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Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Six Americans Qualify at Sarasota $25K; More Information on Wimbledon's 14U Event; Roland Garros Wild Cards; Arkansas's Jackson Retires, Shields Takes Over at Boise State

The USTA Pro Circuit is much quieter now that we are approaching the year's second major in Paris, with only one women's $25,000 tournament on the schedule this week.  Most of those who played the ATP Challengers and $100,000 ITF tournaments in the United States have migrated to Europe for the next month, at least, so Americans are make up the majority of the field this week in Sarasota. The men's Pro Circuit calendar in the United States has a four-week stretch without any tournaments, which began last week, according to the latest schedule, updated on May 6. The women's Pro Circuit schedule, also updated on May 6, has at least one tournament in the United States every week until the US Open.

Anyway, this week the focus is on the Sarasota Florida $25K, where qualifying concluded today. The six Americans to advance to the main draw are: Duke recruit Katie Codd, Mara Schmidt(Purdue), Caroline Lampl(Stanford), Erica Oosterhout(Harvard), Kendra Bunch(Drexel) and 16-year-old Grace Levelston.

Last week's finalist Katrina Scott and Reese Brantmeier are competing again this week, with Scott, the No. 6 seed, facing Connie Hsu(Penn) of Taiwan in the first round Wednesday and Reese Brantmeier paying No. 3 seed Sophie Chang. 

Wild cards were given to Alexis Blokhina, Katherine Hui, Tatum Evans and Samantha Crawford. Former Georgia star Maria Carle of Argentina is the top seed, with Allie Kiick seeded No. 2. Ashlyn Krueger, the reigning USTA 18s champion, is the No. 7 seed this week; she has not played since the Miami Open.

Wimbledon still has not released any details regarding its inaugural 14U event this year during the second week of the tournament, but today, Tennis Europe did provide some additional information here.  My understanding is that a federation was free to set up its method of selecting their players for the 16-player draws, with the USTA using the Easter Bowl as its designated event. Tennis Europe will use next month's International Roehampton tournament, with the winner and the runner-up there receiving invitations to the tournament. The players from the United States who qualified via their performances at the Easter Bowl are Nicole Okhtenberg and Keaton Hance. 

Roland Garros announced its wild cards for the tournament today, with all of them from France. The release states that the reciprocal wild cards of the United States and Australia will be announced later, but, as of now, Katie Volynets and Michael Mmoh are the USTA wild cards after finishing first in the race set up to award them.

It appears that the French Federation has also set up a similar system for two of its main draw wild cards from the designations provided.

Women:

Tessah ANDRIANJAFITRIMO - Age 23 - WTA ranking (9th May): No.144

Fiona FERRO - Age 25 - WTA ranking (9th May): No.139

Elsa JACQUEMOT - Age 19 -WTA ranking (9th May): No.229

Léolia JEANJEAN - Age 26 - WTA ranking (9th May): No.223 - "Destination Roland-Garros" wildcard – French tour

Chloé PAQUET - Age 27 - WTA ranking (9th May): No.101

Harmony TAN - Age 24 -WTA ranking (9th May): No.115 - "Destination Roland-Garros" wildcard – International tour

Men:
Grégoire BARRERE - Age 28 - ATP ranking (9thMay): No.210 - "Destination Roland-Garros" wildcard – French tour

Manuel GUINARD - Age 26 - ATP ranking (9thMay): No.158 - "Destination Roland-Garros" wildcard – International tour

Corentin MOUTET - Age 23 - ATP ranking (9thMay): No.126

Lucas POUILLE - Age 28 - ATP ranking (9thMay): No.165

Gilles SIMON - Age 37 - ATP ranking (9thMay): No.160

Jo-Wilfried TSONGA - Age 37 - ATP ranking (9thMay): No.263

As you can see, not many young players received wild cards for the main draw, with the only teenager 2020 French Open girls champion Elsa Jacquemot.

The qualifying wild cards skew younger, with three of the semifinalists from last year's French Open boys championships receiving wild cards: Arthur Fils, Sean Cuenin and champion Luca Van Assche. The women's qualifying wild cards are also focused on younger French players, with five teens among them.

The lists of qualifying wild cards are available here

Several Division I college coaching announcements have dropped recently, including today's release regarding Andy Jackson's retirement from his position as head coach of the men's team at Arkansas. Jackson was at Arkansas for nine years, after coaching the Florida men for 11 years, and the Mississippi State women and men from 1985 through 2001. 

There are now three Power Five schools officially looking for coaches for their men's teams: Michigan State, Washington and Arkansas.  

Luke Shields, a former All-American at Boise State, was named head coach of the men's program this month. Most recently, Shields was the men's associate head coach at Oklahoma this season; prior to that he was men's head coach at Fresno State for six years before that program was cut. Shields' younger brother Clancy is men's head coach at the University of Arizona.

Northwestern University announced today that Claire Pollard, head coach of the women's program for the past 23 years, has had her contract extended through 2026. 

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