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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Florida Gets Verbal Commitments From Riffice, Greif; Ross Reaches First Futures Quarterfinal; Kenin, Anisimova, Arconada Advance at Dothan $60K

Although 2017 signing week is over, two major blue chip commitments have come in this week for 2018, with the University of Florida landing 2016 Kalamazoo 16s champion Lukas Greif and Sam Riffice, No. 1 in the Tennis Recruiting Network's rankings.  Florida also has received verbal commitments from Harry and Grey Cacciatore, five-star recruits from Gainesville.

None of these players can sign before November, so these verbal commitments are not binding, but it's rare that a decision is changed once it has been announced by the player (the school cannot acknowledge a commitment until the player has signed).  With Riffice now living in Orlando, I'm not surprised by his choice, but Greif had been heavily recruited by all the top Big Ten schools, and I was expecting the Indiana resident to end up at one of them, or another school that plays indoors regularly.

One of the other notable signings announced recently comes from Texas A&M, who will have US Open boys doubles champion Juan Carlos Manuel Aguilar of Bolivia on their team this coming fall. When I spoke to Aguilar after his US Open title, he said he was going to play college tennis (he spent a great deal of time in Canada growing up and speaks excellent English), because his federation did not have the money to support him on the ITF Pro Circuit.  At that time, he was still exploring his options, but he has now decided to join the Aggies.

The University of Michigan has announced that the Siimar brothers from Estonia have signed for 2017.  Mattias Siimar, whose ITF junior ranking reached a high of 41, made the final of the 16s Orange Bowl back in 2014, losing to Riffice. His twin brother Kristofer has been ranked as high as 146 in the ITF juniors.

Arizona State is getting ready to resume collegiate competition after an eight-year hiatus and head coach Matt Hill so far has seven players committed to play for the Sun Devils. Read about them here.

Gianni Ross is one of the few senior blue chips who has yet to decide on if or where he will attend college.  Today the 18-year-old reached his first Futures quarterfinal, beating fellow qualifier Cameron Silverman 7-6(5), 7-5 in the second round of the $15,000 Orange Park Florida event.  Ross will play unseeded Thales Turini of Brazil on Friday. Evan King, the No. 2 seed, is the only other American to advance to the quarterfinals.

At the $60,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Dothan Alabama, Sonya Kenin, Usue Arconada and Amanda Anisimova have advanced to the quarterfinals, as have Kristie Ahn and Sophie Chang.  Kenin defeated Catalina Pella of Argentina 6-2, 6-1, after ousting No. 3 seed Tatjana Maria of Germany in the first round.  Arconada, a wild card, took out No. 6 seed Jamie Loeb 6-4, 7-5 today and will face Kenin in the quarterfinals. Kenin defeated Arconada 6-1, 6-3 in the first round of this January's $25K in Orlando and reached the final that week. Anisimova beat Paula Kania of Poland 6-3, 6-2 and will meet wild card Chang in the quarterfinals. Chang, who beat No. 2 seed Taylor Townsend in the first round, defeated qualifier Jaqueline Cristian of Romania 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 today.  Ahn, the No. 8 seed, beat Jennifer Elie 6-2, 6-2 and will play Fanny Stollar of Hungary in the quarterfinals. Live streaming of the main court can be found here.

Four Americans have advanced to the quarterfinals of the $100,000 ATP Challenger in Sarasota Florida: top seed Jared Donaldson, Tennys Sandgren and Denis Kudla, who play each other Friday, and No. 3 seed Frances Tiafoe, who is the only one of the four in the bottom half of the draw.  Live streaming is available at the ATP Challenger website.