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Thursday, January 6, 2022

Murthy Defeats Top Seed at ITF J3 in India; USTA Winter Nationals 16s Recap; Noel Transferring to Miami; College Match Day Returns in February; Cressy Beats Opelka at ATP 250 in Melbourne

After a three-week off-season in December, the ITF Junior Circuit is back with four tournaments this week, J4s in New Zealand, Belgium, Germany and a J3 in India. There are no Americans playing in the other three events, but in India, two have reached the quarterfinals: unseeded Anya Murthy and No. 5 seed Aayush Bhat. Unfortunately bad weather in Chandigarh has meant that only the first round was played with regular scoring, and after Tuesday and Wednesday were basically washouts, today's matches were played with short scoring. 

The 15-year-old Murthy, who won the Orange Bowl 16s doubles title with Piper Charney (the Winter Nationals 18s champion) in December, defeated top seed Suhitha Maruri of India today 2-4, 4-2, 10-1. Bhat beat Ansh Kundu of Indian 4-0, 4-0 in his second round match. Both the quarterfinals and semifinal are scheduled for Friday, with the tournament ending on Saturday.

The Tennis Recruiting Network spoke with USTA Winter National champions Taylor Goetz and Mitchell Lee about their titles in the 16s division earlier this week in Lake Nona.

Surprising news today in college tennis, with the University of Miami announcing that Alexa Noel would be joining the Hurricanes for the 2022-23 season. Noel, who is currently in her sophomore year at Iowa, is currently No. 3 in the ITA Division I rankings. This brings to mind another huge transfer that Miami got many years ago, when Audra Cohen, an NCAA singles finalist in 2005 as a freshman at Northwestern left Evanston for Coral Gables. Cohen, now head coach at Oklahoma, won the 2007 NCAA singles title while at Miami.

College Match Day, the USTA initiative that was shelved last year due to the pandemic, is back this year at the USTA National Campus, but with just two dates, both in February. The men's and women's teams of Florida and Florida State will play in Lake Nona Saturday February 5th. The men's and women's teams from Army and Air Force will play on Saturday February 19th. Tickets are free. For more information, go to collegematchday.com.

The United States did not advance past the group stage at the ATP Cup this week in Australia, with John Isner and Taylor Fritz dropping the deciding doubles match against Great Britain's Dan Evans and Jamie Murray. Canada, who lost to the United States in the first match of round robin play, advanced to the semifinals with a win over Germany. They will play defending champion Russia, while the other semifinal features Poland and Spain.

Former UCLA Bruin Maxime Cressy, who was featured in my recent Aces column for his Challenger results to close out the year, qualified for this week's ATP 250 in Melbourne and advanced to the second round with a win over fellow qualifier Rinky Hijikata(UNC) of Australia. Thursday he defeated No. 2 seed Reilly Opelka, saving two match points in a 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(9) victory. Cressy faces unseeded Jaume Munar of Spain in the quarterfinals; the only seeds remaining in the draw are No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 3 Grigor Dmitrov.

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