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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Young Americans Advance at BNP Paribas Open; All-USA Semifinals at ITF Costa Rica Grade 3; Emory Women Top New Division III Rankings

Due to my coverage of the USTA Spring Team Championships, I haven't been able to keep close tabs on what is going on in the tennis world the past few days.

The BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells is the only ATP/WTA event this week, with main draw action beginning yesterday for the women and today for the men.  Seven young US women have advanced to the second round, including three wild cards and two qualifiers.  Sixteen-year-old Amanda Anisimova, the reigning US Open girls champion, received a wild card for her performance in the Oracle Challenger Series, and used it to get her first WTA main draw win (not including the WTA 125 events) on Wednesday, defeating Pauline Parmentier of France 6-2, 6-2. Nineteen-year-old Caroline Dolehide defeated Shelby Rogers 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-3, 22-year-old qualifier Sachia Vickery beat wild card Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-3, 6-4, and 19-year-old qualifier Sonya Kenin breezed past wild card Claire Liu 6-2, 6-0 on Wednesday.

Today, 24-year-old Danielle Collins picked up her first WTA main draw win (not including WTA 125 events), beating qualifier Taylor Townsend 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, while 22-year-old Jennifer Brady also came from a set down to post a win, beating Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.  Cici Bellis, who will turn 19 next month, took out qualifier Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain 6-0, 6-3.

Taylor Fritz earned his second win this year over friend Reilly Opelka in the opening round of men's action today, saving a match point in his 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 victory.  Fritz had beaten Opelka in the semifinals of the Newport Beach Challenger back in January.  Qualifier Mitchell Krueger defeated ATP No. 46 Benoit Paire of France 6-4, 1-6, 6-4. It's the 24-year-old Texan's second ATP main draw win, with his first also coming against Paire last summer in Cincinnati.

The semifinals are set for the ITF Grade 3 in Costa Rica, with an American champion already assured in both boys and girls draws.

Alex Lee[6] will take on Ronan Jachuck[5] for a place in the final, with unseeded Cannon Kingsley and qualifier Phillip Jordan meeting in the bottom half semifinal.  Jordan defeated No. 2 seed Axel Nefve 7-5, 6-3 in the quarterfinals, while Kingsley beat Blaise Bicknell 6-2, 7-5.  Bicknell had avenged his loss in the Guatemala Grade 4 final to William Woodall in the second round, snapping Woodall's winning streak at 11.

In the girls semifinals, unseeded Kylie Collins will play qualifier Kailey Evans in the top half. Collins defeated top seed Sabina Dadicu 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(8), while Evans topped No. 5 seed Sanyukta Gawande 6-2, 6-2.  The only seeded girl in the semifinals, No. 2 Niluka Madurawe, will play qualifier Elvina Kalieva, the reigning 14s Junior Orange Bowl champion.

The ITA released its women's Division III rankings today, with Emory taking over the top spot from Williams.  Emory won the National Team Indoor title on Sunday, with Williams not participating in that event.

Top Ten in Division III Women’s Rankings, March 8, 2018 (previous ranking of January 18 in parentheses)
1. Emory University (2)
2. Williams College (1)
3. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (3)
4. Middlebury College (4)
5. Bowdoin College (5)
6. Pomona-Pitzer Colleges (6)
7. Tufts University (7)
8. Wesleyan University (8)
9. Carnegie Mellon University (10)
10. University of Chicago (9)

The ITA Division I weekly rankings came out Tuesday, with the North Carolina women and Wake Forest men staying at No. 1.  William Blumberg of North Carolina kept his place at the top of the men's singles rankings, but there is a new women's No. 1: Bianca Turati of Texas.

The USTA rankings, which were released yesterday, also had the North Carolina women and Wake Forest men at No. 1.