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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wimbledon Junior Acceptance List Features 19 Americans Plus Defending Champion Potapova; French Junior Championships Qualifying Begins Thursday; Bellis, Johnson Advance to Third Round at French Open

Wimbledon's outer courts
The acceptance list for Wimbledon Junior Championships was released today, and I'm happy to say I'll be in London to cover the tournament on site for the fourth consecutive year.

The girls acceptance list features the last three girls junior slam champions, with Wimbledon winner Anastasia Potapova of Russia returning to defend her title, while US Open champion Kayla Day, who lost to Potapova in the semifinals last year, and Australian Open champion Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine have also entered.

The US has four of the top eight girls in the current ITF junior rankings and all have entered, with Amanda Anisimova[4], Claire Liu[7] and Whitney Osuigwe[8] joining Day[3].

Taylor Johnson, ranked No. 11, has not entered, but the rest of the Americans in the top 50 are on the list: Sofia Sewing[19], Ellie Douglas[26], Elysia Bolton[37], Ann Li[38], Caty McNally[44] and Hailey Baptiste[45].

Baptiste was the last direct entry via the standard method. Maria Jose Portillo Ramirez of Mexico received entry as the top-ranked Central American player, and last year's finalist Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine, Katarina Zavatska of Ukraine, Katie Swan of Great Britain and Marta Paigina of Russia received entry because their WTA rankings are 400 or better.

Hurricane Tyra Black, Nicole Mossmer, Natasha Subhash and Amanda Meyer are the American girls accepted into qualifying.

The boys main draw cutoff is 49, with the two Canadian junior slam winners of 2016, Wimbledon champion Denis Shapovalov and US Open champion Felix Auger-Aliassime, not entered. ITF No. 1 Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia also is not entered, meaning the top 2 and three of the top 10 are skipping Wimbledon. The only junior slam winner entered is Australian Open champion Zsombor Piros of Hungary. Mohamed Ali Bellalouna of Tunisia received direct entry as Africa's top eligible player.

The Americans receiving main draw entry are: Trent Bryde[10], Oliver Crawford[12], Danny Thomas[27], Vasil Kirkov[30], Alafia Ayeni[33], Sebastian Korda[36], Patrick Kypson[39], Gianni Ross[43] and Alexandre Rotsaert[47].  US boys accepted into qualifying are Sam Riffice, Brian Cernoch, Lukas Greif, Andrew Fenty and Sangeet Sridhar.

The Wimbledon junior championships begin on Saturday July 8 and end on Sunday July 16.

In other junior slam news, the qualifying draws are up at the French Open Junior Championships, with the qualifying Thursday and Friday and the main draw beginning on Sunday.

There are four Americans in qualifying: Hurricane Tyra Black[7], Amanda Meyer[12], Lukas Greif[15] and Andrew Fenty[16].

Four US women and one US man advanced to the third round at the French Open today: qualifier Bethanie-Mattek Sands, Shelby Rogers, Venus Williams[10] and CiCi Bellis.  Bellis defeated No. 18 seed Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 6-3, 7-6(5), especially impressive in that Bertens made the French Open semifinals last year and beat Bellis 6-4, 6-0 two weeks ago in Rome. See the tournament website for more on Bellis' win.

Steve Johnson[25], whose much-admired father died less than three weeks ago, had another emotional win today, beating Borna Coric of Croatia 6-2, 7-6(8), 3-6, 7-6(6) to reach the third round of the French Open for the second time in his career. Johnson said physically he is fine, but emotionally he is a "mess," yet he is honoring his father by continuing to fight as Steve Sr. taught him to do.  For more on Johnson's match, see the tournament website.

Four other Americans are on Thursday's schedule: John Isner[21], Madison Keys[12], Varvara Lepchenko and Taylor Townsend.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Two US Men, Eight US Women Remain after French Open First Round; Bryde Top Seed at ITF Grade 1 in Belgium; Georgia No. 1 in 2017 Women's Recruiting Class Rankings; The International Influence in NCAA Division I Tennis

The first three days of the French Open haven't been great for Americans, especially the men, with only John Isner[21] and Steve Johnson[25] of the 11 men in the main draw making it out of the first round.

The news is better on the women's side, with eight of the 16 Americans in the draw advancing to the second round: qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands, CiCi Bellis, Shelby Rogers, Venus Williams[10], Madison Brengle, Madison Keys[12], Varvara Lepchenko and Taylor Townsend.

Johnson, Mattek-Sands, Bellis, Rogers, Williams and Brengle are on Wednesday's schedule.

The ITF Grade 1 Astrid Bowl Charleroi tournament in Belgium serves as the final warmup for the French Junior Championships, which begin on Sunday. As is often the case with this event, many top juniors take the week off, having just competed in the Grade A in Milan, but several US juniors are competing in the tournament.

Trent Bryde is the top seed, and after a first round bye, he won his second round match today.  Mark Mandlik and Ryan Goetz qualified and won their opening round matches yesterday, but fell in Tuesday's second round, as did Tristan Boyer and Boris Kozlov. No. 5 seed Danny Thomas and No. 6 seed Alexandre Rotsaert also won their opening matches to advance to Wednesday's third round.

In the girls draw, qualifiers Victoria Hu and Victoria Flores won their first round matches but lost in the second round.  No. 9 seed Hurricane Tyra Black and No. 12 seed Amanda Meyer won their second round matches today, while No. 2 seed Sofia Sewing was beaten.  Carson Branstine of Canada, the top seed, also lost in her opening match in the second round.

The Tennis Recruiting Network published their spring recruiting class rankings for women on Monday, with Georgia retaining the No. 1 spot they held in the winter rankings.  Following Georgia are UCLA, North Carolina, Stanford, LSU and Vanderbilt.  The full list is here.

The Washington Post published an article today on the international presence in Division I college tennis, with quotes from coaches Chris Woodruff, Dick Gould, Bobby Bayliss and former player Alex Kim. This issue has been a thorny one for college tennis for many years, so I was a bit surprised that the tone of the article presented it as basically resolved. Perhaps that's because the focus was on college coaches, but had the reporter sought out private coaches or parents of US juniors, I think he would have seen less consensus.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Michigan's Minor, Virginia's Kwiatkowski Claim NCAA Singles Titles, Ohio State Women and Oklahoma Men Capture Doubles Championships; US First Round Losses Mount at French Open

Brienne Minor is the first Michigan woman to win an NCAA title
Prior to the start of her NCAA singles final this morning in Athens, Brienne Minor of Michigan re-gripped her racquets. While wishing her luck, Virginia's Thai Kwiatkowski accepted Minor's gift of a grip for his racquet and by the time they had both completed their straight-sets victories, Kwiatkowski had dubbed it the "magic" grip.

Kwiatkowski's 6-4, 7-6(5) win over William Blumberg of North Carolina was not exactly a shocker, even though freshman Blumberg had won their previous two completed matches, including one just last week. Kwiatkowski, a senior, had already made an NCAA semifinal in 2015 and the quarterfinals last year, and won the American Collegiate Invitational last year at the US Open.  Despite playing at line 2 for most of the dual match season, Kwiatkowski's credentials were established, with his 9-16 seed reflecting his position in the lineup more than his overall proficiency.

Minor was unquestionably the player with the magic this tournament, with her 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 6 seed Belinda Woolcock of Florida the unseeded sophomore's third victory over a seeded player.  Minor, who had played at line 2 for most of the dual match season, was a longshot to make the semifinals, let alone win the title, especially when the 19-year-old from Illinois drew Miami's Sinead Lohan in the first round. Lohan had beaten Minor twice in 2016, including the first round of the NCAAs in Tulsa, but even after dropping the first set, Minor was able to shove aside that history to post a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory. And in the quarterfinals, Minor faced another nemesis, this one from her junior days in the Midwest section. Sara Daavettila of North Carolina, also unseeded, had come out on top in those encounters. This time it was Minor who won the big match, beating the freshman from the Lansing area 6-2, 6-4 and after a tough 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-0 win over 9-16 seed Sydney Campbell of Vanderbilt, Minor found herself in the final against Woolcock.

Woolcock was playing her 10th singles match in 11 days and it showed in the first set, with Minor taking a 4-0 lead.  The senior from Australia had trouble holding serve in the first half of the match, but she kept fighting and she saved five set points before Minor finally closed out the opening set on a deuce point.

Minor went up an early break in the second set, was immediately broken back, but broke again and made that break stand up the rest of the way.  Minor had to win a deciding point serving at 3-2 to keep that lead, but she avoided having to serve out the match, breaking Woolcock on another deciding point to give Michigan its first women's NCAA champion.

Minor is also the first African-American to win the NCAA singles title, which for women's tennis, dates back to 1982.

"It feels amazing, I’m still soaking it all in," Minor said in her post-match press conference. "When I threw my racket at the end of the match I just felt this wave of relief because I was just so happy I could get that win. I was super tired so I was excited to let that racket go and just be done with the match.”

Woolcock admitted that her inability to close out Estela Perez-Somaribba of Miami in straight sets in the semifinals after taking a 6-1 5-1 lead hurt her in the final.

“Today was a challenge for me physically," said Woolcock, who was the Most Outstanding Player in Florida's run to the team championship. "Yesterday really took a lot out of me. I am so proud of myself considering I won all of my singles matches in the team event and to get this far in singles, I honestly didn’t really expect that because I put so much focus and energy into the team event. I am so incredibly proud of myself and happy about how I did today and how I did in the tournament.”

Virginia's Thai Kwiatkowski celebrates his NCAA singles title
Kwiatkowski also had every reason to be suffering physically, as he too had played singles in 10 of 11 days, with Virginia's team title, the third of the senior's career, making for a successful yet energy-sapping prelude to the individual tournament.

Fortunately for Kwiatkowski, Blumberg had also played in the team final, and although the freshman from Connecticut had gone undefeated in singles until today and made the doubles quarterfinals, the wear and tear began to show in the second set.

After an exchange of breaks to open the match, both players held until Blumberg was broken at 4-4. Kwiatkowski held when Blumberg netted a forehand at 40-30 to take the set, and he took a 2-1 lead in the second set, but Blumberg broke right back, and there were no breaks the rest of the way.  At 5-5 in the tiebreaker, Kwiatkowski hit the biggest ace of his career to give himself a match point, and he converted it when Blumberg's forehand went long.  Kwiatkowski, known for his emotional volatility, had little reaction at the end, at least until after the handshake, and he explained why.

"For Will to be a freshman and lead his team like that and then come out here after the heartbreaking loss in the finals and crushing most of the guys he played is very impressive," Kwiatkowski said in his press conference. "I wanted to be respectful after the match and shake everyone’s hand before I laid down on the court and really absorbed the moment.”

Kwiatkowski captured the Cavaliers' fourth NCAA singles title, joining Somdev Devvarman (2007 & 2008) and Ryan Shane(2015) as NCAA champions.  He also was able to send coach Brian Boland off with another NCAA title, with Boland leaving the program he built into a powerhouse to take over as head of men's tennis for the USTA.

Because both Kwiatkowski and Minor are Americans, they are expected to receive US Open main draw wild cards.  An American woman has won the NCAA singles title the past six years and an American man has won it the past four years, with all receiving main draw wild cards in New York.

Two unseeded teams won the doubles title, and both came from behind to do so.  Spencer Papa and Andrew Harris of Oklahoma defeated top seeds Robert Loeb and Jan Zielinski of Georgia 4-6, 6-2, 10-6 to become the Sooners first individual champions in history.  Loeb and Zielinski led 2-0 in the second set, but Papa and Harris took the next six games, carrying that momentum into the tiebreaker, where they never relinquished the lead from 2-1 up, much to the dismay of the large hometown crowd supporting the Bulldogs.

The article from the Oklahoma website mistakenly refers to the team earning a US Open main draw wild card with the win. Unless something has changed this year, both members of the winning team must be Americans for that to happen, and Harris is from Australia.

The Big Ten made it a sweep of the individual titles when Ohio State's Francesca Di Lorenzo and Miho Kowase defeated No. 5-8 seeds Erin Routliffe and Maddie Pothoff of Alabama 6-7(6), 6-4, 10-7.  The unseeded Di Lorenzo and Kowase made their move down 5-6 in the tiebreaker, winning both points on Routliffe's serve, then two more on Kowase's serve for a 9-6 lead.  Routliffe saved the first match point with a volley winner, but Pothoff hit a backhand long on the second match point, giving the Buckeyes women's program its first NCAA title.

Routliffe, a senior from Canada, was denied her third NCAA doubles title, having won with Maya Jansen in both 2014 and 2015. In Athens in 2014, Routliffe and Jansen beat Lauren Herring and Maho Kowase of Georgia in the final, so Maho's younger sister Miho was happy to avenge that loss.

“It feels amazing, I still can’t believe it," Kowase said. "Three years ago I watched my sister lose her last match here against Alabama. And I thought to myself, ‘I want revenge.’ Here I am two years later winning it.”

For complete draws and more quotes, see the tournament website.

Day two of the French Open wasn't particularly successful for US players, with Americans going 3-9 today.  CiCi Bellis and Varvara Lepchenko picked up wins, as did Steve Johnson[25], who spoke to the press for the first time since the recent sudden death of his father. Tennis.com's Steve Tignor has filed a lovely essay on Steve Johnson Sr.'s contribution to tennis and why the love of the sport, particularly in the US, often comes from a family member.

Six US players will play their first round matches on Tuesday, with Madison Keys[12], Taylor Townsend, Alison Riske, John Isner[21], Sam Querrey[27] and Ernesto Escobedo on the schedule.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Minor and Woolcock in Women's NCAA Division I Final, Kwiatkowski and Blumberg Play for Men's Crown; Liu Captures $25K Title in Italy; Anisimova, Sandgren Fall at Roland Garros; Hilderbrand Sweeps Costa Rica Grade 4 Titles

The finals are set at the NCAA Division I individual championships in Athens Georgia, with North Carolina's William Blumberg and Virginia's Thai Kwiatkowski playing for the men's singles title and a US Open wild card, while Brienne Minor of Michigan will take on Florida's Belinda Woolcock for the women's singles championship.

The sixth-seeded Woolcock, the only international finalist and the only player who held the line 1 team position, had a roller coaster of a semifinal encounter with unseeded Miami freshman Estela Perez-Somarriba before securing a 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 victory.  The senior from Australia led 6-1, 5-1 and had three match points in the second set, but Perez-Somarriba won five straight games to force a third. Woolcock went up early in the third and this time closed out the match.

Minor, who played at line 2 for Michigan, took out Vanderbilt's Sydney Campbell, a 9-16 seed, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-0.  The sophomore from Illinois will be the first Michigan woman in history to play in the NCAA final.

Minor and Woolcock have not played before, but the men's final features two regular ACC foes.  In the team final last Tuesday, Blumberg defeated Kwiatkowski 6-3, 6-1 at line 2, and the Tar Heel freshman also beat the Virginia senior in the ACC conference tournament.

Blumberg, a 9-16 seed, advanced to the final by defeating No. 2 seed Nuno Borges of Mississippi State 6-2, 7-6(1), while Kwiatkowski, also a 9-16 seed, posted a 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 8 seed Tom Fawcett of Stanford.

The winner of the NCAA singles championship, if American, has traditionally received a wild card into the US Open main draw, and I expect that will be the case for tomorrow's champions.

Both singles finals will be played simultaneously, beginning at 11 a.m., with streaming available at NCAA.com.

The doubles finals will follow the singles finals, with Maddie Pothoff and Erin Routliffe of Alabama, 5-8 seeds, playing unseeded Francesca Di Lorenzo and Miho Kowase of Ohio State for the women's title. Pothoff and Routliffe defeated LSU's Ryann Foster and Joana Valle Costa 6-1, 6-1 in today's semifinals. Routliffe, a senior, was the NCAA doubles champion in 2014 and 2015, with Maya Jansen, who transferred to Cal and reached the doubles semifinals, losing to Di Lorenzo and Kowase today. Jansen and Maegan Manasse fell to the Buckeyes 6-2, 6-3.

Top seeds Robert Loeb and Jan Zielinski of Georgia will face unseeded Andrew Harris and Spencer Papa of Oklahoma for the men's doubles title. Loeb and Zielinski beat Jerry Lopez and Reese Stalder of TCU, 6-3, 7-6(4), while Harris and Papa took out No. 4 seeds Skander Mansouri and Christian Seraphim of Wake Forest 3-6, 6-4, 12-10, saving two match points in the super tiebreaker.

For complete draws, see the tournament website.

Claire Liu, who turned 17 three days ago, won her second $25,000 Pro Circuit title this month, both on clay, but one on the green clay in Naples Florida and this week, on the red clay of Caserta Italy.  Liu, who was unseeded, defeated Paula Badosa Gibert of Spain, also unseeded, 6-3, 6-3 in just over an hour.  With the title, Liu should break into the WTA Top 300 for the first time, but with the French Open the next two weeks, there will be a lag in getting those points onto to her ranking calculation.

Amanda Anisimova, who won the USTA's reciprocal wild card this spring made her slam debut in today's opening round of the French Open. The 15-year-old was up a set and a break on Japanese veteran Karumi Nara, but was unable to hold on, dropping the match 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.  Christopher Clarey of the New York Times published this profile of Anisimova, with the news that she intends to play the juniors in Paris again this year, after reaching the finals last year, and that she is now working with Henner Nehles of the USTA, who also has been coaching Kayla Day.

The men's USTA wild card recipient, Tennys Sandgren, also dropped his slam debut today, losing to Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.  An Associated Press profile of Sandgren is here.

Four Americans did advance to the second round today, with Shelby Rogers, Venus Williams[10], Madison Brengle and qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands earning victories.

Twelve Americans are on Monday's schedule, with No. 25 seed Steve Johnson three and a half sets into his first round match with Yuichi Sugita of Japan.

At the ITF Grade 4 in Costa Rica, top seed Trey Hilderbrand claimed both the singles and doubles titles. Hilderbrand's 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 8 seed Sebastian Quiros of Costa Rica earned the 17-year-old his fourth ITF singles title. Hilderbrand partnered with Joshua Bode to win the doubles, with the top seeds beating unseeded Diego Giraldo Restrepo and Juan Sanchez of Colombia 6-4, 6-3 in the final.

No. 4 seeds Chloe Hamlin and Sasha Wood took the girls doubles title, beating unseeded Shale Bouchard and Jenna Dean 6-1, 6-1 in an all-US final.

At the ITF Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan Italy, unseeded Elena Rybakina of Russia beat No. 8 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 to take the girls title. Alexei Popyrin of Australia, the No. 14 seed, defeated No. 15 seed Marko Miladinovic of Serbia 6-4, 6-2 to take the boys title. The ITF Junior website has a report on the finals here.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Chong, Cuba Win D-III Championships; Semifinals Set for Sunday in Division I; McNally and Osuigwe Capture Grade A Doubles Title in Milan; Liu Reaches Final of $25K in Italy

Eudice Chong of Wesleyan is batting 1000. The top seed and two-time defending champion made Division III history today in Chattanooga by claiming her third consecutive singles title. The junior from Hong Kong defeated No. 2 seed Rebecca Ho of Washington-St. Louis 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, in the final, accomplishment enough for any collegian. But the grueling three-day individual tournament wasn't over for Chong after she claimed the singles title, with the doubles semifinals and if victorious, the doubles final still on her schedule. Chong managed to survive both, as she and Victoria Yu, the top seeds, beat No. 2 seeds Lindsay Brown and Nicole Tan of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 6-2, 6-3 for the doubles title.

The women's Division III tournament page is here.

The top seed in the men's draw, Lubomir Cuba of Middlebury, also claimed both singles and doubles titles. The University of Michigan transfer, now a sophomore, defeated No. 3 seed Nicolai Parodi of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 6-1, 6-1 in the final to become the first player from Middlebury to win a men's singles title.  Cuba and partner William de Quant, the No. 2 seeds, defeated top seeds Brian Grodecki and Alex Taylor of Williams 6-4, 6-2 in the doubles final.

The men's Division III tournament page is here.

The semifinals are set for Sunday at the NCAA Division I individual tournament in Athens Georgia, with two US women and three US men into the final four.

Unseeded Brienne Minor of Michigan reached the semifinals with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Sara Daavettila of North Carolina and will play Vanderbilt's Sydney Campbell, a 9-16 seed Sunday.  Campbell defeated Pepperdine's Ashley Lahey 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

The other women's semifinal will feature two international players: No. 6 seed Belinda Woolcock of Florida and unseeded Estela Perez-Somaribba of Miami.  Woolcock eliminated teammate Anna Danilina 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, while Perez-Somaribba beat Michigan's Kate Fahey 6-4, 6-3.

All four of the men's semifinalists are seeded.  Virginia's Thai Kwiatkowski, a 9-16 seed, will face No. 8 seed Tom Fawcett of Stanford after Kwiatkowski came back for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 5 seed Chris Eubanks of Georgia Tech and Fawcett beat unseeded Alex Ghilea of Oklahoma 6-2, 6-2.

North Carolina freshman William Blumberg has reached the semifinals

In the other quarterfinals, North Carolina freshman William Blumberg, a 9-16 seed, beat unseeded Jack Findel-Hawkins of North Florida 6-4, 6-4 and No. 2 seed Nuno Borges of Mississippi State defeated Wake Forest's Skander Mansouri, a 9-16 seed, 7-6(2), 6-3.

Both Blumberg and Borges are the first two NCAA singles semifinalists in their program's history.

Doubles semifinals are also set for Sunday, with teams from Georgia, Oklahoma, TCU and Wake Forest still alive in the men's draw, and teams from Ohio State, Alabama, Cal and LSU still competing for the women's title.

Live streaming and times for Sunday can be found at the tournament website.

At the ITF Grade A in Milan, Caty McNally and Whitney Osuigwe won the doubles title, defeating Hsuan Cho of Taiwan and Ayumi Miyamoto of Japan 6-3, 7-6(5).

Axel Geller of Argentina and Nicolas Mejia of Colombia won the boys doubles title, beating Vasil Kirkov and Danny Thomas 6-1, 4-6, 13-11. As with the girls finalists, both teams were unseeded.

No. 13 seed Oliver Crawford, the last US junior still in singles, lost in the semifinals today to Marko Miladinovic of Serbia 6-4, 6-4. Miladinovic will face No. 14 seed Alexei Popyrin of Australia in the boys final.

The girls final is between unseeded Elena Rybakina of Russia and No. 8 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland.

Claire Liu is into the finals of a $25,000 ITF Women's Pro Circuit event in Italy.  The unseeded Liu, who turned 17 two days ago, defeated No. 5 seed Camilla Rosatello of Italy 6-3, 0-6, 7-6(5) today and will face unseeded Paula Badosa Gibert of Spain in Sunday's final.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Kwiatkowski Downs Top Seed Torpegaard to Reach NCAA D-I Quarterfinals; D-III Finals Set for Saturday; Crawford into Milan Grade A Semifinals; Fratangelo and Mattek-Sands Qualify for French Open

Thai Kwiatkowski reaches singles quarterfinals for third straight year
The quarterfinals are set at the NCAA Division I singles championships in Athens, with eight of the 16 players remaining unseeded.

Only two seeds remain in the women's draw, No. 6 seed Belinda Woolcock of Florida and Sydney Campbell of Vanderbilt, a No. 9-16 seed.

Two Midwest sectional junior rivals will meet in the top quarter, with Michigan sophomore Brienne Minor facing North Carolina freshman Sara Daavettila.  Minor defeated Mayar Sherif Ahmed 6-3, 7-5, while Daavettila ousted Cal's Karla Popovic, a 9-16 seed, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

Campbell, a senior who has been on top of her game in Athens, defeated No. 4 seed Ena Shibahara of UCLA 6-2, 6-4 and will face Pepperdine freshman Ashley Lahey, who beat No. 5 seed Blair Shankle of Baylor 4-6, 6-0, 6-4.

In the bottom half of the draw, a second Michigan player has advanced to the quarterfinals, with sophomore Kate Fahey defeating Jessica Livianu of St. Johns 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.  She will face Miami freshman Estela Perez-Somarriba, who defeated Mia Horvit of South Carolina 6-4, 5-7, 6-1.

Woolcock will take on Gator teammate Anna Danilina after Woolcock beat Joana Valle Costa of LSU 6-3, 6-1 and Danilina eliminated home favoried Ellen Perez, a 9-16 seed, 6-4, 7-6(3).

None of last year's quarterfinalists advanced to the final eight this year.

The men's draw features only two unseeded players, and 2016 finalist Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State, the No. 1 seed, is not one of them after he fell to Virginia's Thai Kwiatkowski, a 9-16 seed, 6-1, 7-6(3). Senior Kwiatkowski, who now has reached at least the quarterfinals of the singles championships three years in a row, will play No. 5 seed Chris Eubanks of Georgia Tech next.  Eubanks beat unseeded Yuya Ito of Texas 6-3, 6-0.

No. 3 seed Petros Chrysochos of Wake Forest also fell in the third round, losing to unseeded Alex Ghilea of Oklahoma 7-6(5), 7-5. Ghilea's quarterfinal opponent is Stanford's Tom Fawcett, the No. 8 seed, who beat No. 9-16 seed Florian Lakat of Cal 7-5, 7-5.

Freshman William Blumberg continued his impressive run in Athens, with the No. 9-16 seed beating No. 6 seed Alfredo Perez of Florida 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.  He will play unseeded Jack Findel-Hawkins of North Florida, who defeated Borna Gojo of Wake Forest 6-3, 2-6, 6-0.

No. 2 seed Nuno Borges of Mississippi State got past No. 9-16 seed William Bushamuka of Kentucky 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 and will play No. 9-16 seed Skander Mansouri of Wake Forest, a 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 winner over Jolan Cailleau of Texas Tech.

Eight different teams are represented in the men's quarterfinals, but four are from ACC teams.

Draws are available at the tournament website.

The finals are set for the Division III singles championships Saturday, and at that tournament the seeding has held up very well.  The men's final will feature No. 1 seed Lubomir Cuba of Middlebury against No. 3 seed Nicolai Parodi of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.

Top seed Eudice Chong of Wesleyan will go for her third straight women's singles title against No. 2 seed Rebecca Ho of Washington-St. Louis.

The D-III tournament website is here, but I find it easier to use the Slam Tennis scoreboard because you can check results from men's and women's matches on the same page.

At the Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan Italy, No. 13 seed Oliver Crawford has advanced to Saturday's semifinals. Crawford defeated Uisung Park of Korea 6-4, 6-2 and will play No. 15 seed Marko Miladinovic of Serbia. Caty McNally and Whitney Osuigwe will play in Saturday's girls doubles final, while Vasil Kirkov and Danny Thomas are through to the boys doubles final.

The live scoring for Milan is available here.

Two Americans qualified for the main draw of the French Open, which begins on Sunday.  No. 32 seed Bjorn Fratangelo, the 2011 boys champion at Roland Garros, defeated No. 15 seed Gerald Melzer of Austria 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-6(1) in third round qualifying action today. Bethanie Mattek-Sands[12] defeated Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-1 to earn her place in the main draw.

The singles draws were revealed today and can be found here.

Check out this usta.com article for news on the Americans and their first round opponents.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fifteen Collegians Earn All-American Honors at NCAAs; Pedroso Named to Replace Boland at Virginia; Four American Juniors Reach Quarterfinals at Milan Grade A; French Final Round Qualifying Features Four From US

The opportunity to earn All-American status comes every year in the second round of the NCAA singles championships and today in Athens, 15 collegians were able to earn that highly coveted title with wins today.  All players seeded in the tournament, regardless of their performance this week, had already received that title, but a rash of upsets on Wednesday opened the door for the ten women and five men who had come into the tournament unseeded.

The women earning All-American honors with wins today:
Mayar Sherif Ahmed, Pepperdine
Brienne Minor, Michigan
Sara Daavettila, North Carolina
Ashley Lahey, Pepperdine
Jessica Livianu, St. Johns
Kate Fahey, Michigan
Mia Horvit, South Carolina
Estela Perez-Somarriba, Miami
Joana Valle Costa, LSU
Anna Danilina, Florida

The men earning All-American honors with wins today:
Yuya Ito, Texas
Alex Ghilea, Oklahoma
Jack Findel-Hawkins, North Florida
Borna Gojo, Wake Forest
Jolan Callieau, Texas Tech

The doubles tournament began today, and just like in singles, three of the top four seeds in the women's tournament are gone.  Top seeds Astra Sharma and Emily Smith of Vanderbilt withdrew, No. 2 seeds Jasmine Lee and Lisa Maria Rioux of Mississippi State lost to Tess Bernard-Feigenbaum and Nina Khmelnitckaia of Kansas and No. 4 seeds Jessie Aney and Hayley Carter fell to Eleni Christofi and Kennedy Shaffer of Georgia.  The top four seeds in the men's doubles all advanced to the second round.

For complete results, see the tournament website.

The University of Virginia announced the hiring of a new head coach, with former associate head coach Andres Pedroso returning to Charlottesville to take over for Brian Boland.  Pedroso worked under Boland for four years before leaving to coach privately in South Florida in 2014.  Pedroso, who was a USTA National Coach prior to joining Virginia as an assistant, will become director of tennis for the University as well.   Although there has been no announcement, my assumption is that Dustin Taylor, Boland's current assistant, will be leaving to join Boland at the USTA. Taylor was the USTA's National Collegiate coach prior to joining Virginia when Pedroso left.

Two US girls and two US boys advanced to Friday's quarterfinals at the ITF Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan Italy with wins today.

No. 13 seed Oliver Crawford defeated qualifier Sangeet Sridhar 6-3, 6-2 and No. 4 seed Trent Bryde came back to beat Nicolas Mejia of Colombia 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

No. 6 seed Whitney Osuigwe defeated Tatiana Pieri of Italy 7-6(3), 6-2 and unseeded Ann Li topped No. 2 seed Amina Anshba of Russia 6-4, 7-5.   Li, the reigning USTA 18s Clay Court champion, is having the best Grade A of her career this week, which should help her chances for making the main draw at Wimbledon.

Osuigwe and Caty McNally are into the doubles semifinals, as are Vasil Kirkov and Danny Thomas.

The final day of French Open qualifying is Friday, with two US men and two US women needing one more win to make the main draw.

Nicole Gibbs[20] defeated Hiroko Kuwata of Japan 6-4, 6-1 in today's second round and will face top seed Sara Errani of Italy Friday. Bethanie Mattek-Sands[12] defeated Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia 7-6(6), 6-4 and will play Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.

Bjorn Fratangelo[32] will play Gerald Melzer[15] of Austria and Denis Kudla faces Paul-Henri Mathieu[16] of France.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

My Conversation with Tracy Austin; More Rain in Athens; Williams and Emory Claim D-III Championships; Eight US Juniors Advance at Milan Grade A; Opelka, Fratangelo and Kudla Reach Final Round Qualifying at French Open

While I was at Ojai late last month, I had an opportunity to sit down with two-time US Open champion Tracy Austin to talk about her roles as tennis parent and television commentator, resulting in this article for the Tennis Recruiting Network. She spoke of the different commitment levels her three sons had to the sport, with middle son Brandon Holt, who is now a freshman at USC, electing to devote most of his free time mastering it.  Austin, who didn't turn pro until after she had made the US Open women's quarterfinals twice, has some interesting thoughts on the decision of going pro or going to college.

Holt lost his first round match today in the NCAA individual tournament in Athens, with the rain that has plagued the the event since Saturday continuing to cause disruptions today.  With matches delayed and moving inside and no apparent updates of scores except on twitter, it's been a challenge to keep track of what's going on.

The big news tonight (matches are still in progress) was the losses of women's top two seeds Francesca Di Lorenzo of Ohio State and Hayley Carter of North Carolina.  Di Lorenzo was beaten by Mayar Sherif Ahmed of Pepperdine 6-4, 6-2 and Carter lost to Florida's Anna Danilina 6-2, 6-3.

Di Lorenzo, a sophomore, had won the previous two collegiate majors last fall and was going for the major title triple crown, which has never been done in the same academic school year. Carter, a senior, was the 2016 NCAA singles finalist.

Vanderbilt's Astra Sharma, the women's No. 3 seed, withdrew.

The top 3 men's seeds--Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State, Nuno Borges of Mississippi State and Petros Chrysochos of Wake Forest--advanced in straight sets, but No. 4 seed Arthur Rinderknech of Texas A&M lost to Borna Gojo of Wake Forest 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.

The All-Tournament teams have been announced, with almost all positions filled from those teams in the finals. Usually the team that wins the championship produces the Most Outstanding Player, but this year the men's MOP was North Carolina freshman Will Blumberg, whose team lost to Virginia 4-2.  Belinda Woolcock of Florida took the honor for the women.

No. 1 doubles: Anna Danilina & Ingrid Neel, Florida
No. 2 doubles: Brooke Austin & Kourtney Keegan, Florida
No. 3 doubles: Josei Kuhlman & Belinda Woolcock, Florida

No. 1 singles: Belinda Woolcock, Florida
No. 2 singles: Melissa Lord, Stanford
No. 3 singles: Taylor Davidson, Stanford
No. 4 singles: Anna Danilina, Florida
No. 5 singles: Emily Arbuthnott, Stanford
No. 6 singles: Kourtney Keegan, Florida

Most Outstanding Player:
Belinda Woolcock, Florida

No. 1 doubles: William Blumberg & Robert Kelly, North Carolina
No. 2 doubles: Thai Kwiatkowski & Alexander Ritschard, Virginia
No. 3 doubles: Collin Altamirano & JC Aragone, Virginia

No. 1 singles: Mikael Torpegaard, Ohio State
No. 2 singles: William Blumberg, North Carolina
No. 3 singles: Robert Kelly, North Carolina
No. 4 singles: Collin Altamirano, Virginia
No. 5 singles: JC Aragone, Virginia
No. 6 singles: Blaine Boyden, North Carolina

Most Outstanding Player:
William Blumberg, North Carolina

The Division III team championships were decided today in another rainy national finals site, Chattanooga Tennessee.  The women once again brought the drama, with Williams defeating Emory 5-4, with the match coming down to a third set at line 1.  Juli Raventos of Williams got an early break in the final set against Emory's Bridget Harding, held on to that one then earned another and served out the match for a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 win and the Ephs' tenth team title. Williams and Emory had met in the finals the past three years, with Williams winning 5-4 in 2015 and Emory taking the title by a 5-4 score last year.

An excellent recap of Williams' victory can be found at their athletic website.

Unlike the Division I finals, with the men playing indoors and the women outdoors, both Division III championship matches were played inside.  Emory won all three doubles matches from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps but probably knew better than to think they would coast to victory as CMS had won five singles matches against Middlebury in the semifinals to earn a 5-4 victory. The Eagles took a 4-1 lead but the Stags fought back, with four singles matches going to a third set, but the CMS effort fell short when Adrien Bouchet closed out Daniel Morkovine at line 3 5-7, 6-2, 7-5. That gave Emory a 5-2 win and its fourth National title, with the last one coming in 2012.
All results can be found at the tournament website.

Eight US juniors have advanced to the third round of the Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglioi in Milan Italy, including five boys who won second round matches today.  Trent Bryde[4], Oliver Crawford[13], Patrick Kypson, Sebastian Korda and qualifier Sangeet Sridhar will play for a place in the quarterfinals Thursday, with Crawford and Sridhar going head-to-head.  The only two US girls playing second round matches today were Elysia Bolton and No. 4 seed Taylor Johnson and both lost, leaving Whitney Osuigwe,[6] Natasha Subhash and Ann Li, who won on Tuesday, as the last American girls remaining.

Live scoring for the tournament is available at Tennis Ticker.

Day three of the French Open qualifying is complete, with three US men into the final round of qualifying: Bjorn Fratangelo[32], Denis Kudla and Reilly Opelka.  Fratangelo defeated Bradley Klahn 6-4, 7-6(6), Kudla beat Ricardo Ojeda Lara of Spain 6-4, 6-3 and Opelka outlasted Leonardo Mayer of Argentina 5-7, 7-6(7), 6-3.  Opelka is the only one of the three scheduled to play Thursday.

Three US women advanced to the second round of qualifying with wins today: Kristie Ahn, Sonya Kenin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.  They join Tuesday winners Nicole Gibbs[20] and Kayla Day in Thursday's second round.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Virginia Men Beat UNC to Capture Third Straight Title; Florida Women Defeat Stanford for Championship; Division III Finals Set

One defending champion kept its winning streak alive, while the other saw its run come to an end Tuesday on another rainy day in Athens Georgia.

2017 NCAA Division I Champions Virginia
The University of Virginia men won their third straight title and fourth overall, beating the University of North Carolina 4-2 on the indoor courts on the University of Georgia campus. After a three-hour rain delay, the match was moved to the four indoor courts, making it the second year in a row that Virginia had claimed its NCAA national team championship indoors.

The No. 9 Tar Heels, who had lost their three previous meetings this season with No. 2 Virginia, needed the doubles point, and they came close, with the point decided by a tiebreaker at line 2.  After Virginia had easily taken line 3 with Collin Altamirano and JC Aragone beating Anu Kodali and Ronnie Schneider 6-1, North Carolina's William Blumberg and Robert Kelly followed with an equally lopsided 6-2 victory over Luca Corinteli and Carl Soderlund at line 1. That left line 2 to decide it in a tiebreaker, in which UNC's Jack Murray and Simon Soendergaard led Thai Kwiatkowski and Alexander Ritschard 3-1 and 5-4.  The match was on Soendergaard's racquet at 5-4, but he lost both points on serve, and Kwiatkowski and Ritschard converted their match point for a 7-6(5) win at a 1-0 Virginia lead.

Ritschard gave Virginia a 2-0 lead with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Schneider at line 1, but Blumberg got the Tar Heels on the board with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Kwiatkowski at line 2, the ITA Rookie of the Year's fifth win in this year's NCAA championships.  With two matches complete, lines 5 and 6 could begin their matches, but before they could start, Altamirano brought Virginia within one point of the title with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Soendergaard. Kelly made it 3-2 a few minutes later, beating Soderlund 6-2, 6-4, leaving the two matches, just underway, to decide it.

Virginia's Aragone and Henrik Wiersholm have been two of Virginia's strongest points all season, and both took the first sets from Murray and Bo Boyden, respectively. Both went up breaks in their second sets, and it was senior Aragone who finished first, beating Murray 7-6(2), 6-2 to clinch the title.

The Cavaliers, who have now played in six out of the last seven NCAA team finals, say goodbye to three seniors in their top 6--Ritschard, Kwiatkowski and Aragone--as well as head coach Brian Boland, who is leaving after the upcoming individual championships to become head of men's tennis at the USTA.

For more on Virginia's title, see virginiasports.com.

2017 NCAA Division I champions Florida
The weather cleared midway through the men's final and the women's championship was able to be played outdoors, starting a 8 p.m., three hours past its originally scheduled time.  It didn't look like it was going to last much more than two hours, when top seed Florida had a 2-0 lead on defending champions Stanford and match points on courts 1 and 5 within seconds of each other.  Florida had dominated the doubles point winning 6-2 at line 1 and 6-1 and line 3, and Kourtney Keegan had dealt freshman Emma Higuchi her first loss all year by way of a 6-0, 6-0 thrashing at line 6.

Needing just two more points, Florida looked to have them in hand when Belinda Woolcock was up 6-1, 5-3 on Caroline Doyle at line 1 and Brooke Austin had a match point on Emily Arbuthnott serving at 6-2, 5-4. On that match point, a deciding point, Austin missed a volley, making it 5-5, and although Woolcock closed out Doyle seconds later to make it 3-0, the Cardinal was back in the match, particularly after Arbuthnott won the next two games to send that contest into a third set. Once Stanford had gotten on the board with Melissa Lord's 6-4, 7-5 win over Josie Kuhlman, all the remaining matches were in a third set, with Florida's Ingrid Neel and Anna Danilina coming back from a set down against Taylor Davidson and Caroline Lampl.

Neel took a 3-0 lead in the third over Davidson, who had clinched Stanford's dramatic 4-3 win over Ohio State in a third-set tiebreaker ending close to midnight on Monday.  The Cardinal senior had needed time in the hospital to recover and had her leg heavily taped, but she had continued to battle, shortening points when she could.  She received a medical timeout at 3-0 in the third and got back on serve, but Neel broke back to take a 4-2 lead, held and broke again to give the Gators their seventh team title and their first since 2012.

The Florida website's article on the Gators title is here.

For more on the finals, see the tournament page.

#2 VIRGINIA (34-1) 4, #9 NORTH CAROLINA (29-5) 2

1. #12 William Blumberg/Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #17 Luca Corinteli/Carl Söderlund (VIRGINIA), 6-2
2. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA) def. #82 Jack Murray/Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA), 7-6(5)
3. Collin Altamirano/J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA) def. Anu Kodali/Ronnie Schneider (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-1

1. #91 Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA) def. #22 Ronnie Schneider (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-1, 6-3
2. #16 William Blumberg (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #14 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VIRGINIA), 6-3, 6-2
3. #116 Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Carl Söderlund (VIRGINIA), 6-2, 6-4
4. #40 Collin Altamirano (VIRGINIA) def. Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-3, 6-1
5. #109 J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA) def. Jack Murray (NORTH CAROLINA), 7-6(2), 6-2
6. #102 Henrik Wiersholm (VIRGINIA) vs. Bo Boyden (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-4, 4-2, DNF
Doubles (3,1,2) Singles (1,2,4,3,5)


#1 FLORIDA (29-3) 4, #6 STANFORD (26-3) 1

1. #11 Anna Danilina/Ingrid Neel (FLORIDA) def. #39 Emily Arbuthnott/Taylor Davidson (STANFORD), 6-2
2. #46 Caroline Doyle/Melissa Lord (STANFORD) vs. 20 Brooke Austin/Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA), 4-3, DNF
3. #45 Josie Kuhlman/Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) def. Emma Higuchi/Caroline Lampl (STANFORD), 6-1

1. #6 Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) def. #38 Caroline Doyle (STANFORD), 6-1, 6-3
2. #28 Melissa Lord (STANFORD) def. #23 Josie Kuhlman (FLORIDA), 6-4, 7-5
3. #31 Ingrid Neel (FLORIDA) def. #54 Taylor Davidson (STANFORD), 5-7, 6-3, 6-2
4. #44 Anna Danilina (FLORIDA) vs. #90 Caroline Lampl (STANFORD), 4-6, 6-1, 5-4, DNF
5. Emily Arbuthnott (STANFORD) vs. Brooke Austin (FLORIDA), 2-6, 7-5, 4-2, DNF
6. #59 Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA) def. Emma Higuchi (STANFORD), 6-0, 6-0

The finals are set for the Division III Team Championships, with the women's title to be decided, for the third year in a row, between Emory and Williams.  Defending champion Emory defeated Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 5-1, while Williams defeated Middlebury 5-4, coming from 4-1 down to earn a rematch with the Eagles.  Williams won the 2015 women's title over Emory by a 5-4 score, the same score as Emory's win over Williams last year.

The men's championship match will feature two new finalists this year, although they are two of the elite of Division III tennis.  Emory defeated 2016 champion Bowdoin 5-2, avenging their semifinal loss to the Polar Bears last year. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps lost all three doubles points to 2016 finalist Middlebury, but came back to win five of six singles matches to beat the Panthers 5-4.

For more on the Division III championships, see the tournament page.

ITA National Awards Announced; D-I Individual Draws Released; Day Opens Roland Garros Qualifying with Win; Sridhar Ousts Second Seed in Milan Grade A

With the NCAA Division I team championships delayed once again by rain, I've decided to put up an early post on the news from today's play in Europe and the list of the ITA Division I National Award winners, which were announced today at the annual pre-finals luncheon. The complete release with full descriptions of the award recipients' accomplishments is here.

Note that the ITA men's coach of the year is announced after the championships are complete.

WOMEN:Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year: Melissa Schaub, Ohio State
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Courtney Nagle, North Carolina
ITA Most Improved Player (Senior): Blair Shankle, Baylor
ITA Senior Player of the Year: Hayley Carter, North Carolina
ITA Rookie of the Year: Ena Shibahara, UCLA
ITA Player to Watch: Astra Sharma, Vanderbilt
ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award: Monica Robinson, Notre Dame
ITA/Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship: Aslina Chua, Michigan State
ITA Community Service Award (tie): Tennessee & East Carolina

ITA Assistant Coach of the Year (tie): Justin Kronauge, Ohio State & Dustin Taylor, Virginia
ITA Most Improved Player (Senior): Jose Salazar, Arkansas
ITA Senior Player of the Year: Ronnie Schneider, North Carolina
ITA Rookie of the Year: William Blumberg, North Carolina
ITA Player to Watch: Alfredo Perez, Florida
ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award: Christopher Eubanks, Georgia Tech
ITA Community Service Award: Boise State

The draws for the Division I individual tournaments are posted, with several withdrawals from the men's singles, including two of the Top 3: TCU's Cameron Norrie and Illinois' Aleks Vukic. Ohio State's Mikael Torpegaard is the top seed. Georgia's Robert Loeb and Jan Zielinski are the top seeds in doubles, which will start Thursday.

As of today, all the women's initial entries in singles are still in the draw, with Francesca Di Lorenzo of Ohio State and Hayley Carter of North Carolina the top two seeds. Astra Sharma and Emily Smith of Vanderbilt are the top seeds in doubles.

Complete draws, with singles times for Wednesday, can be found under the Tournament Brackets section on this page.

The second day of qualifying is complete at Roland Garros, with three US players posting victories.  Dennis Novikov had a good win in his first round match, taking out No. 7 seed Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland 6-2, 6-3.  Rajeev Ram lost his first round qualifying match, meaning US men went 8-3 overall. There is guaranteed to be one less after the second round with Bjorn Fratangelo facing Bradley Klahn.

The US women had a decidedly less successful day, with only Nicole Gibbs[20] and Kayla Day advancing to the second round. Gibbs defeated Slovenia's Tamara Zidansek 6-3, 7-5 and Day beat Olga Govortsova of Belarus 6-1, 6-3.  Jamie Loeb, Grace Min, Irina Falconi and Alexa Glatch lost their openers.  Five US women are scheduled to play their first round qualifying matches on Wednesday.

The second day of main draw action at the ITF Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan is complete, with seven US boys advancing to the second round: Alexsandre Rotsaert, Sebastian Korda, qualifier Lukas Greif, Patrick Kypson, Oliver Crawford[13] and qualifier Sangeet Sridhar. No. 4 seed Trent Bryde had advanced on Monday.  A day after top seed Yibing Wu of China went out, Sridhar upset No. 2 seed Yu Hsiou Hsu of Taiwan 1-6, 6-3, 7-5.  Sam Riffice, who reached the final last week at a $15,000 Futures in Romania, dropped his first round match to No. 7 seed Jurij Rodionov of Austria 0-6, 7-6(6), 6-3.

The only US girl playing a first round match today was qualifier Elli Mandlik and she lost to wild card Federica Bilardo of Italy 7-6(1), 6-3. Three US girls advanced to the round of 16 with wins today: Whitney Osuigwe[6], Natasha Subhash and Ann Li.  Elysia Bolton and Taylor Johnson[4] play their second round matches on Wednesday.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Defending Champions Stanford Women and Virginia Men Return to D-I Finals; D-III Semifinals Set; Seven US Men Win First Round Qualifying Matches at Roland Garros; Bolton Beats Top Seed Pervushina in Milan

No. 2 seed Virginia will play for its third straight men's team title on Tuesday afternoon after defeating No. 3 seed Ohio State 4-2, but it won't be against its usual rivals USC, UCLA or Oklahoma.  Instead the Cavaliers will take on another ACC team, No. 9 seed North Carolina, who advanced to the final with a dramatic 4-3 win over Georgia.

Both men's semifinal matches finished indoors after a four-hour rain delay.  Virginia's Henrik Wiersholm had failed to convert two match points against Kyle Seelig at line 6 outdoors, but had two more chances once play resumed, with Virginia leading 3-1. At line 1, Ohio State's Mikael Torpegaard also had match points, leading Alexander Ritschard 6-3 in the tiebreaker. Wiersholm and Seelig started their point, but it was a long one, and while they rallied, Torpegaard converted his match point. That sequence could have unnerved Wiersholm, but he retained his focus and won the point, to put Virginia in its third straight final.

North Carolina's Bo Boyden clinches 4-3 win over Georgia
North Carolina was in unchartered territory today, having never gotten past the quarterfinals until this year. The Tar Heels took the doubles point from No. 13 seed Georgia, but Georgia had overcome that loss in both the round of 16 and the quarterfinals. Up 3-1, North Carolina looked ready for a relatively easy win with Simon Soendergaard serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set over Jan Zielinski at line 4. Soendergaard couldn't close it out then and in the subsequent tiebreaker he failed to win a point after taking a 4-0 lead putting that match in a third set. Georgia got another point from Nate Ponwith at line 1 before the rain delay, but even that four-hour break couldn't halt Zielinski. With Bo Boyden down an early third-set break to Robert Loeb at line 6, it wasn't looking good for the visitors, with the indoor courts reverberating with all the cheering of the Bulldog fans. But Boyden got the break back, then held on a deciding point for 3-2.  In the eighth game, with Loeb serving, Boyden was up 15-40, but line call controversies ratcheted up the players, coaches and crowds. At 30-40 Boyden was docked a point for being overruled a third time, but Boyden had one more chance to get the break, winning the deuce point when Loeb's forehand went long.

Serving out the match, Boyden kept his second serves to a minimum, yet Loeb kept up, hitting a forehand winner for 30-30. Loeb missed a forehand wide to give Boyden a match point and he again got a first serve in and played aggressively. The Carolina fans erupted after his first overhead, but Loeb got it back, forcing Boyden to hit a second overhead, but the sophomore from Raleigh blasted it with no hesitation setting off a wild celebration in front of the disappointed Bulldog fans.

Florida's Brooke Austin clinches 4-2 win over Vanderbilt
Due to the rain, the women's semifinals were both played indoors from start to finish, with top seed Florida and No. 4 seed Vanderbilt staying in Athens and No. 3 Ohio State and No. 7 Stanford sent to Georgia Tech's six indoor courts in Atlanta. Florida, who had twice dropped 4-3 decisions to Vanderbilt in the past five weeks, turned the tables on the Commodores, winning the doubles point and getting the clinching win from Brooke Austin at line 5. Because there are just four indoor courts in Athens, Austin didn't go on until one of the top 4 matches finished, but she had no difficulty taking out Georgina Sellyn 6-2, 6-3 to put the Gators in the final for the first time since they won the title in 2012.

Defending champion Stanford needed every last ounce of energy they had to beat the Buckeyes, with last year's title clincher Taylor Davidson again playing the role of hero as midnight approached Monday night. Ohio State's Miho Kowase at line 4 and Gabriella De Santis at line 3 both were serving for their matches against Caroline Lampl and Davidson at 5-4 in the third set, with Ohio State trailing 3-2.  Neither could close, although Kowase broke again and held on her second opportunity to make it 3-3.  De Santis broke a second time too, but she was unable to serve it out on her second chance, and a tiebreaker would decide Florida's opponent in Tuesday's final.  Davidson took a 6-3 lead, but De Santis fought off two match points, before a cramping Davidson took the third after a long rally that featured moonballs, normal rally shots, drives, and everything in between.

As the top two programs in Division I women's tennis, Stanford and Florida have played often in the finals, but this will be their first meeting with a title on the line since Florida's memorable 4-3 win in Palo Alto in 2011.

#9 NORTH CAROLINA (29-4) 4, #12 GEORGIA (22-8) 3

1. #12 William Blumberg/Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #1 Jan Zielinski/Robert Loeb (GEORGIA), 6-3
2. #82 Jack Murray/Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #67 Emil Reinberg/ Nathan Ponwith (GEORGIA), 7-5
3. Wayne Montgomery/ Walker Duncan (GEORGIA) def. Anu Kodali/ Ronnie Schneider (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-2

1. #56 Nathan Ponwith (GEORGIA) def. #22 Ronnie Schneider (NORTH CAROLINA), 7-6(4), 6-2
2. #16 William Blumberg (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #33 Wayne Montgomery (GEORGIA), 6-3, 6-2
3. #116 Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #59 Emil Reinberg (GEORGIA), 6-3, 6-4
4. Jan Zielinski (GEORGIA) def. Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA), 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3
5. Walker Duncan (GEORGIA) def. Jack Murray (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-1, 7-5
6. Bo Boyden (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Robert Loeb (GEORGIA), 7-6(0), 4-6, 6-3
Doubles (3,1,2) Singles (2,5,3,1,5,6)

#2 VIRGINIA (33-1) 4, #3 OHIO STATE (32-3) 2

1. Mikael Torpegaard/Herkko Pollanen (OHIO STATE) def. #17 Luca Corinteli/Carl Söderlund (VIRGINIA), 7-6(3)
2. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA) def. #30 Hugo Di Feo/Martin Joyce (OHIO STATE), 6-4
3. Hunter Tubert/JJ Wolf (OHIO STATE) def. Collin Altamirano/J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA), 6-4

1. #2 Mikael Torpegaard (OHIO STATE) def. #91 Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA), 6-2, 2-6, 7-6(3)
2. #14 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VIRGINIA) def. #46 JJ Wolf (OHIO STATE), 6-2, 6-2
3. #9 Hugo Di Feo (OHIO STATE) vs. Carl Söderlund (VIRGINIA), 5-7, 6-4, 2-1, DNF
4. #40 Collin Altamirano (VIRGINIA) def. Martin Joyce (OHIO STATE), 6-0, 6-3
5. #109 J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA) def. Herkko Pollanen (OHIO STATE), 6-3, 6-3
6. #102 Henrik Wiersholm (VIRGINIA) def. Kyle Seelig (OHIO STATE), 7-5, 7-5
Doubles (3,2,1) Singles (2,4,5,1,6)

#1 FLORIDA (28-3) 4, #3 VANDERBILT (24-6) 2

1. #11 Anna Danilina/Ingrid Neel (FLORIDA) def. #1 Astra Sharma/Emily Smith (VANDERBILT), 6-1
2. #20 Brooke Austin/Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA) def. Sydney Campbell/Emma Kurtz (VANDERBILT), 6-4
3. #45 Josie Kuhlman/Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) vs. Christina Rosca/Fernanda Contreras (VANDERBILT), 5-5, DNF

1. #6 Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) def. #4 Astra Sharma (VANDERBILT), 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-0
2. #15 Sydney Campbell (VANDERBILT) def. #23 Josie Kuhlman (FLORIDA), 6-4, 6-1
3. #102 Christina Rosca (VANDERBILT) def. #31 Ingrid Neel (FLORIDA), 7-5, 6-4
4. #44 Anna Danilina (FLORIDA) def. Emma Kurtz (VANDERBILT), 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
5. Brooke Austin (FLORIDA) def. Georgina Sellyn (VANDERBILT), 6-2, 6-3
6. #59 Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA) vs. Fernanda Contreras (VANDERBILT), 6-0, 1-3, DNF
Doubles (1,2) Singles (2,3,4,1,5)
#7 Stanford 4, #3 Ohio State 3

1. #18 Kowase/Di Lorenzo (OSU) vs. #39 Arbuthnott/Davidson (STAN), 4-4, unf.
2. Sanford/Niehaus (OSU) def. #46 Lord/Doyle (STAN), 6-2
3. De Santis/Angeles Paz (OSU) def. Higuchi/Lampl (STAN), 6-1

1. #1 Francesca Di Lorenzo (OSU) def. #38 Caroline Doyle (STAN), 6-1, 6-0
2. #28 Melissa Lord (STAN) def. #67 Anna Sanford (OSU), 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
3. #54 Taylor Davidson (STAN) def. #95 Gabriella De Santis (OSU), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(5)
4. #91 Miho Kowase (OSU) def. #90 Caroline Lampl (STAN), 3-6, 7-6(0), 7-5
5. Emily Arbuthnott (STAN) def. #112 Sandy Niehaus (OSU), 6-4, 6-3
6. #71 Emma Higuchi (STAN) def. Ferny Angeles Paz (OSU), 6-3, 7-5
Order of Finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (1,5,2,6,4,3)

The semifinals are set at the NCAA Division III Team Championships in Chattanooga, with rain also causing problems there, with a two-hour delay.  Three of the four semifinalists in both the men's and women's draws have returned, with only Claremont-Mudd-Scripps preventing a repeat in each draw. Defending women's champion Emory and defending men's champion Bowdoin remain in the hunt for another title.

Today's results:
CMS def. Washington-St Louis 5-1
Emory def. Bowdoin 5-1
Williams def. Chicago 5-3
Middlebury def. Johns Hopkins 5-1

Emory def. Williams 5-3
Bowdoin def. Washington-St Louis
CMS def. Wesleyan 5-0
Middlebury def. Gustavus Adolphus 5-1

Nine US men were in action Monday in the first round of the French Open qualifying and seven advanced: Reilly Opelka, Tim Smyczek, Mackenzie McDonald, Stefan Kozlov, Bradley Klahn, Denis Kudla and Bjorn Fratangelo[32].  Michael Mmoh and Mitchell Krueger were the only two Americans in action who failed to advance. Rajeev Ram and Dennis Novikov play their first round matches on Tuesday.

The women's qualifying begins on Tuesday, with six of the 11 Americans in the draw playing their first round matches, including 2016 USTA 18s and US Open girls champion Kayla Day. In addition to Day, Jamie Loeb, Nicole Gibbs[20], Grace Min, Irina Falconi and Alexa Glatch are on Tuesday's schedule. Sonya Kenin, Kristie Ahn, Asia Muhammad, Bethanie Mattek-Sands[12] and Sachia Vickery[24] will play their first round matches Wednesday. Ahn and Muhammad is the only all-US first round match in either draw.

Both number 1 seeds were ousted in first round action today at the Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan. Elysia Bolton beat defending champion and former ITF junior No. 1 Olesya Pervushina of Russia 3-6, 7-5, 6-0 for the best win of her career.  Boys top seed Yibing Wu of China was beaten by Chun Hsin Tseng of Taiwan 6-1, 6-1.  In addition to Bolton, other US girls advancing to the second round are Whitney Osuigwe[6], Natasha Subhash, Taylor Johnson[4] and Ann Li.  Caty McNally, Sofia Sewing[9] and Ellie Douglas[12] lost their first round matches.  Qualifier Elli Mandlik plays on Tuesday.

The US boys had a rough day, going 1-4, with only No. 4 seed Trent Bryde advancing.  Gianni Ross, Vasil Kirkov, Danny Thomas and wild card Mark Mandlik lost.  Seven US boys are scheduled to play their first round matches on Tuesday.  Live scoring is available at TennisTicker.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Women's D-I Semifinals Set; D-III Team Championships Begins Monday; Georgia Gwinnett Sweeps NAIA Titles; 21 US Juniors in Milan Grade A; French Open Qualifying Features 11 US Men

Another day of disruptive rain at the NCAA Division I team championships in Athens Georgia, but the women's semifinalists have been determined, with two of the matches played indoors and the other two played outdoors.

At one time all four quarterfinals were in progress, with Stanford and North Carolina playing indoors at the four-court Dan Magill Tennis Complex, while Florida and Oklahoma State and Pepperdine and Vanderbilt competed on the outdoor courts.  Ohio State and Texas Tech were sent to Atlanta to play on the six indoor courts at Georgia Tech, and the No. 3 seeds were the first team to reach the semifinals, beating No. 6 seeds Texas Tech 4-0.

Ohio State, in the semifinals for the first time in program history, will face defending champion Stanford, who beat No. 2 seed North Carolina 4-2. Stanford cruised through the doubles point, but the singles matches were considerably closer, and in the four-court indoor facility, two matches had to finish before lines 5 and 6 could begin.  Emily Arbuthnott of Stanford won the battle of the freshmen at line 5, clinching the match for the Cardinal with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Makenna Jones.

Vanderbilt's Sydney Campbell clinches 4-2 win over Pepperdine
In the outdoor matches, top seed Florida won the doubles point from No. 9 seed Oklahoma State with little difficulty and didn't need a third set in singles to close out the 2016 finalists 4-1.  The Gators will play No. 4 seed Vanderbilt, who came back from dropping the doubles point to beat No. 12 seed Pepperdine 4-2.  Vanderbilt has beaten Florida twice in the past five weeks in Nashville, both by 4-3 scores, so the Gators will be happy to have a neutral setting this time.

The men's semifinal matches on Monday have been moved up to 10 am, with more rain in the forecast.  No. 9 seed North Carolina will face No. 13 seed Georgia and No. 3 seed Ohio State will take on No. 2 seed and defending champion Virginia.

The women's semifinals will follow at 2 pm.  Live streaming is available here.

#6 STANFORD (25-2) 4, #4 NORTH CAROLINA (33-3) 2

1. #39 Emily Arbuthnott/Taylor Davidson (STANFORD) def. #4 Jessie Aney/Hayley Carter (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-1
2. #46 Caroline Doyle/Melissa Lord (STANFORD) def. Cassandra Vazquez/Alexa Graham (NORTH CAROLIINA), 6-1
3. Sara Daavettila/Makenna Jones (NORTH CAROLINA) vs. Emma Higuchi/Caroline Lampl (STANFORD), 5-1, DNF

1. #2 Hayley Carter (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #38 Caroline Doyle (STANFORD), 6-1, 6-0
2. #28 Melissa Lord (STANFORD) def. #18 Sara Daavettila (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-4, 4-6, 6-1
3. #54 Taylor Davidson (STANFORD) def. #35 Jessie Aney (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-2, 7-5
4. #74 Alexa Graham (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #90 Caroline Lampl (STANFORD), 5-7, 6-2, 7-5
5. Emily Arbuthnott (STANFORD) def. #100 Makenna Jones (NORTH CAROLINA), 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
6. Chloe Ouellet-Pizer (NORTH CAROLINA) vs. #71 Emma Higuchi (STANFORD), 7-6(3), 2-6
Doubles (1,2) Singles (1,3,2,4,5)

#2 OHIO STATE (32-2) 4, #7 TEXAS TECH (27-4) 0

1. #18 Francesca Di Lorenzo/Miho Kowase (OHIO STATE) vs. #26 Sarah Dvorak/Sabrina Federici (TEXAS TECH), 4-4, DNF
2. Sandy Niehaus/Anna Sanford (OHIO STATE) def. #69 Felicity Maltby/Gabriela Talaba (TEXAS TECH), 6-4
3. Gabriella De Santis/Ferny Angeles Paz (OHIO STATE) def. Alex Valenstein/Alba Cortina-Pou (TEXAS TECH), 6-2

1. #1 Francesca Di Lorenzo (OHIO STATE) vs. #9 Gabriela Talaba (TEXAS TECH), 4-6, 4-2, DNF
2. #67 Anna Sanford (OHIO STATE) def. #58 Felicity Maltby (TEXAS TECH), 7-6(5), 6-4
3. #95 Gabriella De Santis (OHIO STATE) vs. Alex Valenstein (TEXAS TECH), 6-7(2), 2-0, DNF
4. #91 Miho Kowase (OHIO STATE) def. Sabrina Federici (TEXAS TECH), 6-4, 6-1
5. #112 Sandy Niehaus (OHIO STATE) vs. Sarah Dvorak (TEXAS TECH), 3-6, 5-5, DNF
6. Ferny Angeles Paz (OHIO STATE) def. Katelyn Jackson (TEXAS TECH), 6-2, 6-2
Doubles (2,3) Singles (6,4,2)

#1 FLORIDA (27-3) 4, #9 OKLAHOMA STATE (25-6) 1

1. #11 Anna Danilina/Ingrid Neel (FLORIDA) vs. #13 Vladica Babic/Carla Tur Mari (OKLAHOMA STATE), 5-6, DNF
2. #20 Brooke Austin/Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA) def. #48 Aliona Bolsova/Katie Stresnakova (OKLAHOMA STATE), 6-2
3. #45 Josie Kuhlman/Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) def. #70 Katarina Adamovic/Viktoriya Lushkova (OKLAHOMA STATE), 6-4

1. #6 Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) vs. #8 Viktoriya Lushkova (OKLAHOMA STATE), 2-6, 5-2, DNF
2. #23 Josie Kuhlman (FLORIDA) def. Katarina Adamovic (OKLAHOMA STATE), 6-1, 6-1
3. #73 Aliona Bolsova (OKLAHOMA STATE) def. #31 Ingrid Neel (FLORIDA), 7-5, 6-3
4. #44 Anna Danilina (FLORIDA) def. #63 Vladica Babic (OKLAHOMA STATE), 6-4, 6-4
5. Brooke Austin (FLORIDA) def. Katarina Stresnakova (OKLAHOMA STATE), 6-2, 6-3
6. #59 Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA) vs. Lena Ruppert (OKLAHOMA STATE), 6-2, 5-7, DNF
Doubles (2,3) Singles (5,2,3,4)

#3 VANDERBILT (24-5) 4, #12 PEPPERDINE (24-5) 2

1. #8 Christine Maddox/Mayar Sherif Ahmed (PEPPERDINE) def. #1 Astra Sharma/Emily Smith (VANDERBILT), 6-2
2. Sydney Campbell/Emma Kurtz (VANDERBILT) def. #53 Luisa Stefani/Jean Runglerdkriangkrai (PEPPERDINE), 6-2
3. Ashley Lahey/Dzina Milovanovic (PEPPERDINE) def. Christina Rosca/Fernanda Contreras (VANDERBILT), 6-3

1. #4 Astra Sharma (VANDERBILT) def. #14 Luisa Stefani (PEPPERDINE), 6-4, 6-4
2. #15 Sydney Campbell (VANDERBILT) def. #19 Ashley Lahey (PEPPERDINE), 4-6, 6-4, 6-0
3. #37 Mayar Sherif Ahmed (PEPPERDINE) def. #102 Christina Rosca (VANDERBILT), 6-2, 6-2
4. Emma Kurtz (VANDERBILT) vs. #97 Laura Gulbe (PEPPERDINE), 4-6, 5-6, DNF
5. Georgina Sellyn (VANDERBILT) def. Jean Runglerdkriangkrai (PEPPERDINE), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
6. Fernanda Contreras (VANDERBILT) def. Dzina Milovanovic (PEPPERDINE), 6-0, 6-2
Doubles (1,2,3) Singles (6,3,1,5,2)

The Division III team championships quarterfinals begin Monday in Chattanooga Tennessee.

The women's quarterfinal matchups:

8:30 am:
Chicago vs Williams 
Johns Hopkins vs Middlebury

11:30 am:
Emory vs Bowdoin
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps vs Washington-St. Louis

2:00 pm:
Emory vs Williams
Bowdoin vs Washington-St. Louis

4:30 pm:
Wesleyan vs Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Middlebury vs Gustavus Adolphus

The NAIA team finals were scheduled to be completed on Saturday, but only the men's final finished, pushing the women's final to today. Georgia Gwinnett took both championships, with the men defeating Xavier (Louisiana) 5-0 in the final for their fourth straight title and the women beating Lindsey Wilson 5-3 for their second straight title and third in the past four years.  Both teams finished the year undefeated, and the men have now won 55 consecutive matches.

The ITF Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio begins Monday in Milan, with nine US girls and 12 US boys in the main draw.  Elli Mandlik qualified over the weekend to join Elysia Bolton, Whitney Osuigwe[6], Caty McNally, Ellie Douglas[12], Natasha Subhash, Taylor Johnson[4], Sofia Sewing[9] and Ann Li in the girls draw. Defending champion Oleysa Pervushina of Russia is the top seed.  Lukas Greif and Sangeet Sridhar qualified into the boys main draw, joining Alexandre Rotsaert, wild card Mark Mandlik, Sam Riffice, Trent Bryde[4], Gianni Ross, Sebastian Korda, Vasil Kirkov, Patrick Kypson, Danny Thomas and Oliver Crawford[13].

Riffice, who plays No. 7 seed Jurij Rodionov of Austria, is not on Monday's schedule, no doubt requesting a later start due to playing in the final of the $15,000 Romanian Futures today.  Riffice lost to No. 8 seed Nicolae Frunza of Romania 6-3, 6-3.

It was a disappointing finals day all around for US players on the ITF Pro Circuit, with Kristie Ahn falling in the final of the $60,000 tournament in France, Taylor Townsend losing to 17-year-old Sofya Zhuk of Russia in the final of the $25,000 Naples Florida tournament, and Marcos Giron dropping two tiebreakers in the final of the $25,000 tournament in Wuhan China.

There are no USTA Pro Circuit events this week or next, with all eyes on the red clay of Roland Garros. Qualifying begins Monday for the men, with 11 Americans hoping to make their way to the main draw. The only seeded player among them is No. 32 Bjorn Fratangelo.  The rest:  Reilly Opelka, Mitchell Krueger, Dennis Novikov, Tim Smyczek, Rajeev Ram, Mackenzie McDonald, Stefan Kozlov, Michael Mmoh, Bradley Klahn and Denis Kudla.  Noah Rubin, who has been having issues with his wrist, withdrew.  Monday's schedule is here.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Defending Champion Virginia, Ohio State Reach NCAA D-I Men's Semifinals; Riffice Takes Out Top Seed to Advance to Futures Final; Bilokin Wins Third Straight Grade 4 Title in Florida

Rain has interrupted the second block of quarterfinals at the NCAA Division I men's team championships, with UCLA and North Carolina leading Georgia and Wake Forest 1-0 and 2-0 respectively.  But the noon matches were completed, with No. 2 seed Virginia beating No. 10 seed Texas 4-1 and No. 3 seed Ohio State winning its second consecutive 4-3 thriller over No. 6 seed TCU.

Texas really needed to win the doubles point to challenge two-time defending champion Virginia, and the Longhorns fell at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles to give the Cavaliers all the breathing room they needed. JC Aragone clinched it for Virginia, taking a second set tiebreaker from Leonardo Telles at line 5, to put the his team in the semifinals again.  The last time Virginia did not make the NCAA Final Four was 2009, an amazing run of sustained excellence.

Hugo Di Feo after clinching Ohio State's 4-3 win over TCU
Ohio State has had difficulty getting out of the quarterfinals, going 3-8 in that round since 1999, and while the Buckeyes did not need a third set tiebreaker to advance as they had in Thursday's round of 16 meeting with Oklahoma, they were on the brink of elimination against TCU today.  The crucial doubles point came down to line 1, with Herkko Pollanen and Mikael Torpegaard saving a match point at 5-6 in the 7-6(6) tiebreaker that decided it. Four of the six singles matches went three sets, and after TCU's Cameron Norrie beat Torpegaard 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 at line 1 to make it 3-3, TCU was in the better position, with Guillermo Nuñez up 4-3, 40-30 against Hugo Di Feo at line 3.  But an error by Nuñez brought up a deuce point, and Di Feo blistered a forehand winner to get back on serve.

Di Feo then fell behind 0-40 on his serve but won the next four points to take a 5-4 lead, putting the pressure back on Nuñez. Di Feo was able to convert the first of his two match points at 30-40, when Nuñez's shot hit the tape and ricocheted wide.

Virginia and Ohio State will play for a place in the finals at noon on Monday. See the school website recaps by clicking on the bold team results below. For more on all the men's quarterfinals, see College Tennis Today.

#2 VIRGINIA (32-1) 4, #11 TEXAS (22-9) 1

1. #76 George Goldhoff/Leonardo Telles(TEXAS) def. #17 Luca Corinteli/Carl Söderlund (VIRGINIA), 6-2
2. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA) def. Colin Markes/Christian Sigsgaard (TEXAS), 6-4
3. Collin Altamirano/J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA) def. Yuya Ito/ Harrison Scott (TEXAS), 6-2

1. #25 Christian Sigsgaard (TEXAS) def. #91 Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA), 7-5, 6-3
2. #14 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VIRGINIA) vs. #36 Harrison Scott (TEXAS), 5-7, 6-3, 3-0, DNF
3. Carl Söderlund (VIRGINIA) def. #55 Yuya Ito (TEXAS), 6-2, 6-1
4. #40 Collin Altamirano (VIRGINIA) def. George Goldhoff (TEXAS), 6-1, 6-0
5. #109 J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA) def. Leonardo Telles (TEXAS), 6-2, 7-6(3)
6. #102 Henrik Wiersholm (VIRGINIA) vs. Rodrigo Banzer (TEXAS), 7-6(6), 2-3, DNF
Doubles (3,1,2) Singles (4,3,1,5)


#3 OHIO STATE (32-3) 4, #6 TCU (22-5) 3

1. Herkko Pollanen/Mikael Torpegaard (OHIO STATE) def. #25 Jerry Lopez/ Reese Stalder (TCU), 7-6(6)
2. #30 Hugo Di Feo/Martin Joyce(OHIO STATE) def. #57 Alex Rybakov/Guillermo Nuñez (TCU), 6-4
3. Cameron Norrie/ Trevor Johnson (TCU) def. Hunter Tubert/ JJ Wolf (OHIO STATE), 6-4

1. #1 Cameron Norrie (TCU) def. #2 Mikael Torpegaard (OHIO STATE), 5-7, 6-4, 6-3
2. #20 Alex Rybakov (TCU) def. #46 JJ Wolf (OHIO STATE), 6-4, 6-4
3. #9 Hugo Di Feo (OHIO STATE) def. #83 Guillermo Nuñez (TCU), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
4. #114 Jerry Lopez (TCU) def. Martin Joyce (OHIO STATE), 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
5. Herkko Pollanen (OHIO STATE) def. Reese Stalder (TCU), 6-4, 6-4
6. Kyle Seelig (OHIO STATE) def. Trevor Johnson (TCU), 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
Doubles (3,2,1) Singles (5,2,4,6,1,3)

#9 NORTH CAROLINA (28-4) 4, #1 WAKE FOREST (30-3) 2

1. #4 Skander Mansouri/Christian Seraphim (WAKE FOREST) def. #12 William Blumberg/ Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA), 7-5
2. #82 Jack Murray/Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Borna Gojo/ Alan Gadjiev (WAKE FOREST), 6-4
3. Anu Kodali/ Ronnie Schneider (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Petros Chrysochos/Dennis Uspensky (WAKE FOREST), 6-2

1. #5 Petros Chrysochos (WAKE FOREST) def. #22 Ronnie Schneider (NORTH CAROLINA). 7-6(3), 6-2
2. #16 William Blumberg (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #45 Borna Gojo (WAKE FOREST), 7-5, 7-6(6)
3. #13 Skander Mansouri (WAKE FOREST) def. #116 Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA), 7-5, 6-4
4. #84 Christian Seraphim (WAKE FOREST) vs. Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA), 7-6(3), 4-6, 3-2 DNF
5. Jack Murray (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Dennis Uspensky (WAKE FOREST), 6-2, 6-0
6. Bo Boyden (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Alan Gadjiev (WAKE FOREST), 6-2, 1-6, 6-2
Doubles (2,3,1) Singles (5,1,3,2,6)
#12 GEORGIA (22-7) 4, #5 UCLA (22-6) 2

1. #1 Jan Zielinski/Robert Loeb (GEORGIA) def. #3 Martin Redlicki/ Evan Zhu (UCLA), 6-3
2. Austin Rapp/Joseph DiGiulio (UCLA) def. Emil Reinberg/ Nathan Ponwith (GEORGIA), 6-3
3. Maxime Cressy/ Ben Goldberg (UCLA) def. Wayne Montgomery/ Walker Duncan (GEORGIA), 6-4

1. #60 Martin Redlicki (UCLA) def. #56 Nathan Ponwith (GEORGIA), 6-4, 1-6, 6-2
2. #33 Wayne Montgomery (GEORGIA) def. Evan Zhu (UCLA), 6-3, 6-4
3. Logan Staggs (UCLA) vs. #59 Emil Reinberg (GEORGIA), 7-6(3), 5-6 DNF
4. Jan Zielinski (GEORGIA) def. Maxime Cressy (UCLA), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
5. Walker Duncan (GEORGIA) def. Austin Rapp (UCLA), 6-3, 7-6(2)
6. Robert Loeb (GEORGIA) def. Joseph DiGiulio (UCLA), 7-6(4), 6-2
Doubles (1,2,3) Singles (2,5,1,6,4)

The women's quarterfinals are on tap for Sunday and due to weather issues, the times have changed.

10 am
No. 2 UNC vs No. 7 Stanford
No. 3 Ohio State vs No. 6 Texas Tech

1 pm:
No. 1 Florida vs No. 9 Oklahoma State
No. 4 Vanderbilt vs No. 12 Pepperdine

Links to live streaming are available here.

Eighteen-year-old Sam Riffice has been on a roll since committing to the University of Florida for 2018. He reached the final of the $15K Vero Beach Futures late last month as a qualifier and has made another final this week at a $15,000 Futures in Romania, also as a qualifier.  Today Riffice defeated top seed and ATP 267 Yannick Mertens of Belgium 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 and will face 19-year-old Nicolae Frunza of Romania, the No. 8 seed, for his first Futures title.

At the $25,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Naples Florida, top seed Taylor Townsend beat No. 4 seed Usue Arconada 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 and will play No. 2 seed Sofya Zhuk of Russia in the final. Zhuk, the 2015 Wimbledon girls champion, defeated No. 3 seed Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal 6-4, 6-0.

Emina Bektas and Alexa Guarachi Mathison of Chile won the doubles title, with the No. 4 seeds beating No. 3 seeds Sophie Chang and Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway 6-3, 6-1 in the final.  Bektas won last week's doubles title in Naples, with Sanaz Marand, and the week before that won the doubles title at the Charleston $60K with Guarachi Mathison, giving her a 12-match doubles winning streak on clay this month.

An even better streak is in progress on the ITF junior circuit where Margaryta Bilokin has won 18 singles matches in a row.  The 16-year-old Ukrainian collected her third title in three weeks today, beating No. 5 seed McCartney Kessler 6-2, 7-5 in the Grade 4 final in Plantation.  Bilokin, the No. 2 seed this week, has lost a total of three sets in those 18 victories.  The boys title went to 15-year-old Liam Draxl of Canada, who did not have to take the court to claim his first ITF singles title. Seventeen-year-old qualifier Antoine Sanchez, playing in his first ITF tournament, gave Draxl a walkover in the final.

The boys doubles title went to No. 4 seeds Thomas Guy of New Zealand and Christian Alshon, who defeated the unseeded team of Draxl and fellow Canadian Ryan Navarro 7-6(10) 3-6, 10-7 in the final. No. 7 seeds Dasha Kourkina and Michelle Sorokko won the girls doubles title, beating No. 5 seeds Anna Brylin and Mackenzie Clark 7-5, 7-5.

At the ITF Grade 4 in Morocco, Skyler Grishuk lost in the singles final but claimed the doubles title with Carol Youngsuh Lee of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Sebastian Korda won the doubles title at the ITF Grade 2 in Austria, in partnership with Ondrej Styler of the Czech Republic. The top seeds beat No. 2 seeds Hugo Gaston and Clement Tabur of France 6-2, 6-0 in the final.