Zootennis

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Slama, Visaya Sweep Titles at Costa Rica Grade 4; Unseeded Gureva, Lajal Claim Ukraine Grade 1 Championships; No. 1 Seeds Fall in ITA Kickoff Weekend Action

Mia Slama and Azuma Visaya each captured both singles and doubles titles at this week's ITF Grade 4 in Costa Rica. The singles finals today were both all-USA contests, with Slama, the top seed, defeating unseeded Sophie Llewellyn 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and No. 3 seed Visaya beating qualifier Jonah Braswell, the Orange Bowl 16s champion, 7-6(5), 6-0. 

For the 17-year-old Visaya, it's a third ITF Junior Circuit singles title, with the previous two coming in 2019.  The 14-year-old Slama, who won her first three ITF singles titles in November, is now 22-1 in her last five tournaments on the ITF Junior Circuit.

Visaya and Lucas Brown, the top seeds in doubles, defeated No. 2 seeds Timothy Carlsson Seger and Michael Minasyan of Sweden 6-4, 2-6, 10-7 for the boys doubles title; Slama and Llewellyn had already teamed for the girls doubles title before they met in today's singles final, with the unseeded pair beating top seeds Ana Candiotto and Carolina Xavier Laydner of Brazil 6-7(4), 6-4, 10-4 in the final.

At the ITF Grade 4 in India, Rutuja Chaphalkar reached the singles final and won the girls doubles title with Hrudaya Shah of India. The No. 4 seeds defeated top seeds Reshma and Suhitha Maruri of India 6-4, 7-6(3) in the final.

Both singles champions at the ITF Grade 1 in Ukraine were unseeded, with 15-year-old Anastasiia Gureva of Russia and 17-year-old Mark Lajal of Estonia collecting their first Grade 1 titles. Gureva, who won three three-setters this week, defeated No. 7 seed Polina Iatcenko of Russia 6-4, 6-4 in the final, while Lajal beat No. 2 seed Aleksander Orlikowski of Poland 6-4, 6-3.  

Lajal also took the doubles title, with Matthew William Donald of the Czech Republic. The No. 3 seeds defeated wild cards Erik Arutiunian of Belarus and Ilya Maksymchuk of Ukraine 7-6(4), 6-4 in the final. No. 2 seeds Natalia Szabanin of Hungary and Sabina Zeynalova of Ukraine won the girls doubles title, beating the unseeded team of Yaroslava Bartashevich of Russia and Alina Granwehr of Switzerland 6-2, 6-1 in the final.

A busy day for the ITA Division I Kickoff Weekend, with twelve regionals scheduled, although rain caused the first day of UCLA and Pepperdine women's regional action to be moved to Sunday. Oddly, the men's Southern Cal regional is underway, although with a lengthy delay.

In one of the four regionals concluding today, defending women's champion North Carolina had no difficulty returning to the ITA Team Indoor, beating Mississippi 4-1, but two men's hosts and No. 1 seeds--Ohio State and North Carolina State--will not be among those in Champaign next month after falling today.  Michigan, another men's No. 1 seed, lost in the opening round to No. 4 Baylor in what was expected to be the most competitive of the men's regionals.

Ohio State lost to Virginia 4-2 and Tennessee defeated North Carolina State 4-1. The third men's final today, in Austin, has had multiple rain delays, and the match between Florida and Texas is delayed, with Texas leading 3-2.

Below are the results from Friday and Saturday that I currently have; I will update this later tonight with the West Coast scores. Teams in bold have qualified for the Team Indoor Championships.

Friday

WOMEN:

North Carolina Regional:

Mississippi[2] d. Old Dominion[3] 4-2

North Carolina[1] d. Notre Dame[4] 4-0

Final:  North Carolina[1] d. Mississippi[2] 4-1

Saturday:

Texas Regional:

Texas[1] d. Iowa[4] 4-0

Baylor[3] d. Arizona State[2] 4-2


Ohio State Regional

Ohio State[1] d. Syracuse[4] 4-0

Virginia[2] d. Tennessee[3] 4-1


Georgia Tech Regional

Georgia Tech[1] d. South Carolina[4] 4-3

Duke[2] d. Michigan[3] 4-1


UCLA Regional(rained out Saturday, moves to Sunday)

UCLA[1] v California[4]

Texas A&M[2] v Washington State[3]


Pepperdine Regional (rained out Saturday, moves to Sunday)

Pepperdine[1] v Wisconsin[4]

Denver[2] v USC[3]


Sunday:

NC State Regional

NC State[1] v Northwestern[4]

Wake Forest[2] v Central Florida[3]


MEN:

Friday

Ohio State Regional

Ohio State[1] d. Middle Tennessee State[4] 4-0

Virginia[3] d. Iowa[2] 4-0

Final: Virginia[3] d. Ohio State[1] 4-2


NC State Regional

NC State[1] d. Alabama[4] 4-2

Tennessee[2] d. Mississippi[3] 4-2

Final: Tennessee[2] d. NC State[1] 4-1


Texas Regional

Florida[2] d. Arizona[3] 4-2

Texas[1] d. Liberty[4] 4-1

Final: Texas[1] d. Florida[2] 4-3

Saturday:

USC Regional

USC[1] v UNLV[4](moved to Sunday due to rain)

UCLA[2] d. California[3] 4-0


Michigan Regional

Baylor[4] d. Michigan[1] 4-0

Texas A&M[2] d. Pepperdine[3] 4-0


TCU Regional

TCU[1] d. Denver[4] 5-0

Oklahoma[3] d. Wake Forest[2] 4-0


Sunday:

North Carolina Regional

North Carolina[1] v Northwestern[4]

Duke[2] v South Carolina[3]


See College Tennis Today for links to scoring and streams and check out the Cracked Racquet Red Zone coverage on YouTube.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Brantmeier Sweeps Titles, Razeghi Wins Second Straight at New Jersey Grade 5; Rahman Claims Grade 4 in Kenya; Semifinals Set at UTR $25Ks; First Results from ITA Kickoff Weekend

Sixteen-year-old Reese Brantmeier swept the titles today at the ITF Grade 5 in Medford New Jersey, while 14-year-old Alexander Razeghi got a double of his own, adding a second title to the one he claimed last week at the Grade 5 in Connecticut.

Brantmeier, the top seed, defeated No. 6 seed Elisabeth Jones 6-1, 6-3 to claim her first ITF Junior Circuit singles title. Brantmeier, currently No. 82 in the ITF Junior World rankings, won her first ITF Junior Circuit title last month, and it was a big one, partnering with Kimmi Hance for the Grade A Orange Bowl doubles title

Brantmeier's second title of day was less straightforward than her singles victory, with she and Brooklyn Olson, the top seeds, defeating No. 2 seeds Gracie Epps and Aubrey Nisbet 7-6(2), 2-6, 10-8.

Razeghi, who captured his first ITF Junior Circuit title last week with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Louis Cloud, earned his second with another victory over Cloud, the No. 6 seed, this time by a 6-4, 6-2 score. Razeghi, who received a wild card for both tournaments, is now on a ten match winning streak. 

The boys doubles championships was claimed by unseeded Preston Stearns and Nicholas Godsick, who won the 16s Orange Bowl doubles title last month. Stearns and Godsick defeated top seeds Cloud and his partner John Kim 6-1, 6-4 in the final. 

Yannik Rahman also has an ITF Junior Circuit 10-match winning streak going after taking the boys singles title at the Grade 4 in Nairobi Kenya. The second-seeded Rahman, who won the last ITF junior event he played last month in Costa Rica, defeated unseeded Yua Taka of Japan 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(4) in today's final. 

The semifinals of this week's $25,000 UTR Pro Tennis Tour events will begin on Saturday, after the completion of the round robin stage of the tournament today.

In the top half men's semifinal in Naples Florida, top seed Matija Pecotic, the former Princeton All-American, will face former Northwestern star Strong Kirchheimer, while No. 2 seed JC Aragone(Virginia) will take on Cristian Rodriguez Sanchez in the bottom half. Rodriguez Sanchez reached the final of the $25K in Naples last month; all four semifinalists went undefeated in their groups. 

The top two seeds advanced to the women's semifinals in Newport Beach California, with No. 1 Kayla Day set to face 16-year-old Anne-Christine Lutkemeyer and No. 2 seed Ana Sofia Sanchez taking on former Dartmouth star Taylor Ng. Day lost one match in the round robin stage, while the other three went undefeated. 

The first day of the ITF Kickoff Weekend saw eight matches played, although overnight rain at the men's regional in Texas pushed back the start there and top seed Texas is still playing its match against No. 4 seed Liberty.  The winners play Saturday for a place in the ITA Team Indoor Championships. Friday's results are below.

Women:

North Carolina Regional:

Mississippi[2] d. Old Dominion[3] 4-2

North Carolina[1] d. Notre Dame[4] 4-0


Men:

Ohio State Regional

Ohio State[1] d. Middle Tennessee State[4] 4-0

Virginia[3] d. Iowa[2] 4-0


NC State Regional

NC State[1] d. Alabama[4] 4-2

Tennessee[2] d. Mississippi[3] 4-2


Texas Regional

Florida[2] d. Arizona[3] 4-2

Texas[1] d. Liberty[4] 4-1

Bobby Knight has posted links for live streaming and live scoring throughout the weekend (and into next week) at College Tennis Today.

Cracked Racquets is providing Red Zone coverage from several venues on its YouTube Channel.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

ITA Kickoff Weekend Begins Friday; Rematch at New Jersey Grade 5 for Boys Title; Top Seed Shnaider Out at Ukraine Grade 1; Brooksby Signs with UOMO

Men's host sites on left, women's host sites on right

The Division I "Road to Indoors" begins Friday, with the ITA Kickoff Weekend scheduled for ten sites across the country. Seven men's teams and seven women's teams will earn their spots in the National Team Indoors, scheduled for next month at Oklahoma State for the women and Illinois for the men. Although the number of participating teams has been cut in half this year, due to the pandemic, the host teams still are receiving an automatic bid. 

After several teams withdrew earlier this week and were replaced, no other withdrawals were announced today. The Iowa women are replacing LSU in the Texas Regional, moving Baylor to the No. 3 seed, while Iowa is now No. 4 and will play host Texas. Baylor's opponent is now No. 2 seed Arizona State.

As you can see from the graphic above, the four teams are hosting both men's and women's competitions: North Carolina, North Carolina State, Texas and Ohio State. 

The ITA has a new page for links to times, rosters, and live scoring. Cracked Racquets has secured rights to provide a NFL-like RedZone on its YouTube channel from several of the locations, with their coverage beginning at noon on Friday. 

The finals are set for the ITF Grade 5 in Medford New Jersey with the boys championship match the same as last week's final in Connecticut. Fourteen-year-old wild card Alexander Razeghi will take on No. 6 seed Louis Cloud for the title, with Razeghi having won his first ITF Junior Circuit title last week with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Cloud. In today's semifinals, Razeghi defeated qualifier Preston Stearns 6-3, 6-4 and Cloud ended the run of lucky loser Kase Schinnerer by a 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 score. 

In the girls final, top seed Reese Brantmeier will take on No. 6 seed Elisabeth Jones after Brantmeier rebounded for a 4-6, 7-5(2), 6-1 victory over No. 7 seed Olivia Lincer, and Jones defeated unseeded Maya Joint 7-6(4), 6-2.  Both Cloud and Brantmeier are also through to the doubles finals.

At the Grade 1 in Ukraine, top seed Diana Shnaider of Russia was beaten by unseeded 15-year-old Anastasia Gureva of Russia 6-2, 4-6, 6-0. Gureva will face wild card Mariia Hlahola of Ukraine for a spot in the final. The other semifinal features No. 7 seed Polina Iatcenko of Russia against unseeded Ksenia Zaytseva of Russia. 

Fifteen-year-old Vojtech Petr of the Czech Republic is into the semifinals, where he will play unseeded Mark Lajal of Estonia. No. 8 seed Matthew Donald of the Czech Republic will face No. 2 seed Aleksandr Orlikowski of Poland in the other boys semifinal. 

Brandon Nakashima, the only American competing in this week's ATP Challenger 125 in Istanbul, lost his second round match today to former Texas A&M star Arthur Rinderknech of France 6-7(7), 6-1, 6-4. Italian Lorenzo Musetti, another teenager in the spotlight, also fell in the second round, to Benjamin Bonzi of France. Robert Galloway and Alex Lawson have advanced to the doubles semifinals. 

2018 Kalamazoo 18s champion Jenson Brooksby has signed an endorsement contract with UOMO, a clothing brand based in Los Angeles. The full release from Wednesday:

On this Inauguration Day, UOMO Sport is excited to announce the signing of native Californian and rising American star Jenson Brooksby to a multiyear agreement. Brooksby, coached by Joe Gilbert, turned professional late last year after leaving Baylor University early to make the transition to ATP Tour. Brooksby, the 2018 Kalamazoo 18's Champion, was the #1 recruit nationally for his graduating high school class and has a win over former top 10 player Tomas Berdych when he qualified and won his first round at the 2019 US Open. In 2021, Brooksby played and won the UTR Newport Beach Men’s event without dropping a set en route to the title.

 “I’m excited to join the UOMO family as I make the jump to pros. Steven's [Uomo Founder] vision for the clothes are inspirational and I’m honored to wear his line. He has believed in my game for a long time and I look forward to growing with Uomo on and off the tennis courts”

UOMO, based in California, is a Luxury Italian men's tennis apparel, combining class and innovation fabric for the ultimate performance.  Brooksby joins an elite roster of international players and coaches highlighted by Canadian Brayden Schnur, Germany’s Cedrik Marcel Stebe, Brazil’s Thomas Belucci, grand slam champion coach Brad Stine & legendary coach, announcer and former Wimbledon Champion Pat Cash.  UOMO’s 2021 line is honoring the grand slams and is available at select high end clubs around the world.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Petr Takes Out Top Seed at Ukraine ITF Grade 1; Razeghi Extends Win Streak, Reaches Grade 5 Semifinals; UTR Announces Pro Series in Europe

Vojtech Petr, photo ©Richard van Loon 2019

The 2019 Les Petits As, 15-year-old Vojtech Petr of the Czech Republic, lost to Maks Kasnikowski of Poland in the first round a Grade 2 in Poland when returning to the ITF Junior Circuit last year in September after the long pandemic layoff. Today, the 2019 European 14s champion avenged that 6-3, 6-2 loss, defeating top seed Kasnikowski 1-6, 7-6(3), 7-5 in the second round of the ITF Grade 1 in Ukraine.

Petr, who is already 134 in the ITF rankings despite the limited opportunities for earning points in 2020, won his first ITF title, a Grade 4, last September. No. 3 seed Max Westphal of France also lost today, so the top half contains just one seed, No. 7 seed Orel Kimhi of Israel.  Boys No. 2 seed Aleksander Orlikowski of Poland did make it through to the quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Derrick Chen of Great Britain. 

Girls No. 2 seed Natalia Szabanin of Hungary also fell in today's second round action, with Ksenia Zaytseva of Russia posting a 6-4, 6-0 win. Top seed Diana Shnaider of Russia again dropped the first set, but earned her place in the quarterfinals with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory over American Isabelle Kouzmanov. Seven of the eight girls quarterfinalists are from Russia, with the eighth a wild card from Ukraine.

At the ITF Grade 5 in New Jersey, the semifinals are set for Thursday, with 14-year-old wild card Alexander Razeghi looking for his ninth consecutive win in the past two weeks. Razeghi, who won the Grade 5 in Connecticut last week, defeated qualifier Hudson Beaudoin 6-0, 6-4 in today's quarterfinals. Razeghi will face another qualifier, Preston Stearns, Peyton's younger brother, on Thursday. Stearns defeated Zane Ford 7-6(5) 6-2 today.  In the bottom half of the boys draw, No. 6 seed Louis Cloud will play lucky loser Kase Schinnerer for a place in the final. Cloud defeated No. 4 seed Kian Vakili 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 and Schinnerer took out qualifier Nicholas Steiglehner 2-6, 7-5, 6-4. Schinnerer is a high school freshman who played his first ITF tournament last week in Connecticut, losing in the final round of qualifying, as he did this week. But he now has his first three wins on the ITF Junior Circuit. 

The girls semifinals feature three seeds, with No. 1 Reese Brantmeier playing No. 7 Olivia Lincer. Brantmeier beat wild card Maddy Zampardo 6-3, 6-2, while Lincer defeated No. 4 seed Emma Charney 6-0, 6-3. In the bottom half, No. 6 seed Elisabeth Jones will play unseeded Maya Joint after Jones beat No. 3 seed Gracie Epps 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 and Joint defeated Kathryn Treiber 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. 

UTR sent out a press release today regarding the European segment of its Pro Tennis Tour, which is currently underway here in the United States and in Australia. 

Beginning next week in Spain, the events are similar to those elsewhere, with a $25,000 financial commitment/$20,000 in prize money and a round robin competition to determine the knockout round. After several weeks of men's and women's events in Spain, the tour moves to Bulgaria in late March, in Romania in April and to the Czech Republic in June. For the list of tournaments in Europe, see this UTR page

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Covid Forces ITA Kickoff Weekend Shuffling; Top Seeds Ousted at New Jersey Grade 5; Nakashima Advances at Istanbul Challenger; ATP's Tiafoe Feature

The first restructuring of this coming weekend's ITA Kickoff Weekend, which will determine the seven teams advancing to next month's Team Indoor Championships, took place last month, when Stanford announced its men's and women's teams would not be participating. The Wisconsin women and the Alabama men stepped into their slots, with Pepperdine taking over the hosting duties for the Stanford women and no other teams pulled out for the next month. 

But beginning last Wednesday, that changed, with the Washington women dropping out of the Ohio State regional, replaced by Syracuse. A few days later, the Kansas women pulled out of the UCLA regional and were replaced by Cal. 

Yesterday, two men's teams bowed out, with Central Florida replaced by UNLV in the USC regional and Texas Tech replaced by Middle Tennessee in the Ohio State regional.

With all testing needing to be completed by Wednesday, more withdrawals were expected, and today we had the Oklahoma State men and the LSU women pulling out. The ITA has not yet named those two replacements, but when they do, the update will be here.

Oklahoma State women's schedule interrupted due to Covid

The Oklahoma State women took over the hosting duties for the Team Indoor next month when Washington couldn't swing it, automatically qualifying for the Team Indoor. It's fortunate for them that they do not have to play in a regional, since they have had to cancel three matches scheduled for this week.

Qualifiers had impressive results today in the second round of the ITF Grade 5 in New Jersey, with Hudson Beaudoin taking out top seed Rohan Belday 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-3 and Nicholas Steiglehner beating No. 2 seed Nicholas Godsick 1-6, 7-5, 6-4. Beaudoin will take on wild card Alexander Rezaghi, who won last week's Grade 5 in Connecticut, in the quarterfinals, while Steiglehner will face lucky loser Kase Schinnerer. Only two seeds remain in the boys last eight, and they play each other Wednesday.

The girls No. 2 seed also went out today, with Kathryn Treiber beating Brooklyn Olson 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-3. Top seed Reese Brantmeier advanced 6-2, 6-2 over lucky loser Bianca Molnar. Last week's Connecticut champion Mary Stoiana, who beat Brantmeier in the semifinals there, lost in the first round last night to qualifier Bojana Pozder.

With most pros in Australia quarantining, the biggest event this week is an ATP Challenger 125 in Istanbul Turkey.  Brandon Nakashima is the only American competing in singles, with the 19-year-old Californian staying in that part of the world after failing to qualify for the Australian Open. He won his first round match today, beating wild card Cem Ilkel of Turkey 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. Nakashima's second round opponent will be former Texas A&M star Arthur Rinderknech of France, who qualified, then advanced to the second round when No. 5 seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran of India retired trailing 6-4, 3-2.  Three American doubles teams are competing in Istanbul, with Robert Galloway and Alex Lawson winning their first round match, Jackson Withrow and Nathaniel Lammons losing theirs and Evan King and Nathan Pasha playing their first round match Wednesday.

The ATP caught up with Frances Tiafoe, who turns 23 Wednesday, with the young American admitting that he was in a bad place mentally when the pandemic shut down the sport. 

“I looked at the guy in the mirror [and asked], ‘Why are you here? What are the things you need to change and what are the things you need to keep building on?’ It helped me a lot. There were a lot of deep conversations with my guys and I wouldn’t have made it to the second week of the US Open without that.”

For more on Tiafoe's new approach to the game, see this article.

Monday, January 18, 2021

First 2021 ITF Grade 1 Underway in Ukraine; Top Seeds Brantmeier, Belday Advance at Grade 5 in New Jersey; Rune Aims for "Maximum Effort" in 2021

The first ITF Grade 1 tournament of 2021 is underway this week in Ukraine, after those usually held in Costa Rica and Australia were canceled or postponed this year due to the pandemic. The Grade 1 in Ukraine, which was a Grade 1 for the first time last year, features just three Top 100 boys, but 10 Top 100 girls. (At the time of the acceptances for the tournament, in December, the 2002 birth years had not yet been dropped from the rankings).

The top two seeds in the boys draw are from Poland: Maks Kasnikowski, now 11 in the ITF rankings but 43 at the time of acceptances, and Aleksander Orlikowski, now 23 in the rankings, but 61 when the acceptances were posted. Both won their first round matches today in straight sets.

Diane Shnaider of Russia is the top seed in the girls draw, with Natalia Szabanin of Hungary seeded No. 2. While neither of the top two boys played the Orange Bowl last month, both girls did. Today, Shnaider dropped the first set against wild card Mariya Dolzhenko of Ukraine, but rebounded for a 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory. Szabanin's first round match is on Tuesday's schedule.

The only American in either draw is Isabelle Kouzmanov, who won her first round match today, and will face Shnaider in the second round.

The first round of the Grade 5 in Medford New Jersey is in progress, with several girls matches still on court, but top seeds Reese Brantmeier and Rohan Belday are through to the second round. Brantmeier, who lost in the Connecticut Grade 5 semifinals last week, defeated Lamija Avdic 6-1, 6-0, and the 14-year-old Belday, who lost in the second round at last week's Grade 5, defeated Donovan Spigner 6-4, 6-3.

Girls No. 2 seed Brooklyn Olson defeated Annette Robinson 6-0, 6-0 and boys No. 2 seed Nicholas Godsick beat wild card Tanner Povey 6-2, 6-3.

I mentioned in yesterday's post that 2019 French Open boys champion Holger Rune of Denmark had reached the final of the $15,000 ITF World Tennis Tour men's tournament in Spain, but it wasn't until today that I saw this blog post from him on the ITF website. Rune, who has been writing occasional posts for the ITF, mentions his training early this year with Daniil Medvedev and Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Mouratoglou Academy in France and his determination to get out of the lower level events and into Challengers. He states his goal for this year as winning a Challenger, which is ambitious for a teenager, but as Carlos Alcaraz and Lorenzo Musetti have proven, not impossible.

He mentions a less committed goal of learning French, but what struck me most in the post was his admission that he could improve his effort.

I saw some statistics recently on a player e-mail from the ITF which showed my win-loss percentage in 2020. I know there were times I did not put maximum effort into matches last year, so it was no surprise that I wasn’t satisfied with the figure.

However, I was really upset with myself when I saw those numbers in the e-mail. It’s too sloppy and I know I should have done better in about 10 matches.

I have been through them all again in my head and that 65 per cent win ratio should have been around 80, so a major goal for 2021 is to raise my statistics so they match my actual level of tennis.

I have spoken to a lot of young tennis players in the past 15 years, and I can't recall more than a couple who even hinted at needing to improve in that department. Admitting that, and putting it out there for the public to judge his progress, speaks to his confidence that he can hold himself to a higher standard.
I was not sure whether I should mention this in my blog because when I say things out loud, it’s a commitment and, for me, a serious matter.
The above quote was Rune's admission regarding learning French; it's clear that he has not hesitation in pledging "out loud" a more consistent effort in all matches.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Zheng Defeats Fruhvirtova for Fifth ITF WTT Title; Rubin, Chang Win UTR $25Ks in Florida and California; Following Along with Australian Open Quarantine

Eighteen-year-old Qinwen Zheng of China won the last tournament she played, in December of 2020, and the first tournament she's competed in this year, taking the title at the ITF World Tennis Tour $25,000 tournament in Hamburg Germany

Zheng, who won her first three tournaments on clay courts, now has back-to-back titles on indoor hard courts after defeating 16-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-3 in today's final. Zheng, who is 287 in the WTA rankings, went through qualifying, probably due to a late entry. In the final round of qualifying, she trailed 2018 NCAA singles champion Arianne Hartono(Mississippi) of the Netherlands 6-3, 5-2, but came back to win the next five games and take the match tiebreaker to advance. Zheng breezed through her next three matches with the loss of only six games, but she had her hands full with Jesika Maleckova of the Czech Republic in the semifinals, needing three hours to record a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory. Today's final, only the second ITF WTT women's final for Fruhvirtova and the first at the $25K level, was not as taxing, with Fruhvirtova holding serve only once in the one-hour 19-minute match.

Since the ITF's August restart, Zheng, who won the Eddie Herr ITF title in 2018 and lost to Coco Gauff in the Orange Bowl final that same year, won four of the eight tournaments she played and is now starting the new year without skipping a beat.

Another top junior who has been outstanding since the restart is 2019 French Open boys champion Holger Rune of Denmark. Rune, who won three ITF WTT titles last fall, reached the final of the $15,000 tournament in Spain this week, falling to Evan Furness of France 6-2, 5-7, 6-0.

The UTR $25,000 tournaments concluded today, with Noah Rubin and Hanna Chang taking the titles in Naples Florida and Newport Beach California respectively.

Rubin, the former Wake Forest star and No. 2 seed, went undefeated during the round robin portion of the tournament, and didn't surrender more than four games in any set throughout the week. In today's final, he defeated Harris Walker, a Harvard sophomore who is taking a gap year, 6-4, 6-2 in the final. Rubin, who had gone 0-4 in pro events since the restart, including a loss in the first round of the Delray Beach ATP event this month, collects $4000, while Walker earns $2200. 

At Newport Beach, Chang, also a No. 2 seed, needed nearly three hours to secure her $4000 first place prize money, coming from 3-0 down in the third set to beat Jessica Alsola of Canada 7-5, 2-6, 6-4. Alsola, a 16-year-old who has signed with Cal, had just the 14th best UTR coming into the tournament, but she defeated top seed Katie Volynets in the semifinals and dealt Chang the only set she lost in six matches.

Both locations are hosting another tournament beginning tomorrow, with the women again in Newport Beach and the men in Naples.

More positive Covid-19 tests from those on charter flights to the Australian Open has seen the number of players required to strictly quarantine, without practice, rise to nearly 100.  If you are interested in following three people who are posting about their quarantine experience in Melbourne, Stephanie Myles is providing news and personal updates from her room here. Coach Sven Groeneveld got the bad news that he and his player, Taro Daniel of Japan, were on the Doha flight that had a positive test. He is posting about his experience here.  Coach Marc Lucero, who is in Melbourne with Steve Johnson, is doing mini-podcasts from quarantine, and so far, at least, they have not been notified of any positive tests on their flight, so are able to practice. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Positive Covid Tests Confine Dozens of Australian Open Players to Rooms; Division I Personnel Updates; Top Seeds Volynets, Kozlov Upset in UTR $25K Semifinals

The charter flights to Melbourne arranged by the Australian Open began arriving yesterday and it wasn't long before the worst case scenario became reality. All of those approved for travel to Australia had to present a negative test before boarding (Tennys Sandgren's exceptional case is explained here), but two positive tests upon arrival, from a flight from Los Angeles and one positive test from a flight from Abu Dhabi, meant everyone on those flights was required to quarantine for 14 days. Those who have arrived on flights that did not have a positive test returned are able to leave their rooms for five hours a day to train under strict supervision and restrictions for the 14 days, but that special carveout is not available to anyone on the positive-test flights.

It appears from this AP article that none of the three positives are from players, but that doesn't really matter, as anyone on the plane is a close contact after that lengthy plane trip. A full list of those who are confined to their rooms for the 14 days hasn't been released, but some are obviously Americans taking the flight from Los Angeles. 

With 200,000 cases per day recently in the United States  the strict approach of Australia, which has had less than 1000 deaths, is hard to imagine, but their success in keeping cases down and their strict lockdowns have left Australians with no tolerance for the idea that tennis players could endanger the progress they've made in containing it. There is still a week between the end of their quarantine and the start of the Australian Open, with tournaments planned for that week, but it's obvious that those in strict quarantine the next two weeks will be at a huge disadvantage as far as preparation.

Division I college tennis competition is back this week, and although there have been some covid-related cancellations, my twitter timeline is full of splashy graphics with results from many of the top programs. Signings continue, with several listed below; I also saw in this Stanford women's program article that the return to classes for the school is scheduled for February 13-14, meaning they will begin preparing for the season much later than most other top programs.

Women:

I totally missed this back in August, but former ITF Top 10 junior and current WTA 248 Eleonora Molinaro of Luxembourg signed with Tennessee. I'm not sure why she wasn't included among the preseason ITA list of top newcomers.

Arizona has hired former Notre Dame star Monica Robinson-Daly as assistant coach.

Alabama has signed former ITF Top 35 junior Loudmilla Bencheikh of France, who will compete for the Crimson Tide this semester. 

Iowa State has added Ange Oby Kajuru of Japan to its roster. 

Southern California has added as a graduate transfer Summer Dvorak, who played at Vanderbilt and Duke.

Wisconsin has signed Anisha Apte.

Men:

Duke has added Faris Khan and Andrew Dale. Khan, the twin brother of Zane Khan, has struggled with injuries for years. Dale was a freshman at Princeton in the fall, but obviously did not compete for the Tigers, with the Ivy League pausing sports, which have yet to resume.

Speaking of Ivy League players, Harvard sophomore Harris Walker, who is currently not on the roster, picked up a huge win today, beating top seed Stefan Kozlov 6-0, 6-2 in the semifinals of the UTR $25,000 tournament in Naples Florida. Walker will face No. 2 seed Noah Rubin, who beat former Florida State star Benjamin Lock 6-3, 6-3, in Sunday's final. 

Katie Volynets, the top seed in the UTR $25,000 tournament in Newport Beach California, was also upset today. Volynets, currently 316 in the WTA rankings, lost to Cal-Berkeley signee Jessica Alsola of Canada 6-2 7-6(5). Alsola will play No. 2 seed Hanna Chang in Sunday's final, after Chang defeated Megan McCray 6-3, 7-6(4).

Friday, January 15, 2021

How Junior Tennis Has Changed During Pandemic; Razeghi and Stoiana Win Manchester Grade 5 Titles; Semifinals Set at UTR Men's $25K in Naples

Although I wasn't able to cover last month's Orange Bowl in person due to a false positive Covid test, I did talk by telephone to quite a few players during the week, thanks to the efforts of the USTA. While I had that rare opportunity to talk with players, I asked them how they had coped with the long layoff due to the pandemic and what they missed most about competing in major national events in this article for the Tennis Recruiting Network

Alexander Razeghi at 2020 Les Petits As
photo credit: ©Richard van Loon/toptennis.photos

The ITF Grade 5 in Manchester Connecticut concluded today, with wild card Alexander Razeghi and unseeded Mary Stoiana claiming the singles titles. The 14-year-old Razeghi, a semifinalist at last year's Les Petits As, hadn't won a main draw match in the four ITF Junior Circuit tournaments he played the past two years, but he defeated the top seed in the first round and kept right on winning. In today's final, he defeated unseeded Louis Cloud, a University of Tennessee signee, 6-3, 6-3.  Cloud avenged his loss in the doubles final later in the day, with he and partner Quang Duong defeating Razeghi and Benjamin Kreynes 6-4, 7-5. Neither team was seeded.

Seventeen-year-old Stoiana, who has signed with Texas A&M for this fall, had an impressive run this week, beating top seed Reese Brantmeier in yesterday's semifinals 6-3, 7-5 and No. 2 seed Valencia Xu 4-6, 6-4 in today's final. Both Brantmeier and Xu are Top 100 in the ITF Junior rankings, while Stoiana, whose only previous title on the circuit was at a Grade 5 in Canada in 2019, is 931 in the rankings.

Both Stoiana and Razeghi are scheduled to compete in the Grade 5 next week in Medford New Jersey; Stoiana is in the main draw, while Razeghi is in qualifying.

Tomorrow will be an interesting day at the $25,000 ITF women's World Tennis Tour tournament in Germany, with three of the four semifinalists teenagers.  Eighteen-year-old Qinwen Zheng of China, who won four ITF WTT titles last year, again was forced to qualify despite a WTA ranking of 287, and will face unseeded 26-year-old Jesika Maleckova of the Czech Republic. Zheng has lost just six games in three matches this week. 

In the bottom half semifinal, 16-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic, who received entry based on a junior exemption, will face 17-year-old German wild card Noma Noha Akugue. Both have recently reached their first pro tournament finals, both at $15Ks; Fruhvirtova did that last month and Noah Akugue dit it back in August. 

The semifinals for the UTR men's $25,000 tournament in Naples Florida are set for Saturday, with top seed Stefan Kozlov facing Harris Walker and No. 2 seed Noah Rubin playing Benjamin Lock. Walker defeated 16-year-old Bruno Kuzuhara 6-4, 6-2; Rubin beat Aditya Vashistha 6-2, 6-2 and Lock defeated Matthew Segura 6-2, 7-5. Kozlov had defeated Strong Kirchheimer in a quarterfinal match played on Thursday.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Southern California Men, North Carolina Women Top ITA Preseason D-I Team Rankings; Stoiana Upsets Brantmeier, Reaches Grade 5 Final; Semifinals Set for Women's UTR $25K in Newport Beach

After announcing the individual Division I preseason rankings yesterday, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association released the team rankings today, with the Southern California men and North Carolina women at the No. 1 spots. 

It's probably not a coincidence that the two teams that won the only national team championships played last year, the Indoors, are No. 1 this year, and that the finalists, the North Carolina men and the UCLA women, are ranked No. 2.  These first rankings, which are confined to just 25 teams, are a poll of coaches, with the computer taking over later,  after a sufficient number of matches have been played. With the Covid-19 uncertainty, how many dual matches are played in these next three or four weeks is hard to predict, so as of now, there is no next ranking date and no firm date for the first computer rankings.

Division I ITA preseason team rankings

WOMEN:

1. North Carolina

2. UCLA

3. Texas

4. Stanford

5. Pepperdine

6. Duke

7. Georgia

8. NC State

9. Florida State

10. Virginia

11. Oklahoma State

12. Georgia Tech

13. Ohio State

14. South Carolina

15. Vanderbilt

16. Wake Forest

17. Southern California

18. Central Florida

19. California-Berkeley

20. Arizona State

21. Florida

22. Michigan

23. Baylor

24. LSU

25. Kansas


MEN:

1. Southern California

2. North Carolina

3. Ohio State

4. Michigan

5. Stanford

T6. TCU

T6. Texas

8. NC State

9. Florida

10. Georgia

11. Texas A&M

12. Wake Forest

13. Tennessee

14. Oklahoma State

15. Baylor

16. Central Florida

17. Mississippi

18. UCLA

19. Columbia

20. South Carolina

21. Pepperdine

22. Virginia

23. Duke

24. Texas Tech

25. Kentucky

The finals are set for the ITF Grade 5 in Manchester Connecticut, with just one seed reaching the championship match in singles. No. 2 seed Valencia Xu, the 2019 USTA 16s Nationals finalist, will play for the girls title against unseeded Mary Stoiana, who is from Connecticut. Stoiana, who has signed with Texas A&M for this fall, defeated top seed Reese Brantmeier 6-3, 7-5 in today's semifinals.

The boys final features 14-year-old wild card Alexander Razeghi and Tennessee signee Louis Cloud.  

The girls doubles final was played today, with top seeds Gracie Epps and Aubrey Nisbet defeating unseeded Tatum Evans and Theodora Rabman 6-7(8), 6-4, 12-10. 

The UTR $25Ks are into the knockout rounds, with the women's semifinals set for Friday in Newport Beach California. Katie Volynets, the top seed, will face Canadian Jessica Alsola, a Cal recruit in the top half semifinal, while former Oklahoma State star Megan McCray will play No. 2 seed Hanna Chang in the bottom half.

The only men's quarterfinal completed today in Naples Florida saw No. 1 seed Stefan Kozlov defeat former Northwestern star Strong Kirchheimer 6-2, 7-6. The other three quarterfinals are scheduled for Friday, with Harris Walker against Bruno Kuzuhara, Benjamin Lock versus Matthew Segura and No. 2 seed Noah Rubin playing Aditya Vashistha. Streaming is available via Playsight, with the links here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Osuigwe, Cressy and Mmoh Qualify for Australian Open; Lahey, Cukierman Top ITA D-I Singles Rankings; Talking College Tennis on Cracked Racquets Podcast

Three of the four Americans in action today at the Australian Open's final round of qualifying earned places in the main draw, with Whitney Osuigwe, Maxime Cressy and Michael Mmoh now ready to begin their 14 day quarantine in Melbourne.

Osuigwe, still just 18, had the most dramatic victory, coming from 6-2, 5-2 down beat No. 22 seed Michaela Buznarescu of Romania 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-2. Osuigwe, who had a dismal restart, losing in the first round of all five tournaments she played, had not been successful in any of her previous five attempts to qualifying for a slam, although the former ITF World Junior Champion has played both the Australian Open(2019) and US Open(2018, 2019, 2020) main draws as a wild card.

The 23-year-old Cressy, a former UCLA star, will be making his main draw debut in Australia after reaching the second round of the US Open last year. Mmoh, also 23, will be playing in the Australian Open main draw for the fourth time; he earned a first round victory last year in Melbourne.

Other notable qualifiers include former Pepperdine star Mayar Sherif, who will be the first Egyptian woman to play in the main draw of the Australian Open, 2018 ITF World Junior Champion Clara Burel of France, and Rebecca Marino of Canada, who is coming back after 18 months away from the tour.  For more on the women's qualifying, see this article at the Australian Open website.

After a surprising loss in the first round of qualifying at the French Open last fall, 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz of Spain made it through his next slam qualifying test and will make his main draw debut in Melbourne. For more on the men's final round of qualifying, see this article from the Australian Open website.

Final round Australian Open qualifying results for Americans:

Whitney Osuigwe d. Michaela Buzarnescu[22](ROU) 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-2

Maxime Cressy d. Dustin Brown(GER) 7-6(5), 6-4

Michael Mmoh d. Arthur Rinderknech(FRA) 6-3, 7-6(3)

Greet Minnen[3](BEL) d. Varvara Lepchenko 6-2, 3-6, 6-4

At the WTA 500 in Abu Dhabi, No. 4 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus defeated Veronika Kudermetova of Russia, claiming her third straight title and her 15th match in a row. In the doubles final, No. 5 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara(UCLA) of Japan defeated No. 8 seeds Hayley Carter(UNC) and Brazil's Luisa Stefani(Pepperdine) 7-6(5), 6-4.

The ATP 250 in Delray Beach also concluded today, with No. 4 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland ending the run of unseeded 20-year-old American Sebastian Korda 6-3, 6-3 in the final.  In the doubles final, unseeded Ariel Behar of Uruguay and Ecuador's Gonzalo Escobar(Texas Tech) defeated the wild card team of Ryan and Christian Harrison 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 10-4.

The other ATP 250, in Turkey, also ended today, with No. 4 seed Alex De Minaur of Australia earning the title when No. 8 seed Alexander Bublik of Russia retired down 2-0 in the first set. Top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic of Croatia won the doubles title, defeating No. 2 seeds Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Filip Polasek of Slovakia 6-2, 6-4.

The ITA released the Division I preseason rankings for singles, doubles and newcomers. Below are the Top 10 in singles, all 10 of the newcomers and the Top 5 in doubles. 

Full lists: 

Men's singles

Men's doubles

Women's singles

Women's doubles

WOMEN:

Singles:

1. Ashley Lahey, Pepperdine

2. Estela Perez-Somarriba, Miami

3. Alexa Graham, North Carolina

4. Sara Daavettila, North Carolina

5. Anna Turati, Texas

6. Caeron Morra, North Carolina

7. Abbey Forbes, UCLA

8. Kelly Chen, Duke

9. Elysia Bolton, UCLA

10. Michaela Gordon, Stanford

Newcomers:

1. Peyton Stearns, Texas

2. Taisya Pachkaleva, Pepperdine

3. Lulu Sun, Texas

4. Sada Nahimana, NC State

5. Emma Navarro, Virginia

6. Karolina Berankova, Duke

7. Alexa Noel, Iowa

8. Fiona Crawley, North Carolina

9. Vanessa Ong, UCLA

10. Naomi Cheong, USC

Doubles:

1. Elysia Bolton and Jada Hart, UCLA

2. Anna Rogers and Alana Smith, NC State

3. Alexa Graham and Sara Daavettila, North Carolina

4. Samantha Martinelli and Jessie Gong, Yale

5. Kenya Jones and Victoria Flores, Georgia Tech

MEN:

Singles:

1. Daniel Cukierman, USC

2. William Blumberg, North Carolina

3. Alexandre Rotsaert, Stanford

4. Valentin Vacherot, Texas A&M

5. Cannon Kingsley, Ohio State

6. Richard Ciamarra, Notre Dame

7. Alexis Galarneau, NC State

8. Sam Riffice, Florida

9. Trent Bryde, Georgia

10. Keegan Smith, UCLA

Newcomers

1. Arthur Fery, Stanford

2. Gustaf Strom, Arizona

3. Jeffrey Von Der Schulenburg, Virginia

4. Tristan Boyer, Stanford

5. Micah Braswell, Texas

6. Luciano Tacchi, Wake Forest

7. Joshua Lapadat, Kentucky

8. Clement Chidekh, Washington

9. Filippo Moroni, Wake Forest

10. Gey Den Ouden, Pepperdine

Doubles:

1. Daniel Cukierman and Riley Smith, USC

2. Andrew Fenty and Mattias Siimar, Michigan

3. Matej Vocel and Dominik Kellovsky, Oklahoma State

4. Robert Cash and John McNally, Ohio State

5. Mac Kiger and Simon Soendergaard, North Carolina


Late last week I spoke with Alex Gruskin of Cracked Racquets about the upcoming Division I college season, the top teams and players and what the long term prospects are for college tennis given the financial squeeze the pandemic has caused. We also spoke about no-ad, which I still do not support; Gruskin provides a counterpoint to my argument. Listen to the podcast here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Four Americans Reach Final Round of Australian Open Qualifying; Michael Joyce Joins USTA Player Development; ITA Announces Covid Rule Modifications

The second round of Australian Open qualifying didn't go well for Americans, with US women losing six of eight matches and US men losing three of five. 

None of the four Americans remaining--Varvara Lepchenko, Whitney Osuigwe, Maxime Cressy and Michael Mmoh-- were seeded in qualifying. The three seeded Americans in the draw, Caty McNally[12], Denis Kudla[4] and Francesca Di Lorenzo[27] lost in the second and first rounds, respectively.

In Dubai, Whitney Osuigwe will face No. 22 seed Michaela Buzarnescu of Romania in a night match Wednesday, with Lepchenko taking on No. 3 seed Greet Minnen of Belgium in the first match of the day.

In Doha, Former UCLA standout Cressy will play Dustin Brown of Germany in what should be an entertaining match, and Mmoh will face former Texas A&M star Arthur Rinderknech of France.

Other former collegians in the final round of qualifying are Mayar Sherif(Pepperdine) of Egypt, Borna Gojo(Wake Forest) of Croatia, JP Smith(Tennessee) of Australia and Mikhail Torpegaard(Ohio State) of Denmark.

Second round Australian Open qualifying results for Americans:

Women:

Varvara Lepchenko d. Ellen Perez(AUS) 6-4, 2-6, 6-3

Whitney Osuigwe d. Olivia Gadecki[WC](AUS) 6-2, 6-4

Maria Osorio Serrano(COL) d. Hailey Baptiste 7-6(4), 7-6(3)

Harmony Tan(FRA) d. Caty McNally[12] 6-1, 6-4

Olga Danilovic(SRB) d. Sachia Vickery 6-4, 6-1

Mayar Sherif d. Grace Min 6-3, 2-6, 6-1

Liudmila Samsonova d. Robin Anderson 6-0, 6-7(2), 6-3

Michaela Buzarnescu[22](ROU) d. Claire Liu 7-6(6), 2-6, 6-4

Men: 

Maxime Cressy d. Yannick Maden(GER) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4

Michael Mmoh d. Zhe Li(CHN) 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(10-7)

Viktor Troicki(SRB) d. Ulises Blanch 7-5, 6-3

Dane Sweeney[WC](AUS) d. Denis Kudla[4] walkover

Roman Safiullin d. Mitchell Krueger 6-1, 6-4


At the WTA 500 in Abu Dhabi, No. 4 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus will face unseeded Veronika Kudermetova of Russia for the singles title Wednesday.

Three former collegiate stars have advanced to the doubles final, with No. 5 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara(UCLA) of Japan playing No. 8 seeds Hayley Carter(North Carolina) and Brazil's Luisa Stefani(Pepperdine).

Michael Joyce 

The USTA announced today that Michael Joyce, who has worked with many top WTA players, will join its Player Development staff as a National Coach. Joyce, who will report to Kathy Rinaldi, head of women's tennis, was recently coaching privately in the Boca Raton area, with blue chip Sarah Hamner one of the high performance juniors in his program.

Five years ago I spoke to Joyce at the Dow Tennis Classic in Midland, where he was coaching Jessica Pegula; that conversation is available at the Tennis Recruiting Network(subscription required for full access).  

Also featured in the announcement was Jenna Worswick, hired as a Strength and Conditioning Coach.

Michael Joyce and Jenna Worswick Join USTA Player Development

 

January 12, 2021 -- Renowned women's coach Michael Joyce, who has coached multiple Grand Slam champions, including Maria Sharapova, and strength and conditioning coach Jenna Worswick have joined USTA Player Development in full-time roles. Joyce was hired as a National Coach, Women's Tennis, and Worswick as Strength and Conditioning Coach. Both will be headquartered at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. 

 

With USTA Player Development, Joyce will coach players on and transitioning onto the pro tour, reporting to Head of Women's Tennis Kathy Rinaldi. Joyce has coached a number of players at the top of the women's game over the last two decades, having coached Sharapova from 2004-11, helping her reach the world No. 1 ranking and win two Grand Slam titles. Joyce has also coached two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka and most recently doubles Grand Slam champion Timea Babos, along with Johanna Konta, Eugenie Bouchard and Americans Shelby Rogers, Jessica Pegula and Samantha Crawford. 

 

Worswick joins USTA Player Development full-time after first working with the USTA under Player Development's fellowship program in 2018. She has an M.A. in Kinesiology from George Mason University, holds the National Strength and Conditioning Association's Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist certification and is a Certified Personal Trainer. She will work under Head Strength & Conditioning Coach Satoshi Ochi.

 


In a Where Are They Now? item, I ran across this article about Leo Azevedo, the former USTA National Coach, who is now working for Tennis Scotland. Jose Higueras, who I believe is still working occasionally for the USTA on a consulting basis, went to the University of Stirling Center's GB National Tennis Academy for a week to provide his coaching insights to the young players training there.

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced Covid rule modifications for the upcoming dual match season, which addresses the likelihood that teams will be short the usual number of players required for competition due to Covid protocols. The summary and rationales is here. The details are here.

Monday, January 11, 2021

ITF Grade 1 in Peru Postponed, Updated South American Schedule; Grade 5 in Connecticut Underway; Kudla's Covid Drama as Australian Open First Round Qualifying Concludes; Korda, Harrison into Delray Beach Semifinals

Although the publicly available ITF junior calendar has not been updated, players were informed today that the ITF Grade 1 in Peru, scheduled to begin February 8th, has been postponed due to the recent pandemic measures adopted in the country. This follows the postponement, a few days ago, of the ITF Grade A in Colombia for similar reasons. According to the email, the four other major events in South America are still on, although the Ecuador Grade 1 tournament will moves a week later, taking the week of the Peru tournament.  The current schedule, with entry deadlines:

J1 Salinas, Ecuador 8-13 February – Entry deadline: 14:00 (GMT), 19 January 2021

J1 Lambare, Paraguay 15-20 February – Entry deadline: 14:00 (GMT),  26 January 2021

J1 Brazil (venue TBC), 22-27 February – Entry deadline: 14:00 (GMT),  2 February 2021

JA Criciuma, Brazil, 1-7 March – Entry deadline: 14:00 (GMT),  9 February 2021

Last week there was only one ITF junior circuit tournament in the world, a Grade 4 in Germany, with five others postponed or canceled, including a Grade 5 in Minnesota. This week six are taking place, including a new Grade 5 in Manchester Connecticut. The top seed in the boys draw, Francisco Tomas Geschwind of Argentina, is already out, having been beaten by wild card Alexander Razeghi.  The girls top seed is something of a surprise, with Reese Brantmeier, who was playing in the $25K final against Vicky Duval in Naples Florida yesterday, taking a wild card into the tournament. She had no trouble in her first round match, defeating Rose Seccia 6-0, 6-1. No. 2 seed Valencia Xu, who, like Brantmeier, is in the Top 100, also won easily, beating wild card Kirsten Hailey 6-1, 6-0. 

The first round of Australian Open qualifying is complete in Doha and Dubai, with Americans going 13-10 overall. Below are the results from Sunday and Monday; all those in bold will play their second round matches on Tuesday. The exception to that is Denis Kudla, who took the court without the results of his latest Covid-19 test, and got the positive results when he was leading Elliot Benchetrit 6-4, 5-3. He finished that game, and the match, but of course must now quarantine, giving his second round opponent a walkover into the final round. Stephanie Myles has more details on how this happened, with Benchetrit obviously frustrated by it all.

Australian Open first round qualifying results of Americans:

Women: (8-6)

Caty McNally[12] d. Daria Snigur(UKR) 6-4, 6-1

Grace Min d. Harriet Dart(GBR) 7-5, 6-2

Whitney Osuigwe d. Katarzyna Kawa[5](POL) 6-4, 6-3

Claire Liu d.  Indy De Vroome(NED) 7-6(5), 6-2

Harmony Tan(FRA) d. Allie Kiick 7-6(4), 6-1

Veronica Cepede Royg(PAR) d. Asia Muhammad 6-3, 6-4

*Ellen Perez(AUS) d. Caroline Dolehide 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 

*Anna Karolina Schmeidlova[20](SVK) d. Usue Arconada 6-7(2), 6-2, 7-6(10-5)

*Sachia Vickery d. Cristina Bucsa(ESP) 6-1, 3-6, 6-2

*Varvara Lepchenko d. Francesca Di Lorenzo[27] 3-6, 6-2, 6-0

*Robin Anderson d. Danielle Lao 4-6, 6-3, 7-5

*Hailey Baptiste d. Victoria Kan(RUS) 7-6(2), 6-2

*played 1st rd Sunday


Men: (5-4)

Denis Kudla[4] d. Elliot Benchetrit(MAR) 6-4, 6-3

Aslan Karatsev[3](RUS) d. Brandon Nakashima 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-2

Maxime Cressy d. Go Soeda[16](JPN) 7-6(3), 6-4

Michael Mmoh d. Danilo Petrovic[24](SRB) 6-3, 6-2

Mitchell Krueger d. Enzo Couacaud(FRA) 3-6, 6-2, 6-2

Mathias Bourgue(FRA) d. Ernesto Escobedo 7-6(5), 6-2

Zhe Li(CHN) d. Thai Kwiatkowksi 4-6, 6-3, 6-4

*Christopher Eubanks l. Rinky Hijikata[WC](AUS) 6-2, 6-3

*Ulises Blanch d. Andrey Kuznetsov(RUS) 6-4, 6-1

*played 1st rd Sunday


Christian Harrison and Sebastian Korda made their first ATP quarterfinal appearances with wins on Saturday at the Delray Beach Open; today, they both made a first ATP semifinal. Harrison defeated Gianluca Mager of Italy, who had beaten Harrison's older brother Ryan in the first round, 7-6(2), 6-4 this afternoon. This evening, Korda, who dropped out of the Australian Open qualifying to play in Delray Beach, got his second win in the past three months over John Isner, beating the No. 2 seed 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Harrison will play No. 4 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland Tuesday afternoon, after Hurkacz defeated former USC star Roberto Quiroz of Ecuador, playing in his first ATP quarterfinal. Korda will take on the winner of tonight's match between Cam Norrie(TCU) of Great Britain and No. 8 seed Frances Tiafoe.

At the WTA 500 in Abu Dhabi, top seed Sofia Kenin lost to No. 9 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece 2-6, 6-2, 6-0, dropping the final ten games of the match.  Eighteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine, the 2017 Australian Open girls champion, has reached her first WTA semifinal, and will play unseeded Veronica Kudermetova of Russia Tuesday.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Kodat Wins First Pro Singles Title; Brooksby and Duval Claim UTR $25Ks; Five Americans Advance on Day One of Australian Open Qualifying

Since the restart of ITF World Tennis Tour competition last fall, Toby Kodat has played nine events, with several in the Czech Republic and Greece. As the tour has moved to Northern Africa, he has gone with it, and has had his best results recently, making the final of a $15,000 tournament in Egypt a few weeks ago. This week, at a $15,000 tournament in Turkey, also on clay, the 2019 French Open boys finalist earned his first pro singles title. The unseeded 17-year-old, who turns 18 in a few days, defeated No. 2 seed and ATP No. 363 Maxime Hamou of France 6-4, 6-2 in today's final. Kodat, whose older sister is former WTA star Nicole Vaidisova, moved on from junior tennis after helping the US team make the finals of the ITF Junior Davis Cup competition in September of 2019. Even so, he now has his highest ITF junior ranking, at No. 4, one behind longtime friend and frequent doubles partner Martin Damm.

The UTR $25,000 tournaments concluded today, with two former USTA 18s National Champions capturing first place. Top seed Jenson Brooksby, the 2018 Kalamazoo champion, made it look easy in his return to competition following injuries and the shutdown, losing only 24 games in his six matches, three in round robin play and three in the knockout round.  Brooksby, now 20, announced just a few weeks ago that he was leaving Baylor, where he enrolled, but due to injuries, did not play for the team. In the Newport Beach final he defeated No. 2 seed Brandon Holt(USC) 6-1, 6-3.

Vicky Duval, who won the 2012 18s title in San Diego, was herself coming back to competition after a stint as the volunteer assistant at the University of Florida in 2019, with her last match played on the Pro Circuit back in September of 2019. With her UTR ranking dropping last year, she wasn't seeded in the women's event in Naples, but with a WTA career-high of 87 Duval was obviously capable of great tennis when healthy. She did lose one match, to Katerina Stewart, in the round robin phase, but took out top seed Maria Mateas to win her group. With Mateas out, 16-year-old Reese Brantmeier was given the top seed for the knockout round, and in today's final, Duval defeated Brantmeier, the 2019 USTA 16s National champion, 6-1, 6-4. 

Brooksby and Duval receive $4000 for finishing in first place; Holt and Brantmeier earn $2200.

The first day of Australian Open qualifying is complete in Doha and Dubai, with half of the 10 Americans in first round action moving on.

In the all-US matches, Robin Anderson(UCLA) needed nearly three hours to get past Danielle Lao(USC) 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 and Varvara Lepchenko defeated No. 27 seed Francesca Di Lorenzo(Ohio State) 3-6, 6-2, 6-0. Sachia Vickey also won a three-setter, beating Cristina Bucsa of Spain 6-1, 3-6, 6-2, while Hailey Baptiste defeated Victoria Kan of Russia 7-6(2), 6-2.  Caroline Dolehide lost a tough one to former Georgia star Ellen Perez of Australia. Perez was down 1-4 in the third set, with Dolehide serving, but she came back to claim a 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 victory. Usue Arconada lost an even tougher one, to No. 20 seed Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia, 6-7(2), 6-2, 7-6(10-5) in three hours and nine minutes. 

Ulises Blanch, who made the final round of qualifying at the French Open in the fall, won his first match, beating Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia 6-4, 6-1.

Christopher Eubanks lost to North Carolina sophomore Rinky Hijikata of Australia, a wild card, 6-2, 6-3.

In action on Monday are Caty McNally[12], Whitney Osuigwe, Allie Kiick, Asia Muhammad, Claire Liu, Grace Min, Denis Kudla[4], Brandon Nakashima, Maxime Cressy, Michael Mmoh, Mitchell Krueger, Ernesto Escobedo and Thai Kwiatkowski. 

Sofia Kenin advanced to the quarterfinals of the WTA 500 in Abu Dhabi, saving a match point in her 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 victory over No. 13 seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan. Kenin will play No. 9 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece Monday. Hayley Carter(UNC) and Brazil's Luisa Stefani(Pepperdine) have advanced to the doubles semifinals. 

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Australian Open Qualifying Begins Sunday with 23 US Entries; Kodat Reaches Turkey $15K Final; Harrison Ousts Top Seed Garin at Delray Beach, Korda Beats Paul

Australian Open qualifying begins Sunday in Doha(men) and Dubai(women), with nine American men and 14 American women hoping to advance to the main draw in Melbourne four weeks from now.

Only three of the 23 are seeded: Denis Kudla, Caty McNally and Francesca DiLorenzo. 

The Sunday order of play is here. Draws are available at the Australian Open website, but for printable draws, your best bet is Fog Mountain tennis.

Toby Kodat, who turns 18 on Wednesday, reached his first ITF World Tennis Tour final just a few weeks ago at a $15K in Egypt, and has now made his second this week at a $15K in Turkey. Kodat, unseeded, has defeated two seeded players so far and will need to beat a third in Sunday's final if he is to win his first pro singles title. Kodat will face No. 2 seed Maxime Hamou of France in the final. 

Coco Gauff lost to No. 9 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece 7-5, 6-2 in the second round at the WTA 500 in Abu Dhabi. Top seed Sofia Kenin, who plays No. 13 seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan in the third round Sunday, is the only American player left in singles. 

Christian Harrison is having a great start to 2021, reaching his first ATP quarterfinal with a 7-6(3), 6-2 win over top seed Cristian Garin of Chile at the ATP 250 in Delray Beach. Harrison, who got into the qualifying of the tournament by using a protected ranking after being out for most of 2019 and 2020 with injuries, is currently ranked 789, with a career-high of 198 in July of 2018. Garin is No. 22 in the ATP rankings, and it is the first ATP Top 100 win for the 26-year-old Harrison since way back in 2013. Harrison will face Gianluca Mager of Italy, who upset No. 6 seed and former champion Sam Querrey 7-6(8), 6-1.

Sebastian Korda, who had such a big breakthrough back in October at the French Open, continues his march to the ATP Top 100, beating No. 5 seed Tommy Paul 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 tonight in Delray Beach. It's the first ATP quarterfinal for the 20-year-old Korda as well, with his opponent either No. 2 seed John Isner, whom he defeated in Paris, or Thiago Monteiro of Brazil, with that match yet tonight.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Grade A in Barranquilla Postponed; Harrison Advances at Delray Beach; Semifinals Set at Women's UTR $25K in Naples; Adelaide to Host WTA 500 in February

Two days ago, I posted the acceptances for the ITF Grade A in Barranquilla Colombia, a tournament that was added last year after so many major fall events on the junior circuit were canceled due to the pandemic. Although it is still on the ITF website calendar as of this evening, players received emails today that it has now been postponed, directing them to this statement, which includes the following:

Due to the advance of the COVID-19 pandemic and the provisions that have been adopted by the Colombian authorities at the national, departmental, district and municipal levels, the Colombian Tennis Federation (FCT) is allowed to inform players, coaches, parents and the general public:

That the Colombian Tennis Federation (FCT) has requested the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to postpone the ITF Grade A Junior Tournament in Barranquilla, scheduled to take place between January 23 and 30, 2021. We are waiting for the answer to the request and the fixing of a possible new date for its realization.
After the Orange Bowl was played last month, I was hoping that it would be possible to resume some normalcy in the international junior schedule, but that is obviously not happening with this announcement. There are four Grade 1s in South America in February, in Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay and Brazil; whether they will happen is impossible to predict right now.

Qualifier Christian Harrison picked up his first ATP tour win since July of 2018 today at the 250 in Delray Beach, beating Tomas Etcheverry of Argentina 6-4, 6-2. The ATP provided this feature on the eight(!) surgeries he's had over the years, with Harrison explaining why he kept at it when it seemed his body would not cooperate. Christian and his older brother Ryan received a wild card into the doubles draw and advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 7-6(2) win today over the Johnson twins, Hunter and Yates. The former SMU standouts were alternates who got in when John Isner and his partner Hubert Hurkacz of Poland withdrew.  Next up for Christian Harrison will be top seed Cristian Garin of Chile, with Tommy Paul vs Sebastian Korda also scheduled for Saturday. Isner, the No. 2 seed, and Querrey, the No. 6 seed, are also on Saturday's schedule.  Bjorn Fratangelo won his match today over qualifier Kevin King, with Frances Tiafoe and qualifier Donald Young still to play in tonight's late match.

At the WTA 500 in Abu Dhabi, top seed Sofia Kenin advanced to the round of 16 with a 5-7, 5-4 ret. win over Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium. Coco Gauff plays her second round match on Saturday against No. 9 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece.

Tennis Australia announced today that the top three ATP and WTA players will quarantine and play a January 29th exhibition in Adelaide prior to next month's Australian Open. Also officially confirmed was the WTA 500 tournament the week after the Australian Open, February 22-27, also in Adelaide. 

The WTA put out its provisional schedule for the first half of the year earlier this week, with few changes from a normal March-June aside from the fact that the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells is not on it.

Vicky Duval, 2018 Oracle Challenger
The semifinals are set for the UTR women's $25K in Naples Florida, and my speculation last night about the four who would advance based on the round robin results posted was not quite right. Maria Mateas, who had the highest UTR coming into the event, was 3-0, but she lost to Vicky Duval 6-3, 7-6. When Duval defeated Sofia Rojas today, she too ended at 3-1, and with her head-to-head win over Mateas finished first in the group. Duval is approaching Christian Harrison-level illness and injury setbacks, and hasn't played since September of 2019, so this is a great sign for her comeback.

Duval will play Ayana Akli, the Maryland sophomore who was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year last year, in one semifinal. Sixteen-year-old Reese Brantmeier, now the top seed, will face Jessica Livianu, a fifth-year graduate student at St. John's, in the other semifinal. 

The men's $25K UTR tournament in Newport Beach will also play its semifinals on Saturday, with top seed Jenson Brooksby taking on Stanford freshman Tristan Boyer and No. 2 seed Brandon Holt facing UCLA junior Govind Nanda.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

East Carolina Reinstates Women's Tennis; Duke Signs Berankova; Turati Earns First WTA Victory; Brooksby, Holt Reach UTR Newport Beach $25K Semifinals

Some much needed good news on the college tennis front today, with Division I East Carolina announcing that women's tennis would be returning, along with women's swimming and diving. In May, the University cut the men's and women's swimming and diving and tennis programs, but from the announcement, it sounds as if that decision may have presented Title IX problems, so the two women's sports are returning, although a firm date has not yet been set, with the earliest reinstatement, after hiring of coaches, would be this fall. More on the litigation that might have been responsible for this decision is here.

Duke has added a former ITF Top 50 junior for this season, with 20-year-old Karolina Berankova of the Czech Republic joining the Blue Devils. Berankova, who reached a high of 43 in the ITF junior rankings back in 2017, has been playing ITF World Tennis Tour women's events regularly since mid-2018, reaching a career-high of 600 in the WTA rankings.

Baylor has announced that sophomore Isabella Harvison is transferring from Alabama, but according to the email I received, is "not immediately eligible" to compete for the Bears.

Bianca Turati made her debut on the WTA level one to remember, defeating former WTA Top 25 player Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-1, 6-2 today at the 500-level event in Abu Dhabi. The 23-year-old from Italy, who decided last May not to return to the University of Texas for a fifth year, will face Veronika Kudermetova of Russia in the second round on Friday.

Coco Gauff defeated alternate Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway 6-0, 6-1 and top seed Sofia Kenin advanced with a 7-6(4), 6-2 win over qualifier Zhaoxuan Yang of China. Jessica Pegula and Jennifer Brady(UCLA)[11] lost their first round matches today.

At the ATP 250 in Delray Beach, Tommy Paul[5] defeated Ji Sung Nam of Korea 6-1, 6-4 and Sebastian Korda beat Soonwoo Kwon of Korea 6-4, 6-4. Mackenzie McDonald(UCLA) and Sam Querrey[6] are in action in the night match. Paul and Korda will meet in the second round.

The quarterfinals of the men's  UTR $25K in Newport Beach California are being played today, with three of the four semifinalists decided as of 8 p.m. Eastern time.

Top seed Jenson Brooksby(Baylor) defeated Dusty Boyer(Nebraska) 6-2, 6-3 and will play the winner of the match between Stanford freshman Tristan Boyer and former TCU standout Reese Stalder. The other semifinal will feature No. 2 seed Brandon Holt(USC) and UCLA junior Govind Nanda. Holt defeated UCLA signee Karl Lee 6-2, 6-0 and Nanda beat Nicolas Barrientos of Colombia 6-2, 6-3. 

The semifinal draw for the women's $25K in Naples Florida is not yet posted, but I believe the four players advancing out of the round robin groups are Maria Mateas(Duke), Reese Brantmeier, Ayana Akli(Maryland) and Jessica Livianu(St. Johns).

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Grade A Barranquilla Acceptances; Harrison Outlasts Khan to Qualify for Delray Beach; Turati Makes WTA Debut in Abu Dhabi; Rest In Peace Tom Perotta

The acceptance lists for the new ITF Grade A in Barranquilla Colombia late this month were released today, with five US boys and four US girls receiving entry into the main draw. With so many tournaments canceled last fall and the Grade 1 in Costa Rica, which is usually full of Americans, not scheduled, this is one of the few big tournaments available. Unfortunately, the draws were reduced to 32, which is half of what they usually are for Grade As; last month's Grade A Orange Bowl draw size was reduced from 64 to 48.

The US boys in the main draw are Dali Blanch, who is up to No. 5 in the ITF Junior rankings after all the 2002 birth year players aged out; Alexander Bernard; Bruno Kuzuhara; Aidan Mayo and Jack Anthrop.

The US girls in the main draw are Elvina Kalieva, Ellie Coleman, Madison Sieg and Ashlyn Krueger. All nine Americans competed in the Orange Bowl last month, with Blanch and Bernard making the quarterfinals and Krueger, of course, the girls champion.

The tournament begins Monday January 25th, with qualifying starting on Saturday, January 23rd.

The qualifying is complete at the ATP 250 in Delray Beach, with Donald Young, Christian Harrison and Kevin King(Georgia Tech) the Americans reaching the main draw, along with former USC star Roberto Quiroz of Ecuador.

Young defeated Stefan Kozlov 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 and King defeated Goncalo Oliveira of Portugal 6-3, 6-3. Quiroz got past Viktor Galovic of Croatia 6-3, 7-5, and Harrison defeated 18-year-old Zane Khan 6-1, 6-7(9), 7-6(4). The 26-year-old Harrison, who used a protected ranking for entry, has been through countless injuries and illnesses in the past decade, and was out nearly 18 months in 2019-20. When I spoke to him just over a year ago, he thought he might have to settle for a career in doubles, so it's great to see that he is back to winning singles matches again. He qualified for three Challengers last fall, and although he didn't advance in the main draw, he obviously built some confidence in both his game and his health. In today's match, he wasn't able to convert a match point in the second set, but did regroup to reach his first ATP main draw since 2018.

Main draw matches begin on Thursday, with five first round matches. Mackenzie McDonald(UCLA) will face No. 6 seed Sam Querrey in the night match; wild card Ryan Harrison will play Gianluca Mager of Italy; Sebastian Korda takes on Soonwoo Kwon of Korea and No. 5 seed Tommy Paul plays Ji Sung Nam of Korea.

Qualifying concluded at the WTA 500 in Abu Dhabi today, with former Texas star Bianca Turati of Italy advancing to the main draw of a WTA event for the first time in her career. The 23-year-old, who decided last spring not to take advantage of a fifth year of college eligibility, defeated Martina Caregaro of Italy 6-0, 6-3. On Thursday, she will face 33-year-old Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan in the first round.  

Only two Americans were in action today: Bernarda Pera, who defeated No. 16 seed Donna Vekic of Croatia 7-6(10), 2-6, 6-4 in just over three hours, and Jamie Loeb, who lost to Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-3.

Top seed Sofia Kenin and Coco Gauff are among the Americans scheduled to play their first singles matches of the year on Thursday.

The community of tennis journalists lost one of its best writers and reporters today, with the Wall Street Journal's Tom Perotta dying from brain cancer at the age of 44. As I said earlier today in a tweet, I always enjoyed talking with Tom about up and coming players when we see each other at Wimbledon and the US Open, and I learned a lot from him from my first days as a reporter in New York. When I spoke to him in 2019, he was honest about his prognosis, yet was an inspiration to everyone he encountered with the grace and determination he displayed as he continued to do his job, and do it well.

He wrote an outstanding column around Thanksgiving, appreciating that the pandemic had given him so much time to spend with his young family. It's heart wrenching, but a gift to all of us as we reassess our lives during all this uncertainty.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Syracuse, Minnesota Name New Assistants; Five Former Collegians on ATP Cup Team Rosters; Khan Advances at Delray Beach Qualifying, Turati Wins in Abu Dhabi

Two Division I women's programs announced new assistant coaches recently, with former Syracuse star Maddie Kobelt returning to her alma mater and University of Virginia alum Meghan Kelley joining the University of Minnesota.

Kobelt, who played at Syracuse from 2011-14, had been an assistant at Division III Kenyon since 2018. Kelley, who played at Virginia 2015-19, was a graduate assistant at Ball State last season.

A couple of other Division I notes, with Salma Ziouti going from Drexel to Arizona as a graduate transfer, Sandeep Mohandoss of India signing with South Florida, and Anton Arzhankin of Russia signing with Western Michigan.

The rosters for the ATP Cup, which will take place February 1-5 in Melbourne, have been announced, and among the 48 players scheduled to compete for the 12 countries in the competition, five are former collegians, and most are doubles specialists.  Greece features Michail Pervolarakis(Portland), Germany has Andreas Mies(Auburn), Japan has Ben McLachlan(Cal) and Toshihide Matsui(BYU-Hawaii) and Australia has John Peers(Middle Tennessee State/Baylor). The United States is not in the competition, with the size of the field reduced from 24 countries to 12 due to logistics surrounding the pandemic.

The complete list of ATP Cup rosters is available here.

Five of the eight players in the ATP Delray Beach final round of qualifying Wednesday are from the United States, with two of them certain to make the main draw.

Eighteen-year-old Zane Khan advanced when Alexander Ritschard(Virginia) retired trailing Khan 6-3, 3-1. Khan will face Christian Harrison, who defeated top qualifying seed Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera of Chile 6-4, 6-4.  Donald Young will play Stefan Kozlov in the other all-US final round qualifying match. Young beat Pedro Sakamoto of Brazil 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 and Kozlov advanced when Johannes Haerteis of Germany retired down 5-0 in the first set. Kevin King(Georgia Tech) defeated Benjamin Lock(Florida State) of Zimbabwe 6-2, 6-3.  

University of Kentucky sophomore Liam Draxl of Canada lost to Goncalo Oliveira of Portugal 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. Oliveira will face King for a place in the main draw. 

The only qualifying match Wednesday without an American will be between Roberto Quiroz(USC) of Ecuador and Viktor Galovic of Croatia.

The qualifying at the WTA tournament in Abu Dhabi will also conclude Wednesday, with eight women advancing into the 64-player main draw. In today's opening round, Texas All-American Bianca Turati of Italy, who decided last May not to return to Austin for a fifth year, defeated former UCLA star Catherine Harrison 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-1. Carol Zhao(Stanford) of Canada, playing in her first match since September of 2019, defeated Mirjam Bjorklund of Sweden 6-0, 2-6, 6-2. Former UCLA star Ena Shibihara of Japan also advanced to Wednesday's final round of qualifying. 

The main draw begins Wednesday as well, with 12 first round matches on the schedule