Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Nakashima Earns Another Top 100 Win at Indian Wells Challenger; A Look at Oracle Pro Series; Khan Reaches Quarterfinals at Grade 1 in Thailand; Plenty of Americans in ITF Grade 3 Costa Rica Quarterfinals; Bears, Firecrackers Win USTA National Spring Team Championships

Brandon Nakashima has had an impressive three weeks, starting with a quarterfinal appearance in his first ATP event last month in Delray Beach, where he posted his first two ATP Top 100 victories. Today the 18-year-old from San Diego, earned his third Top 100 win, defeating No. 7 seed and ATP No. 87 Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-3, 6-2 in the second round of the ATP Challenger 125 at Indian Wells. Nakashima, who was competing for the University of Virginia at this time last year, will face No. 10 seed Salvatore Caruso of Italy in Thursday's third round.

Nakashima is one of ten American men to advance to the round of 16, with just four of them seeded. In addition to Nakashima, they include Jack Sock, Denis Kudla[11], Marcos Giron[14], Frances Tiafoe[8], Steve Johnson[5], Sebastian Korda, Mitchell Krueger, Raymond Sarmiento and Noah Rubin. Korda and Krueger as well as Sarmiento and Rubin meet for a spot in the quarterfinals Thursday. The tournament announced last night that Giron has clinched one of the two main draw wild cards into next week's BNP Paribas Open next week in Indian Wells based on his performances in the Oracle Challenger Series. Another wild card is still available for an American man based on his performance in the Series.

American women have had less success at the WTA 125 event at Indian Wells, with just three advancing to the round of 16 so far: Bernarda Pera[3], Jessica Pegula[9] and Kristie Ahn[14]. Shelby Rogers plays her second round match tonight. Two main draw BNP Paribas Open wild cards have yet to be distributed to the top two American women in the series. The two leaders, Madison Brengle and Coco Vandeweghe, lost their opening matches this week.

In addition to its Challenger Series, Oracle has introduced its Pro Series, which is generally lower level events held primarily on college campuses. Joel Drucker has posted an article on the Pro Series at tennis.com today, with comments from Jamie Loeb, SMU men's head coach Grant Chen, Tim Smyczek and Jim Courier.

I was surprised to see Zane Khan in a junior tournament this week, but the 2018 Kalamazoo 16s and Orange Bowl finalist advanced through qualifying at the Grade 1 in Thailand and is now into the quarterfinals. Khan, who turned 18 last month and had only played in ITF World Tennis Tour tournaments in Mexico and the United States this year, will face No. 6 seed Mans Dahlberg of Sweden Thursday.

At the ITF Grade 3 in Costa Rica this week, top seed Max McKennon, who won last week's Grade 3 in El Salvador, leads a host of Americans into Thursday's quarterfinals. McKennon will play unseeded Julian Lozano of Costa Rica, while four, and possibly six, other American boys will play each other. No. 5 seed Ozan Colak plays Braden Shick and No. 2 seed Victor Lilov meets 2019 Junior Orange Bowl 14s champion Nishesh Basavareddy. No. 3 seed Samir Banerjee is awaiting his opponent, which will be either American Spencer Brachman or Colombia's William Yovanny Ribero Duarte.

Six US girls have reached the quarterfinals, including top seed Sofia Rojas, who faces No. 6 seed Nahia Berecoechea of France. Americans Nevena Carton[3] and Elise Wagle make up one quarterfinal, with another all-US contest between No. 8 seed Nicole Kiefer and No. 2 seed Jenna DeFalco, last week's winner in El Salvador. No. 5 seed Dakota Fordham plays No. 4 seed Sara Valentina Cruz Bonilla of El Salvador.

This is the first March in 15 years that I haven't been to Mobile Alabama for a junior tournament, but the USTA National Spring Team Championships went on without me and the winning teams were determined on Tuesday. In the boys championship match, the Bears defeated the Panthers 5-2 and in the girls championship match, the Firecrackers defeated the Sharks 5-2. Daniel Caballero Valcarcel coached the Bears, and Stewart Russell coached the Firecrackers. Below are screenshots of the results of the finals.