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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Minor and Woolcock in Women's NCAA Division I Final, Kwiatkowski and Blumberg Play for Men's Crown; Liu Captures $25K Title in Italy; Anisimova, Sandgren Fall at Roland Garros; Hilderbrand Sweeps Costa Rica Grade 4 Titles

The finals are set at the NCAA Division I individual championships in Athens Georgia, with North Carolina's William Blumberg and Virginia's Thai Kwiatkowski playing for the men's singles title and a US Open wild card, while Brienne Minor of Michigan will take on Florida's Belinda Woolcock for the women's singles championship.

The sixth-seeded Woolcock, the only international finalist and the only player who held the line 1 team position, had a roller coaster of a semifinal encounter with unseeded Miami freshman Estela Perez-Somarriba before securing a 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 victory.  The senior from Australia led 6-1, 5-1 and had three match points in the second set, but Perez-Somarriba won five straight games to force a third. Woolcock went up early in the third and this time closed out the match.

Minor, who played at line 2 for Michigan, took out Vanderbilt's Sydney Campbell, a 9-16 seed, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-0.  The sophomore from Illinois will be the first Michigan woman in history to play in the NCAA final.

Minor and Woolcock have not played before, but the men's final features two regular ACC foes.  In the team final last Tuesday, Blumberg defeated Kwiatkowski 6-3, 6-1 at line 2, and the Tar Heel freshman also beat the Virginia senior in the ACC conference tournament.

Blumberg, a 9-16 seed, advanced to the final by defeating No. 2 seed Nuno Borges of Mississippi State 6-2, 7-6(1), while Kwiatkowski, also a 9-16 seed, posted a 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 8 seed Tom Fawcett of Stanford.

The winner of the NCAA singles championship, if American, has traditionally received a wild card into the US Open main draw, and I expect that will be the case for tomorrow's champions.

Both singles finals will be played simultaneously, beginning at 11 a.m., with streaming available at NCAA.com.

The doubles finals will follow the singles finals, with Maddie Pothoff and Erin Routliffe of Alabama, 5-8 seeds, playing unseeded Francesca Di Lorenzo and Miho Kowase of Ohio State for the women's title. Pothoff and Routliffe defeated LSU's Ryann Foster and Joana Valle Costa 6-1, 6-1 in today's semifinals. Routliffe, a senior, was the NCAA doubles champion in 2014 and 2015, with Maya Jansen, who transferred to Cal and reached the doubles semifinals, losing to Di Lorenzo and Kowase today. Jansen and Maegan Manasse fell to the Buckeyes 6-2, 6-3.

Top seeds Robert Loeb and Jan Zielinski of Georgia will face unseeded Andrew Harris and Spencer Papa of Oklahoma for the men's doubles title. Loeb and Zielinski beat Jerry Lopez and Reese Stalder of TCU, 6-3, 7-6(4), while Harris and Papa took out No. 4 seeds Skander Mansouri and Christian Seraphim of Wake Forest 3-6, 6-4, 12-10, saving two match points in the super tiebreaker.

For complete draws, see the tournament website.

Claire Liu, who turned 17 three days ago, won her second $25,000 Pro Circuit title this month, both on clay, but one on the green clay in Naples Florida and this week, on the red clay of Caserta Italy.  Liu, who was unseeded, defeated Paula Badosa Gibert of Spain, also unseeded, 6-3, 6-3 in just over an hour.  With the title, Liu should break into the WTA Top 300 for the first time, but with the French Open the next two weeks, there will be a lag in getting those points onto to her ranking calculation.

Amanda Anisimova, who won the USTA's reciprocal wild card this spring made her slam debut in today's opening round of the French Open. The 15-year-old was up a set and a break on Japanese veteran Karumi Nara, but was unable to hold on, dropping the match 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.  Christopher Clarey of the New York Times published this profile of Anisimova, with the news that she intends to play the juniors in Paris again this year, after reaching the finals last year, and that she is now working with Henner Nehles of the USTA, who also has been coaching Kayla Day.

The men's USTA wild card recipient, Tennys Sandgren, also dropped his slam debut today, losing to Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.  An Associated Press profile of Sandgren is here.

Four Americans did advance to the second round today, with Shelby Rogers, Venus Williams[10], Madison Brengle and qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands earning victories.

Twelve Americans are on Monday's schedule, with No. 25 seed Steve Johnson three and a half sets into his first round match with Yuichi Sugita of Japan.

At the ITF Grade 4 in Costa Rica, top seed Trey Hilderbrand claimed both the singles and doubles titles. Hilderbrand's 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 8 seed Sebastian Quiros of Costa Rica earned the 17-year-old his fourth ITF singles title. Hilderbrand partnered with Joshua Bode to win the doubles, with the top seeds beating unseeded Diego Giraldo Restrepo and Juan Sanchez of Colombia 6-4, 6-3 in the final.

No. 4 seeds Chloe Hamlin and Sasha Wood took the girls doubles title, beating unseeded Shale Bouchard and Jenna Dean 6-1, 6-1 in an all-US final.

At the ITF Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan Italy, unseeded Elena Rybakina of Russia beat No. 8 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 to take the girls title. Alexei Popyrin of Australia, the No. 14 seed, defeated No. 15 seed Marko Miladinovic of Serbia 6-4, 6-2 to take the boys title. The ITF Junior website has a report on the finals here.


College Fan said...

Did anyone else watch all the underhanded serving in the OSU/Cal doubles match? Both sides were doing it. It seemed to be more strategy than for injury. Just curious if anyone knows more details. Cal, in particular, would aggressively slice underhand serves.

Essie said...

I thought Tennys Sandgren was much younger than 25 since I had not heard much about him. Well, I'll lower my expectations now since he's way past the age where he can improve his game enough to make a dent in the rankings. Just another less than good American male player. When are we going to get anyone to cheer for?

And Then There Was 4 said...

Steve Johnson..wins 6-3 in the fifth...only American Male to win today at Roland Garros.
3 other Americans play tomorrow: Isner, Querrey, and Escobedo.

Kevin from Atlanta said...

Anisimova...best of luck to her. But the HUGE question is why does Martin Blackman of USTA High Performance get an opinion? Who has he ever developed? Name one player that USTA High Performance has ever developed? Who did they develop in Key Biscayne? Who did they ever develop in Boca Raton? And who have they ever developed under Martin Blackman?

Zoo Tennis should do an expose on the good old boys and girls network that is USTA High Performance and how they have wasted tens of millions chasing the needle in the haystack they never have found in many, many decades of trying.

I notice Martin Blackman comments on Bellis, Keys, Anisimova...when he nor the USTA had a thing to do with their development. All of them were developed by parents, private coaches, or academies NOT the USTA!

Austin said...

Megan Mannasse's right arm looked heavily taped, that's why I thought she was serving underhand, and doing it quite well I noticed. I have no clue why Kowase was doing it.