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Friday, May 18, 2018

My Conversation with UTR's New Chief Tennis Officer Stephen Amritraj; Kingsley Reaches ITF Grade 1 Final in Santa Croce; Qualifying Begins for Grade A in Milan; Top Men's Seeds Advance at NCAA D-I Team Championships

Just a few months ago, I spoke with USTA Director of Collegiate Tennis Stephen Amritraj about what was happening in college tennis from the USTA's perspective.  Earlier this month Amritraj left the USTA for UTR powered by Oracle, where he has taken the position of Chief Tennis Officer and I spoke to him last week about that move and what he hopes to accomplish in his new role with the company.  Raising the visibility and accelerating the adoption of their rating system is a top priority, with providing more tournaments another important goal.  Amritraj and I discussed his role in those objectives, his accomplishments at the USTA and how the ITF's new Transition Tour will affect aspiring pros in this interview for the Tennis Recruiting Network.

At the ITF Grade 1 in Santa Croce Italy, unseeded 17-year-old Cannon Kingsley has reached his first Grade 1 final, defeating No. 13 seed Harold Mayot of France 6-1, 6-1 in today's semifinals.  Kingsley, who has committed to Ohio State for 2019, will play No. 4 seed Yanki Erel of Turkey in Saturday's final. Kingsley has beaten three seeds and has not dropped a set in his five victories this week.  In the boys doubles final today, unseeded Tyler Zink and Govind Nanda fell to No. 8 seeds Jesper de Jong of the Netherlands and Davide Tortora of Italy 6-2, 6-1.

At the ITF Grade 2 in Austria, No. 2 seeds Will Grant and Tomas Kopczynski won an all-American doubles final, beating Zane Khan and William Woodall 6-3, 6-2.

The qualifying draws are out for the ITF Grade A in Milan, with just two Americans attempting to make the main draw: Siem Woldeab and Najah Dawson.  Italian Tommy Hemp, who contacted me last month about providing some coverage of the event, will be attending the qualifying and writing about it at the Tennis Underworld website.

At the $60,000 ITF Women's Circuit event in France, Francesca Di Lorenzo won the doubles title with Naiktha Bains of Australia.  The No. 3 seeds beat the unseeded French team of Manon Arcangioli and Sherazad Reix 6-4, 1-6, 11-9 in the final. It is the 2017 NCAA doubles champion's second career pro doubles title.

The Division I men's round of 16 will be played entirely indoors, once this evening's two matches are completed.  Last night, even with the three women's matches going at once at two different sites, it was 11 p.m. before play was completed.  Tonight, the Florida[13] and Ole Miss match will begin at 8 p.m. in Chapel Hill, so I will be posting the results I have now, and updating later tonight or tomorrow morning.

The forecast for Saturday is such that the women's quarterfinal times have changed from two matches at noon and two matches at 4 p.m. to matches at 10, 1, 4 and 7, so they can all be played indoors at Wake Forest if necessary.

The women's quarterfinal schedule for Saturday:

10 a.m. - Duke [3]vs. Texas Tech[11]

1 p.m. - Stanford[15] vs. Georgia[7]

4 p.m. - Vanderbilt[1] vs. Florida State

7 p.m. - UCLA[12] vs. Georgia Tech[4]

None of first five matches completed went down to the last match, but there were no blowouts either.  No. 3 Ohio State beat Minnesota 4-1 and will face No. 6 Mississippi State in the quarterfinals. Mississippi State beat No. 11 seed Texas 4-1, but leading 2-1, the Bulldogs were down a break in the third sets of the four remaining singles matches, only to recover for the win.  The only lower seed to win the first five matches played today was USC, with the Trojans beating 2017 finalists North Carolina 4-2. USC will face, for the fourth time this year, No. 2 seed UCLA, after the Bruins fought off a tough Michigan team 4-2.  UCLA has won their previous three meetings this year with USC.

Probably the easiest win of the first five matches was top seed Wake Forest's 4-1 victory over No. 16 seed Columbia.  Wake Forest will play the winner of the match between No. 8 seed Illinois and No. 9 seed TCU.  

In the late matches, Texas A&M[5] plays Alabama and Ole Miss meets No. 13 seed Florida. Live streams and live scores are available at the Wake Forest tournament page.

For recaps from the schools' athletic websites, click on the links in the scores below.

NCAA Division I Men’s Round of 16, May 18, 2018

Wake Forest Indoor Tennis Center 
Head Coaches: Sam Paul (UNC) and Peter Smith (USC)

1. #2 William Blumberg/Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA) vs. #10 Brandon Holt/Riley Smith (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) 6-6 (3-1), unf. 
2. #9 Jack Jaede/Laurens Verboven (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) def. Bo Boyden/Benjamin Sigouin (NORTH CAROLINA) 6-4
3. Daniel Cukierman/Tanner Smith (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) def. Mac Kiger/Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA) 7-6(3) 

1. #3 William Blumberg (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #11 Brandon Holt (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) 6-3, 6-0
2. #74 Daniel Cukierman (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) def. #32 Benjamin Sigouin (NORTH CAROLINA) 7-5, 7-6(2)
3. Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA) vs. Jack Jaede (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) 7-6(5), 2-6, 0-2, unf.
4. Laurens Verboven (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) def. #90 Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA) 7-5, 6-4
5. Thibault Forget (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) def. Bo Boyden (NORTH CAROLINA) 3-6, 6-1, 6-4
6. Mac Kiger (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #123 Riley Smith (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) 6-4, 6-4

Order of Finish:
Doubles: (2,3) Singles: (1,6,4,2,5)


UNC Cone Kenfield Tennis Center
Head Coaches: Billy Martin (UCLA) and Adam Steinberg (Michigan)

1. #29 Martin Redlicki/Evan Zhu (UCLA) def. Myles Schalet/Connor Johnston (MICHIGAN) 6-4
2. #16 Austin Rapp/Keegan Smith (UCLA) vs. #73 Runhao Hua/Mattias Siimar (MICHIGAN) 5-5, unf. 
3. Maxime Cressy/Bryce Pereira (UCLA) vs. Alex Knight/Harrison Brown (MICHIGAN) 6-4

1. #1 Martin Redlicki (UCLA) d. #17 Alex Knight (MICHIGAN) 6-4, 6-2
2. #47 Runhao Hua (MICHIGAN) def. #81 Evan Zhu (UCLA) 6-1, 2-6, 6-1
3. #56 Keegan Smith (UCLA) def. Myles Schalet (MICHIGAN) 6-2, 4-6, 6-2
4. Mattias Siimar (MICHIGAN) def. #103 Logan Staggs (UCLA) 6-2, 6-4
5. Maxime Cressy (UCLA) def. Carter Lin (MICHIGAN) 6-3, 6-4
6. Connor Hance (UCLA) vs. Davis Crocker (MICHIGAN) 6-1, 4-6, 2-3

Order of Finish:
Doubles: (1,3) Singles: (1,5,4,2,3)

Wake Forest Indoor Tennis Center 
Head Coaches: Ty Tucker (Ohio State) and Geoff Young (Minnesota)

1. Martin Joyce/JJ Wolf (OHIO STATE) def. Felix Corwin/Josip Krstanovic (MINNESOTA) 6-4
2. #61 Matic Spec/Jystyn Levin (MINNESOTA) def. Mikael Torpegaard/John McNally (OHIO STATE) 6-4 
3. Matt Mendez/Hunter Tubert (OHIO STATE) def. Stefan Milicevic/Marino Alpeza (MINNESOTA) 6-1 

1. #6 Mikael Torpegaard (OHIO STATE) def. #53 Felix Corwin (MINNESOTA) 7-6(5), 6-0
2. #41 JJ Wolf (OHIO STATE) vs. #85 Matic Spec (MINNESOTA) 4-6, 5-4, unf.
3. #92 John McNally (OHIO STATE) vs. #79 Stefan Milicevic (MINNESOTA) 6-2, 6-5, unf.
4. #96 Kyle Seelig (OHIO STATE) def. Josip Krstanovic (MINNESOTA) 6-3, 7-5
5. Jackson Allen (MINNESOTA) def. #112 Martin Joyce (OHIO STATE) 6-3, 6-4
6. Hunter Tubert (OHIO STATE) vs. Eli Ogilvy (MINNESOTA) 6-3, 6-4

Order of Finish:
Doubles: (3,2,1) Singles: (6,4,5,1)


UNC Cone Kenfield Tennis Center
Head Coaches: Matt Roberts (Mississippi State) and Michael Center (Texas)

1. #1 Nuno Borges/Strahinja Rakic (MISSISSIPPI STATE) def. #39 Harrison Scott/Christian Sigsgaard (TEXAS) 6-4 
2. Leonardo Telles/Adrian Ortiz (TEXAS) def. #38 Niclas Braun/Giovanni Oradini (MISSISSIPPI STATE) 6-3
3. Florian Broska/Trevor Foshey (MISSISSIPPI STATE) vs. Yuya Ito/Colin Markes (TEXAS) 6-4

1. #2 Nuno Borges (MISSISSIPPI STATE) vs. #110 Christian Sigsgaard (TEXAS) 7-6(3), 4-6, 5-4, unf.
2. #23 Giovani Oradini (MISSISSIPPI STATE) def. #52 Yuya Ito (TEXAS) 6-2, 6-3
3. #84 Strahinja Rakic (MISSISSIPPI STATE) vs. #89 Harrison Scott (TEXAS) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 
4. Niclas Braun (MISSISSIPPI STATE) vs. #93 Leonardo Telles (TEXAS) 6-1, 4-6, 4-4, unf.
5. #104 Rodrigo Banzer (TEXAS) def. Florida Broska (MISSISSIPPI STATE) 6-4, 6-1 
6. Trevor Foshey (MISSISSIPPI STATE) vs. Adrian Ortiz (TEXAS) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4

Order of Finish:
Doubles: (3,2,1) Singles: (2,5,3,6)


Wake Forest Indoor Tennis Center 
Head Coaches: Tony Bresky (Wake Forest) and Bid Goswami (Columbia)

1. #21 Borna Gojo/Skander Mansouri (WAKE FOREST) vs. #41 Victor Pham/Jackie Tang (COLUMBIA) 5-4, unf. 
2. #35 Petros Chrysochos/Bar Botzer (WAKE FOREST) def. #43 Jack Lin/William Matheson (COLUMBIA) 6-2,
3. #46 Christian Seraphim vs. Ian Dempster (WAKE FOREST) def. Adam Ambrozy/Michal Rolski (COLUMBIA), 6-3 

1. #7 Borna Gojo (WAKE FOREST) def. #27 Victor Pham (COLUMBIA) 7-5, 6-3
2. #4 Petros Chrysochos (WAKE FOREST) def. #64 Jackie Tang (COLUMBIA) 6-3, 6-0
3. #38 Skander Mansouri (WAKE FOREST) vs. Jack Lin (COLUMBIA) 6-3, 5-5, unf.
4. Bar Botzer (WAKE FOREST) d. Adam Ambrozy (COLUMBIA) 6-1, 6-4
5. Austen Huang (COLUMBIA) def. Christian Seraphim (WAKE FOREST) 6-1, 6-4
6. Julian Zlobinsky (WAKE FOREST) vs. William Matheson (COLUMBIA) 4-6, 6-4, unf.

Order of Finish:
Doubles: (3,2) Singles: (2,5,4,1)
#9 [8] ILLINOIS (24-7) def. #8 [9] TCU (20-5), 4-0 

UNC Cone Kenfield Tennis Center
Head Coaches: Brad Dancer (Illinois) and David Roditi (TCU)

1. Alex Brown/Caleb Chakravarthi (ILLINOIS) def. #6 Alex Rybakov/Guillermo Nunez (TCU) 7-6(7)
2. Trevor Johnson/Reese Stalder (TCU) def. Aron Hiltzik/Aleks Kovacevic (ILLINOIS) 6-3
3. Aleks Vukic/Vuk Budic (ILLINOIS) def. Max Kurzban/Eduardo Roldan (TCU) 6-4

1. #21 Alex Rybakov (TCU) vs. #13 Aleks Vukic (ILLINOIS) 3-6, 6-2, 3-3, unf.
2. #65 Trevor Johnson (TCU) vs. #87 Alex Brown (ILLINOIS) 4-6, 7-6(2), 1-1, unf.
3. Aron Hiltzik (ILLINOIS) def. #114 Guillermo Nunez (TCU) 6-2, 7-5
4. Aleks Kovacevic (ILLINOIS) def. Reese Stalder (TCU) 6-3, 2-6, 6-2
5. Eduardo Roldan (TCU) vs. Zeke Clark (ILLINOIS) 3-6, 5-5, unf.
6. Caleb Chakravarthi (ILLINOIS) def. Mex Kurzban (TCU) 6-0, 6-4

Order of Finish:
Doubles: (3,2,1) Singles: (6,3,4)
#5 [5] TEXAS A&M (25-5) def. #42 ALABAMA (20-13) 4-0
Wake Forest Indoor Tennis Center
Head Coaches: Steve Denton (Georgia Tech) and George Husack (Alabama)

1. #3 Juan Carlos Aguilar/Jordi Arconada (TEXAS A&M) vs. #26 Edson Ortiz/Mazen Osama (ALABAMA) 6-3.
2. AJ Catanzariti/Arthur Rinderknech (TEXAS A&M) vs. Thibault Cancel/Alexey Nesterov (ALABAMA) 6-3
3. Patrick Kypson/Valentin Vacherot (TEXAS A&M) vs. Patrick Kaukovalta/Zhe Zhou (ALABAMA) 3-5, unf.

1. #5 Patrick Kypson (TEXAS A&M) vs. #10 Mazen Osama (ALABAMA) 6-3, 3-6, unf.
2. #12 Arthur Rinderknech (TEXAS A&M) def. Patrick Kaukovalta (ALABAMA) 6-4, 6-1
3. #48 Jordi Arconada (TEXAS A&M) def. Thibault Cancel (ALABAMA) 6-3, 6-3
4. #72 Valentin Vacherot (TEXAS A&M) def. Edson Ortiz (ALABAMA) 6-4, 6-4
5. Juan Carlos Aguilar (TEXAS A&M) vs. Alexey Nesterov (ALABAMA) 7-5, 2-3, unf.
6. Barnaby Smith (TEXAS A&M) vs. Zhe Zhou (ALABAMA) 4-6, 3-3, unf.

Order of Finish:
Doubles: (2,1) Singles: (3,2,4)
#13 [13] FLORIDA (19-9) def. #38 OLE MISS (16-13), 4-3

UNC Cone Kenfield Tennis Center
Head Coaches: Bryan Shelton (Florida) and Mark Beyers (Ole Miss)

1. #5 Oliver Perez/Johanes Ingildsen (FLORIDA) def. #22 Tim Sandkaulen/Grey Hamilton (OLE MISS) 6-2
2. #62 Filip Kraljevic/Zvonimir Babic (OLE MISS) def. #42 Chase Perez-Blanco/Oliver Crawford (FLORIDA) 6-4
3. Fabian Fallert/Finn Reynolds (OLE MISS) def. #36 Duarte Vale/McClain Kessler (FLORIDA) 7-5

1. #49 Oliver Crawford (FLORIDA) def. #45 Gustav Hansson (OLE MISS) 6-1, 6-1
2. #33 Tim Sandkaulen (OLE MISS) def. #28 Johanes Ingildsen (FLORIDA) 2-6, 6-3, 5-3, default
3. #14 Alfredo Perez (FLORIDA) def. #107 Filip Kraljevic (OLE MISS) 6-4, 6-2
4. Grey Hamilton (OLE MISS) def. Andy Andrade (FLORIDA) 6-1, 6-4
5. Chease Perez-Blanco (FLORIDA) def. Fabian Fallert (OLE MISS) 6-3, 6-4
6. McClain Kessler (FLORIDA) vs. Zvonimir Babic (OLE MISS) 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
Order of Finish:
Doubles: (1,2,3) Singles: (1,4,5,3,2,6)