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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

No Change Atop ITA Division I Team Rankings; Illinois Signs Former ITF Top 10 Junior; Collins Beats WTA No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, Joins Gauff and Rogers in Adelaide Quarterfinals; ATP Feature on Brooksby

This week's Division I team rankings didn't produce any changes at the top, with the North Carolina women and North Carolina men both retaining the No. 1 spots. The Texas women stayed at No. 2, as did the Baylor men, but for the women, the shuffling began with Georgia moving up to No. 3. After UCLA's 4-3 loss to Cal over the weekend, the Bruins dropped to six, while Cal moved from 17 to 12.

Unranked women's teams moving into the top 25 this week are No. 21 Auburn, who beat South Carolina and Florida over the weekend, and No. 24 Arkansas, who earned wins over Mississippi State and Mississippi.

In the men's rankings, Ohio State was the instigator of the changes in the Top 10, with the Buckeyes' win over Illinois dropping the Illini to No. 8 and Ohio State and Texas moving up as a result.  Oklahoma State's losses to USC and Pepperdine over the weekend dropped them from 14 to 23. Memphis, who did not play last weekend, has moved into the Top 25 for the first time. 

This is the last week for rankings to 25; next week's rankings will extend to 50, which will be the case at least through March. All these rankings are determined by a poll, not by a computer algorithm. There is still no sign of any individual rankings, which haven't been updated since the preseason.

Division I ITA Division I women's top 10 team rankings 2-24-21,
(previous ranking in parentheses)

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

Division I ITA men's Top 10 team rankings 2-24-21

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

There have been a few men's signings for fall of 2021, with the biggest that of Karlis Ozolins of Latvia committing to Illinois. Ozolins, who reached the singles semifinals and doubles final of the Australian Open Junior Championships last year, has been ranked as high as No. 6 in the ITF World Junior rankings. 

Roni Hietaranta of Finland has signed with Nebraska, and Joel Pierleoni of Great Britain has signed with New Mexico.

On the WTA tour, Danielle Collins earned her first win over a No. 1 player, beating Ashleigh Barty of Australia 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals of the 500 level event in Adelaide. The two-time NCAA singles champion will face French Open champion Iga Swiatek of Poland, the No. 5 seed, on Thursday.

In an all-American quarterfinal in Adelaide, qualifier Coco Gauff and Shelby Rogers, who, like Collins, are unseeded, will meet for the first time. 

While American women are doing well in the sole WTA event this week, all six American men competing in the main draw of the three ATP 250 events have bowed out, with only Sebastian Korda and Maxime Cressy winning a match. Mackenzie McDonald opted for the ATP Challenger 100 in Kazakhstan this week, and after beating top seed Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in the first round, he is through to the quarterfinals.

And speaking of Challengers, the ATP website has posted an article on last week's first-time Challenger champion Jenson Brooksby.