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Thursday, June 30, 2016

All Seven US Juniors Competing in Wimbledon Junior Qualifying Reach Final Round; Kirkov, Blanch Reach Doubles Finals at Roehampton; Cohen Chosen as Head Coach for Oklahoma Women; Matt Hill Named Arizona State's Men's Coach

Thursday was an exceptionally successful day at Wimbledon for Americans, with US men and women going 10-4 in the main draw. Wins by qualifier Julia Boserup, No. 27 seed CoCo Vandeweghe, No. 18 seed Sloane Stephens, Donald Young, No. 8 seed Venus Williams, No. 28 seed Sam Querrey, No. 9 seed Madison Keys, No. 18 seed John Isner, No. 27 seed Jack Sock and Steve Johnson winning either first or second round matches.   As positive as those numbers are, the US juniors in Wimbledon qualifying did even better, going a perfect 7-0 in the first round of junior qualifying.

Oliver Crawford(12), Gianni Ross(3), Alafia Ayeni, Nathan Ponwith(10), William Blumberg and Trent Bryde(9) all advanced to Friday's final round of qualifying in Roehampton, as did Chiara Lommer, the only US girl in Wimbledon junior qualifying. Ayeni defeated No. 4 seed Duart Vale of Portugal 7-6(8), 7-5 and Blumberg, a quarterfinalist last year at the Wimbledon Junior Championships, downed No. 14 seed Seppe Cuypers of Belgium 6-4, 6-4. All seven US juniors are just one win away from advancing to the main draw, and a chance to play at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, which only Ponwith and Blumberg have done previously.

The finals are set at the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton, with a Russian girls champion guaranteed. Top seed Oleysa Pervushina will play her doubles partner, No. 4 seed Anastasia Potapova,  after Pervushina defeated Jodie Burrage of Great Britain 7-6(4), 6-4 and Potapova advanced over No. 9 seed Olga Danilovic of Serbia 6-3, 7-6(5).

The boys final is between No. 5 seed Yosuke Watanuki of Japan and No. 4 seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada.  Watanuki advanced to the championship match with a win over No. 6 seed Alex De Minaur of Australia 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(0) while Shapovalov earned his place in the final with a 7-6(5), 6-4 win over No. 2 seed Ulises Blanch.

Blanch did get a win today over Shapovalov however, partnering Vasil Kirkov to a 7-6(4), 2-6, 10-1 victory over top seeds Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime in the boys doubles semifinals.  Blanch and Kirkov will play the unseeded Jurabeck Karimov and Khumoyun Sultonov in the final after the Uzbekistan team defeated Naoki Tajima and Yunosuke Tanaka of Japan 6-2, 6-2.

Pervushina and Potapova, the top seeds in the girls doubles, will play Burrage and Panna Udvardy of Hungary, the No. 7 seeds, in the final. Burrage and Udvardy defeated unseeded Michaela Gordon and Claire Liu 3-6, 6-2, 12-10 in the semifinals.

In college tennis news, 2007 NCAA singles champion Audra Cohen has been named as the new head coach for the University of Oklahoma women's program.  Cohen, who has spent the past five years at the University of North Florida, replaces Dave Mullins, who resigned to return to Ireland.  Just five days after Adam Steinberg decided not to follow through with an initial agreement to become Arizona State's men's tennis coach, the Sun Devils named University of South Florida's Matt Hill to take on the job with the revived program.  South Florida's announcement of Hill's new position is here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Seven US Juniors Begin Wimbledon Qualifying Thursday; Blanch Advances to Roehampton Grade 1 Semifinals as Top Seed Tsitsipas Falls

The draws for the Wimbledon Junior Championships qualifying have been posted, with one US girl and six US boys attempting to win the two matches required to make the journey from the Roehampton courts to those at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

Chiara Lommer is the sole US girl in qualifying. Lommer was still an alternate as of yesterday, but did get in. Michaela Gordon, who was two out of the main draw yesterday, is not in the qualifying draw, so I assume she's in the main draw, joining 10 other US girls.

The US boys in Wimbledon qualifying are Oliver Crawford(12), Gianni Ross(3), Alafia Ayeni, Nathan Ponwith(10), William Blumberg and Trent Bryde(9).  Ayeni was eight spots out of qualifying yesterday, but he did sign in and get in.  Vasil Kirkov was two out of the main draw yesterday and is not in the qualifying draw, so it appears he will be in the main draw with the four other US boys who received direct acceptance.

It was a cold, wet, gloomy day in London from what I gather (it's been beautiful here in Germany), but the quarterfinals of the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton were completed.  Six US boys and girls made the final eight of their respective draws, but only one, No. 2 seed Ulises Blanch, advanced to the semifinals.

All four of the US girls lost to their international opponents. Top seed Olesya Pervushina of Russia defeated Michaela Gordon 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 and will play Jodie Burrage of Great Britain, who beat Taylor Johnson 6-1, 6-2.  No. 7 seed Sonya Kenin lost to No. 4 seed Anastasia Potapova of Russia 6-3, 6-1, and Maria Mateas was beaten by No. 9 seed Olga Danilovic of Serbia 6-1, 6-3.   Potapova defeated Danilovic 6-2, 6-1 in the first round of the Australian Open junior championships this year.

Gordon and Claire Liu have reached the doubles semifinals with a 6-7(1), 6-0, 10-5 victory over Kenin and Monika Kilnarova of the Czech Republic, who were seeded fifth.  Taylor Johnson and Kayla Day, the No. 6 seeds, did not finish their doubles quarterfinal match with top seeds Pervushina and Potapova.

In boys singles, No. 14 seed John McNally lost to No. 6 seed Alex De Minaur of Australia 6-0, 6-1. De Minaur will face No. 5 seed Yosuke Watanuki of Japan who surprised top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. De Minaur defeated Watanuki in three sets last year in the first round at Roehampton.

The only US junior to survive in singles, No. 2 seed Ulises Blanch, had a tough match with Alastair Gray of Great Britain, but outlasted him 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. Blanch will play No. 4 seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada, who defeated Kenneth Raisma of Estonia 6-3, 6-1.  Shapovalov and Blanch met last year in the second round of the US Open Juniors, the Canadian taking a 6-2, 6-2 decision.

The unseeded doubles team of Blanch and Kirkov have advanced to the boys doubles semifinals, beating No. 4 seeds Louis Wessels of Germany and Benjamin Sigouin of Canada 6-3, 3-6, 10-8.  The American pair will play the top seeds and reigning US Open boys doubles champions Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Four US Girls, Two US Boys Reach Roehampton Grade 1 Quarterfinals; Novikov Advances at Wimbledon; McNamara Returns to Yale

Just a brief update while I try to stay awake for another four hours in an attempt to outwit the always devious jet lag.

Unlike Wimbledon, the Grade 1 grass court event this week in Roehampton finished their singles matches before the rain came this afternoon, with six Americans reaching the quarterfinals.  The US girls into the final eight are unseeded Michaela Gordon, who beat No. 6 seed Bianca Andreescu of Canada 3-6, 6-4, 7-5; unseeded Taylor Johnson, who beat British wild card Francesca Jones 6-4, 6-4; No. 7 seed Sonya Kenin, who defeated unseeded Monika Kilnarova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-3 and unseeded Maria Mateas, who defeated British wild card Eden Richardson 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.  All four US girls could make the semifinals, although Gordon is up against top seed Olesya Pervushina of Russia.  In their only previous meeting however, at last year's Wimbledon Juniors, Gordon won 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-2.

Two US boys have reached the quarterfinals, with No. 14 seed John McNally avenging his third-set tiebreaker loss to Ryan Storrie of Great Britain in the LTA Challenge last week, winning 6-4, 6-4 today.  Blanch defeated No. 15 seed Nicola Kuhn of Spain 6-1, 7-6(1). The boys team of Blanch and Vasil Kirkov are into the doubles quarterfinals, as are Gordon, Kenin, Johnson, Morgan Coppoc, Kayla Day and Claire Liu. Several second round girls doubles matches were not finished today.

Today at Wimbledon, former UCLA Bruin Dennis Novikov picked up his second ATP tour-level win, with a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 victory over fellow qualifier and 2011 Wimbledon boys champion Luke Saville of Australia. Oddly enough, Novikov's first ATP tour-level win came way back in 2012, when, with the wild card he earned as the Kalamazoo champion, the 22-year-old beat Jerzy Janowicz of Poland in the first round at the US Open. He plays No. 31 seed Joao Sousa of Portugal on Thursday.  Novikov joins Sam Querrey(28), Jack Sock(27) and Steve Johnson in the second round with Donald Young and John Isner(18) not yet finished with their first round matches.

Danielle McNamara returns to Yale
In college tennis news, Danielle McNamara has returned to Yale as the women's head coach, after one year at Texas in 2014-15.  She was head coach at Yale from 2006-14. For more on her return, see the Yale website.

Monday, June 27, 2016

US Open National Playoffs Complete

I begin my travels to Europe today, so this is an early post.  Below are all the sectional winners of the US Open National Playoffs who have qualified for the National Playoffs at the Connecticut Open in late August.  The national winners of the men's and women's singles receive qualifying wild cards to the US Open; the national winners of the men's, women's and mixed doubles competition will receive main draw wild cards to the US Open. Links to the draws of all the sectional events can be found here. My coverage of the Midwest section's competition for the Tennis Recruiting Network is here.

See Bobby Knight's College Tennis Today chart for the college affiliations(if any) of all the sectional champions.  Also follow College Tennis Today for updates on this week's USTA Pro Circuit events, which include the men's $10,000 Pittsburgh Futures, the men's $25,000 Wichita Futures, and the women's $25,000 tournament in EL Paso.

Men’s Singles: Tyler Hochwalt 
Women’s Singles: Jacqueline Cako   
Men’s Doubles: Joel Kielbowicz & Matt Seeberger   
Women’s Doubles: Priscilla Annoual & Savannah Slaysman   
Mixed Doubles: Jacqueline Cako & Joel Kielbowicz

Missouri Valley   
Men’s Singles: Eric Quigley
Women’s Singles: Sanaz Marand    
Men’s Doubles: James Cerretani & Max Schnur
Women’s Doubles: Gabriela Porubin & Julia Schiller    
Mixed Doubles: Eric Quigley & Keri Wong

Men’s Singles: Patrick Kawka
Women’s Singles: Ena Shibahara    
Men’s Doubles: Patrick Kawka & Trevor Johnson
Women’s Doubles: Katarina Facey & Alexandra Facey   
No Mixed Doubles competition

Men’s Singles: Terrance Whitehurst
Women’s Singles: Ashley Weinhold    
Men’s Doubles: Philip Bester & Peter Polansky
Women’s Doubles: Ashley Weinhold & Caitlin Whoriskey   
Mixed Doubles: Hunter Reese & Caitlin Whoriskey

Men’s Singles: Shawn Hadavi
Women’s Singles: Julia Elbaba
Men’s Doubles: Vaidik Munshaw & Gustavo Loza
Women’s Doubles: Dasha Kourkina & Michelle Sorokko
Mixed Doubles: Alona Bondarenko & Mykola Dyachok

Southern California:
Men’s Singles: Henry Craig
Women’s Singles: Brynn Boren
Men’s Doubles: Ryan Brown & Joseph Rotheram
Women’s Doubles: Jacqueline Cako & Danielle Lao
Mixed Doubles: Jordan Gobatie & Katsiaryna Zheltova

New England:
Men’s Singles: Cameron Silverman
Women’s Singles: Margaryta Bilokin
Men’s Doubles: Joel Rubio Moreno & Benjamin Collier
Women’s Doubles: Veronica Corning & Meghan Kelley
Mixed Doubles: Ellyse Hamlin & Hleb Maslau

Men’s Singles: Martin Joyce
Women’s Singles: Sara Daavettila
Men’s Doubles: Tyler Barr & Austin Barr
Women’s Doubles: Tracy Kuhle & Danielle Wolf
Mixed Doubles: Caroline Hammond Varga & Christopher Varga

Men’s Singles: Hunter Koontz
Women’s Singles: Nika Kukharchuk
Men’s Doubles: Junior Ore & Hunter Reese
Women’s Doubles: Anastasia Revzina & Alexis Merrill
Mixed Doubles: Lauren Bellinger & Eric West

Men’s Singles: Jesse Witten
Women’s Singles: Eva Raszkiewicz
Men’s Doubles: Rong Ma & Wei Yu Su
Women’s Doubles: Sara Tsukamoto & Diana Wong
Mixed Doubles: Katreina Corpuz & Ikaika Jobe

Middle States:
Men’s Singles: Jose Statham
Women’s Singles: Sophie Chang
Men’s Doubles: Andrei Daescu & Costin Paval
Women’s Doubles: Nika Kukharchuk & Alexandra Perper
Mixed Doubles: Andrei Daescu & Anda Perianu

Men’s Singles: Philip Major
Women’s Singles: Elyse Lavender
Men’s Doubles: Andrew Goodwin & Vikram Hundal
Women’s Doubles: Aryn Greene & Ansley Speaks
Mixed Doubles: Alexandra Anghelescu & Danie van den Heever

Men’s Singles:  Eric Rutledge
Women’s Singles: Fernanda Contreras Gomez
Men’s Doubles: Hunter Johnson & Yates Johnson
Women’s Doubles: Kseniya Bardabush & Aleksandra Malyarchikova
Mixed Doubles: Zach Nichols & Millie Nichols

Men’s Singles: Nick Meister
Women’s Singles: Kelsey Laurente
Men’s Doubles: Nick Meister & Eric Quigley
Women’s Doubles: Alexis Nelson & Anna Sanford
Mixed Doubles: Emina Bektas & Evan King

Northern California:
Men’s Singles: Logan Staggs
Women’s Singles: Sara Choy
Men’s Doubles: Dann Battistone & Brian Battistone
Women’s Doubles: Jada Hart & Ena Shibahara
Mixed Doubles: Kaitlyn Christian & Rudolf Siwy

Sunday, June 26, 2016

17 Americans Begin Play Monday at Wimbledon; Seven of 16 US Juniors Bow Out in Roehampton ITF G1 First Round; Smith Takes Bermuda Grade 5; Norrie, Chang win Pro Circuit Titles

Wimbledon begins on Monday, with 11 American women and six American men taking the courts at the AELTC (weather permitting). The women in action are Nicole Gibbs, Madison Keys(9), Louisa Chirico, Madison Brengle, Varvara Lepchenko, Venus Williams(8), Vicky Duval, Irina Falconi, Shelby Rogers, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Samantha Crawford. The US men playing Monday are Sam Querrey(28), Denis Kudla, Jack Sock(27), Bjorn Fratangelo(Q) and Brian Baker.  I am heading to Europe Monday, and will be taking a short vacation in Germany prior to covering the Wimbledon Juniors, so I will not be able to monitor the results as closely as I usually do for a slam when I'm at home and at my computer.  I hope to post with updates on the Roehampton ITF Grade 1, the Wimbledon Junior qualifying and any big college coaching news, but I will not be able to follow the Pro Circuit here in the US like I've been doing the past few weeks.

The Roehampton tournament, which ends on Friday so that the Wimbledon Junior Championships can begin on Saturday, started today, with several seeds falling at their first grass hurdle, including both No. 3 seeds who were this year's French Junior finalists.  The boys No. 3,  Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada, lost to Great Britain's Ryan Storrie 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 and Amanda Anisimova fell to lucky loser Ida Jarlskog of Sweden 6-2, 6-1.  No. 11 seed Benjamin Sigouin of Canada was beaten by former junior No. 1 Casper Ruud of Norway 6-3, 6-2, avenging a loss suffered on clay to Sigouin at the Eddie Herr last December, and No. 8 seed Genaro Olivieri of Argentina lost to Alistair Gray of Great Britain 6-4, 6-2. US boys advancing were No. 2 seed Ulises Blanch, No. 14 seed John McNally and qualifier Gianni Ross. Sam Riffice, JJ Wolf and qualifiers Vasil Kirkov and Trent Bryde suffered first round losses today.

In addition to Anisimova, five other girls seeds were beaten in today's first round. Taylor Johnson defeated No. 10 seed Yuki Naito of Japan 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(6), with Switzerland's Ylena In-Albon beating No. 12 seed Katarina Zavatska and Argentina's Maria Carle downing No. 16 seed Panna Udvardy of Hungary 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4. Wild card Ali Collins of Great Britain beat No. 11 seed Kaja Juvan of Slovenia 7-5, 6-3 and Ludmilla Samsonova of Italy defeated No. 13 seed Mai Hontama of Japan 6-4, 6-4.

Michaela Gordon, Claire Liu, Kayla Day(5) and Maria Mateas join Johnson in the second round, with Alexandra Sanford and Morgan Coppoc losing their openers today.  Mateas was scheduled to play No. 2 seed and French Open girls champion Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland in the first round, but instead got a lucky loser, Daniela Vismane of Latvia.  No. 7 seed Sonya Kenin will have to finish her first round match with Tatiana Pieri of Italy on Monday, the only first round match that wasn't completed today.

At the ITF Grade 5 in Bermuda, top seed Alana Smith, 16, won her first ITF singles title, defeating qualifier Christina Sisti 6-4, 6-4 in the final. No. 8 seed Blaise Bicknell lost in the boys final to Santiago Hinojosa of Mexico 6-4, 6-2.   Robert Hammond won the boys doubles title, partnering El Salvador's Alexander Rushin for a 6-1, 6-4 win over Andy Sun of Canada and Marcus Ferreira. In the girls doubles final, No. 4 seeds Lucia De Santa Ana of Uruguay and Marina Figueiredo of Brazil defeated Sisti and Michelle Sorokko 2-6, 6-3, 10-2.

Cameron Norrie, the TCU rising junior, won the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Tulsa today, defeating 35-year-old Ryan Haviland 6-1, 6-1 in less than an hour.  It is Norrie's second Futures title, with the 20-year-old, who plays under Great Britain's flag, winning a $15,000 Futures last fall in Texas.

At the women's $25,000 event in Baton Rouge, Valeria Solovyeva of Russia won her second title since May, beating Jennifer Elie 5-7, 6-3, 6-0. Solovyeva, a finalist last week in Sumter, will no longer need to qualify for events at this level after less than two months of playing them.

No. 2 seed Kaichi Uchida of Japan won the Rochester $10,000 Futures event, the third singles title of his career, beating Juan Benitez Chavarriaga of Colombia 6-4, 6-4 in the final. The doubles title went to top seeds Hans Hach of Mexico and Gavin van Peperzeel of Australian, who beat No. 4 seeds Uchida and Damon Gooch of South Africa 7-6(5), 6-2. 

In the $25,000 Pro Circuit event in British Columbia, No. 5 seed Peter Polansky of Canada defeated No. 1 seed Jason Jung of Taiwan 6-1, 6-4 to add the singles title to the doubles title he won yesterday.

Eighteen-year-old Hanna Chang, who has been playing both ITF junior and ITF women's circuit events in the past couple of years, won her first title on the professional circuit at a $10,000 event in Korea. Chang, who was unseeded, beat the top three seeds to win the event, defeating No. 1 seed Ji-Hee Choi of Korea 6-2, 6-3 in the final.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Johnson Claims First ATP Title; 16 US Juniors in Roehampton Grade 1 Main Draw; Reynolds to Lead Auburn Men's Program; TCU's Norrie Reaches Tulsa Futures Final

Steve Johnson at 2014 Winston-Salem Open
Steve Johnson, who won four NCAA team and two NCAA singles titles while at USC from 2008-12, captured his first ATP title today at the rain-plagued tournament in Nottingham, England.  The sixth-seeded Johnson, who had reached one ATP final previously at last fall's event in Vienna, defeated No. 2 seed Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 7-6(5), 7-5. Johnson had won in Nottingham in 2013 when it was a Challenger, not an ATP 250, and that win resulted in a Wimbledon wild card. For more on Johnson's breakthrough, see the ATP website.

The ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton begins on Sunday, with nine US girls and 7 US boys in the main draw.  The four US boys that played the LTA Junior Challenge Trophy in Nottingham: JJ Wolf, Sam Riffice, Ulises Blanch and John McNally, are competing, with Blanch the No. 2 seed and McNally the No. 14 seed. Gianni Ross, Vasil Kirkov and Trent Bryde all qualified with wins today.  World junior No. 1 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece is the top seed.

Three US girls are seeded, No. 3 Amanda Anisimova, No. 5 Kayla Day and No. 7 Sonya Kenin. All three played in the Four Grand Slam Nations Challenge in Eastbourne, as did Alexandra Sanford and Claire Liu, also in the Roehampton draw. Michaela Gordon, Morgan Coppoc and Maria Mateas are also competing in the only European warmup event for juniors on grass. World junior No. 1 Olesya Pervushina of Russia is the top seed, with French Open girls champion Rebeka Masarova seeded second.

Shortly after I went to bed last night (trying to get a head start on adjusting to European time), Auburn announced it had hired Bobby Reynolds to head its men's tennis program, replacing the retiring Eric Shore.  Reynolds had been John Roddick's assistant at Oklahoma last year, his first in college coaching. Last year at Kalamazoo, I spoke to Reynolds, a former star at Vanderbilt, about his return to college tennis for this Tennis Recruiting Network article.

The singles finals are set at this week's Pro Circuit events.

At the $25,000 women's tournament in Baton Rouge, Jennifer Elie will take on Valeria Solovyeva of Russia.  Solovyeva, who reached the final last week in Sumter, received a special exemption into the main draw this week, and today defeated top seed Riko Sawayanagi of Japan 6-2, 6-3. Elie got by Raveena Kingsley 6-4, 6-2.

Lauren Herring and Ellen Perez, who had to qualify for the main draw, won the doubles title, beating No. 2 seeds Jamie Loeb and Ingrid Neel 6-3, 6-3.  Herring, who graduated from Georgia in 2015, and Perez, a rising junior there, lost their only set of the tournament in that qualifying match.  It's Herring's first pro doubles title and Perez's second.

At the $25,000 Futures in Tulsa, TCU rising junior Cameron Norrie of Great Britain will face Ryan Haviland in Sunday's final.  Norrie defeated No. 3 seed Tennys Sandgren 6-2, 1-0 retired, while Haviland put an end to the run of Georgia rising junior Paul Oosterbaan 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.

In the semifinals of the $10,000 Rochester Futures, Juan Benitez Chavarriaga of Colombia outlasted No. 7 seed Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-5.  Benitez Chavarriaga will play No. 2 seed Kaichi Uchida of Japan, who beat wild card Thai Kwiatkowski 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.

The $25,000 Futures in British Columbia will feature top seed Jason Jung of Taiwan against No. 5 seed Peter Polansky in Sunday's final. Jung defeated No. 4 seed Finn Tearney of New Zealand 7-5, 6-1, while Polansky eliminated Ray Sarmiento 6-4, 6-4 in today's semifinals. Top seeds Polansky and Philip Bester won the doubles title last night, beating former Illinois teammates Tim Kopinski and Farris Gosea 7-6(2), 6-2.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Zhu Chooses UCLA; Qualifiers Boserup, Novikov, Fratangelo Join 26 Other Americans in Wimbledon Main Draw; Steinberg Returns to Michigan

I don't write many college commitment articles this time of year, but after watching Evan Zhu play this past February at the Plantation Futures and hearing of his subsequent commitment to UCLA a few months later, I was interested to hear how he made his decision. Because he signed this spring and is starting this fall, I also had the option of talking to his soon-to-be coach, Billy Martin, another rarity in my articles of this kind.  Zhu, who earned his first ATP point last week after spending most of 2016 in Futures qualifying, told me why he preferred that path rather than junior tournaments as he prepares for Pac-12 tennis in this Tennis Recruiting Network article.

Qualifying was completed today at Wimbledon, after the draws were revealed this morning.  Three US players earned their Wimbledon main draw debuts: No. 6 seed Bjorn Fratangelo, No. 28 seed Dennis Novikov and unseeded Julia Boserup. Fratangelo defeated No. 22 seed Austin Krajicek in a match that was started on Thursday, 6-3, 6-1, 5-7, 6-3. For more from Fratangelo, who will play Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov in the first round, see the Wimbledon website article (small correction: Fratangelo made the Australian Open main draw this year as a lucky loser). Novikov, who defeated Hiroki Moriya of Japan 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, will be playing in a slam main draw for the second time; the first was back in 2012 at the US Open, when he received a wild card for winning Kalamazoo.  Novikov has drawn fellow qualifier Luke Saville of Australia, who won the Wimbledon boys title in 2011.  Boserup had failed to qualify for a slam 10 times before this week, but she was impressive in her 11th attempt, losing only 11 games total in her three wins. She defeated Austrian Barbara Haas 6-0, 6-4 in 52 minutes today, with the first set only 19 minutes long.  She will play another qualifier, Tatjana Maria of Germany, in the first round.

In addition to those three, 26 other US players--17 women and 9 men--are in the main draw. Remarkably, none open against another American.  The men: Fratangelo, Novikov, Sam Querrey(28), Denis Kudla, Jack Sock(27), Steve Johnson(who reached the final of the ATP in Nottingham with two wins today), Brian Baker, Donald Young, Taylor Fritz, John Isner(18) and Rajeev Ram.

The US women are: Boserup, Serena Williams(1), Christina McHale, Sloane Stephens(18), Anna Tatishvili, CoCo Vandeweghe(27), Alison Riske, Nicole Gibbs, Madison Keys(9), Louisa Chirico, Madison Brengle, Varvara Lepchenko, Venus Williams(8), Vicky Duval, Irina Falconi, Shelby Rogers, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Samantha Crawford.

For all the draws--qualifying, singles and doubles--see the Wimbledon website.

Late this afternoon, Michigan announced that Adam Steinberg, who left Ann Arbor for the Arizona State men's coaching position nine days ago, would be returning to Michigan.  The article on the Michigan website doesn't give much in the way of detail.  The article from the Arizona Republic has a short statement from Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson.

In other college coaching news, Danny Bryan, the LSU men's assistant coach, will be heading to Wichita State as head coach.  The Michigan State women have a new head coach, with Kim Bruno of Northern Arizona taking over for the Spartans.

The semifinals are set in the three USTA Pro Circuit events.

At the $10,000 tournament in Rochester, Juan Benitez Chavarriaga of Colombia will face No. 7 seed Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark, the 2016 NCAA finalist for Ohio State, and wild card Thai Kwiatkowski, a rising senior at Virginia, will meet No. 2 seed Kaichi Uchida of Japan.

At the $25,000 tournament in Tulsa, TCU's Cameron Norrie, who beat top seed Mitchell Krueger today, will face No. 3 seed Tennys Sandgren (Tennessee). In the other semifinal, qualifier Paul Oosterbaan of Georgia will meet Ryan Haviland,(Stanford) who eliminated No. 4 seed Michael Mmoh.  The doubles final was played today, with Dane Webb(Oklahoma) and Nathaniel Lammons(SMU) taking the title over Clay Thompson(UCLA) and South Africa's Rikus De Villiers(Fresno State) 7-5, 4-6, 12-10.

The women's $25,000 tournament in Baton Rouge has Raveena Kingsley, who defeated No. 4 seed Jamie Loeb today, in one semifinal against Jennifer Elie, and in the other semifinal, top seed Riko Sawayanagi of Japan against Valeria Solovyeva of Russia.

Former USC Trojan Raymond Sarmiento is the lone American in the semifinals of the $25,000 Futures in British Columbia, where he will play No. 5 seed Peter Polansky.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Final Round of Wimbledon Qualifying Rained Out; USA Girls Win Maureen Connolly Challenge in Eastbourne; Roehampton Qualifying Starts Friday; Oosterbaan, Dolehide Oust No. 2 Seeds in Tulsa and Baton Rouge

Rain overnight made for soggy courts at Roehampton, the site of the final round of Wimbledon qualifying, and although three matches were in progress when rain again halted play this afternoon, none of the 28 singles matches on Thursday's schedule were completed.   In one of the three matches that did start, all best-of-five men's matches, Bjorn Fratangelo leads Austin Krajicek 6-3, 6-1, 3-3.  Former Texas star Ed Corrie of Great Britain has lost the first two sets in tiebreakers to France's Albano Olivetti.  Friday's schedule is available here.

The annual Grand Slam Nations Cup for junior girls was held in Eastbourne, where the WTA event is taking place, and it too fell victim to bad weather.  Australia ended up winning the event, which is a round robin competition, after today's final day was first started with a shortened scoring format and then abandoned.  The Maureen Connolly Challenge, a competition between the US and Great Britain, was decided in their meeting during this competition, with the US winning 4-2.  The two teams split singles matches, with the US getting wins from Sonya Kenin and Claire Liu, and the US won both doubles matches. The US lost to Australia 4-2, finishing second in the event. Complete, or more accurately, final, results are available here.

The US boys are playing Great Britain in the LTA Junior Challenge Trophy in Nottingham, with the USA taking 7 of 8 matches today. Today's results:

John McNally(USA) def. Jay Clarke(GBR) 6-4, 6-4
Sam Riffice(USA) def. Alastair Gray(GBR) 7-6(6), 6-4
Ulises Blanch(USA) def. Ryan Storrie(GBR) 6-2, 6-2
JJ Wolf(USA) def. Alexis Canter(GBR) 6-1, 6-3
Ryan Storrie(GBR) def. John McNally(USA) 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(6)
Sam Riffice(USA) def. Alexis Canter(GBR) 6-4, 6-2
Ulises Blanch(USA) def. Jay Clarke(GBR) 7-5, 7-6(6)
JJ Wolf(USA) def. Alastair Gray(GBR) 7-6(3), 6-3

Four more singles matches are scheduled for Friday, but even if Great Britain wins them all, plus the two doubles matches on the schedule, the best they can do is tie.

Qualifying begins tomorrow for the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton, the only warmup tournament for the Wimbledon Juniors.  Five US juniors are entered in qualifying: Chiara Lommer, Gianni Ross, Trent Bryde, Vasil Kirkov and Oliver Crawford. Only Lommer is on Friday's schedule, with all four US boys seeded and receiving byes into the final round of qualifying. The main draw will not be out until qualifying is complete Saturday, but the list of wild cards is here.

Several interesting results from the Pro Circuit today, with both No. 2 seeds going down in the men's and women's $25,000 events at the hands of qualifiers. Twenty-year-old Paul Oosterbaan, a rising junior at Georgia, earned his first ATP point in Tulsa yesterday with a win over teammate Walker Duncan. Today he defeated Sekou Bangoura, who won last week's $25,000 Futures in Winston-Salem, 7-6(5), 6-4. Oosterbaan's opponent in the quarterfinals is No. 7 seed Adam El Mihdawy.  Top seed Mitchell Krueger will play TCU's Cameron Norrie, No. 3 seed Tennys Sandgren faces recent Tulane graduate and qualifier Dominik Koepfer and Ryan Haviland meets No. 4 seed Michael Mmoh.

In Baton Rouge, Caroline Dolehide continued her impressive results this month, beating second seed Arina Rodionova of Australia 6-2, 6-3. Dolehide, now 15-1 the past four weeks (including qualifying), will play unseeded Jennifer Elie. All four US players are in the bottom half, with Raveena Kingsley taking on No. 4 seed Jamie Loeb in its other quarterfinal.  Last week in the Sumter $25K, CiCi Bellis defeated Valeria Solovyeva of Russia 6-1, 6-3 in the final. They met again today in Baton Rouge, and three and a half hours later, Solovyeva had her revenge 7-6(5), 6-7(1), 6-3.  Solovyeva will play Australia's Olivia Rogowska and top seed Riko Sawayanagi of Japan faces No. 7 seed Francoise Abanda of Canada.

In the $25,000 Futures in Canada, two US men have reached the quarterfinals.  Top seed Jason Jung(Michigan), now playing for Taiwan, will play Alexios Halebian and Raymond Sarmiento(USC) will face former Illinois star Farris Gosea of Great Britain.

A couple of second round matches are yet to finish at the $10,000 Futures in Rochester, but three US players have advanced to the quarterfinals: wild cards Julian Zlobinsky(Texas) and Thai Kwiatkowski(Virginia), and No. 6 seed Nathan Pasha(Georgia). 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Three US Men, Two US Women Advance to Final Round of Qualifying at Wimbledon; Aljosa Piric Named Men's Head Coach at Miami; Registration for Oracle ITA Junior Masters Underway

The final round of men's and women's singles qualifying Thursday at Wimbledon will feature three US men and two US women, with at least one men's qualifier from the US guaranteed after both Bjorn Fratangelo and Austin Krajicek won.  Fratangelo, the No. 6 seed, defeated Axel Michon of France 6-7(9), 6-1, 6-2, while Krajicek, the No. 22 seed, earned a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over wild card Joe Salisbury to set up the all-American contest in the final round.  Neither player has ever reached the main draw at Wimbledon, adding more drama to Thursday's matchup.

Dennis Novikov is also looking for his first appearance in the main draw at Wimbledon. The No. 28 seed outlasted Uladzimir Ignatik of Belarus 2-6, 7-6(3), 10-8 to move into the final round of qualifying, where the 22-year-old will face unseeded Hiroki Moriya of Japan.

Julia Boserup had no trouble with the two Americans she faced in the first two rounds of qualifying, beating Jennifer Brady 6-2, 6-2 Tuesday and Jessica Pegula 6-2, 6-1 today.  Next up for the 24-year-old is Barbara Haas of Austria, who defeated No. 6 seed Lauren Davis 6-3, 6-3.  The winner of the Boserup - Haas match will make her slam debut, but the 20-year-old Haas has made only one previous attempt, last month at Roland Garros. Boserup, on the other hand, is trying for the 11th time to get through qualifying; she has made the final round three times now, with the previous two times coming in Australia, in 2012 and this year.

Vania King is the other US woman to advance to the final round of qualifying. She defeated wild card Gabriella Taylor of Great Britain 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 today, and will play unseeded Luksika Kumkhum of Thailand for a place in the main draw.

Former Texas Longhorn Ed Corrie received a wild card into qualifying and is just one win away from his slam debut. After beating Tommy Paul 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 in the first round, Corrie ousted No. 10 seed Michael Berrer of Germany 6-0, 6-3 today to reach the final round of Wimbledon qualifying for the first time in five attempts.  He will play unseeded Albano Olivetti of France Thursday.  For more on Corrie's run, see the Wimbledon website.

One of the Power 5 men's head coaching positions was filled today with the announcement that Aljosa Piric would be joining the University of Miami.  Piric, who was the men's head coach at Old Dominion for the past five years, replaces Mario Rincon, whose contract was not renewed after 12 years in Coral Gables.  Prior to taking the Old Dominion position, Piric spent three years as Kenny Thorne's assistant at Georgia Tech.  For more on Piric, see the Miami website.

Last month the ITA announced the Oracle Junior Masters, a series of tournaments for juniors this summer.  Entries are now being accepted for these 12 events, geographically dispersed throughout the country, with all scheduled to take place in August or September. Winners of these events, plus four wild cards, are invited to October's Oracle ITA Masters in Malibu, for a junior competition alongside the collegiate event. Travel, food and lodging vouchers are provided. Entry is by Universal Tennis Rating, and links to each of the 12 events is at the UTR website.  Lisa Stone has more details on these events at ParentingAces.com.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Eleven US Players Advance to Second Round of Wimbledon Qualifying; Five Teens Reach Main Draw in Baton Rouge $25K; College News and Notes

The weather improved today in London, allowing all but one of the first round qualifying matches in both the men's and women's draws to finish.  After the long day had ended, five US men and six US women had advanced to Wednesday's second round, although both Tim Smyczek and Dennis Novikov had the day off after getting their first round matches in on Monday.

Former USC star Daniel Nguyen, playing in his first Wimbledon qualifying, defeated 2010 Wimbledon boys champion Marton Fucsovics of Hungary 6-3, 6-3 and will play Alexander Kudryavtsev of Russia in the second round. No. 6 seed Bjorn Fratangelo topped Ryan Harrison 6-4, 7-5 and No. 22 seed Austin Krajicek outlasted JP Smith of Australia 6-2, 3-6, 11-9. Fratangelo and Krajicek will play each other for a spot in the main draw if Fratangelo beats Axel Michon of France and Krajicek defeats wild card Joe Salisbury, the former Memphis star.
Smyczek's second round opponent is Hiroki Moriya of Japan and Novikov faces Uladzimir Ignatik of Belarus.

In the women's section of eight that featured four Americans, three won, with No. 6 seed Lauren Davis defeating Lesley Kerkhove of Netherlands 6-3, 6-3, Jessica Pegula beating Ysaline Bonaventure of Belgium 6-1, 6-1 and Julia Boserup topping No. 23 seed Jennifer Brady 6-2, 6-2. Pegula and Boserup will meet in the second round, with the winner playing Davis, if Davis beats Barbara Haas of Austria.

Taylor Townsend defeated Olga Savchuk of Ukraine 6-4, 6-4, Vania King eliminated her frequent doubles partner Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 and Robin Anderson ousted No. 12 seed Xinyun Han of China 6-1, 7-6(4). King will play 18-year-old wild card Gabriella Taylor of Great Britain, while Anderson meets another player from China, Lin Zhu. Townsend's second round opponent is also from China, No. 16 seed Ying Ying Duan.

In Wimbledon Junior news, the withdrawal deadline was today, and Australian Open champion Vera Lapko of Belarus is the most notable player to pull out.  Since the initial acceptances, Claire Liu, Morgan Coppoc and Caty McNally have moved into the main draw, putting the number of US girls at 10. The US boys main draw number remains at 4, although eight are now in qualifying.

Qualifying was completed today at the $25,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Baton Rouge Louisiana, with several teenagers reaching the main draw.  Sixteen-year-old Elysia Bolton, playing in her second professional event (her first was qualifying last week in Sumter) advanced to the main draw with a 6-0, 6-3 win over No. 7 seed Jaeda Daniel.  Teens Usue Arconada, Francesca Di Lorenzo, Nicole Frenkel and Caroline Dolehide also earned their places in the main draw, as did former college stars Lauren Herring(Georgia), Giuliana Olmos(USC) and Caitlin Whoriskey(Tennessee).  Japan's Riko Sawayanagi is the top seed, and will play wild card Ronit Yurovsky(Michigan) in the first round. Other wild cards went to Abigail Desiatnikov, Ashley Kratzer and Ella Taylor of Great Britain. Desiatnikov and Kratzer lost their first round matches today.

College tennis may be over, but there's no off-season for news.

Jeremy Feldman, the men's assistant at Wake Forest for the past two years, has taken the head coaching position at UNC-Charlotte.

Tina Samara, who was head women's coach at Wisconsin for the past three years, is taking over at University of the Pacific.  The Big Ten now has two head coach openings, at Michigan State and now at Wisconsin. Oklahoma is the only other Power 5 school with a women's head coaching vacancy, according to Bobby Knight at College Tennis Today.

One of the high-profile assistant positions was filled last week, with Tanner Stump of Mississippi State moving over to Florida to replace Gators men's assistant Mark Merklein, who is leaving coaching.

Former Florida player Spencer Newman and his younger brother Baker Newman, now competing at Vanderbilt, will represent the Bahamas in Davis Cup.

Smith Hinton is transferring from Kansas to Alabama.

The Dartmouth men announced two additions to its team: Charlie Broom of Great Britain and David Horneffer of Wisconsin.

NCAA champion Virginia announced the signing of Ammar Alhogbani of Alexandria, Virginia.

The Tennis Recruiting Network announced its top Division III recruiting classes for women last Friday, with the University of Chicago at the No. 1 position.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Escobedo Wins First ATP Match; Novikov, Smyczek Advance to Second Round of Wimbledon Qualifying; Ten US Women in Wimbledon Qualifying Action Tuesday; Qualifying Complete in Tulsa, Rochester and Canada Futures

Ernesto Escobedo hadn't played a match on grass prior to this month, but he certainly has adapted quickly to the surface. After qualifying for the ATP 250 event in S'hertogenbosch two weeks ago, his first successful ATP qualifying attempt, he lost in the first round to Great Britain's Aljaz Bedene, ranked 58.  This past weekend in Nottingham, Escobedo again qualified for an ATP 250 event and today he  picked up his first main draw ATP win, beating ATP No. 72 Diego Schwartzman 6-0, 6-3 in 48 minutes.  Escobedo, who turns 20 next month, was ranked 399 at the end of last year and will move close to 260 with this recent success. He will play No. 5 seed Sam Querrey Tuesday.

Nottingham was fortunate to get most of its matches in on Monday, but rainy weather allowed only 16 of the 64 Wimbledon men's qualifying matches to be completed today at Roehampton.  Both US men who finished their matches won, with No. 28 seed Dennis Novikov beating wild card Lloyd Glasspool of Great Britain 6-2, 7-5 and No. 14 seed Tim Smyczek defeating Ilya Ivashka of Belarus 7-6(3), 6-2. The other eight US men--Daniel Nguyen, Alex Sarkissian, Stefan Kozlov, Bjorn Fratangelo(6), Ryan Harrison, Austin Krajicek(22), Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe--are on Tuesday's schedule.

Also on Tuesday's schedule are the ten US women who are entered in Wimbledon qualifying: Sachia Vickery, Taylor Townsend, Grace Min, Lauren Davis(6), Jessica Pegula, Julia Boserup, Jennifer Brady(23), Asia Muhammad, Vania King and Robin Anderson.  Unfortunately, Davis, Pegula, Boserup and Brady are all in the same section, so only one of those four can qualify.  Boserup and Brady play each other in the first round.

Qualifying is now complete at the three Pro Circuit events this week in North America.

At the $25,000 Futures tournament in Tulsa, the University of Georgia had three players qualify today and two of them, Paul Oosterbaan and Walker Duncan, will meet in the first round. Nathan Ponwith, who starts school in Athens this fall, will play No. 2 seed Sekou Bangoura, who won the Winston-Salem Futures title yesterday. Mitchell Krueger is the top seed and wild cards went to Emil Reinberg, another Georgia team member, Georgia Tech's Christopher Eubanks, and two local Tulsa players who will begin their college careers this fall, William Genesen (Stanford) and Zeke Clark(Illinois).

The $25,000 Futures in British Columbia this week has attracted quite a few American players, with two qualifiers incoming freshman and two more current Stanford teammates. Spencer Furman(Duke) and Canadian Alexis Galarneaux(North Carolina State) earned a place in main draw, as did Stanford rising sophomore Michael Genender and rising junior David Wilczynski.  Former Michigan star Jason Jung is the top seed.

And finally, at the $10,000 Futures in Rochester, two young players who picked up their first ATP point last week, Evan Zhu and Sebastian Korda, have earned an opportunity to double their number after advancing through qualifying. The 15-year-old Korda will play No. 3 seed Winston Lin, and the 17-year-old Zhu, whom I recently spoke to for an upcoming Tennis Recruiting Network article about his commitment to UCLA, faces No. 5 seed Cameron Silverman.  Wild cards were given to Dennis Uspensky, Thai Kwiatkowski, Julian Zlobinsky and Marcus Fugate. Gavin Van Peperzeel of Australia is the top seed.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Bellis, Fahey, Bangoura, King and Keys Win Titles; Ten US Men Begin Wimbledon Qualifying Monday

All four Pro Circuits events in North America produced US champions, with CiCi Bellis winning in Sumter, Sekou Bangoura in Winston-Salem, Evan King in Buffalo and Kate Fahey in Victoria British Columbia.

Seventeen-year-old Bellis defeated qualifier Valeria Solovyeva of Russia 6-1, 6-3 in the final of the $25,000 tournament in Sumter South Carolina, her first title of 2016 and the fourth of her career.  Nineteen-year-old Kate Fahey, who played No. 3 at Michigan this year as a freshman, earned her first title at the $10,000 tournament in Canada. Her 6-2, 6-1 victory over No. 8 seed Jessica Failla, who played at No. 5 at USC as a freshman, ended a week in which Fahey dropped only one set, to No. 2 seed Alexandra Morosova in the second round.

Fahey wasn't the only Wolverine to claim a title today, with former Michigan All-American Evan King winning his second straight, in two different countries, at the $10,000 tournament in Buffalo.  The second-seeded King, who won a title in Japan last week, defeated top seed Gavin Van Peperzeel of Australia 7-6(4), 6-3 in the final, collecting his fifth career Futures singles title. The 24-year-old didn't drop a set in his five wins.

At the $25,000 Futures in Winston-Salem, top seed Sekou Bangoura won his first title of the year and fourth singles title of his career, beating No. 2 seed Darian King of Barbados 6-3, 6-2 in the final. His last match was the only one all week that didn't go to a third set.

Madison Keys will move into the WTA Top 10 for the first time tomorrow after reaching the final of the Birmingham Premier event, and she went on to claim the title today, beating Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4. The 21-year-old now has two WTA titles, both on grass. Keys is the first US woman to enter the WTA Top 10 since Serena Williams in 1999. For more on today's final, see the WTA website.

For the second week in a row, 19-year-old Ernesto Escobedo has qualified for an ATP event, this time in Nottingham.  He will play Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, and if he wins his first ATP match, he will face Sam Querrey. Taylor Fritz, who picked up his first ATP level win last year in Nottingham, lost to Adrian Mannarino of France in the first round today.

Wimbledon qualifying begins Monday with the men's first round. Ten US men are in the draw: Daniel Nguyen, Alex Sarkissian, Stefan Kozlov, Bjorn Fratangelo(6), Ryan Harrison, Austin Krajicek(22), Tommy Paul, Tim Smyczek(14), Dennis Novikov(28) and Frances Tiafoe.  Fratangelo and Harrison will play each other, with Krajicek also in their section.  Paul and Novikov will both play wild cards and former Texas Longhorns, with Paul taking on Ed Corrie and Novikov facing Lloyd Glasspool.  Monday's scheduled is here.

At the ITF Grade 1 in Berlin, Amina Anshba of Russia ended the 16-match winning streak of French Open girls champion Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland, with the No. 2 seed taking a 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-4 victory over the top seed. The boys title went to No. 3 seed Daniel Altmaier of Germany, who defeated Constant de la Bassetiere of France 6-3, 7-6(4).

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Bellis into Sumter $25K Final; College Sophomores Fahey, Failla Vie for Victoria $10K Championship; Noel, Bauer Win ITF Grade 4 Grass Courts Titles

CiCi Bellis defeated wild card Francesca Di Lorenzo 6-2, 6-4 today at the Sumter South Carolina $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event to reach her second final of the year at that level.  The 17-year-old, seeded No. 3, will face qualifier Valeria Solovyeva of Russia, who defeated wild card Caroline Dolehide 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to reach her second $25,000 final of the year. Solovyeva, 23, won the Naples $25,000 event last month. Bellis, who lost in the semifinals in Naples, reached the final of the $25,000 Surprise tournament in February, losing to Jamie Loeb.

In the Sumter doubles final today, No. 3 seeds Ashley Weinhold and Caitlin Whoriskey defeated No. 4 seeds Loeb and Carol Zhao of Canada 7-6(5), 6-1 for the title. Weinhold and Whoriskey won two titles together, at a $50,000 tournament and a $25,000 tournament last year, and Weinhold won Sumter last year with Alexandra Mueller.

At the $10,000 ITF Women's Pro Circuit event in Victoria British Columbia, two college rising sophomores have advanced to the final, with USC's Jessica Failla and Michigan's Kate Fahey both reaching a final for the first time.  Failla, the No. 8 seed, outlasted top seed Alexa Graham 7-6(9), 4-6, 6-2 in a 3 hour and 15 minute battle, while Fahey had a much less taxing semifinal, beating Lorraine Guillermo 6-1, 6-3 in an hour and 11 minutes.  Fahey, 19, has no WTA ranking, having played in only three main draws on the Pro Circuit. Failla, 18, had been ranked in the 700s earlier this year, and won this year's USTA National Open Hard Courts earlier this month. For more on Failla's background, see this article.

In the two Men's USTA Pro Circuit finals Sunday, the No. 1 seed will face the No. 2 seed for the title.  At the $25,000 Futures in Winston-Salem, top seed Sekou Bangoura will face No. 2 seed Darian King of Barbados. Bangoura defeated No. 7 seed Alex Kuznetsov 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(1), with King advancing with a 5-7, 7-2, 6-0 win over No. 6 seed Peter Polansky.  It's Bangoura's first final of the year; King has now reached three finals in 2016, winning one.

At the $10,000 Futures in Buffalo, top seed Gavin Van Peperzeel of Australia will face Evan King for the title.  King, who won a Futures title last week in Japan, defeated No. 4 seed Tigre Hank of Mexico 7-5, 6-2. Van Peperzeel, who beat Ohio State No. 1 Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark 6-4, 6-1, will be looking for his first Futures title of the year.

In the Buffalo doubles final today, top seeds Kaichi Uchida of Japan and Hans Hach of Mexico defeated former Illinois teammates Farris Gosea and Tim Kopinski 6-2, 6-3.

The ITF Grade 4 International Grass Courts concluded today with the singles finals, with Alexa Noel and Zummy Bauer collecting the titles. Scores have not yet been posted, but tweets indicated that Noel defeated Gabby Price and Bauer downed Fletcher Scott. It's Noel's first ITF title and Bauer's second, with his previous one coming at a Grade 4 in Barbados last year. [Update: Bauer won 7-5, 6-3, Noel won 6-2, 6-2.]

At the ITF Grade 1 in Berlin, Ashley Lahey's run came to end at the hands of No. 2 seed Amina Anshba of Russia 5-7, 6-4, 6-1.  Anshba will face No. 1 seed Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland, the French Open girls champion, who will take over the No. 1 spot in the ITF junior rankings if she wins Sunday.  The boys final will feature No. 3 seed Daniel Altmaier of Germany against unseeded Constant de la Bassetiere of France.

In the doubles finals, unseeded En Shuo Liang of Taiwan and Anri Nagata of Japan beat Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine and Deniza Marcinkevica of Latvia 2-6, 7-5, 10-8 in the girls final. In the boys final, Ryan Nijboer of Netherlands and Ajeet Rai of New Zealand defeated Patrick Kaukovalta and Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 4-6, 6-4, 10-8. None of the four teams in the finals were seeded.

In other ITF junior events, three American girls captured doubles titles. At the Grade 4 in Guatemala, No. 2 seeds Willa Bay Breunich and Jimena Rodriguez-Benito defeated Marina Figueiredo of Brazil and Maria Gabriela Linares de Faria of Venezuela 4-6, 7-6(5), 10-4 for the title.  At the Grade 4 in Tunisia,  Miranda Ramirez and her partner Dalila Said of Egypt, the top seeds, beat No. 3 seeds Mariam Dalakishvili of Georgia and Kseniya Yersh of Belarus 1-6, 6-3, 10-6 for the title.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Thirteen-year-olds Square Off in ITF Grade 4 Grass Courts Final; Lahey into Semifinals at Berlin Grade 1; DiLorenzo, Bellis and Dolehide Reach Semis in Sumter; McEnroe Academy Tryouts Next Saturday

The finals are set for the ITF Grade 4 International Grass Courts in Philadelphia, with unseeded 13-year-olds Alexa Noel and Gabby Price vying for the girls singles title.  Price, a wild card who turned 13 last Saturday, which allowed her to play in her first ITF junior event this week, defeated No. 6 seed Safiya Carrington 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-3 to advance to the final.  Noel, who will turn 14 in September, defeated No. 3 seed Alana Smith 6-1, 6-3 to reach her first ITF junior singles final in her eighth ITF junior tournament played.

The boys singles final will feature No. 3 seed Fletcher Scott against unseeded Zummy Bauer. Scott eliminated qualifier Zane Khan 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, while Bauer downed the only non-US player in either draw, unseeded Lleyton Cronje of South Africa, 6-1, 6-0.

The doubles finals were played Friday, with top seeds Smith and Dalayna Hewitt defeating No. 2 seeds Taylor Bridges and Mimi Levine 6-2, 6-2 in the final.  The boys doubles title went to Richard Ciamarra and Maxwell Freeman, who beat Drew Baird and Sean Sculley  6-3, 6-3 in a championship match between unseeded teams.

At the Grade 1 in Berlin, Ashley Lahey has kept rolling.  The 16-year-old finalist at last week's Grade 1 in Offenbach reached the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-2 win over German wild card Anica Stabel.  Lahey, who received a special exemption into this week's draw based on her performance last week, has yet to drop a set.  She will play No. 2 seed Amina Anshba of Russia in the semifinals. French Open girls champion Rebeka Masarova, who won last week in Offenbach, will play No. 13 seed Wiktoria Kulik of Poland in the other girls semifinal.  Trent Bryde, the No. 7 seed, was beaten 6-2, 6-1 in today's quarterfinals by No. 2 seed Louis Wessels of Germany.

Three of the four semifinalists at the $25,000 Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Sumter South Carolina are teens, with two of them wild cards.  Eighteen-year-old Francesca Di Lorenzo, a wild card, will play 17-year-old CiCi Bellis, the No. 3 seed, in the top half semifinal.  Di Lorenzo defeated Jennifer Elie 6-3, 6-2, while Bellis beat Canadian Carol Zhao by the same score.  Bellis and Di Lorenzo met in the second round of the $25,000 Daytona Beach tournament back in January with Bellis winning 6-3, 6-0.  The other semifinal features wild card Caroline Dolehide against qualifier Valeria Solovyeva of Russia, after Dolehide beat Nicole Frenkel 7-6(4), 6-4 and Solovyeva defeated Renata Zarazua of Mexico 7-6(2), 6-2.  Solovyeva and Dolehide met last month in the semifinals of the Naples $25,000 tournament, with Solovyeva taking a 6-4, 6-4 decision.

The semifinals are set at the $25,000 Winston-Salem Futures, with top seed Sekou Bangoura facing No. 7 seed Alex Kuznetsov and No. 2 seed Darian King of Barbados meeting No. 6 seed Peter Polansky of Canada.
The doubles title in Winston-Salem went to Thai Kwiatkowski  and Jared Hiltzik, who beat Austin Smith and Dennis Uspensky 6-4, 6-2 in another final between unseeded teams. Kwiatkowski, a rising senior at Virginia, now has won back-to-back Futures doubles titles after winning last week with teammate Mac Styslinger. For Hiltzik, the recent Illinois graduate, it's his first professional title.

Three of the top four seeds advanced to the semifinals of the $10,000 Futures tournament in Buffalo New York, with NCAA finalist Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State the only unseeded player in the last four. Denmark's Torpegaard will play top seed Gavin Van Peperzeel of Australia and No. 4 seed Tigre Hank of Mexico will play No. 2 seed Evan King.

At the $10,000 women's Pro Circuit event in Vancouver, rising Michigan sophomore Kate Fahey has reached her first semifinal at that level, and will face former Pepperdine star Lorraine Guillermo for a place in the final.  Top seed Alexa Graham will play USC rising sophomore Jessica Failla, the No. 8 seed, in the other semifinal.  In the doubles final, Guillermo and Kristina Smith, the No. 3 seeds,  defeated the unseeded team of Fahey and Victoria Flores 5-7, 6-1, 13-11, saving a match point at 11-10 in the deciding tiebreaker.

One of my advertisers, John McEnroe Tennis Academy, will be holding a tryout at its Sportime Roosevelt Island location next Saturday, June 25th. Players ages 6-16 are invited to participate in evaluations that could lead to scholarships. There is also an athletic combine camp for those ages 5-10 without tennis experience.  For more details on the tryout and combine, see this press release.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Bryde, Lahey Reach Berlin Grade 1 Quarterfinals; Semifinals Friday at Grass Courts; Pro Circuit Update

Ashley Lahey, a finalist at last week's Grade 1 in Offenbach, and No. 7 seed Trent Bryde have advanced to the quarterfinals at this week's Grade 1 in Berlin.  Lahey, who received a special exemption into the main draw this week, defeated No. 10 seed Lara Salden of Belgium 6-1, 7-6(3), in Wednesday's second round, her second win over Salden in the past two weeks.  Today Lahey defeated Loudmilla Bencheikh of France 6-1, 7-6(3) to set up a meeting with German wild card Anica Stabel.

Bryde defeated No. 9 seed Vlad Dancu of Romania 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 today, and will face No. 2 seed Louis Wessels of Germany in Friday's quarterfinals. None of the US juniors in doubles reached the quarterfinals this week.  Live scoring hasn't been great this week, but it is available at Tennis Ticker.

At the Grade 4 International Grass Courts, 14-year-old qualifier Zane Khan defeated top seed Andrew Fenty 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 to reach the semifinals, where he'll play No. 3 seed Fletcher Scott.  Unseeded Zummy Bauer will face the only non-American left in either singles draw, unseeded Lleyton Cronje of South Africa.

The girls semifinal in the top half of the draw will feature No. 6 seed Safiya Carrington against wild card Gabby Price, playing in her first ITF event, having turned 13 last Saturday.  Another 13-year-old, unseeded Alexa Noel will play No. 3 seed Alana Smith in the bottom half girls semifinal.

Five teenagers have reached the quarterfinals at the $25,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Sumter South Carolina, including four from the United States: wild card Francesca Di Lorenzo, No. 3 seed CiCi Bellis, Nicole Frenkel and wild card Caroline Dolehide.  Mexico's Renata Zarazua is the fifth teen to reach the quarterfinals. Dolehide, who won the Buffalo $10K two weeks ago as a qualifier, today defeated No. 2 seed and WTA 237 Riko Sawayanagi of Japan, and will play Frenkel in the quarterfinals. Di Lorenzo will face unseeded Jennifer Elie and Bellis faces off against Canadian Carol Zhao.

At the $25,000 Men's Pro Circuit event in Winston-Salem North Carolina, three of the four teenagers in the second round lost, including wild card Dennis Uspensky, No. 4 seed Michael Mmoh and Reilly Opelka. The fourth, 19-year-old rising Georgia sophomore Emil Reinberg. Reinberg, a qualifier, beat No. 8 seed Dennis Nevolo, the former Illinois All-American, 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-6(5) in a match that lasted 3 hours and 41 minutes.  Reinberg, who earned his first ATP point on Tuesday, will face top seed Sekou Bangoura in the quarterfinals.  A second qualifier reached the quarterfinals, with Rhyne Williams, in his second tournament back after a year-long injury layoff, defeating former Tennessee teammate and No. 3 seed Tennys Sandgren, last week's champion at the Charlottesville Futures, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.  Sandgren had won their two previous Futures encounters last year.

At the $10,000 Futures in Buffalo New York, both teens who had earned their first ATP points on Wednesday--Sebastian Korda and Evan Zhu--were stopped in today's second round.  Korda, the 15-year-old son of Petr Korda, lost to NCAA finalist Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State 6-1, 6-1, while the 17-year-old Zhu was beaten by top seed Gavin van Peperzeel of Australia 7-6(3), 6-4.  Six of the eight quarterfinalists have collegiate ties: Torpegaard of Denmark, Hans Hach of Mexico, Farris Gosea of Great Britain and Americans Nathan Pasha, Winston Lin and Evan King.

Mackenzie McDonald Signs with Octagon, Leaving UCLA after Junior Year

Octagon, a major sports and entertainment agency, announced today their signing of UCLA's Mackenzie McDonald to a exclusive representation agreement.  McDonald, the 2016 NCAA Division I singles and doubles champion, will forego his senior season at UCLA to begin his pro career.

I spoke to the 21-year-old from Piedmont, California by phone shortly after today's announcement.

"I've done a lot of talking with my family and coaches and everything, and we really think this is the best time for me. I don't think there could be a much better time for me than right now to be going pro and I'm really excited and happy. I definitely feel I'm doing it the right way, with the right people, and I feel really good about the whole situation."

McDonald was a UCLA fan way back in 2006

McDonald, who will be playing the Wichita Futures at the end of the month, said he didn't foresee much change in his summer schedule now that he has signed.

"I have the same amount of tournaments and I was definitely going to play all the Challengers," said McDonald, currently 420 in the ATP rankings.  "Maybe now a couple of more ATP events, possibly, but other than that, the same thing, just working toward the US Open."

I asked McDonald if it was difficult to leave UCLA.

"My years at UCLA have been unbelievable," said McDonald. "I've had such a great time at UCLA and it's always tough to leave somewhere like this. I definitely feel as a human being, I've grown up a lot, going to college. I feel the last two years I've matured a lot, had a lot of experiences off the court and on the court. Dealing with people, with classes, with everything. I'm going to use that to help me when I travel and play pro tennis. I've had some great times, probably some of the best times of my life, playing with a team, winning the Pac-12, we had some great results as a team. It's been fun."

McDonald said most of the improvements to his game in college came from the mental side.

"Physically, I can't say I did too much," McDonald said. "I still do the same amount I did as a freshman. But mentally, for sure. Especially the last year or two, when we played the deuce points, it was mentally tough to win matches like that, because anything can happen. That kind of helped me play every point the right way. It's a hugely different mentality playing on a college team. When I played Oklahoma in the NCAA quarterfinals, I got so nervous, and that's something I don't normally have or show. I was able to come through with that win, but just the feelings and emotions that can come out in college tennis is pretty special, I have to say. And I think that will help me when I'm in tight situations on the circuit."

McDonald said, for all its benefits, the balancing act of a student-athlete requires sacrifices he will no longer have to make.

"It's going to be a lot of weight off my shoulders not having to do school work, not having to commit to the team," said McDonald, who will be working with USTA National Coach Brad Stine at Carson facility. "I can just really focus on myself. I fee like if I do that day in and day out, I feel like things will go well."

As for setting goals for the rest of the year, "It's kind of been in the back of my mind," McDonald said. "I would like to talk to my coach about having concrete goals, but there's nothing I can really say right now. I just want to keep working hard, putting in the work now that I can."

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

My Coverage of Midwest US Open Playoffs; Wimbledon Wild Cards; Steinberg Leaves Michigan to Coach Revived Arizona State Men's Program

As I mentioned on Monday, I spent the day at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, reporting on the four finals of the Midwest section's US Open Playoffs.  The two repeat singles winners, Martin Joyce and Sara Daavettila, told me why they returned, and two families will be traveling to Connecticut for the National Playoffs in August for the doubles competition. Brothers Austin and Tyler Barr won the men's doubles, and the husband and wife team of Christopher Varga and Caroline Hammond Varga, married less than a year, took the mixed doubles title. Read how tennis and the Dave Matthews Band led to their meeting in my article for the Tennis Recruiting Network.

Below is an update of the other US Open Playoffs sectional winners to date, with six more sectional competitions still upcoming.  Bobby Knight has the collegiate affiliations of the winners in this google document.

Men’s Singles: Tyler Hochwalt
Women’s Singles: Jacqueline Cako
Men’s Doubles: Joel Kielbowicz & Matt Seeberger
Women’s Doubles: Priscilla Annoual & Savannah Slaysman
Mixed Doubles: Jacqueline Cako & Joel Kielbowicz

Missouri Valley
Men’s Singles: Eric Quigley
Women’s Singles: Sanaz Marand
Men’s Doubles: James Cerretani & Max Schnur
Women’s Doubles: Gabriela Porubin & Julia Schiller
Mixed Doubles: Eric Quigley & Keri Wong

Men’s Singles: Patrick Kawka
Women’s Singles: Ena Shibahara
Men’s Doubles: Patrick Kawka & Trevor Johnson
Women’s Doubles: Katarina Facey & Alexandra Facey
No Mixed Doubles competition

Men’s Singles: Terrance Whitehurst
Women’s Singles: Ashley Weinhold
Men’s Doubles: Philip Bester & Peter Polansky
Women’s Doubles: Ashley Weinhold & Caitlin Whoriskey
Mixed Doubles: Hunter Reese & Caitlin Whoriskey

Men’s Singles: Shawn Hadavi
Women’s Singles: Julia Elbaba
Men’s Doubles: Vaidik Munshaw & Gustavo Loza
Women’s Doubles: Dasha Kourkina & Michelle Sorokko
Mixed Doubles: Alona Bondarenko & Mykola Dyachok

Southern California:
Men’s Singles: Henry Craig
Women’s Singles: Brynn Boren
Men’s Doubles: Ryan Brown & Joseph Rotheram
Women’s Doubles: Jacqueline Cako & Danielle Lao
Mixed Doubles: Jordan Gobatie & Katsiaryna Zheltova

New England:
Men’s Singles: Cameron Silverman
Women’s Singles: Margaryta Bilokin
Men’s Doubles: Joel Rubio Moreno & Benjamin Collier
Women’s Doubles: Veronica Corning & Meghan Kelley
Mixed Doubles: Ellyse Hamlin & Hleb Maslau

Men’s Singles: Martin Joyce
Women’s Singles: Sara Daavettila
Men’s Doubles: Tyler Barr & Austin Barr
Women’s Doubles: Tracy Kuhle & Danielle Wolf
Mixed Doubles: Caroline Hammond Varga & Christopher Varga

Men’s Singles: Hunter Koontz
Women’s Singles: Nika Kukharchuk
Men’s Doubles: Junior Ore & Hunter Reese
Women’s Doubles: Anastasia Revzina & Alexis Merrill
Mixed Doubles: Lauren Bellinger & Eric West

Wimbledon announced its first round of wild cards, with the remainder coming later this week.

Men's Singles:
1. Liam Broady (GBR)
2. Dustin Brown (GER)
3. Radek Stepanek (CZE)
4. Alex Ward (GBR)
5. James Ward (GBR)
6. TBA
7. TBA
8. TBA

Women's Singles:
1. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)
2. Marina Melnikova (RUS)
3. Tara Moore (GBR)
4. Laura Robson (GBR)
5. Katie Swan (GBR)
6. TBA
7. TBA
8. TBA

Men's Qualifying Singles:
1. Ed Corrie (GBR)
2. Lloyd Glasspool (GBR)
3. Wild card Play-off place
4. Wild card Play-off place
5. TBA
6. TBA
7. TBA
8. TBA
9. TBA

Women's Qualifying Singles:
1. Ashleigh Barty (AUS)
2. Freya Christie (GBR)
3. Harriet Dart (GBR)
4. Katy Dunne (GBR)
5. Gabi Taylor (GBR)
6. Wild card Play-off place
7. Wild card Play-off place
8. TBA

The junior champions have traditionally been offered wild cards, usually into qualifying, so we'll see later this week if that happens this year for Reilly Opelka and Sofya Zhuk of Russia.

The complete release, which includes doubles wild cards, is here.

I must admit I was surprised to read today that Adam Steinberg, who was the men's coach at Michigan for the past two years after a 12-year stint at Pepperdine, is leaving Ann Arbor for Tempe, Arizona. Arizona State, which announced its reinstatement of men's tennis last month, is expected to field a men's team for the 2017-18 season, so Steinberg will spend the next year recruiting, not coaching.  Michigan now joins Oklahoma, Auburn and Miami as Power 5 schools looking for a men's head coach.  The Michigan release is here; the Arizona State release is here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

ITA All-Star Team Announced; College Signings; Top Seed Olivieri Out at Berlin Grade 1; Qualifying Complete at Sumter $25K; New Balance High School Tournament Registration

The ITA announced its 2016 All-Star team today, which includes its Players of the Year. NCAA champions Danielle Collins of Virginia and Mackenzie McDonald of UCLA received those awards, with the members of the team as follows:

Division I:
Mackenzie McDonald, UCLA
Dominik Koepfer, Tulane
Mikael Torpegaard, Ohio State
Mackenzie McDonald and Martin Redlicki, UCLA
Hugo Dojas and Felipe Soares, Texas Tech
Arthur Rinderknech and Jackson Withrow, Texas A&M

Danielle Collins, Virginia
Francesca Di Lorenzo, Ohio State
Hayley Carter, North Carolina
Brooke Austin and Kourtney Keegan, Florida
Hayley Carter and Whitney Kay, North Carolina
Adila Sutjiadi and Mami Adachi, Kentucky

Division II:
Thibaud Berland, Hawaii Pacific
Alberto Barroso-Campos and Alex Theiler, Saint Leo
Dallas Zhang, BYU-Hawaii
Dallas Zhang and Summer Wen, BYU-Hawaii

Division III:
Skyler Butts, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Sam Geier and Tristan Kaye, Kenyon
Eudice Chong, Wesleyan
Juli Raventos and Linda Shin, Williams

Kevin Konfederak, Georgia Gwinnett
Jordan Cox and Kevin Konfederak, Georgia Gwinnett
Valeria Podda, Georgia Gwinnett
Valeria Podda and Sophie Feller, Georgia Gwinnett

Guy Iradukunda, Seminole State College
Ismael Mzai and Guy Iradukunda, Seminole State College
Gabrielle Andrews, Tyler Junior College
Macarena Olivares and Megane Blanco, ASA Miami

These players, along with the Arthur Ashe National Leadership and Sportsmanship Award winners, will be honored in New York August 25-27 as part of the Oracle/ITA Arthur Ashe All-Star Weekend prior to the start of the US Open.  The ITA release with details on each player's accomplishments can be found here.

The Division I signings for 2016 are continuing at a steady pace.

Daniel Bennett of Great Britain has signed with Louisville.
Alexis Galarneau of Canada has signed with North Carolina State.

Gerardo Penchyna and Eric Rutledge, a transfer from Wake Forest, have signed with Rice.

The big news today in women's Division I tennis is that blue chip Makenna Jones, who signed an NLI to attend Alabama last fall, will instead be playing for North Carolina.

Juliane Triebe of Germany and Georgia Lawson of Great Britain have signed with Fresno State.

Luca Fabian of Hungary has signed with Georgia Tech.

Priya Niezgoda and Wendy Zhang, a transfer from Miami, have signed with Rice.

Rosie Cheng of New Zealand, Charlotte Madson and Natalia Perry have signed with William and Mary.

Madison Battaglia and Opala Dhingra are the newest members of the Yale team.

In college coaching news, James Wilson, the men's assistant at Texas Tech, is the new head coach at Utah State, replacing Clancy Shields, now at Arizona.

In the first round at the ITF Grade 1 in Berlin, top seed Genaro Olivieri of Argentina was beaten by Joao Reis da Silva of Brazil 7-5, 7-5.  Eight of the 11 US juniors in the draw advanced to the second round: Alafia Ayeni, Alexandre Rotsaert (11), Brian Cernoch, Kyrylo Tsygura, Trent Bryde(7), Victoria Emma, Ashley Lahey and Chiara Lommer.

Qualifying is complete at the $25,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Sumter South Carolina, with Georgia Tech's Johnnise Renaud, Caitlin Whoriskey(Tennessee), Usue Arconada, Guiliana Olmos(USC), Jaeda Daniel, Luisa Stefani(Pepperdine), Nicole Mossmer and Valeria Solovyeva earning places in the main draw. Wild cards went to UNC's Hayley Carter (who lost today), Clemson's Ayan Broomfield of Canada(who won today), Ohio State's Francesca Di Lorenzo and Caroline Dolehide (both of whom play on Wednesday).  Arina Rodionova of Australia is the top seed.

The third annual New Balance High School Tennis Championships are next month in Cambridge Massachusetts, with registration open until June 26th.  Players who have competed for their high school in 2015-2016 are eligible to enter.  Click on the advertisement to the left to find out more.