Friday, March 9, 2018

USTA National Spring Team Championships Recap; All-Collegiate Semifinals at $25K Futures in Canada; Osuigwe and McNally into Doubles Final at Orlando $15K

My review of the USTA Spring Team Championships in Mobile is now up at the Tennis Recruiting Network. If you weren't able to follow during the four day event, this is a good opportunity to get a feel for one of the most popular USTA national junior events of the year. Although there are other team events in the summer months, this one is unique, because players from all parts of the country are assigned a team and a coach. In other events, juniors are usually are representing their sections, so this provides a different experience and perspective, allowing everyone to test their comfort levels as they prepare for college tennis.

Saturday's semifinals at the $25,000 Futures in Sherbrooke Canada will feature four former collegians: JC Aragone, Michael Redlicki, Brayden Schnur of Canada and Dominik Koepfer of Germany. The unseeded Aragone, who graduated from Virginia last year, defeated top seed and ATP 158 Gleb Sakharov of France in a third-set tiebreaker in the opening round and beat Joris De Loore of Belgium 7-5, 7-5 in today's quarterfinals.  He will face No. 5 seed Koepfer, the former Tulane star, who advanced to the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Ugo Humbert of France, who won the $25K Futures in Canada last week.  No. 3 seed Schnur, who left North Carolina after his junior year in 2016, took a wild card into this week's tournament and beat No. 6 seed Christopher Eubanks in today's quarterfinal 7-6(4), 6-4.  Schnur will play qualifier Michael Redlicki, who completed his graduate degree at Arkansas late last year and is playing in just his third tournament of the year.  The 24-year-old Redlicki beat No. 2 seed and ATP 186 Filip Peliwo of Canada 6-7(4), 6-2 7-6(5) in today's quarterfinals.

The semifinals are set at the $15,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Orlando, with two Americans and one current collegian in the final four.  Vanderbilt senior Astra Sharma of Australia defeated ITF Junior No. 1 Whitney Osuigwe 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(6), even though Sharma actually won three fewer points than the 15-year-old Floridian.  Sharma, the No. 6 seed, will face No. 8 seed Jessica Pegula, who beat top seed Usue Arconada 6-4, 6-3 in a two-hour two-setter. In the bottom half, No. 3 seed Sophie Chang defeated No. 7 seed Katerina Stewart 7-6(5), 6-4 to earn a meeting with No. 2 seed Chanel Simmonds of South Africa.  Simmonds defeated Florida Atlantic sophomore Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov, the No. 5 seed, 6-3, 6-2.

Osuigwe may have lost in today's quarterfinals, but she and Caty McNally have reached the doubles final without much resistance.  The No. 3 seeds have lost eight games total in their three victories this week.  They will face No. 1 seeds Dia Evtimova of Bulgaria and Ilona Kremen of Belarus for the title. Although they have won many significant junior titles, McNally and Osuigwe have yet to win a title on the Pro Circuit.