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Friday, March 3, 2017

February Aces; Young Americans Receive BNP Paribas Open Wild Cards; Easter Bowl ITF Acceptances; Anisimova, Potapova Advance to Semifinals at $25K in Brazil; Top Four Seeds Reach Semifinals at Women's D-III Team Indoor

My monthly column for the Tennis Recruiting Network on February's top performances is up, with the National Indoor Team Champions leading off.  Also featured are three young Americans who won titles on South American clay, as well as plenty of young girls from all over the globe who won Pro Circuit events.

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells announced its main draw wild cards today, with all but one of them going to Americans.  Receiving the women's wild cards, from the youngest to the oldest, are Kayla Day, Taylor Townsend, Jennifer Brady, Danielle Collins, Nicole Gibbs, Irina Falconi and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.  The international player receiving a wild card is Donna Vekic of Croatia.

The men's wild cards, again listed youngest first, are Stefan Kozlov, Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka and Bjorn Fratangelo.

The qualifying wild cards have not yet been released, but two of them will be known on Saturday, when the finals of the BNP Paribas Challenge are held.  Top men's seed Marcos Giron beat No. 4 seed Clay Thompson 6-4, 6-4 to reach the final, where he will face No. 3 seed Evan Song. Song defeated No. 2 seed Michael Geerts of Belgium 6-4, 7-6 in today's semifinal.

No. 13 seed Claire Liu will face No. 7 seed Maria Sanchez in the women's final, after Liu took out No. 11 seed Ashley Kratzer and Sanchez defeated No. 14 seed Allie Sanford 6-2, 6-1.

The Easter Bowl ITF Grade B1 acceptances have been released, with most of the same Americans who entered the Grade 1 International Spring Championships in Carson the week before.  Vasil Kirkov, who is not playing in Carson, is entered, while Caty McNally, who entered Carson, is not on the list of Easter Bowl acceptances.  Unlike Carson, which is open to international players, the Easter Bowl is closed, with only Americans and those with the required immigration status allowed to compete in Indian Wells.

As I mentioned on Monday, Amanda Anisimova is not entered in either Southern Californian event, with the Miami Open going on during that time a possible reason why.  Anisimova's shot at a wild card there has only been enhanced by her performance this week at the $25,000 ITF Women's Circuit event in Brazil, where the 15-year-old qualifier reached the semifinals with a 6-1, 6-2 win over No. 6 seed Daniela Seguel of Chile. Next up for Anisimova is top seed Irina Khromacheva of Russia, currently No. 89 in WTA rankings.

Fellow 15-year-old Anastasia Potapova of Russia is also having her best Pro Circuit tournament. Like Anisimova, Potapova has played little outside the ITF Junior Circuit, but this week, using a junior exemption for entry, she has also advanced to the semifinals, beating qualifier Berfu Cengiz of Turkey 6-2, 6-4.  Potapova will play No. 5 seed Jil Teichmann of Switzerland.

At the $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit Futures in Orlando, Tommy Paul has advanced to the semifinals with a 6-1, 1-6, 6-1 win over former Baylor star Julian Lenz of Germany, a qualifier.  Paul will play No. 7 seed Andrea Collarini of Argentina, who is looking to reach his third consecutive Futures final in the Florida swing.  The top half semifinal features former Tulane star Dominik Koepfer of Germany and Fred Simonsson of Sweden, both of whom are unseeded.

Connor Smith and Rhyne Williams picked up their second Futures doubles title in three weeks, with the No. 4 seeds beating No. 2 seeds Jaume Pla Malfeito of Spain and Ramkumar Ramanathan of India 6-4, 6-4. Smith and Williams did not drop a set in their four victories.

The top four seeds advanced to the semifinals at the ITA Division III Women's Team Indoor Championships, with Emory[1], Pomona-Pitzer[2], Chicago[3] and Washington-St. Louis[4] earning victories. Only the match between Washington and No. 5 seed Carnegie Mellon was close, with Washington taking it 5-4, but having built up a 5-0 lead before Carnegie Mellon got on the board.