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Friday, April 27, 2018

My Article on ITF Junior Circuit's New No-Service-Lets Rule; Amritraj Leaving USTA for UTR; Rubin Reaches Tallahassee Challenger Final; Townsend, Brady Advance to Semis in Charlottesville $80K

When the ITF implemented a new rule requiring its junior circuit tournaments to play lets on serves, there wasn't much discussion about it. Perhaps that's because there isn't much discussion about junior tennis rules in general, but it, like the change in the ITF ranking points, was instituted without much preamble or hint that it was coming. After three months, I thought most juniors would have had enough experience with it to have an opinion on it, so I spoke to several of them earlier this month in Carson, as well as a college coach, a USTA coach and a chair umpire, to find out how the rule change is being received in this article at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

It was announced today that Stephen Amritraj, the Director of Collegiate Tennis at the USTA, is leaving to become Chief Tennis Officer at UTR. Amritraj, who started with the USTA as a National Coach before moving to his current position, has been instrumental in the growth and success of College Match Days as well as the All-American College Combine, the second annual edition of which will be held in June. Amritraj was always aware of the daily pro results of the Americans who played collegiate tennis and always looking for ways to better assist them in their transition to a pro career.  I will be talking with Amritraj about his new responsibilities in more detail next month.


Noah Rubin, who made the final of the $15,000 Futures last week in Florida, has continued his good form at the $75,000 ATP Challenger this week in Tallahassee, reaching the final unseeded.  The former Wake Forest star, who has not dropped a set in his four wins this week, defeated last week's champion in Sarasota, Hugo Dellien of Bolivia, 6-2, 6-4 today.  He will face the winner of tonight's all-Australian battle between Max Purcell and Marc Polmans.  Rubin also takes the lead in the USTA's Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge with next week the final week in the race.

Taylor Townsend unofficially wrapped her French Open wild card by advancing to the semifinals of the $80,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Charlottesville Virginia.  No. 3 seed Townsend trailed Sesil Karatancheva of Bulgaria 4-1 in the final set in today's quarterfinal, but she came back to win it 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(2). Only Caroline Dolehide has a mathematical chance to catch Townsend in the USTA's Wild Card Challenge and she is not scheduled to play in the $80,000 tournament in Charleston South Carolina that wraps up the race for the women. Townsend will face No. 5 seed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine in one semifinal, with No. 2 seed Jennifer Brady playing No. 4 seed Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia in the other. 

Free live streaming for both Tallahassee and Charlottesville is available at usta.com.

At the $15,000 Futures in Vero Beach, former Northwestern star Strong Kirchheimer, the No. 4 seed, has advanced to the semifinals with a 1-6, 6-4, 7-5 win over No. 8 seed Alejandro Tabilo of Chile. Kirchheimer will face the winner of tonight's all-Colombia match between 18-year-old qualifier Nicolas Mejia and Juan Benitez, the former Baylor Bear. Ricardo Rodriguez-Pace of Venezuela and top seed Marcelo Barrios Vera of Chile will meet in the other semifinal.

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