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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Roland Garros 2018 Champion Gauff Receives Women's Qualifying Wild Card; Bobby Knight's D-I Quarterfinal Previews; ITA Men's Hall of Fame Induction Set for Sunday

Wild cards for the French Open were announced today, and aside from the Tennis Australia and USTA reciprocal wild cards, all were given to French players, except for one women's qualifying wild card, which went to 2018 girls Roland Garros champion Coco Gauff.

Gauff, No. 2 in the ITF World Junior rankings, has been using her Junior Exemptions to enter ITF World Tennis Tour events in the US this spring, and this week she is playing a $60,000 WTT tournament in France, so she may have anticipated receiving the qualifying wild card. She is not entered in the Roland Garros junior event.

The boys 2018 Roland Garros champion, Chun Hsin Tseng of Taiwan, currently No. 1 in the ITF World Junior rankings and the 2018 ITF World Junior champion, did not receive a men's qualifying wild card.

French junior Diane Parry, No. 9 in the ITF Junior rankings, received a women's main draw wild card, as did 16-year-old Selena Janicijevic, who recently moved into the Top 30 of the ITF Junior rankings.  One qualifying wild card is reserved for the winner of April's Grade 1 in Beaulieu-sur-Mer (if French) and this year the girls champion was 16-year-old Elsa Jacquemot.  Seventeen-year-old Loudmilla Bencheikh, currently No. 43 in the ITF Junior rankings,  and 18-year-old Manon Leonard, ranked 111 in the ITF Junior rankings, also received women's qualifying wild cards.  The French federation has also instituted a Wild Card Challenge with two men's and two women's wild cards distributed that way.

Roland Garros women's main draw wild cards:
Audrey Albie (FRA)
Selena Janicijevic (FRA)
Chloe Paquet (FRA)
Diane Parry (FRA)
Jessika Ponchet (FRA)
Harmony Tan (FRA)
Priscilla Hon(AUS)*
Lauren Davis(USA)*

*reciprocal wild card

Women's qualifying wild cards:

Tessah Andrianjafitrimo(FRA)
Loudmilla Bencheikh(FRA)
Coco Gauff(USA)
Myrtille Georges(FRA)
Elsa Jacquemot(FRA)
Manon Leonard(FRA)
Alize Lim(FRA)
Margot Yerolymos(FRA)

Roland Garros men's main draw wild cards:
Gregoire Barrere(FRA)
Quentin Halys(FRA)
Antoine Hoang(FRA)
Maxime Janvier(FRA)
Nicolas Mahut(FRA)
Corentin Moutet(FRA)
Alexei Popyrin(AUS)*
Tommy Paul(USA)*

*reciprocal wild card

Men's qualifying wild cards:
Elliot Benchetrit(FRA)
Geoffrey Blancaneaux(FRA)
Antoine Cornut-Chauvinc(FRA)
Corentin Denolly(FRA)
Hugo Gaston(FRA)
Manual Guinard(FRA)
Matteo Martineau(FRA)
Alexandre Muller(FRA)

The first ball of the NCAA Division I Team Championships in Lake Nona will be struck at noon Thursday, but Bobby Knight at College Tennis Today has already posted his previews and predictions.  Knight is forecasting a big upset in the 5 p.m. men's match Thursday between Ohio State[1] and North Carolina[9]. He also has No. 5 Duke beating No. 4 South Carolina in the women's 7 p.m. match Friday. If you have Tennis Channel, you should be able to see for yourself how his predictions play out in those two matches. I don't like to make predictions, primarily because I'm so bad at it. My participation in the Tennis Recruiting Network's NCAA Division I roundtable every year forces me into it once a year, but I do appreciate Bobby's insight into the matches, and unlike me, he's very good at it.

The men's previews are here; the women's previews are here.

The ITA announced its Men's Hall of Fame Induction Class at the end of March, but I was so wrapped up in the Easter Bowl/Carson ITF junior tournaments I didn't have a chance to mention it at the time and then  forgot about it. That's a shame, because I know three of the inductees very well from covering them for many years: Boise State's Greg Patton, Harvard's Dave Fish and Virginia's Somdev Devvarman. 

The other three members of this year's class are, like Devvarman, being inducted for their playing careers: Roy Barth, UCLA, Sargis Sargsian, Arizona State and Doug Verdieck, University of Redlands.  Congratulations to all six for their outstanding contributions to college tennis.

The ceremony, previously a dinner on the first night of the individual tournament, at least when I've attended, has been moved to a luncheon prior to the team finals, this year on Sunday. 

For a detailed look at the accomplishments of all the inductees, see this release from the ITA.