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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

April Aces; Final Pre-NCAA Tournament Rankings Released; Navarro, Gauff, Osuigwe and Li Advance at Charleston $100K

My monthly Aces column for the Tennis Recruiting Network is up today, with 15 former collegians and junior players featured after winning at least one, and sometimes several titles in April.

The ITA website had been saying May 2 was the date for the final rankings release prior to the NCAA championships, but the rankings were posted today instead. It's always interesting to see how the NCAA committee's seeds differ from the ITA rankings, and this year, there isn't much between them. As I mentioned on twitter today, it struck me as odd that defending NCAA singles champion Petros Chrysochos of Wake Forest was moved down from his ITA ranking of No. 8, to the 9-16 block. I was told that the NCAA has its own criteria, separate from the ITA ranking, that might account for that switch. Again, as I said yesterday, seeding is rarely a huge factor in the NCAA tournament, and Chrysochos, the No. 4 seed last year, is obviously capable of repeating regardless of the number next to his name. The top 16 players in the men's ITA rankings are all seeded, so that is a good sign. The 16th-ranked woman, Evgeniya Levashova of Pepperdine, is no longer on the Waves roster, so Paige Cline of South Carolina, ranked 17th, is the 16th seed in the women's draw.

The committee did make some adjustments in the women's doubles seedings, with South Carolina's Mia Horvit and Ingrid Gamarra Martins, ranked third by the ITA, dropped into the 5-8 seeding group. Fifth-ranked Gabby Andrews and Ayan Broomfield of UCLA moved up to No. 4 in the seedings. Ashley Lahey and Levashova, ranked No. 8, are not eligible, so ninth-ranked Kaitlin Staines and Sadie Hammond of Tennessee are now seeded. Links to the full ranking lists are in the heading below.

ITA Division I Top 16 men’s singles:
(Previous week's rankings in parentheses)
1. Nuno Borges, Mississippi State (2)
2. JJ Wolf, Ohio State (1)
3. Carl Soderlund, Virginia (3)
4. Alex Rybakov, TCU (5)
5. Paul Jubb, South Carolina (4)
6. Brandon Holt, USC (10)
7. Christian Sigsgaard, Texas (8)
8. Petros Chrysochos, Wake Forest (6)
9. Oliver Crawford, Florida (7)
10. Aleks Kovacevic, Illinois (9)
11. Borna Gojo, Wake Forest (11)
12. Yuya Ito, Texas (13)
13. Axel Geller, Stanford (12)
14. Thomas Laurent, Oregon (14)
15. Alberto Barroso-Campos, South Florida (15)
16. Nicolas Moreno De Alboran, UC Santa Barbara (16)

ITA Division I Top 8 men’s doubles:
1. Sven Lah and Jimmy Bendeck, Baylor (1)
2. Maxime Cressy and Keegan Smith, UCLA (4)
3. Nuno Borges and Strahinja Rakic, Mississippi State (3)
4. Henry Patten and Oli Nolan, UNC-Asheville (2)
5. Christian Sigsgaard and Harrison Scott, Texas (5)
6. Timo Stodder and Preston Touliatos, Tennessee (6)
7. Cameron Klinger and Billy Rowe, Vanderbilt (8)
8. Juan Carlos Aguilar and Barnaby Smith, Texas A&M (7)

ITA Division I Top 16 women’s singles:
1. Estela Perez-Somarriba, Miami (2)
2. Katarina Jokic, Georgia (1)
3. Kate Fahey, Michigan (3)
4. Ingrid Gamarra Martins, South Carolina (4)
5. Makenna Jones, North Carolina (5)
6. Fernanda Contreras, Vanderbilt (6)
7. Alexa Graham, North Carolina (7)
8. Sophie Whittle, Gonzaga (10)
9. Kenya Jones, Georgia Tech (8)
10. Anna Rogers, NC State (9)
11. Maria Mateas, Duke (12)
12. Eden Richardson, LSU (11)
13. Anastasia Rychagova, Kansas (17)
14. Gabriela Knutson, Syracuse (13)
15. Ida Jarlskog, Florida (15)
16. Evgeniya Levashova, Pepperdine (14)

ITA Division I Top 8 women’s doubles:
1. Angela Kulikov and Rianna Valdes, USC (2)
2. Jessie Aney and Alexa Graham, North Carolina (5)
3. Mia Horvit and Ingrid Gamarra Martins, South Carolina (7)
4. Lauryn John-Baptiste and Ilze Hattingh, Arizona State (1)
5. Gabby Andrews and Ayan Broomfield, UCLA (4)
6. Janet Koch and Nina Khmelnitckaia, Kansas (3)
7. Alana Smith and Anna Rogers, NC State (8)
8. Ashley Lahey and Evgeniya Levashova, Pepperdine (6)

The USTA/Tennis Channel poll also wrapped up, with its last poll until after the NCAA championships. Its Top 16 men's teams are the same as the ITA and NCAA, but there are two women's teams in the USTA/Tennis Channel Top 16 that are not in the ITA and NCAA Top 16:  host Central Florida and Miami. The two teams that are in the ITA/NCAA top 16 instead of UCF and Miami are North Carolina State and USC.

May 1 USTA/Tennis Channel Women’s Top 16:
1. North Carolina (1)
2. Georgia (2)
3. Stanford (3)
4. South Carolina (4)
5. Duke (5)
6. Pepperdine (6)
7. Texas (7)
8. Kansas (8)
9. Vanderbilt (9)
10. Oklahoma State (10)
11. Michigan (11)
12. UCLA (12)
13. Florida State (13)
14. UCF (15)
15. Washington (14)
16. Miami (16)

May 1 USTA/Tennis Channel Men’s Top 16:
1. Ohio State (1)
2. Wake Forest (2)
3. Texas (3)
4. Florida (4)
5. Mississippi State (5)
6. Virginia (6)
7. Baylor (7)
8. USC (10)
9. North Carolina (9)
10. UCLA (8)
11. Columbia (11)
12. TCU (12)
T13. Stanford (13)
T13. Tennessee (14)
15. Illinois (15)
16. Texas A&M (16)

ITA Men’s Division I Top 16:
1. Ohio State (1)
2. Texas (2)
3. Wake Forest (3)
4. Floria (4)
5. Virginia (5)
6. Baylor (6)
7. Mississippi State (7)
8. USC (8)
9. TCU (9)
10. North Carolina (10)
11. UCLA (13)
12. Stanford (14)
13. Texas A&M (11)
14. Tennessee (12)
15. Illinois (15)
16. Columbia (16)

ITA Women’s Division I Top 16:
1. North Carolina (1)
2. Georgia (2)
3. Stanford (5)
4. South Carolina (3)
5. Duke (4)
6. Pepperdine (6)
7. UCLA (9)
8. Vanderbilt (7)
9. Texas (8)
10. Washington (11)
11. Florida State (10)
12. NC State (12)
13. USC (15)
14. Kansas (13)
15. Oklahoma State (14)
16. Michigan (17)

The first round is complete at the $100,000 ITF World Tennis Tour event in Charleston South Carolina, with plenty of young American women posting victories.

Easter Bowl champion Emma Navarro used her wild card to post the best win of her career, beating WTA 142 and No. 8 seed Allie Kiick 6-3, 6-0 in just over an hour.  Navarro, 17, will next face 18-year-old wild card Ann Li, who defeated Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-0. Whitney Osuigwe posted a 6-1, 6-4 win over qualifier Sophie Chang to continue her winning streak, and the 17-year-old plays No. 5 seed Lauren Davis, who is in second place in the USTA's French Open Wild Card Challenge. A third teenage wild card winner today is Alycia Parks, who beat former Georgia star Ellen Perez of Australia 6-4, 0-6, 6-2.  Fifteen-year-old qualifier Coco Gauff earned the best win of her young career today, defeating WTA No. 156 Kimberly Birrell of Australia 6-4, 6-3 and 19-year-old qualifier Kayla Day beat frequent SoCal rival Claire Liu 7-6(4), 6-4 to pull even at three matches each in their extensive head-to-head on the ITF Junior and Pro Circuits.

Top seed Madison Brengle lost to qualifier Deniz Khanzaniuk of Israel, with Khanzaniuk taking on qualifier Louisa Chirico Thursday for a place in the quarterfinals.  No. 2 seed Taylor Townsend and No. 3 seed Nicole Gibbs advanced, with Gibbs(Stanford) slated to meet former Pac-12 rival Robin Anderson(UCLA) on Thursday and Townsend set to play Day.

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