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Saturday, April 30, 2022

Five Singles Titles for Americans This Week at ITF J3s; Quinn Advances to First Pro Circuit Final; Harrison Defeats Wolf, Mmoh Wins Roland Garros Wild Card; Lee Reaches Future Stars Final; Michigan and Ohio State in Both Big 10 Finals

With the announcement of the fields for the NCAA Division I team championships likely to monopolize my attention on Monday, I'm going to review the ITF Junior Circuit results from this week today. It's going to take some time, because no fewer than five Americans won singles titles today at three Grade 3s, as well as four doubles championships, all at Grades 2 or 3.

Here in the United States, top seed Sebastian Gorzny defeated No. 2 seed Preston Stearns 6-3, 6-2 in the J3 Delray Beach final to capture his second singles title on the ITF Junior Circuit, after winning his first at the J1 in Costa Rica in January. 

Unseeded 14-year-old Tyra Grant also won her second singles title in Delray Beach, defeating No. 3 seed Mayu Crossley of Japan 7-5, 6-4 in the final. Like Gorzny, Grant lost her only set during the week in her first round match.

No. 2 seeds Jonathan Irwanto and Felipe Pinzon Moreno won the boys doubles title in Delray Beach, beating the unseeded team of Santiago Padilla Cote of Mexico and Emilio Sanchez Bronzetti of Spain 6-2, 7-5 in the final. No. 3 seeds Taylor Goetz and Esther Vrylan lost in the girls doubles final to No. 2 seeds Eva Elbaz and Maelie Monfils of France 3-6, 6-3, 10-1.

At the J3 in Istanbul Turkey, unseeded 14-year-old Darwin Blanch won his first ITF Junior Circuit singles title as a qualifier, beating No. 4 seed Tuncay Duran of Turkey 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 in the final. Blanch is the reigning USTA 14s Clay Courts champion and was a finalist at last December's Junior Orange Bowl 14s.

Kennedy Gibbs and Dylan Charlap won their first two titles at the J3 in Costa Rica, sweeping the singles and doubles, although neither was seeded in singles. The 17-year-old Gibbs defeated unseeded Brooke Lynn Schafer 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 in the final. The 16-year-old Charlap beat unseeded Tygen Goldammer 6-0, 6-2 in another all-USA final. 

In doubles Gibbs partnered with Natalia Perez of Puerto Rico, with the No. 2 seeds defeating unseeded Katie Rolls and Sabrina Lin 6-2, 6-3 in the final. Charlap and Stefan Regalia, who were unseeded, defeated No. 2 seeds Roy Keegan of Great Britain and Alejandro Licea of El Salvador 7-6(8), 6-3 in the final. 

At the J2 in Salsomaggiore Italy, Aidan Kim and partner Jaden Weekes of Canada took the doubles title, with the top seeds defeating the wild card team of Giacomo Nosei and Lorenzo Schiahbasi of Italy 6-3, 6-7(3), 10-5 in the final. 

Ethan Quinn is into his first Pro Circuit final after the unseeded 18-year-old wild card defeated No. 2 seed John McNally(Ohio State), 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3 this afternoon at the $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Vero Beach Florida. The University of Georgia redshirt freshman had a match point serving for it at 5-4 in the second set, but didn't dwell on the disappointment of failing to convert it. He took a 3-0 lead in the third set and, after two hours and 50 minutes, closed it out. His opponent in the final, No. 3 seed Sekou Bangoura(Florida), had a much less taxing semifinal, taking out top seed Liam Draxl(Kentucky) of Canada 6-2, 6-4 in an hour and 20 minutes.

Another teenaged wild card, Nishesh Basavareddy, advanced to the doubles final, with partner Ricardo Rodriguez-Pace of Venezuela. Basavareddy and Rodriguez-Pace defeated No. 4 seeds Peter Bertran(South Florida) of the Dominican Republic and Mwendwa Mbithi 7-5, 7-5 in the semifinals. They will play No. 2 seeds Draxl and Millen Hurrion of Great Britain after the University of Kentucky teammates defeated No. 3 seeds Alex Knaff(Florida State) of Luxembourg and Abraham Asaba of Ghana 6-4, 2-6, 11-9.

The USTA's Roland Garros wild card race for men was decided today in Savannah Georgia, when unseeded Christian Harrison defeated No. 6 seed JJ Wolf(Ohio State) 6-1, 6-3 in the semifinals of the ATP Challenger 80. With Wolf's loss, Michael Mmoh clinches the main draw wild card into Roland Garros next month. 

Harrison will face No. 4 seed Jack Sock in the final, after Sock defeated No. 8 seed Bjorn Fratangelo 6-2, 6-4.

The doubles title in Savannah went to No. 4 seeds Treat Huey(Virginia) and Ruben Gonzales(Illinois) of the Philippines, who defeated unseeded Tung-Lin Wu of Taiwan and Zhizhen Zhang of China 7-6(3), 6-4 in the final.

Wild card Taylor Townsend is through to her first final since returning from maternity leave, defeating qualifier Whitney Osuigwe 6-3, 6-1 in the semifinals of the $100,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Charleston South Carolina. Townsend will face No. 5 seed Xiyu Wang of China, who survived a three-hour and 38-minute contest with qualifier Gabriela Ce of Brazil to earn a 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(4) victory. Townsend can put herself in the USTA Roland Garros wild card picture with the title; there is one more week to go for the women, and a $100,000 tournament on the schedule in Bonita Springs next week.

The winning streak of Sophie Chang and Angela Kulikov(USC) came to an end today in their third doubles final in three weeks. The unseeded pair lost to top seeds Aldila Sutjiadi(Kentucky) of Indonesia and Katarzyna Kawa of Poland 6-1, 6-4.

At the ATP 250 in Estoril Portugal, Frances Tiafoe saved three match points and went on to defeat Sebastian Korda 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 to reach his fourth ATP final and second at that event. The 2015 Kalamazoo 18s champion had come from a set and 5-2 down to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain in the quarterfinals; his previous two victories had also come in three sets. The No. 5 seed will face unseeded Sebastian Baez of Argentina, who reached his first ATP final in February.

At IMG's Future Stars U12 tournament in Athens Greece, Jordan Lee defeated Teodor Davidov 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals, avenging his loss to Davidov in the Eddie Herr 12s final last December. Lee will play for the title Sunday against Alexander Kunitsyn of Russia.

The girls final will feature Joyce Geng of Canada and Ksenia Ruchkina of Russia.

It will be Michigan and Ohio State in both the men's and women's Big Ten conference finals Sunday. The Michigan women defeated Northwestern 4-3 in a thriller, while Ohio State, who has not lost in conference play this year, took out Wisconsin 4-0 in Iowa City.  In the regular season, the Buckeyes defeated Michigan 4-3 in Columbus, handing the Wolverines their only conference loss.

The men will play the rubber match in the conference tournament final after each took a decision at home in their first two meetings. Ohio State defeated Northwestern 4-0 and Michigan defeated Illinois 4-0 in today's semifinals in Madison Wisconsin. The loss by Illinois ended any chance for the NCAA final site host to make the tournament.

Friday, April 29, 2022

April Aces; Davidov and Lee Face Off in Future Stars Semifinal; Quinn Reaches Vero Beach $15K Semifinals; Savannah Challenger Semifinals Feature Four Americans; Townsend's Comeback Puts Her in Semifinals at Charleston $100K; SEC, Big 12 Conference Awards

It's still April, but this weekend's tournaments will end in May, so now is a good time to close out the month and look at the top performances. Fifteen players are featured in my monthly Aces column for Tennis Recruiting Network, with juniors and former collegians sharing the spotlight. 

An American boy will advance to the final of the inaugural IMG Future Stars U12 tournament in Athens Greece after Teodor Davidov and Jordan Lee won their quarterfinal matches today in straight sets. That semifinal will be a rematch of the Eddie Herr 12s final last December, which Davidov won 6-4, 6-4. As has been done at the ITF, ATP and WTA level, there are no countries listed for players from Belarus or Russia at this event; the two semifinalists without countries listed are from Russia.

Boys semifinals:
Teodor Davidov[USA] v Jordan Lee[USA]
Rafael Pagonis[GRE] v Alexander Kunitsyn[]

Girls semifinals:
Haniya Aman Minhas[PAK] v Ksenia Ruchkina[]
Jana Kovackova[CZE] v Joyce Geng[CAN]


Eighteen-year-old Ethan Quinn has advanced to the semifinals of the $15,000 USTA Men's Pro Circuit tournament in Vero Beach Florida after beating qualifier Jakub Wojcik(South Florida) 7-5, 6-3. Quinn, a redshirt freshman at Georgia who reached the semifinals of the $25K in Bakersfield last month, faces former Ohio State All-American John McNally in Saturday's semifinals. McNally the No. 2 seed, defeated former Georgia Bulldog Emil Reinberg 6-3, 6-3. University of Kentucky junior Liam Draxl of Canada, the top seed, defeated teammate Millen Hurrion of Great Britain 6-2, 6-2. Draxl will face the winner of tonight's quarterfinal between No. 3 seed Sekou Bangoura(Florida) and Khololwam Montsi of South Africa, the No. 6 seed.

All four semifinalists at the ATP Challenger 80 in Savannah Georgia are Americans, with Jack Sock[4], JJ Wolf[6], Bjorn Fratangelo[8] and Christian Harrison earning victories in today's quarterfinals. Harrison defeated top seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina 6-4, 6-2 and will take on former Ohio State star Wolf, who beat Alex Rybakov(TCU) 6-3, 6-4. In the bottom half, Sock and Fratangelo had considerably tougher quarterfinal matches, with Sock beating Zhizhen Zhang of China 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 and Fratangelo downing qualifier Jose Pereira 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(3). 

Wild card Taylor Townsend and qualifier Whitney Osuigwe won three-setters today to advance to a semifinal showdown at the $100,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Charleston South Carolina. Townsend trailed No. 3 seed Katie Volynets 6-1, 4-0, but roared back for a 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory, her second straight over Volynets in the past two weeks. Osuigwe came back to beat unseeded Nao Hibino of Japan 4-6, 7-5, 6-3. Townsend and Osuigwe have played four times on the USTA Pro Circuit, splitting those decisions, but have not met in almost three years.

Gabriela Ce of Brazil beat fellow qualifier Alexa Graham(UNC) 6-0, 6-2 and will face No. 5 seed Xiyu Wang of China, who beat top seed Irina Bara of Romania 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.

Sophie Chang and Angela Kulikov(USC) will go for their third straight doubles title this month on Saturday, with the unseeded pair facing top seeds Katarzyna Kawa of Poland and Aldila Sutjiadi(Kentucky) of Indonesia.

Two and a half of the Power Five conferences announced their 
All-conference teams and individual awards for the season, with the SEC and Big 12 revealing those honors for both men and women, while the Big Ten men's awards were also announced. The Big Ten women and ACC all-conference teams and awards will be out before the NCAAs, if they keep to their usual schedules; the Pac-12 often doesn't release its honors until after the NCAAs. The individual awards are below; click on the heading to see the articles on the all-Conference teams.

SEC
Player of the Year: McCartney Kessler, Florida
Freshman of the Year: Sarah Hamner, South Carolina
Coach of the Year: Mark Weaver, Texas A&M

Player of the Year: Ben Shelton, Florida
Freshmen of the Year: Filip Planinsek, Alabama
Coach of the Year: Bryan Shelton, Florida

Big 12:
Player of the Year: Peyton Stearns, Texas
Freshman of the Year: Mhai Sawangkaew, Oklahoma State
Newcomer of the Year: Layne Sleeth, Oklahoma
Coach of the Year: Audra Cohen, Oklahoma

Player of the Year: Adrian Boitan, Baylor
Freshman of the Year: Pierre-Yves Bailly, Texas
Co-Newcomer of the Year: Juan Carlos Aguilar, TCU
Co-Newcomer of the Year: Tyler Zink, Oklahoma State
Coach of the Year: David Roditi, TCU

Big Ten
Tennis Athlete of the Year: Cannon Kingsley, Ohio State
Freshman of the Year: Gavin Young, Michigan
Coach of the Year: Ty Tucker, Ohio State

Women: TBD

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Top Seeds Reach Semifinals at Delray Beach J3; Davidov and Lee Advance to Quarterfinals of Future Stars Event; Quinn into Vero Beach $15K Quarterfinals; Sells Leaving LSU

The semifinals are set at this week's ITF J3 in Delray Beach, with No. 1 seed Sebastian Gorzny and No. 2 seed Preston Stearns through to the final four. Gorzny had the easier day today, with No. 9 seed Brayden Michna, Gorzny's doubles partner this week, retiring at 3-2 in the first set. Stearns had to come from a set down to beat No. 5 seed Roy Horovitz 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Stearns will play No. 8 seed Thanaphat Boosarawongse of Thailand in Friday's semifinals, after Boosarawongse defeated No. 15 seed Paris Pouatcha 2-6, 6-2, 6-2. Gorzny will face unseeded Gustavo Ribeiro De Almeida of Brazil, who beat No. 4 seed Felipe Pinzon Moreno 7-6(4), 7-6(4) in today's quarterfinals.

No. 1 seed Gabriella Broadfoot of South Africa is also through to the quarterfinals, with the North Carolina State recruit posting a 6-4, 7-5 win over wild card Nicole Okhtenberg, the Easter Bowl 14s champion. Broadfoot will play the only American remaining in the girls draw, 14-year-old Tyra Grant, who beat Marley Lambert, also unseeded, 6-4, 6-3 today. In the bottom half, No. 2 seed Maelie Monfils of France, Gael's sister, will play No. 3 seed Mayu Crossley of Japan, who made last month's J1 final in San Diego.

Teodor Davidov and Jordan Lee won their round robin groups at the IMG Future Stars tournament in Athens Greece and move on to Friday's quarterfinals. Both went 2-0 in their groups, with Davidov losing a total of six games and Lee four. If they both win tomorrow, they will meet in the semifinals, which would be a rematch of the 2021 Eddie Herr 12s final, won by Davidov.

Tyson Grant (Tyra's brother) lost a tough three-setter today to finish 1-1; Lani Chang, the only US girl competing, lost today and also finished 1-1.

There was only one tie in the 16 round robin groups, with all three players going 1-1. Lydia Panagiotidou of Greece advanced based on set winning percentage or games won; I'm not sure which tiebreaker they used, but she led in both.

The round robin results and the draws are available at the tournament website.

There's been at least one junior in the semifinals the past two weeks at the $15,000 tournaments in Florida; it's now up to wild card Ethan Quinn in Vero Beach, with the Georgia freshman the only junior in the quarterfinals. Quinn defeated Alex Knaff(FSU) of Luxembourg 6-3, 6-2 and will play qualifier Jakub Wojcik(South Florida) Friday. Cooper Williams, who earned his first ATP point with a first round win on Wednesday evening, led No. 3 seed Sekou Bangoura(Florida) 3-0 in the third set but ended up dropping a 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3 decision.

University of Kentucky teammates Liam Draxl[1] of Canada and Millen Hurrion of Great Britain, who are the No. 2 seeds in doubles this week, will face off in the singles quarterfinals Friday.

Jack Sock[4], Bjorn Fratangelo[8], JJ Wolf[6], Christian Harrison and Alex Rybakov are through to Friday's quarterfinals at the ATP Challenger 80 in Savannah Georgia. Rybakov(TCU) and Wolf(Ohio State) play each other and Wolf needs to keep winning to remain alive for the USTA Roland Garros wild card. If he loses, even in the final, Michael Mmoh will get it.  Live streaming with Mike Cation is available at the ATP Challenger TV web page.

At the $100,000 Women's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Charleston South Carolina, three qualifiers have advanced to the quarterfinals: Alexa Graham(UNC), Whitney Osuigwe and Gabriela Ce of Brazil.  Graham defeated another former Tar Heel, Jamie Loeb, 6-1, 6-4 and will face Ce, who beat No. 4 seed Hailey Baptiste 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Osuigwe defeated No. 2 seed Tatjana Maria of Germany 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-2.  

Wild card Taylor Townsend and No. 3 seed Katie Volynets will play for the third time in the past three weeks after Townsend beat Louisa Chirico 6-3, 6-3 and Volynets breezed past Renata Zarazua of Mexico 6-1, 6-0. They have split the previous two meeting, with Townsend winning last week in Charlottesville. UVA sophomore Emma Navarro lost to top seed Irina Bara of Romania 6-2, 6-1.

With the regular season now over for many Power Five schools, coaching changes will be in the news for the next several weeks. The first official one that I'm aware of is today's announcement from LSU that Mike and Julia Sell are leaving the women's program to "pursue other opportunities." Julia Sell took the head coaching position in 2012, and her husband Mike, a former USTA National Coach and ATP Tour coach, was named a co-coach in 2015 after serving as the volunteer assistant.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

ITF Grade A Milan Acceptances; Junior Davis Cup and Junior Billie Jean King Cup Finals Site Chosen; Disagreement on No. 1s in D-I Team Rankings; Navarro Remains Atop ITA Singles Rankings, Wins Opening Round Match at Charleston $100K

Like the grass season, the European red clay season for most top American juniors is a short one, starting with the Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan Italy, then perhaps the Grade 1 in Belgium and the French Open Championships, all in a three-week span.

The acceptances for the Milan Grade A were posted today, with four US girls and eight US boys on the initial list for the main draw. The girls are Liv Hovde, Qavia Lopez, Alexis Blokhina and Mia Slama. Sonya Macavei is four out of the main draw.

Five of the Top 10 girls in the ITF junior rankings have entered, including Australian Open finalist Sofia Costoulas of Belgium, now No. 2 in the rankings after her two titles this month at J1s in Croatia and Belgium. The initial cutoff for girls was 54, compared to 47 at Roland Garros. 

The US boys on the Milan acceptance list do not include No. 1 Bruno Kuzuhara or No. 9 Victor Lilov, but as with the girls, there are five of the Top 10 entered, including No. 2 Daniel Vallejo of Paraguay, the reigning Orange Bowl champion. The US boys accepted into the main draw are: Nishesh Basavareddy, Cooper Williams, Nicholas Godsick, Michael Zheng, Ethan Quinn, Leanid Boika and Learner Tien. Alex Frusina is next in and Aidan Kim is four out.

The initial cutoff for the boys in Milan was 55, while it was 45 at Roland Garros.

The ITF announced today that the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Billie Jean King Cup, their 16-and-under team competitions, will return to Antalya Turkey for the second year in a row. The world finals for this year will be a month later than usual, with the dates November 1-6. The United States, which did not participate last year, is expected to compete this year, with the North and Central America and Caribbean qualifying scheduled to take place in Mexico May 5-7. I hope to have the names of those representing the US in both the Mexican U16 and U14 qualifying soon.

With just a few days left in the pre-NCAA tournament Division I season, the rankings are more important than ever, with teams continuing to jockey for the 64 spots in the NCAA tournament, as well as place in the Top 8 and Top 16. The ITA rankings still have the TCU men and the North Carolina women at No. 1, despite their losses in the conference tournaments, but the USTA/Tennis Channel poll does not share the computer's assessment. The voters have had the Florida men at No. 1 for a month now, but the defending NCAA champions are still behind TCU in the ITA rankings. 

With North Carolina suffering two losses in the past two weeks, the Tar Heels have fallen out of favor with the voters, and Texas A&M, whose only loss came in February, is now No. 1 in the poll, while No. 6 in the ITA's computer rankings. Below are the Top 10 in both polls; click on the links to see the complete lists.

ITA Division I Men's Team Top 10, April 27, 2022

1. TCU (1)
2. Florida (3)
3. Baylor (4)
4. Ohio State (2)
5. Tennessee (5)
6. Virginia (6)
7. Michigan (8)
8. Kentucky (10)
9. South Carolina (9)
10. Wake Forest (7)


1. Florida (1)
2. Ohio State (2)
3. Michigan (3)
4. Baylor (5)
5. TCU (4)
6. Virginia (6)
7. Kentucky (8)
8. Tennessee (9)
9. Wake Forest (7)
10. Southern Cal (14)

1. North Carolina (1)
2. Oklahoma (2)
3. Texas (4)
4. Virginia (7)
5. Duke (5)
6. Texas A&M (6)
7. NC State (3)
8. Pepperdine (9)
9. Oklahoma State (11)
10. Ohio State (10)


1. Texas A&M (3)
2. North Carolina (T1)
3. Oklahoma (T1)
4. Texas (4)
5. Duke (5)
6. Virginia (7)
7. NC State (6)
8. Ohio State (8)
9. Georgia (11)
10. Pepperdine (12)

Three of the four No. 1s in the singles and doubles rankings retained their positions, with North Carolina State taking over the top spot in women's doubles. Jaeda Daniel and Nell Miller are now No. 1, with the former No. 1s, Elizabeth Scotty and Fiona Crawly of North Carolina, now No. 2.


1. Ben Shelton, Florida
2. Daniel Rodrigues, South Carolina
3. Adam Walton, Tennessee
4. Adrian Boitan, Baylor
5. August Holmgren, San Diego
6. Stefan Dostanic, Southern California
7. Clement Chidekh, Washington
8. Liam Draxl, Kentucky
9. Johannes Monday, Tennessee
10. Cannon Kingsley, Ohio State


1. Robert Cash and Matej Vocel, Ohio State
2. Jacob Fearnley and Luc Fomba, TCU
3. Finn Bass and Sven Lah, Baylor
4. Richard Ciammara and Cleeve Harper, Texas
5.. Ryan Goetz and Chris Rodesch, Virginia


1. Emma Navarro, Virginia
2. Peyton Stearns, Texas
3. Daria Frayman, Princeton
4. Petra Hule, Florida State
5. Sarah Hamner, South Carolina
6. Cameron Morra, North Caroina
7. Eryn Cayetano, Southern Cal
8. Layne Sleeth, Oklahoma
9. Irina Cantos Siemers, Ohio State
10. Chloe Beck, Duke



1. Jaeda Daniel and Nell Miller, NC State
2. Fiona Crawley and Elizabeth Scotty, North Carolina
3. Jayci Goldsmith and Tatiana Makarova, Texas A&M
4. Carol Lee and Kate Sharabura, Georgia Tech
5. Emma Navarro and Hibah Shaikh, Virginia

Emma Navarro is playing the $100,000 Women's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in her home town of Charleston this weekend, and she won her first round match today. The 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Virginia defeated Alexandra Ignatik of Romania 6-1, 6-4 and will play another Romanian Thursday: top seed and WTA 104 Irina Bara.

Other Americans advancing to Thursday's second round are qualifiers Whitney Osuigwe and Alexa Graham(UNC), wild cards Taylor Townsend and Sophie Chang, Louisa Chirico, Caroline Dolehide, Jamie Loeb, No. 4 seed Hailey Baptiste and No. 3 seed Katie Volynets. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

New ITF Grade A in Offenbach Germany Underway; Qualifying Complete at Charleston $100K, Vero Beach $15K; Mmoh Retires at Savannah Challenger, Opening Door for Wolf

The ITF announced last year that it was adding another Grade A tournament in Europe with an upgrade to the Grade 1 in Offenbach Germany. That change also required a new spot on the calendar, going from June to late April, and I thought at the time that might be an issue. I've been to Germany several times in mid-May, and the weather has rarely been suitable for an outdoor tennis tournament; April could only be more problematic. 

With a 64-draw and a Tuesday start, there was no room for any weather delays, but only the girls first round was completed today, meaning that the boys will have to play two matches on one day in order to finish on Sunday. 

The only American in either draw is Mia Slama, the No. 11 seed, who won her first round match today over German wild card Helene Sommer 6-1, 6-1. 

Australian Open girls finalist Sofia Costoulas of Belgium is the top seed, and she comes into the event having won singles and doubles at the last two J1s in Europe. The ITF did an in-depth interview with her prior to this week's tournament, which can be found here.

The boys top seed is Edas Butvilas of Lithuania, who is looking for his first ITF Junior Circuit singles title above the J2 level, but has won three Grade A doubles titles, including at Wimbledon last year. Kilian Feldbausch of Switzerland is the No. 2 boys seed, with Lucie Havlickova of the Czech Republic the No. 2 girls seed.

Qualifying for the $100,000 Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Charleston this week is complete, with five Americans advancing to the main draw: Catherine Harrison(UCLA), Alexa Graham(UNC), Ellie Halbauer, Chanelle Van Nguyen(UCLA) and Whitney Osuigwe. 

Wild cards were given to Marcela Zacarias of Mexico, Sophie Chang, Hailey Baptiste and Taylor Townsend. Louisa Chirico received a special exemption after winning the Charlottesville $60K on Sunday. With Virginia off this week after reaching the final of the ACC conference tournament on Sunday, Emma Navarro is in the draw based on her WTA ranking.

Chirico, No. 3 seed Katie Volynets and No. 6 seed Coco Vandeweghe are all still very much in the running for the USTA's Roland Garros wild card, although Vandweghe lost her first round match today, dimming her chances. Irina Bara of Romania is the top seed, with Tatjana Maria of Germany seeded No. 2.

At the $15,000 Men's Pro Circuit tournament in Vero Beach, two Americans advanced to the main draw via qualifying today: Noah Schachter(Texas A&M) and Jakub Wojcik(South Florida). 

Junior reserved spots went to Nicholas Godsick, Nishesh Basavareddy and Cooper Williams.

Alex Michelsen received a wild card and will be playing in his first event since reaching the quarterfinals of the $25K in Bakersfield and sweeping the Easter Bowl JB1 titles. He plays No. 3 seed Sekou Bangoura(Florida) in the first round Wednesday. Ethan Quinn(Georgia), Nathan Ponwith[8](Arizona State) and Jibril Nettles are the other three wild card recipients.

In the first round of doubles today, Quinn and Godsick defeated top seeds Alejandro Hoyos France of Colombia and Antonio Cayetano March of Ecuador 7-6(2), 2-6, 10-6. They will play wild cards Basavareddy and Venezuela's Ricardo Rodriguez, who beat Bangoura and his partner Sathi Reddy Chirala of India 6-2, 6-2.

At the ATP Challenger 80 in Savannah Georgia, Michael Mmoh retired from his first round match with Jason Kubler of Australia trailing 6-3, 1-1. This means he can't earn any more points in the USTA Roland Garros wild card race, which ends this week for the men. That opens the door for No. 6 seed JJ Wolf, but the former Ohio State All-American has to win the title to overtake Mmoh. He is one victory closer after today, with a 7-6(4), 6-0 win over Ramkumar Ramanathan of India in the first round.

Other Americans to advance to the second round are Christian Harrison, Alex Rybakov(TCU), No. 4 seed Jack Sock, No. 8 seed Bjorn Fratangelo, wild card Oliver Crawford(Florida) and qualifier Govind Nanda(UCLA). Crawford defeated 16-year-old wild card Learner Tien 6-3, 6-1 in the first round yesterday; Nanda took out No. 5 seed Tomas Barrios Vera of Chile 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(5) today.  Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina is the top seed, and he has advanced with a 6-4, 6-1 win over qualifier Aidan Mayo; No. 2 seed Stefan Kozlov lost to qualifier Jose Pereira of Brazil 6-1, 6-0.

Just a reminder that the TennisONE app is featuring live shows on Wednesday nights in advance of the Division I NCAA championships. Mark Bey and Madison Golden will talk about last weekend's conference tournaments, as well as those coming up this weekend, at 8 p.m. EDT tomorrow. A look at teams on the bubble will include an interview with Princeton men's head coach Billy Pate. The team selection shows are streaming Monday May 2nd at NCAA.com.

To download the TennisOne app, go to this page. Although meant for mobile devices, the app content is also available at https://tennis.one/

And for more on Division I college tennis, watch the Cracked Racquets Deciding Point shows Tuesday(women) and Thursday(men) live or archived on the CR YouTube channel.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Easter Bowl 16s and ITF Videos; Wen and Lincer Claim J3 Titles in Canada; IMG's Future Stars Event This Week in Greece; Mmoh and Chirico Lead USTA's Roland Garros Wild Card Race

My short videos of the boys and girls 16s and ITF Easter Bowl finals are now available on the Tenniskalamazoo YouTube channel. This is the last of the Easter Bowl items for this year. The photo gallery has been up since last Tuesday at Tennis Recruiting Network, and the 12s and 14s videos were posted on YouTube yesterday. The 16s finals, which took place on April 2, are available in their entirety at the Easter Bowl YouTube channel, with the girls on court 1 and the boys on court 2. The ITF finals, both on court 2, were on April 3.





The ITF Junior Circuit returns to the United States this week, with the tournament in Delray Beach, which is upgraded to a Grade 3 for the first time this year. Sebastian Gorzny and Gabriella Broadfoot of South Africa are the top seeds. 


Last week, several American juniors from the east coast played the J3 in Quebec City Canada, with top seeds Evan Wen and Olivia Lincer taking the singles titles. The 18-year-old Wen, who didn't lose a set all week, defeated No. 7 seed Liam Drover-Mattinen of Canada 6-3, 6-2 in the final. It's his first singles title on the ITF Junior Circuit.  Lincer, who recently began playing under the Polish flag after many years competing as an American, defeated Canadian qualifier Teah Chavez 6-4, 6-0 in the final; she also did not drop a set all week. The 17-year-old Lincer, who also won the doubles title in Quebec City, now has two ITF Junior Circuit singles titles and is back in the Top 100 in the ITF junior rankings.

The only other ITF Junior Circuit title for an American last week came at the J5 in Martinique in girls doubles. No. 4 seeds Abhishree Menon and France's Nehanda Thomias defeated top seeds Liron Loiter of Singapore and Aurora Pedwell of Canada 6-3, 6-3 in the final. It's the first ITF Junior Circuit title for the 18-year-old Menon. 

The inaugural IMG Future Stars event for 12-and-under players has begun in Athens Greece, with an exhibition featuring Carlos Alcaraz of Spain and Hubert Hurkacz of Poland and opening ceremonies. 

Twenty-four boys and 24 girls will compete this week, with the format starting with a round robin featuring eight groups of three players. The winners of each group will advance to the quarterfinals, which will then be played out. 

The 10-year-old brother of Alcaraz, Jaime, is in the field and will play Teodor Davidov of the United States round robin play Tuesday. Davidov, the Eddie Herr 12s champion, is well-known in junior tennis circles for his only-forehands method of hitting the ball in rallies and alternating left-handed and right-handed serves. Davidov is one of three US boys in the field; the others are Jordan Lee and Tyson Grant. The only US girl in the field is Lani Chang, the 11-year-old daughter of Michael Chang and Amber Liu. Photos and ages of all the participants are here.  Tuesday's matches can be found here.

The USTA's Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge has new leaders, with Michael Mmoh and Louisa Chirico moving into first place after Mmoh reached the Tallahassee Challenger final and Chirico won the $60K in Charlottesville. As the release below says, there is just one week left in the men's race and Mmoh controls his own destiny, with JJ Wolf the only player who can catch him. The women's race still has another week to go beyond this week.

ORLANDO, Fla., April 25, 2022 Michael Mmoh or JJ Wolf will earn a main draw wild card into the French Open this week in Savannah, Ga., as the men's side of the Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge concludes.

 

Mmoh is the current leader in the Challenge standings and can clinch the wild card by reaching the quarterfinals at the USTA Pro Circuit ATP Challenger 80 in Savannah. Wolf is the only player who can catch him, as second-place Steve Johnson and third-place Mitchell Krueger are idle, but Wolf needs to win the tournament to do so. Mmoh and Wolf could potentially meet in the second round, so Mmoh would clinch if he makes the quarterfinals or if Wolf loses at any point this week. Christian Harrison could potentially finish second by winning the title in Savannah, though with Mmoh ranked No. 179 and Wolf ranked No. 142, the wild card is likely to go to the Challenge's first-place finisher:

 

1. Michael Mmoh - 110

2. Steve Johnson - 80
3. Mitchell Krueger - 59
4. JJ Wolf - 56

5. Christian Harrison - 33

 

The women's Challenge still has two more weeks left, as 25-year-old Louisa Chirico, who in 2016 reached the Madrid semifinals and rose to No. 58 in the world as a 20-year old, won the singles title at the USTA Pro Circuit W60 event in Charlottesville, Va., last week to vault herself into the lead of what is looking increasingly like a three-player race: 

 

1. Louisa Chirico - 167

2. Katie Volynets - 150

3. CoCo Vandeweghe - 114

4. Grace Min - 56

5. Sophie Chang - 50

 

Both the men's and women's wild cards will be awarded to the Americans with the most ranking points earned at a maximum of three clay-court tournaments during a five-week window for the women and a four-week window for the men. All red-clay and Har-Tru events at the 25 level and above, including WTA and ATP Tour events, will be included in the Challenge. The Men’s Challenge runs through the week of April 25, while the Women’s Challenge runs through (the week of) May 2. 

 

Americans who otherwise earn direct entry into the French Open are not eligible, nor are players ranked in the ATP or WTA Top 50 at the start of the challenge. Should the player with the highest number of challenge points earn direct entry into the French Open, the wild card will go to the next eligible American in the Challenge points standings. In the event of a tie, the player with the best ATP or best WTA singles ranking on the Monday immediately following the challenge's conclusion will earn the wild card.

 

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Easter Bowl 12s and 14s Videos; Zheng Falls in Orange Park $15K Final, Chirico Wins $60K in Charlottesville; No. 1 TCU Men, No. 2 Oklahoma Women Lose in Conference Tournament Finals

I finished processing the videos from the 12s and 14s Easter Bowl finals this weekend and have posted the five-minute compilations of various points below. Remember that the Thursday March 31st finals of these divisions can be found at the Easter Bowl YouTube channel with the G12s and B12s on Court 1 and the G14s and B14s on Court 2.





Qualifier Michael Zheng's run at the $15,000 USTA Men's Pro Circuit tournament in Orange Park Florida came to an end today, with 2017 US Open boys champion Yibing Wu of China taking the title by a 7-6(4), 7-5 score. Zheng, the 18-year-old from New Jersey who has committed to Columbia for this fall, had a breakout tournament, reaching his first Pro Circuit quarterfinal, semifinal and final this week.

The doubles title in Orange Park went to top seeds Abraham Asaba of Ghana and Sekou Bangoura(Florida), who defeated unseeded Aidan Mayo and Govind Nanda(UCLA) 7-6(2), 3-6, 11-9 in the final. 

Louisa Chirico won her first title in more than three years today at the $60,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Charlottesville Virginia. The 25-year-old New Yorker, who was unseeded, defeated No. 3 seed Xiyu Wang of China 6-4, 6-3 in the final. Chirico, who lost only one set during the week, should see her WTA ranking improve to around 215 and will also keep her in the running for the Roland Garros main draw wild card with two weeks left in the USTA's points race.

At the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit in Orlando, top seed Mirjam Bjorklund of Sweden took the singles title without dropping a set, beating No. 2 seed Alexandra Ignatik of Romania 6-3, 6-4 in today's final.

At the ATP Challenger 80 in Tallahassee, Tung-Lin Wu of Taiwan defeated Michael Mmoh 6-3, 6-4. 

2021 US Open girls champion Robin Montgomery lost in the final of the $25,000 ITF World Tennis Tour tournament in Nottingham Great Britain. The unseeded 17-year-old from Washington DC was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by unseeded Eden Silva of Great Britain. Brandon Holt(USC) won the men's $25K in Nottingham, with the No. 5 seed defeating unseeded Henry Patten(UNC-Asheville) 7-6(2) 7-5 in today's final.


Three of the eight tournament titles decided this weekend in the Power Five conferences were won by the top seeds, with all three completing perfect seasons in conference play.

The Florida men, who had beaten Kentucky 4-3 during the regular season, shut out the Wildcats in today's final in Athens Georgia. ITA's singles No. 1 Ben Shelton clinched the title for the Gators with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over No. 8 Liam Draxl, who was the ITA Player of Year last season. Florida, the defending NCAA champions, last lost in the first round of the ITA Team Indoor Championships in February.

Texas A&M defeated Georgia 4-0 in Gaineville to finish their season as the undefeated regular season and conference champions in the SEC. The Aggies have lost one match all year, to Cal at the ITA Team Indoor Championships in February.

The Virginia men had a rough start to their year, coming out on the short end of their tough non-conference schedule early in the year, but the Cavaliers went undefeated in ACC play and won the conference tournament title today, barely, with a 4-3 victory over North Carolina. The match came down to a third-set tiebreaker at line 2, with Inaki Montes defeating Benjamin Sigouin 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(3). The Cavaliers also suffered their last loss at the ITA Team Indoor Championships.

Four No. 2 seeds captured conference tournaments: the USC men, who beat Washington last night 4-1 in the Pac-12 final; No. 2 Duke women, who defeated Virginia 4-1 today in the ACC final; and both Big-12 winners. The Texas women, defending NCAA champions, avenged their regular season loss to top seed Oklahoma today, beating the Sooners 4-2, and the Baylor men took their rubber match with No. 1 seed TCU 4-2. 

The only seed outside the top two to take a Power Five conference tournament was the Stanford women, seeded No. 3 in the Pac-12.

Big 12 Women's Final:
Texas[2] d. Oklahoma[1] 4-2

Big 12 Men's Final:
Baylor[2] d. TCU[2] 4-2

SEC Women's Final
Texas A&M[1] d. Georgia[3] 4-0

SEC Men's Final
Florida[1] d. Kentucky[3] 4-0

ACC Men's Final:
Virginia[1] d. North Carolina[3] 4-3

ACC Women's Final
Duke[2] d. Virginia[4] 4-1

Pac 12 Men's Final
USC[2] d. Washington[8] 4-1

Pac 12 Women's Final
Stanford[3] d. Arizona State[5] 4-2

The draws are out for the Big Ten tournaments next week, with the men's here and the women's here.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Zheng Reaches Final at Orange Park $15K; Mmoh, Chirico Play for Titles Sunday; Stanford Women Claim PAC-12 Title, Virginia Beats No. 1 UNC in ACC Tournament; GoFundMe for Incarnate Word's Ivan Smith; Shriver Reveals Inappropriate Relationship with Coach as a Teen

Qualifier Michael Zheng will go for his seventh consecutive win Sunday at the $15,000 USTA Men's Pro Circuit tournament in Orange Park Florida after the 18-year-old from New Jersey defeated No. 6 seed Wilson Leite of Brazil 7-6(13), 6-0 in today's semifinals.  Columbia recruit Zheng, who needed a match tiebreaker in his first round qualifying match with fellow junior Aidan Kim, has had more straightforward wins against older players; he has needed three sets to get by fellow juniors Kim, Victor Lilov and China's Fnu Nidunjianzan.

His opponent in the final will be unseeded Yibing Wu of China, who cruised past wild card Learner Tien 6-3, 6-0 in 55 minutes. Wu, the 2017 US Open boys champion, is just getting back to competitive tennis after being out for the majority of the past three years with injuries. Wu, who won an ATP Challenger right after his title at the US Open, is playing his second tournament since March of 2019.  This week marks the first time Zheng has made it past the second round of a Pro Circuit tournament.

Easter Bowl champion Alexis Blokhina fell in today's semifinals of the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Orlando, with top seed Mirjam Bjorklund of Sweden posting a 6-3, 6-4 victory. Bjorklund will face No. 2 seed Alexandra Ignatik of Romania, who beat No. 3 seed Grace Min 6-4, 7-5. 

No. 2 seeds Catherine Harrison(UCLA) and Maegan Manasse(Cal) won the doubles title in Orlando, beating top seeds Yu-Chieh Hseih and Connie Hsu(Penn) of Taiwan 6-1, 6-0 in the final. It's the twelfth pro title for Harrison and the eighth for Manasse, but their first as a team.

Louisa Chirico is through to the final of the $60,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Charlottesville after her 7-6(7), 6-1 win over No. 6 seed Lucrezia Stefanini of Italy. The unseeded 25-year-old will face No. 3 seed Xiyu Wang of China, who came back to defeat No. 2 seed Tatjana Maria of Germany 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Sophie Chang and Angela Kulikov(USC) won their second straight doubles title, taking the Charlottesville crown after winning at the $100,000 tournament in Palm Harbor last week. Chang and Kulikov, the No. 4 seeds, defeated No. 3 seeds Valentini Grammatikopoulou of Greece and Alycia Parks 2-6, 6-3, 10-4 in the final. 

At the ATP 80 Challenger in Tallahassee, Michael Mmoh ended the win streak of No. 3 seed Daniel Elahi Galan of Colombia, last week's Sarasota Challenger champion, with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory in today's semifinals. Mmoh was down 6-3, 5-3 and saved two match points serving at 4-5 before rebounding; the 24-year-old, who won the Kalamazoo 18s title in 2016, will take on Tung-Lin Wu of Taiwan, also unseeded, in Sunday's final. Wu defeated Zhizhen Zhang of China 6-4, 7-6(7). Regardless of Sunday's result Mmoh should take over the lead for the USTA Roland Garros wild card with one week remaining.

The unseeded team of the Netherlands' Gijs Brouwer and Christian Harrison won the doubles title in Tallahassee, beating No. 3 seeds Diego Hidalgo(Florida) of Ecuador and Cristian Rodriguez of Colombia 4-6, 7-5, 10-6 in the final.

The conference championships are set to finish Sunday in three of the Power 5 conferences, while the Pac-12 tournaments conclude today in Ojai. (The Big Ten tournaments are next weekend). For the fourth time in five conference tournaments, the Stanford women have earned the conference tournament title; today the No. 3 seeds defeated No. 5 seed Arizona State 4-2 to earn their place in the NCAA championships. The Cardinal took the doubles point by claiming a tiebreaker on court 2, then got their three singles points from Connie Ma at line 1, Alexandra Yepifanova at line 2 and Angelica Blake at line 3. Arizona State had defeated Stanford 4-2 in Tempe three weeks ago.

You could probably gotten pretty good odds if you had been inclined to wager on the likelihood that it would be the North Carolina men, and not the North Carolina women in Sunday's ACC conference championship match. But that's the reality after the men defeated Georgia Tech 4-1 and the women fell to Virginia 4-2 in today's semifinals. 

The UNC men will play top seed Virginia, who beat them 4-2 in Chapel Hill in early March. The Virginia women will play Duke, who beat them 4-3 in Durham, with Elaine Chervinsky not in the lineup that day for the Cavaliers. Duke needed a third-set tiebreaker win from Kelly Chen today at line 4 to give the Blue Devils a 4-3 decision over Miami. Results from today are below; for all conference results, check out CollegeTennisToday.com's tournament central for men and tournament central for women.

Big 12 Women
Semifinals
Oklahoma[1] d. Kansas[5] 4-0
Texas[2] d. Oklahoma State[4] 4-1

Big 12 Men
Semifinals
TCU[1] d. Oklahoma[5] 4-1
Baylor[2] d. Texas[4] 4-2

SEC Women
Semifinals
Texas A&M[1] d. Florida[4] 4-3
Georgia[3] d. Tennessee[7] 4-3

SEC Men
Semifinals
Florida[1] d. Tennessee[5] 4-1
Kentucky[3] d. Auburn[7] 4-1

ACC Men
Virginia[1] d. Louisville[4] 4-0
North Carolina[3] d. Georgia Tech[10] 4-1

ACC Women
Virginia[4] d. North Carolina[1] 4-2
Duke[2] d. Miami[3] 4-3

Pac 12
Men's Final
USC[2] d. Washington[8] 4-1

Women's Final
Stanford[3] d. Arizona State[5] 4-2

I received a text today from a friend in San Diego about a GoFundMe campaign that has been set up for University of Incarnate Word's Ivan Smith, who was critically injured in an automobile accident earlier this month in Texas. Smith, a junior at Incarnate Word, is a former five-star recruit from San Diego.

The GoFundMe page, set up two days ago to assist with his medical expenses, can be found here. If you are unable to donate, please support Ivan and his family with your prayers.

Pam Shriver recently revealed that she and her much older coach had what she calls an "inappropriate" relationship back when she was a teenager pursing her professional career. Shriver, now known for her work as a commentator on ESPN, said she felt disclosing this from her past might help shine a light on a problematic dynamic that she continues to see in the sport. Parents need to be aware of the possibility of this developing; it may not be prevalent, but acknowledging that it does happen is a step toward understanding the perils that accompany some of these relationships.

Here is a brief article from the Associated Press; Tennis.com  talked with Shriver here, and she spoke at length about it with the Tennis Podcast

Friday, April 22, 2022

My Article on Reese Brantmeier's Choice of UNC; Blokhina Advances at Orlando $25K; Tien, Zheng Reach Orange Park $15K Semifinals; Upsets Continue in Conference Tournaments

I had an opportunity to talk with Reese Brantmeier at the Easter Bowl about her commitment to North Carolina. When I had last spoken to her, at the US Open, Brantmeier was not ready to announce any decision, but she made it official last month by signing with the Tar Heels for this fall. She is planning on just one year in Chapel Hill, but she sounded certain that she wanted the college tennis experience before she embarked on her pro career. I also learned that Brantmeier is a talented artist and you can see an example of her drawing skill in the article I wrote for Tennis Recruiting Network.

Brantmeier fell short today in her quarterfinal match at the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Orlando, losing to No. 2 seed and WTA 161 Alexandra Ignatik of Romania 6-4, 7-6(7) in two hours and 34 minutes. But wild card Alexis Blokhina has gotten through to the semifinals, with the Easter Bowl champion defeating No. 4 seed Catherine Harrison(UCLA) 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 in three hours and five minutes. On Saturday, the 17-year-old from Plantation Florida will face top seed Mirjam Bjorklund of Sweden, who beat wild card Madison Sieg 6-4, 6-3. Ignatik will play No. 3 seed Grace Min, who defeated Chiara Scholl 6-2, 6-3.

A week after 17-year-old Kyle Kang reached the semifinals of the $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Sunrise Florida, both 16-year-old Learner Tien and 18-year-old Michael Zheng have advanced to the semifinals in Orange Park.

Tien, a wild card, defeated top seed and ATP 418 Govind Nanda(UCLA) 6-3, 6-4, with the San Diego J1 champion getting to the semifinals this week without dropping a set. Zheng, a qualifier, beat 18-year-old wild card Fnu Nidunjianzan of China 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Zheng will face the only seed remaining, No. 6 Wilson Leite of Brazil, who beat No. 2 seed Felix Corwin(Minnesota) 6-0, 6-4. Tien's opponent in the semifinals is Yibing Wu of China, who defeated Orange Bowl champion Daniel Vallejo of Paraguay 6-3, 5-7, 6-0. 

At the $60,000 women's tournament in Charlottesville, Louisa Chirico is the sole American to advance to the semifinals. She defeated Robin Anderson(UCLA) 6-2, 6-1; wild card Taylor Townsend lost to No. 3 seed Xiyu Wang of China 6-4, 6-1 and qualifier Ellie Douglas(TCU) was beaten by No. 6 seed Lucrezia Stefanini of Italy 6-2, 7-5. Chirico will play Stefanini in the semifinals, with Wang set to face No. 2 seed Tatjana Maria of Germany.

The ATP Challenger 80 in Tallahassee had four Americans in the quarterfinals, but only one has advanced to the semifinals. Christian Harrison was beaten by Tung-Lin Wu of Taiwan 6-0, 6-4 and No. 6 seed JJ Wolf(Ohio State) lost to unseeded Zhizhen Zheng of China 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(2). In the only quarterfinal match between Americans, Michael Mmoh, who had beaten top seed Tomas Etcheverry of Argentina in the second round, defeated wild card Aleks Kovacevic(Illinois) 6-2, 7-6(4). Mmoh will face last week's Sarasota Challenger champion Daniel Elahi Galan of Colombia, the No. 3 seed, in Saturday's semifinals.

The upsets continue in the Power 5 conference championships, with the biggest coming in the ACC. The Georgia Tech men, seeded No. 10 and ranked 61, defeated No. 2 seed and 7th-ranked Wake Forest 4-2. 

ACC Men's Conference Championships
Semifinals
Virginia[1] v Louisville[4]
Georgia Tech[10] v North Carolina[3]

Another top 10 team went down at the men's SEC tournament, with Auburn, ranked 30 and seeded No. 7, beating No. 9 South Carolina 4-2.

SEC Men's Conference Championships
Semifinals
Florida[1] v Tennessee[5]
Auburn[7] v Kentucky[3]

The women's upsets were less dramatic. Virginia, ranked No. 7, but seeded No. 4, defeated North Carolina State, ranked No. 3, but seeded No. 5, 4-2. It's the Cavaliers second win over the Wolfpack this month.

ACC Women's Conference Championships
Semifinals
North Carolina[1] v Virginia[4]
Miami[3] v Duke[2]

SEC Women's Conference Championships
Semifinals 
Texas A&M[1] v Florida[4]
Georgia[3] v Tennessee[7]

The competition in the Pac-12 has been hard to gauge all season, and the tournament hasn't provided much clarity. The fifth-seeded Arizona State women, ranked No. 20, defeated top seed and eighth-ranked Cal 4-3 to reach the final.

The Washington men, seeded No. 8, are through to the final with a 4-3 win over No. 5 seed UCLA. The loss may spell the end of the Bruins' impressive streak of reaching the NCAA tournament every year in program history.

Pac 12 Conference Championships:
Men's Final
Washington[8] v USC[2]

Women's Final
Arizona State[5] v Stanford[3]

The Big 12 has gone mostly to form, with just two No. 5 seeds into the semifinals after beating No. 4 seeds.

Big 12 Women's Conference Championships
Semifinals
Oklahoma[1] v Kansas[5]
Texas[2] v Oklahoma State[4]

Big 12 Men's Conference Championships
Semifinals
TCU[1] v Oklahoma[5]
Baylor[2] v Texas[4]

For links to all the conference championships that will decide NCAA participants, see this page at the ITA website.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Seven Juniors Advance to Pro Circuit Quarterfinals in Florida; Four Americans Reach Quarterfinals at Charlottesville $60K; Upsets in Pac-12, ACC, SEC Tournaments

Four boys and three girls who are competing on the ITF Junior Circuit have advanced to the quarterfinals at the two USTA Pro Circuit tournaments in Florida.

At the $15,000 men's tournament in Orange Park, 16-year-old wild card Learner Tien, who picked up his first ATP point yesterday, advanced with a 54-minute 6-2, 6-0 win over former University of Georgia standout Emil Reinberg. Eighteen-year-old qualifier Michael Zheng, who lost to Tien twice during the Southern California junior swing, defeated former Arizona State star Nathan Ponwith 6-1, 7-6(3). Wild card Fnu Nidunjianzan of China, an 18-year-old Princeton recruit, defeated No. 3 seed Jose Pereira of Brazil 7-5, 6-2 and 17-year-old Adolfo Daniel Vallejo of Paraguay beat No. 8 seed Zeke Clark(Illinois) 6-1, 2-6, 6-4. 

Tien will face top seed Govind Nanda(UCLA) in the quarterfinals; Vallejo plays 2017 US Open boys champion Wibing Yu of China and Zheng meets Nidunjianzan. The only quarterfinal without a teenager will feature No. 2 seed Felix Corwin(Minnesota) and No. 6 seed Wilson Leite of Brazil.

At the $25,000 women's tournament in Orlando, wild card Madison Sieg continued her impressive play this spring, with the 18-year-old USC recruit defeating No. 6 seed Gabriela Ce of Brazil 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(3) in three hours and 17 minutes. 

This month's Easter Bowl finalists are also through to the quarterfinals in Orlando, with champion Alexis Blokhina defeating No. 7 seed Carol Zhao of Canada 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 and finalist Reese Brantmeier beating qualifier Rachel Gailis 5-7, 6-2 6-2. 

Sieg's quarterfinal opponent is top seed Mirjam Bjorklund of Sweden; Blokhina takes on No. 4 seed Catherine Harrison(UCLA) and Brantmeier faces No. 2 seed Alexandra Ignatik of Romania. The other quarterfinal features No. 3 seed Grace Min against unseeded Chiara Scholl.

Four American women have reached the quarterfinals of the $60,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Charlottesville Virginia, none of whom are seeded. 

Robin Anderson(UCLA), who beat top seed Irina Bara on Wednesday, defeated qualifier Kayla Day 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(4) in exactly three hours and will face Louisa Chirico, who beat Seone Mendez of Australia 3-6 7-5, 6-1. Qualifier Ellie Douglas(TCU) defeated wild card Whitney Osuigwe 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 and will play No. 6 seed Lucrezia Stefanini in the quarterfinals. Wild card Taylor Townsend, who lost to Katie Volynets in the quarterfinals of the $100,000 Palm Harbor tournament that Volynets went on to win, turned the tables this week, beating the No. 5 seed 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. Townsend, returning from maternity leave, faces No. 3 seed Xiyu Wang of China Friday. The only quarterfinal not involving an American will feature No. 2 seed Tatjana Maria of Germany against Kurumi Nara of Japan.

At the $25,000 ITF World Tennis Tour women's tournament in Nottingham England, 18-year-old Hina Inoue and 17-year-old Robin Montgomery have advanced to the quarterfinals, as has Sofia Sewing(Miami). 

The ACC, SEC, Pac-12 and Big-12 conference tournaments are underway and there have already been a few surprises. Most of the top seeds don't play until tomorrow, except in the Pac-12, which has its finals on Saturday. Women's top seed Cal had no trouble with No. 9 seed Utah in today's quarterfinals in Ojai, winning 4-0, but Arizona, the No. 1 men's seed, lost to 4-2 to No. 8 seed Washington. The fifth-seeded UCLA men kept their hopes to make the tournament alive with a 4-2 win over No. 4 seed Utah, and will play Washington in the semifinals.

Cal will face No. 5 seed Arizona State in Friday's semifinals, after ASU came from 3-0 down to beat No. 4 seed USC. 

In the ACC, the fifth-seeded Duke men lost to No. 12 seed Clemson 4-3, and No. 10 Georgia Tech beat No. 7 Miami 4-1.

In the SEC, the lower seeds advancing included the No. 9 LSU men, who defeated No. 8 seed Mississippi State 4-1 and the No. 11 Arkansas men, who beat No. 6 seed Texas A&M 4-1.

The ITA has added a page with links to all the conference tournament sites. For a one page overview of the results from this week, see collegetennisranks.com.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Roland Garros Junior Acceptances Include Both ITF No. 1s; Wimbledon Bans Russian Players; Five Teens Advance at Orange Park Men's $15K; Few Changes in Latest ITA D-I Team and Individual Rankings

The acceptances for the Roland Garros Junior Championships were released today, and as usual, nearly all the top juniors have entered. The only Top 10 boy not on the acceptance list is No. 6 Juncheng Jerry Shang of China and the only Top 10 girl missing is No. 10 Robin Montgomery. Both have been concentrating on their professional careers since reaching the US Open Junior finals last year. The tournament is scheduled to take place from Sunday May 29 through Saturday June 4.

There are eight US boys in the field as of now: No. 1 and Australian Open boys champion Bruno Kuzuhara, Victor Lilov, Nishesh Basavareddy, Ozan Colak, Cooper Williams, Nicholas Godsick, Michael Zheng and Alex Michelsen. Four boys--Learner Tien, Ethan Quinn, Sebastian Gorzny and Alexander Frusina--are less than 10 spots out of the main draw.

The boys cutoff was 45; three boys received entry based on special ITF rules, with Sean Cuenin of France and Daniel Merida Aguilar of Spain getting in based on their ATP Top 750 rankings and Connor Henry Van Schalkwyk of Nambia getting in based on being the highest-ranked player from the Africa region in the Top 80.

Australian Open champion and top-ranked Petra Marcinko of Croatia has entered, as have the two Fruhvirtova sisters and Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra, who has the highest WTA ranking of the entrants at 175. 

Four US girls received direct entry: Liv Hovde, Clervie Ngounoue, Qavia Lopez and Alexis Blokhina. Mia Slama is three spots out of the main draw. 

The girls cutoff was 47, with Sara Bejlik of the Czech Republic receiving entry based on her WTA ranking of 400 or better. Angella Okutoyi of Kenya, who reached the third round of the Australian Open Junior Championships this year, got in based on being the highest-ranked Top 80 player from Africa.

This is the first year since 2019 that a qualifying tournament will be played for the Roland Garros Junior Championships due to the pandemic.

Wimbledon announced today that it is banning all Russian and Belarusian players from competing at this year's Championships due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The LTA followed suit, and mentioned that its ban also includes junior events. The entries for the ITF J1 in Roehampton and the Junior Championships don't close until June 7, so it won't be known for certain until then, but unless things change in the next month, there will be no Russians or Belarusians at those two junior events. Players of those nationalities entered in the Roland Garros Junior Championships are: Yaroslav Demin, Diana Shnaider, Ksenia Zaytseva, Yaroslava Bartashevich and Mirra Andreeva.

At the $15,000 USTA Men's Pro Circuit tournament in Orange Park Florida, four US juniors have advanced to the second round. Learner Tien earned his first ATP point with a 6-2, 6-2 win over fellow 16-year-old Cooper Williams; wild card Kyle Kang beat qualifier Dennis Novikov(UCLA) 6-4, 6-4; qualifier Michael Zheng defeated Victor Lilov 6-0, 4-6, 6-2 and Martin Damm beat Collin Altamirano(Virginia) 6-4, 7-6(5).  Adolfo Daniel Vallejo of Paraguay, the 2021 Orange Bowl champion, defeated last week's champion at Sunrise, Sekou Bangoura(Florida) 6-2, 6-4. Note that the headline is not correct, after 18-year-old wild card Fnu Nidunjianzan of China defeated Peter Bertran(Georgia/South Florida) in the last match to finish 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

At the $60,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Charlottesville, Robin Anderson(UCLA) defeated top seed Irina Bara of Romania 6-3, 7-5 and qualifier Ellie Douglas(TCU) beat No. 4 seed Alycia Parks 6-4, 6-1.

Easter Bowl champion Alexis Blokhina got her first win at the $25,000 level at the USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Orlando, beating WTA 421 Salma Djoubri of France 6-4, 6-0. Madison Sieg defeated Maria Jose Portillo Ramirez of Mexico 6-7(4), 6-0, 6-3. Qualifier Rachel Gailis spoiled Katrina Scott's first match since last fall, with the Florida recruit taking the match 7-6(4), 7-6(3). Easter Bowl finalist Reese Brantmeier defeated No. 5 seed Ana Sofia Sanchez of Mexico 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 in three hours and three minutes. Qavia Lopez and Katie Codd came up just short in long three-setters with No. 3 seed Grace Min and Chiara Scholl respectively.

The weekly Division I rankings feature few changes, although the Oklahoma and North Carolina women are now tied for the top spot in the USTA/Tennis Channel poll. Most of the same disagreements in the two rankings persist: the Florida men  are No. 1 in the poll and No. 3 on the ITA computer; the Michigan men are No. 3 in the poll and No. 8 on the ITA computer; the Texas A&M women are No. 3 in the poll and No. 6 on the ITA computer, while the NC State women are exactly reversed. Complete lists are available by clicking on the links.

The individual rankings are very similar to last week's too, with Liam Draxl of Kentucky notable for having climbed back into the Top 10 in singles.

ITA Division I Men's Team Top 10, April 20, 2022

1. TCU (1)
2. Ohio State (2)
3. Florida (3)
4. Baylor (4)
5. Tennessee (5)
6. Virginia (6)
7. Wake Forest (8)
8. Michigan (7)
9. South Carolina (9)
10. Kentucky (10)


1. Florida (1)
2. Ohio State (2)
3. Michigan (3)
4. TCU (4)
5. Baylor (5)
6. Virginia (7)
7. Wake Forest (8)
8, Kentucky (11)
9. Tennessee (6)
10. South Carolina (10)


1. Ben Shelton, Florida
2. Daniel Rodrigues, South Carolina
3. Adrian Boitan, Baylor
4. August Holmgren, San Diego
5. Stefan Dostanic, Southern California
6. Clement Chidekh, Washington
7. Adam Walton, Tennessee
8. Liam Draxl, Kentucky
9. Cannon Kingsley, Ohio State
10. Matej Vocel, Ohio State


1. Robert Cash and Matej Vocel, Ohio State
2. Jacob Fearnley and Luc Fomba, TCU
3. Richard Ciammara and Cleeve Harper, Texas
4. Ryan Goetz and Chris Rodesch, Virginia
5. Stefan Dostanic and Bradley Frye, Southern California

ITA Division I Women's Team Top 10, April 20, 2022

1. North Carolina (1)
2. Oklahoma (2)
3. NC State (3)
4. Texas (4)
5. Duke (9)
6. Texas A&M (6)
7. Virginia (8)
8. California (7)
9. Pepperdine (5)
10. Ohio State (11)


T1. North Carolina (1)
T1. Oklahoma (2)
3. Texas A&M (4)
4. Texas (3)
5. Duke (8)
6. NC State (5)
7. Virginia (9)
8. Ohio State (10)
9. California (11)
10. Auburn (12)


1. Emma Navarro, Virginia
2. Peyton Stearns, Texas
3. Daria Frayman, Princeton
4. Cameron Morra, North Caroina
5. Sarah Hamner, South Carolina
6. Petra Hule, Florida State
7. Eryn Cayetano, Southern Cal
8. Chloe Beck, Duke
9. Irina Cantos Siemers, Ohio State
10. Layne Sleeth, Oklahoma


1. Fiona Crawley and Elizabeth Scotty, North Carolina
2. Jaeda Daniel and Nell Miller, NC State
3. Jayci Goldsmith and Tatiana Makarova, Texas A&M
4. Alicia Herrero and Melany Krywoj, Baylor
5. Carol Lee and Kate Sharabura, Georgia Tech

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Easter Bowl Photo Gallery; TennisONE App Begins Coverage of NCAAs with Road to Champaign Show Wednesday; Qualifying Complete at Three USTA Pro Circuit Tournaments

The Zootennis.com Easter Bowl photo gallery is up at Tennis Recruiting Network, with 99 photos of participants from the 12s, 14s, 16s and ITF tournaments. It can't be beat for putting a name and a face together. Thanks to Paul Ballard for his dedication in taking all the photos for Zootennis (not unusual) and for the Easter Bowl site (unusual). 

TennisONE has signed an agreement with the NCAA as "the official app and exclusive live streaming partner" for the 2022 Championships. According to today's release, the app's streaming coverage will include:

- May 6 - 14: Team Championships first round, second round, and Super Regional matches

- May 19 - 22: All 12 courts from Team Championships quarterfinals, semifinals and finals

- May 23 - 28: All 12 courts from Individual Singles/Doubles Championships, first round to finals

In addition, TennisONE will be producing "The Road to Champaign," five live 30-minute shows, with coach Mark Bey and Madison Golden. The first show, set for Wednesday, April 20th at 8 p.m. Eastern, will focus on the upcoming conference championships. Florida's Bryan Shelton, head coach of the 2021 NCAA men's champions, is expected as a guest.

The "Road to Champaign" dates, times and subjects:
1. Wednesday 4/20/22- Conference tourney preview 8pm ET
2. Wednesday 4/27/22- Teams on the bubble 8pm ET
3. Monday 05/02/22- Selection show recap, bracketology 8pm ET
4. Monday 05/09/22- Recap round of 64, 6pm ET
5. Monday 05/16/22: Recap super regionals 8pm ET

There will also be interviews with coaches and a bracket challenge, with more details on that in the release.

The TennisONE app is optimized for mobile and iPad and can be found here. It can be viewed on a computer here.

There are four USTA Pro Circuit tournaments this week, all on clay, with the men playing an ATP Challenger 80 in Tallahassee Florida and a $15,000 tournament in Orange Park Florida. The women's events are a $60,000 tournament in Charlottesville Virginia and a $25,000 tournament in Orlando Florida

The first round of the Tallahassee Challenger will conclude tonight; Americans advancing to the second round include Michael Mmoh, wild card Aleks Kovacevic(Illinois), Mitchell Krueger[7], Christian Harrison and JJ Wolf[6](Ohio State). No. 2 seed Steve Johnson(USC) lost in the first round today to Zhizhen Zheng of China.

Qualifying finished today at the other three events. In Orange Park, Americans qualifying today are Isaiah Strode, Matthew Segura, Dennis Novikov(UCLA) and Michael Zheng. Zheng will face fellow 18-year-old Victor Lilov, who received entry via the ITF's Junior Reserved program, in Wednesday's first round. Two 16-year-olds will meet Wednesday, with wild card Learner Tien playing Cooper Williams, who also is a Junior Reserved entry. In addition to Tien, wild cards were given to Kyle Kang, a semifinalist last week in Sunrise, Fnu Nidunjianzan of China and top seed Govind Nanda(UCLA). Kang plays Novikov in the first round. Yu Wibing of China, who won the 2017 US Open boys title but has been out with injuries for the past three years, is playing his second event since March of 2019 in Orange Park. Two former Kalamazoo champions, Martin Damm and Collin Altamirano, will face off in the first round.


In Orlando, four Americans qualified for the main draw: Rachel Gailis, Kennedy Shaffer(Georgia), Katie Codd and Makenna Jones(UNC). Codd, who has signed with Duke for this fall, is playing in just her fourth USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament and the first outside Southern California. The Carlsbad California resident reached the semifinals of the San Diego J1, losing to Liv Hovde; she did not play Easter Bowl the following week.

Wild cards were given to Madison Sieg, Gabriella Price, Easter Bowl champion Alexis Blokhina and Qavia Lopez. Easter Bowl finalist Reese Brantmeier made the main draw on her ranking; Katrina Scott will play her first match since last November against Gailis Wednesday. 

The top two seeds are Mirjam Bjorklund of Sweden and Alexandra Ignatik of Romania, both of whom are in the WTA Top 200.

In Charlottesville, Kayla Day, Ellie Douglas(TCU) and Rasheeda McAdoo(Georgia Tech) qualified, as did 17-year-old Cadence Brace of Canada. Wild cards were given to Taylor Townsend, Elli Mandlik, Sachia Vickery and Whitney Osuigwe. 

The top two seeds are Irina Bara of Romania and Tatjana Maria of Germany, both inside the WTA Top 115. University of Virginia sophomore Emma Navarro, who would normally play an event in Charlottesville, is not competing there due to this week's ACC conference tournament.