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Sunday, June 30, 2019

Top Two Girls Seeds Ousted in Grade 1 Roehampton First Round; Xu, Rojas Win ITF Junior Circuit Singles Titles; Sixteen Americans Kick Off Wimbledon Main Draw Monday

Roehampton top seed Emma Navarro and No. 2 seed Qinwen Zheng of China got only one match on grass in preparation for the Wimbledon Junior Championships, with both losing in three sets today in the first round of the ITF Grade 1 tournament.

Navarro, No. 4 in the current ITF Junior rankings, lost to 18-year-old British qualifier Sasha Hill 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 and Zheng, No. 8 in the ITF Junior rankings, lost to Thasaporn Naklo of Thailand 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(4). French Open girls doubles champions Navarro and Chloe Beck, who also lost in the first round of singles today, are the No. 5 seeds this week in doubles, while Zheng is seeded No. 1 in doubles with Diane Parry of France.  US girls went 7-4 today in singles, with qualifier Alexandra Yepifanova, Robin Montgomery, Alexa Noel[8], Savannah Broadus, Hurricane Tyra Black[5], Katrina Scott and Elli Mandlik advancing; qualifier Charlotte Owensby lost to British wild card Holly Fischer 6-1, 6-2 and Abigail Forbes lost to No. 3 seed Parry 6-3, 0-6, 6-4.

All three US boys who are seeded this week won their first round matches: Martin Damm[4], Emilio Nava[7] and defending champion Brandon Nakashima[6]. The other three US boys advancing to the second round are Dali Blanch, Cannon Kingsley, and qualifier Andres Martin. Eliot Spizzirri, Govind Nanda and Tyler Zink lost their opening round matches today.

Live scoring is available for Roehampton via Tennis Ticker.

The list of ITF Junior tournaments played around the world this week is a long one, with two Americans picking up singles titles. At the Grade 4 on grass at the Merion Cricket Club, unseeded 15-year-old Valencia Xu, playing in just her third ITF Junior Circuit event, defeated unseeded Reilly Tran 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 for the girls title. Xu also made the doubles final, with Elise Wagle, with the No. 4 seeds falling to No. 3 seeds Ayana Akli and Nicole Hammond 6-2, 6-4 in the all-USA final.

No. 6 seed Credit Chaiyarin of Thailand, also 15, won the boys title, beating unseeded wild card Logan Zapp 6-4, 4-6, 6-5 ret.  Unseeded Juan Jose Bianchi and Benjamin Kittay won the boys doubles title in another all-USA final, beating No. 3 seeds Jeremie Casabon and Jeffrey Fradkin 6-3, 3-6, 10-8.

The Grade 4 in Aruba was a similarly US-dominated tournament, with the only non-US winner boys singles champion Juncheng "Jerry" Shang, who lives and trains in the US and has the appropriate immigration status for USTA events, but plays for China in ITF Junior Circuit events. The 14s Easter Bowl champion, seeded No. 6, defeated 15-year-old Victor Lilov, the No. 7 seed, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 for his second career ITF Junior Circuit singles title, with his first coming early last month.

Sixteen-year-old Sofia Camila Rojas won her second ITF Junior circuit title, with the No. 3 seed beating No. 7 seed Sonya Macavei 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the final. Macavei and her partner Zoe Hitt, the No. 1 seeds, took the doubles title, defeating No. 2 seeds Noa Dujardin of France and Jordana Ossa 6-3, 6-0 in the final. The boys doubles title went to No. 3 seeds Murphy Cassone and Joshua Miller, who beat unseeded Lilov and Connor Krug 6-2, 7-5 in the final.

Stefan Leustian reached the singles semifinals and won the doubles title at the ITF Grade 3 in Ukraine. Seeded third with Aleksandr Kalinin of Belarus, Leustian defeated unseeded Mikhail Kniazeu of Belarus and Ilya Snitari of Moldova 7-6(3), 7-6(6) in the championship match.

Two former collegians won the ITF World Tennis Tour $15,000 tournaments in the United States this weekend, with former Penn standout Connie Hsu of Taiwan winning the women's singles title in Shreveport Louisiana and former Florida All-American Diego Hidalgo of Ecuador taking the men's singles title in Rochester New York. The 27-year-old Hsu, seeded No. 3, defeated 18-year-old Alycia Parks, the No. 4 seed, 6-2, 6-3 in today's final. Hsu also won the doubles title, with former Oklahoma State star Vladica Babic of Montenegro. The top seeds beat No. 4 seeds Jennifer Elie and Australian Alexandra Osborne 6-2, 6-0 in the final.

Hidalgo, who won last week's $15K in Orlando, ran his winning streak to ten, with the No. 4 seed beating No. 7 seed Strong Kirchheimer(Northwestern) 7-6(8), 7-6(2) in today's final. No. 2 seeds Justin Butsch(LSU) and Sweden's Simon Freund(UC-Santa Barbara) won the doubles title in New York, defeating unseeded Vasil Kirkov and Zachary Svajda 7-5, 7-5 in the final.

Sixteen Americans are in action Monday as the Wimbledon fortnight begins, with Venus Williams against Coco Gauff undoubtedly one of the most intriguing matches on the schedule. Ben Rothenberg caught up with Gauff and her parents at Wimbledon for this New York Times article.

Monday's first round Wimbledon singles matches involving Americans:

Women:
Bernarda Pera v Maria Sakkari(GRE)[31]
Jennifer Brady v Petra Martic(CRO)[24]
Danielle Collins v Zarina Diyas(KAZ)
Kristie Ahn[Q] v Anastasija Sevastova(LAT)[12]
Madison Brengle v Marketa Vondrousova(CZE)[16]
Caty McNally[Q] v Heather Watson(GBR)
Shelby Rogers v Anett Kontaveit(EST)[20]
Jessica Pegula v Mihaela Buzarnescu(ROU)
Madison Keys[17] v Luksika Kumkhum(THA)
Venus Williams v Coco Gauff[Q]
Sonya Kenin[27] v Astra Sharma(AUS)

Men:
Denis Kudla v Malek Jaziri(TUN)
Bradley Klahn v David Goffin(BEL)[21]
Reilly Opelka v Cedrik-Marcel Stebe(GER)
Marcos Giron[Q] v Feliciano Lopez(ESP)[WC]

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Twenty Americans Start Roehampton Grade 1 Sunday with Navarro Top Seed; Fritz Wins First ATP Title in Eastbourne; Mortera Named Women's Head Coach at Utah

As is the case at all junior slams, the first week of the pro event has the juniors warming up for their major tournament during the second week at a Grade 1 on the same surface. With Wimbledon's junior tournament starting on a Saturday, the Roehampton Grade 1 event begins on the previous Sunday, so that it can finish Friday. Tomorrow's first round singles matches will feature nine US boys and 11 US girls, including three who qualified today: Charlotte Owensby, Alexandra Yepifanova and Andres Martin.

French Open girls finalist Emma Navarro is the top seed, with Qinwen Zheng of China seeded No. 2.  In addition to Owensby, Yepifanova and Navarro, the other American girls in the draw are: Chloe Beck, Abigail Forbes, Robin Montgomery, Alexa Noel[8], Savannah Broadus, Hurricane Tyra Black[5], Elli Mandlik and Katrina Scott, who received entry via a special exemption for making the singles semifinal at this week's Grade 1 in Nottingham.

No. 2 seed Black lost in today's Nottingham final, retiring to No. 4 seed Sada Nahimana of Burundi down 6-4, 2-1. No. 3 seed Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan won the boys singles title, beating unseeded Jack Pinnington Jones of Great Britain 6-3, 6-1.

The US boys in the draw, in addition to Martin, are Eliot Spizzirri, defending champion Brandon Nakashima[6], Cannon Kingsley, Martin Damm[4], Emilio Nava[7], Govind Nanda, Tyler Zink and Dali Blanch. Blanch is listed as a special exempt entry, although the exemption must have been rain related, as it is rare for a doubles quarterfinalist to receive one.  Missing from the American contingent is French Open finalist Toby Kodat, who was originally scheduled to play the event. Kodat was ill last weekend during the Hutchins Trophy competition, but I'm not sure if his absence this week in Roehampton is related to that. He is still entered in the Wimbledon Junior Championships.

Taylor Fritz won his first ATP title today at the 250 tournament in Eastbourne, defeating Sam Querrey 6-3, 6-4 in the final. The 21-year-old Southern Californian's previous best showing in an ATP event came in 2016, when he reached the Memphis tournament's final as a wild card. Fritz joins friends Frances Tiafoe and Reilly Opelka as ATP champions, with Tiafoe winning Delray Beach last year and Opelka taking the New York Open this year. Fritz will now move to a career-high ATP ranking of 31, and although he is not seeded at Wimbledon, he has a good chance to be seeded at the US Open. For more on Fritz's win today, see this article from the ATP website.

Four years ago, Fritz was No. 1 in the ITF Junior World rankings. I spoke to him at Wimbledon that year for this Tennis Recruiting Network article(subscription required for complete interview); at that time he had not yet decided to turn pro, but was obviously leaning in that direction. His US Open boys title two months later made his decision to immediately pursue a pro career easier, and six months later he had made the Memphis final.

One of the three Power 5 conference women's head coaching vacancies was filled this week, with Ric Mortera set to lead the Utah program after one year as head coach at Fresno State. Prior to taking the Fresno State job, Mortera was the women's associate head coach at Texas Tech for three years. For more on Mortera's background, see this article at the Utah website.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Nineteen US Women, 11 US Men Set for Wimbledon First Round; Black Advances to Nottingham Grade 1 Final; All Four Americans Reach Roehampton Grade 1 Final Round of Qualifying; Fritz and Querrey Meet for ATP Eastbourne Title

The Wimbledon draws were released this morning, with 19 American women and 11 American men in the singles draws. According to Jonathan Kelley, that is the most US women in the Wimbledon main draw since 20 made it in 2004. The order of play for Monday has yet to be released, but below are the first round matches involving Americans. The match between five-time champion Venus Williams, 39, and 15-year-old qualifier Coco Gauff has drawn the most attention of all the opening round matches and it is the only match that features two Americans.

Top Half:
Christina McHale[LL] v Harriet Dart(GBR)[WC]
Alison Riske v Donna Vekic(CRO)[22]
Serena Williams[11] v Giulia Gatto-Monticone(ITA)[Q]
Lauren Davis[LL] v Kateryna Kozlova(UKR)
Taylor Townsend v Arina Rodionova(AUS)[Q]
Sloane Stephens[9] v Timea Bacsinszky(SUI)
Amanda Anisimova[25] v Sorana Cirstea(ROU)
Bottom Half:
Bernarda Pera v Maria Sakkari(GRE)[31]
Jennifer Brady v Petra Martic(CRO)[24]
Danielle Collins v Zarina Diyas(KAZ)
Kristie Ahn[Q] v Anastasija Sevastova(LAT)[12]
Madison Brengle v Marketa Vondrousova(CZE)[16]
Caty McNally[Q] v Heather Watson(GBR)
Shelby Rogers v Anett Kontaveit(EST)[20]
Jessica Pegula v Mihaela Buzarnescu(ROU)
Madison Keys v Luksika Kumkhum(THA)
Venus Williams v Coco Gauff[Q]
Sonya Kenin[27] v Astra Sharma(AUS)

Top Half:
Denis Kudla v Malek Jaziri(TUN)
Bradley Klahn v Davis Goffin(BEL)[21]
Reilly Opelka v Cedrik-Marcel Stebe(GER)
Marcos Giron[Q] v Feliciano Lopez(ESP)[WC]
Bottom Half:
Sam Querrey v Dominic Thiem(AUT)[5]
Tennys Sandgren v Yasutaka Uchiyama(JPN)[Q]
Frances Tiafoe v Fabio Fognini(ITA)[12]
Steve Johnson v Albert Ramos-Vinolas(ESP)
Taylor Fritz v Tomas Berdych(CZE)
John Isner[9] v Casper Ruud(NOR)
Noah Rubin[Q] v Jay Clarke(GBR)[WC]


There are 14 current or former collegians in the singles draw:
Men:
Klahn (Stanford)
Kevin Anderson (Illinois)
Giron (UCLA)
Sandgren (Tennessee)
Paul Jubb (South Carolina)
Cameron Norrie (TCU)
Johnson (USC)
Isner (Georgia)
Dominik Koepfer (Tulane)
Rubin (Wake Forest)

Women:
Collins (Virginia)
Ahn (Stanford)
Brady (UCLA)
Sharma (Vanderbilt)

No. 2 seed Hurricane Tyra Black has advanced to the final of the new ITF Grade 1 in Nottingham, defeating unseeded Katrina Scott 6-1, 6-2 in today's semifinals. Black has lost only 13 games total in her four matches this week. She will play No. 4 seed Sada Nahimana of Burundi for the title Saturday. The boys final will feature unseeded 16-year-old Jack Pinnington Jones of Great Britain against No. 3 seed Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan.

All four Americans in the qualifying at the Grade 1 in Roehampton advanced to Saturday's final round, with Andres Martin[11], Will Grant[5], Charlotte Owensby[5] and Alexandra Yepifanova[8] all winning their matches today in straight sets.

At the ATP 250 in Eastbourne, two Southern Californians will meet for the title, with Sam Querrey taking on Taylor Fritz. It's Querrey's first ATP final in 16 months, and for Fritz, just the second of his career. Fritz, 21, made the final of the Memphis ATP event when he was 18, and he reveals in this ATP article how long that three-year stretch between finals has seemed to him.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Five Americans Win Wimbledon Final Round Qualifying Matches, Gauff Youngest Qualifier in Open Era; Scott, Black to Play for Spot in Nottingham Grade 1 Final; Four Americans in Roehampton Grade 1 Qualifying

A year ago, Caty McNally, then 16, and Coco Gauff, then 14, were getting ready to start play at the ITF Junior Circuit Grade 1 in Roehampton, where they went on the singles final, with Gauff taking the title 6-2, 6-3.

Today, at the same venue, McNally and Gauff earned their way into the women's main draw with their third victories in three days, all coming in straight sets. Gauff didn't have any matches on grass prior to learning last week that she would receive a qualifying wild card, but she dominated her opponents this week and is the youngest qualifier to reach Wimbledon's main draw in the Open era.

As a wild card, Gauff played the US Open qualifying last year, losing in the first round, and receiving a wild card into the French Open qualifying this year, she won her first round match, but this will be her main draw slam debut. McNally won a US Open qualifying match back in 2017, but lost in the first round of qualifying last year. McNally reached the semifinals of the ITF World Tennis Tour $100,000 tournament on grass in Surbiton as a qualifier earlier this month, boosting her confidence for this run, and she too will make her main draw debut in a slam next week.

Twenty-seven-year-old Kristie Ahn played her first main draw match at a slam back in 2008, when as a 16-year-old, she made it through qualifying before falling to No. 6 seed Dinara Safina of Russia. Ahn played the 2018 Australian Open after earning the USTA's reciprocal wild card, but the former Stanford All-American will be making her main draw debut at Wimbledon after beating No. 3 seed Lauren Davis 6-4, 7-5 today. 

In addition to Gauff, McNally and Ahn, Davis and Christina McHale have also received entry into the main draw, with the latter two getting in as lucky losers.

Two US men have advanced to the main draw, with 2014 NCAA champion Marcos Giron and 2015 NCAA finalist Noah Rubin earning four-set victories in today's final round of qualifying. Rubin, the 2014 Wimbledon boys champion, and Giron, who reached the third round at the Junior Championships in 2011, will be making their Wimbledon main draw debuts next week.

The men's completed qualifying draw is here; the women's completed qualifying draw is here. The main draw is scheduled for 5:00 a.m. EDT on Friday.

Thursday's final round qualifying results for Americans:

Noah Rubin d. Yannick Hanfmann(GER) 7-6(5), 6-2, 4-6, 6-2
Marcos Giron d. Viktor Galovic(CRO) 7-5, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4
Alexei Popyrin(AUS)[4] d. Bjorn Fratangelo[27] 6-3, 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 7-6(6)
Jiri Vesely(CZE)[7] d. Tommy Paul[30] 6-2, 6-3 6-3
Ruben Bemelmans(BEL) d. Donald Young 6-4, 6-4, 6-1

Coco Gauff[WC] d. Greet Minnen(BEL)[19] 6-1, 6-1
Kristie Ahn d. Lauren Davis[3] 6-4, 7-5
Caty McNally d. Jana Cepelova(SVK) 6-4, 6-3
Arina Rodionova(AUS) d. Danielle Lao 0-6, 6-1, 6-1
Kaja Juvan(SLO)[20] d. Christina McHale[6]  6-2, 6-1

The semifinals are set for the new ITF Junior Circuit Grade 1 on grass in Nottingham, with unseeded Katrina Scott and No. 2 seed Hurricane Tyra Black advancing to face each other for a place in the final. The unseeded Scott, who just turned 15 this month, defeated No. 3 seed Kamilla Bartone of Latvia 6-2, 6-3 in today's quarterfinals, while Black got by Erin Richardson of Great Britain 6-0, 6-2.  Scott was scheduled to play qualifying at the Grade 1 in Roehampton beginning on Friday and is not in the draw, so I assume she received a special exemption into the main draw, which begins Sunday.

The other girls semifinal in Nottingham will feature No. 14 seed Priska Nugroho of Indonesia, who beat No. 5 seed Sohyun Park 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, against No. 4 seed Sada Nahimana of Burundi, who beat American Alexandra Yepifanova 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-1.

Top boys seed Thiago Tirante of Argentina lost to No. 12 seed Dalibor Svrcina of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-2 today, with Svrcina facing unseeded Jack Pinnington Jones in the top half semifinal. In the bottom half, No. 3 seed Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan will play No. 11 seed Tristan Schoolkate of Australia, who beat No. 2 seed Liam Draxl of Canada 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 today.

Only four Americans are in qualifying at the Roehampton Grade 1: Will Grant[5], Andres Martin[11], Charlotte Owensby[5] and Yepifanova[8]. Neither qualifying draw filled in Roehampton, with two byes in the boys draw and one bye in the girls draw.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Eleven Americans Reach Final Round of Wimbledon Qualifying; Wimbledon Seeds Announced; USTA Pro Circuit Features Two $15Ks This Week

Eleven Americans advanced to Thursday's final round of Wimbledon qualifying at Roehampton, with five US men and six US women now just one win away from the main draw.

McNally and Gauff won the US Open girls doubles title last year
2018 French Open girls finalists Coco Gauff, 15, and Caty McNally,17, both picked up straight-sets wins today in their quest for their first main draw singles appearance at a major, joining former college stars Kristie Ahn(Stanford) and Danielle Lao(USC) in Wednesday's winners' circle. Christina McHale[6] and Lauren Davis[3] also posted second round victories today. Ahn and Davis meet in the final round, assuring that at least one American will advance to the women's main draw.

Three of the five US men to advance to the final round of qualifying did so after dropping the first set: Bjorn Fratangelo, Tommy Paul and Noah Rubin. Marcos Giron and Donald Young, neither of whom are seeded, won today in straight sets. Today's second round results for Americans and Thursday's matchups are below:

Bjorn Fratangelo[27] d. Quentin Halys(FRA) 3-6, 6-2, 13-11
Fratangelo v Alexei Popyrin(AUS)[4]

Tommy Paul[30] d. Mikael Torpegaard(DEN) 0-6, 6-4, 6-4
Paul v Jiri Vesely(CZE)[7]

Marcos Giron d. Antoine Hoang(FRA)[10] 6-4, 7-6(3)
Giron v Viktor Galovic(CRO)

Noah Rubin d. Roberto Quiroz(ECU) 4-6, 6-1, 6-2
Rubin v Yannick Hanfmann(GER)

Donald Young d. Daniel Galan(COL) 7-6(4), 6-3
Young v Ruben Bemelmans(BEL)

Corentin Moutet(FRA) d. Tim Smyczek 6-1, 6-3
Thiago Monteiro(BRA)[6] d. Christopher Eubanks 7-6(6), 6-3

Coco Gauff d. Valentyna Ivakhnenko(RUS) 6-2, 6-3
Gauff v Greet Minnen(BEL)[19]

Lauren Davis[3] d. Francesca Di Lorenzo 6-4, 7-5

Kristie Ahn d. Tamara Korpatsch(GER)[32] 6-2, 6-0

Davis v Ahn

Danielle Lao d. Danka Kovinic(MNE) 6-2, 7-6(5)
Lao v Arina Rodionova(AUS)

Christina McHale[6] d. Sabina Sharipova(UZB) 3-6, 7-5, 6-2
McHale v Kaja Juvan(SLO)[20]

Caty McNally d. Priscilla Hon(AUS)[23] 6-4, 6-4
McNally v Jana Cepelova(SVK)

Tereza Martincova(CZE)[29] d. Caroline Dolehide 6-1, 7-6(5)

Lesley Kerkhove(NED) d. Varvara Lepchenko[15] 4-6, 6-1, 6-2

The seeds for Wimbledon were announced today, with one US man and five US women among them:

Gentlemen's Singles
1 DJOKOVIC, Novak (SRB)
2 FEDERER, Roger (SUI)
3 NADAL, Rafael (ESP)
4 ANDERSON, Kevin (RSA)
5 THIEM, Dominic (AUT)
6 ZVEREV, Alexander (GER)
7 TSITSIPAS, Stefanos (GRE)
8 NISHIKORI, Kei (JPN)
9 ISNER, John (USA)
10 KHACHANOV, Karen (RUS)
11 MEDVEDEV, Daniil (RUS)
12 FOGNINI, Fabio (ITA)
13 CILIC, Marin (CRO)
14 CORIC, Borna (CRO)
15 RAONIC, Milos (CAN)
16 MONFILS, Gael (FRA)
17 BERRETTINI, Matteo (ITA)
18 BASILASHVILI, Nikoloz (GEO)
19 AUGER-ALIASSIME, Felix (CAN)
20 SIMON, Gilles (FRA)
21 GOFFIN, David (BEL)
22 WAWRINKA, Stan (SUI)
23 BAUTISTA AGUT, Roberto (ESP)
24 SCHWARTZMAN, Diego (ARG)
25 DE MINAUR, Alex (AUS)
26 PELLA, Guido (ARG)
27 POUILLE, Lucas (FRA)
28 PAIRE, Benoit (FRA)
29 SHAPOVALOV, Denis (CAN)
30 EDMUND, Kyle (GBR)
31 DJERE, Laslo (SRB)
32 LAJOVIC, Dusan (SRB)

Ladies' Singles
1 BARTY, Ashleigh (AUS)
2 OSAKA, Naomi (JPN)
3 PLISKOVA, Karolina (CZE)
4 BERTENS, Kiki (NED)
5 KERBER, Angelique (GER)
6 KVITOVA, Petra (CZE)
7 HALEP, Simona (ROU)
8 SVITOLINA, Elina (UKR)
9 STEPHENS, Sloane (USA)
10 SABALENKA, Aryna (BLR)
11 WILLIAMS, Serena (USA)
12 SEVASTOVA, Anastasija (LAT)
13 BENCIC, Belinda (SUI)
14 WOZNIACKI, Caroline (DEN)
15 WANG, Qiang (CHN)
16 VONDROUSOVA, Marketa (CZE)
17 KEYS, Madison (USA)
18 GOERGES, Julia (GER)
19 KONTA, Johanna (GBR)
20 KONTAVEIT, Anett (EST)
21 MERTENS, Elise (BEL)
22 VEKIC, Donna (CRO)
23 GARCIA, Caroline (FRA)
24 MARTIC, Petra (CRO)
25 ANISIMOVA, Amanda (USA)
26 MUGURUZA, Garbine (ESP)
27 KENIN, Sofia (USA)
28 HSIEH, Su-Wei (TPE)
29 KASATKINA, Daria (RUS)
30 SUAREZ NAVARRO, Carla (ESP)
31 SAKKARI, Maria (GRE)
32 TSURENKO, Lesia (UKR)

The two ITF World Tennis Tour tournaments in the US this week are both $15,000 events, with the men in Rochester New York and the women in Shreveport Louisiana.

The top seed in Rochester, Keenan Mayo(Illinois), was beaten today in the first round by former University of Virginia star Michael Shabaz, with Mayo retiring trailing 6-1, 4-1. Ricardo Rodriquez of Venezuela is the No. 2 seed. Wild cards were given to Alexandre Rotsaert(Stanford), Wil Spencer(Georgia), Easter Bowl 16s champion Samir Banerjee and Keegan Smith(UCLA). Rotsaert and Spencer won their opening round matches today, Banerjee and Smith lost theirs.

Slovenian Nastja Kolar is the top seed in Shreveport, with wild cards going to Katya Townsend(Texas A&M), Makenna Jones(UNC), Chelsea Kung and Kailey Evans. Townsend and Kung won their opening matches.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Gauff Beats Top Seed to Reach Second Round at Wimbledon Qualifying; USTA US Open Wild Card Challenge Begins July 8; Noah Rubin's Behind the Racquet Initiative Takes Off

Coco Gauff's wild card into Wimbledon women's qualifying was something of a surprise, but the 15-year-old proved she was worth taking a chance on Tuesday when she defeated No. 1 seed Aliona Bolsova(Florida Atlantic) of Spain 6-3, 6-4 in the first round at Roehampton. Gauff, who last year won the ITF Junior Circuit Grade 1 on the same courts where the Wimbledon qualifying takes place, had played only three top 100 players in her brief career, losing to Rebeccca Peterson of Sweden in Midland earlier this year and to Daria Kasatkina of Russia at the Miami Open this spring, so today's win over No. 94 Bolsova is her first. For more on Gauff's win and also comments from Caty McNally on her first round victory, see this article from the Wimbledon website. Overall, the US women went 9-8 today in first round qualifying matches.

 First round Wimbledon women's qualifying results for Americans:

Coco Gauff[WC] d. Aliona Bolsova(ESP)[1] 6-3, 6-4
Caroline Dolehide d. Alexandra Cadantu(ROU) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3
Lauren Davis[3] d. Bibiane Schoofs(NED) 1-6, 7-6(3), 6-4
Francesca Di Lorenzo d. Maryna Zanevska(BEL)  7-6(4), 7-6(3)
Kristie Ahn d. Naomi Broady[WC](GBR) 7-6(3), 7-6(4)
Tamara Korpatsch(GER)[32] d. Robin Anderson 6-3, 6-7(0), 6-4
Arina Rodionova(AUS) d.  Asia Muhammad 7-6(6), 6-7(2), 8-6
Danielle Lao d. Naiktha Bains(GBR) 6-4, 6-2
Danka Kovinic(MNE) d. Sachia Vickery[25] 6-4, 6-4
Tereza Mrdeza(CRO) d. Claire Liu 7-5 6-1
Christina McHale[6] d. Ayano Shimizu(JPN) 6-4, 6-4
Jana Cepelova(SVK) d. Ann Li 7-5, 6-2
Caty McNally d. Kurumi Nara(JPN) 7-6(4), 7-6(2)
Cristina Bucsa(ESP) d. Whitney Osuigwe[9] 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
Irina Bara(ROU) d. Allie Kiick[18] 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-4
Ysaline Bonaventure(BEL)[12] d. Jamie Loeb 4-6, 6-1, 6-2
Varvara Lepchenko[15] d. Sofya Zhuk(RUS) 7-6(2), 2-6, 6-0

The seven US men who won first round matches Monday--Tim Smyczek, Bjorn Fratangelo[27], Christopher Eubanks, Tommy Paul[30], Marcos Giron, Noah Rubin and Donald Young--play their second round matches on Wednesday, as do the nine US women who won today. Although none of the US women played first round matches against each other today, Davis and Di Lorenzo meet tomorrow, for the third time this year. Di Lorenzo won their first round match at the $100K in Midland in January, with Davis winning in the semifinals of the $100K in Bonita Springs in May.

Looking ahead to the next, and last, major of the year, the USTA has announced the tournaments for its annual US Open Wild Card Challenge for men and women. The three best results from tournaments held during the five weeks beginning July 8 will count toward the race. Although the bulk of the tournaments are ATP Challengers and ITF WTT $60Ks, results from ATP and WTA events on hard courts during that stretch will also count toward the final tally. Below are the tournaments included in the Challenge.


2014 Wimbledon boys and Kalamazoo 18s champion Noah Rubin, who reached the NCAA final in 2015 as a freshman at Wake Forest, left college to pursue a professional tennis career. Despite several long layoffs due to injury, Rubin managed to get as high as 125 in the ATP rankings, but he has found himself looking harder and longer not at his own career but at the bigger picture of tennis. He and USTA Pro Circuit Challenger commentator Mike Cation have begun a weekly podcast to talk about the issues within the sport, particularly those confronting players who are in the 100-300 ranking range, which can be found here.  Rubin has also developed an Instagram project "Behind the Racquet" to give professional players an opportunity to discuss personal challenges they've faced, on their own terms, outside the normal press conference setting. Ben Rothenberg spoke to Rubin about the unexpected direction his love for the sport has taken him in this article in today's New York Times.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Seven US Men Advance at Wimbledon Qualifying; 17 US Women Start Wimbledon Qualifying Tuesday; Grishuk, Blanch Win ITF Junior Circuit Titles

The US men had an excellent day at Wimbledon qualifying Monday at Roehampton with 7 of the 9 players in the draw advancing to the second round, the highest number possible with two of the first round matches today between Americans.

In a battle between former Kalamazoo champions, 2014 winner Noah Rubin(Wake Forest) defeated 2016 champion Michael Mmoh 6-3, 6-4 and in the other all-US first round match, Tim Smyczek beat Mitchell Krueger 7-5, 6-4.  The seven other results are below:

Bjorn Fratangelo[27] d. Alexey Vatutin(RUS) 6-4, 6-4
Christopher Eubanks d. Lucca Vanni(ITA) 7-6(9), 3-6, 6-3
Tommy Paul[30] d. Chun-Hsin Tseng(TPE) 6-3, 6-3
Marcos Giron d. Arthur DeGreef(BEL) 6-2, 6-3
Donald Young d. Egor Gerasimov(BLR) 6-4, 7-6(3)

The Wimbledon women's qualifying begins Tuesday, with 17 Americans looking to advance to the main draw. Fifteen-year-old wild card Coco Gauff has draw No. 1 qualifying seed Aliona Bolsova(Florida Atlantic) of Spain in the first round. In addition to Gauff, the American women playing their first round matches Tuesday are: Caroline Dolehide, Lauren Davis[3], Francesa Di Lorenzo(Ohio State), Kristie Ahn(Stanford), Robin Anderson(UCLA), Asia Muhammad, Danielle Lao(USC), Sachia Vickery[25], Claire Liu, Christina McHale[6], Ann Li, Caty McNally, Whitney Osuigwe[9], Allie Kiick[18], Jamie Loeb(UNC) and Varvara Lepchenko[15].

Although the US men in qualifying numbered only 9, two matches were all-USA; none of the American women have drawn another American in the first round, but the two halves are quite unbalanced, with 13 US women in the top half and only four in the bottom half (the last four listed above).

Two Americans claimed titles last week on the ITF Junior Circuit with Skyler Grishuk winning the Grade 3 in the Netherlands and Dali Blanch taking the doubles title at the Grade 1 in Berlin.

The 16-year-old Grishuk, seeded No. 1, defeated No. 2 seed Melissa Boyden of the Netherlands 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 in the singles final. It's Grishuk's fourth ITF Junior Circuit title, and her first in Europe, having won a Grade 4 in New Zealand, a Grade 3 in Japan and a Grade 2 in Bolivia. Grishuk also reached the semifinals in doubles this week.

Blanch, who lost in the third round in Germany, won the doubles title with Admir Kalender of Croatia. The top seeds defeated the unseeded Italian team of Luca Nardi and Lorenzo Rottoli 6-3, 6-3 in the final.

This week's ITF Junior Circuit Grade 1 moves to grass, with a new tournament in Nottingham. Perhaps because it is new to the schedule, the draw is not strong, with many of those competing at Wimbledon in two weeks opting to warm up as usual at Roehampton. Only seven Americans are playing in Nottingham: Eliot Spizzirri[8], Andres Martin, Blanch and qualifier Will Grant on the boys side, with the girls No. 2 seed Hurricane Tyra Black, Katrina Scott and qualifier Alexandra Yepifanova.  The top seeds are Natsumi Kawaguchi of Japan and Thiago Tirante of Argentina.

The only ITF Junior Circuit in the United States on grass is also on the schedule for this week with a Grade 4 at the Merion Cricket Club in Pennsylvania. Benjamin Kittay is the top boys seed, with Sandra Alonso of Spain the top girls seed.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Subhash, Cressy and Arconada Win ITF World Tennis Tour Titles; Kenin Claims WTA Mallorca Championship; Nine US Men Begin Wimbledon Qualifying Monday

Seventeen-year-old Natasha Subhash won her second career ITF World Tennis Tour $15,000 event today at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona, with the fourth-seeded University of Virginia rising freshman beating No. 2 seed Tori Kinard 6-1, 6-2 in just over an hour. Subhash, who won her first pro circuit title last month in Williamsburg Virginia, dropped just one set this week, to top seed Grace Min in the semifinals, and is now 17-2 in USTA Pro Circuit matches since the first of May.

One of the two players to beat Subhash was Usue Arconada, who defeated the teenager in the final of the $25,000 tournament in Bethany Beach earlier this month. The top-seeded Arconada won her second title of the month today at the $25,000 tournament in Denver, beating wild card Alexa Glatch 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 in another all-American final. The 20-year-old's only loss this month was to Vicky Duval in the quarterfinals of last week's tournament in Sumter, and she avenged that this week, also in the quarterfinals.

The third all-American final of the day saw top seed Maxime Cressy put an end to the winning streak of University of Florida rising sophomore Sam Riffice, with the recent UCLA graduate beating Wichita $25K champion Riffice 6-3, 6-1 in today's championship match at the $25,000 tournament in Tulsa Oklahoma. It's Cressy's  third pro singles title, and the second at the $25,000 level. He also won an ATP Challenger back in January.

Although Riffice fell short, a former Florida Gator (2013-16) did pick up a title today, with Diego Hidalgo of Ecuador winning his first singles title at the $15,000 men's tournament in Lake Nona. Hidalgo, the No. 6 seed, defeated No. 2 seed Ricardo Rodriguez of Venezuela 6-1, 6-4 in the final. The 26-year-old didn't drop more than four games in any set all week.

Twenty-year-old Sonya Kenin won her second WTA title today in Mallorca, with the No. 7 seed winning a nearly three-hour battle with No. 3 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 6-4. Kenin, who won her first title in Hobart in January, saved three match points with Bencic serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set. Kenin is now at her career-high ranking of 28, and will be seeded at Wimbledon. For more on the dramatic final, see this article from the WTA website.

The final Wimbledon main draw wild cards were awarded today to the champions of the ITF $100K and ATP 125 Challenger grass tournaments in Ilkley and to Feliciano Lopez, who won the ATP 500 Queens Club. Monica Niculescu of Romania will avoid qualifying with her win in Ilkley today, and former Tulane star Dominik Koepfer of Germany will make his slam debut after winning his first Challenger title thre. The unseeded 25-year-old defeated No. 9 seed Dennis Novak of Austria 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) in the final.

Two men's wild cards and three women's wild cards were not used, with the next direct acceptances moving into the main draw instead. Two former collegians earned qualifying wild cards with their performances in the LTA's playoff tournament: Ryan Peniston(Memphis) and Samantha Murray(Northwestern). The updated wild card list is here.

Wimbledon qualifying begins Monday for the men, with nine Americans on the schedule.  Unfortunately, two of the first round matches pit US players against each other, with Mitchell Krueger facing Tim Smyczek and Michael Mmoh facing Noah Rubin.  The other American men in qualifying are Bjorn Fratangelo[27], Christopher Eubanks, Tommy Paul[30], Marcos Giron and Donald Young. The men's qualifying draw is here. Women's qualifying begins Tuesday.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

US Boys Win Inaugural Hutchins Trophy; Subhash Beats Top Seed Min to Reach Orlando $15K Final; Kenin Advances to WTA Mallorca Final

Will Grant, Eliot Spizzirri, Martin Damm, Sylvain Guichard, Jay Devashetty (not pictured: Toby Kodat)
The US boys won the inaugural Paul Hutchins Trophy today at London’s Queens Club, beating Great Britain’s team of 18-and-under boys 6 matches to 5 in the two-day competition held in conjunction with the ATP 500 Fever-Tree Championships.

The US team led 4-2 after Friday's first day of play, so two more wins today would secure the trophy, established to honor former British Davis Cup captain Paul Hutchins, who died earlier this year. Toby Kodat was ill and could not play for the US, giving Great Britain a point, but Eliot Spizzirri and Martin Damm came through with victories in singles, meaning the US had clinched before the final doubles match, which Great Britain won.

Today's results:

James Story(GBR) d. Will Grant(USA) 7-5, 6-3
Eliot Spizzirri(USA) d. Oscar Weightman(GBR) 6-3, 7-5
Martin Damm(USA) d. Arthur Fery(GBR) 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(5)
Blu Baker(GBR) d. Toby Kodat(USA) w/o

Baker/Story d. Grant Spizzirri 6-4, 7-6(7)

Since May, 17-year-old Natasha Subhash has been on a tear on the ITF's World Tennis Tour here in the United States. After picking up her first singles title at the $15,000 tournament in Williamsburg last month, the University of Virginia rising freshman she has reached the final of the $25K in Bethany Beach, the semifinals of the $25K in Sumter and now another final, this time at the $15K in Orlando. Today Subhash, seeded No. 4, took out top seed Grace Min 6-4, 0-6, 6-3 in two hours and 44 minutes to set up her first meeting with 31-year-old Tori Kinard, the No. 2 seed. Kinard defeated 17-year-old qualifier Karina Miller, a University of Michigan recruit, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in today's other semifinal.

Sixteen-year-olds Allura and Maribella Zamarripa won their second consecutive doubles title, with the second-seeded twins defeating fellow teens Kimmi Hance and Ashlyn Krueger 6-3, 6-1 in the final. The Zamarripas, who won last week's title at Wesley Chapel, now have three career titles on the ITF Pro Circuit and did not come close to dropping a set this week at the USTA National Campus event.

Tyler Zink, a rising freshman at the University of Georgia, won his first pro title today at the men's $15,000 ITF World Tennis Tour tournament in Orlando, partnering with Georgia rising sophomore Trent Bryde and Tyler Zink defeat No. 2 seeds Diego Hidalgo(Florida) of Ecuador and Ricardo Rodriguez of Venezuela 7-6(1), 6-4 in the final. Bryde, who had one previous title in doubles on the ITF Pro Circuit, and Zink did not lose a set all week.

No. 6 seed Hidalgo will play doubles partner Rodriguez, the No. 2 seed, for the singles title Sunday.

At the $25,000 men's WTT tournament in Tulsa, Unversity of Florida rising sophomore Sam Riffice won his ninth consecutive match, beating wild card Zeke Clark, a rising senior at the University of Illinois 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinals. Riffice, who won last week's $25,000 tournament in Wichita, will meet top seed Maxime Cressy in the final. Cressy defeated fellow UCLA alum Martin Redlicki, the No. 4 seed, 7-5, 6-3. Cressy and Riffice met in the first round of the Tulsa Futures last year, with Riffice advancing when Cressy retired down 5-2 in the first set.

Cressy got the better of Redlicki a second time Saturday in the doubles final. Cressy, who won last month's NCAA doubles title with Keegan Smith, played this week with Bernardo Saraiva(San Francisco) of Portugal and the top-seeded pair defeated 2018 NCAA champions Redlicki and Evan Zhu 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 in the final. It's Cressy's 12th pro doubles title, and his second with Saraiva.

Top seed Usue Arconada will play for her second title of the month Sunday at the $25,000 ITF World Tennis Tour tournament in Denver after defeating wild card Sophie Whittle, a recent Gonzaga graduate, 7-5, 6-1. Arconada's opponent will be wild card Alexa Glatch, who defeated Gergana Topalova of Bulgaria 6-2, 6-3 in the other semifinal. Glatch, who has been out for nearly two years with injuries, last won a title in 2015. Arconada won their only previous match in the third round of April's $25K in Osprey by a score of 6-3, 6-3.

Former Oklahoma State assistant coach Hayley Carter(North Carolina) and Vladica Babic of Montenegro, who was on the Oklahoma State team when Carter coached there won the Denver doubles title, their first as a team. The No. 2 seeds defeated unseeded Brynn Boren(USC) and Gail Brodsky 6-2, 6-3 in the final. It's Carter's eighth pro doubles title, while Babic now has six.

Sonya Kenin has reached the final of the WTA International tournament in Mallorca and has assured herself of being seeded at Wimbledon, the first time the 20-year-old Floridian will have reached that milestone at a major. Kenin, who won her first WTA title early this year in Hobart and reached the final in Acapulco in late February, defeated No. 2 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in today's semifinal. Kenin will play No. 3 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, who beat top seed Angelique Kerber of Germany 2-6, 7-6(2), 6-4. For more on Kenin's win today, see this article from the WTA website.

Friday, June 21, 2019

US Boys Lead Great Britain 4-2 after First Day of Paul Hutchins Trophy; All-American Semifinals at Tulsa $25K; USTA Player Development Announces Coaching Fellowships

The first day of the Paul Hutchins Trophy, the newly established competition between Great Britain's and the United States' junior boys held in conjunction with the ATP 500 at Queen's Club, ended with the US team leading 4 to 2.  The US won three of four singles matches, while the two doubles matches were split.  The results are below, with the second and final day of competition, which will again feature four singles matches but only one doubles match, is Saturday.

Martin Damm(USA) d. Blu Baker(GBR) 6-3, 6-2
Arthur Fery(GBR) d. Toby Kodat(USA) 7-6(4), 6-2
Eliot Spizzirri(USA) d. James Story(GBR) 6-3, 6-3
Will Grant(USA) d. Oscar Weightman(GBR) 7-5, 2-6, 6-3

Damm/Kodat d. Baker/Fery 7-6(4), 5-7, 12-10
Story/Weightman d. Grant/Spizzirri 6-4, 4-6, 10-8

The semifinals are set at the $25,000 ITF World Tennis Tour tournament in Tulsa Oklahoma, with two former UCLA stars meeting in the top half and two longtime junior rivals facing off in the bottom half.

Top seed Maxime Cressy, who played No. 1 for UCLA this past year as a senior, will take on No. 4 seed Martin Redlicki, who played No. 1 for the Bruins in 2018, his senior year. Cressy defeated Ohio State rising junior John McNally 6-7(5), 7-6(2), 6-4 in three hours and 47 minutes on the hottest day of the year in Tulsa. It was the second day in a row that McNally's match time had exceeded three hours and 20 minutes. Redlicki needed only an hour and 18 minutes to beat No. 6 seed Gijs Brouwer of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-3, so it will be interesting to see what kind of an advantage that gives him on Saturday. Cressy and Redlicki met late last year in the quarterfinals of a $25K in Waco, with Cressy winning 6-4, 6-4. 

Unseeded Sam Riffice, the rising Florida sophomore, extended his winning streak to eight matches with a 6-2, 6-1 win over No. 3 seed Alexander Sarkissian(Pepperdine). Riffice, who won last week's $25K in Wichita, will face wild card and Tulsa resident Zeke Clark, a rising senior at Illinois. Clark, who reached his first Pro Circuit semifinal with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Nick Chappell(TCU), lost to Riffice 6-4, 6-4 in the second round in Wichita last week. They met three times in ITF Junior Circuit play back in 2014, with Riffice winning all three, twice needing three sets.

At the $25,000 ITF World Tennis Tour women's tournament in Denver, top seed Usue Arconada avenged her loss to Vicky Duval last week in Sumter by earning a 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-3 victory today in the quarterfinals. Arconada will face wild card Sophie Whittle(Gonzaga), who continued her stellar play this week with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Hayley Carter(North Carolina). Another wild card, 29-year-old Alexa Glatch, advanced to the semifinals, beating No. 7 seed Sanaz Marand(UNC) 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3 in two hours and 50 minutes. Glatch's opponent in the semifinals is 19-year-old Gergana Topalova of Bulgaria, who beat qualifier Petia Arshinkova of Bulgaria 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Seventeen-year-old Karina Miller had played only one ITF Pro Circuit match prior to this week, with the Ann Arbor resident losing in the first round of qualifying at the $100,000 Dow Tennis Classic in Midland last year. The 2020 University of Michigan recruit has won five matches, including two qualifying matches, this week at the women's $15,000 WTT tournament at the USTA's National Campus in Lake Nona to reach the semifinals. Miller, who needed a wild card into qualifying, moved into the semifinals when 16-year-old Connie Ma retired trailing 6-4, 3-0. Miller will face No. 2 seed Tori Kinard, who beat 14-year-old Eleana Yu 6-0, 6-3. Top seed Grace Min, a 6-3, 6-1 winner over Sofia Sewing(Miami), will face Virginia rising freshman Natasha Subhash, the No. 4 seed, who beat Kimmi Hance 6-2, 6-1.

The only American remaining at the men's $15,000 WTT tournament in Lake Nona is No. 7 seed Strong Kirchheimer(Northwestern), who beat No. 4 seed Paul Oosterbaan(Georgia) 6-0, 6-3. He will play No. 2 seed Ricardo Rodriguez of Venezuela in the semifinals. In the top half, No. 6 seed Diego Hidalgo(Florida) of Ecuador will face No. 8 seed Alan Kohen of Argentina.

USTA Player Development announced yesterday six fellowships for college coaching and one for performance analytics. Below is the USTA's release.

ORLANDO, Fla., June 20, 2019 – The USTA today announced the six recent college graduates taking part in the USTA Player Development Fellowship program this summer:

Professional Coaching Fellows:

Jaime Barajas, a former Mountain West Conference Player of the Year and now volunteer assistant coach at Utah State University.

Leah Bush, a four-year letter-winner at NCAA Division III Williams College, where she was a part of its 2016-17 NCAA Championship team.

Nick Castro, currently an assistant women's coach at the University of the Pacific and former player and Kinesiology major at Fresno State.

Aslina Chua, a four-year player and pre-med major at Michigan State, where she played No. 1 singles as a senior.

Rachel Pierson, a former singles and doubles All-American at Texas A&M, the first player in program history to earn singles and doubles All-America honors. 

Performance Analytics Fellow:
Kevin Huang, a recent materials and science engineering graduate from the University of Illinois. 

The Fellowship program, which begins Monday and runs through the 2019 US Open, is structured to provide significant experiential training and opportunity for independent research in the field of professional tennis coaching. The program is based out of the USTA National Campus at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla., and includes traveling with a coaching mentor.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

New USA vs GBR Hutchins Trophy Competition Begins Friday at Queens Club; All-American Quarterfinals at Women's Lake Nona $15K; Wild Cards Clark, Whittle Reach $25K Quarterfinals

The first matches are set for Friday in the new competition established this year between Great Britain's and the United States' 18-and-under boys teams. The Hutchins Trophy, which honors former Great Britain Davis Cup captain Paul Hutchins, who died earlier this year, is being played at Queen's Club in London during the ATP 500 Fever-Tree Championships. The four US boys participating in the event are Toby Kodat, Martin Damm, Eliot Spizzirri and Will Grant. Grant is stepping in for Zane Khan, who had to pull out due to injury.  The four boys representing Great Britain are James Story, Blu Baker, Oscar Weightman and Arthur Fery.

Spizzirri plays Story, Grant plays Weightman, Damm plays Baker and Fery plays Kodat in Friday's singles matches, with two doubles matches also on the schedule. The competition will wrap up on Saturday, and if it is like the Maureen Connolly Challenge, a similar girls event that is not being played this year, each match will count for a point, with the team earning the most points declared the champion.

Friday's schedule is available here.

The quarterfinals of the $15,000 ITF World Tennis Tour tournament at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona feature eight Americans, six of the them teenagers. The top two seeds are the veterans, with No. 1 Grace Min, 25, taking on 19-year-old Sofia Sewing(Miami), the No. 7 seed, and No. 2 seed Tori Kinard, 31, facing 14-year-old qualifier Eleana Yu. Seventeen-year-old Natasha Subhash(Virginia), the No. 4 seed, will play 16-year-old Kimmi Hance and 17-year-old qualifier Karina Miller(Michigan recruit) will face 16-year-old Connie Ma, the No. 3 seed.

The men's $15,000 WTT tournament in Lake Nona lost its top seed today, with Vasil Kirkov eliminating Keenan Mayo(Illinois) 6-3, 6-3. Kirkov is one of five Americans who have advanced to the quarterfinals: NCAA singles semifinalist Aleks Kovacevic(Illinois); Strong Kirchheimer[7](Northwestern); Paul Oosterbaan[4](Georgia) and qualifier Mwendwa Mbithi. Kirchheimer and Oosterbaan will play each other in Friday's quarterfinals.

Top seed Maxime Cressy(UCLA) advanced to the quarterfinals of the $25,000 WTT tournament in Tulsa Oklahoma, but No. 2 seed Michael Redlicki(Arkansas) was upset 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 by hometown wild card Zeke Clark(Illinois). The 20-year-old Clark, who has now reached four quarterfinals at the $25K level in the past two years, will be aiming for his first career semifinal when he takes on unseeded Nick Chappell(TCU). Cressy's opponent will be John McNally(Ohio State), who prevailed over qualifier George Goldhoff(Texas) 7-6(7), 4-6, 7-6(7) in three hours and 24 minutes. Unseeded Sam Riffice(Florida), the champion last week in Wichita, will face No. 3 seed Alexander Sarkissian(Pepperdine). No. 4 seed Martin Redlicki(UCLA) will play the only international player left in the Tulsa quarterfinals, No. 6 seed Gijs Brouwer of the Netherlands.

At the women's $25,000 WTT tournament in Denver, six Americans and two Bulgarians are through to the quarterfinals. Top seed Usue Arconada will play Vicky Duval for the second time in two weeks, with Duval ending Bethany Beach $25K champion Arconada's winning streak in the quarterfinals of the Sumter $25K last week. Wild card Sophie Whittle(Gonzaga) will play Hayley Carter(North Carolina) in the other quarterfinal in the top half of the draw. Whittle defeated Sumter champion and No. 4 seed Hailey Baptiste in the first round and took out Connie Hsu(Penn) of Taiwan today.  In the bottom half, qualifier Petia Arshinkova will play fellow Bulgarian Gergana Topalova, who defeated No. 3 seed Gail Brodsky today. No. 7 seed Sanaz Marand(North Carolina) will play wild card Alexa Glatch, who beat No. 2 seed Ashley Kratzer in the first round and Sophie Chang today.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Swiatek, Jubb Receive Wimbledon Main Draw Wild Cards, Gauff, Tseng Given Qualifying Wild Cards; Division III ITA Team Indoor Fields Set

Wimbledon announced the first of its wild cards today, and with qualifying beginning on Monday, June 24, the only qualifying wild cards remaining to be awarded are those based on the results of an LTA playoff tournament beginning tomorrow.

Only four of the eight main draw wild cards have been announced as of today, with performances in the grass court events this week probably figuring into the remaining choices.

Women:
Harriet Dart, Great Britain
Katie Swan, Great Britain
Iga Swiatek, Poland
Heather Watson, Great Britain

Men:
Marcos Baghdatis, Cyprus
Jay Clarke, Great Britain
Paul Jubb, Great Britain
James Ward, Great Britain

2018 girls Wimbledon champion Swiatek, 18, is unquestionably deserving of a wild card, having reached the fourth round at Roland Garros and currently sporting a WTA ranking of 65. Thirty-four-year-old Baghdatis, currently ranked 139, is a surprise recipient, with some speculating that he was given a wild card because he might retire before next year.

NCAA champion Jubb has won two matches on grass this week at the ATP 125 Challenger in Ilkley, solidifying his status as rising star in England, and AELTC did not hesitate to give him an opportunity to play at Wimbledon. The Daily Mail published an article today on the dilemma the prize money represents for Jubb, who still has a year left at South Carolina, and is bound by the NCAA rules for amateurs if he wishes to retain his eligibility for his senior year. As the article states, the 45,000 British pounds he will earn just for playing in the main draw can be used for actual and necessary expenses, and with his decision to take the fall off to build his ATP ranking he could probably find a way to spend it. But ultimately it not make sense for him to return, especially if he continues to win matches at the Challenger level over the next six months.  There are two errors in the article, the first stating that Jubb has beaten two Top 100 players already, which is not true, and the second stating that "the rules are stricter for those who have not yet enrolled at college" regarding the prize money. Actually, the rules are more lenient for future student-athletes, as they can earn $10,000 a year, no questions asked, before they are subject to the actual and necessary expenses restriction.

Qualifying wild cards:
Men:
Liam Broady, Great Britain
Jan Choinski, Great Britain
Jack Draper, Great Britain
Evan Hoyt, Great Britain
Nicolas Mahut, Great Britain
Aidan McHugh, Great Britain
Chun Hsin Tseng, Taiwan
Wild Card Play-off Place
Wild Card Play-off Place

Women:
Katy Dunne, Great Britain
Cori Gauff, United States
Francesca Jones, Great Britain
Sabine Lisicki, Germany
Maia Lumsden, Great Britain
Emma Raducanu, Great Britain
Gabriella Taylor, Great Britain
Wild Card Play-off Place
Wild Card Play-off Place

Tseng, 17, is the 2018 Wimbledon boys champion, and AELTC has traditionally extended a qualifying wild card invitation to their junior champions the following year. Draper, also 17, was the Wimbledon boys finalist last year. McHugh, 18, is a former ITF Top 10 junior.

Gauff's wild card is something of a surprise, although she does have a Grade 1 title at Roehampton last year and a quarterfinal appearance the following week at the Wimbledon juniors to bolster her credentials on grass.

Doubles wild cards were also awarded today; the list as it currently stands is available here.

The 2020 ITA Division III Team Indoor fields were announced yesterday. Gustavus Adolphus hosts the men's tournament in Minnesota February 21-23 and Centre College will host the women's tournament in Kentucky February 28-March 1. The fields are never as strong as the NCAAs, because the New England Small College Athletic Conference teams do not participate, but it is unquestionably the second biggest event of the Division III season, just as it is in Division I. With no rankings released before the Team Indoor championships, the seedings are based on the previous spring's final rankings.

The men's teams:
1. Emory University
2. Claremont Mudd Scripps
3. University of Chicago
4. Brandeis University
5. Washington University in St. Louis
6. Kenyon College
7. Case Western Reserve University
8. Gustavus Adolphus College (Host)

The women's teams:
1. Claremont Mudd Scripps
2. Emory University
3. Pomona Pitzer Colleges
4. Carnegie Mellon University
5. University of Chicago
6. MIT
7. Brandeis University
8. Centre College (host)

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Yu Sisters Combine to Help Wesleyan Win NCAA Title; Embree Returns to Florida as Assistant Coach; Four US Events This Week on Pro Circuit

Last month at the NCAA Division III Championships here in Kalamazoo I had an opportunity to talk with sisters Victoria and Kristina Yu about the pros and cons of playing doubles together in their one year together at Wesleyan. With Wesleyan winning their first NCAA team title with wins over the top two seeds, the pros obviously outnumbered the cons for Victoria, a senior, and Kristina, a freshman. They discussed with me how they made their individual decisions to play Division III tennis, why they selected Wesleyan and how the family dynamic can serve as both an asset and a liability. With little experience playing doubles together due to their age difference in juniors, they spent the season learning how to play as a team, and it paid off with two crucial wins at No. 1 doubles in Wesleyan's 5-4 semifinal and final victories. 

The University of Florida announced today that Gator great Lauren Embree would be returning to Gainesville as the women's assistant coach after two years as the assistant at Pepperdine. Embree, a five-time All-American and two-time Most Outstanding Player at the NCAA Team Championships, replaces Dave Balogh, who was recently let go after 19 years.  Back in 2015, I spoke to Embree at the Dow Tennis Classic in Midland about many topics, including what she might want to do after she finished playing professionally.
Q: Do you have any ideas about what you might do with your degree after your tennis career?

A: I've been thinking about it a little bit, but I don't know what I'll do with that degree necessarily. I've never said I'd want to coach, but if I were to coach, it would be college, so maybe try to get a college coaching position when I'm done playing. But I haven't really thought about too much as far as the degree. I just did it because I wanted to stay in sports and it was what was best for me at the time.
You can read my complete interview with Embree here, with a Tennis Recruiting Network subscription.

The ITF World Tennis Tour in the United States this week consists of four events in three locations. The men and women each have $15,000 tournaments at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona, and the two $25,000 tournaments have the men in Tulsa and the women in Denver.

In Florida, Americans make up the vast majority of qualifiers, with all eight men and six women from the United States.

The men qualifying include juniors JanMagnus Johnson(Central Florida recruit), Marcus McDaniel(Georgia Tech recruit), Cash Hanzlik, Logan Zapp and Zachary Svajda, current UCF player Trey Hilderbrand, Alexander Knight(Michigan) and Mwendwa Mbithi. The top seed in the main draw is Keenan Mayo(Illinois), with the No. 2 seed Ricardo Rodriguez of Venezuela. Wild cards were given to Hunter Heck, Ishaan Ravichander, Alexandre Rotsaert(Stanford) and Alexander Bernard.

The six US women qualifiers include four juniors: Karina Miller, Gianna Pielet, Victoria Hu and Eleana Yu, as well as Madeleine Kobelt(Syracuse) and Alana Smith(NC State). The top seed is Grace Min, who hasn't played since February, with the No. 2 seed Tori Kinard. Wild cards went to Jaleesa Leslie, Anna Rogers(NC State), Emma Davis(Wake Forest) and Ellie Coleman.

Five of the qualifiers in Tulsa are Americans: Andrew Fenty(Michigan), Nevin Arimilli(Texas), Colin Markes(Texas), George Goldhoff(Texas) and Emmett Ward. The top seed is Maxime Cressy(UCLA), with Michael Redlicki(Arkansas) the No. 2 seed. Wild cards were given to Alexander Brown(Illinois), Nathan Ponwith(Arizona State), Alexander Lebedev(Notre Dame) and Zeke Clark(Illinois).

In Denver, the US qualifiers are Alycia Parks, Rhiann Newborn(Baylor), Ellie Douglas(TCU) and Jada Robinson. The top seed is Usue Arconada, with Ashley Kratzer the No. 2 seed. Wild cards went to Kelly Chen(Duke), Sophie Whittle(Gonzaga), Haley Giavara(Cal) and Alexa Glatch.

There are no ATP Challengers in the US for the next three weeks.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Americans Claim Six ITF Junior Circuit Titles; Olson Among Florida Bobby Curtis Closed Champions; New WTA International Tournament Set for Week Before US Open

Although none of the ten Americans playing at the ITF Grade 1 in Offenbach Germany last week advanced past the third round, the United States captured 3 1/2 titles at the Grade 4 in Guatemala, and doubles titles at a Grade 3 in Switzerland and a Grade 5 in Ecuador.

Unseeded 14-year-old Qavia Lopez won her first ITF Junior Circuit title in Guatemala, beating No. 3 seed Nikita Vishwase of India 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the final. Lopez, whose previous best showing at an ITF junior event was the quarterfinals, saw her ranking jump from outside the Top 1000 to 555 with the title. Seventeen-year-old Jeffrey Fradkin, also unseeded, won the boys title, beating No. 3 seed Max McKennon 7-5, 6-3 in the final to claim his second ITF Junior Circuit title without the loss of a set.

McKennon and Spencer Brachman, the top seeds, won the boys doubles title, beating No. 2 seeds Mateo Gomez of Colombia and Carlos Solares Midence of Bolivia 3-6, 6-3, 10-6 in the final. No. 3 seeds Camila Soares of Peru and Sofia Rojas won the girls doubles title, defeating No. 2 seeds Daianne Hayashida of Peru and Isabel Oliveira of Brazil 7-6(3), 4-6, 10-6 in the final.

At the Grade 3 in Switzerland, Katja Wiersholm and Rosie Garcia Gross won the girls doubles title. The unseeded pair defeated No. 4 seed Guillermina Grant of Uruguay and Gabriela Macias of Colombia 2-6, 7-5, 10-7 in the final. Garcia Gross, a blue chip recent graduate, has signed with Georgia Tech.

In Ecuador, No. 6 seeds Fiorella Bolona Medina and Jennifer Riester defeated No. 2 seeds Erika Cheng of Brazil and Petra Miszczak of Canada 4-6, 6-4, 10-5 to take the girls Grade 5 doubles title.

This week's Grade 1 is on clay, in Berlin, with the ITF junior circuit grass season beginning next week at a new Grade 1 tournament in Nottingham. Eight Americans are playing this week: Blaise Bicknell(12), Dali Blanch(4), Andrew Dale(7), Alexander Kiefer, Hina Inoue, Alexandra Yepifanova(12), Tara Malik and Madison Sieg.

In my review of the results on the pro tours yesterday, I neglected to mention another American title on the ITF World Tennis Tour, with 23-year-old Allie Kiick winning at the $60,000 tournament in Spain. The top seed, Kiick defeated unseeded Cagla Buyukakcay of Turkey 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-1 in the final, and is now at a career-high WTA ranking of 126.

The big USTA sectional tournaments are this month, and Florida always does an excellent job of covering their event, the Bobby Curtis Florida State Closed. Randy Wilson and Sophia Fornaris won the 18s titles in Lake Nona, and 2018 Junior Orange Bowl girls 12s finalist Brooklyn Olson claimed the 16s title. Final results, plus photos and videos, are available at the USTA Florida website.


With the WTA tournament in New Haven folding after last year, the lack of playing opportunities in the United States the week prior to the US Open was a concern, but that void has now been filled, with a new WTA International event at the Cary Leeds Tennis Center in the Bronx. The tournament, scheduled for August 16-24, will be called the NYJTL Bronx Open. The Cary Leeds facility is where the US Open Junior Championships' qualifying was held last year for the first time. See this article from the WTA website for details.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Riffice Earns First Title in Wichita; Baptiste Wins Sumter $25K; Carle Claims Wesley Chapel Title; Riske, Olmos, Krawczyk Capture WTA Championships

Sam Riffice, a rising sophomore at the University of Florida, had lost in his first three ITF World Tennis Tour finals, but today he ended that losing streak, beating USC rising senior Brandon Holt 6-1, 6-4 in the final of the $25,000 tournament in Wichita Kansas. The No. 4 seed, Riffice was impressive all week, never losing more than four games in a set while beating the No. 5, No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in his last three victories.

Holt did earn a winner's trophy in Wichita however, taking the doubles title with Alexander Cozbinov(UNLV) of Moldova. The No. 3 seeds defeated unseeded Jacob Dunbar(Richmond) and Great Britain's David Fox(Denver) 7-6(5), 6-3 in last night's final. It's Holt's fifth doubles pro circuit doubles title and Cozbinov's fourth, but their first as a team.

Hailey Baptiste won her second ITF World Tennis Tour title today at the $25,000 tournament in Sumter South Carolina, beating No. 8 seed Vicky Duval 6-2, 7-5. The second-seeded Baptiste, who turns 18 in November, won her first $25,000 title in Plantation Florida back in January and is now 14-2 this year on the World Tennis Tour.

Qualifier Maria Lourdes Carle of Argentina won the title at the $15,000 WTT event in Wesley Chapel Florida, with the 19-year-old beating qualifier Victoria Emma, a rising junior at Florida, 6-3, 6-1 in the final. Carle, who may not return for her sophomore year at the University of Georgia, now has three titles at the ITF WTT $15K level, one in each of the past three years.

No. 3 seeds Allura and Maribella Zamarripa won the doubles title in Wesley Chapel, with the 16-year-old twins beating top seeds Sofia Sewing and Kylie Collins 3-6, 6-4, 13-11. It's the second WTT title, both coming on clay, for the Californians.

No. 8 seed and hometown favorite Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark won the ATP Challenger 80 in Columbus Ohio, beating unseeded Ji Sung Nam of Korea 6-1, 7-5 in today's final. The former Ohio State star now has won two Challenger titles in his career, and both have come in Columbus.

Top seeds Roberto Maytin(Baylor) of Venezuela and Jackson Withrow(Texas A&M) won the Columbus doubles title, beating unseeded Hans Hach Verdugo(Abliene Christian) of Mexico and Donald Young 6-7(4), 7-6(2) 10-5 in the final.

Alison Riske won her second WTA title today in 's-Hertogenbosch, saving five match points in a 0-6, 7-6(3), 7-5 win over top seed Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands. Riske, who had lost the last six times she made a WTA final since winning her first title back in 2014, should return to the Top 50 now. For more on Riske's championship week, see this WTA article.

Dom Inglot(Virginia) and Austin Krajicek(Texas A&M) won the men's doubles title at the ATP event in 's-Hertogenbosch yesterday, and the collegiate success continued today on the WTA side in Nottingham, with Mexico's Giuliana Olmos(USC) and Desirae Krawczyk(Arizona State) claiming the women's doubles title. The unseeded pair didn't drop a set all week, defeating the unseeded Australian team of Ellen Perez(Georgia) and Arina Rodionova 7-6(5), 7-5 in the final. It's the second WTA doubles title for Krawczyk, 25, and the first for the 26-year-old Olmos. According to Jonathan Kelley, Olmos made history today as the first woman from Mexico to win a WTA title.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Baptiste, Duval Reach Sumter $25K Final; Holt vs Riffice for Wichita $25K Title; Qualifiers Emma and Carle Meet in Wesley Chapel $15K Final

Seventeen-year-old Hailey Baptiste will play for her second $25,000 title of the year tomorrow in Sumter SC, with the No. 2 seed facing Vicky Duval, a former WTA Top 100 pro who has not won a title since 2013. Baptiste defeated University of Virginia rising freshman Natasha Subhash 6-3, 6-1 to make her second career final, after winning the first in Plantation in January. The 23-year-old Duval, who has been out for long stretches due to illness and injury since reaching her career-high ranking of 87 back in 2014, is competing in her first tournament since last October. For the second straight day, the No. 8 seed came from a set down to advance, beating wild card Kate Fahey(Michigan) 0-6, 6-2, 6-3 in today's semifinal.

The doubles title in Sumter went to No. 4 seeds Brynn Boren(USC) and Caitlin Whoriskey(Tennessee), who defeated No. 2 seeds Vladica Babic(Oklahoma State) of Montenegro and Hayley Carter(North Carolina) 6-4, 6-4 in the final. Whoriskey now has 16 ITF Pro Circuit titles; Boren has five.

Two current collegians will meet for the title at the $25,000 men's event in Wichita Kansas, with USC rising senior Brandon Holt, the No. 3 seed, taking on No. 4 seed Sam Riffice, a rising sophomore at Florida. Holt defeated No. 7 seed Evan Zhu(UCLA) 7-6(4), 6-3 today, while Riffice took out No. 2 seed Alexander Ritschard(Virginia) 6-2, 6-1. Holt will be looking for his third World Tennis Tour singles title, having claimed a $15K last fall and a $25K in January. Riffice is looking for his first title in his fourth appearance in a WTT final, the most recent at the $25K in Tulsa last summer.

At the $15,000 women's WTT tournament in Wesley Chapel Florida, 19-year-old qualifiers Maria Lourdes Carle of Argentina and Victoria Emma will meet for the title Sunday. Carle, who played at the University of Georgia in the just-completed season, defeated No. 4 seed Allura Zamarripa 7-5, 6-4 to advance against Emma. Emma, a rising junior at the University of Florida, had won only one main draw match on the Pro Circuit prior to this week, but she picked up her fourth this week in a 6-1, 6-7(6), 7-6(7) win over Lauren Proctor(Winthrop) today. Carle and Emma met twice in ITF Junior Circuit play back in 2016, with Carle winning both Grade 1 round of 16 matches in three sets.

At the ATP Columbus Challenger 80, former Ohio State All-American Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark, the No. 8 seed, defeated No. 12 seed Thai Kwiatkowski(Virginia) 6-4, 7-6(5) to reach the final, where he'll take on unseeded Ji Sung Nam of Korea. Nam advanced to the championship match when No. 6 seed Dudi Sela of Israel retired trailing 6-3, 5-3.

In WTA results today, Jennifer Brady's WTA Nottingham semifinal match with top seed Caroline Garcia of France was interrupted by rain several times, with the completion pushed to Sunday with Garcia leading 4-6, 6-3, 4-3.

And at the WTA tournament in 's-Hertogenbosch, Alison Riske reached the final with a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5) win over Veronika Kudermetova of Russia. Riske, who won last week's $100,000 ITF World Tennis Tour event in Surbiton, will face top seed Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands for the title.

On the ATP tour, two former NCAA doubles champions teamed up for the first time and won a title, with Austin Krajicek(Texas A&M) and Dom Inglot(Virginia) claiming the doubles championship in 's-Hertogenbosch. Krajicek, who won the NCAA title in 2011 with Jeff Dadamo, and Inglot, who won the 2009 NCAA title with Michael Shabaz, defeated Marcus Daniell of New Zealand and Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands 6-4, 4-6, 10-4  in the final. It's the 12th career ATP title for Inglot and the second for Krajicek. For more on their run to the title, see this article from the ATP website.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Brady Advances to Semis at WTA Nottingham; Kwiatkowski into Columbus Challenger Semifinals; Two Qualifiers Make Final Four at Wesley Chapel $15K; All-US Semis in Wichita and Sumter; Lilley Named Head Coach at Auburn

Former UCLA star Jennifer Brady has advanced to the semifinals of the WTA International tournament in Nottingham, beating No. 4 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece 7-5, 6-3 in today's quarterfinals. The unseeded Brady, 24, had beaten No. 7 seed Shuai Zhang of China in the opening round. This is the second WTA semifinal for Brady, who advanced that far previously at the Hong Kong International back in the fall of 2017.  Currently at No. 80 in the WTA rankings, Brady is approaching her career high of 60 with her performance this week. She plays top seed Caroline Garcia of France next.

At the ATP Challenger 80 in Columbus, No. 12 seed Thai Kwiatkowski has advanced to the semifinals, after beating No. 3 seed Emilio Gomez(USC) of Ecuador 2-6, 6-0, 6-3 today. The University of Virginia's 2017 NCAA singles champion will meet 2016 NCAA singles finalist Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark, the No. 8 seed, who beat No. 2 seed Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan 6-3, 6-3 today. The former Ohio State star has had his best Challenger results in the Buckeye state, with his only title coming in Columbus back in 2016 and two finals this year in Columbus and Cleveland.  The other semifinal will feature unseeded Ji Sung Nam of Korea against No. 6 seed Dudi Sela of Israel.

Two qualifiers have advanced to the semifinals of the $15,000 ITF World Tennis Tour event in Wesley Chapel Florida, with Georgia rising sophomore Maria Lourdes Carle of Argentina beating top seed Tori Kinard 6-3, 1-6, 6-0 and Florida rising junior Victoria Emma beating fellow qualifier Megan McCray(Oklahoma State) 7-5, 6-3.  Carle will play No. 4 seed Allura Zamarripa, while Emma takes on recent Winthrop graduate Lauren Proctor.

Top seed Usue Arconada, who won the $25,000 event last week in Bethany Beach saw her winning streak snapped by Vicky Duval, coming back from an eight-month layoff this week in Sumter South Carolina. Duval, the No. 8 seed, beat Arconada 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 in just under three hours. I also discovered today that Duval is the new volunteer assistant for the University of Florida women, and longtime associate head coach Dave Balogh is no longer on the staff.

Duval's opponent in Saturday's semifinal is wild card Kate Fahey(Michigan), who defeated No. 5 seed Sophie Chang 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Two 17-year-olds from the Washington DC area will meet in the other semifinal, with No. 2 seed Hailey Baptiste facing Natasha Subhash. Virginia rising freshman Subhash advanced when No. 6 seed Dea Herdzelas of Bosnia retired trailing 6-4, 1-0. Baptiste needed exactly three hours to get past Marcela Zacarias of Mexico 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(5). Baptiste defeated Subhash in the quarterfinals of the Grade 1 ITF junior tournament in Carson last year.

The semifinals are not yet set at the men's $25,000 WTT tournament in Wichita, with the quarterfinal between Sumit Sarkar(Rice) and No. 2 seed Alexander Ritschard(Virginia) yet to start this evening, but the top half semifinal will feature No. 3 seed Brandon Holt(USC) and No. 7 seed Evan Zhu(UCLA). Holt defeated Oliver Crawford(Florida) 6-4, 6-4 and Zhu took out unseeded Jacob Dunbar(Richmond) 6-3, 7-6(3). No. 4 seed Sam Riffice(Florida) will face the winner of tonight's quarterfinal, with Riffice beating No. 5 seed Jordi Arconada 6-3, 6-3 today.

Auburn has filled its women's head coaching position, with Kansas assistant Caroline Lilley named to the post today. Lilley, who played at Kentucky and Georgia Tech, was an assistant at Gonzaga before coaching at Kansas for the past four years. Lilley replaces Lauren Spencer, who resigned last month after eight seasons.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Subhash Reaches Quarterfinals at Sumter $25K; Top Seed Redlicki Ousted in Wichita $25K; USTA National Campus Will Search for New Director of Tennis; Blue Chip McKennon Chooses Arizona State

University of Virginia rising freshman Natasha Subhash lost in the second round of this spring's Easter Bowl ITF and Carson Grade 1, and her junior ranking, once as high as 26 and consistently in the Top 50 last year, dropped outside the Top 100. But the 17-year-old from Virginia found her form in the past two months on the Pro Circuit, where she won her first ITF World Tennis Tour event at the $15,000 tournament in Williamsburg Virginia last month, and reached the final of the $25,000 tournament in Bethany Beach last week. Subhash is continuing to post impressive results this week at the $25,000 tournament in Sumter South Carolina. Today she had to play both her first and second round matches and she won both, beating No. 4 seed Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia, the 2015 Australian Open girls champion, 6-3, 6-2 and then posting a 6-2, 7-6(5) win over Gergana Topalova of Bulgaria. Subhash will face No. 6 seed Dea Herdzelas of Bosnia in Friday's quarterfinals.

Top seed Usue Arconada, who beat Subhash in the Bethany Beach final Sunday, advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 win over qualifier Petia Arshinkova of Bulgaria and will play No. 8 seed Vicky Duval, who dropped only two games to qualifier Carson Branstine of Canada in her second round win. Duval is playing her first tournament since last October due to injury. Wild card Kate Fahey, the recent Michigan graduate, will play No. 5 seed Sophie Chang in another all-US quarterfinal. Seventeen-year-old Hailey Baptiste, the No. 2 seed, defeated Hayley Carter, North Carolina's 2016 NCAA singles finalist, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. She will play unseeded Marcela Zacarias of Mexico, who beat No. 7 seed Katie Volynets 6-3, 6-1.

At the $25,000 men's Pro Circuit event in Wichita, Jacob Dunbar(Richmond) surprised top seed Martin Redlicki(UCLA) 6-4, 7-6(4) in today's second round action. Dunbar will play the winner of tonight's match between Michigan rising sophomore Andrew Fenty and No. 7 seed Evan Zhu(UCLA).

An American is already guaranteed to be the Wichita champion, with the last of the international players in the draw eliminated today.  No. 3 seed Brandon Holt(USC) will face No. 6 seed Oliver Crawford(Florida) in a current collegian battle, while Texas A&M graduate and No. 5 seed Jordi Arconada will play Florida rising sophomore Sam Riffice, the No. 4 seed. Rice rising junior Sumit Sarkar defeated No. 8 seed Mark Whitehouse of Great Britain 7-6(6), 2-6, 6-2 to advance to a quarterfinal meeting with No. 2 seed Alexander Ritschard(Virginia).

The USTA announced today that Kathy Woods will be stepping down from her position as Director of Tennis at the USTA's National Campus in Lake Nona at the end of the year. The press release says a national search for her replacement will begin in the next several weeks.

Max McKennon, a blue chip in the 2020 recruiting class, announced last month that he had committed to Arizona State. In 2017, the Arizona State men's program was reinstated after an eight-year absence, and they have made the NCAA tournament both years, winning their first NCAA tournament match since 2004 this year. McKennon explains why he decided on the Sun Devils over the highly ranked Pac-12 and Big 12 schools that recruited him in this Tennis Recruiting Network article.