Zootennis

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Korda Breezes to Quimper Challenger Title; Min Falls in Rome $60K Final; No. 3 TCU Drops No. 6 Baylor; Women in Red Wikipedia Project

Korda at Delray Beach earlier this month

Sebastian Korda decided not to play the Australian Open qualifying in the Middle East this month, opting instead for the ATP Delray Beach Open, where he reached the final. Returning to the Challenger level this week at the 100 in Quimper France, the 20-year-old from Florida won his second consecutive Challenger today with a 6-1, 6-1 decision over unseeded Filip Horansky of Slovakia.

Korda, the No. 2 seed, saved a match point in the first round against qualifier Tristan Lamasine of France and had another nail-biter in the second round, but he came through with a tight straight-sets win over Benjamin Bonzi of France in Saturday's semifinal. The turning point in today's final came early, with Korda breaking Horansky in a seven-deuce game to take a 2-1 lead, and Korda had no trouble holding serve the rest of the way, with Horansky seemingly resigned to his loss by early in the second set. 

Korda is now projected to rise to 88 in Monday's ATP rankings, but will be confined to Challengers for at least the next three weeks, before ATP tournaments resume outside of Australia.  For more on Korda's win today, see this article from the ATP website

At the $60,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Rome Georgia, Grace Min lost to qualifier Irene Burillo Escorihuela of Spain 1-6, 7-6(4), 6-1.  After a 28-minute first set, with Min continuing the dominance she had displayed in the semifinals against Emina Bektas, the match turned around in the second set, with Burillo Escorihuela taking the 81-minute set and riding that momentum through to her first title above the $15K level. 

A host of Top 25 Division I men's teams were in action today, and several came down to the wire, although others were clinched earlier and played out to look closer than the score might indicate. Second-ranked North Carolina  won the first four points of their match against Virginia Tech, but the final score was 4-3. Fourth-ranked Texas clinched over Arizona State at 4-1, but the Sun Devils brought the final back to 4-3. And No. 16 Wake Forest clinched over No. 20 South Carolina at 4-2, with South Carolina winning the last match for another 4-3 decision

No. 12 Georgia 4-3 win over No. 14 North Carolina State did come down to the last match, with graduate transfer Billy Rowe defeating Robert Turzak 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 at line 6 to clinch the win for the Bulldogs. 

In the only match between Top 10 teams, which was an evening match, No. 3 TCU travelled to No. 6 Baylor and came away with a 4-1 decision. TCU lost the doubles point but got wins at the top three singles lines and line 5 for the win.

If you are inclined to assist Wikipedia in providing biographies of current or former women's tennis players who do not have pages on the site, they are asking for help as part of a new project called Women in Red. A list of women's tennis players who are in need of biographical pages can be found here. If college athletic information staff could contribute the information they have, that would be a great start to getting recognition for some of their best women's athletes. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Min Advances to Rome $60K Final; Korda Earns Third Straight Final Appearance at French Challenger; Llewellyn Claims First ITF Junior Circuit Title; No. 1 UNC Women Hang on to Beat Georgia, Baylor Men Top Texas; Australian Tennis Summer Begins

Grace Min ended the run of qualifier Emina Bektas today in the semifinals of the $60,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament, reaching her second final since the restart with a 6-0, 6-3 victory over the former Michigan star. Min, the 2011 US Open girls champion, won a $25,000 tournament last September and was one of the last entrants into the Australian Open qualifying, where she fell in three sets to former Pepperdine star Mayar Sherif of Egypt in the second round.

Min will play qualifier Irene Burillo Escorihuela of Spain, who needed three hours to defeat qualifier Ana Sofia Sanchez of Mexico 5-7, 6-2, 7-5. Burillo Escorihuela led 5-0 in the third set before Sanchez fought back.

Bektas will leave Rome with a title however, as she and Tara Moore of Great Britain won the doubles championship today, beating Olgo Govortsova of Belarus and Jovana Jovic of Serbia 5-7, 6-2, 10-8. Its the third, and biggest, title for the pair. Bektas now has 16 ITF doubles titles in her career. 

Sebastian Korda has reached the final of the last three tournaments he's played, winning the title at a Challenger in Germany last November and falling in his first ATP final earlier this month in Delray Beach. Today at the ATP Challenger 100 in France, the No. 2 seed defeated unseeded Benjamin Bonzi of France 7-6(5), 7-6(1) to extend his Challenger winning streak to nine matches. An all-American NextGen final was thwarted by Filip Horansky of Slovakia, who defeated Brandon Nakashima 7-6(10), 4-6, 6-4 in the other semifinal. Nakashima was up a break twice in the third set, and was serving up 4-3, but Horansky broke back both times and got a third break to seal the win.

Korda now is certain to break into the ATP Top 100 for the first time regardless of the result on Sunday. Live streaming for the match will be available here

At the ITF Grade 5 in Costa Rica, blue chip freshman Sophie Llewellyn, playing in her just her fourth ITF Junior Circuit tournament, took the title, beating top seed Ana Grubor of Canada 6-0, ret. in the final. Llewellyn, who beat 16s Orange Bowl champion Valeria Ray in the second round, had reached the final of last week's Grade 4 in Costa Rica. 

16s Orange Bowl champion Jonah Braswell fell in the boys final for the second week in a row, losing to top seed Leo Borg, son of Bjorn Borg, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(4).

Ria Bhakta and her partner Ana Carmen Zamburek of the Dominican Republic won the girls doubles title, with the No. 2 seeds beating unseeded Steffy Jullian of Costa Rica and Sara Isabel Snyder of Puerto Rico 6-4, 3-6, 10-2 in the final. 

A couple of Top 10 contests in Division I college tennis today, with the No. 1-ranked North Carolina women defeating No. 7 Georgia 4-3 in Athens and the sixth-ranked Baylor men defeating No. 4 Texas 4-1 in Austin.

At line 5, UNC sophomore Anika Yarlagadda survived a comeback from Georgia's Elena Christofi, who trailed 5-2 but served for the match at 6-5 in the third, with Yarlagadda taking a 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(5) decision in the last match on.

Baylor's graduate transfer depth proved too much for the Longhorns, with the Bears taking lines 4, 5 and 6, as well as line 2, to recover from the loss of the doubles point. 

Quarantine is over for those competing in Australia, and the WTA's two tournaments at Melbourne are underway, with all of the players who qualified to compete at the Australian Open divided into two draws and designated as the Yarra Valley Classic and the Gippsland Trophy. There is also a separate event, the Grampians Trophy, for those players who were not able to practice during the 14-day quarantine due to a positive Covid test on their flight, which begins on Wednesday.

The two ATP 250s in Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road Open and the Murray River Open, start tomorrow, with the ATP Cup scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

Tennis.com has posted an overview of these six events here.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Duncan Chooses Harvard; Three Qualifiers into Rome $60K Semifinals; Nakashima and Korda Advance to Challenger Semis; Rahman Wins Third Straight ITF Grade 4 Title

One of the last top national recruits yet to decide on a college was Maxi Duncan, who made her decision to attend Harvard. I spoke last week with Duncan and her father Gerald, who has been her primary coach, about her choice for this article at the Tennis Recruiting Network. Gerald Duncan had extensive connections in the world of professional sports, playing professional basketball, mostly overseas, and later became an NBA agent. But there was no family history of engagement with tennis, so they both had a lot to learn. They spoke to James Blake about his experience at Harvard, which Maxi chose over several other Ivys and the two tennis powerhouses near her Southern California home. 

The quarterfinals are complete at the $60,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Rome Georgia, with three qualifiers, plus Grace Min, moving into Saturday's semifinals.

Qualifier Emina Bektas(Michigan), who beat top seed Olga Govortsova yesterday, downed Katherine Sebov of Canada 7-5, 6-3 today and will face Min, who took out the last seed remaining, No. 5 Usue Arconada, 6-3, 7-6(5). 

Two qualifiers will meet in the bottom half, after Irene Burillo Escorihuela of Spain defeated qualifier Robin Montgomery 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and 22 minutes, and Ana Sofia Sanchez of Mexico beat Conny Perrin of Switzerland 6-0, 6-1 in 55 minutes. 

Bektas and her partner Tara Moore of Great Britain have advanced to the doubles final, where they will play Govortsova and Jovana Jovic of Serbia, who are also unseeded.

Two NextGen Americans are through to the semifinals of the ATP Challenger 100 in Quimper France, with 19-year-old Brandon Nakashima and 20-year-old Sebastian Korda picking up wins today.  Nakashima trailed wild card Constant Lestienne of France 5-2 in the second set, but won the final five games for a 6-4, 7-5 victory. No. 2 seed Korda, who had two tough three setters prior to today, moved on when Enzo Couacaud of France retired trailing 4-1.  Nakashima will play unseeded Filip Horansky in the top half semifinal, with Korda facing his fourth consecutive French player in Benjamin Bonzi. Korda should break into the ATP Top 100 with his results from this week.

Yannik Rahman won his third consecutive ITF Grade 4 title, with the first coming last month in Costa Rica, and the next two in the last two weeks in Nairobi Kenya. Rahman, who is now on a 15-match winning streak, and has lost only one set in those 15 victories.  The 16-year-old from Florida, who was seeded No. 2 this week, defeated unseeded Yua Taka of Japan 7-6(4), 7-6(5) in the singles final.

Fifteen-year-old Cooper Williams, who Rahman defeated in the singles semifinals, won the doubles title with partner Roy Keegan of Great Britain. The No. 5 seeds defeated No. 7 seeds Derick Ominde and Kael Shalin Shah of Kenya 6-7(6), 6-4, 10-2 in the final. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

One Seed, Four Qualifiers Advance to Rome $60K Quarterfinals; Korda Reaches Quarterfinals at Quimper Challenger; Tracking College Tennis Schedules, Collegians in ATP and WTA

The first tournament of the year on the USTA Pro Circuit was bound to feature some surprises, but the $60,000 women's tournament in Rome Georgia has gone above and beyond in that department. With second round action now complete, just one seed--No. 5 Usue Arconada--has made the quarterfinals, along with four qualifiers.

One of those qualifiers, former Michigan star Emina Bektas, earned one of the biggest wins of her career, with the 27-year-old defeating top seed and WTA 134 Olga Govortsova of Belarus 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-1 in 2 hours and 40 minutes. Bektas, who has yet to crack the WTA Top 200, has only one other win over someone ranked in the top 140 and her win over Sofia Kenin back in 2017, when Kenin was 111 in the WTA rankings, looks even more impressive now.  Bektas will face unseeded Katherine Sebov of Canada in the quarterfinals, after Sebov defeated wild card Alycia Parks 6-1, 6-3 today.

Arconada defeated wild card Ashlyn Krueger, the reigning Orange Bowl champion, 6-4, 6-3 and will play Grace Min, who defeated No. 4 seed Kristina Kucova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-4. The 2019 Orange Bowl champion, 16-year-old Robin Montgomery, defeated 2019 US Open girls champion Maria Camila Osorio Serrano of Colombia, the No. 8 seed, 6-4, 6-3 and will meet fellow qualifier Irene Burillo Escorihuela of Spain on Friday.  Regardless of the outcome of that match, Montgomery will move into the WTA Top 400 for the first time with her results this week. 

The fourth singles match Friday is between Conny Perrin of Switzerland and qualifier Ana Sofia Sanchez of Mexico.

The No. 1 seeds in doubles, Ingrid Neel(Florida) and Quinn Gleason(Notre Dame), also were beaten today, with Catherine Harrison(UCLA) and Sophie Whittle(Gonzaga) recording a 6-0, 7-6(6) win in today's quarterfinals. 

The Quimper ATP Challenger 100 in France also has only one seed in the quarterfinals, with No. 2 Sebastian Korda again winning a tight match to advance. Korda defeated Mathias Bourgue 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-4, to set up a third straight match against an unseeded French player. He'll play Enzo Couacaud Friday. Brandon Nakashima(Virginia), who won his second round match on Wednesday, will also play a local favorite in the quarterfinals, taking on Constant Lestienne of France.  Nakashima and Hunter Reese(Tennessee) advanced to the semifinals in doubles, defeating Bourgue and Lucas Pouille of France 6-2, 6-2.

The ATP Challenger 80 in Turkey finally got some matches finished today, but some first round matches are still on the schedule for Friday. Ernesto Escobedo, the only American in singles, lost to Ramkumar Ramanathan of India 7-6(6), 6-3. Evan King(Michigan) and Nathan Pasha(Georgia) have yet to play their first round doubles match. Robert Galloway(Wofford) and Alex Lawson(Notre Dame) lost their first round doubles match to No. 2 seeds Aleksandr Nedovyesov(Oklahoma State) of Kazakhstan and Denys Molchanov of Ukraine 6-4, 6-2.

Keeping tabs on what Division I matches are on the schedule is not easy, but CollegeTennisRanks.com has been updated for 2021, with the men's schedules up now. You can see what matches are scheduled for the week ahead, the results from the past week, and you can also sort by school. 

Another great feature of the site is the lists of former collegians in the ATP and WTA Top 1000. If you have players to add, get in touch on twitter @college10sranks.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

North Carolina Women, USC Men Remain No. 1 in Latest Division I Rankings; Nakashima Advances to French Challenger Quarterfinals; Talaba Upsets Zarazua at Rome $60K

With the ITA Kickoff Weekend complete and more dual matches played last weekend, a new set of ITA Division I Team rankings was released today. As with the recent preseason rankings, these are generated by a coaches poll, which is limited to just 25 teams. There is no change at the top, with the USC men and the North Carolina women still at No. 1.

In the women's rankings, there is no change in the Top 5, but in the men's rankings, Ohio State and Michigan both dropped from the Top 5. Ohio State falls from No. 3 to No. 7 and Michigan from No. 4 to a tie for No. 12. The third men's host to lose during the Kickoff Weekend, North Carolina State, went from 8 to 14.

Making big jumps in the men's rankings are Virginia, whose win over Ohio State boosted them from 22 to 8, and Baylor, whose win over Michigan caused them to rise from 15 to 6.  

In the women's Top 10, NC State and Virginia dropped out, with Georgia Tech, a winner over Duke, moving up to No. 6 from No. 12.  Ohio State went from 13 to 9.  Although they did not earn a place in the Top 10, the Northwestern women made the biggest jump of any team, men or women, going from unranked to 13.  

The full Top 25 for women is here; the full Top 25 for men is here.

Men’s ITA Division I Top 10 rankings 1/27/21:

first place votes in parentheses

1. USC (10)

2. North Carolina (1)

3. TCU

4. Texas

5. Stanford

6. Baylor

7. Ohio State

8. Virginia

9. Texas A&M

10. Tennessee

Women’s ITA Division I Top 10 rankings 1/27/21:

1. North Carolina

2. UCLA

3. Texas

4. Stanford

5. Pepperdine

6. Georgia Tech

7. Georgia

8. Florida State

9. Ohio State

T10. Duke

T10. Oklahoma State

Brandon Nakashima advanced to the quarterfinals of the ATP Challenger 100 in Quimper France today, defeating No. 5 seed Federico Gaio of Italy 6-2, 6-1. With only three second round matches complete, the only seed remaining in the draw is No. 2 Sebastian Korda.  Top seed Lucas Pouille of France lost to Filip Horansky of Slovakia 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. Nakashima (Virginia) and partner Hunter Reese (Tennessee) won their first round doubles match today, beating No. 1 seeds and last week's Challenger 125 champion Andre Goransson(Cal) of Sweden and David Pel of the Netherlands 3-6, 6-3, 10-5. 

It's still raining in Turkey, so no results are available from the Challenger 80 there.

Rain has also been a problem this week in Rome Georgia for the $60,000 USTA women's Pro Circuit tournament there, but with six indoor courts on site, there have been able to keep on schedule. The match between qualifier Kimmi Hance and wild card Ashlyn Krueger is just getting started, but most first round matches have finished. 

Usue Arconada[5] beat Katie Swan 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 but No. 3 seed Francesca Di Lorenzo(Ohio State) lost, and No. 6 seed Sachia Vickery was replaced by a lucky loser. Wild card Katrina Scott gave top seed Olga Govortsova of Belarus a tough two-and-a-half hour match, but fell 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. 

Former Texas Tech star Gabriela Talaba of Romania defeated No. 2 seed Renata Zarazua of Mexico 7-6(4), 6-1.

Robin Montgomery beat fellow qualifier Tara Moore of Great Britain 6-3, 6-0 and Alycia Parks defeated fellow wild card Hanna Chang 6-3, 6-2. Grace Min and Emina Bektas(Michigan) were other Americans to pick up first round wins today. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Hance, Montgomery and Hamner Qualify as USTA Pro Circuit Returns at Rome $60K; Korda, Nakashima Advance at French Challenger; Features on USTA Player Development's Michael Joyce, Kathy Rinaldi

The USTA Pro Circuit has finally returned, with the qualifying for the women's $60,000 tournament this week in Rome Georgia concluding today. Three teenagers, South Carolina signee Sarah Hamner, UCLA signee Kimmi Hance, and No. 10 seed Robin Montgomery, won matches Monday and today to earn their place in the main draw.

Hamner, a wild card into qualifying, defeated two seeds, No. 6 seed Mari Osaka of Japan on Monday 7-6(3), 6-4 and No. 9 seed Maria Sanchez(USC) 3-6, 6-1, 10-4 today. She will face Conny Perrin of Switzerland in the first round Wednesday. Hance, who played the UTR $25K in Newport Beach last week, also defeated two seeds, taking out No. 11 seed Sophie Whittle(Gonzaga) 6-0, 6-1 Monday and No. 3 seed Katie Volynets 7-6(3), 3-6, 10-6 today. Hance's first round opponent Wednesday is another recent Orange Bowl champion. Hance, who won the doubles title, will take on 18s singles champion Ashlyn Krueger, who received a main draw wild card.

Montgomery defeated University of Georgia star Katarina Jokic 4-6, 6-3, 10-7 on Monday and former Alabama standout Erin Routliffe 6-1, 6-3 today. Montgomery faces qualifier Tara Moore of Great Britain in the first round.

In addition to Krueger, wild cards were given to Americans Katrina Scott, Alycia Parks and Hanna Chang. Scott plays top seed Olga Govortsova of Belarus in the first round. The seeded Americans in the draw are Francesca Di Lorenzo[3], Usue Arconada[5] and Sachia Vickery[6].

No men's events are on the USTA Pro Circuit schedule until mid-February, but several Americans are playing in the ATP Challengers overseas as they wait for tennis to return in the USA.  Brandon Nakashima, Sebastian Korda and Denis Kudla are competing in the ATP Challenger 100 in France this week, with Nakashima and Korda winning their opening round matches today, while Kudla, the No. 4 seed, lost his first round match to wild card Constant Lestienne of France 6-2, 7-6(6). Korda, the No. 2 seed this week, saved a match point in the third set tiebreaker in his 7-6(3), 4-6, 7-6(7) win over qualifier Tristan Lamasine of France.

Ernesto Escobedo is playing the other ATP Challenger this week, at the 80 level tournament in Turkey. Bad weather been a problem this week, meaning that qualifying matches still need to be played on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, I noted the USTA's release on the hiring of new National Coach Michael Joyce, who I spoke to last fall when he was coaching Sarah Hamner. Last week, Arthur Kapetanakis spoke with Joyce about his new job, his coaching philosophy, his previous coaching jobs and his own professional career in this Q and A.

Joyce's new boss, USTA head of women's tennis Kathy Rinaldi, is the subject of this Tennis.com article by Joel Drucker, which shows how seamlessly she has made the transition from being a top player to being a beloved coach.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Lutkemeyer, Kirchheimer Win UTR $25K Titles; UCLA Men Voted Top Recruiting Class for 2021; More Teams Earn ITA Team Indoor Berths

Anne Christine Lutkemeyer and Strong Kirchheimer earned titles Sunday at the UTR Pro Tennis Tour's $25,000 events in Newport Beach California and Naples Florida, respectively. 

Lutkemeyer, a 16-year-old blue chip from Irvine California, defeated top seed Kayla Day in the semifinals 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 Sunday, with the Saturday schedule wiped out due to rain. So Lutkemeyer was required to play two matches on Sunday, while her opponent, former Dartmouth star Taylor Ng, had received a walkover from No. 2 seed Ana Sofia Sanchez in the semifinals.  In the final, Lutkemeyer defeated Ng 7-6(5), 6-3, going undefeated in the round robin and knockout stages while earning $4000. Ng won $2200 for reaching the finals. Lukemeyer is entered in this week's $25,000 tournament in Newport Beach, as are Day and Ng.

Like Lutkemeyer, Kirchheimer defeated the top seed in the semifinals, earning a 7-5, 6-2 win over former Princeton star Matic Pecotic on Saturday. In the final, the former Northwestern standout defeated Cristian Rodriguez Sanchez, 7-6, 3-6, 6-4. Rodriguez Sanchez, who also reached the final at the previous week's $25K in Naples, had taken out No. 2 seed JC Aragone(Virginia) 7-6, 6-0 in the semifinals. 

There is no men's UTR $25K this week in the United States, with the next three in February in Newport Beach. After this week, the women's UTR $25Ks take a break until March. The full schedule is here.

Tennis Recruiting Network published its January recruiting class rankings for men today, with UCLA at the top of the list, followed by Alabama, Michigan, Florida and Florida State. I have participated in these rankings for as long as they've existed, and while I don't have any illusions about  these rankings translating to accurate projections of team strength two or three years later, it is useful to see this information collected in one place. It also provides sports information directors with another reason to write about their tennis teams, which can't hurt.

Rain continues to plague the ITA Kickoff Weekend in Southern California, with two finals--men at USC and women at Pepperdine--still incomplete, although in progress. Two participants in next month's ITA Division I Team Indoor Championships were decided this afternoon in North Carolina, with the Northwestern women and North Carolina men earning one of the eight spots.  Northwestern was the revelation of the Kickoff Weekend, unranked in the preseason and seeded No. 4. The Wildcats defeated eighth-ranked host North Carolina State 4-3 in a thriller Sunday, then followed up with a shutout of No. 2 seed Wake Forest today to earn a place in the Team Indoor Championships, which they have won twice, back in 2010 and 2011. The only other No. 4 seed with a shot at the ITA Indoor Championships are the Baylor men, and they were No. 15 in the preseason rankings. 

Below are the results as of 7 p.m. EST; I will update later tonight is the other two finals finish. Teams qualifying for the Team Indoor are in bold.

WOMEN:

North Carolina Regional:

Mississippi[2] d. Old Dominion[3] 4-2

North Carolina[1] d. Notre Dame[4] 4-0

Final:  North Carolina[1] d. Mississippi[2] 4-1

Texas Regional:

Texas[1] d. Iowa[4] 4-0

Baylor[3] d. Arizona State[2] 4-2

Final: Texas[1] d. Baylor[3] 4-0

Ohio State Regional

Ohio State[1] d. Syracuse[4] 4-0

Virginia[2] d. Tennessee[3] 4-1

Final: Ohio State[1] d. Virginia[2] 4-2

Georgia Tech Regional

Georgia Tech[1] d. South Carolina[4] 4-3

Duke[2] d. Michigan[3] 4-1

Final: Georgia Tech[1] d. Duke[2] 4-3

UCLA Regional

UCLA[1] d. California[4] 4-0

Texas A&M[2] d Washington State[3] 4-1

Final(MONDAY): UCLA[1] d. Texas A&M[2] 4-0

Pepperdine Regional

Pepperdine[1] d. Wisconsin[4] 4-0

USC[3] d. Denver[2] 4-1

Final(MONDAY): Pepperdine[1] d. USC[3] 4-2

NC State Regional

Northwestern[4] d. NC State[1] 4-3

Wake Forest[2] d. Central Florida[3] 4-3

Final(MONDAY): Northwestern[4] d. Wake Forest[2] 4-0


MEN:

Ohio State Regional

Ohio State[1] d. Middle Tennessee State[4] 4-0

Virginia[3] d. Iowa[2] 4-0

Final: Virginia[3] d. Ohio State[1] 4-2

NC State Regional

NC State[1] d. Alabama[4] 4-2

Tennessee[2] d. Mississippi[3] 4-2

Final: Tennessee[2] d. NC State[1] 4-1

Texas Regional

Florida[2] d. Arizona[3] 4-2

Texas[1] d. Liberty[4] 4-1

Final: Texas[1] d. Florida[2] 4-3

USC Regional

USC[1] d. UNLV[4] 4-0 

UCLA[2] d. California[3] 4-0

Final(MONDAY): USC[1] d. UCLA[2] 4-1

Michigan Regional

Baylor[4] d. Michigan[1] 4-0

Texas A&M[2] d. Pepperdine[3] 4-0

Final: TBD

TCU Regional

TCU[1] d. Denver[4] 5-0

Oklahoma[3] d. Wake Forest[2] 4-0

Final: TCU[1] d. Oklahoma[2] 4-0

North Carolina Regional

North Carolina[1] d. Northwestern[4] 4-0

South Carolina[3] d. Duke[2] 4-1

Final(MONDAY): North Carolina[1] d. South Carolina[3] 4-1

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Fifteen-year-old Eala Claims First ITF Pro Title; Rinderknech Wins Istanbul Challenger; Four More Teams Qualify for ITA Team Indoor Championships

Fifteen-year-old Alexandra Eala of the Philippines won her first ITF women's pro circuit event today, in just her sixth tournament on the Circuit. Eala, currently No. 3 in the ITF Junior rankings, played five tournaments last year, four at the $15,000 level and one at the $25,000 level. Most have been in Spain, because she has been training for some time at the Rafael Nadal Academy, and this week's $15,000 tournament was held on her home courts.  

Using a junior reserved spot for entry, the unseeded Eala defeated top seed Seone Mendez of Australia 6-4, 6-1 in the second round, and No. 5 seed Carole Monnet of France 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-4 in the quarterfinals. In today's final, she again came back from a set down, defeating unseeded 28-year-old Yvonne Cavalle-Reimers of Spain 5-7, 6-1, 6-2. 

Another prominent ITF junior won the doubles title, with 18-year-old Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia partnering with Angela Fita-Boluda of Spain to claim her fourth pro doubles title. The No. 4 seeds defeated No. 3 seeds Ylena In-Albon and Valentina Ryser of Switzerland 6-1, 4-6, 10-5 in the final. 

Two young Danish stars also won titles this weekend, Holger Rune of Denmark taking a $15,000 tournament in France and Clara Tauson claiming the title at the $25,000 tournament in United Arab Emirates. I'll have more on those two titles in my January Aces column at the beginning of next month.

Former Texas A&M star Arthur Rinderknech of France won his third Challenger title since leaving College Station, taking the ATP 125 in Istanbul Turkey as a qualifier. Rinderknech defeated unseeded Benjamin Bonzi of France 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-6(3) in today's final, to move his ranking to a career-high of 134.  The ATP provides a thorough recap of Rinderknech's career to date and his title this week in this article.

Another former collegian won the doubles title, with Cal graduate Andre Goransson of Sweden partnering with David Pel of the Netherlands for the championship. The No. 2 seeds defeated the unseeded pair of Lloyd Glasspool(Texas) and Harri Heliovaara of Finland 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 in the final. 

Four more teams booked their spots in next month's ITA Division I National Team Indoor Championships, with five more attempting to earn their places on Monday during the Kickoff Weekend.  When exactly the eighth men's team will be decided is currently not known, with the final between Baylor and Texas A&M postponed today at the Michigan regional, due to a shutdown of all University of Michigan athletics implemented Sunday morning due to a student-athlete's positive test detecting the recently discovered and more contagious strain of Covid-19. The Michigan women's team, at the Georgia Tech regional, were recalled without playing their consolation match.  Fortunately, Baylor and Texas A&M are in close proximity, so there shouldn't be too much of a problem getting that match played in the next week or so.  

The most exciting final of the day saw Georgia Tech defeat Duke 4-3 after dropping the doubles point. Freshman Ava Hrastar clinched at the No. 2 spot, beating Georgia Drummy 2-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(3). Several first round matches are still being played; I will update those later tonight.

Teams in bold have qualified for the Team Indoor Championships.

Friday

WOMEN:

North Carolina Regional:

Mississippi[2] d. Old Dominion[3] 4-2

North Carolina[1] d. Notre Dame[4] 4-0

Final:  North Carolina[1] d. Mississippi[2] 4-1


Saturday:

Texas Regional:

Texas[1] d. Iowa[4] 4-0

Baylor[3] d. Arizona State[2] 4-2

Final: Texas[1] d. Baylor[3] 4-0


Ohio State Regional

Ohio State[1] d. Syracuse[4] 4-0

Virginia[2] d. Tennessee[3] 4-1

Final: Ohio State[1] d. Virginia[2] 4-2


Georgia Tech Regional

Georgia Tech[1] d. South Carolina[4] 4-3

Duke[2] d. Michigan[3] 4-1

Final: Georgia Tech[1] d. Duke[2] 4-3


UCLA Regional(rained out Saturday, moved to Sunday)

UCLA[1] d. California[4] 4-0

Texas A&M[2] d Washington State[3] 4-1

Final(MONDAY):


Pepperdine Regional (rained out Saturday, moved to Sunday)

Pepperdine[1] d. Wisconsin[4] 4-0

USC[3] d. Denver[2] 4-1

Final(MONDAY):


Sunday:

NC State Regional

Northwestern[4] d. NC State[1] 4-3 

Wake Forest[2] d. Central Florida[3] 4-3

Final(MONDAY):

MEN:

Friday

Ohio State Regional

Ohio State[1] d. Middle Tennessee State[4] 4-0

Virginia[3] d. Iowa[2] 4-0

Final: Virginia[3] d. Ohio State[1] 4-2


NC State Regional

NC State[1] d. Alabama[4] 4-2

Tennessee[2] d. Mississippi[3] 4-2

Final: Tennessee[2] d. NC State[1] 4-1


Texas Regional

Florida[2] d. Arizona[3] 4-2

Texas[1] d. Liberty[4] 4-1

Final: Texas[1] d. Florida[2] 4-3


Saturday:

USC Regional

USC[1] d. UNLV[4] 4-0 (moved to Sunday)

UCLA[2] d. California[3] 4-0

Final(MONDAY):


Michigan Regional

Baylor[4] d. Michigan[1] 4-0

Texas A&M[2] d. Pepperdine[3] 4-0

Final: TBD


TCU Regional

TCU[1] d. Denver[4] 5-0

Oklahoma[3] d. Wake Forest[2] 4-0

Final: TCU[1] d. Oklahoma[2] 4-0


Sunday:

North Carolina Regional

North Carolina[1] d. Northwestern[4] 4-0

South Carolina[3] d. Duke[2] 4-1

Final(MONDAY):

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Slama, Visaya Sweep Titles at Costa Rica Grade 4; Unseeded Gureva, Lajal Claim Ukraine Grade 1 Championships; No. 1 Seeds Fall in ITA Kickoff Weekend Action

Mia Slama and Azuma Visaya each captured both singles and doubles titles at this week's ITF Grade 4 in Costa Rica. The singles finals today were both all-USA contests, with Slama, the top seed, defeating unseeded Sophie Llewellyn 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and No. 3 seed Visaya beating qualifier Jonah Braswell, the Orange Bowl 16s champion, 7-6(5), 6-0. 

For the 17-year-old Visaya, it's a third ITF Junior Circuit singles title, with the previous two coming in 2019.  The 14-year-old Slama, who won her first three ITF singles titles in November, is now 22-1 in her last five tournaments on the ITF Junior Circuit.

Visaya and Lucas Brown, the top seeds in doubles, defeated No. 2 seeds Timothy Carlsson Seger and Michael Minasyan of Sweden 6-4, 2-6, 10-7 for the boys doubles title; Slama and Llewellyn had already teamed for the girls doubles title before they met in today's singles final, with the unseeded pair beating top seeds Ana Candiotto and Carolina Xavier Laydner of Brazil 6-7(4), 6-4, 10-4 in the final.

At the ITF Grade 4 in India, Rutuja Chaphalkar reached the singles final and won the girls doubles title with Hrudaya Shah of India. The No. 4 seeds defeated top seeds Reshma and Suhitha Maruri of India 6-4, 7-6(3) in the final.

Both singles champions at the ITF Grade 1 in Ukraine were unseeded, with 15-year-old Anastasiia Gureva of Russia and 17-year-old Mark Lajal of Estonia collecting their first Grade 1 titles. Gureva, who won three three-setters this week, defeated No. 7 seed Polina Iatcenko of Russia 6-4, 6-4 in the final, while Lajal beat No. 2 seed Aleksander Orlikowski of Poland 6-4, 6-3.  

Lajal also took the doubles title, with Matthew William Donald of the Czech Republic. The No. 3 seeds defeated wild cards Erik Arutiunian of Belarus and Ilya Maksymchuk of Ukraine 7-6(4), 6-4 in the final. No. 2 seeds Natalia Szabanin of Hungary and Sabina Zeynalova of Ukraine won the girls doubles title, beating the unseeded team of Yaroslava Bartashevich of Russia and Alina Granwehr of Switzerland 6-2, 6-1 in the final.

A busy day for the ITA Division I Kickoff Weekend, with twelve regionals scheduled, although rain caused the first day of UCLA and Pepperdine women's regional action to be moved to Sunday. Oddly, the men's Southern Cal regional is underway, although with a lengthy delay.

In one of the four regionals concluding today, defending women's champion North Carolina had no difficulty returning to the ITA Team Indoor, beating Mississippi 4-1, but two men's hosts and No. 1 seeds--Ohio State and North Carolina State--will not be among those in Champaign next month after falling today.  Michigan, another men's No. 1 seed, lost in the opening round to No. 4 Baylor in what was expected to be the most competitive of the men's regionals.

Ohio State lost to Virginia 4-2 and Tennessee defeated North Carolina State 4-1. The third men's final today, in Austin, has had multiple rain delays, and the match between Florida and Texas is delayed, with Texas leading 3-2.

Below are the results from Friday and Saturday that I currently have; I will update this later tonight with the West Coast scores. Teams in bold have qualified for the Team Indoor Championships.

Friday

WOMEN:

North Carolina Regional:

Mississippi[2] d. Old Dominion[3] 4-2

North Carolina[1] d. Notre Dame[4] 4-0

Final:  North Carolina[1] d. Mississippi[2] 4-1

Saturday:

Texas Regional:

Texas[1] d. Iowa[4] 4-0

Baylor[3] d. Arizona State[2] 4-2


Ohio State Regional

Ohio State[1] d. Syracuse[4] 4-0

Virginia[2] d. Tennessee[3] 4-1


Georgia Tech Regional

Georgia Tech[1] d. South Carolina[4] 4-3

Duke[2] d. Michigan[3] 4-1


UCLA Regional(rained out Saturday, moves to Sunday)

UCLA[1] v California[4]

Texas A&M[2] v Washington State[3]


Pepperdine Regional (rained out Saturday, moves to Sunday)

Pepperdine[1] v Wisconsin[4]

Denver[2] v USC[3]


Sunday:

NC State Regional

NC State[1] v Northwestern[4]

Wake Forest[2] v Central Florida[3]


MEN:

Friday

Ohio State Regional

Ohio State[1] d. Middle Tennessee State[4] 4-0

Virginia[3] d. Iowa[2] 4-0

Final: Virginia[3] d. Ohio State[1] 4-2


NC State Regional

NC State[1] d. Alabama[4] 4-2

Tennessee[2] d. Mississippi[3] 4-2

Final: Tennessee[2] d. NC State[1] 4-1


Texas Regional

Florida[2] d. Arizona[3] 4-2

Texas[1] d. Liberty[4] 4-1

Final: Texas[1] d. Florida[2] 4-3

Saturday:

USC Regional

USC[1] v UNLV[4](moved to Sunday due to rain)

UCLA[2] d. California[3] 4-0


Michigan Regional

Baylor[4] d. Michigan[1] 4-0

Texas A&M[2] d. Pepperdine[3] 4-0


TCU Regional

TCU[1] d. Denver[4] 5-0

Oklahoma[3] d. Wake Forest[2] 4-0


Sunday:

North Carolina Regional

North Carolina[1] v Northwestern[4]

Duke[2] v South Carolina[3]


See College Tennis Today for links to scoring and streams and check out the Cracked Racquet Red Zone coverage on YouTube.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Brantmeier Sweeps Titles, Razeghi Wins Second Straight at New Jersey Grade 5; Rahman Claims Grade 4 in Kenya; Semifinals Set at UTR $25Ks; First Results from ITA Kickoff Weekend

Sixteen-year-old Reese Brantmeier swept the titles today at the ITF Grade 5 in Medford New Jersey, while 14-year-old Alexander Razeghi got a double of his own, adding a second title to the one he claimed last week at the Grade 5 in Connecticut.

Brantmeier, the top seed, defeated No. 6 seed Elisabeth Jones 6-1, 6-3 to claim her first ITF Junior Circuit singles title. Brantmeier, currently No. 82 in the ITF Junior World rankings, won her first ITF Junior Circuit title last month, and it was a big one, partnering with Kimmi Hance for the Grade A Orange Bowl doubles title

Brantmeier's second title of day was less straightforward than her singles victory, with she and Brooklyn Olson, the top seeds, defeating No. 2 seeds Gracie Epps and Aubrey Nisbet 7-6(2), 2-6, 10-8.

Razeghi, who captured his first ITF Junior Circuit title last week with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Louis Cloud, earned his second with another victory over Cloud, the No. 6 seed, this time by a 6-4, 6-2 score. Razeghi, who received a wild card for both tournaments, is now on a ten match winning streak. 

The boys doubles championships was claimed by unseeded Preston Stearns and Nicholas Godsick, who won the 16s Orange Bowl doubles title last month. Stearns and Godsick defeated top seeds Cloud and his partner John Kim 6-1, 6-4 in the final. 

Yannik Rahman also has an ITF Junior Circuit 10-match winning streak going after taking the boys singles title at the Grade 4 in Nairobi Kenya. The second-seeded Rahman, who won the last ITF junior event he played last month in Costa Rica, defeated unseeded Yua Taka of Japan 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(4) in today's final. 

The semifinals of this week's $25,000 UTR Pro Tennis Tour events will begin on Saturday, after the completion of the round robin stage of the tournament today.

In the top half men's semifinal in Naples Florida, top seed Matija Pecotic, the former Princeton All-American, will face former Northwestern star Strong Kirchheimer, while No. 2 seed JC Aragone(Virginia) will take on Cristian Rodriguez Sanchez in the bottom half. Rodriguez Sanchez reached the final of the $25K in Naples last month; all four semifinalists went undefeated in their groups. 

The top two seeds advanced to the women's semifinals in Newport Beach California, with No. 1 Kayla Day set to face 16-year-old Anne-Christine Lutkemeyer and No. 2 seed Ana Sofia Sanchez taking on former Dartmouth star Taylor Ng. Day lost one match in the round robin stage, while the other three went undefeated. 

The first day of the ITF Kickoff Weekend saw eight matches played, although overnight rain at the men's regional in Texas pushed back the start there and top seed Texas is still playing its match against No. 4 seed Liberty.  The winners play Saturday for a place in the ITA Team Indoor Championships. Friday's results are below.

Women:

North Carolina Regional:

Mississippi[2] d. Old Dominion[3] 4-2

North Carolina[1] d. Notre Dame[4] 4-0


Men:

Ohio State Regional

Ohio State[1] d. Middle Tennessee State[4] 4-0

Virginia[3] d. Iowa[2] 4-0


NC State Regional

NC State[1] d. Alabama[4] 4-2

Tennessee[2] d. Mississippi[3] 4-2


Texas Regional

Florida[2] d. Arizona[3] 4-2

Texas[1] d. Liberty[4] 4-1

Bobby Knight has posted links for live streaming and live scoring throughout the weekend (and into next week) at College Tennis Today.

Cracked Racquets is providing Red Zone coverage from several venues on its YouTube Channel.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

ITA Kickoff Weekend Begins Friday; Rematch at New Jersey Grade 5 for Boys Title; Top Seed Shnaider Out at Ukraine Grade 1; Brooksby Signs with UOMO

Men's host sites on left, women's host sites on right

The Division I "Road to Indoors" begins Friday, with the ITA Kickoff Weekend scheduled for ten sites across the country. Seven men's teams and seven women's teams will earn their spots in the National Team Indoors, scheduled for next month at Oklahoma State for the women and Illinois for the men. Although the number of participating teams has been cut in half this year, due to the pandemic, the host teams still are receiving an automatic bid. 

After several teams withdrew earlier this week and were replaced, no other withdrawals were announced today. The Iowa women are replacing LSU in the Texas Regional, moving Baylor to the No. 3 seed, while Iowa is now No. 4 and will play host Texas. Baylor's opponent is now No. 2 seed Arizona State.

As you can see from the graphic above, the four teams are hosting both men's and women's competitions: North Carolina, North Carolina State, Texas and Ohio State. 

The ITA has a new page for links to times, rosters, and live scoring. Cracked Racquets has secured rights to provide a NFL-like RedZone on its YouTube channel from several of the locations, with their coverage beginning at noon on Friday. 

The finals are set for the ITF Grade 5 in Medford New Jersey with the boys championship match the same as last week's final in Connecticut. Fourteen-year-old wild card Alexander Razeghi will take on No. 6 seed Louis Cloud for the title, with Razeghi having won his first ITF Junior Circuit title last week with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Cloud. In today's semifinals, Razeghi defeated qualifier Preston Stearns 6-3, 6-4 and Cloud ended the run of lucky loser Kase Schinnerer by a 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 score. 

In the girls final, top seed Reese Brantmeier will take on No. 6 seed Elisabeth Jones after Brantmeier rebounded for a 4-6, 7-5(2), 6-1 victory over No. 7 seed Olivia Lincer, and Jones defeated unseeded Maya Joint 7-6(4), 6-2.  Both Cloud and Brantmeier are also through to the doubles finals.

At the Grade 1 in Ukraine, top seed Diana Shnaider of Russia was beaten by unseeded 15-year-old Anastasia Gureva of Russia 6-2, 4-6, 6-0. Gureva will face wild card Mariia Hlahola of Ukraine for a spot in the final. The other semifinal features No. 7 seed Polina Iatcenko of Russia against unseeded Ksenia Zaytseva of Russia. 

Fifteen-year-old Vojtech Petr of the Czech Republic is into the semifinals, where he will play unseeded Mark Lajal of Estonia. No. 8 seed Matthew Donald of the Czech Republic will face No. 2 seed Aleksandr Orlikowski of Poland in the other boys semifinal. 

Brandon Nakashima, the only American competing in this week's ATP Challenger 125 in Istanbul, lost his second round match today to former Texas A&M star Arthur Rinderknech of France 6-7(7), 6-1, 6-4. Italian Lorenzo Musetti, another teenager in the spotlight, also fell in the second round, to Benjamin Bonzi of France. Robert Galloway and Alex Lawson have advanced to the doubles semifinals. 

2018 Kalamazoo 18s champion Jenson Brooksby has signed an endorsement contract with UOMO, a clothing brand based in Los Angeles. The full release from Wednesday:

On this Inauguration Day, UOMO Sport is excited to announce the signing of native Californian and rising American star Jenson Brooksby to a multiyear agreement. Brooksby, coached by Joe Gilbert, turned professional late last year after leaving Baylor University early to make the transition to ATP Tour. Brooksby, the 2018 Kalamazoo 18's Champion, was the #1 recruit nationally for his graduating high school class and has a win over former top 10 player Tomas Berdych when he qualified and won his first round at the 2019 US Open. In 2021, Brooksby played and won the UTR Newport Beach Men’s event without dropping a set en route to the title.

 “I’m excited to join the UOMO family as I make the jump to pros. Steven's [Uomo Founder] vision for the clothes are inspirational and I’m honored to wear his line. He has believed in my game for a long time and I look forward to growing with Uomo on and off the tennis courts”

UOMO, based in California, is a Luxury Italian men's tennis apparel, combining class and innovation fabric for the ultimate performance.  Brooksby joins an elite roster of international players and coaches highlighted by Canadian Brayden Schnur, Germany’s Cedrik Marcel Stebe, Brazil’s Thomas Belucci, grand slam champion coach Brad Stine & legendary coach, announcer and former Wimbledon Champion Pat Cash.  UOMO’s 2021 line is honoring the grand slams and is available at select high end clubs around the world.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Petr Takes Out Top Seed at Ukraine ITF Grade 1; Razeghi Extends Win Streak, Reaches Grade 5 Semifinals; UTR Announces Pro Series in Europe

Vojtech Petr, photo ©Richard van Loon 2019

The 2019 Les Petits As, 15-year-old Vojtech Petr of the Czech Republic, lost to Maks Kasnikowski of Poland in the first round a Grade 2 in Poland when returning to the ITF Junior Circuit last year in September after the long pandemic layoff. Today, the 2019 European 14s champion avenged that 6-3, 6-2 loss, defeating top seed Kasnikowski 1-6, 7-6(3), 7-5 in the second round of the ITF Grade 1 in Ukraine.

Petr, who is already 134 in the ITF rankings despite the limited opportunities for earning points in 2020, won his first ITF title, a Grade 4, last September. No. 3 seed Max Westphal of France also lost today, so the top half contains just one seed, No. 7 seed Orel Kimhi of Israel.  Boys No. 2 seed Aleksander Orlikowski of Poland did make it through to the quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Derrick Chen of Great Britain. 

Girls No. 2 seed Natalia Szabanin of Hungary also fell in today's second round action, with Ksenia Zaytseva of Russia posting a 6-4, 6-0 win. Top seed Diana Shnaider of Russia again dropped the first set, but earned her place in the quarterfinals with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory over American Isabelle Kouzmanov. Seven of the eight girls quarterfinalists are from Russia, with the eighth a wild card from Ukraine.

At the ITF Grade 5 in New Jersey, the semifinals are set for Thursday, with 14-year-old wild card Alexander Razeghi looking for his ninth consecutive win in the past two weeks. Razeghi, who won the Grade 5 in Connecticut last week, defeated qualifier Hudson Beaudoin 6-0, 6-4 in today's quarterfinals. Razeghi will face another qualifier, Preston Stearns, Peyton's younger brother, on Thursday. Stearns defeated Zane Ford 7-6(5) 6-2 today.  In the bottom half of the boys draw, No. 6 seed Louis Cloud will play lucky loser Kase Schinnerer for a place in the final. Cloud defeated No. 4 seed Kian Vakili 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 and Schinnerer took out qualifier Nicholas Steiglehner 2-6, 7-5, 6-4. Schinnerer is a high school freshman who played his first ITF tournament last week in Connecticut, losing in the final round of qualifying, as he did this week. But he now has his first three wins on the ITF Junior Circuit. 

The girls semifinals feature three seeds, with No. 1 Reese Brantmeier playing No. 7 Olivia Lincer. Brantmeier beat wild card Maddy Zampardo 6-3, 6-2, while Lincer defeated No. 4 seed Emma Charney 6-0, 6-3. In the bottom half, No. 6 seed Elisabeth Jones will play unseeded Maya Joint after Jones beat No. 3 seed Gracie Epps 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 and Joint defeated Kathryn Treiber 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. 

UTR sent out a press release today regarding the European segment of its Pro Tennis Tour, which is currently underway here in the United States and in Australia. 

Beginning next week in Spain, the events are similar to those elsewhere, with a $25,000 financial commitment/$20,000 in prize money and a round robin competition to determine the knockout round. After several weeks of men's and women's events in Spain, the tour moves to Bulgaria in late March, in Romania in April and to the Czech Republic in June. For the list of tournaments in Europe, see this UTR page

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Covid Forces ITA Kickoff Weekend Shuffling; Top Seeds Ousted at New Jersey Grade 5; Nakashima Advances at Istanbul Challenger; ATP's Tiafoe Feature

The first restructuring of this coming weekend's ITA Kickoff Weekend, which will determine the seven teams advancing to next month's Team Indoor Championships, took place last month, when Stanford announced its men's and women's teams would not be participating. The Wisconsin women and the Alabama men stepped into their slots, with Pepperdine taking over the hosting duties for the Stanford women and no other teams pulled out for the next month. 

But beginning last Wednesday, that changed, with the Washington women dropping out of the Ohio State regional, replaced by Syracuse. A few days later, the Kansas women pulled out of the UCLA regional and were replaced by Cal. 

Yesterday, two men's teams bowed out, with Central Florida replaced by UNLV in the USC regional and Texas Tech replaced by Middle Tennessee in the Ohio State regional.

With all testing needing to be completed by Wednesday, more withdrawals were expected, and today we had the Oklahoma State men and the LSU women pulling out. The ITA has not yet named those two replacements, but when they do, the update will be here.

Oklahoma State women's schedule interrupted due to Covid

The Oklahoma State women took over the hosting duties for the Team Indoor next month when Washington couldn't swing it, automatically qualifying for the Team Indoor. It's fortunate for them that they do not have to play in a regional, since they have had to cancel three matches scheduled for this week.

Qualifiers had impressive results today in the second round of the ITF Grade 5 in New Jersey, with Hudson Beaudoin taking out top seed Rohan Belday 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-3 and Nicholas Steiglehner beating No. 2 seed Nicholas Godsick 1-6, 7-5, 6-4. Beaudoin will take on wild card Alexander Rezaghi, who won last week's Grade 5 in Connecticut, in the quarterfinals, while Steiglehner will face lucky loser Kase Schinnerer. Only two seeds remain in the boys last eight, and they play each other Wednesday.

The girls No. 2 seed also went out today, with Kathryn Treiber beating Brooklyn Olson 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-3. Top seed Reese Brantmeier advanced 6-2, 6-2 over lucky loser Bianca Molnar. Last week's Connecticut champion Mary Stoiana, who beat Brantmeier in the semifinals there, lost in the first round last night to qualifier Bojana Pozder.

With most pros in Australia quarantining, the biggest event this week is an ATP Challenger 125 in Istanbul Turkey.  Brandon Nakashima is the only American competing in singles, with the 19-year-old Californian staying in that part of the world after failing to qualify for the Australian Open. He won his first round match today, beating wild card Cem Ilkel of Turkey 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. Nakashima's second round opponent will be former Texas A&M star Arthur Rinderknech of France, who qualified, then advanced to the second round when No. 5 seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran of India retired trailing 6-4, 3-2.  Three American doubles teams are competing in Istanbul, with Robert Galloway and Alex Lawson winning their first round match, Jackson Withrow and Nathaniel Lammons losing theirs and Evan King and Nathan Pasha playing their first round match Wednesday.

The ATP caught up with Frances Tiafoe, who turns 23 Wednesday, with the young American admitting that he was in a bad place mentally when the pandemic shut down the sport. 

“I looked at the guy in the mirror [and asked], ‘Why are you here? What are the things you need to change and what are the things you need to keep building on?’ It helped me a lot. There were a lot of deep conversations with my guys and I wouldn’t have made it to the second week of the US Open without that.”

For more on Tiafoe's new approach to the game, see this article.

Monday, January 18, 2021

First 2021 ITF Grade 1 Underway in Ukraine; Top Seeds Brantmeier, Belday Advance at Grade 5 in New Jersey; Rune Aims for "Maximum Effort" in 2021

The first ITF Grade 1 tournament of 2021 is underway this week in Ukraine, after those usually held in Costa Rica and Australia were canceled or postponed this year due to the pandemic. The Grade 1 in Ukraine, which was a Grade 1 for the first time last year, features just three Top 100 boys, but 10 Top 100 girls. (At the time of the acceptances for the tournament, in December, the 2002 birth years had not yet been dropped from the rankings).

The top two seeds in the boys draw are from Poland: Maks Kasnikowski, now 11 in the ITF rankings but 43 at the time of acceptances, and Aleksander Orlikowski, now 23 in the rankings, but 61 when the acceptances were posted. Both won their first round matches today in straight sets.

Diane Shnaider of Russia is the top seed in the girls draw, with Natalia Szabanin of Hungary seeded No. 2. While neither of the top two boys played the Orange Bowl last month, both girls did. Today, Shnaider dropped the first set against wild card Mariya Dolzhenko of Ukraine, but rebounded for a 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory. Szabanin's first round match is on Tuesday's schedule.

The only American in either draw is Isabelle Kouzmanov, who won her first round match today, and will face Shnaider in the second round.

The first round of the Grade 5 in Medford New Jersey is in progress, with several girls matches still on court, but top seeds Reese Brantmeier and Rohan Belday are through to the second round. Brantmeier, who lost in the Connecticut Grade 5 semifinals last week, defeated Lamija Avdic 6-1, 6-0, and the 14-year-old Belday, who lost in the second round at last week's Grade 5, defeated Donovan Spigner 6-4, 6-3.

Girls No. 2 seed Brooklyn Olson defeated Annette Robinson 6-0, 6-0 and boys No. 2 seed Nicholas Godsick beat wild card Tanner Povey 6-2, 6-3.

I mentioned in yesterday's post that 2019 French Open boys champion Holger Rune of Denmark had reached the final of the $15,000 ITF World Tennis Tour men's tournament in Spain, but it wasn't until today that I saw this blog post from him on the ITF website. Rune, who has been writing occasional posts for the ITF, mentions his training early this year with Daniil Medvedev and Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Mouratoglou Academy in France and his determination to get out of the lower level events and into Challengers. He states his goal for this year as winning a Challenger, which is ambitious for a teenager, but as Carlos Alcaraz and Lorenzo Musetti have proven, not impossible.

He mentions a less committed goal of learning French, but what struck me most in the post was his admission that he could improve his effort.

I saw some statistics recently on a player e-mail from the ITF which showed my win-loss percentage in 2020. I know there were times I did not put maximum effort into matches last year, so it was no surprise that I wasn’t satisfied with the figure.

However, I was really upset with myself when I saw those numbers in the e-mail. It’s too sloppy and I know I should have done better in about 10 matches.

I have been through them all again in my head and that 65 per cent win ratio should have been around 80, so a major goal for 2021 is to raise my statistics so they match my actual level of tennis.

I have spoken to a lot of young tennis players in the past 15 years, and I can't recall more than a couple who even hinted at needing to improve in that department. Admitting that, and putting it out there for the public to judge his progress, speaks to his confidence that he can hold himself to a higher standard.
I was not sure whether I should mention this in my blog because when I say things out loud, it’s a commitment and, for me, a serious matter.
The above quote was Rune's admission regarding learning French; it's clear that he has not hesitation in pledging "out loud" a more consistent effort in all matches.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Zheng Defeats Fruhvirtova for Fifth ITF WTT Title; Rubin, Chang Win UTR $25Ks in Florida and California; Following Along with Australian Open Quarantine

Eighteen-year-old Qinwen Zheng of China won the last tournament she played, in December of 2020, and the first tournament she's competed in this year, taking the title at the ITF World Tennis Tour $25,000 tournament in Hamburg Germany

Zheng, who won her first three tournaments on clay courts, now has back-to-back titles on indoor hard courts after defeating 16-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-3 in today's final. Zheng, who is 287 in the WTA rankings, went through qualifying, probably due to a late entry. In the final round of qualifying, she trailed 2018 NCAA singles champion Arianne Hartono(Mississippi) of the Netherlands 6-3, 5-2, but came back to win the next five games and take the match tiebreaker to advance. Zheng breezed through her next three matches with the loss of only six games, but she had her hands full with Jesika Maleckova of the Czech Republic in the semifinals, needing three hours to record a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory. Today's final, only the second ITF WTT women's final for Fruhvirtova and the first at the $25K level, was not as taxing, with Fruhvirtova holding serve only once in the one-hour 19-minute match.

Since the ITF's August restart, Zheng, who won the Eddie Herr ITF title in 2018 and lost to Coco Gauff in the Orange Bowl final that same year, won four of the eight tournaments she played and is now starting the new year without skipping a beat.

Another top junior who has been outstanding since the restart is 2019 French Open boys champion Holger Rune of Denmark. Rune, who won three ITF WTT titles last fall, reached the final of the $15,000 tournament in Spain this week, falling to Evan Furness of France 6-2, 5-7, 6-0.

The UTR $25,000 tournaments concluded today, with Noah Rubin and Hanna Chang taking the titles in Naples Florida and Newport Beach California respectively.

Rubin, the former Wake Forest star and No. 2 seed, went undefeated during the round robin portion of the tournament, and didn't surrender more than four games in any set throughout the week. In today's final, he defeated Harris Walker, a Harvard sophomore who is taking a gap year, 6-4, 6-2 in the final. Rubin, who had gone 0-4 in pro events since the restart, including a loss in the first round of the Delray Beach ATP event this month, collects $4000, while Walker earns $2200. 

At Newport Beach, Chang, also a No. 2 seed, needed nearly three hours to secure her $4000 first place prize money, coming from 3-0 down in the third set to beat Jessica Alsola of Canada 7-5, 2-6, 6-4. Alsola, a 16-year-old who has signed with Cal, had just the 14th best UTR coming into the tournament, but she defeated top seed Katie Volynets in the semifinals and dealt Chang the only set she lost in six matches.

Both locations are hosting another tournament beginning tomorrow, with the women again in Newport Beach and the men in Naples.

More positive Covid-19 tests from those on charter flights to the Australian Open has seen the number of players required to strictly quarantine, without practice, rise to nearly 100.  If you are interested in following three people who are posting about their quarantine experience in Melbourne, Stephanie Myles is providing news and personal updates from her room here. Coach Sven Groeneveld got the bad news that he and his player, Taro Daniel of Japan, were on the Doha flight that had a positive test. He is posting about his experience here.  Coach Marc Lucero, who is in Melbourne with Steve Johnson, is doing mini-podcasts from quarantine, and so far, at least, they have not been notified of any positive tests on their flight, so are able to practice. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Positive Covid Tests Confine Dozens of Australian Open Players to Rooms; Division I Personnel Updates; Top Seeds Volynets, Kozlov Upset in UTR $25K Semifinals

The charter flights to Melbourne arranged by the Australian Open began arriving yesterday and it wasn't long before the worst case scenario became reality. All of those approved for travel to Australia had to present a negative test before boarding (Tennys Sandgren's exceptional case is explained here), but two positive tests upon arrival, from a flight from Los Angeles and one positive test from a flight from Abu Dhabi, meant everyone on those flights was required to quarantine for 14 days. Those who have arrived on flights that did not have a positive test returned are able to leave their rooms for five hours a day to train under strict supervision and restrictions for the 14 days, but that special carveout is not available to anyone on the positive-test flights.

It appears from this AP article that none of the three positives are from players, but that doesn't really matter, as anyone on the plane is a close contact after that lengthy plane trip. A full list of those who are confined to their rooms for the 14 days hasn't been released, but some are obviously Americans taking the flight from Los Angeles. 

With 200,000 cases per day recently in the United States  the strict approach of Australia, which has had less than 1000 deaths, is hard to imagine, but their success in keeping cases down and their strict lockdowns have left Australians with no tolerance for the idea that tennis players could endanger the progress they've made in containing it. There is still a week between the end of their quarantine and the start of the Australian Open, with tournaments planned for that week, but it's obvious that those in strict quarantine the next two weeks will be at a huge disadvantage as far as preparation.

Division I college tennis competition is back this week, and although there have been some covid-related cancellations, my twitter timeline is full of splashy graphics with results from many of the top programs. Signings continue, with several listed below; I also saw in this Stanford women's program article that the return to classes for the school is scheduled for February 13-14, meaning they will begin preparing for the season much later than most other top programs.

Women:

I totally missed this back in August, but former ITF Top 10 junior and current WTA 248 Eleonora Molinaro of Luxembourg signed with Tennessee. I'm not sure why she wasn't included among the preseason ITA list of top newcomers.

Arizona has hired former Notre Dame star Monica Robinson-Daly as assistant coach.

Alabama has signed former ITF Top 35 junior Loudmilla Bencheikh of France, who will compete for the Crimson Tide this semester. 

Iowa State has added Ange Oby Kajuru of Japan to its roster. 

Southern California has added as a graduate transfer Summer Dvorak, who played at Vanderbilt and Duke.

Wisconsin has signed Anisha Apte.

Men:

Duke has added Faris Khan and Andrew Dale. Khan, the twin brother of Zane Khan, has struggled with injuries for years. Dale was a freshman at Princeton in the fall, but obviously did not compete for the Tigers, with the Ivy League pausing sports, which have yet to resume.

Speaking of Ivy League players, Harvard sophomore Harris Walker, who is currently not on the roster, picked up a huge win today, beating top seed Stefan Kozlov 6-0, 6-2 in the semifinals of the UTR $25,000 tournament in Naples Florida. Walker will face No. 2 seed Noah Rubin, who beat former Florida State star Benjamin Lock 6-3, 6-3, in Sunday's final. 

Katie Volynets, the top seed in the UTR $25,000 tournament in Newport Beach California, was also upset today. Volynets, currently 316 in the WTA rankings, lost to Cal-Berkeley signee Jessica Alsola of Canada 6-2 7-6(5). Alsola will play No. 2 seed Hanna Chang in Sunday's final, after Chang defeated Megan McCray 6-3, 7-6(4).

Friday, January 15, 2021

How Junior Tennis Has Changed During Pandemic; Razeghi and Stoiana Win Manchester Grade 5 Titles; Semifinals Set at UTR Men's $25K in Naples

Although I wasn't able to cover last month's Orange Bowl in person due to a false positive Covid test, I did talk by telephone to quite a few players during the week, thanks to the efforts of the USTA. While I had that rare opportunity to talk with players, I asked them how they had coped with the long layoff due to the pandemic and what they missed most about competing in major national events in this article for the Tennis Recruiting Network

Alexander Razeghi at 2020 Les Petits As
photo credit: ©Richard van Loon/toptennis.photos

The ITF Grade 5 in Manchester Connecticut concluded today, with wild card Alexander Razeghi and unseeded Mary Stoiana claiming the singles titles. The 14-year-old Razeghi, a semifinalist at last year's Les Petits As, hadn't won a main draw match in the four ITF Junior Circuit tournaments he played the past two years, but he defeated the top seed in the first round and kept right on winning. In today's final, he defeated unseeded Louis Cloud, a University of Tennessee signee, 6-3, 6-3.  Cloud avenged his loss in the doubles final later in the day, with he and partner Quang Duong defeating Razeghi and Benjamin Kreynes 6-4, 7-5. Neither team was seeded.

Seventeen-year-old Stoiana, who has signed with Texas A&M for this fall, had an impressive run this week, beating top seed Reese Brantmeier in yesterday's semifinals 6-3, 7-5 and No. 2 seed Valencia Xu 4-6, 6-4 in today's final. Both Brantmeier and Xu are Top 100 in the ITF Junior rankings, while Stoiana, whose only previous title on the circuit was at a Grade 5 in Canada in 2019, is 931 in the rankings.

Both Stoiana and Razeghi are scheduled to compete in the Grade 5 next week in Medford New Jersey; Stoiana is in the main draw, while Razeghi is in qualifying.

Tomorrow will be an interesting day at the $25,000 ITF women's World Tennis Tour tournament in Germany, with three of the four semifinalists teenagers.  Eighteen-year-old Qinwen Zheng of China, who won four ITF WTT titles last year, again was forced to qualify despite a WTA ranking of 287, and will face unseeded 26-year-old Jesika Maleckova of the Czech Republic. Zheng has lost just six games in three matches this week. 

In the bottom half semifinal, 16-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic, who received entry based on a junior exemption, will face 17-year-old German wild card Noma Noha Akugue. Both have recently reached their first pro tournament finals, both at $15Ks; Fruhvirtova did that last month and Noah Akugue dit it back in August. 

The semifinals for the UTR men's $25,000 tournament in Naples Florida are set for Saturday, with top seed Stefan Kozlov facing Harris Walker and No. 2 seed Noah Rubin playing Benjamin Lock. Walker defeated 16-year-old Bruno Kuzuhara 6-4, 6-2; Rubin beat Aditya Vashistha 6-2, 6-2 and Lock defeated Matthew Segura 6-2, 7-5. Kozlov had defeated Strong Kirchheimer in a quarterfinal match played on Thursday.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Southern California Men, North Carolina Women Top ITA Preseason D-I Team Rankings; Stoiana Upsets Brantmeier, Reaches Grade 5 Final; Semifinals Set for Women's UTR $25K in Newport Beach

After announcing the individual Division I preseason rankings yesterday, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association released the team rankings today, with the Southern California men and North Carolina women at the No. 1 spots. 

It's probably not a coincidence that the two teams that won the only national team championships played last year, the Indoors, are No. 1 this year, and that the finalists, the North Carolina men and the UCLA women, are ranked No. 2.  These first rankings, which are confined to just 25 teams, are a poll of coaches, with the computer taking over later,  after a sufficient number of matches have been played. With the Covid-19 uncertainty, how many dual matches are played in these next three or four weeks is hard to predict, so as of now, there is no next ranking date and no firm date for the first computer rankings.

Division I ITA preseason team rankings

WOMEN:

1. North Carolina

2. UCLA

3. Texas

4. Stanford

5. Pepperdine

6. Duke

7. Georgia

8. NC State

9. Florida State

10. Virginia

11. Oklahoma State

12. Georgia Tech

13. Ohio State

14. South Carolina

15. Vanderbilt

16. Wake Forest

17. Southern California

18. Central Florida

19. California-Berkeley

20. Arizona State

21. Florida

22. Michigan

23. Baylor

24. LSU

25. Kansas


MEN:

1. Southern California

2. North Carolina

3. Ohio State

4. Michigan

5. Stanford

T6. TCU

T6. Texas

8. NC State

9. Florida

10. Georgia

11. Texas A&M

12. Wake Forest

13. Tennessee

14. Oklahoma State

15. Baylor

16. Central Florida

17. Mississippi

18. UCLA

19. Columbia

20. South Carolina

21. Pepperdine

22. Virginia

23. Duke

24. Texas Tech

25. Kentucky

The finals are set for the ITF Grade 5 in Manchester Connecticut, with just one seed reaching the championship match in singles. No. 2 seed Valencia Xu, the 2019 USTA 16s Nationals finalist, will play for the girls title against unseeded Mary Stoiana, who is from Connecticut. Stoiana, who has signed with Texas A&M for this fall, defeated top seed Reese Brantmeier 6-3, 7-5 in today's semifinals.

The boys final features 14-year-old wild card Alexander Razeghi and Tennessee signee Louis Cloud.  

The girls doubles final was played today, with top seeds Gracie Epps and Aubrey Nisbet defeating unseeded Tatum Evans and Theodora Rabman 6-7(8), 6-4, 12-10. 

The UTR $25Ks are into the knockout rounds, with the women's semifinals set for Friday in Newport Beach California. Katie Volynets, the top seed, will face Canadian Jessica Alsola, a Cal recruit in the top half semifinal, while former Oklahoma State star Megan McCray will play No. 2 seed Hanna Chang in the bottom half.

The only men's quarterfinal completed today in Naples Florida saw No. 1 seed Stefan Kozlov defeat former Northwestern star Strong Kirchheimer 6-2, 7-6. The other three quarterfinals are scheduled for Friday, with Harris Walker against Bruno Kuzuhara, Benjamin Lock versus Matthew Segura and No. 2 seed Noah Rubin playing Aditya Vashistha. Streaming is available via Playsight, with the links here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Osuigwe, Cressy and Mmoh Qualify for Australian Open; Lahey, Cukierman Top ITA D-I Singles Rankings; Talking College Tennis on Cracked Racquets Podcast

Three of the four Americans in action today at the Australian Open's final round of qualifying earned places in the main draw, with Whitney Osuigwe, Maxime Cressy and Michael Mmoh now ready to begin their 14 day quarantine in Melbourne.

Osuigwe, still just 18, had the most dramatic victory, coming from 6-2, 5-2 down beat No. 22 seed Michaela Buznarescu of Romania 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-2. Osuigwe, who had a dismal restart, losing in the first round of all five tournaments she played, had not been successful in any of her previous five attempts to qualifying for a slam, although the former ITF World Junior Champion has played both the Australian Open(2019) and US Open(2018, 2019, 2020) main draws as a wild card.

The 23-year-old Cressy, a former UCLA star, will be making his main draw debut in Australia after reaching the second round of the US Open last year. Mmoh, also 23, will be playing in the Australian Open main draw for the fourth time; he earned a first round victory last year in Melbourne.

Other notable qualifiers include former Pepperdine star Mayar Sherif, who will be the first Egyptian woman to play in the main draw of the Australian Open, 2018 ITF World Junior Champion Clara Burel of France, and Rebecca Marino of Canada, who is coming back after 18 months away from the tour.  For more on the women's qualifying, see this article at the Australian Open website.

After a surprising loss in the first round of qualifying at the French Open last fall, 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz of Spain made it through his next slam qualifying test and will make his main draw debut in Melbourne. For more on the men's final round of qualifying, see this article from the Australian Open website.

Final round Australian Open qualifying results for Americans:

Whitney Osuigwe d. Michaela Buzarnescu[22](ROU) 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-2

Maxime Cressy d. Dustin Brown(GER) 7-6(5), 6-4

Michael Mmoh d. Arthur Rinderknech(FRA) 6-3, 7-6(3)

Greet Minnen[3](BEL) d. Varvara Lepchenko 6-2, 3-6, 6-4

At the WTA 500 in Abu Dhabi, No. 4 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus defeated Veronika Kudermetova of Russia, claiming her third straight title and her 15th match in a row. In the doubles final, No. 5 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara(UCLA) of Japan defeated No. 8 seeds Hayley Carter(UNC) and Brazil's Luisa Stefani(Pepperdine) 7-6(5), 6-4.

The ATP 250 in Delray Beach also concluded today, with No. 4 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland ending the run of unseeded 20-year-old American Sebastian Korda 6-3, 6-3 in the final.  In the doubles final, unseeded Ariel Behar of Uruguay and Ecuador's Gonzalo Escobar(Texas Tech) defeated the wild card team of Ryan and Christian Harrison 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 10-4.

The other ATP 250, in Turkey, also ended today, with No. 4 seed Alex De Minaur of Australia earning the title when No. 8 seed Alexander Bublik of Russia retired down 2-0 in the first set. Top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic of Croatia won the doubles title, defeating No. 2 seeds Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Filip Polasek of Slovakia 6-2, 6-4.

The ITA released the Division I preseason rankings for singles, doubles and newcomers. Below are the Top 10 in singles, all 10 of the newcomers and the Top 5 in doubles. 

Full lists: 

Men's singles

Men's doubles

Women's singles

Women's doubles

WOMEN:

Singles:

1. Ashley Lahey, Pepperdine

2. Estela Perez-Somarriba, Miami

3. Alexa Graham, North Carolina

4. Sara Daavettila, North Carolina

5. Anna Turati, Texas

6. Caeron Morra, North Carolina

7. Abbey Forbes, UCLA

8. Kelly Chen, Duke

9. Elysia Bolton, UCLA

10. Michaela Gordon, Stanford

Newcomers:

1. Peyton Stearns, Texas

2. Taisya Pachkaleva, Pepperdine

3. Lulu Sun, Texas

4. Sada Nahimana, NC State

5. Emma Navarro, Virginia

6. Karolina Berankova, Duke

7. Alexa Noel, Iowa

8. Fiona Crawley, North Carolina

9. Vanessa Ong, UCLA

10. Naomi Cheong, USC

Doubles:

1. Elysia Bolton and Jada Hart, UCLA

2. Anna Rogers and Alana Smith, NC State

3. Alexa Graham and Sara Daavettila, North Carolina

4. Samantha Martinelli and Jessie Gong, Yale

5. Kenya Jones and Victoria Flores, Georgia Tech

MEN:

Singles:

1. Daniel Cukierman, USC

2. William Blumberg, North Carolina

3. Alexandre Rotsaert, Stanford

4. Valentin Vacherot, Texas A&M

5. Cannon Kingsley, Ohio State

6. Richard Ciamarra, Notre Dame

7. Alexis Galarneau, NC State

8. Sam Riffice, Florida

9. Trent Bryde, Georgia

10. Keegan Smith, UCLA

Newcomers

1. Arthur Fery, Stanford

2. Gustaf Strom, Arizona

3. Jeffrey Von Der Schulenburg, Virginia

4. Tristan Boyer, Stanford

5. Micah Braswell, Texas

6. Luciano Tacchi, Wake Forest

7. Joshua Lapadat, Kentucky

8. Clement Chidekh, Washington

9. Filippo Moroni, Wake Forest

10. Gey Den Ouden, Pepperdine

Doubles:

1. Daniel Cukierman and Riley Smith, USC

2. Andrew Fenty and Mattias Siimar, Michigan

3. Matej Vocel and Dominik Kellovsky, Oklahoma State

4. Robert Cash and John McNally, Ohio State

5. Mac Kiger and Simon Soendergaard, North Carolina


Late last week I spoke with Alex Gruskin of Cracked Racquets about the upcoming Division I college season, the top teams and players and what the long term prospects are for college tennis given the financial squeeze the pandemic has caused. We also spoke about no-ad, which I still do not support; Gruskin provides a counterpoint to my argument. Listen to the podcast here.