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Thursday, February 6, 2020

ITA Women's Division I Team Indoor Begins Friday in Chicago; Talaba Rolls On at Dow Tennis Classic; Blokhina Reaches Quarterfinals at Porto Alegre Grade 1

NCAA champion Stanford is the top seed this year at the ITA Women's Division I Team Indoor Championships, which begin Friday in Chicago. The Cardinal will be looking for their first Indoor team title since 2011, although they did not participate in the event every year since then. Georgia is the defending champion, with North Carolina last year's finalist. The seeds are:

1. Stanford
2. North Carolina
3. Georgia
5. Texas
6. Pepperdine
7. NC State
8. Ohio State

Unlike the men, who seed all 16 teams, the women have eight unseeded teams who are not paired with seeds by ranking.  The top seed in the men's draw will play the lowest ranked team, mostly likely host Wisconsin, but in the women's draw, the host team Illinois, not ranked currently, gets No. 4 seed UCLA instead of Stanford. Below are the times and the matchups for Friday's first round:

(2) North Carolina v Arizona State, 9:00 a.m.
(7) NC State v Princeton, 9:00 a.m. 
(3) Georgia v Virginia, noon 
(6) Pepperdine v Duke, noon
(1) Stanford v Michigan, 3:30 p.m.
(8) Ohio State v Georgia Tech, 3:30 p.m.
(4) UCLA v Illinois, 6:30 p.m.
(5) Texas v Florida State, 6:30 p.m.

Cracked Racquets is going to be providing coverage of the event, according to this article. Links to the live streaming (by Playsight) and live scoring can be found at the ITA tournament page. Admission is free, so if you are in the Chicago area, try to get out to some matches this weekend.
Former Texas Tech star Gabriela Talaba of Romania defeated top seed Madison Brengle last night 6-2, 7-6(4) in the final match of the first round of the $100,000 Dow Tennis Classic in Midland Michigan. She followed up that win, her second over a Top 100 player, by beating fellow qualifier Shilin Xu of China 7-5, 6-2 today to advance to the quarterfinals. Talaba, currently 277 in the WTA rankings, will take on No. 6 seed Shelby Rogers on Friday. I spoke to Talaba after her qualifying match on Tuesday and I will have an article about her journey to the US for collegiate tennis for the Tennis Recruiting Network later this month.

Three seeds went out in the second round today in Midland, with Catherine Harrison(UCLA) defeating No. 3 seed Francesca Di Lorenzo(Ohio State) 6-3, 6-0, Jamie Loeb(UNC) beating No. 8 seed Robin Anderson(UCLA) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 and Irina Falconi(Georgia Tech) defeating No. 4 seed Caroline Dolehide 1-6, 6-1, 6-1. Loeb and Harrison meet for a spot in the semifinals, with Falconi playing No. 5 seed Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium. Caty McNally, the defending champion and No. 2 seed, is playing the late match tonight against Jessika Ponchet of France.

Friday's order of play is here.

With one exception, it was a disappointing week for Americans at this week's ITF Grade 1 in Porto Alegre Brazil, with all four US boys exiting in the second round, including No. 3 seed Dali Blanch. Five US girls were seeded, but the only one to advance to Friday's singles quarterfinals is qualifier Alexis Blokhina, who defeated top seed Mell Reasco Gonzalez of Ecuador 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in the third round today. The 15-year-old Blokhina reached the semifinals of the Grade 1 in Costa Rica earlier this year.  

Victor Lilov and Murphy Cassone have advanced to Friday's doubles final, with the unseeded pair facing No. 2 seeds Luciano Darderi of Italy and Gustavo Heide of Brazil.