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Thursday, February 18, 2021

Brady Reaches Australian Open Final; Ojai Tournament Canceled; Brooksby Advances to South Africa Challenger Quarterfinals; North Carolina's Cernoch Heads ITA Men's D-I Indoor All-Tournament Team

Jennifer Brady defeated Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 Thursday at the Australian Open to reach her first grand slam final. The former UCLA Bruin will face Naomi Osaka in for the title, after Osaka defeated Serena Williams 6-3, 6-4 earlier in the day.

Brady, the No. 22 seed, got an early break in the third set and held on, although just barely. She had to save three break points in the 18-point final game, with Muchova, the No. 25 seed, saving four match points before she sent a forehand long on the fifth.

Brady is the first former collegiate woman to advance to a grand slam singles final since 1983, when Kathy Jordan, a former Stanford star, reached the Australian Open final, losing to Martina Navratilova. Kevin Anderson is the only former collegian to reach a slam final this century on the men's side, with the former Illinois All-American advancing to the 2017 US Open final and the 2018 Wimbledon final. 

Another Australian Open finalist who went to college is Rajeev Ram, who advanced to the mixed doubles final with Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic. Ram and partner Joe Salisbury(Memphis) of Great Britain, the defending men's doubles champions, play their semifinal against Jamie Murray of Great Britain and Bruno Soares of Brazil Friday(tonight in the US). Salisbury, who is playing mixed doubles with Desirae Krawczyk(Arizona State), can advance to the final against Ram and Krejcikova if they defeat wild cards Samantha Stosur and Matt Ebden of Australia later tonight. 

Some of the many trophies usually awarded at The Ojai,
 canceled again this year.

For the second consecutive year, The Ojai Tennis Tournament, one of the most storied tennis tournaments in the country, has been canceled due to the Covid pandemic. The tournament usually takes place at the end of April. From the release:

Ojai Valley Tennis Club President Duane Williamson and Ojai Tennis Tournament Executive Director Katrina Rice Schmidt released a joint statement on the tournament’s cancellation:
“We were busy making plans for a scaled-down version of The Ojai Tennis Tournament with no spectators, but the decision to cancel this year's tournament simply came down to the fact that in this environment we could not ensure the safety of all of the players and coaches, our staff and volunteers, and the greater Ojai Community. We are all very disappointed that we will not be holding this year's event and, yet, at the same time feel it is the correct and responsible decision to make. We are encouraged that as the ongoing vaccination rollout continues, we’ll be able to return to the courts and be back for play in 2022.”
Jenson Brooksby, the 2018 Kalamazoo champion, returned to competition this month after a semester at Baylor last year that was marred by injuries and then the Covid shutdown. He reached the semifinals of a $25K in Italy, lost in the first round of the South African Challenger last week, but has advanced to the quarterfinals of this week's South Africa Challenger 80. The 20-year-old's 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 win over No. 2 seed and ATP 137Benjamin Bonzi of France is his third best by ranking, behind only his win over No. 96 Tomas Berdych at the 2019 US Open and No. 133 Yuichi Sugita in the US Open qualifying that year. Brooksby will play No. 7 seed Cem Ilkel of Turkey Friday, with Ilkel having beaten Brooksby 6-3, 6-4 last week.

On Wednesday, the ITA announced the All-Tournament team for last weekend's Men's Division I Team Indoor Championships, along with the Most Outstanding Player, which was awarded to North Carolina junior Brian Cernoch.

The results that led to the recognition for these players can be found here.

No. 1 singles: Carl Soderlund, Virgina
No. 2 singles: Luca Fomba, TCU
No. 3 singles: Micah Braswell, Texas
No. 4 singles: Brian Cernoch, North Carolina
No. 5 singles: Charlie Broom, Baylor
No. 6 singles: Simon Soendergaard, North Carolina

No. 1 doubles: William Blumberg and Cernoch, North Carolina
No. 2 doubles: Bradley Frye and Stefan Dostanic, USC
No. 3 doubles: Inaki Montes de la Torre and Jeffrey von der Schulenburg, Virginia

Most Outstanding Player: Brian Cernoch, North Carolina. 


fan said...

Truly an apogee for Florida women; Kenin, Brady, Collins, Anisimova..in stark contrast to So. Cal.

Max Ho said...

Osaka's formative years were also in Florida. Didn't most of these girls move to Florida because of Academies? It also seems like Brady and Collins went to the next level in college. California men doing pretty well though: Fritz, Nakashima, Johnson, Mcdonald, Brooksby...

fan said...

I think Brady moved to Florida, dunno but Bradenton was her address at TRN. Collins was born there methinks, playing at public courts. She did get better at UVA, but not Brady, she played #3 singles behind Anderson and Van Nguyen in her 2nd year at UCLA. She got routed by Carter at Team NCAA playing #2 singles during her freshman year. Well she did win Ojai, still..but she always had a big game, from juniors.