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Friday, May 4, 2018

NCAA Roundtable Part I; Finals Set at Delray Beach ITF Grade 4; Three Americans into Semifinals at both Savannah Challenger and Charleston $80K

Every year the Tennis Recruiting Network asks college tennis experts to weigh in on the top season-ending stories, a regional they'd like to attend, possible dark horses and upsets and the eventual champions for its Division I Roundtable. Those first two questions are the subject of Part I, out today, while the other two questions will be addressed next Friday in Part II, the day the regionals begin. It's a lengthy article, with several new participants this year, and it's also interesting to see the perspectives from across the country. Despite the title of roundtable, we actually answer all the questions without discussing them with the others, so its always fun to see who picks the same talking points as I do.  I suspected I wouldn't be the only one to mention the Arkansas situation and I wasn't. See what else was on the minds of those who follow Division I college tennis here.

The finals are set at the ITF Grade 4 in Delray Beach, with top seed Axel Nefve facing No. 11 seed Christian Alshon for the boys singles titles and No. 2 seed Elli Mandlik meeting No. 14 seed Michelle Sorokko for the girls singles championship.

Alshon lost his first set of the tournament in today's semifinals, beating No. 9 seed Cleeve Harper of Canada 6-3, 1-6, 6-1, while Alshon also needed three sets to get by No. 6 seed Mark Mandlik 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-3.
Mandlik's sister defeated No. 3 seed Angelika Blake 6-3, 7-5 and Sorokko beat unseeded Hibah Shaikh 4-6, 7-5, 6-0.

The doubles finals were today, with Alshon and Max Wild, the No. 3 seeds, beating unseeded Jericho Grollman and James Ignatowich 6-2, 6-4 for the boys title.  Top seeds Mandlik and Hurricane Tyra Black won the girls doubles title, beating unseeded Julia Andreach and Briana Crowley 3-6, 6-3, 10-7.

Three US women are through to the semifinals of the $80,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Charleston South Carolina, along with 16-year-old Iga Swiatek of Poland.  Qualifier Katerina Stewart will face No. 2 seed Townsend after Stewart beat Jamie Loeb[7] 7-6(5), 6-0 and Townsend survived 16-year-old Whitney Osuigwe 6-0, 1-6, 7-5.  Top seed Madison Brengle, a 7-6(2), 7-5 winner over Allie Kiick, will play Swiatek in Saturday's semifinals.

Taylor Townsend has already wrapped up the USTA's Roland Garros wild card, but the men's race is still very much undecided, with Michael Mmoh and Reilly Opelka, the only two left who can catch Noah Rubin, winning today.  At the $75,000 Savannah Challenger today, Mmoh defeated Max Purcell of Australia 6-3, 6-2, while Opelka beat qualifier Martin Cuevas of Uruguay 6-3, 6-4.  The fifth-seeded Mmoh will play No. 7 seed Hugo Dellien of Bolivia in the semifinals, while Opelka will face Christian Harrison, who defeated Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 7-5, 6-4.

At the $75,000 Challenger in Puerto Vallarta, No. 3 seed Kevin King will play his semifinal tonight against top seed Adrian Menendez-Maceiras of Spain. And at the $100,000+H Challenger in Korea, Mackenzie McDonald, the No. 5 seed is into the semifinals, after saving five match points against South African Lloyd Harris in the quarterfinals.

Frances Tiafoe has reached the semifinals of the ATP 250 tournament in Estoril Portugal, beating Simone Bolelli of Italy 7-5, 6-2 in the quarterfinals today.  Tiafoe will play No. 2 seed Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain on Saturday.