Friday, November 27, 2020

Additional Division I Signing Announcements; Looking at the Orange Bowl Field; Tirante Reaches Lima Challenger Semifinals

There were a few additional Division I early signing announcements this week, including the blue chips that have committed to both the men's and women's programs at UCLA.  For a look at all the previous signings, see these recent posts: November 11, November 16, November 19November 20 and November 23


UCLA has signed Alexander Hoogmartens of Belgium, Spencer Johnson and Karl Lee

Auburn has signed Will Nolan of Great Britain.


UCLA has signed Ava Catanzarite, Kimmi Hance and Elise Wagle

Mississippi has signed Ludmila Kareisova of the Czech Republic. 

Tulane has signed Lily Walther.

And in other women's Division I college tennis news, former Vanderbilt standout Ashleigh Antal has been hired to lead the women's program at Appalachian State

With the withdrawal deadline for the ITF Grade A Orange Bowl now passed, here's a look at those in the ITF Junior Top 20 who are still expected to compete at the Plantation Florida tournament, which begins December 7.  For the fields in the 16s, see this page at the tournament website.


1. Elsa Jacquetmot (France) 

2. Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva (Andorra)

9. Kristina Dmitruk (Belarus)

10. Alexa Noel (USA)

12. Weronika Baszak (Poland)


1. Harold Mayot (France)

The boys field has been thin since the acceptances were announced, so if Mayot does play, he will be an heavy favorite.

Noel is playing this week at a $10,000 UTR tournament in Hollywood Florida this weekend, so it appears she is preparing to compete in the final tournament of her junior career at the Orange Bowl. 

Alexandra Yepifanova has withdrawn, but there are ten US girls in the main draw as of today: Noel, Elvina Kalieva, Ellie Coleman, Madison Sieg, Sofia Camila Rojas, Isabelle Kouzmanov, Hibah Shaikh, Hina Inoue, Nevena Carton and Valencia Xu. 

Bruno Kuzuhara has withdrawn from the boys field, leaving seven US boys in the main draw: Dali Blanch, Alex Bernard, Jack Anthrop, Aidan Mayo, Benjamin Kittay, Samir Banerjee and Victor Lilov. 

I hope to have a list of the wild cards early next week.

Last year's Orange Bowl champion, Thiago Tirante of Argentina, has had a rocky transition to the pros this year, with not much success on the Futures level before the shutdown, and a several more weeks of struggling when the World Tennis Tour resumed. But the 2019 ITF World Junior Champion won a $15,000 title in October in Tunisia and made the final the following week, which gave him some confidence heading into the South American Challengers this month. He lost in the first round after qualifying in Ecuador last week, but this week in Peru, he qualified and has now reached a Challenger semifinal for the first time. The 19-year-old Tirante, who had to win the Mexico Grade A, the Eddie Herr Grade 1 and the Orange Bowl Grade A to earn the ITF World Junior title, defeated No. 5 seed and ATP No. 113 Pedro Sousa of Portugal 6-2, 6-1 in the first round at the Lima 80 this week, and picked up a quarterfinal win over No. 162 Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina today 6-2, 6-0. Tirante will face fellow qualifier Vitaliy Sachko of Ukraine in the semifinals, but regardless of that result, he will move into the ATP Top 500 for the first time.