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Friday, September 28, 2018

Nanda to Join UCLA in January; US Girls Reach Junior Fed Cup Semifinal; ITA All-American Pre-Qualifying Starts Saturday; Eastern Michigan Women's Team Back; East Tennessee State Men on Probation

Late last month I had an opportunity to talk to 17-year-old Govind Nanda about the recruiting process and how he decided on UCLA. Nanda told me that not making the cut when he was trying out for a USTA junior program at the age of 8 spurred him to work harder, and he has been training with the USTA now for over three years. Nanda will be joining the Bruins in January, with a year of ITF Junior Circuit eligibility remaining, and he told me that he hopes to play the junior slams next summer, so expect to see him at the big ITF junior tournaments, at least in the US, this fall and summer. Nanda has played two $15,000 Futures in California since the US Open, winning one match in the main draw of each. For more on his choice of UCLA, see my article at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

The semifinals are set for Saturday at the Junior Fed Cup and Junior Davis Cup in Budapest Hungary, with six of the top eight seeds advancing.  The top-seeded US girls will face unseeded Slovakia in one semifinal, with No. 3 seed Russia taking on No. 2 seed Ukraine in the other. The US beat No. 5 seed Australia 3-0, while Russia defeated No. 4 seed Canada. The reason No. 3 and No. 4 played in the quarterfinals is that Russia did not finish at the top of its round robin group.   For more on the girls quarterfinals, including comments from Alexa Noel and Coco Gauff, see this article on the ITF Junior Circuit website.

Top boys seed Italy didn't finish first in its group, but they have reached the semifinals after handing unseeded Denmark its first loss of the week. Italy will play No. 6 Spain in one semifinal, with No. 4 seed Argentina taking on No. 2 seed France.  The US team, seeded No. 3, did not get out the round robin stage, but they won their second match of the week today, beating Hong Kong 2-0.  Toby Kodat has not played for the US since retiring in his match against Great Britain on the first day of competition. For more on the boys quarterfinals, see this article on the ITF Junior Circuit website.

For all results see the ITF tournament website. Live scoring is available here.

The ITA All-American Championships, the first collegiate major of the season, begin with pre-qualifying starting Saturday. The men's event in Tulsa has open pre-qualifying, resulting in a 256 draw, with two rounds scheduled for Saturday. Austen Huang and Tim Wang of Columbia are the top two seeds in pre-qualifying. 

As of now, with the main draw scheduled to begin next Thursday, there are seven of the preseason Top 10 in the draw: Nuno Borges, Mississippi State; Mazen Osama, Alabama; Brandon Holt, USC; Giovanni Oradini Mississippi State; Timo Stodder, Tennessee; Cameron Klinger, Vanderbilt; Thomas Laurent, Oregon.  Missing are No. 1 Petros Chrysochos, Wake Forest; No. 9 Carl Soderlund of Virginia; No. 10 Alex Rybakov of TCU.

The women's event in Pacific Palisades has a 64-player pre-qualifying draw with Morgan Coppoc of Georgia and Petra Hule of Florida State the top two seeds.  The pre-qualifying tournament is held in Malibu, with the tournament moving to the Riviera Tennis Club for qualifying and main draw.

A couple of college tennis stories hit mainstream sports websites this week, the first being the East Tennessee State men getting NCAA probation for multiple violations, including impermissible benefits for student athletes. For more, see this article from the Johnson City Press.

The Eastern Michigan women's tennis and softball teams sued when their sports were cut last spring, and yesterday a judge handed down a preliminary injunction prohibiting the school from dropping those sports because that violates Title IX. The next step is a meeting in October to address reinstating the programs. For more on this ruling, see this Detroit Free Press article.