Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Brooksby Survives Damm Challenge in Tallahassee; Automatic Bids to NCAAs on Offer at D-I Conference Tournaments; Latest Division II Team Rankings

The 2018 Kalamazoo champions met today in the first round of the ATP Challenger 80 in Tallahassee, with 18s champion Jenson Brooksby taking out 16s champion Martin Damm 6-7(11) 6-1, 6-2.

Jenson Brooksby, photo via USTA twitter

Brooksby had just one day to practice on Tallahassee's Har-Tru courts after winning the Orlando Challenger Sunday on hard courts, and he looked, understandably, less confident with his footing and his shot selection. Damm, who received a wild card into the main draw after qualifying in Orlando last week, was undoubtedly responsible for some of Brooksby's uncertainty, with the 17-year-old left-hander winning a lot of serve plus one points. Damm went up 3-1 in the first set, but Brooksby began to play better, immediately getting the break back. Although the remaining games were close, there were no more breaks, leaving a tiebreaker to decide it. Damm had six set points, Brooksby two in the tense and well-played 13th game of the set, with Damm continuing to go for his shots and Brooksby continuing to compete for every point.

It was an 80-minute set, but losing it didn't seem to faze Brooksby, who quickly won the second set and took a 4-1 lead in the third. Once Brooksby had adjusted both to his opponent's aggressive game and his own performance on an unaccustomed surface, he was in control, but Damm kept making him earn each game. It took six match points before Brooksby closed Damm out, with the last two sets taking less time to play than the first in what was an entertaining and intriguing match.

Other Americans who picked up first round wins today were Thai Kwiatkowski(Virginia), who beat Mitchell Krueger 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3, wild card Ryan Harrison, who beat lucky loser Donald Young 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, Bjorn Fratangelo, who defeated No. 5 seed Ivo Karlovic 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 7-6(4), and qualifier Alexander Ritschard(Virginia), who defeated Renzo Olivo 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Alex Rybakov and No. 2 seed Denis Kudla are playing a night match. Michael Mmoh, the No. 8 seed, won his first round match on Monday.

Many conference tournaments are on the calendar for the rest of the month, with some of the 29(men) or 30(women) spots in the 64-team NCAA championships already decided. Bobby Knight has two comprehensive pages on his CollegeTennisToday site, with results from the smaller conferences (not all are conducting conference tournaments, although the Power 5 all are) as well as the matchups and links to live streams and live scoring. The women's conference tournament page is here, and the men's conference tournament page is here. Scroll to the very bottom of each page for a quick look at the qualifiers.

The selections and draws will be revealed on Monday May 3 at ncaa.com.

The Division II team selections will be announced on Tuesday May 4th at ncaa.com, and today the ITA released its latest Top 25 rankings, which is a coaches poll. Full list available by clicking on heading.

Men's Division II Top 10 teams, April 20, 2021

1. Columbus State
2. Barry
3. Valdosta State
4. Saint Leo
5. Indianapolis
6. Lander
7. Azusa Pacific
T8. West Florida
T8. Lynn
10. Delta State

Women's Division II Top 10 teams, April 20, 2021
1. Indianapolis
2. Barry
3. Nova Southeastern
4. Central Oklahoma
5. West Alabama
6. Azusa Pacific
7. West Florida
8. Saint Leo
9. Lynn
10. Columbus State