Explore the Junior Tennis Champions Center's high performance program by clicking on the banner above

Friday, February 12, 2021

Easter Bowl Moving to San Diego; Chappell Reaches First Challenger Semifinal; Kuzuhara and Sieg Advance to Ecuador G1 Final; No. 1 USC, No. 3 TCU Fall at Men's D-I Team Indoor; Five Americans Remain at Australian Open

The USTA officially announced today that the ITF Easter Bowl Grade B1 and the Easter Bowl's 12s, 14s and 16s divisions will be moved from the Indian Wells Tennis Garden to the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego. This comes a day after the announcement that the ITF Grade 1 International Spring Championships in Carson, the week prior to the Easter Bowl, would relocate to Barnes this year.  The USTA tournament website for the adidas Easter Bowl gives the dates from Thursday March 25th through Sunday April 4th, but I believe that is tentative. The two youngest age divisions, which are 64-player draws, have been starting on Saturday and going through Thursday, while the 16s, also a 64 draw, have begun on Monday and ended on Saturday, with the ITF concluding on Sunday. As with the ISC, the Easter Bowl ITF will be a 48-player draw this year, due to the ITF's safe play protocols.

With so much happening on the junior tennis front here in the US and the Australian Open this week, I haven't been following the ATP Challenger as diligently as usual, but there is one American still in singles in the three tournaments at that level this week, former TCU star Nick Chappell. The 28-year-old won two qualifying matches over seeded players to reach the main draw of the Challenger 80 in South Africa, and, for the first time in his career, advanced to a Challenger quarterfinal with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Hugo Grenier of France. Chappell earned his place in the semifinal with a 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-4 win today over No. 7 seed Peter Polansky of Canada and will face No. 2 seed Benjamin Bonzi of France Saturday. 

Two Americans will play for the singles championships at the ITF Grade 1 in Ecuador Saturday, with No. 4 seed Bruno Kuzuhara and No. 3 seed Madison Sieg earning wins today.  Sieg defeated unseeded compatriot Valencia Xu 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 and Kuzuhara topped qualifier Gonzalo Bueno of Peru 6-0, 6-1. Kuzuhara will play No. 2 seed Juncheng "Jerry" Shang of China for the boys title, while Sieg's opponent is No. 2 seed Natalia Szabanin of Hungary.

Top seeds Dali Blanch and Alexander Bernard won the boys doubles title today, defeating No. 3 seeds Kuzuhara and Victor Lilov 6-4, 6-7(9), 10-2 in the final. Clervie Ngounoue and partner Chelsea Fontenel of Switzerland lost in the girls doubles final to No. 3 seeds Anaelle Leclerque of France and Radka Zelnickova of Slovakia 2-6, 6-2, 10-8.

The bottom half semifinal at the ITA Division I Men's Team Indoor Championships will feature ACC rivals No. 2 seed North Carolina and No. 6 seed Virginia after both claimed victories today in the quarterfinals at the Atkins Tennis Center at the University of Illinois.

Virginia, who had earned its spot with an upset of Ohio State in Columbus during the Kickoff Weekend, continued their recent run with a 4-3 come-from-behind win over No. 3 seed TCU. After the Cavaliers dropped the doubles point and three first-sets, the Horned Frogs looked to be in good position, but they couldn't manage another point after taking a 3-1 lead. Virginia freshman Jeffrey von der Schulenburg ended up clinching for Virginia at line 3, but it was Carl Sonderlund who got the key point, rebounding from the loss of the first set against Alastair Gray at line 1.

North Carolina took the doubles point from Tennessee and four first sets in singles, but the Volunteers kept the pressure on until the Tar Heels' Benjamin Sigouin closed out Martim Prata at line 3 for a 4-1 victory.

The live streaming and live scoring are different from last weekend's Women's Team Indoor, although all six courts are available via Playsight without commentary. Mike Cation and Alex Gruskin are providing commentary at the University of Illinois website, and, in an improvement over last week, they are able to cover all six courts, rather than just the top court. Unfortunately, whoever is doing the box scores is not providing the  scores of unfinished matches, which I find extremely annoying. I took a screen shot of the live scoring once the day's second match went final, but I won't always be able to do that, so I apologize for not having that information. If the school websites provide it, I will try to track down and post those unfinished match scores. Tiebreaker scores are not posted regularly either, another disappointment.

No. 4 seed Baylor made short work of Texas, with most of the excitement in the Bears 4-0 win coming in the doubles, which was decided in a tiebreaker, with Nick Stachowiak and Spencer Furman saving a match point in their 7-6(6) win over Micah Braswell and Cleeve Harper at line 3. Baylor will play the winner of tonight's match between top seed and defending champion USC and host Illinois, the No. 8 seed. I will post that result later, with the match starting an hour late at 8:30 EST. UPDATE: Unranked Illinois stunned No. 1-ranked USC 4-1 tonight, taking the doubles point and getting wins at lines 3, 4 and 6. With no fans allowed at Atkins Tennis Center, the atmosphere of a typical Illinois match was missing, but the Illini proved they'll be a contender in the Big Ten this year.

Tomorrow's semifinal between North Carolina and Virginia is scheduled for 1 p.m. EST, while the Baylor match with Illinois winner is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.

Men's ITA Division I Team Indoor
February 12, 2021
University of Illinois Atkins Tennis Center

Virginia[6] 4, TCU[3] 3

1. Carl Soderlund(UVA) d. Alastair Gray (TCU) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
2. Luc Fomba(TCU) d. Inaki Montes(UVA) 6-4, 3-6, 6-0
3. Jeffrey von der Schulenburg (UVA) d. Sander Jong (TCU) 6-4, 5-7, 6-4
4. Tomas Jirousek(TCU) d. Ryan Goetz(UVA) 6-1, 7-6(7)
5. Chris Rodesh(UVA) d. Tadeas Paroulek(TCU) 6-0, 6-1
6. Gianni Ross(UVA) d. Juan Martin (TCU) 7-6(5), 1-6, 6-4

1. Fomba/Gray (TCU) d. Soderlund/William Woodall(UVA) 6-3
2. Jong/Paroulek (TCU) d. Goetz/Rodesh (UVA) 6-3
3. Bertus Kruger/Jake Fearnley (TCU) vs. Montes/Von der Schulenburg(UVA) 5-4 DNF

Order of finish: Doubles: 1,2; Singles: 5,4,2,1,6,3

North Carolina[2] 4, Tennessee[7] 1
1. Adam Walton(TENN) vs. William Blumberg (UNC) 6-0, 1-6, 4-1 DNF
2. Johannus Monday(TENN) d. Rinky Hijikata(UNC) 6-4, 6-2
3. Benjamin Sigouin(UNC) d. Martim Prata(TENN) 6-4, 6-4
4. Brian Cernoch(UNC) d. Giles Hussey(TENN) 6-4, 6-4
5. Luca Wiedenmann(TENN) vs. Josh Peck(UNC) 3-6, 6-3 DNF
6. Simon Soendergaard(UNC) d. Pat Harper(TENN) 6-2, 6-3

1. Blumberg/Cernoch(UNC) d. Walton/ Harper(TENN) 6-4
2. Mac Kiger/Soendergaard(UNC) d. Monday/Prata(TENN) 7-6
3. Hussey/Mark Wallner(TENN) d. Sigouin/Hijikata(UNC) 6-3

Order of finish: Doubles: 3,1,2; Singles: 2,6,4

Baylor[4] 4, Texas[5] 0
1. Adrian Boitan(BAY) d. Siem Woldeab(TEX) 6-3, 7-5
2. Matias Soto(BAY) v Eliot Spizzirri(TEX) 7-6, 2-5 DNF
3. Sven Lah(BAY) v Micah Braswell(TEX) 6-2, 2-6, 2-3 DNF
4. Nick Stachowiak(BAY) v Cleeve Harper(TEX) 7-6, 1-2 DNF
5. Charlie Broom(BAY) d. Chih Chi Huang(TEX) 6-3, 6-4
6. Spencer Furman(BAY) d. Evin McDonald(TEX) 6-2, 6-3

1. Spizzirri/Woldeab(TEX) d. Lah/Constantin Frantzen 6-4
2. Broom/Soto(BAY) d. Payton Holden/Huang(TEX) 6-4
3. Stachowiak/Furman(BAY) d. Braswell/Harper 7-6(6)

Order of finish: Doubles: 1,2,3; Singles: 6,5,1

Illinois[8] 4, USC[1] 1
1. Aleksander Kovacevic(ILL) v Daniel Cukierman(USC) 6-4, 2-6, 3-3 UNF
2. Alex Brown(ILL) v Riley Smith(USC) 4-6, 7-6, 2-2 UNF
3. Siphosothando Montsi(ILL) d. Stefan Dostanic(USC) 6-4, 6-3
4. Zeke Clark(ILL) d. Ryder Jackson(USC) 7-5, 7-5
5. Lodewijk Westrate(USC) d. Hunter Heck(ILL) 6-2, 7-6
6. Kweisi Kenyatta(ILL) d. Bradley Frye(USC) 6-4, 6-2

1. Montsi/Kenyatta(ILL) d. Cukierman/Smith(USC) 7-5
2. Dostanic/Frye(USC) d. Brown/Heck 6-3
3. Kovacevic/ Alex Bancila(ILL) d. Jackson/Westrate(USC) 6-4

Order of finish: Doubles: 2,3,1; Singles: 6,3,5,4

Five Americans remain alive in single at the Australian Open, with Serena Williams the only one of the three in action Friday to advance to the fourth round. Taylor Fritz gave top seed Novak Djokovic a tough battle before losing in five sets to the defending champion, who suffered an injury during the match. In addition, a snap 5-day lockdown was instituted in Melbourne due to an increase in Covid cases, so fans had to be evacuated from Rod Laver at midnight. No fans will be allowed until Thursday at the earliest.

AO results for Americans in Friday's third round:

Aryna Sabalenka[7](BLR) d. Ann Li 6-3, 6-1
Serena Williams[10] d. Anastasia Potapova(RUS) 7-6(5), 6-2
Novak Djokovic[1](SRB) d. Taylor Fritz[27] 7-6(1), 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2

AO results for Americans in Saturday's third round: 

Shelby Rogers d. Anett Kontaveit[21](EST) 6-4, 6-3
Jessica Pegula d. Kristina Mladenovic(FRA) 6-2, 6-1
Jennifer Brady[22] d. Kaja Juvan[Q](SLO) 6-1, 6-3
Mackenzie McDonald d. Lloyd Harris(RSA) 7-6(7), 6-1, 6-4