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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Frank, Puig Reach Pro Circuit Finals; Ojai Update; Conference Finals Set in Big East, Big 12 and Big Ten

Tomorrow I'll be heading to Ann Arbor to cover the final of the Women's Big Ten tournament, which will feature, as expected, Michigan and Northwestern. This is the seventh year those two teams have met in the conference tournament final, with the Wildcats winning the previous six, including last year, when Michigan had claimed the regular season title. My article on the match will appear on Tennis Recruiting Network Monday. For complete results, see the tournament homepage.

While one longstanding final pairing continues, another one ended, last week actually, when the Illinois men were given the fourth seed in the Big Ten tournament and found themselves in the top half of the draw (I don't know if the 1 seed is always put with the 4 seed in these draws or not) with Ohio State. This meant the streak of Illinois and Ohio State meeting in the tournament championship match would end at seven, and this year, after cruising to a 4-0 win over Illinois in today's semifinals, the Buckeyes will face Minnesota instead. The third-seeded Golden Gophers beat No. 2 Indiana 4-0 in today's other semifinal at the University of Wisconsin. For complete results, see the tournament homepage.

In Waco, Texas A & M will face Oklahoma for the Big 12 men's tournament title, after A&M beat No. 3 seed Texas 4-0 today and No. 5 seed Oklahoma surprised top seed Baylor 4-3.

The women's tournament final, also in Waco, will feature No. 2 Texas against No. 1 Baylor, after Texas defeated Oklahoma and Baylor downed Texas A&M. The Big 12 championship page is here.

In South Bend, the top two seeds in the men's and women's draw have advanced to the Big East final, with the No. 1 Notre Dame women meeting No. 2 South Florida, and the No. 1 Louisville men facing No. 2 Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish women lost to South Florida 5-2 back in March. The Big East tournament page is here.

The Pac-10 individual championships are set for Sunday in Ojai, with No. 1 seed Steve Johnson of USC against No. 2 seed Bradley Klahn of Stanford, a rematch of the 2009 Pac-10 final, won by Klahn. It would be interesting to know just how many times these two have played over the years in juniors and in college.

The women's final will feature top seed Maria Sanchez of USC against No. 7 seed Kristie Ahn of Stanford. Ahn beat teammate Nicole Gibbs, the fourth seed, in today's semifinal 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, while Sanchez prevented an all-Stanford final by defeating Stacey Tan 6-2, 6-1. Sanchez was the subject of this article in the Ventura County Star by Rhiannon Potkey.

The draws for the Pac-10 are available at the TennisLink site. Ken Thomas will be webcasting the finals at radiotennis.com.

The women's Open event is an all-Weil Academy final, with unseeded Ashley Dai and Monica Turewicz meeting to decide the champion. In men's Open final, future UCLA Bruin Marcos Giron, who saved five match points in his second round win over Robert Yim, will face former UCLA Bruin Aaron Yovan. Giron has now won 22 consecutive matches during the past five weeks.

For complete Open draws, see the TennisLink site.

Two juniors have reached finals of professional events, with 17-year-old Monica Puig advancing to the championship of the $25,000 ITF Women's Circuit event in Switzerland, and 18-year-old Mitchell Frank through to the final at the $10,000 Vero Beach Futures. The unseeded Puig beat 125th-ranked Pauline Parmentier of France in the first round, and in the quarterfinals, she defeated second seed Patricia Mayr-Achleitner of Austria, ranked 97th. In the final, she will face top seed and world No. 94 Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic.

Frank, who won four qualifying matches with ease, has had three tough matches in a row, but he again came out on top, this time over unseeded qualifier Gabriel Moraru of Romania 1-6, 6-4, 6-1. He will play No. 4 seed Daniel Garza of Mexico in the final. Garza has yet to drop a set in his four wins.

Complete results are at the Pro Circuit page at usta.com.

And finally, I just received an email letting me know that several US 12-and-under players are competing this week at the Azores Open in Portugal. Alex Del Corral, who just won the USTA 12s Spring Championship, is in the final, as is Claire Liu. The draws are available here, the tournament website is here.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Eight Chosen for ITA Men's Hall of Fame; Sasha Schmid Named Women's Coach at Missouri; Ryan Lipman in College Spotlight; US Juniors Win in Mexico

The complete list of the 2011 inductees into ITA Men's Collegiate Hall of Fame has bee announced. Former Stanford players dominate, with Scott Davis, Jim Grabb, Gene Mayer and Jonathan Stark returning to Palo Alto to be enshrined. UCLA's Marcel Freeman, Pepperdine's Simon Aspelin and Tim Cass, formerly at Texas A&M, and now at New Mexico, round out this year's class. The induction ceremonies are Wednesday, May 25th, the evening of the first round of the NCAA Individual Championships, on the Stanford campus.

Sasha Schmid, the head coach at Stetson for the past ten years, has been named women's head coach at the University of Missouri. Schmid takes over from interim coach Stephen Stuckenschneider, who replaced Blake Starkey in January. More on Schmid's background can be found at Big12sports.com.

The USTA's College Spotlight features Vanderbilt sophomore Ryan Lipman. Lipman talks about staying close to home, his Plan B, and where he hopes to be in ten years.

The North American qualifying for the ITF junior team events is underway in Mexico, and all four US teams earned victories on the first day of competition. There was one change from the previously announced teams, with Justin Butsch replacing Spencer Papa on the Junior Davis Cup team. The ITF has a new page for tracking the team events, and I once I get used to knowing where to look for what, I think it will prove very useful.

In Vero Beach today, both Bjorn Fratangelo and Dan Kosakowski lost in the quarterfinals, but qualifier Mitchell Frank won his seventh match of the tournament, defeating No. 2 seed and 418th-ranked Matteo Marrai of Italy 3-6, 6-0, 6-3. Frank will face his fellow unseeded qualifier Gabriel Moraru of Romania in the semifinals Saturday.

For complete results, see the Pro Circuit page at usta.com.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Alabama Tornado Update; The Ojai Underway; Frank, Fratangelo, Kosakowski Advance to Quarterfinals at Vero Beach Futures

As most of you have certainly heard by now, Tuscaloosa, Alabama was one of the cities hardest hit by yesterday's tornadoes. The University of Alabama has suspended normal operations, sent students home and delayed graduation ceremonies until August. The athletic department has provided statements from the coaches of all the athletic programs, including men's and women's tennis, on their website. It's difficult to find words appropriate to express the sadness surrounding such a devastating event. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who have suffered during this tragedy.

The 111th Ojai tournament is underway in California, and despite a firm commitment to attend someday, I am again not there. The first two rounds of the men's Open and the Pac-10 men's and women's singles are scheduled for today. USC's Steve Johnson(1) and Bradley Klahn(2) are through to the second round, as is top seed Maria Sanchez of USC, but No. 2 seed Venise Chan of Washington lost her first round match to Cal-Berkeley's Anett Schutting.

In the men's Open, top seeds Gary Sacks and Nima Roshan won their opening round matches, as did ISC and Easter Bowl champion Marcos Giron, who is a No. 5 seed.
For all the draws, see the tournament website, which provides links to the various TennisLink pages.

Steve Johnson is a very popular interview these days, a testament to his Southern California roots and No. 1 ranking. Rhiannon Potkey wrote this story on Johnson in advance of The Ojai for the Ventura County Star, which mentions his plan to take the fall off to play professional events as an amateur before deciding whether he will return to USC for his senior year. The Orange County Register also provides additional insight into Johnson's ambition to play professionally in this article.

UCLA freshman Dan Kosakowski, who is also rumored to be contemplating a professional career after the completion of this season, is not playing the Pac-10 in Ojai, but rather the Pro Circuit Futures in Vero Beach. Today he beat top seed Artem Sitak of New Zealand 6-3, 6-0 to reach the quarterfinals, where he'll meet former TCU star Kriegler Brink, a wild card who is teaching in Vero Beach. Randy Walker has an interesting article on Brink's first round win over Dennis Novikov at World Tennis Magazine. Brink has no illusions about a career as a touring professional.

“This is great playing here in Vero in front of a supportive crowd and it’s a nice place, but I don’t want to go to Mexico or some place where I don’t know anyone and do that for two or three years,” said Brink. “There are thousands of players just like me.”

Most of them don't have the option of Harvard Law, as Blake Strode does, but he doesn't seem too eager to give up on the life of an itinerant tennis player just yet. In this article in TCPalm.com, Strode says he has a spot at law school reserved for 2012.

"We'll see what happens next year. I'll probably be going to law school, but you never know. If I move up, I might just stick with tennis."

Mitchell Frank was finally tested in a match today, with the University of Virginia recruit splitting sets with former Oklahoma standout Andrei Daescu
6-3, 6-7(7). Daescu was down 4-0 in the final set when he retired. Frank plays No. 2 seed Matteo Marrai of Italy in the quarterfinals. Wild card Bjorn Fratangelo took out No. 6 seed Olivier Sajous of Haiti 6-1, 6-1, demonstrating again just how comfortable he is on green clay. The two-time national clay court champion will play No. 4 seed Daniel Garza of Mexico on Friday. Garza beat qualifier Austin Smith 6-0, 6-1.

For complete results, see the Pro Circuit page at usta.com.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Talbert Sportsmanship Award Winners; Smith, Fratangelo, Frank Advance at Vero Beach Futures; Calderone Sets Win Mark at Western Michigan

For some reason the USTA didn't include the names of the winners of the Bill Talbert Sportsmanship awards in the release of the other national award winners who were announced at the semiannual meeting earlier this month, but I've been able to track down the names of the four juniors who won the 2010 awards. Molly O'Koniewski (Southern), Jamie Pawid (Northern California), Ashok Narayana (Texas) and Samuel Shropshire (Middle States) will be invited to attend the induction ceremonies at the International Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island in July to receive their awards. The Northern Cal section had this article on Pawid's selection on their website, and O'Koniewski's award was announced in this Island Packet article from last month, but I don't have any links for the two boys. I hope there is more recognition for them in the months ahead; last year their were videos prepared for the four winners. It's a great honor, and their families, coaches and friends should be proud of their selection.

The first round is complete at the Vero Beach Futures, with several juniors advancing to the second round. Yesterday, qualifier Austin Smith picked up his first ATP point with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Terence Nugent of the Ivory Coast and wild card Bjorn Fratangelo beat Great Britain's Matthew Short 6-4, 7-5. Today, qualifier Mitchell Frank, who surrendered only three games in his four qualifying wins, lost only three to No. 8 seed Blake Strode, taking a 6-2, 6-1 win over the former Arkansas All-American. UCLA freshman Dan Kosakowski advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 6-4 decision over Chris Kwon of the US. Kosakowski will face top seed Artem Sitak of New Zealand Thursday.

Sitak beat 2009 NCAA champion Devin Britton in the first round Monday. Britton is the subject of this feature at TCPalm.com by Ray McNulty, centering on the difficulty Britton has had accumulating enough points to graduate from the Futures level. Although it's logical to think so, given how Britton has struggled, I believe McNulty is wrong when he says: "The pro game, even on the lower-level tours, is noticeably better than what is played at America's top tennis schools."

I've seen both, and watch results closely, and as Dan Kosakowski, who is 20-12 this year playing No. 1, could tell you, the level of competition at the top of Division I is very similar to that found at a Pro Circuit Futures.

Complete results can be found at the Pro Circuit page at usta.com.

And if I can indulge in a little hometown news here, Western Michigan University senior Michael Calderone last week set the Bronco record for career wins with 214. In this feature on Calderone from the Kalamazoo Gazette, the "off-the-junior-radar" status of Calderone is a heartening example for those who are looking to play Division 1 tennis, but don't have the ranking to attract the interest of more prominent schools. Calderone was a three-star recruit who never cracked the TRNet's Top 200 for the class of 2007, but he can now be considered one of the best players in the history of the school.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stephens Downs Oudin in Estoril; Donald Young vs. USTA; Stanford Women, Virginia Men Remain No. 1

Eighteen-year-old Sloane Stephens won three qualifying matches to earn a spot in the main draw of this week's Estoril Open in Portugal, beating Ana Clara Duarte of Brazil, American Madison Brengle and Russian Valeria Savinykh without dropping more than three games in any of the six sets she won. In her first round main draw match today, Stephens was even more impressive against compatriot Melanie Oudin, needing just over an hour to record a 6-2, 6-1 victory.

Stephens has always been comfortable on clay courts; she reached the semifinals and quarterfinals in the Junior Championships at Roland Garros the past two years, won the Italian Open juniors two years ago and won the 2010 Roland Garros doubles title with Timea Babos. On the WTA tour, she beat last week's champion at Fes, Alberta Brianti of Italy, on the clay in Bastad last year, and this year Stephens qualified for the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, and last week won two qualifying matches in Fes. Her next opponent is unseeded Monica Niculescu of Romania, who defeated No. 5 seed Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the US Monday.

Yesterday afternoon, as I mentioned on Twitter, I was invited to join a Patrick McEnroe conference call organized by the USTA. It was only announced on Monday morning, with the topic the French wild card playoff and general USTA Player Development questions, as we are now approaching the three-year anniversary of McEnroe assuming the role as General Manager of Player Development.

The call turned out to be almost entirely about Donald Young and the sentiments contained in the expletive-laden tweet he sent last Friday after losing to Tim Smyzcek in the final of the wild card tournament. I don't want to devote too many more words to this, as I think there's already been more attention given this whole brouhaha than the distribution of a single wild card for a player just barely in the Top 100 warrants. Diane Pucin has reported that Young has apologized to Jay Berger, David Nainkin and, possibly, Patrick McEnroe, so perhaps this will satisfy the USTA and their relationship with the Youngs will continue. But there are always underlying issues that deserve inspection in a controversy such as this one. Greg Couch addresses one of them, entitlement, in his column. Peter Bodo explores the "earning your way" philosophy that the USTA has adopted for its two reciprocal wild cards (and now a US Open wild card too). Stephanie Myles has a look at the always difficult task of meshing federation support with family dynamics from her Canadian perspective.

I was grateful to be given the opportunity to ask the final question of the press conference (my first) and it focused on allocation of resources. I am not one of the people who advocates that the USTA just "blow it up" when it comes to Player Development, but I couldn't help but think, when McEnroe was going into detail about the help the USTA had provided Young over the years, that maybe putting all those eggs in that one basket was unwise, and that spreading that assistance around would have helped avoid a situation like this one, where both parties end up feeling aggrieved.

Here is the link to the transcript of the press conference: ASAP Sports.

The next-to-last weekly rankings prior to the NCAAs were released today by the ITA and Virginia and Stanford retained the top spots. Florida is No. 2 for the women, and USC has returned to the No. 2 spot on the men's side, thanks to their win over UCLA and Tennessee's loss to Florida. Until this weekend's conference tournaments are complete, it's difficult to speculate on which teams might host regionals.

Steve Johnson of USC and Jana Juricova of Cal-Berkeley remain on top of the individual rankings. The final rankings wil be out next Monday, and the NCAA selections are next Tuesday, May 3 for the team, and Wednesday, May 4 for individuals.

It doesn't appear there will be any announcement show on ESPNews this year for the team championships. The ITA release says it will be on NCAA.com at 5:00 for the women and 5:30 for the men.

The complete Campbell's/ITA rankings can be found at the ITA website.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Bowl 14s and 16s Recap, Slideshow, Videos

My recap of the 14s and 16s tournaments at the Easter Bowl is posted today at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

The slideshow is a long one, containing photos of all singles winners, finalists and semifinalists as well as doubles winners and finalists.

Below are the YouTube videos of the 14s champions. The videos of the rest of the singles champions and finalists can be viewed by clicking on the name below.

Gage Brymer
Caroline Doyle
Marcos Giron
Kyle McPhillips
Ronnie Schneider
Kimberly Yee
Mac Styslinger
Gabrielle Andrews
Henrik Wiersholm
Katerina Stewart

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Carolina Women Take ACC Title in Thriller; Gators Sweep SEC Tournaments; Virginia Men Win ACC Again; Pro Circuit Update

The ACC women's tournament specializes in titles decided by tiebreakers in the third set of the last match on.

In 2008 Clemson's Carol Salge beat Reka Zsilinzska of Duke in a deciding tiebreaker to win the title; the following year, Zsilinzska turned the tables, winning a deciding tiebreaker over Miami's Bianca Eichkorn to give the Blue Devils the tournament title. After a ho-hum 6-4 in the third win by Georgia Tech's Irina Falconi gave the Yellow Jackets a 4-3 win over North Carolina last year, it was the Tar Heels who provided the drama this year, with Shinann Featherston defeating Florida State's Noemie Scharl 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(4) at No. 3 singles deliver the 4-3 victory, earning North Carolina its first ACC tournament title since 2002.

There hasn't been nearly as much parity and suspense on the men's side of the ACC, as Virginia today collected its fifth straight ACC tournament title, defeating Duke 4-0. Virginia took the doubles point and got wins from their top three--Shabaz, Domijan and Singh--in singles.

In the SEC, both the Florida men and Florida women claimed the tournament titles, with the men defeating Kentucky 4-0 at home and the women shutting out their hosts Tennessee. Although the men's score looks convincing, the other three matches were in third sets when Nassim Slilam defeated Brad Cox 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 at No. 3 to clinch the title.

In Knoxville, the Florida women got the doubles point and victories from Allie Will, Olivia Janowicz and Alex Cercone to claim its 17th SEC tournament title in its 24-year history.

In the Big Ten, the Ohio State men beat Purdue 7-0 to claim their sixth straight conference title. The Big Ten men's tournament is next weekend in Madison, Wisc.

The Pro Circuit has been rather quiet lately, but this week there is a men's $10,000 Futures event in Vero Beach, a $50,000 tournament for women in Charlotteville, Va. and a $75,000 Challenger for men in Sarasota.

The Vero Beach qualifying draw of 128 was full, a very unusual occurence, but only 11 of the players had ATP points. There are obviously a lot of US juniors in that draw, and those surviving into the final round of qualifying tomorrow are Mitchell Frank (who has lost one game in three qualifying matches), Austin Smith, Andrew Adams and Mitchell Polnet.

In contrast, the Sarasota Challenger was unable to fill its 32-draw, but it has an excellent main draw field, including Ryan Sweeting, Mike Russell, James Blake, Donald Young and Ryan Harrison. Harrison, the subject of this Sarasota Herald-Tribune article doesn't specifically address his decision to skip the USTA wild card tournament last week, but his remarks on the "no shortcuts" mantra leave no doubt about his philosophy. According to the last line of the article, Harrison will be playing doubles with his younger brother Christian, who is recovering from a hamstring injury. Charlie Bricker of World Tennis Magazine also wrote a story about Harrison after interviewing him today.

Mac Styslinger, who mentioned to me at the Easter Bowl that he might play in the Sarasota Challenger, received a main draw wild card and will face Yuichi Sugita of Japan in the first round.

The main draw for Charlottesville has not yet been posted, but Sachia Vickery has reached Monday's second round of qualifying, as has the University of Virginia's Lindsey Hardenbergh, a wild card.

For draws and qualifying results, see the Pro Circuit page at usta.com.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

End of Season College Results: Expected and Unexpected

The Pac-10 doesn't have a team tournament, so yesterday's USC vs. UCLA men's match would decide the title. USC, ranked 3rd in the country, needed the win to make the Stanford vs. Cal-Berkeley match today irrelevant, and they got it. It wasn't easy however, with the 9th-ranked Bruins challenging at every position. The home crowd couldn't stop the comebacks by Trojan freshmen Raymond Sarmiento and Emilio Gomez, and USC earned a hard-fought 4-3 win and its first undefeated conference season since 1987. The top-ranked Stanford women beat Cal-Berkeley 5-2 last Saturday to claim the women's Pac-10 title.

The Big Ten does have a conference tournament, and I will be covering the final of the women's version next weekend in Ann Arbor for the Tennis Recruiting Network. I'm expecting it to be a rematch of today's contest between No. 17 Northwestern and the tenth-ranked Wolverines, which host Michigan won 6-1. With the win, Michigan claimed its second consecutive Big Ten title, with a 10-0 record. Last year, Michigan lost to Northwestern in the conference championship tournament, held at Iowa.

The Ohio State men have clinched a share of the Big Ten title with yesterday's 5-2 win over Indiana, and will claim their sixth straight outright conference title with a victory over Purdue on Sunday.

In the Big-12, the Baylor men took the conference title with a 5-2 win over Texas A&M on Wednesday. The Baylor women won their seventh straight conference title with a 6-1 win over Texas Tech on Thursday.

In the Ivy League, the Cornell men won their first outright title, beating Columbia 6-1. Yale and Dartmouth shared the women's title, with Yale getting the automatic NCAA bid due to a win over Dartmouth last week.

Also, the University of Pennsylvania men's head coach, Nik DeVore, has resigned after four years at the school.

Now for the surprising results, all of which came in the ACC and SEC conference tournaments.

Fifth-ranked Georgia and second-ranked Tennessee shared the men's regular season title, but neither survived today's semifinals in the conference tournament. Georgia lost 4-0 to No. 11 Kentucky and Tennessee was upset by host Florida 4-2.

In the women's SEC tournament final, second-ranked Florida will face No. 14 Tennessee, after the Gators defeated No. 19 Vanderbilt 4-0, and Tennessee topped No. 9 Georgia 4-1 in Knoxville. It is Tennessee's third consecutive trip to the tournament final; they have lost the previous two.

In the ACC, the undefeated and top-ranked Virginia men will play No. 10 Duke in the tournament final. Virginia beat No. 16 Georgia Tech 4-0 in today's semifinal, while Duke avenged its regular season loss to North Carolina by a 4-0 score.

The women's tournament finalists are not yet determined, with the Miami - North Carolina match still in progress, but No. 18 Florida State has earned its spot with a 4-3 win over No. 3 Duke. It is the second straight win for the Seminoles over the Blue Devils.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Bowl Recap; Smyczek and Falconi Win French Open Wild Cards; College Recruiting Overseas and In-state; Stanford vs. USTA Girls Team

My recap of the ITF B1 portion of the Easter Bowl can be found today at the Tennis Recruiting Network. Part two, which looks back on the 16s and 14s, will be posted on Monday, by which time I hope I will have had an opportunity to complete the slideshow and videos.

The videos of the finalists at the International Spring Championships in Carson are up now:
Marie Norris
Nikko Madregallejo
Madison Keys
Bjorn Fratangelo


Irina Falconi and Tim Smyczek earned wild cards into the main draw of the French Open today in Boca Raton, Florida. The top-seeded Falconi defeated No. 3 seed Julia Boserup 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3, saving two match points in the second set tiebreaker, according to this article from Harvey Fialkov of the Sun-Sentinel, who was on site. (I don't think he's correct in presuming the French hold an identical tournament for the wild card they receive from the USTA for the US Open in exchange for this one). No. 2 seed Smyczek battled back to defeat No. 1 seed Donald Young 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. Smyczek, who won the playoff the USTA held for one of the US Open wild cards last year, has never played the French.

Young set off a firestorm immediately after his loss when he posted a profane rant on twitter, which has since been deleted, along with his account. For details on that situation, see TennisNow.com, parental discretion advised.

The ACC and SEC conference tournaments are taking place this weekend, with the men and women both in Cary, NC. They've had rain there today, so the matches are behind schedule. Women's semifinalists are Duke, UNC, Florida State and Miami. The men's semifinalists are Virginia, Georgia Tech, UNC and Duke.

The SEC men and women are at two different sites, with the men in Gainesville and the women in Knoxville. The men's semifinalists are Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, and the winner of tonight's match between Tennessee and Ole Miss. The SEC women's semifinalists are Florida, Vanderbilt, Georgia, and the winner of tonight's match between Tennessee and Kentucky.

Yesterday, Florida's gatorzone athletic website posted this story on Andy Jackson's recruiting focus on in-state players, which includes numbers on international and in-state players on the other men's programs in the SEC.

The Knoxville News Sentinel published this detailed story on the recruiting travels of the Tennessee men's coaches, It also includes the interesting tidbit that neither Rhyne Williams nor JP Smith is on a full scholarship, as the Volunteers split their allotment of 4.5 scholarships.

A new tennis blog on college tennis also crunches some numbers to find the percentage of Americans in the Top 20 men's programs.

This afternoon in Palo Alto, the USTA Girls National Team, fresh from an impressive win over No. 8 Cal-Berkeley yesterday, was very competitive with top-ranked Stanford Cardinal today. The USTA girls won at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, but lost at positions 3 through 6. I believe the USTA won at 7 and 8 singles, but the scoreboard was not functioning properly, so I am only including the results from the first six courts. (UPDATE: I just received the scores from courts 7 and 8 and the doubles, which were played after singles.). Stanford's Nicole Gibbs did not play.


1. Krista Hardebeck(USTA) def. Hilary Barte 6-4, 7-5
2. Gabby Andrews(USTA) def. Mallory Burdette 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(9)
3. Kristie Ahn(Stan) def. Taylor Townsend 6-3, 6-2
4. Stacey Tan(Stan) def. Caroline Doyle 6-2, 5-7, 6-4
5. Veronica Li(Stan) def. Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-2
6. Carolyn McVeigh(Stan) def. Alyssa Smith 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
7. Yuki Chiang(USTA) def. Amelia Herring 6-4, 6-3
8. Mia King(USTA) def. Natalie Dillon 6-2, 6-2

1. Barte/Burdette def. Andrews/Townsend 8-4
2. Tan/McVeigh def. Hardebeck/Brady 8-6
3. Li/Herring def. King/Smith 8-2
4. Dillon/Jennifer Yen def. Chiang/Doyle 9-7

Thursday, April 21, 2011

USTA Announces Teams for ITF Qualifying; Falconi vs. Boserup and Young vs. Smyczek for French WC; USTA National Girls Team Beats Cal

There's a lot of news from the USTA today, starting with the names of the players representing the United States in the qualifying for the ITF team championships. In Merida, Mexico, the round robin regional qualifying is April 29th through May 1, for the Junior Fed and Junior Davis Cup teams (16-and-under), as well as the World Junior Tennis team competition (14-and-under). Last year, the competitions were held in Boca Raton, Fla., with three U.S. teams qualifying; the Junior Davis Cup team fell to Canada, failing to qualify for the 16-team world group. The U.S. Junior Fed Cup team finished fourth, the U.S. boys World Junior Tennis team finished eighth and the girls World Junior Tennis team won, for an unprecendented fourth consecutive year.

This year's teams for the qualifying are:

Junior Davis Cup
Luca Corinteli
Nikko Madregallejo
Spencer Papa
Coach: Dustin Taylor

Junior Fed Cup
Gabrielle Andrews
Brooke Austin
Taylor Townsend
Coach: Kathy Rinaldi

World Junior Tennis boys:
Stefan Kozlov
Frances Tiafoe
Henrik Wiersholm
Coach: Michael Sell

World Junior Tennis girls:
Jessica Ho
Julia O’Loughlin
Maria Smith
Coach: Troy Hahn

Should the U.S. teams qualify next weekend, the makeup of the teams sent to the WJT event in August and the JDC and JFC in September could change, as they did last year. It depends on the health, schedule and form of the players in the months ahead. It is interesting to note that this year's Junior Fed Cup qualifying team is made up entirely of the 1996 birth year players, who won the WJT last year. Two the members of the 2009 championship team--Sachia Vickery and Vicky Duval--who would be expected to be part of the team--are not competing, possibly due to health issues. Brooke Austin was the third member of the 2009 championship team. I assume Samantha Crawford has now worked her way into consideration as well. Last year Krista Hardebeck was not named to the qualifying team, but she played in the World Group finals in Mexico. The complete release can be found at usta.com.

In today's matches at the USTA French wild card tournament, top seed Irina Falconi defeated No. 4 seed Grace Min 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 to advance to Friday's final, where she will meet Julia Boserup. Boserup, the No. 3 seed, beat No. 2 seed Beatrice Capra 6-1, 7-6(5). The men's reciprocal wild card will go to the winner of the Donald Young - Timothy Smyczek match. According to the ATP site, the two have played eight times, all on hard courts, with Young winning six of those matches. I suspect they may have played in a USTA wild card playoff before, but they didn't meet in the past three events the USTA has held for that purpose. Smyczek won the U.S. Open wild card playoff last year.

In the first of two matches between the USTA Junior National girls team and two top college teams, the USTA girls came out on top over the eighth-ranked Cal-Berkeley women. There were a total of 11 matches played, with the USTA girls winning 8 of them. Here are the results:

1. Taylor Townsend/Gabby Andrews(USTA) def. Jana Juricova/Mari Andersson 8-3
2. Annie Goransson/Anett Schutting(CAL) def. Krista Hardebeck/Jennifer Brady 8-5
3. Marina Cossou/Tayler Davis(CAL) def. Mia King/Alyssa Smith 8-6
4. Caroline Doyle/Yuki Chiang(USTA) def. Alice Duranteau/Stephany Chang 8-0

1. Hardebeck(USTA) def. Andersson 1-6, 6-2, 6-2
2. Andrews(USTA) def. Schutting 4-6, 6-1, 6-2
3. Townsend(USTA) def. Goransson 6-3, 6-3
4. Davis(CAL) def. King 6-3, 6-1
5. Brady(USTA) def. Duranteau 2-6, 6-0, 6-2
6. Smith(USTA) def. Chang 6-4, 6-3
7. Doyle(USTA) def. Catie Visico 6-0, 6-0

Tomorrow at 1:30 PDT, the USTA girls will face top-ranked Stanford. There is live streaming available on the Stanford athletics website.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

International Spring Championships Slideshow, Videos

I posted the link to my Tennis Recruiting article on the International Spring Championships on Monday, but here it is again in case you missed it. I still have the videos of the ISC finalists to process, and of course I will be working on the Easter Bowl slideshow and videos later this week, once I complete the articles for Tennis Recruiting Network.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Stanford Regains Top Spot in ITA Rankings, Prepares to Meet USTA Jr Team Friday; Daniel Nguyen and Connie Hsu in College Spotlight; Knoll's Suspension

During my two weeks at the International Spring Championships and the Easter Bowl, I fall behind in reporting college tennis news, although there are always former college players and current college coaches around at one tournament or the other (the NCAA dead period, which does not allow any in-person contact or evaluation, was April 11-14 this year) who are interested in talking about the upcoming NCAA championships.

This year there was plenty of talk about the Campbell/ITA rankings, which saw Florida take the top spot back from Stanford on the women's side last week, even though the Cardinal are still undefeated this season. Stanford regained the No. 1 spot in today's rankings, after defeating then No. 9 Cal-Berkeley 5-2 on Saturday. their last dual match before the first round of the NCAAs on May 14th. There is a more detailed explanation of the tug of war for the women's top spot in the ITA's weekly ranking release, which suggests to me they know college tennis fans are confused by the process.

Stanford will play an exhibition match against the USTA National Junior team on Friday, and that could prove very competitive given the roster that USTA National Coach Kathy Rinaldi has assembled. Expected to travel to the Bay area for matches against Cal (Thursday) and Stanford are: Krista Hardebeck, Gabby Andrews, Taylor Townsend, Mia King, Jennifer Brady, Caroline Doyle, Yuki Chiang and Alyssa Smith.

In the men's rankings, Tennessee's 4-3 win over Georgia in Athens helped them reclaim the No. 2 spot behind undefeated Virginia, and there is a chance the Volunteers and Bulldogs could meet again in the final of the SEC tournament. The Pac-10 doesn't have a team conference tournament, just an individual one in Ojai, so two-time defending champion USC's opportunity to move back up to No. 2 before the NCAAs may hinge on the UCLA match on Friday. The Bruins, who are hosting the Trojans, beat Pepperdine 4-3 last Tuesday, with that win helping boost them to No. 9 in today's rankings.

In the individual rankings, Steve Johnson of USC stays at No. 1 in singles, and Tennessee's Boris Conkic and JP Smith remain at No. 1 in doubles. Virginia's Alex Domijan, who is No. 2, was the subject of this feature in Charlottesville's The Daily Progress.

In the women's rankings, USC's Maria Sanchez has fallen to No. 2 behind 2010 NCAA finalist Jana Juricova of Cal-Berkeley. Juricova and partner Mari Andersson, the 2009 NCAA champions, are No. 1 in doubles.

Complete rankings are available at the ITA website.

I've also fallen behind in my College Spotlight postings. The USTA featured Daniel Nguyen of USC and Connie Hsu of Penn this month.

For those of you who missed the tweet last week, Baylor head coach Matt Knoll was suspended for the Oklahoma dual match, (which Baylor won 4-3 on Saturday) for his conduct in the dual match with Texas on April 6 (Baylor won that match 4-3). The Big 12 conference released this statement on Knoll's suspension.

Monday, April 18, 2011

International Spring Championship Recap; Easter Bowl Blogs; ITF World Junior Rankings

Today is a travel day for me, so today's post will be brief.

My recap of the International Spring Championships, for those of you who were not following the daily coverage, can be found at the Tennis Recruiting Network. ISC Recap

The Easter Bowl press manager Steve Pratt arranged for several players to write blogs for the USTA during the tournament. It's always interesting to read what the competitors have to say about their experience in Palm Springs. Ronnie Schneider graciously agreed to do a second blog after this loss in the 16s final yesterday.

Gabrielle Andrews
Ronnie Schneider
Dennis Novikov
Taylor Townsend
Ronnie Schneider final

The April 18 rankings are out, and that list is always particularly noteworthy for US juniors who are hoping to play at Roland Garros and Wimbledon this summer.

US girls in the top 50 (above that and a player can rely on getting in the main draw of junior slams) are:

Lauren Davis (4)
Sloane Stephens (25)
Grace Min (28)
Madison Keys (38)
Vicky Duval (39)
Christina Makarova (41)
Gabrielle Andrews (50)

Andrews is now the youngest player in the ITF top 50, at 14 years and four months. Easter Bowl champion Kyle McPhillips is No. 51 after her win yesterday.

US Boys in the top 50 are:

Shane Vinsant (19)
Bjorn Fratangelo (23)
Mitchell Krueger (28)
Mac Styslinger (32)
Dennis Novikov (36)
Alexios Halebian (38)
Marcos Giron (41)
Connor Farren (47)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Giron's Winning Streak Reaches 18 After Claiming ITF Easter Bowl Title; Doyle and Brymer are 16s Champions

©Colette Lewis 2011--
Rancho Mirage, CA--

After winning his 18th straight match in the space of three weeks, claiming the Easter Bowl ITF Grade B1 with a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Mac Styslinger, Marcos Giron has given Thousand Oaks, California another local junior hero.

Back in 2005, Thousand Oaks' Sam Querrey won the International Spring Championships and the Easter Bowl in consecutive weeks, propelling him into the main draw of the summer's junior slams, an example that Giron is excited to emulate.

"That would be unbelievable," said the 17-year-old Giron. "To be 20 in the world (ATP) wouldn't be so bad. To do what Sam has done would be just a dream."

Playing with the confidence that comes with winning 17 matches in a row, beginning with the ITF Grade 4 in Claremont, Giron started quickly against the seventh-seeded Styslinger, who was playing in his first Grade 1 final.

Styslinger managed to hold in the first game, but that was the only game he got, as Giron, serving well and playing aggressively, took the next six games.

"He seemed a little nervous out there, not making too many first serves," said Giron. "And I ended up taking advantage of that. I think being in finals the last couple of weeks, I was a little more comfortable."

Styslinger, who is also 17 years old, ended Giron's six game winning streak by breaking him to open the second set, and although he was broken in the next game, he began to play much better.

"I started making more balls, trying to attack a little more," Styslinger said. "And by doing that, maybe he started to make a couple of more errors. I started serving a little better, but my serve was never on throughout the day though. I missed too many first serves I think."

The seventh-seeded Styslinger got a second break of Giron in the fifth game, and served for the set at 5-4, but a untimely double fault at deuce and a very errant forehand cost him a chance to take the match into a third set.

With the temperatures in the mid-90s, Styslinger was hoping that a third set would favor him, with Giron having played nearly every day for three weeks, with only three days off. But Giron found his serve in the 11th game, hitting three service winners to take a 6-5 lead.

Another untimely double fault proved costly to Styslinger in what turned out to be the final game, making it 30-30. Giron decided to press the action on the next point, approaching the net and finishing with a beautiful backhand volley.

"For a little while in the second set, I was a little flat in my game," said Giron. "I have to attack the ball, and when I go to the net, I'm playing great from there. He hit a nice solid shot, fairly low, but it was solid, so I had a good look at it and hit it very clean. It was floating a little bit and then it dropped, so I'm happy that went in."

Giron was also happy when Styslinger hit a forehand long on the next point, ending the match, like his five victories before it, in straight sets.

Asked what he would do next, Giron was quick to answer, "homework."

"I've got to finish my school before I go to the French and Wimbledon," said Giron, who is planning to play the Men's Open division in Ojai, which begins on April 28th.

And obviously satisfied with the state of his game right now, Giron added:

"I'll go play some Challengers right now. I'm so happy that I was able to do this back-to-back, Carson and Easter Bowl, such big tournaments, such great players."

In the girls 16s final that opened the day's action at Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa, Caroline Doyle collected her first USTA gold ball, defeating Kimberly Yee 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

Doyle, a 17 seed, dropped the first game of the match, but won the next four, and although she was unable to serve out the set at 5-3, the left-hander from San Francisco broke Yee to claim the first set.

Up 4-1 in the second set, Doyle appeared to be in complete control, but Yee, the No. 4 seed, lifted her game considerably. The unforced errors disappeared, her potent backhand produced a number of winners and she kept Doyle defending, not dictating.

"She definitely started playing really well, picking it up," said Doyle, 15. "I knew for the third set I really had to pick it up, because she was really being aggressive and taking all my balls and hitting winners or great shots, so I knew I had to do the same thing in the third set."

Doyle was broken to open the third set and fell behind 3-1, but she kept calm.

"I wasn't really worried," said Doyle, who hadn't lost a set in the tournament prior to the final. "I was just trying to go point by point, and stick to the game plan. It would have been easy to say, this isn't working, and go back to standing 20 feet behind the baseline, just getting it back. But I stayed with the game plan and believed it was going to work."

Doyle, who has trained at the USTA's Boca Raton center since January, won the final five games of the match, although the last three all went to deuce. Serving for the match at 5-3, Doyle got down 30-40, but a service winner saved that break point. Yee's normally reliable backhand let her down in the next two points, netting both to give Doyle the win.

Yee, the 2010 Easter Bowl 14s finalist, had needed three hours to defeat top seed Jamie Loeb in the semifinals, and that exertion took its toll.

"Two three-setters in two days in this heat is tough," said the 14-year-old from Nevada, who played Claremont, Carson and the Easter Bowl. "In the second set I felt it really bad. But I came back, and I'm really proud of myself. But I think in the end, I just ran out of gas. I'm tired from these last three weeks, and it hit me in the end."

Prior to winning the Easter Bowl, Doyle's only other USTA championship ball was a bronze, but later in the afternoon, she collected a second gold when she and partner Katrine Steffensen, the third seeds, won the doubles championship, defeating Olivia Sneed and Madison Westby, seeded ninth, 6-3, 6-2.

Doyle will also be traveling back home to the Bay area this coming weekend, when she will play on the USTA Junior National team that is competing in exhibition matches against California-Berkeley and Stanford.

"It's about 45 minutes from my house, and my family may come and watch, so it will be right at home for me."

The boys 16s final also went three sets, with No. 8 seed Gage Brymer defeating No. 2 seed Ronnie Schneider 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.

Schneider demonstrated his willingness to battle by saving four set points in the final game of the opening set, and that tenacity carried over to the second set.

Countering Brymer's powerful forehand, Schneider managed to coax a few errors from Brymer that were absent in the opening set, and he broke in the seventh and ninth games to earn a third set.

"I had to do everything I could to win that second set," said Schneider. "I felt I fought hard the whole time, but it just wasn't happening today."

Brymer, who lost his only set of the tournament in the final, put his level throughout the week at 9 on a scale of 10.

"I did what I wanted to do, and I felt I was focused and mentally steady on the court," said the 16-year-old Brymer, who trains with his father Chuck at the Woodbridge Tennis Club in Irvine, Calif. "I played my game really the way I wanted to play it."

After the 10 minute break between the second and third sets, Brymer came out and reasserted himself, winning the first eight points of the set.

"I felt confident after that, because I knew I was playing the same way as the first set," said Brymer, who collected another break to take a 4-1 lead.

Using his forehand to keep Schneider scrambling, Brymer kept the pressure on in the late stages of the match, and ended it with a perfectly placed forehand winner deep in the corner.

"I have to give him credit, he's got a really nice forehand," said Schneider, 16. "He wasn't really wanting to come in, but he was able to put balls away with his forehand."

Brymer, who won the 14s Winter Nationals in 2009, has been disappointed with his performance in big tournaments since then.

"I've been doing well locally, and in some of the Nationals, but in the super Nationals, I haven't been doing as well as I'd want to," Brymer admitted. "This tournament I did what I wanted to do, so there's a little bit of pressure to do well in the next couple of tournaments. But I like it, and I feel like I'm playing well, so I feel good about it."

The tournament's final point was won by Mitchell Krueger and Shane Vinsant, who won the boys 18s doubles title over Emmett Egger and Styslinger 6-2, 7-5. Krueger and Vinsant, the No. 2 seeds, who won the International Spring championships last week, collected their second straight Grade 1 title, but not without a few tense moments.

Serving for the match at 5-4 in the second, Krueger double faulted on this first match point, and couldn't come up with a first volley when Styslinger returned at his feet on the second, which was a deciding deuce point. At 5-5, Vinsant and Krueger broke Egger and went up 40-0 with Vinsant serving, but those three match points were brushed aside too.

Finally, on the deciding deuce point, which was their sixth match point, Krueger put away a forehand volley to claim the title.

"Anything can happen, and something was about to happen," said Krueger. "I could feel it coming. But I'm glad we could close it out."

"We hadn't been broken in the whole match until we were serving for it," Vinsant said. "And at that point it always gets tougher, you feel the pressure, and they step up. So I'm happy we could close it out."

Sunday's scores:

Boys’ 18s Singles Finals

Marcos Giron Thousand Oaks, CA def. Mac Styslinger (7) Birmingham, AL 6-1, 7-5

Boys’ 16s Singles Finals
Gage Brymer (8) Irvine, CA def. Ronnie Schneider (2) Bloomington, IN 6-1, 3-6, 6-2

Boys’ 16 Singles Third Place

JC Aragone (17) def. Gregory Garcia (4) 6-4, 6-4

Boys’ 16s Singles Consolation

Nikko Madregallejo (5) def. (3) Luca Corinteli 4-6, 6-3, 1-0(10)

Girls’ 16s Singles Finals

Caroline Doyle (17) San Francisco, CA def. Kimberly Yee (4) Las Vegas, NV 6-4, 4-6, 6-3

Girls’ 16s Singles Third Place
Jamie Loeb (1) def. Spencer Liang (2) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4

Girls’ 16s Singles Consolation

Olivia Sneed (17) def. Katrine Steffensen (3) 2-6, 6-3, 1-0(7)

Boys’ 18s Doubles Finals

Mitchell Krueger / Shane Vinsant (2) def. Emmett Egger / Mac Styslinger (4) 6-2, 7-5

Girls’ 16s Doubles Finals

Caroline Doyle / Katrine Steffensen (3) def. Olivia Sneed / Madison Westby (9), 6-3, 6-2

Girls’ 16 Doubles Third Place

Mariana Gould / Gabrielle Smith (9) def. Spencer Liang / Jamie Loeb (1) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4

The 18s TennisLink site is here.

The 16s and 14s TennisLink site is here.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

McPhillips Takes Girls ITF Championship for Second Consecutive Easter Bowl Title; Escobedo and Shishkina Take 14s Gold Balls

©Colette Lewis 2011--
Rancho Mirage, CA--

Kyle McPhillips won the battle of the reigning Easter Bowl champions in searingly hot day at the Rancho Las Palmas resort. The 2010 16s champion won a the ITF Grade B1 title by reversing her previous fortunes with 2010 14s champion Gabby Andrews, taking a 6-4, 6-4 decision that was even closer than that.

McPhillips, seeded 13th, had an opportunity to end the match in something less than dramatic fashion with Andrews serving at 3-5 in the second set. Down 30-40, Andrews was able to survive when McPhillips couldn't get a return in play then or when she had ad in, and Andrews threw in a drop shot winner to assist in the hold.

Serving for the match at 5-4, McPhillips fell behind 30-40, but that was one of only two game points Andrews had, with McPhillips having the advantage five times before she finally converted on the sixth.

As match points came and went, McPhillips took her time, toweling off, seeking any shade from the desert sun in the far reaches of the cavernous stadium court. The temperatures were in the upper 90s, and McPhillips' face was flushed from exertion as she tried again and again to end the match. On a few of the match points, Andrews came up big, especially on the return of serve, but McPhillips made errors that hadn't been much in evidence earlier in the match.

McPhillips reached match point number eight after an overhead winner, and as she approached the net to finish the putaway of the short ball she had drawn, her eagerness and relief were apparent. The usually calm and undemonstrative 17-year-old, responded to her winner with clenched fists and a shout of "yes," having not only repeated as Easter Bowl champion, but also having defeated Andrews for the first time in four attempts.

"I got a little lucky in that last game," said McPhillips, who is from Willoughby, Ohio. "I was frustrated after the first match point, but I think I did a good job of staying calm."

Andrews and McPhillips both agreed that in their previous meetings, McPhillips hadn't served as well, or played as error-free as she did on Saturday.

"She didn't make as many unforced errors, she was really consistent," said the 14-year-old Andrews, seeded ninth. "She had a better serve, a higher service percentage, and they were really good serves. The last three times, she was just hitting kick serves."

McPhillips, who had lost in the quarterfinals at the Claremont ITF and the round of 16 in the International Spring Championships last week, isn't quite sure what clicked for her when she arrived in Rancho Mirage.

"Even though I won last year, the confidence doesn't really stay high," McPhillips said. "I've been winning matches all year and losing matches all year. Every single match, no matter how many matches I've won, it starts over, and I have rebuild my confidence. That's the tough part of this game. You can be the number one seed, but it's not like you have some kind of advantage. You have to start at love-love, just like everyone else."

McPhillips expressed excitement over the US Open junior championship wild card she has earned with the victory, and is she is planning to play a couple of Pro Circuit $10,000 events next month. But first she has to get her mind around what she has just accomplished at the Easter Bowl.

"I'm so happy right now," McPhillips said, her voice rising. "I actually can't believe I won it. It's such a huge tournament."

While McPhillips was collecting her first ITF Grade 1 title and second straight Easter Bowl singles championship, 12-year-old Maria Shishkina erased the disappointment of last year's loss in the Easter Bowl 14s quarterfinals by going all the way this year.

The fifth-seeded Shishkina avenged a recent National Open loss on clay to Katerina Stewart with a 6-1, 6-4 victory Saturday afternoon, using her powerful groundstrokes to keep the eighth-seeded Stewart on the defensive throughout the match.

Taking an early lead in both sets, Shishkina, who trains at the IMG/Bollettieri Academy in Bradenton, Fla., stumbled a bit in the second, hitting a double fault at 5-2, 30-40, to delay the ending she had envisioned since last year's loss to Peggy Porter. Stewart held in the next game to make it 5-4, but Shishkina regained her form in the final game to claim the championship.

"I loved how I played today," Shishkina said, crediting her serve with much of the improvement since the February loss to Stewart. "I wanted to win so badly. I had to stay consistent, because she made some mistakes, but she's a great player, and I just tried to do my best."

Stewart thought the hard courts definitely gave Shishkina an advantage this time out.

"I think on hard courts she can easily take the balls on the rise, better than on clay," said Stewart, who trains at the Next Level Tennis Academy in Miami with her father. "On clay, my style of ball jumps up higher than normal, so it helped me last time."

Asked what makes Shishkina such a good player, Stewart had a ready answer.

"She's not just a regular aggressive baseliner, she's a consistent one. It's hard to make her miss."

In the boys 14s finals, top seed Henrik Wiersholm was waiting for No. 7 seed Ernesto Escobedo to miss, but he waited in vain, with Escobedo powering his way to a 6-4, 6-1 victory.

Escobedo, a 14-year-old from West Covina, Calif., broke Wiersholm in the third game of the opening set, and didn't face a break point during the remainder of the set. Serving for it at 5-4, Escobedo did get down 15-30, but hit one of the tournament's most impressive shots, when he had no time to set up properly, but still was able to angle a powerful overhead smash off a very good lob, a shot that had Wiersholm and most of the spectators shaking their heads in amazement. From there Escobedo held, and in the second set the pattern repeated, with Wiersholm again broken in the third game.

The game of the match came with Wiersholm serving at 1-3 in the second set. There were 12 deuces, countless winners, a few errors, and it was 15 or 20 minutes before Escobedo finally was able to end it by putting away a forehand to get the insurmountable two-break lead.

"I really wanted that game," said Escobedo, who is coached by Ricardo Coronado and Luis Bettes in his hometown. "Because with that game, I knew I was going to win the match. He was going to be tired."

Escobedo faced his only break points of the match in the next game, going down 0-40, but he fought his way back, winning the next five points. And although Wiersholm saved two match points on his serve, he couldn't save a third. Fittingly, it was a forehand winner by Escobedo that ended it, as that shot was rock solid and beyond Wiersholm's capable defenses throughout the match.

"He was cracking the ball out there," said Wiersholm. "He put me on the defensive from the beginning. He hits a big ball and has a big serve, and it's tough to be more aggressive than he was being. I tried to weather the storm, because I know he can get on those winner streaks, where he pulls winners everywhere, but he never really stopped, he just kept going."

Escobedo, who turns 15 in July, was playing in his first USTA National Championship final, but he said he felt no nerves, and he certainly played with great focus and confidence despite the big occasion.

As for a celebration, Escobedo was looking forward to dinner at the Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill, and will begin playing in 16s and 18s divisions in the section.

Wiersholm did get a measure of revenge, winning the boys 14s doubles title with partner Tommy Paul over Escobedo and his partner Eduardo Nava 7-6(5), 6-4. Wiersholm and Paul were the No. 2 seeds; Escobedo and Nava were seeded No. 1.

The boys 16s doubles title went to No. 9 seeds Gregory Garcia and Jonathan Poon, who defeated Christopher Vrabel and Anton Zykov 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(2).

Although Gabby Andrews was not able to repeat in singles, she did get her second consecutive Easter Bowl doubles championship, both with Taylor Townsend, who celebrated her 15th birthday Saturday. Andrews and Townsend, the No. 8 seeds and also winners at the International Spring Championships last week, beat McPhillips and Chanelle Van Nguyen, the No. 4 seeds, 2-6, 6-2, 11-9.

"Being able to defend our title in a bigger age group and on my birthday, that's a pretty good birthday present," Townsend said.

"It was neck and neck," said Andrews, "but me and Taylor usually do well in tiebreakers, so we were able to pull that one out."

The biggest lead in the match tiebreaker was two points, which Andrews and Townsend had at 7-5 and 8-6, but McPhillips and Van Nguyen got it back to 8-8 and saved a match point at 8-9. But Andrews came up with a crucial ace to give her team their second match point, and after a lengthy rally Van Nguyen's netted forehand gave the championship to Andrews and Townsend.

The three singles finals on Sunday--the boys and girls 16s and the boys 18s--feature both new and familiar faces.

Marcos Giron, the boys 16s finalist in 2009, earned his 17 straight win in the past three weeks, defeating top seed and defending champion Bjorn Fratangelo 6-2, 3-0 ret. inj. Fratangelo had needed a trainer for his arm in his quarterfinal match with Emmett Egger, and it continued to give him trouble against Giron, who can find no particular reason for the stamina he's displayed in his run.

"Earlier this week I was a little tired, run-down, but the past few days I've gotten worked on by the trainer, stretched out, and I'm feeling pretty good now," said Giron.

Water, Gatorade and a nightly dose of Muscle Milk is hardly a magic potion, but that's Giron's daily routine, and he'll use it again as he prepares to face No. 7 seed Mac Styslinger for the first time.

"I never really knew of him until Carson, which is weird, because I feel all the USTA guys know each other," Giron said. "I've never played him, and it'll be a fun match. I've definitely got to take care of my serve. If he breaks me, it's going to be tough to break back."

Styslinger, who beat No. 3 seed Shane Vinsant 6-0, 7-6(5) Saturday, is excited about reaching his first Grade 1 final. A semifinalist at Carson last week, Styslinger has had an outstanding 2011, qualifying at the Australian Open juniors, where he reached the quarterfinals.

"I've worked hard in the gym, lost a good bit of weight and I feel really fast on the court," said Styslinger, who trains at the IMG/Bollettieri Academy in Bradenton, Fla. "I can grind with any of these guys."

As for Giron, Styslinger said he has only seen him play a little bit during the past two weeks.

"He's playing well, so I know I'll have to play really well to compete with him, but I think if I play my game, I'll at least give myself a shot to win, so I'm looking forward to it."

The girls 16s finals will feature Kimberly Yee, the No. 4 seed, who reached the 14s final at last year's Easter Bowl. Yee held off a furious comeback by top seed Jamie Loeb to record a 6-7(2), 6-3, 7-5 win in just over three hours. Loeb trailed 5-1 in the final set before winning four straight game to level it, but Yee held on for the win.

Yee will play Caroline Doyle, a No. 17 seed, who had a much quicker day on the singles court Saturday. Doyle defeated No. 2 seed Spencer Liang 6-2, 6-1.

The boys 16s singles final has No. 2 seed Ronnie Schneider facing No. 8 seed Gage Brymer. Brymer took out JC Aragone, a 17 seed, 6-2, 6-3, while Schneider got by No. 4 seed Gregory Garcia 6-2, 6-4.

Saturday's complete scores:

Boys’ 18s Singles Semifinals

Mac Styslinger (7) Birmingham, AL def. Shane Vinsant (3) Keller, TX 6-0, 7-6(5)
Marcos Giron Thousand Oaks, CA def. Bjorn Fratangelo (1) Pittsburgh, PA 6-2, 3-0 Ret (inj)

Girls’ 18s Singles Finals

Kyle McPhillips (13) Willoughby, OH def. Gabrielle Andrews (9) Pomona, CA 6-4, 6-4

Boys’ 16s Singles Semifinals
Gage Brymer (8) Irvine, CA def. JC Aragone (17) Yorba Linda, CA 6-2, 6-3
Ronnie Schneider (2) Bloomington, IN def. Gregory Garcia (4) Poway, CA 6-2, 6-4

Girls’ 16s Singles Semifinals

Caroline Doyle (17) San Francisco, CA def. Spencer Liang (2) Potomac, MD 6-2, 6-1
Kimberly Yee (4) Las Vegas, NV def. Jamie Loeb (1) Ossining, NY 6-7(2), 6-3, 7-5

Boys’ 14s Singles Finals

Ernesto Escobedo (7) West Covina, CA def. Henrik Wiersholm (1) Kirkland, WA 6-4, 6-1

Girls’ 14 Singles Finals

Maria Shishkina (5) Bradenton, FL def. Katerina Stewart (8) Miami, FL 6-1, 6-4

Boys’ 18s Doubles Semifinals

Mitchell Krueger / Shane Vinsant (2) def. Casey Kay / Hunter Reese 3-6, 6-2, 1-0(5)
Emmett Egger / Mac Styslinger (4) def. Bjorn Fratangelo / Alexios Halebian (1) 5-7, 6-2, 1-0(10)

Girls’ 18s Doubles Finals

Gabrielle Andrews / Taylor Townsend (8) def. Kyle McPhillips / Chanelle Van Nguyen (4) 2-6, 6-2, 1-0(9)

Boys’ 16s Doubles Finals

Gregory Garcia / Jonathan Poon (9) def. Christopher Vrabel / Anton Zykov 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(2)

Boys' 16 Doubles (Playoff)

Trey Daniel / Thomas Pura (2) def. Justin Chan / Stefan Menichella (5) 3-6, 6-2, 6-2

Girls’ 16s Doubles Semifinals
Caroline Doyle / Katrine Steffensen (3) def. Mariana Gould / Gabrielle Smith (9) 7-6(1), 6-2
Olivia Sneed / Madison Westby (9) def. Spencer Liang / Jamie Loeb (1) 6-2, 2-6, 6-1

Boys’ 14s Doubles Finals
Tommy Paul / Henrik Wiersholm (2) def. Ernesto Escobedo / Eduardo Nava (1) 7-6(5), 6-4

Boys' 14 Doubles (Playoff)

Artemie Amari / Robert Levine (9) def. Augustus Ge / Robert Seby (4) 6-3, 6-4

Friday, April 15, 2011

Reigning Easter Bowl Champions McPhillips and Andrews Meet for 18s Title Saturday

©Colette Lewis 2011--
Rancho Mirage, CA--

Whether it's 2010 16s champion Kyle McPhillips or 2010 14s champion Gabrielle Andrews, the 2011 Easter Bowl ITF B1 winner will have beaten a reigning Easter Bowl champion after Saturday's final at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort.

The ninth-seeded Andrews avenged her Orange Bowl quarterfinal loss to Grace Min, the top seed at this year's Easter Bowl, taking a 6-3, 6-4 victory in the desert's usual hot and dry conditions.

Andrews overcame not just Min, but also a racquet problem in the final two games of the match.

"At the end, my racquet broke from the throat, it just snapped," said Andrews, 14. "I had two match points (serving at 5-3, 40-15), but I had to take a really bad racquet that my dad strung. The strings were horrible, and I thought, oh my god if I don't win this next game...

Andrews didn't convert on three match points in that ninth game, but, she deadpanned, "I prayed. I recited every verse in the Bible," and her prayers were heard, as she broke Min to end the match.

McPhillips had no revenge, or even a strategy, against her semifinal opponent Allie Kiick. The two had never played, so McPhillips, 17, figured it out as the match wore on. Or not.

"I just had to learn what I was going to do as I saw her play, saw her game," said No. 13 seed McPhillips, who won 6-2, 6-2. "I figured out that her backhand was very solid, but her forehand's good too, so I really wasn't sure where to hit. So I don't know how I won, honestly. If I figured out how I won matches, I would be so much better. I'm sorry, I can't give you much."

Adding to the list of things McPhillips can't figure out is how to beat Andrews. Andrews is 3-0 against McPhillips, having beaten her 6-3, 6-1 in the final of the 18s Winter Nationals and 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the 2010 18s Clay Courts.

"She's going to be a good opponent," Andrews said. "She's going to come out of the gates quick, because she wants to beat me. But I'm going to play my game and focus every point, like how I did in Winter Nationals. That was a good match."

The boys 18s semifinals Saturday will feature two rematches of more recent vintage. Top seed and defending champion Bjorn Fratangelo will face Marcos Giron, who won last week's International Spring Championship over Fratangelo in a three-set final. Fratangelo was pushed in Friday's quarterfinal match with No. 8 seed Emmett Egger, and was down an early break in the final set before taking a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory. Giron, who claimed his 16th straight victory during the past three weeks, beat No. 4 seed Dennis Novikov 6-3, 6-4, converting on his fourth match point after breaking Novikov with the second set score tied at 4.

In the other semifinal, No. 3 seed Shane Vinsant will play No. 7 seed Mac Styslinger. Styslinger rolled past Vinsant 6-2, 6-2 last week in the quarterfinals of the International Spring Championships. Styslinger beat No. 2 seed Alexios Halebian 6-4, 6-2 in Friday's quarterfinal, with Vinsant taking an equally convincing 6-2, 6-3 decision from No. 6 seed Conner Farren.

The boys 16s semifinals will feature No. 2 seed Ronnie Schneider against No. 4 seed Gregory Garcia, and No. 8 seed Gage Brymer faces JC Aragone, a 17 seed. Schneider beat No. 6 seed Nikko Madregallejo 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2, while Garcia also had a tough battle, getting by No. 6 seed Trey Daniel 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. Brymer, who had already beaten International Spring Champion Noah Rubin, downed No. 3 seed Luca Corinteli 6-4, 6-0, and has lost only 16 games in his first five matches this week. Aragone defeated No. 11 seed Spencer Papa 6-4, 6-2. Of the four, only Schneider, an Indiana resident, doesn't live in Southern California.

In the girls 16s semifinals, Kimberly Yee has reached the final weekend for the third straight year. The 2009 14s semifinalist and 2010 14s finalist is the No. 4 seed in the 16s, and she defeated Olivia Sneed a 17 seed, 6-2, 6-2, in Friday's quarterfinals. Yee's opponent, top seed Jamie Loeb, had a much more difficult quarterfinal, needing a third-set tiebreaker to get past Louisa Chirico, a 17 seed, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(2). Chirico, who, like Loeb, is from New York, served for the match at 6-5 in the third set, but at 30-40, Loeb forced an error with a forehand, which would become a theme in the tiebreaker.

Loeb cracked three outright forehand winners and forced two errors with similarly aggressive forehands, taking a 5-0 lead. She finally missed a forehand to give Chirico her first point of the tiebreaker as the changed ends, but Loeb was dialed in, and, after Chirico took point No. 2 with an overhead winner, Loeb converted on her first match point, her strong first serve drawing a return error.

"I gave it all I had in that tiebreaker," said Loeb, who lost in the first round as the No. 11 seed at last year's Easter Bowl. "I took it, I guess, to the next level. I used my forehand, was hitting really well, aggressively. I just swung through the ball. It made a difference; I was able to win those points really quick."

In the other semifinal, Caroline Doyle, a No. 17 seed, will meet No. 2 seed Spencer Liang. Doyle defeated No. 3 seed Katrine Steffensen 6-2, 6-2 and Liang took out No. 6 seed Sivan Krems 7-5, 6-1.


The boys 14s final Saturday will have No. 7 seed Ernesto Escobedo facing top seed Henrik Wiersholm. Escobedo had the much easier semifinal Friday, defeating No. 4 seed Martin Joyce 6-4, 6-1, while Wiersholm needed nearly three hours to overcome Artemie Amari 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.

Escobedo beat Wiersholm 6-3, 7-6 in a 16s National Open match last November, but the 14-year-old is not sure if that is a positive or a negative.

"I know what to expect, but he may go on the court with a different strategy, a different way to beat me", said the hard-hitting Escobedo, who will be playing in his first USTA National Championship final. "It's exciting. I've prepared for a long time to get to this position."


The girls 14s final will feature two Floridians: No. 5 seed Maria Shishkina and No. 8 seed Katerina Stewart, who have already played once this year, with Stewart taking a 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(6) decision in the semifinals of the February 14s National Open in Florida. Shishkina beat unseeded Chloe Ouellet-Pizer 6-2, 6-1, while Stewart outlasted No. 6 seed Julia O'Loughlin 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

The first Easter Bowl champions of 2011 were crowned Friday afternoon, with Lauren Goodman and Emma Stein winning the girls 14s doubles title. Goodman and Stein beat Emma Higuchi and Amber Park 6-1, 6-3 in a battle of No. 9 seeds.

Friday's complete scores can be found below:

Boys’ 18s Singles Quarterfinals
Mac Styslinger (7) Birmingham , AL def. Alexios Halebian (2) Glendale , CA 6-4, 6-2
Marcos Giron Thousand Oaks, CA def. Dennis Novikov (4) Boca Raton , FL 6-3, 6-4
Shane Vinsant (3) Keller , TX def. Connor Farren (6) Hillsborough , CA 6-2, 6-3
Bjorn Fratangelo (1) Pittsburgh , PA def. Emmett Egger (8) Issaquah , WA 6-4, 3-6, 6-3

Girls’ 18s Singles Semifinals
Kyle McPhillips (13) Willoughby , OH def. Alexandra Kiick Plantation , FL 6-2, 6-2
Gabrielle Andrews (9) Pomona , CA def. Grace Min (1) Duluth , GA 6-3, 6-4

Boys’ 16s Singles Quarterfinals

JC Aragone (17) Yorba Linda , CA def. Spencer Papa (11) Edmond , OK 6-4, 6-2
Ronnie Schneider (2) Bloomington , IN def. Nikko Madregallejo (5) Monrovia, CA 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2
Gregory Garcia (4) Poway , CA def. Trey Daniel (6) Leawood , KS 6-4, 4-6, 6-1
Gage Brymer (8) Irvine , CA def. Luca Corinteli (3) Alexandria , VA 6-4, 6-0

Girls’ 16s Singles Quarterfinals
Kimberly Yee (4) Las Vegas, NV def. Olivia Sneed (17) Prairie Village , KS 6-2, 6-2
Jamie Loeb (1) Ossining , NY def. Louisa Chirico (17) Harrison, NY 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(2)
Caroline Doyle (17) San Francisco , CA def. Katrine Steffensen (3) Scarsdale , NY 6-2, 6-2
Spencer Liang (2) Potomac , MD def. Sivan Krems (6) Thousand Oaks , CA 7-5, 6-1

Boys’ 14s Singles Semifinals

Henrik Wiersholm (1) Kirkland , WA def. Artemie Amari (17) New York , NY 5-7, 6-2, 6-3
Ernesto Escobedo (7) West Covina , CA def. Martin Joyce (4) Hinsdale , IL 6-4, 6-1

Girls’ 14 Singles Semifinals
Katerina Stewart (8) Miami , FL def. Julia O'Loughlin (6) Lighthouse Point, FL 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
Maria Shishkina (5) Bradenton , FL def. Chloe Ouellet-Pizer Chapel Hill , NC 6-2, 6-1

Boys’ 18s Doubles Quarterfinals

Casey Kay / Hunter Reese def. Connor Farren / Dennis Novikov (3) 6-2, 6-1
Bjorn Fratangelo / Alexios Halebian (1) def. Nicholas Naumann / Mitchell Polnet (7) 6-4, 2-6, 1-0(1)
Emmett Egger / Mac Styslinger (4) def. Richard Del Nunzio / Trey Strobel (6) 6-2, 6-3
Mitchell Krueger / Shane Vinsant (2) def. Alexander Petrone / Michael Redlicki (8) 6-0, 6-4

Girls’ 18s Doubles Semifinals

Gabrielle Andrews / Taylor Townsend (8) def. Jennifer Brady / Kendal Woodard 7-5, 4-6, 1-0(4)
Kyle McPhillips / Chanelle Van Nguyen (4) def. Lauren Herring / Stephanie Nauta (1) 7-5, 6-3

Boys’ 16s Doubles Semifinals
Gregory Garcia / Jonathan Poon (9) def. Trey Daniel / Thomas Pura (2) 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
Christopher Vrabel / Anton Zykov def. Justin Chan / Stefan Menichella (5) 6-3, 6-3

Girls’ 16s Doubles Quarterfinals

Spencer Liang / Jamie Loeb (1) def. Shannon Hudson / Dasha Ivanova (6) 6-2, 6-4
Mariana Gould / Gabrielle Smith (9) def. Aryn Greene / Adi Milstein 6-1, 7-5
Caroline Doyle / Katrine Steffensen (3) def. Sarah Gong / Maegan Manasse (9) 6-1, 6-3
Olivia Sneed / Madison Westby (9) def. Caroline Brinson / Megen Cochran 6-3, 7-6(3)

Boys’ 14s Doubles Semifinals

Tommy Paul / Henrik Wiersholm (2) def. Artemie Amari / Robert Levine (9) 7-5, 6-3
Ernesto Escobedo / Eduardo Nava (1) def. Augustus Ge / Robert Seby (4) 6-3, 6-3

Girls’ 14s Doubles Final

Lauren Goodman / Emma Stein (9) def. Emma Higuchi / Amber Park (9) 6-1, 6-3

Girls’ 14s Doubles Playoff
Gabrielle Rodriguez / Katerina Stewart (9) def. Ally Miller-Krasilnikov / Julia O'Loughlin (7) 7-6(8), 6-2

Boys' 14 Singles (Silver Draw, 4th Round losers) (Final Round)
David Mitchell Castle Rock, CO def. Tommy Paul Greenville, NC 7-6(8), 7-6(4)

Boys' 14 Singles (Gold Draw, Quarterfinal losers) (Semifinal Round)
Logan Smith Carlsbad , CA def. Chase Colton Davie , FL 6-0, 6-1
Robert Seby Oro Valley, AZ def. Kial Kaiser Saratoga, CA Wo (inj)
Boys' 14 Singles (Gold Draw, Quarterfinal losers) (Final Round)
Logan Smith Carlsbad , CA def. Robert Seby Oro Valley , AZ 6-0, 6-1

Girls' 14 Singles (Silver Draw, 4th Round losers) (Final Round)
Ndindi Ndunda Burke , VA def. Jessica Ho Wexford, PA 4-6, 6-3, 1-0(3)

Girls' 14 Singles (Gold Draw, Quarterfinal losers) (Semifinal Round)
Rebecca Weissmann Loveland, CO def. Maia Magill Studio City , CA 6-4, 6-1
Alexandra Letzt Scottsdale , AZ def. Mehvish Safdar Mason , OH 6-2, 6-3

Girls' 14 Singles (Gold Draw, Quarterfinal losers) (Final Round)
Alexandra Letzt Scottsdale , AZ def. Rebecca Weissmann Loveland, CO 2-6, 6-2, 1-0(6)

Efferding Commits to Texas A & M

Before play begins today at the Easter Bowl, here's a link to my article for Tennis Recruiting Network on blue chip Jeremy Efferding's decision to play for the Texas A&M Aggies.

Power outages have continued into this morning at the Rancho Las Palmas, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the disruptions are less likely as the day goes on.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Min, McPhillips Turn Tables on Crawford and Tsay, Reach Easter Bowl ITF Semifinals

©Colette Lewis 2011--
Rancho Mirage, CA--

Kyle McPhillips lost to Ellen Tsay in January, while less than a week ago, Grace Min was denied a spot in the International Spring Championship final by Samantha Crawford.

On a warm and still afternoon at the Rancho Las Palmas resort, both girls got their revenge in the Easter Bowl quarterfinals, earning a place in the ITF Grade B1 semifinals on Friday.

McPhillips, the No. 13 seed, came away with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Tsay, joking after the match that she was satisfied when she won her third game, since she had lost 6-0, 6-2 to Tsay at the Plantation Pro Circuit qualifying three months ago.

"I got to that third game, and I said, man, if I go out like this, I'll be happy," said the 2010 Easter Bowl 16s champion.

McPhillips used her lob effectively against 2008 Easter Bowl 16s champion Tsay, who is committed to coming into the net, and usually wins the majority of her points there. The lack of wind certainly helped McPhillips execute that strategy, although she said luck also figured into the prevalence of lob winners she hit.

She also pinpointed other factors contributing to the reversal of their previous match's outcome.

"It was my footwork, I think," McPhillips said. "I was more focused today, and more energized."

McPhillips has surprised herself with her showing this year as she attempts to win back-to-back titles.

"I was just hoping I would win a round here," McPhillips said. "I remember two years ago, I got eliminated first round (of the 18s). I'm just glad I got this far, and I'm going to try to keep going."

McPhillips will play unseeded wild card Allie Kiick in the semifinals, which will be their first meeting. Kiick defeated No. 12 seed Kelsey Laurente 6-3, 6-0.

Min had lost to Crawford 6-3, 6-3 on a breezy day in Carson last Saturday, but five days later, she came out on top 6-2, 6-4.

"I think the court in Carson suited her game better, because it was a lot faster," Min said. "I thought today I was moving a lot better, which is key when you're playing a player like her, who can really hit through the court. I was happy with the way I was moving, absorbing her shots."

Min wasn't particularly effective on serve, but neither was Crawford, who in the past two weeks has been able to find a big serve when she needed it. There were four consecutive breaks to end the match, with a tired-looking Crawford double faulting on match point.

"I think she was a little tired, but I was trying not to focus on that," Min said. "I was just worrying about what I had to do. It was a matter of getting balls back and letting her know that I was in for every single point, and it was going to take her a lot to really dominate, like she did in our previous match."

Min's semifinal opponent is reigning Easter Bowl 14s champion Gabby Andrews, the ninth seed, who beat No. 4 seed Stephanie Nauta 6-1, 7-5. Andrews was down 5-2 in the second set before winning the final five games of the match.

In the boys 18s, top seed Bjorn Fratangelo continued his quest for a second straight Easter Bowl title with a 6-3, 7-6(5) win over unseeded Michael Redlicki. Fratangelo lost his break in the second set, but outsteadied Redlicki in the final crucial points of the tiebreaker.

"I had five or six match points, all on his serve," said Fratangelo. "But once I got the one on my serve at 6-5 I took it. Overall, I thought I played well."

Redlicki started well in the tiebreaker, hitting two aces, but with a minibreak in hand, he gave it back with a double fault to make it 3-3 at the change of ends.

Redlicki got another minibreak when Fratangelo hit a backhand wide, making it 5-4 in favor of the 6-foot-7 left-hander, and giving him a chance to take the set with the next two points. Fratangelo got it right back with a forehand winner behind Redlicki. At 5-5, Redlicki missed a sitter of a forehand, jumping up to put it away, but sending it well wide instead. Fratangelo made the most of his chance with a good first serve, which Redlicki couldn't handle.

The only International Spring Champion still left, Marcos Giron won his 15th consecutive match today, beating No. 5 seed Mitchell Krueger 6-4, 6-2. Giron will play No. 4 seed Dennis Novikov on Friday, in a rematch of their first round encounter in Carson.

Top seed in the boys 16s, TJ Pura, fell to No. 11 seed Spencer Papa 7-6(6), 6-4. Girls 16s top seed Jamie Loeb advanced to the quarterfinals when Francis Dean retired trailing 1-0 in the first set.

The semifinals are set in the 14s age division. Top seed Henrik Wiersholm will meet No. 7 seed Ernesto Escobedo and No. 4 seed Martin Joyce will face Artemie Amari, a No. 17 seed.

In the girls 14s semifinals Friday, No. 8 seed Katerina Stewart plays No. 5 seed Maria Shishkina and No. 3 seed Julia O'Loughlin will face unseeded Chloe Ouellet-Pizer.

The 18s TennisLink site is here.

The 16s and 14s TennisLink site is here.