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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Shin, Berdusco and McQuaid Announce College Commitments; USTA Grant Information; Brandi's Blog; Kecmanovic Earns First Challenger Win; Duval Back

Today is Division I spring Signing Day and the Tennis Recruiting Network offered three announcements today, from blue chip Janice Shin (Stanford), five-star Brian Berdusco (Pepperdine) and five-star Riley McQuaid (Texas A&M). Berdusco explains how a new mindset and dedication after a difficult tournament early last year changed his recruiting profile. McQuaid, who had verbally committed to Alabama very early, recounts how that commitment fell apart last fall and how she rebounded from that disappointment.  For Shin, one of the few blue chips who did not commit last fall, the wait was worth it, with Stanford her dream school.

In other commitment news, the University of Central Florida has added two top ITF players, announcing the commitments of Alan Rubio of Mexico and Gabriel Decamps of Brazil. Decamps, who has been as high as 17 in the ITF rankings is now 49; Rubio, now 39, has an ITF career-high of 29. These are the first high profile recruits for John Roddick, who is completing his first academic year as head coach of the Knights.

With the revamping of the USTA website, it's a bit easier to find items of interest to juniors, and I want to call attention to the section on USTA player grants.  Few people I talk with, even those who have been around US junior tennis for a long time, are aware of the system the USTA has created to award these grants, which are based on reaching certain ranking benchmarks or reaching certain rounds in major tournaments.  These grants are not just for juniors either, as they extend through the age of 20; also included is a section for college players.

USTA National Coach Andy Brandi has recently provided a blog post on usta.com containing advice for junior players and their parents. Part 1 of this two-part article is here.  I spoke to Brandi about some of the same topics early last year in this article at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

World No. 1 junior Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia won his first ATP Challenger match today at the $50,000 tournament in Mexico, beating Stefan Kozlov, the No. 3 seed, 6-2, 7-5 in match suspended overnight Tuesday.  Kecmanovic, 17, has not played any juniors this year and probably won't as he attempts to build his ATP ranking, which is still outside the Top 500.

The quarterfinals are set for the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Pelham Alabama, with Usue Arconada the only American advancing to the final eight. The 18-year-old, seeded fourth, will face No. 6 seed Tena Lukas of Croatia next.

At the $80,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Indian Harbour Beach Florida, Vicky Duval won her first match since September of 2015, beating fellow wild card Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia 7-6(0), 2-6, 6-3. Sonya Kenin topped Barbara Haas of Austria to reach the second round, with qualifier Kaitlyn Christian also getting a good win. The former USC star beat No. 8 seed Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-2 and will play Duval next.  Top seed Genie Bouchard was tested by former Florida Gator Brianna Morgan, but the Canadian prevailed 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.