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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Anisimova Claims French Open Main Draw Wild Card; NCAA's Mysterious Seeding Decisions; Winterbotham Out at Tennessee; Bolton Reaches Grade 1 Semifinal in Morocco

Amanda Anisimova did not play in the final two tournaments of the
USTA's French Open Wild Card Challenge, but her appearances in the the finals of the first two were enough. Going into this week's $60,000 tournament in Charleston, only two players could catch her, Caroline Dolehide and Vicky Duval, with both needing to win the title to do so. Dolehide lost in the first round to top seed Madison Brengle, while Duval dropped her second round match today, retiring down 6-3, 1-1 to Elizaveta Ianchuk of Ukraine.

According to tweets I've read, the 15-year-old Anisimova will be the youngest player in the women's main draw of the French Open since Alize Cornet in 2005 and is the first player born in 2001 to contest a main draw match at a slam.

Five of the eight quarterfinalists in Charleston are from the US: Brengle will play qualifier Lauren Embree, who beat No. 7 seed Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal 7-5, 5-7, 7-6(5) in three hours and 21 minutes. The other all-US quarterfinal will feature Danielle Collins and No. 3 seed Kayla Day.  Wild card Claire Liu will face No. 6 seed Francoise Abanda of Canada.

The USTA's men's French Open Wild Card Challenge will end this week, too, but not quite yet.  Tennys Sandgren is leading the race, but he can still be caught by four other Americans, with all five having advanced to the quarterfinals at the $75,000 ATP Challenger in Savannah.  Wild card Marcos Giron and No. 6 seed Stefan Kozlov kept their hopes alive with wins today, as did Tommy Paul and Dennis Novikov. The loser of the match between Paul and Novikov will be eliminated, and Sandgren, the No. 5 seed, can go a long way toward securing the wild card if he beats No. 2 seed Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland in the quarterfinals.

Live streaming with commentary by Mike Cation is available at the ATP Challenger website.

The ITA rankings have been released and I will not go into detail on them, since they are always upstaged by the NCAA seeds, but I do want to go on record with a dissenting opinion on the NCAA committee's deviation from them in the women's draw.  Vanderbilt beat No. 1 Florida twice, recently, but was not placed ahead of the Gators, yet North Carolina, ranked No. 4 was moved to No. 2 with no head-to-head to justify it. Taking Ohio State from 2 to 3 is a major step and again, why do that? College Tennis Today's Bobby Knight talked with someone from the NCAA and tried to piece together the reasoning, but I remain unconvinced. You need a great reason to override the rankings, which you could argue Vanderbilt has, yet what all the changes actually made have done is make the whole process seem subjective and arbitrary.

The big news in college tennis today is the firing of University of Tennessee men's head coach Sam Winterbotham, who had been the head of the Volunteers program since 2006. Tennessee hired a new athletic director, John Currie, in February, and that often leads to coaching changes, although it is unusual for a tennis coach's contract to be bought out--usually a contract is simply allowed to run out and is not renewed.  Chris Woodruff, the former Volunteer star and longtime assistant/associate coach there, has been named interim head coach and he will accompany Timo Stoddard to the NCAA singles tournament. Woodruff is the obvious frontrunner for the job, but the release says a four-person internal committee will conduct a national search.

The ITF spring clay circuit in Florida got underway this week in Delray Beach, with the semifinals of the Grade 4 featuring six Americans. The boys semifinals are all US: Boris Kozlov[1], Maximilian Wild, Christian Alshon[3] and wild card Alex Lee.  Angelia Blake and No. 2 seed Chloe Beck are the US girls in the final four. Blake plays No. 8 seed Csilla Fodor of Hungary and Beck plays No. 5 seed Margaryta Bilokin of Ukraine.

At this week's ITF Grade 1 in Morocco, Elysia Bolton has reached the semifinals, the second Grade 1 semifinal for the UCLA recruit this spring. The No. 3 seed, Bolton will play top seed Sofya Lansere of Russia next. Lea Ma has reached the girls doubles final, playing with Qinwen Zheng of China.


Portland Pilots said...

@Colette, what happened to the Vanderbilt women team’s seeding at the NCAA’s is nothing compared to what happened to the University of Portland Men’s team. An outrageously unfair decision by the NCAA committee caused Portland to get knocked out of the entire tournament when their ranking justified their getting in. In my opinion, getting robbed of a complete tournament bid that you’ve earned is a lot more devastating than getting robbed of a seeding number.

Portland has never been invited to the tournament in the school’s history, but they had their best season ever and went 18-3. They also won their conference (WCC) based on regular season.

They got ranked #48.

Meanwhile, Washington had another bad year and went 12-11, lost the last 5 matches of the year, including twice to Utah, lost first round in their conference tournament and finished second to last in their conference (Pac 12).

Washington got ranked #49.

But instead of giving the NCAA tournament bid to the higher ranked Portland so that they can compete in the tournament for the first time in the school’s history, the committee decided to give the bid to Washington over Portland! They presumably based this outrageous decision on the fact that Washington beat Portland on Washington’s home indoor courts very early in the season.

I can understand giving the nod to the team with the direct win if the two teams are TIED, but they are NOT TIED. Portland is ranked AHEAD of Washington. This outrageous decision should be appealable and corrected.

Lots of furious Portland and other fans are expressing their outrage about this on the TennisWarehouse.com Talk Tennis Board. The NCAA Committee’s credibility is in splinters, lower than ever.

Tour Update said...

J Sorgi defeats S Kozlov 2,2 in Savannah Challenger. Kozlov is out of the French Open Wild Card Race.

Tour Update said...

D Ferrer takes out R Harrison 4,0 at the Estoril Open in Portugal

5.0 Player said...

There really should be an investigation into the NCAA Committee's indefensible decision to screw over Portland in favor of Washington for the tournament bid.

criteria said...

Here's the criteria
Pages 19-20

truth said...

washington had 4 ranked wins...one of them was Portland...Portland being in a smaller conference...had one ranked win and then lost to that ranked team, san diego in the conference tournament... Portland had to win their conference championship to get to the ncaa's....that being said...washington got the ticket....rankings suck

David said...

Tennis is not a revenue producing sport, so it's laughable that UVA would "buy out" the women's coach like Texas football with Charlie Strong or something. What there should be an investigation on is the number of scholarships that go to foreign players from state schools that good tax-paying Americans aren't even considered for. It's truly shameful. I bet half the men's rosters don't even have a US player on them. There can be no justification for this.

5.0 Player said...

@Truth, was that run on sentence that you just posted supposed to be an "analysis?" You can't take one sliver of data and call that an analysis. If Washington's results were stronger than Portland's as you claim, then that superiority would have been reflected in the ranking. But, the NCAA rankings place Portland above Washington based on performance.

Washington has lost to several unranked teams (including Indiana at home, Drake, Pepperdine, Utah twice, etc.), they finished second to last in their conference and lost in the first round of their conference tournament. Portland finished the regular season first in their conference and got to at least the semis of their conference tournament. Not to mention, Portland beat Pepperdine and Washington lost to Pepperdine this season. Most importantly, it is the NCAA who ranked Portland ABOVE Washington, so it makes no sense to go against THEIR OWN RANKINGS to choose the team that they ranked LOWER (NOT TIED) in THEIR OWN RANKINGS. (The NCAA's should not have the right to do this unless they admit that their own rankings are wrong.)

Professor said...

The fact remains the same.... The huskies are dancing and Portland needs to win their Conference Championship Tounament and defeat a larger number of ranked teams to qualify for the NCAA's Next Year. Now that your season is Over, you can go back to your english class and study for your final.

It's not the NCAA's rankings said...

@5.0 - trust me - not trying to troll as I don't really care who gets into the tournament, but did want to correct you. It's not the NCAA's rankings, it's the ITA Rankings. Different associations. If it were their rankings I'd imagine they would go straight off of them. For years and years there have been numerous flips between ITA Ranking and the NCAA selections (back when I was involved in college tennis there could be very large differences between rankings and selections - No. 8 slipping to a No. 13 seed, No. 52 getting selected ahead of No. 44, etc). It's so much closer now. The people who make the NCAA selections are a committee of administrators and coaches who do follow the ITA rankings closely, but have additional criteria (like head-to-head) that comes into play and can result in these types of flips. Not advocating for UW or anyone, but that's how it is set up.
Separate but somewhat related topic, I really liked seeing the additional rankings that popped up this year - USTA Top 25, Slam and I think Texas College Tennis does one too.

5.0 Player said...

@trust me, I appreciate the information assuming that you are correct. That was a sincere and informative post.

@Professor, in contrast to trust me's post, your post was just a mean spirited, unconstructive, petty and immature troll post. You should be ashamed of yourself and also be banned from this blog.

TheTruth said...

Portland would CRUSH Washington.

TheTruth said...

ITA Ranking system is an absolute joke.  Please, ITA Gnomes, make your rankings more understandable.

Alex Ho said...

UW beat Portland 6-1 in February. You cannot compare WCC to PAC -12

WCC said...

@Alex Ho, yes you can compare schools from both conferences. Pepperdine (WCC) BEAT Washington (Pac 12) this year. And you can certainly compare one of the very top WCC conference teams with one of the very worst Pac 12 Teams which is the case here. Portland was at the very top of the WCC as regular season WCC conference champions, whereas Washington was at the bottom of the Pac 12 ranked second to last and only having one conference win which was over Arizona, and that was 4-3. Portland beat Pepperdine, the school that beat Washington this season. The only lame argument for Washington is that they beat Portland at home indoors in Seattle very early in the season; and it was the worst match Portland played all year. Portland coach Aaron Gross was quoted in the press as saying "we were horrendous today."

Also, the overall records aren't even close with Portland 17-3 and Washington 12-11. No wonder the ITA ranks Portland over Washington.

Al and Hillary said...

My fellow Americans, Hillary and I applaud your efforts to throw the blame to other people, we certainly did , didn't we Hill:) but when the day is over, the chads have been counted and the emails have been read, it cones down to 3 things. You need to join one of the power 5 conferences, win your conference championship tournament, or play more ranked teams and win to get into the top 40 ITF. Congrats on Your season and although it was commendable season( by your conference standards), but the dance card is full. Good luck next season.

Accuracy and Maturity said...

@Al and H, you're obviously a Donald Chump supporter based on the context of your gratuitous anti Clinton and Gore post, so the immaturity and lack of accuracy in your post is to be expected. Washington was ranked #49, finished at the bottom of their conference and lost in the first round of their conference tournament. Not even close to the top 40 of the ITF rankings, but yet they are invited "to the dance." So much for your advice and criteria. The college teams can find better advice from a better source.