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Monday, May 9, 2022

Five ITF Junior Circuit Singles Titles for US Juniors Last Week; ITF's Basavareddy Feature; Volynets Claims Roland Garros Wild Card; NCAA Division III Team Championship Draws Released

Americans took seven of the eight titles last week at the ITF J3 in Costa Rica and at the J4 in Plantation Florida, with a fifth singles title by a US junior at the J5 in Colombia.

In San Jose, 15-year-old Katie Rolls, the No. 6 seed, swept the Grade 3 titles, while top seed Jelani Sarr won the boys singles title and reached the doubles final. Rolls, a 15-year-old from Michigan who trains in Florida, defeated unseeded Xintong Zhou of China 6-3, 6-2 for her second ITF Junior Circuit singles title. Rolls lost only 18 games in her five victories. In the all-US girls doubles final, Rolls and Sabrina Lin, the No. 3 seeds, defeated unseeded Berklie Simmering and Addison Bowman 6-3, 3-6, 10-6.

The 18-year-old Sarr defeated No. 3 seed John Kim 6-3, 7-5 in the singles final for his third career singles title on the ITF Junior Circuit. He and Adhithya Ganesan, the No. 2 seeds, lost in the doubles final to the top-seeded Mexican team of Luciano Alcocer and Armando Sotelo 3-6, 6-3, 11-9.

In Plantation, unseeded 15-year-old Californian Tianmei Wang won her first ITF Junior Circuit title, defeating qualifier Alanis Hamilton 6-3, 6-3 in the final. No. 9 seed Abhishek Thorat, also 15, won his second ITF Junior Circuit title with a 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 win over No. 6 seed Elias Shokry.  

In doubles, 2021 Orange Bowl 16s champions Tanner Povey and Andrew Delgado took the boys title, with the unseeded pair defeating No. 2 seeds Tommy Czaplinski and Mexico's Santiago Padilla Cote 7-6(4), 6-4 in the final. The girls doubles champions are top seeds Sophie Llewellyn and Valeria Ray, who beat the unseeded team of Hamilton and Claire Zhang 6-2, 7-5.

Fourteen-year-old Floridian Calvin Baierl, No. 1 in the 2026 recruiting class, won his first title on the ITF Junior Circuit at the Grade 5 in Colombia, with the No. 8 seed defeating unseeded Romeo Arcuschin of Argentina 6-3, 6-2 in the singles final. 

There are 20 ITF Junior Circuit tournaments this week, with the last one in the United States until July a Grade 3 in Coral Gables Florida. Sarr is the top boys seed, with Japan's Mayu Crossley the No. 1 seed in the girls draw.

Some Americans are starting to head for Europe to prepare for the Grade A in Milan and the French Open Juniors, with five US juniors in the draws at the Grade 1 in Santa Croce Italy.  The three boys, Aidan Kim, No. 8 seed Leanid Boika and Jonah Braswell, are off to a rough start, with both Boika and Braswell losing their first round matches today. Kim plays his first round match Tuesday.  The two US girls in the draw are Ava Krug, who lost today in the first round, and Kaitlin Quevedo, who plays her first match Tuesday. Unlike the tournaments in the United States the past three weeks, this event is half the size, with draws of just 32.

The ITF Junior website published a feature today on Nishesh Basavareddy, with details on all the injuries that have disrupted his junior career the past six years. Basavareddy put that time out of competition to good use however, and he explains how he has improved his own game by studying video of professional matches. He explains how that has helped him now that he has returned to junior competition, and how he plans to make the transition to professional tennis in the future.

The USTA made the official announcement today that Katie Volynets has earned the Roland Garros wild card after posting the best three results in the five-week challenge that ended with the $100,000 tournament at Bonita Springs Florida. Volynets won the $100,000 event in Palm Harbor, made the quarterfinals at the $100,000 tournament in Charleston, and reached the semifinals in Bonita Springs. With that last result, the 20-year-old from Northern California overtook Taylor Townsend, who won the title in Charleston but did not play last week in Bonita Springs. Volynets is up to to a career-high of 112 in the WTA rankings, but that will fall after this week, when her points from winning Bonita Springs last year drop off. She will be making her Roland Garros debut this month. 

The final standings for the men and women in the wild card race:

1. Katie Volynets - 215
2. Taylor Townsend - 183
3. Louisa Chirico - 167

1. Michael Mmoh - 110
2. Jack Sock - 100
3. Steve Johnson - 80

The NCAA Division III brackets have been released, with action set to begin Thursday at regional sites around the country. There are no seeds designated on the draws, but from their traditional placement at the upper left, it appears that the Chicago men and the Wesleyan women are No. 1 this year. The other top contenders for the women are expected to be Pomona-Pitzer, Chicago and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps; for the men, Middlebury, Case Western and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. It's odd not to see Emory among those top schools; both are in the tournament, but are under .500 for the year. 

The men's bracket is here; the women's bracket is here.

Eight teams will advance to the final site, which this year is the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona Florida May 23-25. The individual championships begin on May 27. The full schedule is available here.