Friday, July 23, 2021

Clay Court 18s Recaps; More College Coaching News; Kingsley Reaches Evansville $15K Semifinals; Nanda Through to Cary Challenger Semis; Conversation with Brooksby's Longtime Coach

The Tennis Recruiting Network wraps up it USTA Clay Court Championship coverage today with articles on the Boys 18s title for Ryan Colby and the Girls 18s title for Amelia Honer. The article on Honer contains the news that the ITA All-American Women's Championships this fall will be held at the LTP Tennis Club in Mt. Pleasant South Carolina, which hosted the Clays, along with many UTR, ITF and WTA tournaments this year. The ITA events page confirms Charleston SC as the location of the tournament, October 4-10.

Two more college coaching vacancies have been filled, with Drew Eberly, a recent associate head coach at Denver, returning to take the men's head coaching position. He replaces Ricky Rubio, who along with women's head coach Christian Bass, resigned earlier this summer.  At New Mexico, Chris Russell takes the men's head coaching job, replacing Ben Dunbar, who resigned last month. Russell has been associate head coach at the University of Washington for the past 17 years.

The Oklahoma State women's team announced the signing of three recruits and one transfer, including former ITF World Junior No. 14 Manachaya Sawangkaew of Thailand (referred to in the release as Mhai Mananchaya). I'm not sure how much eligibility Oona Orpana of Finland will have, as she is 20 years old, but she has not played since March of 2020. Martina Zerulo of Italy, who played No. 1 and No. 2 at Arkansas, is the transfer. 

There will be two semifinals Saturday at the $15,000 USTA Men's Pro Circuit tournament in Edwardsville Illinois, with the top half featuring former collegians and the bottom half current collegians.

No. 6 seed Christian Langmo(Miami) defeated top seed Paul Jubb(South Carolina) of Great Britain 6-3, 6-2 to set up a meeting with No. 3 seed Strong Kirchheimer(Northwestern). Kirchheimer ended the run of wild card Eliot Spizzirri with a 6-2, 6-0 win over the Texas rising junior. 

The other wild card in the quarterfinals, Ohio State rising junior Cannon Kingsley, advanced with a 6-3, 6-2 win over qualifier Billy Griffith(Cal). He will play North Carolina rising junior Rinky Hijikata of Australia, who received a walkover from Blaise Bicknell(Florida) yesterday.

Langmo and Bruno Kuzuhara have advanced to the doubles final, beating wild cards Nic Meister and Siphosothando Montsi(Illinois) 6-4, 6-3. Langmo and Kuzuhara will face No. 2 seeds Nathan Ponwith(Arizona State) and Reese Stalder(TCU), after Ponwith and Stalder defeated No. 3 seeds Tristan Schoolkate and Dane Sweeney of Australia 3-6, 6-3, 10-4.

The semifinals are set at the ATP Cary Challenger, with Govind Nanda taking on Mitchell Krueger and Ramkumar Ramanathan of India facing Stefan Kozlov.

Nanda, who is 10-1 since turning pro after his third season at UCLA, came from a set and two breaks down to defeat Christian Harrison 2-6, 7-6(2), 6-3. The 2019 Kalamazoo 18s finalist, who received a last minute wild card into this week's tournament, had never gotten past the second round of a Challenger until this week. Krueger, the No. 6 seed, defeated qualifier Genaro Olivieri of Argentina 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.

In the last match of the night, Kozlov defeated No. 7 seed Christopher Eubanks 5-7, 6-1, 6-3, the third consecutive win the 23-year-old old has had from a set down. Kozlov will face the only non-American in the semifinals, No. 8 seed Ramanathan of India, who beat No. 2 seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran of India from a set and a break down 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4. 

Jenson Brooksby, who was expected to be the top seed in Cary, but withdrew after reaching the ATP 250 Hall of Fame Open final last week, is scheduled to play the Lexington Challenger next week, as he did not receive a wild card into the ATP 250 in Atlanta. Matt Cronin spoke with Brooksby's longtime coach Joe Gilbert about his student's physical development, strengths, the improvements still needed and his comeback from the injury that kept him out of action for all of 2020 in this tennis.com article. When I spoke to Brooksby after his quarterfinal win at the Hall of Fame tournament, I asked him if he was still being coached by Gilbert, as many players and their developmental coaches part ways after the juniors. Brooksby said that yes, he was still with Gilbert after 13 years, and that Gilbert was traveling with him often as well, although he was not in Newport that week. 

At the WTA 250 tournament in Palermo, top seed Danielle Collins(Virginia) defeated Astra Sharma(Vanderbilt) 6-1, 6-4 after midnight Friday in Italy, to advance to the semifinals. The two-time NCAA champion will play No. 4 seed Shuai Zhang of China Saturday.

At the ATP 250 in Los Cabos, Brandon Nakashima(Virginia) advanced to his first ATP semifinal late last night, saving three matches points in his 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(4) win over No. 5 seed Jordan Thompson of Australia. Nakashima plays No. 2 seed John Isner in tonight's semifinal, with No. 3 seed Taylor Fritz playing top seed Cameron Norrie of Great Britain. 

The qualifying for the ATP 250 Truist Atlanta Open begins Saturday, with Wimbledon boys champion Samir Banerjee facing No. 6 seed and ATP 165 Sebastian Ofner of Austria.