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Friday, May 25, 2018

My USTA Level 2 Girls 18s and 16s Coverage; Pepperdine, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest Place 7 in NCAA D-I Singles Quarterfinals; Chong Goes for Fourth Straight Women's D-3 Title; Dolehide, Min Qualify at Roland Garros; ITF Grade A Update

Although the weather certainly didn't cooperate, I covered the final two days of the USTA National Level 2 for Girls 18s and 16s on Monday and Tuesday, with rain sending play indoors on both days.  Even though I would have preferred being outdoors, I enjoyed seeing live tennis again, which I hadn't experienced since the Easter Bowl, over a month ago.  Top seed Amber O'Dell won the 18s title, and No. 3 seed Daniela Benabraham won the 16s title, with my coverage of the tournament available today at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

The quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I singles and doubles tournaments are set for Saturday, with host Wake Forest having two players advancing in men's singles and Pepperdine claiming three of the women's quarterfinalists.

The men's quarterfinals, so often diminished by withdrawals and post-team championships letdown, are stellar this year, with the top six of the top eight seeds, including all of the top four.  After two straight come-from-behind victories, top seed Martin Redlicki of UCLA earned a routine 6-4, 6-1 win over Giovanni Oradini of Mississippi State and No. 2 seed William Blumberg of North Carolina also advanced in straight sets, beating Cameron Klinger of Vanderbilt 6-4, 6-1. In fact, all eight winners on the men's side today advanced in straight sets. All credit to No. 4 seed Petros Chrysochos and No. 7 seed Borna Gojo of Wake Forest, who haven't missed a beat after winning the team championship on Tuesday.

Saturday's men's quarterfinals:

Martin Redlicki[1], UCLA vs Mazen Osama[9-16], Alabama
Petros Chrysochos[4], Wake Forest vs Mikael Torpegaard[6], Ohio St
Timo Stodder[9-16], Tennessee vs Nuno Borges[3], Mississippi St
Borna Gojo[7], Wake Forest vs William Blumberg[2], North Carolina

The women's quarterfinals will feature three Pepperdine Waves, with only one of them seeded, and two Vanderbilt Commodores.  Luisa Stefani of Pepperdine took out top seed Bianca Turati of Texas in the first round and hasn't let up.  Teammate Mayar Sherif Ahmed, also unseeded, today defeated No. 5 seed Gabriela Knutson of Syracuse 6-4, 7-5, and Ashley Lahey, a 9-16 seed, made it three Waves in the last eight with a 7-5, 6-3 win over No. 7 seed Ena Shibahara. Despite the tough loss in the last match on in the NCAA team championship match, Fernanda Contreras[8] of Vanderbilt has rebounded to reach the quarterfinals, joining teammate Astra Sharma[9-16], who has lost only 8 games in her three wins.

Saturday's women's quarterfinals:

Luisa Stefani, Pepperdine vs Arianne Hartono[6], Ole Miss
Astra Sharma[9-16], Vanderbilt vs Mayar Sherif Ahmed, Pepperdine
Ashley Lahey[9-16], Pepperdine vs Andrea Lazaro[9-16], Florida Intl
Fernanda Contreras[8], Vanderbilt vs Anna Danilina[9-16], Florida

All eight matches are scheduled to begin at noon, with live scoring and streaming available through the Wake Forest tournament page. Doubles will follow, with the last matches, those that include singles quarterfinalists, scheduled for 3 p.m.

The singles finals are set at the NCAA Division III championships in Claremont, California, with top seed Eudice Chong of Wesleyan going for her fourth consecutive women's title against unseeded teammate Victoria Yu.  Chong, who has lost only 11 games in her four wins, beat 2016 finalist Julie Raventos of Williams 6-1, 6-1 in the semifinals.  The men's tournament lost its No. 1 seed today in the semifinals, with unseeded Grant Urken of Bowdoin defeating Nikolai Parodi of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.  Urken will face unseeded Jack Katzman of CMS in the final. The finals are scheduled for 10 a.m. PDT on Saturday, with doubles semifinals and finals to follow. See the CMS tournament page for links to streams and scoring.

The number of US women in the Roland Garros draw went from 17 to 19 today, with Caroline Dolehide and Grace Min winning their final qualifying matches today.  Dolehide, the No. 17 seed, defeated Irina Bara of Romania 6-4, 6-3, while Min outlasted Martina Trevisan of Italy 1-6, 6-4, 6-3, winning the last six games of the match after falling behind two breaks at 3-0.  Min will play Camila Giorgi of Italy and Dolehide has drawn fellow qualifier Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland in the the first round.

The semifinals are set at the ITF Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan Italy, with top seed Sebastian Baez of Argentina against No. 13 seed Naoki Tajima of Japan and No. 16 seed Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria against No. 14 seed Facundo Diaz Acosta of Argentina in the boys draw. The girls semifinals will feature No. 5 seed Clara Tauson of Denmark against No. 9 seed Yuki Naito of Japan and No. 7 seed Elisabetta Cocciaretto of Italy against Eleonora Molinaro of Luxembourg.

It will be an all-American boys final Saturday between two unseeded teams in doubles, with Cannon Kingsley and Emilio Nava taking on Govind Nanda and Tyler Zink. The girls played just one round of doubles today, with Caty McNally and her partner Leonie Kung of Switzerland advancing to Saturday's semifinals.

For more on today's action in Milan, see Tommy Hemp's reporting for Tennis Underworld.