  The only match that was decided in the last match on was No. 8 UCLA's 4-3 win over No. 9 USC, with Martin Redlicki defeating Brandon Holt 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-4 at line 1 to set up a quarterfinal against No. 1 Virginia. Box scores for all eight matches are available here.

Virginia[1] def. Utah State[16] 4-0
UCLA[8] def. USC[9] 4-3
Cal[4] def. Baylor[13] 4-2
North Carolina[5] def. Georgia[12] 4-2
Oklahoma St[11] def. Northwestern[6] 4-2
Ohio State[3] def. Oklahoma[14] 4-0
Texas[10] def. Florida[7] 4-2
Wake Forest[2] def. Mississippi State[15] 4-0

In a rematch of last year's NCAA women's team final, fifth-ranked Stanford again defeated Oklahoma State, ranked sixth, again coming back from dropping the doubles point. This time it did not come down to the final match, with Stanford winning four singles matches to claim a 4-1 victory at the USTA's National Campus in Lake Nona.