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Friday, April 20, 2018

Di Lorenzo, Opelka, Eubanks, Rubin Advance to ATP and Pro Circuit Semifinals; Team Impact's Partnership with College Tennis; Danielle Collins Feature; US Meets France in Fed Cup Semifinals

Francesca Di Lorenzo, who is in her first full year on the WTA tour after two years at Ohio State, has reached her first semifinal above the $25,000 level at the $80,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Dothan Alabama. The 20-year-old from Ohio, who won three qualifying matches to reach the main draw, defeated Barbara Haas of Austria 6-4, 6-1 to advance to the final four. Di Lorenzo, who should move into the WTA Top 200 with her results this week, will face No. 5 seed Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia, who beat No. 2 seed Sonya Kenin 6-4, 6-1. Taylor Townsend, the No. 4 seed, is playing Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Spain tonight to decide who will meet unseeded Sesil Karatancheva of Bulgaria in the other semifinal.

At the $100,000 ATP Challenger in Sarasota, Reilly Opelka advanced to the semifinals, beating Guilherme Clezar of Brazil 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.  Stefan Kozlov couldn't join him however, despite holding a match point in his 5-7, 6-1, 7-6(6) loss to Hugo Dellien of Bolivia. Opelka will play Facundo Bagnis of Argentina next, with Dellien taking on Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina in the other semifinal.  All the semifinalists are unseeded.

At the $50,000+H ATP Challenger in Guadalajara Mexico, former Georgia Tech star Chris Eubanks has advanced to the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Danilo Petrovic of Serbia.  Eubanks, who defeated No. 7 seed Victor Estella Burgos of the Dominican Republic 7-6(5), 7-6(6) in the second round, will face another Serbian, Pedja Krstin in Saturday's semifinal.

The rarity of the top four seeds advancing to the semifinals has happened at the $15,000 Futures in Orange Park Florida, with former Wake Forest star Noah Rubin continuing to cruise through the draw.  The top-seeded Rubin, who took a wild card into the event, defeated No. 5 seed Santiago Rodriguez Taverna of Argentina 6-1, 6-3 in today's quarterfinal and will face No. 4 seed Jose Pereira of Brazil Saturday.  No. 2 seed Marcelo Barrios Vera of Chile will play No. 3 seed Samuel Bensoussen of France in the other semifinal.

Two-time NCAA champion Danielle Collins has been the subject of several features since her results in March vaulted her to the WTA Top 50.  This article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch features quotes not just from Collins, but also from her father and former Virginia head coach Mark Guilbeau, who continues to be involved in Collins' coaching.

The Tennis Recruiting Network has posted an article about the college teams who have partnered with sick and disabled children through the non-profit Team IMPACT.  It's an inspiring article on what several collegiate programs have done to reach out to young people in their communities who often don't have teams of their own.

The US women's Fed Cup team is in France this weekend for the semifinals, with the Americans favored, even on red clay, to advance to the final for the second consecutive year. The 2017 champions will send out Sloane Stephens in the first singles match, against France's Pauline Parmentier, while CoCo Vandeweghe will play Kristina Mladenovic in the second singles match.  Also on the team are Madison Keys and Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Kathy Rinaldi, who took over as captain last year, has yet to lose a Fed Cup match. The winner of the tie will face the winner of the semifinal between Germany and the Czech Republic. For more on the US-France semifinal, see the Fed Cup website.