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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Kuzuhara, Colak and Blokhina into Paraguay Grade 1 Quarterfinals; Dead Period Extended Again; North Carolina Men and Women Number One in Latest ITA Rankings; Parenting Aces on LSU Mess; Salon Looks at Wake Forest and Hannity

Three of the eight Americans competing this week in the singles draws of the ITF Grade 1 Asuncion Bowl in Paraguay are still alive for a title, with Ozan Colak, Bruno Kuzuhara and Alexis Blokhina winning their second round matches today.

Kuzuhara, the No. 4 seed and a finalist last week at the Ecuador Grade 1, defeated Peter Privara of Slovakia 7-6(5), 6-4 and will take on Mili Poljicak of Croatia in Thursday's quarterfinals. The unseeded Colak, who also reached the quarterfinals in Ecuador, defeated No. 5 seed Marko Topo of Serbia 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 and will face No. 3 seed Pedro Boscardin Dias of Brasil next. Unseeded Alexis Blokhina, who beat the top seed on Monday, defeated Tijana Sretenovic of Serbia 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 and will play unseeded Bianca Behulova of Slovakia in the quarterfinals. 

Top seed Dali Blanch and No. 3 Madison Sieg both lost today in straight sets.

The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach is reporting that the NCAA has extended the Division I recruiting dead period from April 15th to May 31st. That means it will have been nearly 15 months since coaches were allowed any in-person contact with prospective student-athletes and since the recruits could make official visits to campus.

The latest Division I rankings are out, with little changing in the women's coaches poll, but a big shuffling occurring in the men's, due to last weekend's ITA Team Indoor results. The USC men dropped from first to eighth after going 0-3 in Champaign, while Illinois jumped from unranked all the way to sixth after beating USC and Virginia.

Both Stanford teams have disappeared from the rankings, with the recent decision made that, since they have not played any matches, they should not be a part of the rankings until they do begin to post results. The rankings page explains that the polls will continue later than usual this year, and expand to 50 teams, while tweaks to the algorithm are considered given the reduced number of matches this year. A release date for the singles and doubles rankings is still unknown at this time.

ITA Division I Women's Team Rankings, 2-17-21
(previous ranking in parentheses)

1. North Carolina (1)
2. Texas(2)
3. UCLA(3)
4. Pepperdine(4)
5. Georgia(5)
6. Florida State(7)
7. Northwestern(8)
8. Ohio State(10)
9. Vanderbilt(15)
10. NC State(12)

ITA Division I Men's Team Rankings, 2-17-21 (last ranking from 2-3-21)

1. North Carolina(2)
2. Baylor(4)
3. Tennessee(10)
4. Virginia(7)
5. TCU(3)
6. Illinois (unranked)
7. Texas(5)
8. USC(1)
9. Ohio State(8)
10. Texas A&M(9)

The competition and excitement of the Team Indoor Championships held earlier this month is the positive side of college tennis, but there are less inspiring stories that also need to be told.

Salon looks at the relationship of Sean Hannity with the Wake Forest men's team, where his son, who is referred to on the roster as Sean Patrick, has been on the team since 2017. Although the article makes it clear that the investigation doesn't approach the Varsity Blues level, it is still a fascinating look at the many ways wealthy parents can influence programs that accept their children.

Lisa Stone at Parenting Aces spoke with the father of Jade Lewis, the former LSU tennis player whose abuse by a football player was not reported as required by Title IX, on her podcast, available at the Parenting Aces website. USA Today reported on this and other issues at LSU in this article back in November.