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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Seeds Falter at Columbus Challenger; Dartmouth's Drake Named Men's Head Coach at Yale; ITA Summer Circuit Begins Next Weekend, Registration Still Open

The ATP Columbus Challenger 80 lost its top seed today in the second round, when Michael Mmoh retired trailing Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia 6-2, 1-2. Mmoh, playing in just his third event since January after being out with an injury, has yet to post a win since returning, losing in the first round of French qualifying and in the second round last week at the Little Rock Challenger.

No. 2 seed Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan came close to joining Mmoh on the sidelines, but he managed to defeat Evan Song 6-7(7), 7-6(4), 6-4 in three hours and 48 minutes.

Ohio State Buckeyes JJ Wolf, seeded No. 14, and wild card John McNally lost today, with Wolf going out to Ji Sum Nam of Korea 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and McNally, who had picked up a first round win yesterday, falling to No. 11 seed Duckhee Lee of Korea 6-3, 7-5. Former Ohio State star Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark, seeded No. 8, did move into Thursday's third round, beating Raymond Sarmiento(USC) 6-4, 7-5.

Qualifier Dennis Novikov defeated No. 4 seed Donald Young 7-6(6), 6-2 in a battle between former Kalamazoo 18s champions. Novikov trailed 5-0 in the first set before roaring back for the win.

The only other American to advance to the third round today was No. 9 seed Tim Smyczek, who beat 2017 Australian Open boys champion Zsombor Piros of Hungary 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.  Two former University of Virginia stars from the US won their second round matches yesterday, with 2017 NCAA champion Thai Kwiatkowski, the No. 12 seed, beating Daniel Nguyen(USC) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 and Collin Altamirano, the No. 15 seed beating Ohio State wild card James Trotter of Japan 6-3, 6-1.  Kwiatkowski will take on 2018 US Open boys champion Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil, while Altamirano's third round opponent is No. 3 seed Emilio Gomez(USC) of Ecuador.

Both of the men's Power Five conference head coaching positions have been filled, with NCAA champions Texas elevating Bruce Berque to head coach and Robbie Weiss named to lead the program at Clemson. There are still three women's vacancies at Power Five schools, with Maryland, Penn State and Auburn yet to name new head coaches. [Correction: Utah's women's coaching position is also still unfilled.]

While not Power Five, interest is always high in the Ivy League positions, and today Yale named its replacement for Alex Dorato, who had announced his retirement prior to the start of the 2018-19 season. Chris Drake, who has been head coach at Dartmouth for the past nine seasons, will take over for Dorato, who was head coach at Yale for 26 years.

And speaking of Yale, Oracle recently announced that its Challenger Series will be coming to the New Haven campus during the second week of the US Open, with tournaments for both men and women. Last year, Chicago was the site of that event, but the proximity to New York, plus the loss of the WTA event there, makes New Haven an intriguing alternative.

The ITA Summer Circuit begins next weekend at 11 campus venues across the country and extends five more weeks before culminating in the National Summer Championships August 9-13 at TCU. Registration is now open for all six weeks, with juniors and collegiate players accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. These events, which will be seeded using UTR, are a great way to get matches during the summer months and a few are even offering prize money.

The complete list of sites and more information on fees is here.