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Friday, May 3, 2019

NCAA Division I Roundtable with Championship Predictions; Regional Finals Take Shape; Navarro and Osuigwe Advance to Semifinals at Charleston $100K; ITF Grade 4 Delray Beach Finals Set

Part two of the Tennis Recruiting Network's annual NCAA Division I roundtable is out today, with the panel revealing their dark horse picks and their choices for the title. My track record in picking the champions is not good, but I do enjoy reading what others who follow college tennis expect from the late stages of the tournament.

As is always the case during the regionals, rain has derailed some of the first round matches, with the two men's matches at the Texas A&M regional rained out today and rescheduled for Saturday. Oklahoma vs Arizona and Texas A&M[13] vs Texas A&M-Corpus Christi will begin at noon on Saturday, with the final on Sunday.  The Texas regional also has had problems with rain, although the No. 2 Longhorns did finish their match with Tennessee Tech. Alabama and South Florida, after a four-hour rain delay, did move indoors, with Texas having an indoor facility to utilize.

Although not all the matches are complete, nothing shocking has happened so far. Top men's seed Ohio State, Texas, No. 3 Florida and No. 4 Wake Forest all breezed through the first round.  Each regional is seeded 1-4, with 1 playing 4 today and 2 playing 3, and, again, as usual, there were some No. 3 seeds advancing to take on the top seeds: Vanderbilt beating Notre Dame 4-3; South Alabama beating Tulane 4-1 and UC-Santa Barbara beating Texas Tech 4-1.

Half of the women's first round matches were scheduled for today, with the other half being played Saturday. No. 4 South Carolina was the only top 4 seed in action today and they got a quick 4-0 win over North Florida. So far there have been two 4-3 battles, with Miami defeating Washington State in the last match on, and Georgia Tech, a No. 3 seed, defeating No. 2 seed Ohio State 4-3, with Nami Otsuka saving two match points in her 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(4) win over Kolie Allen at line 2.
In another No. 3 over No. 2 regional seed, Princeton defeated Northwestern 4-1.

For all the first round results, see Championship Central at SLAM Tennis.

Seventeen-year-olds Emma Navarro and Whitney Osuigwe have moved into the semifinals of the $100,000 ITF World Tennis Tour tournament in Charleston South Carolina with straight-sets win today. Even though Osuigwe isn't seeded, her run is not much of a surprise; she won last week's $80,000 tournament in Charlottesville and the 2017 French Open girls champion has always considered clay her best surface. Today she defeated qualifier Louisa Chirico 6-0, 6-4 and will face 18-year-old No. 7 seed Kaja Juvan of Slovenia, who beat No. 3 seed Nicole Gibbs 6-1, 6-4 today. Juvan and Osuigwe met in the semifinals of the Orange Bowl back in 2016, with Juvan, the eventual champion there, earning a 6-1, 6-3 win.

Wild card Emma Navarro has had a great spring, winning the Easter Bowl ITF to move into the Top 15 of the World Junior rankings and playing a competitive match in her WTA debut the following week in Charleston at the Volvo Open. But her performance this week has been at a different level; the 2018 USTA 18s Clay Court champion has not dropped a set, beating two seeds and last week's $25K champion Ann Li. Today she defeated No. 4 seed and WTA 150 Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine 6-4, 6-4 to set up a semifinal encounter with No. 2 seed Taylor Townsend. Townsend prevented an all-teenage semifinal round by defeating 15-year-old qualifier Coco Gauff 6-0, 2-6, 6-1.

The $25,000 men's ITF World Tennis Tour event in Vero Beach Florida has had several rain delays, and the semifinals are not yet set.  Wild card Eliot Spizzirri, who struggled recently at both the Easter Bowl and the International Spring Championships as the top seed, has rebounded this week, beating Easter Bowl champion Ron Hohmann, also a wild card, 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-2 in the first round, and in the second round today, defeating No. 4 seed Takanyi Garanganga of Zimbabwe 6-3, 6-4.

The first week of the USA's ITF Junior clay court circuit in Florida is drawing to a close in Delray Beach, with the singles finals of the Grade 4 tournament set for Saturday.  The boys final will feature the top two seeds: No. 1 Blu Baker of Great Britain against No. 2 seed Blaise Bicknell, a University of Florida recruit.  Unseeded Lara Schneider defeated top seed Lauren Anzalotta of Puerto Rico 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 to advance to the girls final, where she'll meet No. 11 seed Gianna Pielet.

Pielet already has earned a title in Delray, winning the doubles today with Ava Catanzarite. The No. 8 seeds defeated No. 5 seeds Gabriella Broadfoot of South Africa and Anouck Vrancken Peeters of the Netherlands 6-1, 4-6, 11-9 in the final.

Top seeds Hunter Heck and Stefan Leustian won the boys doubles title, beating unseeded Matthis Ross of Great Britain and Nikolas Tvedt of Norway 6-3, 6-2 in Friday's final.