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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Blanch Reaches First Pro Circuit Quarterfinal; Svajda Advances at Cary Challenger; Preseason No. 1s Missing From ITA All-American Championships Acceptance Lists

The quarterfinals are set for the $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Champaign Illinois, with 18-year-old Dali Blanch advancing to his first pro circuit quarterfinal today with a 7-6(3), 6-4 victory over unseeded AJ Catanzariti(Texas A&M). Blanch went 0-5 this spring in $15K first rounds in Argentina and Turkey this spring, but he picked up first round wins in two $15Ks in Italy in June, and now has two wins this week. 

He will face Baylor junior Adrian Boitan of Romania, who took out No. 6 seed and ITA singles No. 1 Liam Draxl of Canada 6-2, 3-6, 7-5. 

Qualifier Drew Baird(UCLA) will play Cannon Kingsley(Ohio State) in the other top half quarterfinal. In the bottom half, No. 2 seed Martin Damm meets Nathan Ponwith(Arizona State), and in the only quarterfinal that reflects the seeding, No. 5 seed John McNally(Ohio State) will play No. 3 seed Omni Kumar(Duke).

Zachary Svajda, the two-time Kalamazoo 18s champion, advanced to his first Challenger quarterfinal today in Cary North Carolina, defeating qualifier Rinky Hijikata(North Carolina) of Australia 7-5, 6-3. When it counted, Svajda simply did not miss, converting all four of his break points. He will face former Illinois start Aleks Vukic of Australia, who beat No. 3 seed Salvatore Caruso of Italy 6-2, 6-4 Wednesday.  It was announced today that Svajda has received a qualifying wild card into next week's San Diego Open, an ATP 250 event added recently as a warmup for Indian Wells.

Bjorn Fratangelo plays the winner of tonight's match between Ryan Peniston(Memphis) and Chris Eubanks(Georgia Tech), Mitchell Krueger plays Max Purcell of Australia and No. 7 seed Michael Mmoh meets No. 2 seed Denis Kudla in the other quarterfinals.

The ITA All-American Championships, which were not played last fall due to the pandemic, are coming up next month, and the ITA released the selections last week.

The men's tournament, which remains in Tulsa, begins with pre-qualifying on Saturday October 2, followed by qualifying Monday, October 4 and main draw Wednesday October 6, with the finals scheduled for Sunday October 10.

Forty-six players are on the main draw selection list, so with 16 qualifiers, there are two yet to be added to fill the 64-player draw. The list does not include, of the preseason Top 10, Draxl[1] or Duarte Vale[4] of Florida, but does include the 2021 NCAA champion Sam Riffice of Florida and Daniel Rodrigues of South Carolina.

The wild cards have been announced, with Washington's Clement Chidekh of France, who has had outstanding results this summer, receiving the ITA wild card. Jacob Bickersteth of Michigan earned his wild card by winning the ITA Summer Championships last month, and Alex Reco of Arkansas received the host wild card. Wild cards into qualifying went to Yuta Kikuchi of California, Athell Bennett of Purdue and Florida's Lukas Greif, who was the Summer Championships finalist.

In doubles, Riffice and Ben Shelton, who is in singles qualifying,  received a main draw wild card, as did Tennessee's Adam Walton(2021 NCAA champion) and Mark Wallner.

The women's tournament is moving to the Har-Tru courts of the LTP Tennis Club in Charleston South Carolina this year, and, as has been the case, the draws for the women are smaller, leading to a shorter tournament. The women begin with qualifying on Monday October 4, with three matches over two days to determine the eight qualifiers in the 32-player main draw. According to the tentative schedule, there will be one singles match per day in the main draw; previously, the women had played five matches in four days.

NCAA champion and ITA preseason No. 1 Emma Navarro of Virginia is not on the selection list, which is a surprise, given that she is from Charleston. Nor is McCartney Kessler[4] of Florida on the list, although she is the only other Top 10 player missing. Wild cards went to Chloe Beck of Duke(host wild card), Haley Giavara of Cal(ITA), Julia Adams of Furman(ITA Summer champion) and Laia Monfort of Tulsa(release agreement, as tournament was moved from there).

Doubles main draw wild cards went to Pepperdine's new transfers Janice Tjen and Victoria Flores(ITA), South Carolina's Megan Davies and Allie Gretkowski(ITA), Virginia's Elaine Chervinsky and Melanie Collard(host) and Monfort and Shura Poppe(Tulsa).


Tennisfan said...

Interesting that the women's ITA All America tournament is on clay. Any idea how/why they made that decision, given that NCAA Division 1 tennis is never played on clay during the season (at least to my knowledge), so the results won't necessarily be indicative of players' hard-court prowess?