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Friday, November 3, 2017

October Aces; Semifinals Set at ITA Fall Nationals; Girls 18s Clay Courts Moving to South Carolina; All-American Semifinals at Tyler $80K, Charlottesville Challenger; Scott, Wen Win Les Petits As Playoffs

My monthly column looking back on the top junior and college performances is up now at the Tennis Recruiting Network, with 18 players featured. It should have been 20; somehow I failed to include 2017 NCAA champion Thai Kwiatkowski, who won the $25,000 Houston Futures and 2016 NCAA champion Mackenzie McDonald, who won the $100,000 Fairfield Challenger.  That was the week I was in Tulsa, but that's no excuse, and I apologize for overlooking them.

The singles semifinals are set for the ITA Fall National Championships in Indian Wells after two rounds were played today.  The women's draw has been unpredictable from the first day, and two unseeded players have advanced to the semifinals.  Texas's Bianca Turati defeated No. 12 seed Michaela Gordon of Stanford and No. 8 seed Gabriela Talaba of Texas Tech and will meet No. 11 seed Samantha Harris of Duke in Saturday's semifinal.  Harris advanced with straight-sets wins over Julia O'Loughlin of Denver and No. 3 seed Ashley Lahey of Pepperdine. Unseeded Andrea Lazaro of Florida International defeated Vladica Babic of Oklahoma State and No. 5 seed Alle Sanford of North Carolina and will face No. 13 seed Fernanda Contreras of Vanderbilt in the semifinals. Contreras, the All-American champion, beat Veronica Miroshnichenko of Loyola Marymount and Marie Leduc of Clemson today. Like Turati, she has not yet dropped a set.

All four of the men's semifinalists are seeded, with top seed Nuno Borges of Mississippi, a wild card, facing no. 5 seed Martin Redlicki of UCLA and No. 3 seed Petros Chrysochos of Wake Forest meeting No. 16 seed Thomas Laurent of Oregon.  Borges, who has yet to drop a set, defeated Alex Lebedev of Notre Dame and No. 6 seed Emil Reinberg of Georgia, while Redlicki twice came back from a set down to advance, beating Timo Stodder of Tennessee 6-7(1), 6-3, 6-1 and No. 4 seed Skander Mansouri of Wake Forest 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4). Chrysochos beat No. 10 seed JJ Wolf of Ohio State in three sets and No. 9 seed Alfredo Perez of Florida in two to advance.  Laurent beat Aswin Lizen of Virginia and NAIA champion Kevin Konfederak of Georgia Gwinnett, with Laurent taking the quarterfinal match by a 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(6) score.

Streaming will be available on two courts, and the ITA announced today that Mark Bey and Kaitlin Ray will be doing commentary. The two courts being streamed have not had commentary the first three days.

The sanctions for USTA National Level 1 tournaments have been approved recently, and the Girls 18s Clay Courts will be moving in 2018 from Memphis to Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, outside Charleston. The winner of the tournament will receive a main draw wild card into the Volvo Car Open in the spring of 2019. When Memphis had a combined ATP/WTA tournament, the Clay Court champion received a wild card, but when the WTA event moved that ended. I would imagine that wild card was one of the reasons for awarding the tournament sanction to Charleston. For more on the move, see this article from Charleston's The Post and Courier.

The semifinals are set for the $80,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Tyler Texas, with all four participants Americans.  Danielle Collins will face No. 3 seed Sonya Kenin and No. 4 seed Kristie Ahn will meet No. 7 seed Irina Falconi.  Collins beat qualifier Ashley Kratzer 7-5, 6-1 and Kenin took out Cagla Buyukakcay of Turkey 7-5, 6-4.  Ahn outlasted Elitsa Kostova of Bulgaria 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 and Falconi downed No. 2 seed Taylor Townsend 6-4, 7-6(6). 

Francesca Di Lorenzo has reached the semifinals of the $60,000 ITF Womens' Pro Circuit tournament in Toronto, advancing when Tammy Hendler of Belgium retired trailing 4-0 in the first set.  Di Lorenzo will face No. 2 seed Patty Schnyder of Switzerland on Saturday.

At the $75,000 ATP Challenger in Charlottesville, top seed Tennys Sandgren, No. 7 seed Michael Mmoh, No. 6 seed Stefan Kozlov and unseeded Tim Smyczek have advanced to Saturday's semifinals.  Sandgren defeated Brayden Schnurr of Canada 6-1, 6-2 and will face Mmoh, who beat qualifier Ruan Roelofse of South Africa 7-6(4), 6-4.  Roelofse had upset No. 3 seed Cameron Norrie of Great Britain in the second round.  Kozlov beat Denis Kudla 6-3, 6-4, while Smyczek advanced to the semifinals when No. 2 seed Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland retired trailed 7-6(2), 2-1.

The final matches in the USA's Les Petits As playoffs were played today, with Katrina Scott and Evan Wen the champions. The finalists will play in the main draw of the prestigious 14-and-under tournament, with the third place finishers assured of at least a qualifying berth. The US will receive a third main draw spot, with who fills that to be determined.

Final: Katrina Scott[4] def. Katja Wiersholm[2] 6-2, 6-4
Third place: Vivian Ovrootsky[1] def. Robin Montgomery[3] 7-6(11), 6-0

Final: Evan Wen[1] def. John Kim 7-6(4), 7-5
Third place: Victor Lilov[3]  def. Jonah Braswell 6-2, 3-1, ret.