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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

July Aces; Baptiste Top Seed at San Diego Nationals; Southern Section Claims USTA Boys 18s National Team Title; ITA Summer Circuit Concludes, Top Five Finishers Receive Grants for ITA National Summer Championships

With the USTA Nationals beginning this weekend, my monthly Tennis Recruiting Network column on the top performances for July is out a bit early. Eighteen players (one a doubles team) made the list of this month's top performers, but, as has become standard lately, I've had to leave out some former collegians who won titles. I guess it never occurred to me when I began this that while juniors age out of my purview, the list of former collegians would only continue to grow, so there's no way to acknowledge all of them every month. But if you need a quick summary of some of what's happened during this month, check it out.

The seeds for all the National Championships except for the Girls 12s are out, with the Top 16 seeds listed below. The Kalamazoo seeds were published on Monday. Click on the headers to go to the Tennis Link sites for the complete lists.  I also received the wild card lists today for the 12s and 14s and they are also below.

Girls 18s (San Diego)
1. Hailey Baptiste
2. Katie Volynets
3. Emma Navarro
4. Alexa Noel
5. Connie Ma
6. Natasha Subhash
7. Alycia Parks
8. Hurricane Tyra Black
9. Abigail Forbes
10. Savannah Broadus
11. Elli Mandlik
12. Chloe Beck
13. Robin Montgomery
14. Katrina Scott
15. Charlotte Chavatipon
16. Charlotte Owensby

Girls 16s: (San Diego)
1. Valencia Xu
2. Vivian Ovrootsky
3. Winta Woldeab
4. Aubrey Nisbet
5. Nadejda Maslova
6. Emma Charney
7. Carrie Beckman
8. Rachel Arbitman
9. Tara Malik
10. Hina Inoue
11. Ava Catanzarite
12. Nikita Vishwase
13. Ava Krug
14. Reese Brantmeier
15. Jennifer Riester
16. Julia Fliegner

G14s: (Rome Georgia)
1. Stephanie Yakoff
2. Kinaa Graham
3. Theadora Rabman
4. Alexia Harmon
5. Lamija Avdic
6. Amber Yin
7. Natalia Perez
8. Carlo Pacot
9. Karsyn Evans
10. Victoria Zhao
11. Maddy Sampardo
12. Susanna Maltby
13. Mika Ikemori
14. Catherine Walker
15. Isabella Chhiv
16. Meera Jesudason

Wild cards: Alexia Harmon, Kate Kim, Thalia Smith, Akasha Urhobo

Girls 12s: (Alpharetta Georgia)
1. Bella Payne
2. Eva Oxford
3. Kinley Vanpelt
4. Clair An
5. Alexis Nguyen
6. Sasha Kilgour
7. Aspen Schuman
8. Mia Yamakita
9. Alex Ackman
10. Anika Paul
11. Sophie Hernandez
12. Kirsten Woods
13. Lauren Kettlewell
14. Haylee Conway
15. Victoria Osuigwe
16. Mischa Briggs

(no wild cards awarded)

Boys 14s (Mobile)
1. Yannik Rahman
2. Dylan Tsoi
3. Nicolas Godsick
4. Cooper Williams
5. Carson Baker
6. Davis Taylor
7. Oskar Jansson
8. Marko Mesarovic
9. Andy Nguyen
10. Mitchell Lee
11. Alexander Razeghi
12. Robert Zhang
13. Joseph Phillips
14. James Lian
15. Alexander Frusing
16. Alexander Aney

Wild cards: Daniel Stojanov, Abhishek Thorat

Boys 12s:
1. Cooper Woestendick
2. Abhinav Chunduru
3. Maxwell Exsted
4. A Filer
5. Jagger Leach
6. Braeden Gelletich
7. Yubel Ubri
8. Andrew Ena
9. Francisco Salmain
10. Prathinav Chunduru
11. Oliver Narbut
12. Nicolas Iantosca
13. Mark Krupkin
14. Benjamin Spars
15. Dominick Mosejczuk
16. Cooper Han

Wild cards: Jake Presser, Carel Ngounoue

The USTA Boys 18s National Team Championship concluded yesterday in Chattanooga Tennessee, with No. 2 seed Southern defeating 5-8 seed Southern California 4-3.  SoCal won the doubles point and got wins from Siem Woldeab and Jacob Bullard at 1 and 2, but Southern was too deep, claiming lines 3, 4, 5, and 6 in singles to take the title. Philip Jordan clinched the match for Southern. A screenshot of the championship match results is below.

The ITA Summer Circuit concluded earlier this week, and the names of the top five finishers in the overall point standings were released today, with USC incoming freshman Ryder Jackson and Yale incoming freshman Vivian Cheng topping the lists. The top five each receive $600 to be used for expenses as they compete in the ITA Summer Nationals beginning August 9th at TCU in Fort Worth Texas.

The ITA has also been producing a weekly article featuring brief bios of all the finalists. The last one, for week six, is available here. To find the others, use the ITA website's news feed feature.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Baptiste and McNally Earn First WTA Main Draw Wins; US Teams for ITF World Junior 14U Championships Announced; Collegiate Doubles Success Continues on ATP Tour

It was a memorable evening at the Citi Open for 17-year-old wild cards Hailey Baptiste and Caty McNally, both of whom recorded their first WTA main draw wins in the first round of the International event in Washington DC.

Baptiste, who has played very little at the highest levels of the ITF World Tennis Tour and had never played a WTA Top 100 player, defeated No. 2 seed Madison Keys 7-6(4), 6-2. She was broken only once, at 5-5 in the first set, and saved two set points before breaking Keys and winning the tiebreaker. Ranked 283, Baptiste was giving away 266 ranking spots to Keys.

McNally, who had qualified last month at Wimbledon and won a $100,000 tournament this winter, was not as surprising a winner today. Ranked 150, McNally has already posted six WTA Top 100 wins, and her 6-4, 6-2 victory over No. 125 Lin Zhu of China, who she had beaten last month, was hardly an upset. But a first WTA-level win is significant regardless of the circumstances.

The more widely known teenager in action today at the Citi Open, 15-year-old Coco Gauff, lost her first round match to Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-2.
The USTA announced the teams that will be representing the United States in the annual ITF World Junior Tennis 14-and-under competition in Prostejov, Czech Republic beginning next Monday.

Thirteen-year-old Clervie Ngounoue, 14-year-old Tsehay Driscoll and 14-year-old Qavia Lopez are the US girls at the 16-team event, and because this competition always directly conflicts with the US National Championships, they have to give up one of the biggest events in the country to participate. Maureen Diaz is the USTA National Coach traveling with the girls.

The boys team consists of Kyle Kang, Nishesh Basavareddy, both 14, and 13-year-old Dylan Charlap. Jon Glover is the USTA National Coach accompanying the boys.

The US boys team of Victor Lilov, Bruno Kuzuhara and Evan Wen won the title last year; the girls team of Katrina Scott, Robin Montgomery and Reese Brantmeier finished third.

The USTA release, including more information on each of the players, can be found here.

In the same month that former USC star Robert Farah won the Wimbledon doubles title, other former collegians have excelled on the ATP tour. Last week the Belgian team of Sander Gille (East Tennessee State) and Joran Vliegen (East Carolina) won their second consecutive ATP title at the ATP 250 in Switzerland, after winning the ATP 250 in Sweden the week before. Vliegen is now 43 in the ATP doubles rankings, while Gille is 55. For more on their title, see the ATP website article.

At the BB&T Atlanta Open, Austin Krajicek(Texas A&M) and Dominic Inglot(Virginia) of Great Britain, won their second title in the past two months, saving two match points in their 6-4, 6-7(5), 11-9 win in the final over Mike and Bob Bryan(Stanford).  All four finalists were NCAA doubles champions; the Bryans in 1998, Inglot in 2009 and Krajicek in 2011. For more on their win Sunday, see this article from the ATP website.

In other doubles news, only one title was captured by American juniors last week on the ITF Junior Circuit, in doubles at the Grade 3 in the Dominican Republic.  Top seeds Kailey Evans and Hina Inoue defeated No. 5 seeds Zoe Hitt and Sofia Rojas 7-5, 2-6, 10-8 in the all-USA final. Both Evans and Inoue lost in the singles semifinals. No. 12 seed Aidan Mayo reached the boys singles final, falling to top seed Rafael Abdul Salam of Venezuela 6-1, 6-4. No. 3 seed Lauren Anzalotta of Puerto Rico won the girls singles title, beating unseeded Corina Spasojevic of Canada 6-0, 2-6, 6-3 in the final.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Kalamazoo Seeds; USTA 18s and 16s Nationals Wild Cards; US Open Junior Acceptances; Dennis Van der Meer Dies

Kalamazoo seeds are set and should be up on the ustaboys.com website later tonight or tomorrow. The top 32 seeds in each age division, all of whom have first round byes, are below. Australian Open boys finalist Emilio Nava, who was injured during the Roehampton ITF Grade 1 in late June, would have been among the top seeds, but he withdrew this weekend.

Boys 18s
1. Brandon Nakashima
2. Martin Damm
3. Toby Kodat
4. Cannon Kingsley
5. Govind Nanda
6. Zachary Svajda
7. Leighton Allen
8. Logan Zapp
9. Stefan Dostanic
10. Eliot Spizzirri
11. Tyler Zink
12. Dali Blanch
13. Will Grant
14. Jacob Bullard
15. Andres Martin
16. Andrew Dale
17. Wesley Barnett
18. Evin McDonald
19. Ryan Fishback
20. Ishaan Ravichander
21. Welsh Hotard
22. Luke Vandecasteele
23. Benjamin Koch
24. Ronald Hohmann
25. Ronan Jachuck
26. Alex Lee
27. Siem Woldeab
28. Omni Kumar
29. Garrett Johns
30. Neel Rajesh
31. Blaise Bicknell
32. Mark Mandlik

Boys 16s
1. Alexander Bernard
2. Luke Casper
3. Samir Banerjee
4. Aidan Mayo
5. Thomas Paulsell
6. William Cooksey
7. Ben Shelton
8. Jack Anthrop
9. Victor Lilov
10. Benjamin Kittay
11. Louis Cloud
12. Gabrielius Guzauskas
13. Alexander Chang
14. Nathan Mao
15. Braden Shick
16. Daniel Schmelka
17. Gavin Young
18. Adit Sinha
19. Alex Finkelstein
20. Luke Neal
21. Lucas Brown
22. Colton Smith
23. James Delgado
24. Frank Thompson
25. Ekansh Kumar
26. Nicholas Heng
27. Azuma Visaya
28. Tristan Sarap
29. John Kim
30. Nate Bonetto
31. Evan Wen
32. Hugo Hashimoto

The wild cards for Kalamazoo are as follows:
Nathan Han
Garrett Johns
Omni kumar
Alex Lee
Adam Neff
Pierce Rollins
Samuel Rubell
Zachary Svajda

Tauheed Browning
Andrew Chang
Boyeni Keenan
Connor Krug
Sam Landau
Victor Lilov
Ethan Schiffman

The wild cards for the USTA Girls 18s and 16s Nationals in San Diego have been announced. Hurricane Tyra Black was not on the initial 18s acceptance list due to an administrative error, but that was corrected and she did not need a wild card.

Hailey Baptiste
Safiya Carrington
Andrea Cerdan
Maxi Duncan
Victoria Hu
Vanessa Ong
Alycia Parks
Gabby Price

Anna Babayan
Daniella Benabraham
Katie Codd
Gracie Epps
Tara Malik
Tyra Richardson
Nika Vesely
Sophie Williams

I missed the US Open Junior Championships acceptances when they came out last week, but, at least for now, it's an impressive field for both the boys and girls.

Although Australian Open boys champion Lorenzo Musetti of Italy did not enter, he and Nava are the only Top 10 boys missing. Wimbledon champion and No. 1 Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan and French Open champion and No. 2 Holger Rune of Denmark lead the boys entries. Eight US boys received direct entry: Martin Damm, Toby Kodat, Brandon Nakashima, Zane Khan, Eliot Spizzirri, Cannon Kingsley, Tyler Zink and Govind Nanda. Nanda is one of three boys who received entry based on their ATP Top 750 rankings, with Kyrian Jacquet of France and Olimjon Nabiev of Uzbekistan the others. The ITF junior ranking cutoff for boys is currently 52. Dali Blanch and Will Grant are currently in qualifying; Leighton Allen, who won the Clay Courts, and Ron Hohmann, who won the Easter Bowl, have already earned wild cards, as will the Kalamazoo 16s champion.

The girls field is also missing just two of the top 10, with France's Clara Burel still out with an injury and Wimbledon champion Daria Snigur of Ukraine sticking with her decision, announced after she won the title earlier this month in London, that she was not playing any more junior events. The other two slam champions are in the draw: No. 1 and Australian Open champion Clara Tauson of Denmark and No. 2 and French Open champion Leylah Fernandez of Canada.  Nine US girls received direct entry: Emma Navarro, Alexa Noel, Hurricane Tyra Black, Abigail Forbes, Savannah Broadus, Elli Mandlik, Chloe Beck, Robin Montgomery and Katie Volynets.  Volynets, who hasn't played a junior event this year, is one of two girls who received entry based on their Top 400 WTA rankings. The other is Daria Lopatetska of Ukraine, who reached the semifinals in New York last year and has been out since May with an injury that required surgery. She also has not played a junior event this year. The girls cutoff is 50, with Katrina Scott, Skyler Grishuk, Charlotte Chavatipon and Natasha Subhash the Americans in qualifying. Subhash received qualifying entry based on her Top 500 WTA ranking.

Gabby Price has already earned a main draw wild card with her title at the Clay Courts.

I will be in New York again this year to cover the Junior Championships beginning on Sunday, September 1.

Over the weekend, the news broke that one of the pioneers of tennis teaching and coaching, Dennis Van der Meer, had died at the age of 86. Van der Meer was instrumental in standardizing and professionalizing tennis instruction and a vast majority of tennis coaches have profited from his knowledge of game, whether they are aware of it or not. The founder of the Professional Tennis Registry, Van der Meer and his wife Pat operated a well-know academy on Hilton Head Island for decades. For more on his impact on the Hilton Head tennis community, see this article from the local newspaper. For more on his impact on the sport, see this article from Tennis.com.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Gauff Qualifies for Citi Open; Brooksby, Min Win $25K Titles, Escobedo Claims ATP Challenger Title in Granby; European Championships Conclude; USTA Girls 18s National Team Championship Underway

Fifteen-year-old Coco Gauff, who didn't know if she would get into qualifying until Friday, has advanced to the main draw of the WTA International Citi Open. The top-seeded Gauff, who has already used all of the WTA wild cards available to her until next March, when she turns 16, had to make her way through qualifying to have a chance to compete in this week's WTA tournament in Washington DC. She had no trouble doing that, beating Maegan Manasse 6-4, 6-2 yesterday and No. 8 seed Hiroko Kuwata of Japan 6-1, 6-2 today. Her next opponent will be unseeded Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.  Sachia Vickery, the No. 2 seed in qualifying, also advanced to the main draw, beating No. 5 seed Destanee Aiava of Australia 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-3.

All three US men in the final round of qualifying advanced, with Donald Young, Thai Kwiatkowski(Virginia) and Tim Smyczek moving into the main draw with wins today. Former Ohio State All-American Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark also advanced to the main draw via two wins in qualifying.  Tommy Paul, Bjorn Fratangelo, Jack Sock and Christopher Eubanks have received main draw wild cards into the ATP 500 event in DC.

Jenson Brooksby and Grace Min won titles today at $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournaments in Champaign-Urbana Illinois and Evansville Indiana respectively.

The 18-year-old Brooksby, who won the Kalamazoo 18s nationals last year but is not defending his title this year, defeated No. 4 seed Oliver Crawford, a rising University of Florida junior, 6-2, 6-1 in the final. The No. 3 seed, Brooksby needed just over an hour to claim his second title on the Pro Circuit, with the first coming this past March, also at the $25,000 level.

Min needed considerably longer to claim her first title in over a year, with the No. 6 seed beating top seed Deniz Khazaniuk of Israel 7-6(7), 4-6, 7-5 in three hours and 15 minutes. Min, who didn't play for four months between February and June saw her ranking plunge into the 400s, but that will rebound with this title.

At the ATP 90 Challenger in Granby Canada, Ernesto Escobedo won his first Challenger title in nearly three years, with the unseeded 23-year-old taking out No. 3 seed Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan 7-6(5), 6-4 in the final. Escobedo's ranking, which had fallen outside the top 250, will rebound to around 214, meaning he will make the US Open qualifying. But even better, with his 90 points this week, he will take over the lead in the USTA's US Open Wild Card Challenge, with two weeks to go.

In the Granby doubles final, former Cal star Andre Goransson of Sweden partnered with Sem Verbeek of the Netherlands, a University of the Pacific alum, to win the title. The No. 3 seeds defeated top seeds Zhe Li of China and Hugo Nys of Monaco 6-2, 6-4 in the final.

At the Binghamton New York ATP 80 Challenger final, Yuichi Sugita of Japan took the singles title, beating Joao Menezes of Brazil 7-6(2), 1-6, 6-2 in the final. Top seeds Max Purcell and Luke Saville of Australia won the doubles title, beating No. 2 seeds JC Aragone(Virginia) and Alex Lawson(Notre Dame) 6-4, 4-6, 10-5 in the final.

Other results from this weekend will be highlighted in my July Aces column, which will be published on Wednesday.

Taylor Fritz lost to Alex De Minaur of Australia 6-3, 7-6(2) in the final of the ATP 250 BB&T Atlanta Open today. The 20-year-old De Minaur, who didn't face a break point throughout the tournament, is the youngest ever champion of the tournament.

The European Championships concluded today with Valentin Royer of France and Anna Kubareva of Belarus the 18s champions at the ITF Grade B1 in Switzerland. The ninth-seeded Royer, who also won the doubles title, beat No. 8 seed Dalibor Svrcina of the Czech Republic 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the final. The unseeded Kubareva defeated No. 8 seed Caijsa Hennemann of Sweden 6-2, 7-6(5) in the girls final, played indoors (but still on clay) due to rain.

Les Petits As champion Vojtech Petr added the European 14s title to his impressive resume. Click on the headings to go to the Tennis Europe draws for the younger age groups.

Boys 14s
Vojtech Petr(CZE)[3] d. Dino Prizmic(CRO)[9] 2-6, 6-3, 6-2

Girls 14s
Michaela Laki(GRE)[10] d. Melisa Ercan(TUR) 6-3, 6-2

Boys 16s
Mehdi Sadaoui(FRA) d. Max Westphal 6-4, 6-2

Girls 16s
Polina Kudermetova(RUS)[1] d. Elsa Jacquemot(FRA)[3] 7-6(3), 7-5

The USTA Girls 18s National Team Championships began today in Claremont California. A draw doesn't appear to be available, but results, and the list of the players competing, can be found on the Tennis Link page.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Gauff Advances at WTA Citi Open Qualifying; Crawford and Brooksby Reach Champaign $25K Final; Escobedo Makes Final at Canadian Challenger; Fritz Moves into ATP Championship Match in Atlanta

Coco Gauff is one win away from the main draw at the WTA International Citi Open in Washington DC after the 15-year-old defeated former Cal star Maegan Manasse 6-4, 6-2 in the opening round of qualifying today. The top-seeded Gauff, who was unable to accept a main draw wild card due to the WTA's age eligibility restrictions, will play No. 8 seed Hiroko Kuwata of Japan, who defeated alternate Maria Sanchez(USC) 4-6, 7-5, 6-0.

Fourteen-year-old local Robin Montgomery took the first set from WTA 192 Destanee Aiava, but lost to the 19-year-old Australian 4-6, 7-5, 6-2. Rising North Carolina sophomore Cameron Morra lost to Varvara Gracheva of Russia 6-3, 6-1. The other two Americans advancing to the final round of qualifying are No. 2 seed Sachia Vickery and No. 3 seed Francesca Di Lorenzo.

University of Michigan rising sophomore Andrew Fenty received a wild card into Citi Open ATP 500 men's qualifying and he had an impressive performance against former ATP No. 12 Viktor Troicki of Serbia, but lost 4-6, 6-1, 7-5. Thai Kwiatkowski(Virginia), Tim Smyczek and Donald Young are the Americans advancing to Sunday's final round of qualifying.

At the WTA Premier event in San Jose, 15-year-old Katrina Scott fell just short of advancing in the qualifying, with the wild card losing to top seed Timea Babos of Hungary 7-5, 2-6, 7-5. Scott has been on a roll this spring and summer and will definitely be a player to watch at the USTA Girls 18s Nationals next month in San Diego. Seventeen-year-old Katie Volynets, who was also granted entry into qualifying by a wild card, lost to Kristie Ahn(Stanford) 7-5, 6-0.  Amanda Anisimova is the No. 4 seed in the main draw, and Danielle Collins(Virginia) is the No. 8 seed.

Two young Americans will face off for the $25,000 USTA Men's Pro Circuit title in Champaign-Urbana Sunday, with No. 4 seed Oliver Crawford playing No. 3 seed Jenson Brooksby.  Twenty-year-old University of Florida rising junior Crawford, who won his first $25K singles title last fall, defeated top seed Liam Broady of Great Britain 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. Baylor rising freshman Brooksby, 18, defeated NCAA semifinalist Aleks Kovacevic(Illinois) 6-4, 6-3. Brooksby and Crawford played three years ago at the ITF Grade 1 International Spring Championships, with Crawford winning 6-1, 6-2 in a second round match.

In the doubles final, Stanford's Axel Geller of Argentina and Texas A&M's Juan Carlos Aguilar of Bolivia won the title, beating Keenan Mayo and Ricardo Rodriguez of Venezuela 6-4, 6-3 in a battle of unseeded teams.

University of Virginia rising freshman Natasha Subhash lost in the semifinals of the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Evansville Indiana. The 17-year-old was beaten by top seed Deniz Khazaniuk of Israel 6-2, 6-3. Khazaniuk will face No. 6 seed Grace Min in the final, after Min defeated No. 5 seed Haruna Arakawa 7-5, 6-1.

Top seeds Connie Hsu(Penn) of Taiwan and Chanel Simmonds of South Africa won the doubles title, beating No. 2 seeds Arakawa and Pam Montez(UCLA) 6-2, 6-0 in the final.

Robin Anderson lost in the semifinals today at the Ashland Kentucky $60,000 tournament to Zoe Hives of Australia. It will be an all-Aussie final, with former Georgia star Ellen Perez advancing with a win over Katie Swan of Great Britain. In an all-collegiate doubles final between unseeded teams, Sanaz Marand(UNC) and Caitlin Whoriskey (Tennessee) defeated Vladica Babic(Oklahoma State) of Montenegro and Julia Rosenqvist(Cal) of Sweden 7-6(4), 6-4 in the final.

Mitchell Krueger lost in the semifinals of the ATP 80 Challenger in Binghamton to Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Sugita will face Joao Menezes of Brazil in Sunday's final.

An American has reached a Challenger final however, with Ernesto Escobedo advancing to the championship match at the ATP 90 in Granby Canada. The unseeded Escobedo defeated Wake Forest star and 2018 NCAA finalist Borna Gojo of Croatia 6-7(3), 7-6(3), 6-2 in the semifinals. Escobedo, who last made a Challenger final back in 2016, will face No. 3 seed Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan for the title Sunday.

After winning a $25,000 tournament last week, French Open girls champion Leylah Fernandez is now into the final of the $80,00 tournament in Granby. The 16-year-old will face Lizette Cabrera of Australia for the title, with neither player seeded.

No. 2 seed Taylor Fritz has advanced to the final of the ATP 250 BB&T Atlanta Open, where he'll face No. 3 seed Alex De Minaur of Australia. Fritz, who hit 15 aces, defeated former TCU star Cameron Norrie 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, while De Minaur prevented an all-American final with a 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-3 win over Reilly Opelka earlier this afternoon.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Gauff Gets Into WTA Citi Open Qualifying, McNally and Baptiste Receive Main Draw Wild Cards; Recaps of USTA Clay Courts 18s Titles for Price and Allen; Subhash Advances in Evansville $25K; USTA Boys 18s National Team Championships Starts Saturday

The suspense regarding Coco Gauff's next competition post-Wimbledon came to an end this afternoon, when it was announced that she had moved into qualifying at Washington DC's Citi Open, and would be playing Saturday. The 15-year-old, whose Wimbledon run to the fourth round captivated even non-sports fans, will face former Cal star Maegan Manasse, who lost her quarterfinal match today in Ashland Kentucky to former Georgia star Ellen Perez of Australia 6-2, 6-3. Gauff is the top seed in qualifying, with her post-Wimbledon ranking of 143. She had to get into qualifying based on the pre-Wimbledon ranking, which was 313.

Gauff, who had to go through qualifying because she has already used her three WTA wild cards, is actually not the youngest player in qualifying draw, with 14-year-old local standout Robin Montgomery receiving a wild card. Montgomery, who trains at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park Maryland, will face Destinee Aiava of Australia. North Carolina rising sophomore Cameron Morra, an NCAA singles semifinalist this year, also received a qualifying wild card and will play 18-year-old Varvara Gracheva of Russia.

The three main draw wild cards all went to Americans: Allie Kiick, Caty McNally and Hailey Baptiste. Baptiste, a 17-year-old from Washington DC, will be making her WTA debut against the No. 2 seed, Madison Keys. McNally faces Lin Zhu of China, with Kiick playing Monica Puig of Puerto Rico. Sloane Stephens in the No. 1 seed.

Although she is also from the Washington DC area and would be a candidate for a qualifying wild card, Natasha Subhash will instead be playing in the semifinals of the $25,000 tournament in Evansville Indiana Saturday. Subhash, who is unseeded, defeated qualifier Fernanda Contreras(Vanderbilt) of Mexico 6-4, 6-3 to set up a meeting with top seed Deniz Khazaniuk of Israel. Grace Min, the No. 6 seed, will play No. 5 seed Haruna Arakawa of Japan, who beat Elli Mandlik 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.

No. 5 seed Robin Anderson is through to the semifinals at the $60,000 tournament in Ashland Kentucky. The former UCLA star will play No. 8 seed Zoe Hives of Australia on Saturday. Even if she loses tomorrow, the 26-year-old from New Jersey will be at a new career high in the rankings, at around 162.

The last of the Kalamazoo participants is out of the $25,000 men's event in Champaign-Urbana, with No. 7 seed Cannon Kingsley(Ohio State) losing today to Illinois rising senior Aleks Kovacevic 6-4, 6-4. Wild card Kovacevic will face No. 3 seed Jenson Brooksby in one semifinal, with the top half semifinal featuring No. 1 seed Liam Broady of Great Britain against No. 4 seed Oliver Crawford, a rising junior at Florida.

Mitchell Krueger has advanced to the semifinals of the ATP 80 Challenger in Binghamton, with the No. 7 seed beating No. 4 seed Dudi Sela of Israel 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-4. He will face No. 11 seed Yuichi Sugita of Japan on Saturday.

The Tennis Recruiting Network wraps up its coverage of the USTA Clay Courts Championships, with articles on Gabby Price's win in Charleston and Leighton Allen's title in Delray Beach. Rhiannon Potkey notes in the article on Price that the 16-year-old had signed a professional contract earlier this year. Joey Dillon spoke with Leighton Allen about his exciting 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-6(2) win over Logan Zapp, with Allen expressing his surprise on winning his first Level 1 title on clay.

The USTA Boys 18s National Team Championships begin tomorrow in Chattanooga Tennessee, a new venue for the competition, which for many years was held in Champaign-Urbana. I can't remember the Intermountain section ever being a No. 1 seed before, but they are this week, although the No. 2 seed, Southern, looks every bit as strong to me. The draw is here, and the team rosters are here.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Top Seeds Out in ITF GB1 European Championships; Recaps of Casper and Nisbet's 16s Clay Court Titles; Manasse, Cressy Among Americans Advancing to USTA Pro Circuit Quarterfinals

Today's fourth round of the ITF Grade B1 European Championships in Switzerland saw both the No. 1 seeds in the singles draw ousted, while in the boys draw, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 also lost.

Boys top seed Gauthier Onclin of Belgium lost to unseeded 17-year-old Peter Fajta of Hungary 7-6(2), 6-4. Fajta has never played a Grade A event and hadn't played a Grade 1 until this spring. No. 2 seed and Wimbledon semifinalist Harold Mayot of France lost to No. 14 seed Leandro Reidi of Switzerland 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-2 and No. 3 seed and Wimbledon boys finalist Carlos Gimeno Valero of Spain lost a tough one to unseeded Nemanja Malesevic of Bosnia 7-6(6), 4-6, 7-6(4). No. 4 seed Flavio Cobolli of Italy lost to unseeded Nicholas David Ionel of Romania 7-5, 6-0. Only three seeds remain in the boys quarterfinals with the highest No. 8 Dalibor Svrcina of the Czech Republic.

Eighteen-year-old Loudmilla Bencheikh of France, who has a WTA ranking of 503 but wasn't seeded in this event, defeated top seed Alina Charaeva of Russia 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(2). There are six seeds remaining in the girls quarterfinals, including 14-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic, the No. 3 seed.

Three of the four top seeds have advanced to the quarterfinals in the 14s and 16s divisions. Links to those draws can be found here.

The Tennis Recruiting Network has articles today on the boys 16s and girls 16s USTA Clay Courts finals. Luke Casper's win over Samir Banerjee went to a third-set tiebreaker, and Casper saved seven match points in collecting his second gold ball in singles. Rhiannon Potkey talked to both players about a final I'm sure they will both remember long after they've finished playing tennis competitively. The girls 16s title belongs to 14-year-old Aubrey Nisbet and Sonny Dearth explains in his recap why the success she enjoyed this week caught her by surprise.

The quarterfinals are set for the ATP Challenger 80 in Binghamton New York and the $60,000 ITF World Tennis Tour women's event in Ashland Kentucky, with two US men and five US women advancing with wins today.

Former Cal star Maegan Manasse, who reached the final in Ashland last year, won her match with top seed Madison Brengle when Brengle retired trailing 5-1 in the first set. No. 3 seed Ann Li, qualifier Hanna Chang, qualifier Alexa Glatch and No. 5 seed Robin Anderson(UCLA) have also reached the quarterfinals, with Anderson and Glatch meeting  Friday for a place in the semifinals.

In Binghamton, recent UCLA graduate Maxime Cressy was joined in the quarterfinals this evening by Mitchell Krueger. Cressy, unseeded, defeated Sekou Bangoura(Florida) 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(3) to reach his second Challenger quarterfinal this month. Krueger, the No. 7 seed, defeated 17-year-old Jan Sinner of Italy 7-5, 1-6, 6-3.

Ohio State freshman Cannon Kingsley, who will be playing here in Kalamazoo next week, advanced to the quarterfinals at the $25,000 tournament in Champaign-Urbana. The No. 7 seed defeated Michael Shabaz(Virginia) 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-4 and will play NCAA singles semifinalist Aleks Kovacevic, a rising senior at Illinois on Friday. No. 3 seed Jenson Brooksby, a rising freshman at Baylor, beat Govind Nanda(UCLA) 4-6, 7-5, 6-2, after Nanda had served for the match at 6-4, 5-4. Brooksby's opponent in the quarterfinals is No. 8 seed Keenan Mayo, who left Illinois after his freshman year and has recently signed with Loyola Marymount.

Four Americans have advanced to the quarterfinals at the $25,000 women's tournament in Evansville Indiana, including Natasha Subhash and Elli Mandlik. Subhash, 17, will face former Vanderbilt star Fernanda Contreras of Mexico, a qualifier, next. The 18-year-old Mandlik, who took out 16-year-old Gabby Price 6-3, 6-0 in the second round today, plays No. 5 seed Haruna Arakawa of Japan in the quarterfinals. Grace Min[6] and Kate Fahey(Michigan) are the other two American quarterfinalists.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Hometown Favorite King Beats Dimitrov in Atlanta; Recaps of Basavareddy, Smejkal 14s Clay Court Titles; Mandlik Defeats Kratzer in Evansville $25K; USA's Team for Pan American Games

Former Georgia Tech All-American Kevin King earned the biggest win of his career last night, beating wild card Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 7-5, 6-4 in the first round of the BB&T Atlanta Open. The 28-year-old King reached a career-high of 162 last year, having qualified for the Australian Open, but this year he was 6-15 in Challengers, and needed a wild card into the Atlanta qualifying, where he beat No. 2 seed Guido Andreozzi of Argentina and Ryan Harrison to advance to the main draw. King, who graduated with a mechanical engineering degree in 2012, returned to serve as volunteer coach for the Yellow Jackets in 2016 as he recovered from hip surgery, so his many connections with the area were bound to make him the crowd favorite. King had played only four main draw ATP matches before last night, but one was in Atlanta, where he qualified in 2013, losing to No. 5 seed Rendy Lu of Taiwan.

Next up for King on Thursday is No. 2 seed Taylor Fritz, with Fritz holding a 1-0 head-to-head with King after beating him early last year in the Noumea Challenger 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-4.

For more on King's win, see this article from the ATP website.

The Tennis Recruiting Network wrap-ups of the USTA 14s Clay Court finals are out today, so check out those articles for more on champions Nishesh Basavareddy and Lara Smejkal. Harvey Fialkov, who wrote both articles, shares the news that both Amanda Anisimova and Coco Gauff were in Plantation, site of the Girls 14s tournament, last week to work with Nick Saviano, who has his academy there.

At the two women's Pro Circuit tournaments in the US, both No. 2 seeds were eliminated today in first round action. At the $60,000 event in Ashland Kentucky, qualifier Alexa Glatch defeated Anna Kalinskaya of Russia 6-4, 6-4. At the $25,000 tournament in Evansville Indiana, Elli Mandlik took out 2017 USTA Girls 18s National Champion Ashley Kratzer by the same score.  Other juniors reaching the second round in Evansville, all expected to play the Nationals in San Diego, are qualifier Katrina Scott, Natasha Subhash and Clay Court 18s champion Gabby Price.

At the $25,000 men's tournament in Champaign-Urbana Illinois, Jenson Brooksby, the No. 3 seed, took the court in Pro Circuit competition for the first time since April, beating qualifier Pierce Rollins 6-1, 6-1. Brooksby, the defending champion, will not be defending his Kalamazoo 18s title, having withdrawn earlier this week. Govind Nanda, who is playing Kalamazoo, is Brooksby's second round opponent. No. 7 seed Cannon Kingsley, also entered in Kalamazoo, won his opening round match on Tuesday.

While I was covering Wimbledon, the USTA announced the players who would be representing the United States in next week's Pan American Games in Peru. I tweeted the link, but wanted to make sure I mentioned it here too. Two current collegians, North Carolina rising senior Alexa Graham and Florida rising sophomore Sam Riffice, are on the team, along with former collegians Kevin King and Michael Redlicki. Usue Arconada and Caroline Dolehide are the other two women named to the team. USTA national coaches Adam Peterson (women) and Eric Nunez (men) will travel with the teams. Two former American collegians have won the Pan American Games singles titles: Stanford's Paul Goldstein in 1999 and Georgia Tech's Irina Falconi in 2011.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Recaps of Clay Court 12s Titles for Thorat and Payne; Korda Leads US Open Wild Card Challenge; ITA Collegiate All Star Team Announced

The Tennis Recruiting Network is providing articles on all of last week's USTA Clay Court Championships, with the two published today looking back on the 12s division. Abhishek Thorat won the boys singles title in Orlando and Bella Payne won the girls singles title in Boca Raton. Tomorrow the coverage will move on to the 14s, followed by the 16s on Thursday and the 18s on Friday. I have not been able to attend the Clay Courts since Wimbledon was pushed back a week, so I appreciate the coverage that TRN provides and encourage everyone to read it.

The USTA sent out a release today on the Clay Court Championships, which can be found here. It includes a rundown of the wild cards awarded to those competing in the 14s, 16s and 18s divisions.

I am still waiting for the list of wild cards for the Nationals, but I did notice that both Hailey Baptiste and Hurricane Tyra Black are now among the competitors in the Girls 18s in San Diego; they were not among the original acceptances. Tennis Channel will again be broadcasting the 16s and 18s singles finals in San Diego, and new this year, the tournament will provide live streaming on Stadium Court throughout the tournament on the tournament website ustagirlsnationals.com. Kalamazoo expects to have live streaming back for this year, although possibly not until the quarterfinals.

Three weeks remain in the USTA's US Open Wild Card Challenge, with Usue Arconada retaining the lead she had from winning the Week 1 $80K in Hawaii, while adding 8 points from Week 2 in Berkeley.  The American men got off to a slow start in Week 1, but 19-year-old Sebastian Korda took the lead in Week 2 after reaching the final of the WTA Challenger 110 in Kazakhstan. Although he lost to top seed Evgeny Donskoy of Russia 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-4, Korda collected 65 ATP points for his effort. The next three weeks will provide a big increase in points opportunities, with the US Open Series ATP and WTA tournaments all counting, as well as the Challengers and $60Ks.  The current standings can be found here.

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association revealed its 2019 Collegiate All- Star team last week, with 30 players from all divisions receiving recognition for their performances in the 2018-19 season. In the past, members of the All-Star team were honored with a luncheon at the start of the US Open and some participated in Arthur Ashe Kids Day, but I don't think that is still happening. At any rate, it's a good opportunity to see a list of all the major champions, although it does not include the ITA All-American tournament champions, which I've always thought odd.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Brengle Sweeps Titles at Berkeley $60K; Four USTA Pro Circuit Events This Week; European Championships Underway; Brooksby Withdraws from Kalamazoo Nats; Gauff's Options for US Open Include Main Draw Wild Card

The singles final at the $60,000 ITF World Tennis Tour in Berkeley finished after I posted Sunday, with top seed Madison Brengle adding the singles title to the doubles title she won on Saturday. Brengle, 29, defeated unseeded Mayo Hibi of Japan 7-5, 6-4 to claim her first singles title of the year and the 14th of her career. Brengle partnered with Sachia Vickery for the doubles title, with unseeded pair beating Francesca Di Lorenzo and Great Britain's Katie Swan 6-3, 7-5 in the final.

Both the women and the men have two events in the United States this week, with the women's tournaments a $25,000 in Evansville Indiana and a $60,000 in Ashland Kentucky. The men have a $25,000 tournament in Champaign Illinois and the ATP 80 Challenger in Binghamton New York. There is also an $80,000 ITF World Tennis Tour women's tournament in Granby Canada which has four Americans in the main draw, including No. 3 seed Di Lorenzo, and a men's ATP 90 Challenger in Granby with seven Americans, none of whom are seeded.

Brengle and Anna Kalinskaya of Russia are the top seeds in Kentucky, with wild cards given to Peyton Stearns, Vicky Duval, Hayley Carter and Jennifer Elie. Marcel Granollers of Spain was the No. 1 seed in Binghamton, but he withdrew late last night, and was replaced at the top of the draw by alternate John Paul Fruttero, a doubles specialist and one of five places in the main draw available to an alternate. Ramkumar Ramanathan of India is the No. 2 seed.

There are no WTA events in the United States this week, but the ATP is in Georgia for the BB&T Atlanta Open, with John Isner and Taylor Fritz the top two seeds. Georgia Tech rising sophomore Cole Gromley received a main draw wild card and will play Tuesday night against No. 8 seed Ugo Humbert of France. Kevin King, a former Georgia Tech star, qualified into the main draw and will face wild card Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria. For more on the Georgia Tech representatives, see this article on the Georgia Tech website. Jack Sock is also scheduled to return to competition in Atlanta after an injury has kept him off the tour since the Australian Open.

The European Championships are underway in three countries, with the 14s in the Czech Republic, the 16s in Moscow, and the 18s, an ITF Grade B1 tournament, in Switzerland. Gauthier Onclin of Belgium is the top seed in the boys 18s, with Alina Chareva of Russia the top seed in the girls 18s. There is live streaming of two courts for the 18s, available here.

Defending champion Jenson Brooksby has withdrawn from the USTA 18s Nationals in Kalamazoo. I don't know the reason, but the Baylor rising freshman has not played since April.

Last week the New York Post published an article discussing the options for Coco Gauff playing at the US Open. Apparently the slams do not have to follow the WTA age eligibility restrictions and the USTA is prepared to offer her a main draw wild card, but it's my understanding she will not earn WTA points if she accepts it. Her ranking now after her run to the fourth round at Wimbledon puts her in the US Open qualifying and if she chooses to go that route, she would be eligible for WTA points earned. I don't see any way around the restrictions for next week's WTA event in Washington D.C., but it sounds like she will play qualifying if she manages to get in it, although currently more than a dozen players are ahead of her on the alternate list.  If not, she will be there for practice matches and Kid's Day.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Price, Allen Win USTA Clay Courts 18s Championships; Rybakov Outlasts McNally to Earn Iowa City $25K Title; Isner Claims Another ATP Title in Newport

The USTA Clay Court Championships concluded today, with the Boys 18s and 16s titles both decided in third-set tiebreakers. Top 18s seed Leighton Allen defeated No. 2 seed Logan Zapp 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 to earn the gold ball and a wild card into the US Open Junior Championships, but in the 16s, it was No. 2 over No. 1, with Luke Casper taking out Samir Banerjee 3-6, 7-6, 7-6. (I really wish the tournament would provide tiebreak scores; it does tell you something about the match if  a tiebreak score is 7-0 or 12-10).

The girls 18s title and the WTA Volvo Open main draw wild card went to Gabby Price, with the 16-year-old defeating Karina Miller 6-0, 7-5 in the final. Price will also receive a US Open Junior Championships wild card.

Unseeded Nishesh Basavareddy, one of the top players in the 12s, returned to competition last month after more than a year's absence due to injury, and won the Midwest Closed in the 16s, after winning the qualifier there. After eight wins in Ft. Lauderdale, one more than any seeded player needed to win, he is now 21-0 since his return.

Below are the results from the singles and doubles finals for the 14s, 16s and 18s. The headers are links to the Tennis Link sites. The results from the 12s can be found in Saturday's post.

Singles final:
Lara Smejka[15] d. Stephanie Yakoff[1] 6-2, 3-6, 6-4

Doubles final:
Alexis Blokhina and Natalia Perez[9] d. Madison Smith and Valeria Ray[9] 7-5, 6-0

Singles final:
Aubrey Nisbet[13] d. Carrie Beckman[3] 6-0, 6-4

Doubles final:
Sonia Maheshwari and Lina Mohamed[4] d. Nadejda Maslova and Nastasya Semenovski[1] 6-3, 6-4

Singles final:
Gabby Price[17] d. Karina Miller[7] 6-0, 7-5

Doubles final:
Lauren Stein and Reilly Tran[13] d. Maxi Duncan and Jamilah Snells 6-1, 6-0

Singles final:
Nishesh Basavareddy d. Dylan Tsoi[6] 6-1, 6-0

Doubles final:
Nicolas Godsick and Joseph Phillips[1] d. Nishesh Basavareddy and Learner Tien 6-1, 1-6, 6-4

Singles final:
Luke Casper[2] d. Samir Banerjee[1] 3-6, 7-6(1), 7-6(6)

Doubles final:
Ben Shelton and Maxwell Smith[2] d. Gianluca Brunkow and Sebastian Gorzny 7-5, 5-7, 6-4

Singles final:
Leighton Allen[1] d. Logan Zapp[2] 6-4, 6-7, 7-6

Doubles final:
Aryan Chaudhary and Logan Zapp[17] d. Luke Vandecasteele and Quinn Vandecasteele[8] 6-4, 6-2

While the elapsed times for the boys Clay Court marathons in Delray Beach are not available, there's no doubting how grueling the final of the men's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in $25,000 Iowa City was. No. 3 seed Alex Rybakov and No. 4 seed John McNally battled for 3 hours and 15 minutes before Rybakov claimed a 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(3) victory. It's the fourth Pro Circuit title for the 22-year-old left-hander, a recent TCU graduate, but the first at the $25,000 level. For McNally, a rising junior at Ohio State, advancing to his first Pro Circuit final made it a memorable week for him as well. For more on the final, see the tournament website.

In Cancun, North Carolina State rising senior Adriana Reami won her second straight $15K singles title at the Mexican resort. The 21-year-old Floridian is now 12-0 the past two weeks (she won two qualifying matches before going on to win the title two weeks ago) and has not lost a set. Today she defeated No. 3 seed Thaisa Pedretti of Brazil 7-6(2), 7-6(5) in the final. She also won the doubles title this week, with teammate Anna Rogers.

John Isner's first tournament back from his injury sustained in the Miami final was Wimbledon, where he lost in the second round. This week, as the top seed at the ATP 250 in Newport Rhode Island, the former University of Georgia star won his 15th ATP title, beating No. 7 seed Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 7-6(2), 6-3 in the final. He is also the only player to have won the Hall of Fame title four times. For more on Isner's win, see this article from the ATP website.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Payne, Thorat Win USTA Clay Court 12s Titles, Finals Sunday for 14s, 16, 18s; Mayo and Evans Claim ITF Grade 3 Titles in Dominican Republic; McNally and Rybakov Meet for Iowa City $25K Title

The USTA Clay Court Championships for the 12s wrapped up today in Florida, with Bella Payne winning the girls title in Boca Raton and Abhishek Thorat, this year's Easter Bowl 12s champion, claiming the boys title in Orlando.

G12s singles final:
Bella Payne[2] d. Emily Deming[1] 6-4, 6-2

G12s doubles final: Claire An and Caitlin Bui[3] d. Alyssa Ahn and Emily Deming[4] 6-3, 6-4

B12s singles final:
Abhishek Thorat[3] d. Maximus Dussault[12] 6-4, 7-5

B12s doubles final: Maxwell Exsted and Cooper Woestendick[1] d. Abhinav and Parthinav Chunduru[2] 7-6(5), 1-6, 6-1

The finals are set for the other three age divisions, and in the 18s, US Open Junior wild cards are on the line, with none of the finalists qualifying for entry based on their ITF rankings. The girls 18s singles champion will receive a main draw wild card into the next spring's WTA Volvo Open in Charleston South Carolina. It's good to see Nishesh Basavareddy back in the mix after over a year out with injury.

Stephanie Yakoff[1] d. Daniela Livson[17] 6-1, 6-3
Lara Smejkal[15] d. Alexis Blokhina[3] 6-2, 3-6, 6-4

Aubrey Nisbet[13] d. Qavia Lopez[8] 6-2, 6-2
Carrie Beckman[3] d. Grace Levelston[33] walkover, inj.

Karina Miller[7] d. Hadley Doyle[6] 3-6, 6-1, 6-1
Gabby Price[17] d. Jaedan Brown[17] 6-3, 7-5

Dylan Tsoi[6] d. Nicholas Godsick[4] 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
Nishesh Basavareddy d. Learner Tien[3] 6-2, 6-3

Samir Banerjee[1] d. Jack Anthrop[7] 6-3, ret. inj.
Luke Casper[2] d. Braden Shick[9] 6-3, 6-0

Leighton Allen[1] d. Aryan Chaudhary[15] 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
Logan Zapp[2] d. Evin McDonald[3] 6-0, 6-2

Sixteen-year-old Americans swept the singles titles at this week's ITF Grade 3 in the Dominican Republic, with wins by Aidan Mayo and Kailey Evans.

For Evans, the No. 2 seed, it was a third ITF singles title; she won a Grade 4 title in May and a Grade 3 title last year, both in Costa Rica. Evans defeated unseeded 14-year-old Lan Mi of China 6-1, 1-6, 7-6(2) in the final. Mi, who trains in the US, also plays USTA events and reached the final of the 18s Level 2 earlier this month in Chattanooga.
Mayo, seeded No. 15 this week, claimed his first ITF singles title when last week's Vancouver Grade 3 champion Micah Braswell, the No. 14 seed, retired in the final trailing 4-6, 6-1, 4-0. 

The other ITF Junior Circuit title for an American came at the Grade 5 in Colombia, where Thomas Navarro won the doubles title. Navarro and his partner William Ribero Duarte of Colombia, the No. 3 seeds, defeated top seeds Valentino De Pellegrin and Victorio Marquiselli of Argentina 7-5, 6-7(4), 10-4 in the final.

At the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Iowa City, 20-year-old John McNally, a rising Ohio State junior, will face 22-year-old Alex Rybakov, a recent TCU graduate, with the winner getting his first title at that level. Rybakov, the No. 3 seed, defeated No. 5 seed Aziz Dougaz(Florida State) of Tunisia 7-6(4), 6-3 in the semifinals and No. 4 seed McNally, who was playing in his first Pro Circuit semifinal, defeated Stanford rising junior Axel Geller of Argentina, the No. 6 seed, 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-2.

Top seeds Lloyd Glasspool(Texas) of Great Britain and Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia won the doubles title, beating unseeded Jack Findel-Hawkins(North Florida) and Mark Whitehouse of Great Britain 6-2, 6-1 in the final.

Sebastian Korda advanced to the final of the ATP 110 Challenger in Kazakhstan, defeating No. 14 seed Aleks Vukic(Illinois) 7-6(3), 6-3 in today's semifinal. The 19-year-old Floridian will face top seed Evgeny Donskoy of Russia for the title, and will move up to around 270 in the ATP rankings should he win Sunday. He'll still be at a career-high just outside the Top 300 if he loses.

Friday, July 19, 2019

My Wimbledon Juniors Recap; USC's Peter Smith Resigns; Semis Set in Iowa City, Berkeley Pro Circuit Events; USTA Clay Courts Results

My recap of the Wimbledon Junior Championships is available today at the Tennis Recruiting Network, with coverage of all four finals, including Shintaro Mochizuki's run to the boys singles title, a first for a Japanese boy at a junior slam. The US has had a girls doubles team in the final for four consecutive years now, with unseeded Savannah Broadus and Abigail Forbes winning the second title for Americans in that span. Unseeded Daria Snigur of Ukraine added the girls singles title to her championship the previous week in Roehampton, beating American Alexa Noel in the final. The only top seeds to win a title were the Czech pairing of Jiri Lehecka and Jonas Forejtek, who beat American Govind Nanda and Canadian Liam Draxl in the boys doubles final.

The big news in college tennis today is the shocking announcement that University of Southern California's Peter Smith is resigning after leading the men's program for 17 years. Smith, who won five NCAA titles, including four in a row from 2009-2012, is resigning August 1, "to pursue opportunities outside of college coaching," according to the release sent out by USC Sports Information Director Tim Tessalone. The timing and bare-bones nature of the release are unusual for a coach of Smith's stature; but I don't know what other factors, if any, are behind his resignation. Associate coach Kris Kwinta will take over as interim head coach while a national search is conducted. USC had a Top 10 recruiting class this year, with Stefan Dostanic, Ryder Jackson and Smith's son Colter set to join the team this fall.

The semifinals are set at the two USTA Pro Circuit events this week, with two current collegians and two recent collegians making the final four at the men's $25,000 tournament in Iowa City and three Americans reaching the semifinals at the women's $60,000 tournament in Berkeley.

No. 5 seed Aziz Dougaz of Tunisia, a senior this past season at Florida State, will take on recent TCU graduate Alex Rybakov, the No. 3 seed, in one semifinal. In the other, Stanford rising junior Axel Geller[6] of Argentina will face Ohio State rising junior John McNally[4].

In California, top seeds Madison Brengle and Sachia Vickery are through to the semifinals, with Brengle taking on No. 6 seed Kristie Ahn(Stanford) and Vickery playing unseeded Mayo Hibi of Japan.

At the ATP Challenger 110 in Kazakhstan, 2018 Australian Open boys champion Sebastian Korda has advanced to his first Challenger semifinal, where he'll play former Illinois star Aleks Vukic of Australia. The unseeded 19-year-old, currently 385 in the ATP rankings, defeated No. 2 seed Lorenzo Giustino of Italy in the second round and No. 10 seed Matteo Viola of Italy in the quarterfinals today.

The results of the quarterfinal matches at the USTA Clay Courts are below; the girls 12s final Saturday will feature the No. 1 seed versus the No. 2 seed. Reigning Eddie Herr 12s champion Maximus Dussault has advanced to the boys 12s final, but there is no result posted from the other 12s semifinal (updated now, as of 8:30 am Saturday). Click on the headings to go to the TennisLink sites, where all draws and results are posted.

Leighton Allen[1] d. Theo Winegar[17] 6-2, 6-2
Aryan Chaudhary[15] d. Welsh Hotard[9] 6-7, 6-4, 7-6
Evin McDonald[3] d. Alejandro Quiles[10] 6-1, 7-5
Logan Zapp[2] d. Jacob Bickersteth[17] 6-4, 6-0

Samir Banerjee[1] d, Louis Cloud[5] 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
Jack Anthrop[7] d. Adit Sinha[12] 6-1, 6-2
Braden Shick[9] d. Ben Shelton[4] 6-7, 6-3, 6-1
Luke Casper[2] d. Ozan Colak[17] 6-3, 6-2

Nishesh Basavareddy d. Yannik Rahman[1] 6-1, 4-6, 6-3
Learner Tien[3] d. Kaylan Bigun[34] 6-3, 7-5
Nicolas Godsick[4] d. Payton Young[24] 7-5, 6-3
Dylan Tsoi[6] d. Cooper Williams[2] 6-4, 4-6, 7-5

Maximus Dussault[12] d. Abhinav Chunduru[4] 6-2, 6-1
Abhishek Thorat[3] d. Roman Sancilio[8] 6-0, 6-3

Jaedan Brown[17] d. Vivian Ovrootsky[33] 6-2, 6-1
Gabby Price[17] d. Emma Charney 4-6, 6-2, 7-5
Hadley Doyle[6] d. Sarah Hamner[12] 7-6(1), 3-6, 6-2
Karina Miller[7] d. Gianna Pielet[10] 3-6, 6-4, 6-3

Grace Levelston[33] d. Kida Ferrari[17] 6-1, 7-5
Carrie Beckman[3] d. McKenna Schaefbauer[17] 6-2, 6-3
Qavia Lopez[8] d. Clervie Ngounoue[17] 7-6(5), 6-3
Aubrey Nisbet[13] d. Katie Codd[17] 6-2, 3-6, 6-4

Stephanie Yakoff[1] d. Brooke Schafer[17] 6-3, 6-3
Daniela Livson[17] d. Susanna Maltby[14] 7-5, 6-1
Alexis Blokhina[3] d. Natalie Block[11] 6-4, 4-6, 6-0
Lara Smejkal[15] d. Kate Kim[17] 6-0, 4-6, 6-4

Emily Deming[1] d. Eva Oxford[3] 6-0, 6-2
Bella Payne[2] d. Brooke Wrigley[7] 6-3, 7-5

Thursday, July 18, 2019

2018 Kalamazoo 18s Champion Brooksby, Finalist Nakashima Return for 2019; USTA Clay Courts Semifinals for 12s, Quarterfinals for 14s, 16s and 18 Set for Friday

The acceptances are out for the 2019 USTA Nationals, with both finalists in last year's 18s division returning to Kalamazoo. Champion Jenson Brooksby, who turns 19 in October and is therefore eligible for Kalamazoo but not for ITF Junior Circuit events, won a $25,000 Pro Circuit event in March and two rounds at the $100,000 Sarasota Challenger in April, but has not played since then. Finalist Brandon Nakashima, who will turn 18 during this year's tournament, spent a semester at the University of Virginia, but played both the French and Wimbledon Junior Championships, losing in the third round of both. Nakashima has not yet made a decision about returning to school, with his results this summer part of what he'll weigh in making that choice.

French Open finalist Toby Kodat will make his Kalamazoo debut, and his frequent doubles partner Martin Damm, the 2018 16s champion, is also entered in the 18s. Australian Open finalist Emilio Nava withdrew from Wimbledon with an injury, so it remains to be seen whether he will be healthy for Kalamazoo, but he is listed in the initial acceptances.
Last year's 16s finalist Zane Khan, who also suffered an injury last month while in Europe, has not entered.

Notable names in the 16s include Easter Bowl champion Samir Banerjee, Winter National champion Luke Casper, Alex Bernard and Aidan Mayo.

Wild cards have not yet been awarded, but should be announced next week.

The complete list of accepted players is available at ustaboys.com.

The acceptances for the girls 18s and 16s Nationals in San Diego include French Open finalist and Wimbledon semifinalist Emma Navarro, Wimbledon finalist Alexa Noel, Wimbledon doubles champions Savannah Broadus and Abigail Forbes, and other ITF Top 50 players Elli Mandlik, Chloe Beck and Robin Montgomery. Natasha Subhash, who has won two $15Ks the past two months, will be among the favorites, along with Katie Volynets and Connie Ma.  Hurricane Tyra Black is not listed among the competitors, nor is Hailey Baptiste.

Some of the top names in the 16s division are Easter Bowl champion Vivian Ovrootsky, Reese Brantmeier, Eleana Yu and Ava Catanzarite.

Click here for the acceptances for the boys 12s and 14s in Mobile, the girls 12s in Alpharetta and the girls 14s in Rome.

The semifinals are set in the 12s divisions of the USTA Clay Court Championships, which have smaller draws than the other divisions, which will play their quarterfinals Friday. Below are the matchups; click on the header to go to the TennisLink site. Keep in mind that the winners of the 18s Clay Courts receive a main draw wild card into the upcoming US Open Junior Championships.

Maximus Dussault[12] v Abhinav Chunduru[4]
Abhishek Thorat[3] v Roman Sancilio[8]

Emily Deming[1] v Eva Oxford[3]
Brooke Wrigley[7] v Bella Payne[2]

Leighton Allen[1] v Theo Winegar[17]
Welsh Hotard[9] v Aryan Chaudhary[15]
Alejandro Quiles[10] v Evin McDonald[3]
Jacob Bickersteth[17] v Logan Zapp[2]

Samir Banerjee[1] v Louis Cloud[5]
Adit Sinha[12] v Jack Anthrop[7]
Braden Shick[9] v Ben Shelton[4]
Ozan Colak[17] v Luke Casper[2]

Yannik Rahman[1] v Nishesh Basavareddy
Learner Tien[3] v Kaylan Bigun[34]
Payton Young[24] v Nicolas Godsick[4]
Dylan Tsoi[6] v Cooper Williams[2]

Jaedan Brown[17] v Vivian Ovrootsky[33]
Emma Charney v Gabby Price[17]
Hadley Doyle[6] v Sarah Hamner[12]
Karina Miller[7] v Gianna Pielet[10]

Grace Levelston[33] v Kida Ferrari[17]
Carrie Beckman[3] v McKenna Schaefbauer[17]
Qavia Lopez[8] v Clervie Ngounoue[17]
Katie Codd[17] v Aubrey Nisbet[13]

Stephanie Yakoff[1] v Brooke Schafer[17]
Susanna Maltby[14] v Daniela Livson[17]
Natalie Block[11] v Alexis Blokhina[3]
Kate Kim[17] v Lara Smejkal[15]

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

JJ Wolf Signs with Topnotch Management; US Open Acceptances Include Nine US Men and 15 US Women; ITF Announces World Tennis Number Project

The question as to whether JJ Wolf would return for his senior year of collegiate competition at Ohio State was answered today, when Topnotch Management announced that Wolf has signed a global representation agreement with the Cleveland based company.

The 20-year-old Wolf, currently 272 in the ATP rankings, won the Columbus Challenger in January and has a 12-6 record on the Challenger level this year. Topnotch, headed by Sam Duvall, has been the agency most prominently associated with college players, with John Isner, Steve Johnson and Cameron Norrie among their clients.

Perhaps related to that announcement, Ohio State released the news that it has signed Justin Boulais of Canada, who will be joining the Buckeyes this fall. Boulais, 17, is the younger brother of Isabelle Boulais, who was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year last season for the Buckeyes.

The US Open men's and women's acceptances were released today, with the cutoff 98 for the men and 102 for the women. The difference is due to the number of men who are using a protected ranking to enter.  The US men in the draw are John Isner, Taylor Fritz, Sam Querrey, Frances Tiafoe, Reilly Opelka, Steve Johnson, Tennys Sandgren, Bradley Klahn and Mackenzie McDonald. The US women number 15, including two using protected rankings: CiCi Bellis and CoCo Vandeweghe. The others are Sloane Stephens, Serena Williams, Madison Keys, Amanda Anisimova, Sonya Kenin, Danielle Collins, Alison Riske, Venus Williams, Lauren Davis, Jennifer Brady, Jessica Pegula, Madison Brengle and Bernarda Pera.

While I was at Wimbledon, the ITF revealed their long-rumored plan to come up with a rating system similar to Universal Tennis Rating. The ITF announcement is here, and the Frequently Asked Questions are here. I'm sure there are political and economic reasons for the ITF undertaking this project, but if you look up reinventing the wheel in the dictionary, you'll see this as the definition.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

USTA Clay Court Championships Underway; Braswell and Grishuk Win Grade 3 Titles; Bernard and Catanzarite Earn Second ITF Grade 4 Titles This Month; Kuzuhara Claims Grade 5 Title in Brazil

The USTA Clay Court Championships are going on this week and below are the top 8 seeds in each tournament (if they have already lost, it is noted). Links to the TennisLink sites are in the headers.

Boys 18s (Delray Beach)
1. Leighton Allen
2. Logan Zapp
3. Evin McDonald
4. Ron Hohmann
5. Luke Vandecasteele
6. Benjamin Koch
7. Zachery Lim
8. Andrew Dale(out 3rd rd)

Boys 16s (Delray Beach)
1. Samir Banerjee
2. Luke Casper
3. Gabrielius Guzauskas
4. Ben Shelton
5. Louis Cloud
6. Daniel Schmelka (out 2nd rd)
7. Jack Anthrop
8. Alexander Chang

Boys 14s (Ft. Lauderdale)
1. Yannik Rahman
2. Cooper Williams
3. Learner Tien
4. Nicolas Godsick
5. Garen Spicka (out 2nd rd)
6. Dylan Tsoi
7. Carson Baker
8. Dylan Charlap (out 2nd rd)

Boys 12s (Orlando)
1. Cooper Woestendick
2. Maxwell Exsted
3. Abhishek Thorat
4. Abhinav Chunduru
5. A Filer
6. Cassius Chinlund
7. Jagger Leach
8. Roman Sancilio

Girls 18s (Charleston SC)
1. Valencia Xu (out 3rd rd)
2. Zoe Howard (out 3rd rd)
3. Fiona Crawley
4. Reily Tran (out 3rd rd)
5. Carly Briggs(out 3rd rd)
6. Hadley Doyle
7. Karina Miller
8. Neha Velaga (out 3rd rd)

Girls 16s (Huntsville Alabama)
1. Nadejda Maslova
2. Jennifer Riester
3. Carrie Beckman
4. Sonia Maheshwari
5. Amelia Honer
6. Sophia Strugnell (out 3rd rd)
7. Ria Bhakta
8. Qavia Lopez

Girls 14s (Plantation Florida)
1. Stephanie Yakoff
2. Valeria Ray
3. Alexis Blokhina
4. Amber Yin (out 3rd rd)
5. Theadora Rabman
6. Carla Pacot (out 3rd rd)
7. Victoria Zhao (out 3rd rd)
8. Natalia Perez

Girls 12s (Boca Raton Florida)
1. Emily Deming
2. Bella Payne
3. Eva Oxford
4. Claire An
5. Alexis Nguyen
6. Kinley Vanpelt
7. Brooke Wrigley
8. Sasha Kilgour

Wimbledon was the major event on the ITF Junior Circuit last week, but there were 21 other tournaments across the globe, including four Grade 3 events. Americans won two of the eight singles titles in those tournaments, and three others at the Grade 4 and 5 levels.

Unseeded Micah Braswell won the boys title at the ITF Grade 3 in Vancouver Canada, beating No. 3 seed Joshua Lapadat of Canada 6-0, 7-5 in the final. The 17-year-old Braswell, whose first ITF singles title came this spring at the Grade 4 in Irvine California, didn't drop a set in his five victories. Keshav Chopra and Lapadat won the boys doubles title, with the top seeds beating No. 4 seeds Jeffrey Fradkin and Canadian Luka Vukovic 6-3, 6-4 in the final. The girls doubles championship went to two Americans: No. 3 seeds Elizabeth Stevens and Katja Wiersholm, who beat unseeded Marina Stakusic and Annabelle Xu of Canada 6-4, 6-2 in the final.

Sixteen-year-old Skyler Grishuk won her third Grade 3 singles title of the year last week in Germany, beating Elvina Kalieva 7-6(4), 6-3 in a rare all-US final in Europe. With the title Grishuk is up to a career-high of 67 in the ITF World Junior rankings.

The two champions at the Grade 4 in Jamaica last week were the same two champions from the Grade 4 in the Bahamas two weeks ago: Alex Bernard and Ava Catanzarite.  The second-seeded Bernard, 15, beat top seed Blaise Bicknell 6-2, 6-1 in the final, running his singles winning streak to 16, dating back to his title at May's ITF Grade 4 in Plantation.  The 16-year-old Catanzarite, who won two Grade 5 titles in April, was the No. 3 seed this week. She defeated unseeded 13-year-old Brooklyn Olson 6-1, 6-3 in the singles final and partnered with Ava Krug for the doubles title. Catanzarite and Krug, the top seeds, defeated No. 2 seeds Nevena Carton and Slovakia's Anika Jaskova 6-1, 6-0 in the final. Connor and Jake Krug, the No. 2 seeds, won the all-US boys doubles final, beating unseeded Jakub Ostajewski and Matthew Robinson 7-5, 6-1 for the title.

The fifth American junior singles title this week went to 15-year-old Bruno Kuzuhara, who won the Grade 5 in Brazil. Kuzuhara, seeded No. 4, defeated No. 6 seed Joaquim De Almeida of Brazil 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 for his third ITF Grade 5 singles title. Kuzuhara also reached the doubles final with Joao Pedro de Favari Engel of Brazil.

At the Grade 5 in Great Britain, Billy Suarez took the doubles title, with Daniel Webb of Great Britain. The top seeds defeated No. 2 seeds Matias Montanes Tutzo and Alejandro Sanchez Gonzalez of Spain 7-6(7), 4-6, 10-7 in the final.