Thursday, July 22, 2021

ITA Announces Location for Fall National Championships; All-Collegiate Quarterfinals at Edwardsville $15K; USTA Clay Court 16s Recaps; Olympic Tennis Draws; Nakashima Advances to Los Cabos Quarterfinals

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced the location of its 2021 National Fall Championships, one of the three collegiate "majors" in Division I. After taking place last year at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, this year's tournament will be held at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego, from Thursday November 4 through Sunday November 7.

The 32-player draws for both men and women will be filled with ITA regional champions, as well at-large and wild card entries. This will be the fifth year for this event, which replaced the National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships on the calendar. There is no mention of prize money this year, and no mention of the event being open to any non-college players, as it was last year. And speaking of no mentions, Oracle, who had given so much support to the ITA prior to Mark Hurd's death, is no longer listed in the tournament's name.

For more on this year's event, see this release from the ITA (I'm sure the reference to 64 doubles teams is in error and should be 32 doubles teams or 64 doubles players). Alexa Graham of North Carolina and Trey Hilderbrand of Central Florida won the singles titles last year(no doubles were played).

The quarterfinals are set at the men's $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Edwardsville Illinois, with all eight players either current or former college players. 

2019 NCAA champion Paul Jubb(South Carolina) of Great Britain will play No. 6 seed Christian Langmo(Miami), and wild card Eliot Spizzirri(Texas rising junior) will take on No. 3 seed Strong Kirchheimer(Northwestern) in the top half. 

In the bottom half, wild card Cannon Kingsley (Ohio State rising junior) will face qualifier Billy Griffith(Cal). Blaise Bicknell (Florida rising junior) withdrew, giving Rinky Hijikata (North Carolina rising junior) of Australia a walkover into the semifinals. 

Langmo and Bruno Kuzuhara have advanced to the doubles semifinals, where they will face wild cards Nic Meister and South Africa's Siphosothando Montsi (Illinois rising juniors). Meister and Montsi defeated top seeds Evan Zhu(UCLA) and Igor Marcondes of Brazil 6-4, 6-4 today. 

The Tennis Recruiting Network's recaps of the 16s USTA Clay Court Championships are available today, providing details of the titles by Kaitlin Quevedo and Felipe Pinzon, both of whom were seeded outside the Top 16. In a remarkable coincidence, both are playing the ITF J5 this week in Colombia, and both have advanced to the semifinals, Pinzon as the No. 6 seed, Quevedo unseeded.

The Olympics begin Friday in Tokyo and tennis is among the first sports that will take place the first week. 

The draws have been published, with the men representing the US in singles Marcos Giron, Tommy Paul, Frances Tiafoe and Tennys Sandgren.  Sandgren, Tiafoe, Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek are the US men in the doubles draw. None are seeded.

The women representing the United States in singles are Jessica Pegula, Jennifer Brady[11] and Alison Riske. Coco Gauff was named to the team, but tested positive for Covid-19. Pegula and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, seeded No. 4, and Riske and Nicole Melichar, seeded No. 8, are the US doubles teams. 

The mixed doubles draw has yet to be released.

It's been difficult to follow the ATP 250 tournament in Los Cabos Mexico with the matches all in the late afternoon/evening three time zones away, but Brandon Nakashima(Virginia) defeated No. 4 seed Sam Querrey 6-3, 6-4 last night to reach his second career ATP quarterfinal. Nakashima will face No. 5 seed Jordan Thompson of Australia later tonight. Steve Johnson and No. 3 seed Taylor Fritz will also play tonight, each other, while No. 2 seed John Isner meets Alex Bolt of Australia. Cameron Norrie(TCU) of Great Britian defeated Ernesto Escobedo 6-1, 6-1 in the first quarterfinal completed today.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

News and Notes from Junior, College and Pro Tennis

Today is a good day to post links to items that go from those in the 14s age division through the highest level of pro tennis.

Tennis Recruiting Network has the recaps of Dali Blanch's Boys 14s and Tianmei Wang's Girls 14s Clay Court Championships.

The Les Petits As qualifying playoffs for the United States are scheduled to begin Sunday in Boca Raton, with 16 players in both the boys and girls draws vying for one qualifying and three main draw spots. The prestigious tournament in Tarbes France, usually held in late January, was moved to September this year. Prequalifying took place last month, with six boys and six girls winning regional tournaments to make the playoff field. See this web page for a list of those participating in next week's playoffs.

The ITA Summer Circuit concludes its six-week run this weekend, with the ITA National Summer Championships scheduled to begin August 6 at Florida State. Registration for the National Summer Championships ends on Monday July 26.  Winners receive wild cards into the ITA All-American Championships in the fall.

In college coaching news, former top junior and Duke star Rachel Kahan has been named women's head coach at Yale. Kahan had been head coach at Division III Middlebury the past three years.

Hayley Carter, North Carolina's 2016 NCAA singles finalist and currently No. 25 in the WTA doubles rankings, has joined the Vanderbilt women's program as its assistant coach. She is replacing former head coach Geoff Macdonald, who is moving to another role with the University.

Tom Boysen, who was most recently the men's assistant at Nebraska, has been named men's and women's head coach at North Dakota.

Mai-Ly Tran has been named women's head coach at Colorado State.

At the ATP Challenger in Cary, wild card Govind Nanda, the UCLA Bruin who turned pro after his just completed junior season, defeated Canadian Brayden Schnur(North Carolina) 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 to reach his first Challenger quarterfinal.

Caty McNally has been announced as the first main draw wild card for next month's Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.  The names of the direct entrants to the Masters 1000 event were also released today.

The US Open also announced its direct entries, with the women's last in No. 104 Sara Errani of Italy and the men's last in No. 103 Lucas Pouille of France.  Stephanie Myles has links to the full entry lists at her website.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Accepted Entries Lists for USTA's National Championships Published; TRN's Clay Court 12s Recaps; IMG Announces Future Stars 12U Tournament for 2022; Top Seed Kym Upset at European Championships

The entries for August's USTA National Championships were published late last night and are available via the USTA's Playtennis system. 

A few notes on the the Girls 16s and 18s and Boys 16s and 18s lists:

The draws for these events are 256, with 32 seeds receiving byes. Eight spots are reserved for wild cards, which will be decided at USTA meetings this Friday. So these initial acceptances are for 216 players.

In addition to all the girls who have played the French and Wimbledon Championships recently, other notable entries include Milan semifinalist Clervie Ngounoue, Easter Bowl champion Liv Hovde, Robin Montgomery, Katrina Scott and Savannah Broadus. Broadus, who won the Wimbledon girls doubles title last year, is still eligible for USTA events with her September birthday, but no longer eligible for ITF junior tournaments.

Like Broadus, Kylie Collins, the rising sophomore at Texas, also has a late-year birthday, and she entered, but she was not selected. I assume she will be given a wild card, if she requests one. Gabby Price, who has played only pro events since the 2019 US Open, also entered but was not selected.

Clay Court 18s finalist Ariana Pursoo has elected to play the 16s in San Diego, as has Brooklyn Olson. 

Martin Damm, who has not played a junior tournament since the 2020 Australian Open, has entered and been accepted. Still only 17, Damm won the Kalamazoo 16s title in 2018.

2019 18s champion Zachary Svajda is still age eligible, with a November birthday, but he did not enter. He could still request a wild card however.

Florida rising sophomore Ben Shelton, who, like Kylie Collins was an integral part of a 2021 NCAA championship team title, entered but was not selected. 

Both the Girls 14s and the Boys 14s draws are 192, with six wild card spots, so they are showing 186 competitors.

The Girls 12s and the Boys 12s are 128 compass draws, with four wild card spots, so they are showing 124 competitors.

Before we move on to the August Nationals, the Tennis Recruiting Network is providing coverage of the just completed Clay Courts, with today's articles featuring Boys 12s champion Jack Secord and Girls 12s champion Ciara Harding.

IMG announced today that it is sponsoring a new 12-and-under Future Stars Invitational tournament next spring in Greece, which I'm sure they would like to build into an event like the 14-and-under Les Petits As tournament in France. For more on the event, go to the tournament website.

I hadn't expected to report again today on the ITF JB1 European Closed Championships, but there is definitely news from that event, with top seed Jerome Kym of Switzerland, who reached the boys quarterfinals at Wimbledon, losing his first match, in the second round. Kym lost to Vlad Cristian Breazu of Romania, currently 215 in the ITF junior rankings, 6-4, 6-4. 

Monday, July 19, 2021

ATP Challenger in Cary, USTA Pro Circuit Men's $15K in Edwardsville Underway; Doubles Titles for US Juniors at Dominican Republic J3; European Championships Begin for 14s and ITF Divisions

After no USTA Pro Circuit events for men last week, there are two this week, with the Atlantic Tire Championships, an ATP Challenger 80, in Cary North Carolina and a rare $15,000 event--there have been just three in 2021--in Edwardsville Illinois.

Rain in Cary today sent the final round of qualifying indoors, and the five main draw matches have been pushed back to this evening. Reaching the main draw with wins today are Alexis Galarneau(NC State) of Canada, former ITF Junior No. 1 Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan, Aleks Kovacevic(Illinois) and Genaro Olivieri of Argentina. Great Britain's Aidan McHugh, who lost to Kovacevic today, received entry as a lucky loser, with ATP Hall of Fame finalist Jenson Brooksby pulling out after the qualifying had begun. 

Main draw wild cards were given to Will Blumberg(North Carolina), fresh off his ATP doubles title in Newport; Govind Nanda(UCLA); and NCAA singles and team champion Sam Riffice.  With Brooksby, who would have been the top seed, out, the No. 2 seed is Prajnesh Gunneswaran of India, with Maxime Cressy seeded third; both are in the bottom half. Bjorn Fratangelo, the No. 4 seed, is now the only top 4 seed in the top half.

Jack Sock is playing singles, but he and Blumberg, the Hall of Fame doubles champions, are not playing together this week. Sock is not playing doubles; Blumberg is playing with Ryan Harrison.

Free live streaming is available here.

In Edwardsville, the first round of qualifying was today, with the second round scheduled for Tuesday and the main draw beginning on Wednesday. Bruno Kuzuhara, Alex Bernard and Ozan Colak received junior reserved main draw entries; Victor Lilov received a main draw wild card; Ethan Quinn won his qualifying match today. The other wild cards this week, in addition to Lilov, are Cannon Kingsley(Ohio State), Eliot Spizzirri(Texas) and Olivier Stuart(Illinois). 2019 NCAA champion Paul Jubb of Great Britain is the top seed. The tournament has a website for more on the tournament's history, as well as updates on this year's tournament. 

Speaking of juniors who competed at Wimbledon, boys champion Samir Banerjee has been given a wild card into the qualifying at the ATP Truist Atlanta Open, according to this tweet from Parsa Nemati.  Qualifying for that event begins on Saturday July 24. The tournament announced last week that Georgia Tech's Keshav Chopra and Andres Martin would receive a doubles wild card. University of Georgia's Trent Bryde was announced as a main draw wild card back in April

There were no singles titles for Americans on the ITF Junior Circuit last week, but in addition to Madison Sieg's title at the JA in Milan, four others took home winners' trophies at the J3 in the Dominican Republic.

No. 4 seeds Luca Hotze and Kurt Miller took the boys doubles championship, defeating the unseeded Canadian team of Christophe Clement and Aram Noroozian 6-4, 3-6, 10-8 in the final. 

Unseeded Gracie Epps and Valeria Ray won the girls doubles title in an all-American final, beating top seeds Alexia Harmon and Olivia Lincer 6-2, 6-1. 

The European Championships are being played this week, at least the 14s and the ITF B1 Closed tournaments(the 16s, scheduled for Moscow Russia, have been postponed until later in the year). Tennis Europe is posting links to the draws, streaming, orders of play, as well as results, here. The 14s are being played in Most Czech Republic, with the ITF B1 Closed in Klosters Switzerland, as usual. France's Elsa Jacquemot, the 2020 French Open girls champion, who has not played a junior event this year, is the top seed.  The boys top seed is Jerome Kym of Switzerland. 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

USTA National Clay Court Champions Crowned; Eala and Bueno Win Trofeo Bonfiglio ITF JA Singles Championships; Three Tar Heels Claim Titles; Anderson Captures Hall of Fame Open

The USTA National Clay Court Championships encountered more rain than anyone would have wanted, but the gold balls were awarded today in the 14s, 16s and 18s divisions, after the 12s concluded Saturday. 

Just a reminder that the 18s champions receive a wild card into the US Open Junior Championships, and the finalists receive USO Junior qualifying wild cards. I'm not sure if Honer is age eligible, as she is 18 now, and would not be eligible if she turns 19 this year, but the other three are all 17 or under, so they should be able to make the trip to New York for this year's Junior Championships. 

Below are the results, with a link to the USTA Playtennis draws in the headers. 

B12s Orlando FL

Singles: Jack Secord[1] d. Teodor Davidov[13] 6-4, 6-1

Doubles: Ryan Cozad and Yannik Alvarez[2] d. Colin McPeek and Navneet Raghuram[1] 6-4, 6-2

G12s Ft. Lauderdale

Singles: Ciara Harding[3](WC) d. Kristina Penickova[17] 6-4, 7-5

Doubles: Bela Martinez and Anita Tu[3] d. Abigail Gordon and Ciara Harding[2] 6-3, 6-3

B14s Miami Beach FL

Singles: Darwin Blanch[9](WC) d. Braeden Gelletich[1] 6-3, 6-3

Doubles: Maximus Dussault and Maxwell Exsted[14] d. Ian Mayew and Oliver Narbut[4] 6-3, 7-6(5)

G14s Plantation FL

Singles: Tianmei Wang[4] d. Claire Hill[6] 7-5, 6-3

Doubles: Claire An and Katie Rolls[1] d. Hadley Appling and Alanis Hamilton[17] 6-1, 7-5
B16s Delray Beach FL

Singles: Felipe Pinzon[17] d. Ari Cotoulas[12] 5-7, 6-2, 6-3

Doubles: Caden Hasler and Dylan Tsoi[10] d. Stefan Regalia and Cooper Woestendick[1] 4-6, 6-3, 10-2

G16s Huntsville AL

Singles: Kaitlin Quevedo[33] d. Tola Glowacka[10] 2-6, 6-2, 6-4

Doubles: Stephanie Yakoff and Natalia Perez d. Maren Urata and Sophia Webster 6-2, 6-4
B18s Delray Beach FL

Singles: Ryan Colby[17] d. Nicholas Heng[9] 7-6(4), 6-3

Doubles: Lucas Brown and Sebastian Sec[7] d. Alex Michelsen and Conrad Brown[17] 6-3, 7-5

G18s Mount Pleasant SC

Singles: Amelia Honer[9] d. Ariana Pursoo[8] 6-4, 6-0

Doubles: Vivian Miller and Maddy Zampardo[6] d. Seren Agar and Ariana Pursoo[11] 7-6(2), 6-2

The singles titles at the Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan Italy went to top seed Alexandra Eala of the Philippines and No. 16 seed Gonzalo Bueno of Peru. The 16-year-old Eala, who had a couple of tough three-set wins during the week, defeated 15-year-old Nikola Bartunkova of the Czech Republic, the No. 16 seed, 6-3, 6-3 in the final. Eala is now two for three in Grade A finals, having won the South Africa JA and lost in the Osaka JA final, both in 2019.

The 17-year-old Bueno was playing in only his third JA, having lost in the first round of both the French Open and Wimbledon this year, so his first round win this week was his first at that level. Despite little experience at the top levels, Bueno had an edge on his opponent in the final, 15-year-old Jakub Mensik of the Czech Republic, who was playing in his first Grade A. Bueno prevailed in the final, 6-3, 7-6(4).  Tommy Hemp has more coverage of the finals at Tennis Underworld.

It was a great day for young North Carolina Tar Heels, with three titles on three different continents.

Alexa Graham, who graduated in May, had to qualify for the $15,000 ITF Women's World Tennis Tour tournament in Portugal this week, but she won all seven of her matches in straight sets, including the last two over former collegians. In the semifinals, Graham defeated former South Carolina star Ingrid Gamarra Martins of Brazil 6-2, 6-4 and in today's final, beat Duke rising senior Georgia Drummy of Ireland 6-1, 6-2. Their match this year in the NCAA team quarterfinals went unfinished in their only meeting. Graham, who has been as high as 474 in the WTA rankings, is getting a good start on improving on her current ranking of 1416.

UNC rising junior Rinky Hijikata of Australia, who won his first ITF $15,000 tournament nearly two years ago, picked up his second today, and he too defeated a college rival in the final in Tunisia. The unseeded Hijikata avenged his third round loss to Texas A&M's Valentin Vacherot at the NCAA individual tournament in May, beating the 22-year-old from France, who was also unseeded this week, 6-3, 6-1.

At the ATP 250 Hall of Fame Open in Newport, Will Blumberg, who graduated from UNC in May, collected a first ATP title, partnering with Jack Sock to win the doubles championship. Blumberg, whose only previous appearance in a Tour-level doubles match was at the US Open in 2017, and Sock, who hadn't won a doubles title on the ATP tour since the ATP Finals in 2018, needed a wild card to get in the draw. But they defeated the No. 3 and No. 2 seeds to reach the final, and today got past unseeded Austin Krajicek and Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 7-6(3). For more on their title, see this article from the ATP website.

Kevin Anderson, the former Illinois All-American from South Africa, defeated Jenson Brooksby 7-6(8), 6-4 to win his first ATP tour title in over two years. Anderson, the No. 8 seed, was also a wild card. For more on Anderson's win and the great run by Brooksby, see this article from the ATP.

At the ATP 500 in Hamburg Germany, Michael Venus(LSU) of New Zealand and Tim Puetz(Auburn) of Germany took the doubles title, with the No. 2 seeds defeating top seeds Kevin Krawietz of Germany and Horia Tecau of Romania 6-3, 6-7(3), 10-8 for their first title as a team. Venus now has 15 ATP tour doubles titles and Puetz has five. 

The Evansville Indiana $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament finished today, with No. 4 seed Rebecca Marino of Canada defeating top seed Mayo Hibi of Japan 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 in the final.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Ngounoue Falls in JA Milan Semis, Sieg Wins Doubles Title; Brooksby Reaches ATP Hall of Fame Open Final; Montgomery and Collins Claim Doubles Championship at Evansville $25K

Clervie Ngounoue's run at the ITF JA Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan ended in today's semifinals, with the unseeded 14-year-old falling 6-3, 6-3 to No. 16 seed Nikola Bartunkova of the Czech Republic. Bartunkova, who is 15 years old, will face top seed Alexandra Eala of the Philippines in Sunday's final, after Eala defeated 14-year-old Mirra Andreeva of Russia 7-5, 6-2.  

Eala already had earned one title in Milan this week in doubles, playing with American Madison Sieg. Sieg and Eala, the No. 1 seeds, beat the unseeded team of Lucija Ciric Bagaric of Croatia and Sofia Costoulas of Belgium 6-4, 4-6, 13-11 in the final.

In the boys semifinals, No. 16 seed Gonzalo Bueno of Peru advanced, beating unseeded Miguel Perez Pena of Spain 2-6, 6-1 6-0. Bueno will face unseeded 15-year-old Jakub Mensik of the Czech Republic, who downed unseeded Ignacio Buse of Peru 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Edas Butvilas of Lithuania claimed his second JA title in as many weeks, with the Wimbledon boys doubles champion, partnering this week with compatriot Vilius Gaubas of Lithuania, beating the Russian team of Igor Kudriashov and Konstantin Zhzhenov 5-7, 7-4, 10-8 in the final.

Tommy Hemp of Italy was at the tournament today, and filed this report at Tennis Underground.

Jenson Brooksby had never played on grass before this week, and was making his ATP main draw debut (although he has played in three slams) at the ATP Hall of Fame 250 in Newport Rhode Island. That hasn't given a moment's pause to the 20-year-old, who was on the Baylor team in 2020 but didn't play due to injury, as he has advanced to the final by beating No. 7 seed Jordan Thompson of Australia 6-3, 7-6(3) this afternoon. Brooksby, who got his first ATP Top 100 win as a qualifier in the first round of the US Open in 2019, earned his best win by ranking today against ATP No. 71 Thompson, coming from 5-2 down in the second set to secure the victory in straight sets. 

Brooksby will face No. 8 seed Kevin Anderson(Illinois) of South Africa in Sunday's final, with Anderson surviving a two hour and 46 minute battle with top seed Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-5.

Will Blumberg, the recent UNC graduate who is playing in his first ATP event as a professional, has advanced to the doubles final. He and Jack Sock, a wild card team, defeated No. 2 seeds Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico and Jonathan Erlich of Israel 7-6(0), 6-3 in today's semifinals. Sock and Blumberg will face unseeded Austin Krajicek(Texas A&M) and Vasek Pospisil of Canada in Sunday's final.

The singles final at the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Evansville Indiana will not feature an American, but the doubles title belongs to US teens.

Top seed Mayo Hibi of Japan will face No. 4 seed Rebecca Marino of Canada in the singles final, after unseeded Katrina Scott gave Hibi a walkover in the semifinals. Marino defeated Ellie Douglas(TCU) 6-4, 6-1 in the semifinal that was played today.

Sixteen-year-old Robin Montgomery and University of Texas rising sophomore Kylie Collins won the doubles title today, with the unseeded teens taking out former collegians Lauren Proctor(Winthrop) and Anna Ulyashchenko(Wake Forest), also unseeded, 5-7, 6-3, 10-2 in today's final.

Montgomery and Collins have both entered the USTA Girls 18s Nationals in San Diego; it will be interesting to see if they play doubles together there, with a US Open main draw wild card on the line.

At the $60,000 ITF Women's World Tennis Tour event in Spain, wild card Ane Mintegi Del Olmo of Spain, who won the girls Wimbledon title on Sunday, will play for another big singles title  tomorrow. The 17-year-old beat 2019 NCAA singles champion Estela Perez-Somarriba(Miami) of Spain, a qualifier, 6-0, 4-6, 6-4 in today's semifinals. Mintegi Del Olmo will play 2016 Roland Garros girls champion Rebeka Masarova, who is unseeded, in Sunday's final.

The USTA Clay Court Championships will conclude on Sunday, with the finals in the 14s, 16s, and 18s divisions. The 12s, which  have smaller draws, finished today, with top seed Jack Secord winning the boys 12s singles title and No. 3 seed Ciara Harding taking the girls 12s singles title.

I will post the results from the singles and doubles finals for all divisions Sunday.