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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Osuigwe, Shane and Kwiatkowski Get Big Wins in Challengers; Georgia's Jokic, Wake Forest's Chrysochos Top ITA Rankings as Fall Season Comes to a Close

Whitney Osuigwe took a big step toward an Australian Open main draw wild card today, beating No. 6 seed Varvara Lepchenko 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the second round of the WTA 125 Series Oracle Challenger in Houston. The 16-year-old from Bradenton Florida now leads in the USTA's AO Wild Card Challenge, with Lepchenko, her closest rival, now falling to second place, with this the last tournament counting in the race. Osuigwe, the reigning ITF World Junior Champion, was down a break early in the second set, but her forehand proved too much for Lepchenko, who has been as high as 19 in the WTA rankings. Osuigwe, who should move into the WTA Top 200 after this week, will face the winner of Thursday's match between top seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and wild card Peng Shuai of China. No. 4 seed Jessica Pegula, who has a chance to make the Australian Open on her own ranking, also advanced to the quarterfinals with a win today.

Wednesday was a good day for former NCAA singles champions from the University of Virginia, with 2015 champion Ryan Shane reaching the quarterfinals at the $75,000 Challenger tournament in Champaign and 2017 champion Thai Kwiatkowski advancing to the quarterfinals of the $150,000+H Oracle Challenger in Houston.

Shane, a qualifier, picked up his first ATP Top 100 win today and he did it in style. The 24-year-old beat top seed and ATP No. 94 Marcel Granollers of Spain 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and nine minutes, and will play another former college star in the quarterfinals: No. 8 seed JP Smith of Australia, a former Tennessee All-American.

Kwiatkowski has posted impressive wins this fall, with his 6-4, 6-4 victory over No. 4 seed and ATP No. 115 Paolo Lorenzi of Italy his fourth over a player in the ATP Top 120. Now at a ATP career high of 310, Kwiatkowski will play Baylor sophomore Roy Smith in the quarterfinals. Wild card Smith, now coached by Kwiatkowski's former coach at Virginia Brian Boland, defeated qualifier Harrison Adams(Texas A&M) 6-3, 6-4 in the second round today.

Today is the first day schools can sign a 2019 recruit to a National Letter of Intent, and a few schools have provided announcements, but I'm going to wait until tomorrow, when more releases will be posted.

There's plenty of news in Division I college tennis today however, with the updated fall rankings.  The two winners of the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships sit atop the rankings, which usually shuffle dramatically from the only other fall rankings, released in September, before play begins. Chrysochos is where he started the fall, at No. 1, but several of those in the Top 10 in the preseason rankings are not ranked, including USC's Brandon Holt, Mississippi State's Giovanni Oradini, Vanderbilt's Cameron Klinger and Virginia's Carl Soderlund.

For the full ranking lists on the ITA website, click on the headings.

Men’s Singles Top 10, November 14, 2018 (preseason rank in parentheses)

1. Petros Chrysochos, Wake Forest (1)
2. Jan Zielinski, Georgia (22)
3. JJ Wolf, Ohio State (17)
4. Christian Sigsgaard, Texas (54)
5. Thomas Laurent, Oregon (8)
6. Nicolas Moreno de Alboran, UC Santa Barbara (32)
7. Paul Jubb, South Carolina (27)
8. Daniel Cukierman, USC (31)
9. Oliver Crawford, Florida (20)
10. Alex Brown, Illinois (50)

Men’s Doubles Top 10

1. Constant De la Bassetiere and Gabriel Nemeth, Penn State (NR)
2. Henry Patten and Oli Nolan, UNC-Asheville (NR)
3. Jimmy Bendeck and Sven Lah, Baylor (NR)
4. Jack Mingjie Lin and William Matheson, Columbia (8)
5. Fabian Fallert and Finn Reynolds, Ole Miss (43)
6. Kyle Seelig and Alex Kobelt, Ohio State (NR)
7. Niclas Braun and Giovanni Oradini, Mississippi State (7)
8. Andy Andrade and Oliver Crawford, Florida (44)
9. Hunter Tubert and Martin Joyce, Ohio State (29)
10. Johannes Ingildsen and Brian Berdusco, Florida (24)

Bianca Turati of Texas was the top-ranked woman in the preseason, but she hasn't played college events this fall, so she is out of the rankings now. Ashley Lahey of Pepperdine has fallen from No. 4 to 106, and Michaela Gordon from 10 to 103.

Women’s Singles Top 10, November 14, 2018 (preseason rank in parentheses)

1. Katarina Jokic, Georgia (8)
2. Makenna Jones, North Carolina (2)
3. Kate Fahey, Michigan (18)
4. Sara Daavettila, North Carolina (27)
5. Sophie Whittle, Gonzaga (35)
6. Fernanda Contreras, Vanderbilt (7)
7. Estela Perez-Somarriba, Miami (3)
8. Maria Mateas, Duke (NR)
9. Ida Jarlskog, Florida (65)
10. Meible Chi, Duke (10)

Women’s Doubles Top 10

1. Ashley Lahey and Evgeniya Levashova, Pepperdine (26)
2. Cameron Morra and Makenna Jones, North Carolina (NR)
3. Fernanda Navarro and Marie Leduc, Clemson (16)
4. Martina Okalova and Vera Ploner, Tulsa (NR)
5. Janet Koch and Nina Khmelnitckaia, Kansas (NR)
6. Gabby Andrews and Ayan Broomfield, UCLA (64)
7. Kimberly Yee and Caroline Lampl, Stanford (17)
8. Lauryn John-Baptiste and Ilze Hattingh, Arizona State (8)
9. Jessica Golovin and Eden Richardson, LSU (7)
10. Sofia Munera and Meghan Kelley, Virginia (NR)