Tuesday, October 15, 2019

ATP Challenger, Three $25,000 Events Highlight USTA Pro Circuit This Week

Qualifying is now complete at the three $25,000 events on the USTA Pro Circuit this week.

The men's and women's events in Waco Texas, part of the new Oracle Pro Series, have attracted many current collegians, as well as several juniors. Brandon Nakashima(Virginia), who reached the semifinals of the ATP 100 Challenger last week in California, received a wild card and has drawn No. 1 seed Gijs Brouwer of the Netherlands as his first round opponent. Other wild cards went to 2019 Kalamazoo champion Zachary Svajda and two Baylor players: sophomore Adrian Boitan of Romania and junior Matias Soto of Chile. 2019 NCAA champion Paul Jubb of Great Britain is in the draw, with the South Carolina Gamecock taking the fall off to play the Pro Circuit, but expected to return to Columbia for the dual match season.

The six men's qualifiers are Alexander Lebedev(Notre Dame), Barnaby Smith of Great Britain(Texas A&M), Rinky Hijikata(North Carolina) of Australia, Vasil Kirkov, George Goldhoff(Texas) and Tadeus Paroulek(TCU) of the Czech Republic.

The six women's qualifiers in Waco include two US juniors: Alexa Noel and Charlotte Chavatipon. Other qualifiers are Dominique Schaefer of Peru, Chanelle Van Nguyen(UCLA), Fernanda Contreras(Vanderbilt) of Mexico and Alyssa Tobita(Oregon). The top two seeds are both Canadians: Katherine Sebov and 2019 French Open girls champion Leylah Fernandez, 17.  Wild cards were awarded to Texas juniors Savannah Broadus and Tennessee recruit Hadley Doyle, and Baylor juniors Alicia Herrero Linana of Spain and Mel Krywoj of Argentina.

At the other $25,000 women's tournament this week, in Florence South Carolina, the six women qualifying are high school senior Carly Briggs, a Tennessee recruit, Louise Kwong(Illinois) of Canada, Andie Daniell(Alabama), Katarina Jokic(Georgia) of Serbia, Shahar Biran(Old Dominion) of Israel and Joelle Kissell(NC State). The 17-year-old Briggs, playing in just her third Pro Circuit event, beat No. 5 seed Victoria Emma(Florida) and Alexis Keberle(Wisconsin) to qualify into the main draw of a Pro Circuit tournament for the first time.

Wild cards were given to Peyton Stearns, Georgia recruit Lea Ma, Charleston Southern freshman Zoe Cauthen and Kennedy Shaffer(Georgia). Former WTA Top 50 player Johanna Larsson of Sweden is the top seed.

The ATP Challenger in the United States this week is an 80 level tournament in Las Vegas. Steve Johnson, USC's two-time NCAA singles champion, has again taken a wild card this week and is the top seed. Johnson, who reached the final last week in Fairfield California as the No. 1 seed and a wild card, is currently 86 in the ATP rankings.  In addition to Johnson, the other four wild cards went to two players with UNLV ties, senior Alex Kobelt and former player Alexandr Cozbinov of Moldova, Nevada native Evan Song and Stefan Kozlov. Kozlov and Song met in the first round yesterday, with Kozlov earning a 6-4, 6-3 win and the 2015 Kalamazoo 18s finalist took out 2013 NCAA champion and No. 4 seed Blaz Rola of Slovenia by the same score today.