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Friday, April 13, 2018

International Spring Championships Recap; Townsend, Brengle Reach Indian Harbour $60K Semis; Riffice, Adams Advance at Little Rock Futures; Kiick Moves On at Pelham $25K; Americans Dominate at ATP Event in Houston

I've covered the ITF Grade 1 International Spring Championships in Carson for 14 years now, but this year is the first time it's been positioned after the Easter Bowl.  My Easter Bowl recaps for the Tennis Recruiting Network appeared last weekend, and today I wrap up the ISC with a TRN article featuring ITF champions Hurricane Tyra Black and Brandon Nakashima and 16s champions Zachery Lim and Anne Lutkemeyer Obregon. Videos and photos from the two tournaments will be coming in the next few weeks.

Friday was quarterfinal day at the $60,000 USTA Pro Circuit women's tournament in Indian Harbour Beach Florida, with Americans Taylor Townsend and Madison Brengle advancing to the semifinals.  Brengle, the top seed, beat Sophie Chang 7-5, 6-3 and Townsend, the No. 4 seed, defeated fellow 21-year-old Francoise Abanda of Canada 6-2, 6-0.  Abanda had beaten Townsend in both their meetings as juniors, but Townsend has won all four meetings in the pros.  Townsend will face unseeded Irina Bara of Romania in Saturday's semifinal. Brengle will play the winner of tonight's match between No. 7 seed Caroline Dolehide and No. 3 seed Jana Cepelova of Slovakia. This tournament is the first of four events in the USTA's Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge

The USTA Women's Pro Circuit also has a $25,000 tournament this week in Pelham Alabama, with Allie Kiick the sole American to reach the semifinals.  The unseeded Kiick advanced over USTA 18s champion Ashley Kratzer, seeded seventh, 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-5, in a match that took three hours and 13 minutes to complete.  Kiick will play former Alabama star Alexa Guarachi of Chile, who beat top seed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine in the first round and today got by 18-year-old Duke recruit Maria Mateas 6-3, 6-2. Qualifier Iga Swiatek of Poland, a 16-year-old who was out for more than six months last year, defeated Tammy Hendler of Belgium 6-2, 5-2 retired.  Swiatek's semifinal opponent will be Florida Atlantic sophomore Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov of Spain, who beat No. 2 seed Barbara Haas of Austria 6-2, 6-2.

Guarachi already has earned one title this week, partnering with Erin Routliffe of New Zealand, another Crimson Tide alum, to take the doubles title. The top seeds beat Mateas and Maria Jose Portillo Ramirez of Mexico 6-1, 6-2 in today's final.

The semifinals are not quite set for the $25,000 USTA Men's Pro Circuit Futures in Little Rock Arkansas, with the completion of the quarterfinal match between Henry Craig and Nik Scholtz of South Africa postponed until Saturday morning. Former Denver star Craig won the first set 6-4, Scholtz, the former Ole Miss star, took the second set 7-6(3) and Craig will be serving at 5-6 in the third set when play resumes.  The other quarterfinals were completed, with Florida recruit Sam Riffice beating fellow qualifier Michael Redlicki 6-4, 6-4 and Texas A&M graduate Harrison Adams, a wild card, defeating Collin Altamirano 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Former UCLA Bruin Karue Sell beat top seed Kaichi Uchida of Japan 6-3 6-0 and will play Riffice in the semifinals. 

A wild card tournament for entry into the $15,000 Futures in Vero Beach later this month was held this week in Lake Nona, but the two finalists, Trent Bryde and Karl Poling, were to compete in the qualifying of the $15,000 Futures in Orange Park Florida this weekend, so the match was played there instead, with Poling, a Princeton recruit defeating Bryde, a Georgia recruit, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.  For more on that unusual scenario, see this Tennis Grandstand article.

At the ATP event this week in Houston, three Americans will join Ivo Karlovic of Croatia in the semifinals.  Tennys Sandgren reached his first career ATP semifinal with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 win over Guido Pella of Argentina this afternoon and all four quarterfinalists in the top half are Americans, with Taylor Fritz beating No. 3 seed Jack Sock 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 this evening.  Fritz had lost to Sock in their previous two meetings, both at slams, each time in five sets.  Top seed John Isner and defending champion Steve Johnson will play later tonight for the fourth spot in the semifinals.