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Friday, February 23, 2018

My Conversation with USTA's Stephen Amritraj; Noel, Boyer Reach Banana Bowl Finals; Li Advances to Semis in Rancho Santa Fe $25K; Novikov in Challenger Final; Men's D-III Indoor Underway; Georgia, Vanderbilt Women Lose

While I was in Lake Nona last week for the National Level 2 event, I had a chance to talk to Stephen Amritraj, the Director of Collegiate Tennis for the USTA. Because I'm not on site for college matches as much as I used to be, I'm not always up on the latest happenings in the sport, and I was interested in hearing about the new agreement with Tennis Channel to air live matches from the USTA campus (tomorrow morning's men's match between Texas A&M and Oklahoma is next up). Although unable to provide any information on how the USTA is approaching the new ITF Transition Tour, he did say more information would be available following next month's annual meeting in California. Our conversation is available today at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

Alexa Noel and Tristan Boyer have reached the final of the ITF Grade 1 Banana Bowl in Brazil.  No. 2 seed Noel defeated unseeded Kacie Harvey 7-6(5), 6-1 and will face top seed Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia, who beat Vanessa Ong 6-4, 6-3.  Boyer, the No. 5 seed, will also play the top seed in the final. Boyer defeated No. 9 seed Clement Tabur of France 7-6(2), 6-7(2), 6-3, while Argentina's Sebastian Baez beat No. 10 seed Facundo Diaz Acosta, also of Argentina, 6-4, 7-6(8).

Baez already has one Banana Bowl title, winning the doubles championship today. He and Tabur, the No. 3 seeds, beat top seeds Drew Baird and Colombia's Nicolas Mejia 6-4, 6-7(3), 10-7 in the final. Noel and her partner Elli Mandlik lost in the girls doubles final, with the No. 2 seeds falling to No. 3 seeds Mariam Dalakishvili of Georgia and Ania Hertel of Poland 6-3, 5-7, 10-7.

At the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit women's tournament in Rancho Santa Fe California, Ann Li has advanced to the semifinals with a 7-5, 2-6, 6-0 win over No. 4 seed and WTA No. 111 Evgeniya Rodina of Russia.  She now has two wins over players in the Top 120 since last fall. Li, who got in as a lucky loser after falling in the final round of qualifying, will face No. 2 seed Kurumi Nara of Japan in the semifinals.  The other semifinal is an all-American contest between No. 3 seed Sachia Vickery and unseeded Asia Muhammad.

Dennis Novikov has advanced to the final of the $50,000 ATP Challenger in Mexico. Novikov, the No. 3 seed, defeated No. 7 seed Pedja Krstin of Serbia 6-1, 6-4 in today's semifinal and will face unseeded Christian Garin of Chile in the championship match.  Evan King and Nathan Pasha have reached the doubles final.

The ITA Men's Division III Team Indoor Championships are underway at host Gustavus Adolphus, with eight teams vying for the title.

Emory is the top seed, and they will play Gustavus Adolphus, the No. 8 seed later tonight. The winner of that match will take on No. 4 seed University of Chicago, who beat No. 5 seed Carnegie Mellon 6-3.

No. 3 seed Washington-St. Louis defeated No. 6 seed University of Redlands 9-0 earlier today and will play No. 2 seed Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, who beat No. 7 Trinity (Tex) 9-0.

In college dual matches today, No. 24 Northwestern surprised No. 7 Vanderbilt 4-2, with the Wildcats winning the doubles point and getting singles points from Erin Larner, Alex Chatt and Julie Byrne.

No. 12  Georgia Tech defeated No. 6 Georgia 4-2, in a match that ended with the default of Georgia's Elena Christofi, who was overruled for a fifth time in the second-set tiebreaker of her match with Johnnise Renaud, giving the Yellow Jackets the game and the match.  Georgia's two points came from the top of the lineup, while Georgia Tech won the doubles point and got additional singles wins from Kenya Jones and Nami Otsuka.