Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Strong Fields for ITF Grade A in Milan; Top Seeds Lose at Grade 1 in France; Ojai Underway; Pro Circuit Update; Vanderbilt Women, UCLA Men Top USTA Poll

The acceptances were released today for the ITF Grade A in Milan, which takes place May 21-27, with 10 US girls and six US boys receiving acceptance into the main draw.  The fields are generally strong at this event, but this year they are notably so, with eight of the Top 10 boys in the ITF rankings entered and six of the Top 10 girls. Both Australian Open junior champions have entered: World Junior No. 1 Sebastian Korda and girls No. 2 En Shuo Liang of Taiwan.

The US girls are Alexa Noel, Dalayna Hewitt, Caty McNally, Katie Volynets, Lea Ma, Gabby Price, Natasha Subhash, Hurricane Tyra Black, Hailey Baptiste and Peyton Stearns.  Hewitt, who turned pro this winter, hasn't played a junior event since the Australian Open.

In addition to Korda, the US boys receiving entry are Tristan Boyer, Drew Baird, Andrew Fenty, Brandon Nakashima and Emilio Nava.

Wednesday wasn't a good day for the top seeds at the ITF Grade 1 in France, with the top two boys seeds and the top girls seed eliminated in their opening matches in the second round.  No. 1 Drew Baird lost to French wild card Nicolas Tepmahc  6-3, 7-5 and No. 2 seed Filip Jianu of Romania was beaten by wild card Roman Burruchaga of Argentina 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.  Top girls seed Naho Sato of Japan had an unlucky draw, facing WTA 586 Varvara Gracheva of Russia in the second round, and Sato was beaten 7-5, 7-6(5).  Gracheva will face No. 14 seed Vanessa Ong next.  Kacie Harvey, the No. 11 seed, has also advanced to the third round.

The 118th Ojai, which I attended last year for the first time, is underway, with qualifying for the Men's and Women's Opens now complete.  I won't be covering the tournament in person this year, but I will be following the results throughout the week.  Sebastian Fanselow, the former Pepperdine star, is the top seed in the Men's Open, with Hanna Chang the top seed in the Women's Open. The Pac-12 team events have begun (this page at Slam Tennis will keep you up-to-date on all the results from conference tournaments this weekend) and the draws for the junior events have also been posted.  Stefan Dostanic is the top seed in the boys CIF tournament, and Nicole Mossmer is the top seed in the Girls 18s.

If you haven't been to Ojai, and live within driving distance, you should make every effort to spend at least a day there. I was overwhelmed by the depth and breadth of the tournament and how the community treasures this week. You'll see some great tennis in an atmosphere that is unique in the tennis world.

At the $80,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Charlottesville, rain disrupted play for the second straight day.  The final round of qualifying matches were moved indoors on Tuesday, but because there are no indoor clay courts at the Boars Head Tennis Center, none of the main draw singles matches have been played, with only doubles matches played indoors today.  First and second round matches are both scheduled for Thursday.

The $15,000 Futures in Vero Beach saw 18-year-old qualifier Ryan Goetz earn his first ATP point.  The University of Virginia recruit defeated former Northwestern standout Raleigh Smith 7-6(6), 7-6(2) for his fifth win since Friday, with four coming in qualifying.

At the $75,000 ATP Challenger in Tallahassee, Noah Rubin defeated top seed Denis Kudla 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the quarterfinals. No. 2 seed Peter Polansky of Canada also went out in the second round today, losing to Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina 6-3, 6-3.

For more on the history and significance of the Tallahassee Challenger, see this article by Ryan Rodenberg in Sports Illustrated.

Like the ITA, the USTA's Division I poll had a change at the top of the women's rankings, with Vanderbilt now the unanimous No. 1. Vanderbilt moved into the top spot after winning the SEC tournament while Pepperdine, the previous No. 1, lost to UCLA. UCLA remains No. 1 in the men's poll. The complete polls can be found here.

USTA Division I Top 10 Team Rankings:

1. UCLA (1)
2. Wake Forest (2)
3. Ohio State (3)
4. Stanford (4)
5. Texas A&M (5)
6. North Carolina (6)
7. TCU (7)
8. USC (8)
9. Illinois (9)
10. Mississippi State (11)

1. Vanderbilt (3)
2. Duke (4)
3. North Carolina (2)
4. Pepperdine (1)
5. Texas (5)
6. Georgia Tech (6)
7. Stanford (7)
8. UCLA (11)
9. Florida (10)
10. Mississippi (12)