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Monday, April 30, 2018

ITF Grade 1 International Spring Championships Photos and Videos

As April draws to a close, I can finally wrap up the major junior events in California today with the photos and videos from the International Spring Championships earlier this month in Carson.  The photos are of the semifinalists in singles and finalists in doubles. If there is no country for players in the caption, they are from USA. The videos below are of the four champions, with links to the videos of the finalists. My recap for the Tennis Recruiting Network can be found here.

The draw boards at the Stubhub Center 
Lauren Anzalotta(PUR), 16s semifinalist
Velizara Fileva(BUL), 16s semifinalist
Maryam Ahmad, 16s finalist
Anne Lutkemeyer, 16s champion
Maryam Ahmad and Lina Mohamed, 16s doubles finalists
Allura Zamarripa and Maribella Zamarripa, 16s doubles champions
Spencer Brachman, 16s semifinalist
Ishaan Ravichander, 16s semifinalist
Max McKennon, 16s finalist
Zachery Lim, 16s champion
Possawat Akarapan and Phuwish Lee(THA), 16s doubles finalists
Hunter Heck and Max McKennon, 16s doubles champions
Hailey Baptiste, ITF semifinalist
Margaryta Bilokin(UKR), ITF semifinalist
Georgia Drummy(IRL), ITF finalist
Hurricane Tyra Black, ITF champion
Georgia Drummy(IRL) and Alexandra Vagramov(CAN), ITF doubles finalists
Katie Volynets and Natasha Subhash, ITF doubles champions
Stefan Dostanic, ITF semifinalist
Tyler Zink, ITF semifinalist
Tristan Boyer, ITF finalist
Brandon Nakashima, ITF champion
Eliot Spizzirri and Tristan Boyer, ITF doubles finalists
Axel Nefve and Emilio Nava, ITF doubles champions

Video of Girls 16s finalist Maryam Ahmad is here.

Video of Boys 16s finalist Max McKennon is here.

Video of Girls ITF finalist Georgia Drummy is here.

Video of Boys ITF finalist Tristan Boyer is here.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Eubanks Wins Leon Challenger; Division I Conference Tournaments Conclude; Molinaro and Alvarez Claim Grade 1 Titles in France; Top Seeds Prevail at Ojai Open

Christopher Eubanks reached his first Challenger final last week in Guadalajara, losing in a third set tiebreaker. He advanced to his second Challenger final this week and this time he won that 13th game, beating former University of Tennessee star JP Smith of Australia 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(4) at the $75,000 tournament in Leon Mexico. The former Georgia Tech standout, who turns 22 next week, wasn't seeded in either tournament, but his results during the past two weeks have moved him into the ATP Top 200.  I believe the cutoff for qualifying for Roland Garros is next week, so he will easily make that after less than eight months as a pro.

In the doubles in Leon, former Texas Tech star Gonzalo Escobar of Ecuador won the title, with partner Manuel Sanchez of Mexico. The unseeded wild cards defeated the 1, 2 and 4 seeds en route to the title, beating No. 3 seeds Smith and Bradley Mousley of Australia 6-4, 6-4 in the final.

The next stop in Mexico is at the $75,000 Challenger in Puerto Vallarta, where Eubanks is the No. 4 seed. Alex Sarkissian[6], Kevin King[3] and Austin Krajicek are also in the main draw.

In the United States, the ATP Challenger circuit moves from Florida to Savannah Georgia, where Denis Kudla is the top seed in the $75,000 tournament. Tallahassee champion Noah Rubin received a special exemption into the main draw.  Trent Bryde, Strong Kirchheimer, Sam Riffice and Canada's Frank Dancevic received the main draw wild cards.

At the $80,000 tournament in Charlottesville, No. 4 seed Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia took the singles title, beating No. 5 seed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine 0-6, 6-1, 6-2 in today's final.  No. 3 seeds Sophie Chang and Alexandra Mueller won the doubles title, beating teens Whitney Osuigwe and Ashley Kratzer 3-6, 6-4, 10-7.

The USTA Women's Pro Circuit moves south to Charleston next week, for another $80,000 tournament, with the first round of qualifying completed today.

There are no Futures in the upcoming week, with the $15,000 tournament in Vero Beach concluding today.  Former Baylor standout Juan Benitez of Colombia, who left the program after his sophomore season last year, won his second career Futures title with a 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 win over Ricardo Rodriguez-Pace of Venezuela. The 22-year-old Benitez, the No. 5 seed, won his first Futures title last July.

Nick Chappell(TCU) and Harrison Adams(Texas A&M) won the doubles title, with the No. 2 seeds beating No. 4 seeds Junior Ore(Texas A&M) and Miles Seeman(UC-Santa Barbara) 6-4, 7-6(7) in the final.

There was lots of excitement today at the Division I conference tournaments, with NCAA berths and seedings, not to mention conference titles on the line.  Slam Tennis and College Tennis Today have all the results; my links below are to the websites of the Power 5 conference schools that won titles today.

ACC Men:  Wake Forest defeats North Carolina 4-0.

ACC Women: North Carolina defeats Duke 4-2.

Big Ten Men: Ohio State defeats Illinois 4-0.

Big Ten Women: Michigan defeats Northwestern 4-3.

Big 12 Men: Texas defeats Baylor 4-2.

Big 12 Women: Texas defeats Texas Tech 4-1.

SEC Men: Mississippi State defeats Texas A&M 4-3.

For the second time in two days, Michigan's Chiara Lommer won the last match on to clinch for the Wolverines.  North Carolina's Sara Daavettila saved a match point in her clinching win, and Mississippi State's Trevor Foshey saved two match points to clinch the Bulldogs first SEC tournament title since 1996.

The NCAA selection show is Tuesday, May 1st, with the women's draw being revealed at 5:00 pm EDT, with the men to follow at 5:30 pm.

At the ITF Grade 1 in France, No. 6 seed Eleonora Molinaro of Luxembourg won the girls singles title, beating Varvara Gracheva of Russia 7-6(2), 6-4 in the final.  No. 13 seed Nicolas Alvarez Varona of Spain defeated No. 10 seed Jonas Forejtek of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-0 to take the boys singles title.  The boys doubles title went to No. 5 seeds Yanki Erel of Turkey and Admir Kalender of Croatia, who beat No. 8 seeds Natan Rodrigues and Gilbert Soares Klier Junior of Brazil 6-2, 2-6, 10-8 in the final.  No. 3 seeds Anri Nagata and Naho Sato of Japan won the girls doubles title with a 6-4, 6-2 win over unseeded Daniella Medvedeva and Veronika Pepelyaeva of Russia.

The 118th Ojai tournament wrapped up today in Southern California, with top seeds Hanna Chang and Sebastian Fanselow taking the Open division titles.  The 20-year-old Chang defeated unseeded Denise Starr, the former Cal star, 6-4, 6-1 in the final, after Starr had eliminated 2017 champion Salma Ewing in the semifinals.  Fanselow, the former Pepperdine star from Germany, downed No. 2 seed Philip Bester of Canada 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 in the final.

In junior competition, Stefan Dostanic, who lost in last year's boys CIF final to Jake Sands after holding a match point, experienced a better ending to his 2018 tournament, beating Benjamin Gollin 6-4, 6-3 in Saturday night's final.  For more on the Woodbridge High School junior's victory, see this article from the Orange County Register.

The girls 18s title went to Eryn Cayetano, the No. 5 seed, who beat No. 2 seed Charlotte Chavatipon in the quarterfinals, No. 3 seed Elle Christensen in the semifinals and top seed Nicole Mossmer in the final. The junior from Corona California defeated Mossmer 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in the championship match this afternoon.

Complete results for the 14s and 16s, as well as the 18s doubles, can be found here.

Links to all draws are available at the Ojai website.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Rubin Wins Tallahassee Challenger, Eubanks into Challenger Final in Mexico; All Four US Teams Qualify for ITF Team Finals; Cassone Captures ITF Grade 5 Title in Martinique; Stanford, UCLA Claim Pac-12 Titles

Former Wake Forest star Noah Rubin won his second ATP Challenger title of the year today in Tallahassee, outlasting Australian Marc Polmans 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.  The final game was a classic, with Polmans, serving at 4-5, coming from 0-40 down and saving two more match points before Rubin finally converting on his sixth chance to end the match.  Rubin will move back into the ATP Top 200 with the $75,000 title and he has the lead in the USTA's Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge with one week left.

Robert Galloway (Wofford) and Denis Kudla won the doubles title, with the unseeded pair defeating No. 4 seeds Enrique Perez Lopez of Spain and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (Washington) of India 6-3, 6-1 in the final. It's the first Challenger title for the 25-year-old Galloway, who won seven Futures doubles titles last year.

At the $75,000 Challenger in Leon Mexico, Christopher Eubanks has reached the final, the second week in a row the former Georgia Tech star has made the championship match. The unseeded Eubanks defeated former USC standout Roberto Quiroz of Ecuador 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinal and will face another college star in Sunday's final: JP Smith of Australia. The former Tennessee star defeated Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia 6-4, 6-3 to reach his first Challenger final since August of 2015. 

Both Americans in the semifinals of the $80,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Charlottesville lost, with No. 3 seed Taylor Townsend falling to No. 5 seed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine 6-3, 7-6(5) and No. 2 seed Jennifer Brady going out to No. 4 seed Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia 6-4, 6-2.  But it's an all-American final in the doubles Sunday, with No. 3 seeds Sophie Chang and Alexandra Mueller taking on unseeded teenagers Ashley Kratzer and Whitney Osuigwe for the title.

The US teams for the ITF's North/Central America and Caribbean qualifying all finished at the top of their groups, meaning all four teams--Junior Davis Cup, Junior Fed Cup and boys and girls World Junior Tennis--will be competing in the 16-team world finals later this year.  The Junior Davis Cup team of Toby Kodat, Marcus McDaniel and Alex Lee went undefeated in their three matches, winning each one by a 3-0 score, as did the 14-and-under World Junior Tennis boys team of Evan Wen, Bruno Kuzuhara and Victor Lilov.  The girls teams had a bit more difficulty, with the Junior Fed Cup team (Alexa Noel, Fiona Crawley and Gabby Price) needing to win the doubles today against Canada to remain undefeated. They also dropped the doubles in the first match, against Puerto Rico, but they had already won both singles match in that tie. The girls World Junior tennis team of Robin Montgomery, Katrina Scott and Reese Brantmeier also needed to win doubles today to take their tie with Canada.  Canada, who finished second in all four competitions, also will qualify for the World Junior Tennis in August and the Junior Fed and Davis Cups in September.

For complete results during the three days of qualifying, see the ITF tournament page.

At the ITF Grade 5 in Martinique, 15-year-old Murphy Cassone won his first Junior Circuit title. The No. 4 seed beat top seed Milledge Cossu 7-5, 2-6, 6-1 in the all-American final. 

It was a busy day in college tennis, with most of the conference semifinals taking place today.  The Pac-12 crowned its champions today, however, with the Stanford women defending their team title with a 4-2 win over UCLA.  Emily Arbuthnott clinched the match with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 win over Abi Altick  at line 4. Stanford also won the regular season conference title this year.  As usual, Stanford is peaking at the right time and now with Melissa Lord back in the lineup, they are certainly a team to watch in the NCAA tournament.

The UCLA men avenged their 4-3 loss last year to USC in the tournament final, beating the Trojans 4-1 tonight.  The Bruins, like the Stanford women, won the regular season title as well.

In the other Power 5 conferences here are Sunday's finals:

ACC Men:  Wake Forest v North Carolina
ACC Women: Duke v North Carolina

Big Ten Men: Ohio State v Illinois
Big Ten Women: Northwestern v Michigan

Big 12 Men: Texas v Baylor
Big 12 Women: Texas v Texas Tech

SEC Men: Texas A&M v Mississippi State

Probably the biggest surprise of the day was Baylor's 4-2 win over TCU. The Horned Frogs, ranked 7th to Baylor's ranking of 27, had beaten Baylor 4-1 just nine days ago in conference play. 

For more on the other conference finals and semifinals today, see Slam Tennis and College Tennis Today.

Friday, April 27, 2018

My Article on ITF Junior Circuit's New No-Service-Lets Rule; Amritraj Leaving USTA for UTR; Rubin Reaches Tallahassee Challenger Final; Townsend, Brady Advance to Semis in Charlottesville $80K

When the ITF implemented a new rule requiring its junior circuit tournaments to play lets on serves, there wasn't much discussion about it. Perhaps that's because there isn't much discussion about junior tennis rules in general, but it, like the change in the ITF ranking points, was instituted without much preamble or hint that it was coming. After three months, I thought most juniors would have had enough experience with it to have an opinion on it, so I spoke to several of them earlier this month in Carson, as well as a college coach, a USTA coach and a chair umpire, to find out how the rule change is being received in this article at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

It was announced today that Stephen Amritraj, the Director of Collegiate Tennis at the USTA, is leaving to become Chief Tennis Officer at UTR. Amritraj, who started with the USTA as a National Coach before moving to his current position, has been instrumental in the growth and success of College Match Days as well as the All-American College Combine, the second annual edition of which will be held in June. Amritraj was always aware of the daily pro results of the Americans who played collegiate tennis and always looking for ways to better assist them in their transition to a pro career.  I will be talking with Amritraj about his new responsibilities in more detail next month.

Noah Rubin, who made the final of the $15,000 Futures last week in Florida, has continued his good form at the $75,000 ATP Challenger this week in Tallahassee, reaching the final unseeded.  The former Wake Forest star, who has not dropped a set in his four wins this week, defeated last week's champion in Sarasota, Hugo Dellien of Bolivia, 6-2, 6-4 today.  He will face the winner of tonight's all-Australian battle between Max Purcell and Marc Polmans.  Rubin also takes the lead in the USTA's Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge with next week the final week in the race.

Taylor Townsend unofficially wrapped her French Open wild card by advancing to the semifinals of the $80,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Charlottesville Virginia.  No. 3 seed Townsend trailed Sesil Karatancheva of Bulgaria 4-1 in the final set in today's quarterfinal, but she came back to win it 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(2). Only Caroline Dolehide has a mathematical chance to catch Townsend in the USTA's Wild Card Challenge and she is not scheduled to play in the $80,000 tournament in Charleston South Carolina that wraps up the race for the women. Townsend will face No. 5 seed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine in one semifinal, with No. 2 seed Jennifer Brady playing No. 4 seed Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia in the other. 

Free live streaming for both Tallahassee and Charlottesville is available at usta.com.

At the $15,000 Futures in Vero Beach, former Northwestern star Strong Kirchheimer, the No. 4 seed, has advanced to the semifinals with a 1-6, 6-4, 7-5 win over No. 8 seed Alejandro Tabilo of Chile. Kirchheimer will face the winner of tonight's all-Colombia match between 18-year-old qualifier Nicolas Mejia and Juan Benitez, the former Baylor Bear. Ricardo Rodriguez-Pace of Venezuela and top seed Marcelo Barrios Vera of Chile will meet in the other semifinal.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Longtime Kalamazoo Tournament Director Rolla Anderson Passes Away; Middlebury Men Move to No. 1 in Division III Rankings

Current Kalamazoo tournament director Mark Riley and Rolla Anderson, 2007
photo courtesy USTA Boys Nationals
It's difficult to overstate how much Rolla Anderson meant to the USTA Boys 18 and 16 National Championships, Kalamazoo College and the Kalamazoo community.  Anderson, who passed away yesterday at the age of 97, was the tournament director from 1957-1993 and was a coach and later athletic director at Kalamazoo College for many of those years.

When I began volunteering for the tournament in 2000, Anderson had been retired for several years, but he was still a significant presence not only during the tournament, but throughout the year-long planning that accompanies it. All those who had volunteered during his tenure spoke of him in glowing terms, while always expressing an almost ambivalent admiration for his ability to persuade them to spend so much time making the tournament the best it could be. He always made me feel valued, and I assume his positive personality and leadership style had the same effect on the hundreds of other volunteers who got to know him. As the revered face of the tournament for over three decades, Anderson could have caused disruption by his continued presence, but he was able to deftly walk that line, providing counsel and direction, while not intruding on the decisions that belonged to his successor, Timon Corwin.

Anderson was still playing tennis into his 80s, but even after the loss of his wife Pat in 2008 and the deterioration of his own health in the past few years, he still made an effort to support the tournament. Last year he made it to the Sponsors Reception prior to the Exhibition and Opening Ceremonies, and Andy Roddick was able to thank him for all that he had done to make the tournament the pinnacle of junior tennis in the United States.

The memorial service is Saturday May 5th at Stetson Chapel on the campus of Kalamazoo College.  I am looking forward to the stories and the laughter that will accompany the celebration of such a long life, so well lived, but I'll be sad too, knowing that thread he has woven through decades of contributions to the tournament, to the sport, to the college and to the community has reached its end.

His obituary, which includes a request for donations to the Rolla and Patricia Anderson Athletic Endowment Fund at Kalamazoo College in lieu of flowers, can be found here.

The ITA released the final published team rankings for Division III tennis today, with the next one scheduled to be released after the NCAA tournament at the end of May.  There were no changes in the women's rankings after two weeks, but there was a major upheaval in the men's rankings, with Middlebury taking over the No. 1 spot.  National Indoor Champion Emory, who had held the top spot throughout the year, lost to Middlebury 7-2 last Saturday, which resulted in their drop to No. 2.  Chicago fell from 3 to 7 after losing to Gustavus Adolphus earlier this month.  Links to the full rankings are in the headers below.

ITA Division III National Rankings, April 26, 2018 (previous rankings from April 12 in parentheses):


1. Middlebury College (6)
2. Emory University (1)
3. Bowdoin College (2)
4. Williams College (4)
5. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (5)
6. Gustavus Adolphus College (8)
7. University of Chicago (3)
8. Amherst College (7)
9. Carnegie Mellon University (9)
10. Washington University St. Louis (10)


1. Emory University (1)
2. Williams College (2)
3. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (3)
4. Middlebury College (4)
5. Wesleyan University (5)
6. Tufts University (6)
7. Pomona-Pitzer Colleges (7)
8. Amherst College (8)
9. Carnegie Mellon University (9)
10. University of Chicago (10)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Strong Fields for ITF Grade A in Milan; Top Seeds Lose at Grade 1 in France; Ojai Underway; Pro Circuit Update; Vanderbilt Women, UCLA Men Top USTA Poll

The acceptances were released today for the ITF Grade A in Milan, which takes place May 21-27, with 10 US girls and six US boys receiving acceptance into the main draw.  The fields are generally strong at this event, but this year they are notably so, with eight of the Top 10 boys in the ITF rankings entered and six of the Top 10 girls. Both Australian Open junior champions have entered: World Junior No. 1 Sebastian Korda and girls No. 2 En Shuo Liang of Taiwan.

The US girls are Alexa Noel, Dalayna Hewitt, Caty McNally, Katie Volynets, Lea Ma, Gabby Price, Natasha Subhash, Hurricane Tyra Black, Hailey Baptiste and Peyton Stearns.  Hewitt, who turned pro this winter, hasn't played a junior event since the Australian Open.

In addition to Korda, the US boys receiving entry are Tristan Boyer, Drew Baird, Andrew Fenty, Brandon Nakashima and Emilio Nava.

Wednesday wasn't a good day for the top seeds at the ITF Grade 1 in France, with the top two boys seeds and the top girls seed eliminated in their opening matches in the second round.  No. 1 Drew Baird lost to French wild card Nicolas Tepmahc  6-3, 7-5 and No. 2 seed Filip Jianu of Romania was beaten by wild card Roman Burruchaga of Argentina 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.  Top girls seed Naho Sato of Japan had an unlucky draw, facing WTA 586 Varvara Gracheva of Russia in the second round, and Sato was beaten 7-5, 7-6(5).  Gracheva will face No. 14 seed Vanessa Ong next.  Kacie Harvey, the No. 11 seed, has also advanced to the third round.

The 118th Ojai, which I attended last year for the first time, is underway, with qualifying for the Men's and Women's Opens now complete.  I won't be covering the tournament in person this year, but I will be following the results throughout the week.  Sebastian Fanselow, the former Pepperdine star, is the top seed in the Men's Open, with Hanna Chang the top seed in the Women's Open. The Pac-12 team events have begun (this page at Slam Tennis will keep you up-to-date on all the results from conference tournaments this weekend) and the draws for the junior events have also been posted.  Stefan Dostanic is the top seed in the boys CIF tournament, and Nicole Mossmer is the top seed in the Girls 18s.

If you haven't been to Ojai, and live within driving distance, you should make every effort to spend at least a day there. I was overwhelmed by the depth and breadth of the tournament and how the community treasures this week. You'll see some great tennis in an atmosphere that is unique in the tennis world.

At the $80,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Charlottesville, rain disrupted play for the second straight day.  The final round of qualifying matches were moved indoors on Tuesday, but because there are no indoor clay courts at the Boars Head Tennis Center, none of the main draw singles matches have been played, with only doubles matches played indoors today.  First and second round matches are both scheduled for Thursday.

The $15,000 Futures in Vero Beach saw 18-year-old qualifier Ryan Goetz earn his first ATP point.  The University of Virginia recruit defeated former Northwestern standout Raleigh Smith 7-6(6), 7-6(2) for his fifth win since Friday, with four coming in qualifying.

At the $75,000 ATP Challenger in Tallahassee, Noah Rubin defeated top seed Denis Kudla 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the quarterfinals. No. 2 seed Peter Polansky of Canada also went out in the second round today, losing to Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina 6-3, 6-3.

For more on the history and significance of the Tallahassee Challenger, see this article by Ryan Rodenberg in Sports Illustrated.

Like the ITA, the USTA's Division I poll had a change at the top of the women's rankings, with Vanderbilt now the unanimous No. 1. Vanderbilt moved into the top spot after winning the SEC tournament while Pepperdine, the previous No. 1, lost to UCLA. UCLA remains No. 1 in the men's poll. The complete polls can be found here.

USTA Division I Top 10 Team Rankings:

1. UCLA (1)
2. Wake Forest (2)
3. Ohio State (3)
4. Stanford (4)
5. Texas A&M (5)
6. North Carolina (6)
7. TCU (7)
8. USC (8)
9. Illinois (9)
10. Mississippi State (11)

1. Vanderbilt (3)
2. Duke (4)
3. North Carolina (2)
4. Pepperdine (1)
5. Texas (5)
6. Georgia Tech (6)
7. Stanford (7)
8. UCLA (11)
9. Florida (10)
10. Mississippi (12)

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Vanderbilt Women Take Over Top Spot in ITA Rankings; Six Arkansas Matches on One Day Put .500 Rule Back in Spotlight; New NCAA Rules Take Aim at Early Recruiting; Baird Top Seed at ITF Grade 1 in France

The rankings below are the last from the ITA until May 3rd, after the NCAA announces the selections based on the rankings on Tuesday May 1. Wake Forest remains No. 1, with little movement in the Top 10 for the men, but Vanderbilt has taken over the No. 1 spot from North Carolina in the women's rankings, after Duke beat the Tar Heels and Vanderbilt won the Southeastern Conference tournament on Sunday. All but the SEC women have their conference tournaments scheduled for this weekend, so many significant matches remain.

ITA Men’s Division I Team Rankings April 24, 2018 (last week's rankings in parentheses)
1. Wake Forest (1)
2. UCLA (2)
3. Ohio State (3)
4. Stanford (4)
5. Texas A&M (5)
6. North Carolina (7)
7. TCU (6)
8. Illinois (8
9. Mississippi State (9)
10. Florida (10)

ITA Men’s Division I Top 10 Singles April 24, 2018
1. Martin Redlicki, UCLA (1)
2. Nuno Borges, Mississippi State (3)
3. William Blumberg, North Carolina (2)
4. Petros Chrysochos, Wake Forest (5)
5. Mikael Torpegaard, Ohio State (4)
6. Borna Gojo, Wake Forest (6)
7. Patrick Kypson, Texas A&M (7)
8. Ryotaro Matsumura, Kentucky (9)
9. Tom Fawcett, Stanford (8)
10. Arthur Rinderknech, Texas A&M (10)

ITA Men’s Division I Top 5 Doubles April 24, 2018
1. William Blumberg and Robert Kelly, North Carolina (1)
2. Petros Chrysochos and Skander Mansouri, Wake Forest (2)
3. Johannes Ingildsen and Alfredo Perez, Florida (4)
4. Guillermo Nunez and Alex Rybakov, TCU (5)
5. Korey Lovett and Eero Vasa, Central Florida (3)

ITA Women’s Division I Top 10 Team Rankings, April 24, 2018
1. Vanderbilt (2)
2. North Carolina (1)
3. Duke (4)
4. Georgia Tech (3)
5. Ole Miss (6)
6. Texas (5)
7. Oklahoma State (11)
8. Georgia (8)
9. Florida (9)
10. South Carolina (7)

ITAA Women’s Division I Top 10 Singles April 24, 2018
1. Bianca Turati, Texas (1)
2. Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov, Florida Atlantic (2)
3. Estela Perez-Somarriba, Miami (3)
4. Gabriela Knutson, Syracuse (5)
5. Arianne Hartono, Ole Miss (13)
6. Samantha Harris, Duke (4)
7. Makenna Jones, North Carolina (11)
8. Anastasia Rychagova, Kansas (6)
9. Fernanda Contreras, Vanderbilt (7)
10. Andrea Lazaro, Florida International (9)

ITA Women’s Division I Top 5 Doubles April 24, 2018
1. Paige Hourigan and Kenya Jones, Georgia Tech (2)
2. Emily Arbuthnott and Michaela Gordon, Stanford (3)
3. Jessie Aney and Alexa Graham, North Carolina (1)
4. Erin Larner and Maddie Lipp, Northwestern (4)
5. Samantha Harris and Kelly Chen, Duke (6)

This is always the time of year when college tennis receives the most attention, and the speculation about who will make the NCAA tournament and who will host the regionals provides the bulk of that interest.  This weekend the mainstream media took notice however, when the University of Arkansas women, who reached the semifinals of the SEC tournament, decided they did want to make the NCAAs despite a 10-16 win-loss record.  An NCAA rule requires a team be at .500 to receive a bid to the NCAA tournament, so the Razorbacks scheduled six matches on Sunday against Tennessee State, and six wins later had the requisite .500 record for selection.  Those of us who follow college tennis closely have long disparaged this rule as irrelevant to college tennis, with the rankings algorithm taking into account the strength of schedule, but it has remained, resulting in quite a few dubious triple-headers late in the season between overmatched teams and those from Power 5 conferences who are better than their record might indicate. This is a whole different level however, and it may just prompt a change, although it shouldn't take an incident like this to do it.

Chris Halioris spoke with the Tennessee State coach and athletic director for College Tennis Today and he presents their point of view and a detailed explanation of why Arkansas was in such a position and another SEC school, Alabama, was not. He discusses other problems that may result as long as this last-minute scheduling is allowed and then provides a solution. The solution he proposes does create more work for the ITA, but aside from that, it's hard to see any drawbacks to it.  This article from The Tennessean says that Tennessee State was paid $15,000 to play the matches, and no one would fault them for accepting that, but the cost to the integrity of college tennis is what is really at stake here.

Late last week the NCAA announced a change in the recruiting calendar, with official visits now allowed beginning on September 1 of the recruits junior year, instead of the first day of school of the recruit's senior year.  In return, unofficial visits by recruits will now not include any contact with the athletic department.  The Tennis Recruiting Network spoke with Division I coaches about this change and they raise good points about what some of the issues and consequences may be in this Roundtable.

After several weeks without one, the ITF Junior Circuit has a Grade 1 this week, beginning the European spring clay season in earnest.  Drew Baird is the top boys seed at Beaulieu Sur Mer in France, with Vanessa Ong[14] and Kacie Harvey[11] seeded in the girls draw. Live scoring is available for the tournament here.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Easter Bowl ITF and 16s Divisions Photos and Videos

Below are photos of the singles semifinalists and doubles finalists at the USTA Easter Bowl 16s and the ITF Easter Bowl in Indian Wells.  My Tennis Recruiting Network recap of the 16s tournament is here; my recap of the ITF tournament is here.

Indian Wells Tennis Garden, main site of USTA 16 and ITF Easter Bowl
Chidimma Okpara, 16s semifinalist
Hibah Shaikh, 16s third place
India Houghton, 16s finalist
Anessa Lee, 16s champion
Chidimma Okpara and Amanda Chan, 16s doubles finalists
Allura and Maribella Zamarripa, 16s doubles champions
Logan Zapp, 16s semifinalist
Harsh Parikh, 16s third place
Max McKennon, 16s finalist
Keshav Chopra, 16s champion
Keshav Chopra and Coy Simon, 16s doubles finalists
Benjamin Koch and Welsh Hotard, 16s doubles champions
Emma Navarro, ITF semifinalist
Gabby Price, ITF semifinalist
Alexa Noel, ITF finalist
Katie Volynets, ITF champion
Kylie Collins and Savannah Broadus ITF doubles finalists
Caty McNally and Hailey Baptiste, ITF doubles champions
Cannon Kingsley, ITF semifinalist
Siem Woldeab, ITF semifinalist
Tristan Boyer, ITF finalist
Jenson Brooksby, ITF champion
Christian Alshon and Tyler Zink, ITF doubles finalists
Govind Nanda and Trey Hilderbrand, ITF doubles champions