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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Florida Tops Men's 2018 Recruiting Class Rankings; Zamarripa Takes Grade 5 Title in ITF Junior Circuit Debut; Top Seed Skatov Out at ITF Grade 1 in Belgium; French Open First Round Needs Fourth Day

The second and last men's recruiting class rankings for 2018 were announced yesterday at the Tennis Recruiting Network, with the University of Florida taking the top spot.  Florida has signed Sam Riffice and Lucas Greif, two blue chips, and twins Harry and Grey Cacciatore, two five stars, with voters (I am one) giving them the nod over No. 2 Georgia. The rest of the men's top 10 are Texas A&M, Stanford, Michigan, Miami, South Carolina, Central Florida, Oklahoma State and Princeton. With the new layout of the rankings, it's easy to compare the UTRs of the players, with four of the incoming class exceeding the 14.00 threshold: Florida's Riffice, Miami's Francisco Bastias, Oklahoma State's Matej Vocel and North Carolina's Brian Cernoch.  The complete list can be found here. The women's rankings will be revealed on Monday June 4th.

With all the NCAA action this weekend, I wasn't able to cover the ITF Junior Circuit results at the lower levels, but it's a rare week that goes by without US juniors winning titles, and last week was no exception. Fifteen-year-old Allura Zamarripa swept the titles at the ITF Grade 5 in British Columbia, the first ITF Junior Circuit tournament she has entered. The unseeded Californian defeated top seed Sophia Qi Ho of Canada 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the final. Zamarripa partnered twin sister Maribella for the doubles title, with the Easter Bowl and Carson 16s champions taking out top seeds Madison Kim and Elizabeth Stevens 6-1, 6-3 in the final.

Jackson Ross won the doubles title at the Grade 5 in Bolivia, with partner German Suarez Gutierrez of Colombia. The No. 1 seeds defeated Brazilians Bryan Aguiar Kuntz and Nicolas Zanellato 6-0, 2-6, 10-6 in the final.

At the Grade 4 in Costa Rica, John Bernard won the boys doubles title with Great Britain's Blu Baker. The top seeds received a walkover in the final from No. 2 seeds Alfredo Casso of Mexico and Alexandre Leblanc of Canada.

Kailey Evans and Kylie Collins won the girls doubles title in Costa Rica, with the top seeds defeating No. 2 seeds Zoe Hitt and Canada's Alisia Manolescu 6-3, 6-3 in the final.  Collins reached the singles final, with the top seed falling to No. 4 seed Lauren Anzalotta of Puerto Rico 6-2. 6-4.

This week's Grade 1 in Belgium ends on Saturday due to the start of the French Open Junior Championships on Sunday, so they are already through two rounds of play, after the seeds received byes. Three US girls and one US boy are still in singles: Alexa Noel[1], who took a wild card after a poor showing at last week's Grade A in Milan; Emma Navarro and Elli Mandlik.  No. 15 seed Kacie Harvey, Nikki Redelijk and Chloe Beck lost in the second round today.  Brandon Nakashima, seeded ninth, won his first round match today, but No. 7 seed Trey Hilderbrand has already lost, as has Axel Nefve, Ronan Jachuck, qualifier Mark Mandlik and Eliot Spizzirri. 

Top seed Timofey Skatov, a former ITF Junior No. 1, lost his opening match to Sebastian Rodriguez of Peru. Skatov has recently changed the flag he competes under from Russia to Kazakhstan.

Live scoring for the tournament is available here.

The French Open again was not able to finish all the matches it had scheduled for the day due to rain, with four still yet to finish. American Alison Riske didn't even start her first round match with top seed seed Simona Halep. Americans who did finish on Tuesday are Serena Williams, who got her first win at a major since having a baby last year, Bethanie Mattek-Sands who posted her first main draw singles win since her serious knee injury last summer, and wild card Taylor Townsend, who won her Roland Garros first round match for the third consecutive year.  Varvara Lepchenko, whose first round match with No. 16 seed Elise Mertens was held over from Monday, lost 6-7(9), 7-6(4), 6-0.

The results were much worse for US men, as No. 14 seed Jack Sock, Tennys Sandgren and Ryan Harrison all lost to lower ranked players. Steve Johnson defeated No. 25 seed Adrian Mannarino of France 7-6(1), 6-2, 6-2 and John Isner[9] completed his win over wild card Noah Rubin 6-3, 7-6(7), 7-6(7).

Americans on the schedule for Wednesday aside from Riske are Jennifer Brady, Madison Keys[13] and Caroline Dolehide, who play each other, Sloane Stephens[10], Jared Donaldson and Sam Querrey[12].  Former TCU star Cameron Norrie of Great Britain, just a year into his pro career, will face No. 15 seed Lucas Pouille of France in a second round match on Chatrier.