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Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Stearns Begins Pro Career with Win in Sumter $25K; Top Seed Svajda Falls in San Diego $15K First Round; Peniston Celebrates Wimbledon Main Draw Wild Card with Win over Ruud

2022 NCAA Division I singles champion Peyton Stearns began her professional career today at the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Sumter South Carolina. The 20-year-old, who turned pro after leading the Texas Longhorns to their second straight team title last month, is the No. 7 seed this week. She defeated rising Southern Cal freshman Madison Sieg 6-2, 6-3 in one of the eight first round matches played today.

Stearns joined Alex Gruskin on the Cracked Interviews podcast to talk about her decision to turn pro after her sophomore year; I was surprised to hear her timeline on that. She also said she plans to stay in the United States this summer to establish her training site(s) and optimal schedule.

Qualifying concluded today, with four Americans advancing to the main draw: Mia Horvit(South Carolina), Sarah Hamner(South Carolina), Nicole Coopersmith(Keiser) and Danielle Willson(Southern Cal). 

The top seeds are Hanna Chang and Sophie Chang (no relation).

Wild cards were given to Victoria Hu(Princeton) and rising high school junior Trinetra Vijayakumar. 

The other $25,000 tournament this week is a men's event in Wichita Kansas. The only American among the six qualifiers is Arkansas rising junior Avery Zavala, although Penn rising freshman Kian Vakili made the main draw as a lucky loser. 

The top seeds in Wichita are Denis Yevseyev of Kazakhstan and Yu Hsiou Hsu of Taiwan. Recent Florida graduate Sam Riffice is starting his professional career unseeded, with his first round opponent wild card Alex Richards, a rising junior at Wichita State. 

The other wild cards went to Murphy Cassone of Arizona State, who was named ITA National Rookie of the Year yesterday; Toby Boyer(Nebraska) and Micah Braswell(Texas). 

All first round matches are scheduled for Wednesday.

The other two Pro Circuit tournaments are the men's and women's $15,000 events at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego. 

The first day of action at the men's tournament in San Diego is not finished, but top seed Zachary Svajda, the two-time Kalamazoo 18s champion, suffered a shocking loss in the first round to Colin Markes(Texas). Svajda ranked 393, was beaten 6-3, 6-3 by Markes, ranked 818. Gage Brymer(UCLA) is the No. 2 seed.

Five Americans advanced to the main draw via qualifying today: rising high school senior Bryce Nakashima, Ryan Seggerman(Princeton), Alex Jones, Austin Ansari(Clemson) and Jacob Brumm(Cal/Baylor).

Wild cards were given to Siem Woldeab(Texas), Timothy Sah(Stanford), Elijah Strode and Ivan Thamma(UC-Davis/SMU).

The top seed is two-time Kalamazoo champion Zachary Svajda; the No. 2 seed is Gage Brymer. Learner Tien and Alex Michelsen received entry via the ITF's Junior Reserved program. 

The top seed in the women's tournament is Connie Hsu(Penn) of Taiwan, with Ya Yi Yang of Taiwan, the finalist last week at the USD $15K, seeded No. 2.

Wild cards were given to rising high school sophomore Emily Deming, who won her first round match today; rising high school freshman Elena Zhao, who lost her first round match today; rising high school sophomore Alyssa Ahn, who lost her first round match today, and Princeton recruit Katherine Hui.

Six Americans qualified for the main draw: Brandy Walker(Northern Arizona), Megan McCray(Oklahoma State), Makenna Thiel(Cal), Anna Campana(Wake Forest), Micheline Aubuchon(Loyola Marymount) and Makenna Jones(North Carolina). 

Sara Daavettila is back competing now after serving as a volunteer assistant at her alma mater North Carolina this season, and as the No. 6 seed this week, picked up a first round win today.

Wimbledon announced the majority of its wild cards today, with four former collegians receiving entry into the main draw.

One of them, former Memphis star Ryan Peniston, was the talk of the tennis world today after the 26-year-old British wild card defeated top seed and Roland Garros finalist Casper Ruud of Norway 7-6(4), 7-6(2) in the first round of the ATP 500 in London. Peniston was making his ATP debut after reaching the quarterfinals of two ATP Challengers on grass the previous two weeks. For more, see this match report from the ATP website.

The main draw wild cards (GBR unless otherwise noted):
1. Liam Broady
2. Jay Clarke
3. Alastair Gray(TCU)
4. Paul Jubb(South Carolina)
5. Ryan Peniston(Memphis)
6. Tim Van Rijthoven, the Netherlands
7. Stan Wawrinka, Switzerland
8. TBA

1. Katie Boulter
2. Jodi Burrage
3. Sonay Kartal
4. Yuriko Lily Miyazaki(Oklahoma)
5. Katie Swan
6. Serena Williams, USA
7. TBA
8. TBA

Several qualifying wild cards of note, with rising Stanford junior Arthur Fery, who lost in the final round of qualifying last year, receiving one on the men's side. Fourteen-year-old Mingge Xu, who is competing in the main draw of the ITF $100K this week in Ilkley as a wild card card, received a women's qualifying wild card, as did 17-year-old Ranah Akua Stoiber, who at 38 is the top British girl in the ITF junior rankings.

There is no sign of 2021 Wimbledon girls champion Ane Mintegi Del Olmo of Spain, who hasn't played since January, and 2021 Wimbledon boys champion Samir Banerjee, who hasn't played since February. Most years, the junior champions are offered qualifying wild cards the following year.

The complete list of wild cards, including doubles, can be found here.