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Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Futures Grind; USTA Announces Participants in Upcoming Fed Cup Camp; Four US Girls and One Boy Make Inka Bowl Quarterfinals; First College Match Day Friday at Florida State

Before I start my live coverage of the ITA Women's Team Indoor here in Charlottesville Friday morning, which will no doubt lead me to fall behind on other junior and college tennis news, here are a few items I definitely don't want to slip through the cracks.

Grantland.com, the ESPN site dedicated to long-form sports and popular culture writing, took a look at the recent participants in last month's Sunrise Futures tournament in Florida, with former Michigan teammates Evan King and Jason Jung, former Florida State star Jean-Yves Aubone and Orange Bowl champion Francis Tiafoe all prominently featured. Pat Harrison and Brad Gilbert also provide insights into the differences between players at the Futures level and those who make it to the very top of the game. An inescapable theme of this piece, and of many others like it, is the minuscule prize money offered at this level, and the decisions, both short-term and long-term, that players must make as a result. It's long, but well worth reading, and it can be found here.

The USTA today announced the young players who will be part of the Fed Cup camp this week in Cleveland. The absence of the Williams sisters and Sloane Stephens has given the US team a decidedly youthful cast, with Madison Keys, Alison Riske, Christina McHale and Lauren Davis taking on Italy, which is also playing without its top-ranked players. For on-site coverage of the Fed Cup this weekend, see the Tennis Panorama website.

The six girls participating in the camp are Amanda Anisimova, Tornado Alicia Black, Hurricane Tyra Black, Elizabeth Halbauer, Sofia Kenin and Alexis Nelson. For the complete press release, see this Google document.

At the ITF Grade 2 in Peru, No. 3 seed Logan Smith has advanced to the quarterfinals in the boys draw, and four US girls have reached the quarterfinals: top seed Dasha Ivanova, No. 2 seed Madison Bourguignon, No. 9 seed Raquel Pedraza and No. 10 seed Ellyse Hamlin. With young Canadians Vanessa Wong and No. 3 seed Katherine Sebov also advancing to the quarterfinals, North Americans are dominating the girls tournament, which is held on red clay.

Draws and results can be found at the ITF Junior website.

If you are interested in watching college tennis, the first College Match Day is Friday, with the Oklahoma men traveling to Tallahassee to take on Florida State.  The match, which will be held indoors, will be streamed on ESPN 3 at 5 p.m. Eastern. For more on the match, see the Florida State website.