Thursday, May 6, 2021

NCAA Division I Team Championships Begin Friday; Tennis Recruiting Network's Annual NCAA Roundtable; Three Americans Reach Coral Gables J4 Finals; Women's Pro Circuit Update

The NCAA Division I team championships begin on Friday, with all 16 women's sites hosting first round action and six of the men's sites also beginning play tomorrow. The women play first this year, with the round of 16 (still called the Super Regionals by the NCAA, although those matches are also at the USTA campus at Lake Nona due to the pandemic) for them beginning on Sunday May 16th.  

The six men's regionals kicking off on Friday don't feature any of the top teams, with No. 8 Texas A&M the highest seed among those six. Also starting Friday and concluding Saturday are No. 10 seed Wake Forest, No. 12 seed Southern California, No. 13 seed South Carolina, No. 14 seed Kentucky and No. 16 seed Illinois. 

The most intriguing match of the day will be Arizona versus Michigan in the Kentucky regional, with Arizona at No. 18 in the current rankings, and Michigan at 23 in the last coaches poll, but not recognized as a Top 32 team (and therefore a No. 2 seed, as Arizona is) by the ITA computer or the NCAA committee.

Bobby Knight at CollegeTennisToday has the weekend's schedule, live scoring and live streaming links. He also has all the details on the NCAA Division II tournament, which begins regional play on Friday for both men and women.

Bobby is one of the contributors to the annual Tennis Recruiting Network NCAA Division I Roundtable, as am I. I checked back on my 2019 predictions and they were actually pretty good for a change, but I'm not any more confident than usual this year, especially with all the issues the pandemic has created. The first part of the Roundtable was published today; the upset-dark horse-champion portion of the Roundtable will come out tomorrow morning.

The finals are set for both singles and doubles at the ITF J4 in Coral Gables Florida. Top seed Ethan Quinn won a tough semifinal over No. 4 seed Sebastian Gorzny 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4 and will play doubles partner Giulio Perego of Italy, the No. 2 seed, in Friday's final. In the girls final, unseeded Mary Stoiana will face wild card Valeria Ray, after Stoiana defeated unseeded Ahmani Guichard 6-4, 7-6(4) and Ray took out No. 2 seed Dasha Plekhanova of Canada 6-4, 6-4.  

Quinn and Perego, the No. 1 seeds in doubles, will face unseeded Maxime St-Hilaire of Canada and Kian Vakili of the United States in Friday's final. Ray and her partner Guichard will play Stoiana and her partner Sophie Llewellyn in a girls doubles final between two unseeded teams.

Four Americans are through to the quarterfinals of the $100,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Charleston South Carolina, including Claire Liu, last week's $60K Charlottesville champion. Liu, who got a special exemption into the main draw, defeated No. 3 seed Mayar Sherif(Pepperdine) of Egypt 6-3, 6-0 in today's second round. Liu will play qualifier Jamie Loeb(North Carolina), who downed No. 5 seed Irina Bara of Romania 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3. The other two Americans are also facing each other in the quarterfinals, with top seed Madison Brengle taking on wild card Katie Volynets, who beat Storm Sanders of Australia 6-2, 6-0 today.

At the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Naples Florida, former Vanderbilt star Fernanda Contreras of Mexico posted the best win of her pro career, with the 23-year-old qualifier beating top seed and WTA 180 Mayo Hibi of Japan 6-1, 7-5. Contreras will have another big challenge in the quarterfinals, as she faces former WTA No. 60 Vera Lapko of Belarus. Lapko got past wild card Alexandra Yepifanova 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 today. The two Americans to advance to the quarterfinals are Katerina Stewart and Hanna Chang. There are no seeded players remaining after today's second round.