Friday, November 13, 2015

Ohio State Freshman Di Lorenzo into National Indoor Semifinals; Rybakov Reaches Futures Semifinal; TIafoe Joins Donaldson, Novikov in Knoxville Challenger Final Four

Ohio State freshman Francesca Di Lorenzo reached the semifinals of the US Open girls championships just over two months ago and she's back in the final four at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center after two wins today at the USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.

Di Lorenzo, an 18-year-old from New Albany, Ohio, defeated No. 3 seed Hayley Carter of North Carolina 6-2, 6-4 in this morning's second round and then took out defending champion Julia Elbaba of Virginia 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.  On Saturday, Di Lorenzo will play No. 8 seed Stephanie Wagner of Miami, who is in the Indoor semifinals for the second year in succession.  Wagner, a senior from Germany, took out Florida's Brooke Austin 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the second round and Vanderbilt's Sydney Campbell 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.  Campbell had eliminated No. 2 seed and 2014 Indoor finalist Maegan Manasse of Cal 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.  

The top half of the women's draw will feature unseeded Joana Eidukonyte of Clemson against No. 7 seed Belinda Woolcock of Florida. Eidukonyte, a senior from Lithuania, beat All-American finalist Sinead Lohan of Miami, the No. 5 seed, 7-6(5), 6-1 in the second round and Mississippi State's Jasmine Lee 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals. Woolcock outlasted Despoina Vogasari of Houston 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 in the second round and defeated unseeded Frances Altick of Vanderbilt 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.

Top men's seed and All-American champion Thai Kwiatkowski of Virginia was beaten in the quarterfinals by in-state rival Joao Monteiro of Virginia Tech 6-1, 7-6(4). Monteiro had taken out No. 5 seed Hugo Di Feo of Ohio State 6-2, 7-5 in the second round. Monteiro's semifinal opponent Saturday will be No. 3 seed Dominik Koepfer of Tulane, who was a semifinalist last year in New York and a finalist at this year's All-American championships.  The senior from Germany defeated 2013 Indoor finalist Jared Hiltzik of Illinois, the No. 8 seed, 7-6(6), 7-5 in the quarterfinals.

The bottom half of the men's draw features two unseeded players: Andrea Goransson of Cal and Chris Eubanks of Georgia Tech. Goransson, a junior from Sweden, defeated No. 4 seed Arthur Rinderknech of Texas A&M in the quarterfinals 6-2, 7-5, while Eubanks took out Tom Fawcett of Stanford 6-3, 7-5. Fawcett had beaten No. 2 seed Cameron Norrie of TCU 6-4, 7-6(8).  Eubanks, a sophomore from Atlanta, defeated Herkko Pollanen of Ohio State 7-5, 6-2 in the second round.

The men's doubles semifinalists are three unseeded teams and No. 2 Brett Clark and Robert Kelly of North Carolina, the All-American finalists. Clark and Kelly will play Alex Lawson and Quentin Monaghan of Notre Dame in one semifinal, with NCAA finalists Hugo Dojas and Felipe Soares of Texas Tech playing New Mexico's Hayden Sabatka and Bart Van Leijsen of New Mexico in the other.

The seeds fared better in the women's draw, where top seeds and All-American champions Manasse and Denise Starr of Cal will play No. 3 seeds Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi of Kentucky.  No. 4 seeds Carter and Whitney Kay of North Carolina will face unseeded Kristina Mathis and Taylor Ng of Dartmouth.

The singles semifinals will be streamed on ESPN 3/WatchESPN beginning at 9 a.m. Complete results, including the consolation draws, can be found on the ITA tournament page.

Eighteen-year-old Alex Rybakov, who will be joining TCU in January, has reached the semifinals of the $10,000 tournament in Niceville, Florida. Rybakov defeated Peter Nagy of Hungary 6-3, 6-2 in today's quarterfinals to reach his fourth Futures semifinal. Rybakov will play wild card Andrew Carter, the former Louisville standout in an attempt to reach his first Futures final.  Jean-Yves Aubone will play top seed Bastian Trinker of Austria in the other semifinal.  Boris Bakalov of Bulgaria and Brian Battistone won the doubles title in Niceville, beating Nick Chappell and Dane Webb 7-6(5), 5-7, 10-6.

In Knoxville, two US teenagers have advanced to the semifinals of the $50,000 Challenger, as has 2012 Kalamazoo 18s champion Dennis Novikov.  Novikov defeated No. 4 seed James Duckworth of Australia 7-5, 6-4 and will play 17-year-old Frances Tiafoe, the 2015 Kalamazoo 18s champion, who advanced when Tennys Sandgren retired with a shoulder injury trailing 6-2, 3-0. Novikov defeated Tiafoe in two tiebreakers in the final of the $15,000 Calabasas Futures back in March, a match I covered in person.

Nineteen-year-old Jared Donaldson defeated Great Britain's Liam Broady 6-4, 6-4 and will face the only non-American in the semifinals, Dan Evans of Great Britain. Evans took out Bjorn Fratangelo 6-4, 7-6(4). None of the semifinalists are seeded.

Robin Anderson and Samantha Crawford moved into the semifinals of the $50,000 Scottsdale tournament, keeping their hopes alive in the USTA's Australia Open Wild Card Challenge, which concludes this week. Crawford defeated No. 6 seed Julia Glushko of Israel 7-5, 6-3, while Anderson, a wild card, beat No 8 seed Veronica Cepede Royg 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.  Crawford faces No. 5 seed Rebecca Peterson of Sweden and Anderson meets unseeded Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland, who won the Waco $50,000 tournament last week. If both Crawford and Anderson win, the final would decide the Australian Open wild card. If that doesn't happen, or if neither of them wins the title, Nicole Gibbs is likely to be the wild card winner. She and Anna Tatishvili are tied right now, but Tatishvili should receive direct entry into the Australian Open with her ranking right around 100.

Nineteen-year-old Louisa Chirico, who reached the semifinals last week at the $50,000 tournament in Nantes, France, has reached the semifinals of the WTA $125,000 event in Limoges, France this week. She will play 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy, who is also unseeded. Chirico defeated No. 4 seed and WTA No. 56 Annika Beck of Germany in the opening round.