Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Positive Test Shuts Down Thursday's ATP and WTA Action in Melbourne; Top Three Teams Unchanged in Latest Men's D-I Rankings; Nakashima Advances at Quimper Challenger

The huge number of matches scheduled for Thursday at the WTA and ATP events at Melbourne Park are now at zero, after an employee at one of the hotels tested positive for the Covid-19 virus Wednesday. That meant another round of tests for 600 players, coaches and others, with all those who were staying at the same hotel considered casual contacts. While another full quarantine is not being implemented now, that could change, particularly if any other tests come back positive.  Stephanie Myles, who is in Australia, but was not at the hotel in question, has more details on the events around this case, the state of Victoria's response, and the mystery of where the employee may have gotten the virus.

With no play tonight (Thursday in Australia), it's a good time to review all the matches that happened on Wednesday.  Half of the quarterfinalists at the WTA Yarra Valley Classic are from the United States, after several impressive wins in the round of 16.  Danielle Collins[13] earned the fifth Top 10 win of her career, beating No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 7-6(5), 7-6(3). Shelby Rogers took out No. 7 seed Petra Martic 7-6(1), 6-3, and Serena Williams[5] beat Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-1, 6-4.  Rogers will play top seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia when(if?) play resumes, with Collins and Williams meeting for the first time in the other quarterfinal in the top half.

No. 2 seed Sofia Kenin is the fourth American remaining, and the only one in the bottom half, after she came back from a 7-5, 4-1 deficit to beat Jessica Pegula 5-7, 7-5, 6-2. She will face No. 6 Garbine Muguruza of Spain in a rematch of last year's Australian Open final.

American women picking up wins in the first round of the Grampians Trophy are Ann Li, Jennifer Brady[7], and Bethanie Mattek-Sands. 

At the ATP Murray River Open, No. 6 seed Taylor Fritz defeated Federico Coria of Argentina 6-1, 6-2 and Marcos Giron beat No. 10 seed Adrian Mannarino of France 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the round of 16.  

The sole American remaining in the Great Ocean Road Open is No. 6 seed Reilly Opelka, who defeated Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky 7-6(8), 6-4.  Seventeen-year-old Carlos Alcaraz of Spain took out top seed David Goffin 6-3, 6-3 to become the youngest player to defeat a Top 15 opponent since Richard Gasquet beat Nicolas Massu in 2004. 

The latest ITA Division I men's team rankings are out, and there are no changes in the top three: USC, North Carolina and TCU.  Baylor moved up to No. 4 after beating Texas, which fell to No. 5, and Virginia, who defeated Ohio State two weeks ago, switches places with the Buckeyes at No. 7. This week's Top 25, which is still conducted by a poll of coaches, is available here

Men’s Division I Top 10 rankings 2/3/21 (first place votes in parentheses)

1. USC(11)

2. North Carolina(1)

3. TCU

4. Baylor

5. Texas

6. Stanford

7. Virginia

8. Ohio State

9. Texas A&M

10. Tennessee

Last week's champion Sebastian Korda opted out of the second ATP Challenger 80 in Quimper France, but Brandon Nakashima and Denis Kudla are again in the draws, with no US Challengers on the horizon this month. Kudla, the No. 5 seed, lost in the first round to Bernabe Zapata Miralles of Spain 6-2, 6-3. Nakashima, a semifinalist last week, defeated wild card Antoine Cornut Chauvinc of France 6-3, 6-3 and will play an in-form Evan Furness of France, a qualifier who is 44-11 since the start of 2020.