Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Billie Jean King Endows New ITA Award Honoring Ann Lebedeff; No Change Atop USTA D-I Rankings; Anisimova Reaches Curitiba $25K Quarterfinals; Nanda Earns First ATP Point

The ITA announced a new award today, funded by legend Billie Jean King.  The Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award honors the Pomona-Pitzer women's coach, who has been an innovative and admired coach for decades, leading teams at Arizona, Cal Poly Pomona, and since 1998, Pomona-Pitzer. The award, which will go to a recent college graduate, recognizes a player who demonstrates "grit (i.e. passion and perseverance towards long-term goals), a commitment to social justice and equality and will have pushed others to be leaders in addition to demonstrating his or her own leadership," according to the ITA's release.  Details on the path to nomination for the award are contained in the release, which also contains quotes from Stanford's two-time NCAA singles champion Nicole Gibbs.

The USTA's Division I team rankings were released today, and unlike the ITA rankings that came out yesterday, the Virginia men retain their No. 1 position. Compared to the computer rankings, this poll showed little movement this week. Below are the top 10, with the Top 25 rankings available here (note the new website design for usta.com).

Men's Top 10: (last week's ranking in parentheses)
1. Virginia (1)
2. Ohio State (2)
3. Wake Forest (3)
4. North Carolina (4)
5. California (5)
6. Oklahoma (6)
7. Texas (9)
8. UCLA (7)
9. Florida (8)
10.Oklahoma State (11)

Women's Top 10:
1. Florida (1)
2. North Carolina (2)
3. Ohio State (3)
4. Stanford (4)
5. Oklahoma State (6)
6. California (7)
7. Auburn (11)
8. Georgia (5)
9. Michigan (8)
10. Georgia Tech (12)

Amanda Anisimova continued to impress on Brazilian clay courts, with the Grade A Porto Alegre champion advancing to the quarterfinals of the $25,000 ITF Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Curitiba.  The 15-year-old Floridian defeated No. 3 seed Montserrat Gonzales of Paraguay, who has a WTA ranking of 198, 6-2, 6-2 in the second round today.  She will play No. 6 seed Daniela Seguel of Chile on Friday.
ITF World No. 1 junior Anastasia Potapova of Russia qualified for the event and yesterday won her first round match over No. 2 seed Teliana Pereira of Brazil 7-6(5), 6-2.

Govind Nanda, who turned 16 last month, earned his first ATP point today, beating fellow qualifier Michael Riechmann 7-6(5), 6-3 in the first round of the $15,000 Orlando Futures. He will face No. 8 seed Peter Nagy of Hungary next. Nanda was one of three US teens to advance through the four rounds of qualifying, but Sam Riffice and Patrick Kypson were stopped short of adding to their ATP point totals with straight-sets losses today. Other Americans advancing to the second round are No. 2 seed Sekou Bangoura, No. 3 seed Tommy Paul and Rhyne Williams.

Americans are also competing this week at the first Futures in Canada this year, a $25,000 event in Gatineau.  Advancing to the second round are qualifiers JC Aragone and Quinton Vega, Ryan Shane, No. 8 seed Ray Sarmiento and Eric Quigley.  Adam El Mihdawy reached the second round, but for some reason played his second round match today, and retired after losing the first set to former Auburn star Tim Puetz of Germany.  Canadian teens Denis Shapovalov[2] and Felix Auger-Aliassime have also moved on, with Shapovalov reaching the third round, Auger-Aliassime the second, with victories today.