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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pro Circuit Quarterfinals Set; Kwiatkowski, Venus Features; Flores Advances at ITF Grade 1; Midwest College Showcase Next Friday

The quarterfinals are set at all three USTA Pro Circuit events this week, with current and former college stars making up the majority of those in the final eight.

At the $15,000 men's Futures in Buffalo, TCU rising junior Alex Rybakov defeated top seed Gonzalo Lama of Chile 6-3, 7-6(6) to join former collegians Dennis Nevolo[3] (Illinois), Raleigh Smith (Northwestern), Cameron Silverman (Elon) and Samuel Monette (Indiana) in the quarterfinals. Rybakov will face wild card Maksim Tikhomirov, who advanced when Great Britain's Farris Gosea[7] (Illinois) retired.

Seven of the eight quarterfinalists at the $25,000 Futures at Wake Forest have college ties.  USC's Brandon Holt, a qualifier, reached his first Futures quarterfinal, saving two match points in his 7-5, 6-7(4), 7-5 win over fellow rising sophomore Borna Gojo of Wake Forest. Holt will play Kevin King (Georgia Tech) who advanced by a walkover from No. 3 seed Christian Harrison. Georgia Tech rising senior Christopher Eubanks will face No. 5 seed Jared Hiltzik (Illinois); Isiah Strode will face Australian qualifier Andrew Harris, a recent Oklahoma graduate; No. 8 seed Wil Spencer (Georgia) plays Jesse Witten (Kentucky). Eubanks and King will face Holt and Riley Smith, Holt's doubles partner at USC, for the doubles championship on Friday.

At the women's $25,000 tournament in Sumter South Carolina, Allie Kiick, in her second tournament back after nearly two years out with illness and surgery, advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating No. 2 seed Katherine Sebov of Canada 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 in just under three hours.  Kiick will face No. 6 seed Robin Anderson (UCLA); Ohio State rising junior Francesca Di Lorenzo[4] will play No. 5 seed Chanel Simmonds of South Africa; Ashley Kratzer meets No. 7 seed Connie Hsu (Penn) of Taiwan; and Julia Elbaba (Virginia) will take on Pepperdine sophomore Ashley Lahey, a wild card.

NCAA singles champion Thai Kwiatkowski discusses how college tennis helped him mature, with some candid comments on how far he had to progress in his four years, in this article from the University of Virginia.

"I don't think the fourth-year Thai would be friends with first-year Thai," Kwiatkowski said last week. "I'm very proud and grateful for the person I am today, because so many people have impacted my life, from coaches to professors to my team to just friends at the University. I was able to grow up in this place. I'm leaving it, but I'll always be back."

Former LSU star Michael Venus, who won the French Open men's doubles title last week, is the subject of this feature, which focuses on his possible need for a doubles partner for Wimbledon. Ryan Harrison, his partner at the French, is not certain to play Wimbledon, where the format is best-of-five. But they are now in the running for the ATP Championships at year-end, so that may change their schedule in the upcoming months.

The singles quarterfinals and doubles semifinals are set at the ITF Grade 1 this week in Germany.  Victoria Flores[10], the Georgia Tech rising freshman, has advanced to the quarterfinals in singles and the semifinals in doubles, where she is playing with Thaisa Pedretti of Brazil.  Hurricane Tyra Black is also in the doubles semifinals, playing with Viktoriya Petrenko of Ukraine.

The USTA Midwest section is having their annual college showcase in conjunction with the Midwest Closed 16s and 18s in Indianapolis next week.  The showcase, which costs $75.00, is Friday June 23rd. The deadline to register is Tuesday, June 20th.  For more information, click here.