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Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Tennis Europe's U14 Roehampton Tournament to Decide Wimbledon Entries Begins, Ngounoue Upset in First Round; Eight Collegians Qualify for East Lansing $25K; San Diego $15K Qualifying Concludes; Collins on Financial Literacy; Feature on USTA Player Development

The inaugural event at Wimbledon for players 14 and under is on the official schedule for Thursday July 7 through Sunday July 10, and although some positions have been secured, the 16 boys and 16 girls who will be competing have not yet been announced. Keaton Hance and Nicole Okhtenberg are the two players from the United States who are expected compete, having won their spots at the Easter Bowl this spring.

Europe's four competitors, two boys and two girls, will be decided this week in Roehampton, where first round matches were played today. The winner and runner-up will receive entry into the Wimbledon event, which begins as a round robin, with the winner in each of the four groups advancing to the semifinals. 

Carel Ngounoue of the United States, who often trains in Europe, received a wild card into the Roehampton event and the Les Petits As finalist was seeded No. 2, but he lost today to Mark Ceban of Great Britain 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(3). Ceban finished in fifth place at last year's Junior Orange Bowl 12s, losing in the quarterfinals to champion Svit Suljic of Slovenia, who is also in the Roehampton draw and through to the second round.

Live scoring for the event is available via Tennis Ticker. Draws and times can be found at the Tennis Europe tournament page.

The three rounds of qualifying are complete at the $25,000 USTA Men's Pro Circuit tournameant in East Lansing Michigan, with eight current collegians through to the main draw: Axel Nefve(Notre Dame, Florida), Perry Gregg(Holy Cross, IN), Andres Martin(Georgia Tech), Hunter Heck(Illinois), Joshua Lapadat(Kentucky), Shunsuke Mitsui(Tennessee), Cleeve Harper(Texas) and Jacob Bickersteth(Michigan).

Two lucky losers also made the main draw, for Zeke Clark and Murphy Cassone, who withdrew. Princeton recruit Fnu Nidunjianzan of China, who lost to Martin and Nico Mostardi (Cleveland State), who lost to Lapadat. 

Top seed Noah Rubin(Wake Forest) beat Justin Boulais(Ohio State) 6-4, 6-1 and No. 2 seed Naoki Nakagawa defeated Colin Markes(Texas) 6-3, 6-2 in first round matches played today. The nine remaining first round matches are on Wednesday's schedule. 

The qualifying at the men's and women's $15Ks in San Diego concluded today and nine first round main draw matches were also on the schedule.

American women qualifying were Malaika Rapolu(Texas) and Princeton recruit Katherine Hui; Kyle McPhillips(UCLA) and Makenna Jones(North Carolina) received entry as lucky losers.

Jessica Failla(Pepperdine) is the top seed, with wild cards going to Duke rising freshman Katie Codd, Megan McCray(Oklahoma State), Utah rising freshman Kaila Barksdale and junior Alyssa Ahn.

Americans qualifying for the men's draw are high school rising senior Hudson Rivera, Alexander Petrov(Illinois), Jacob Brumm(Baylor), Eric Hadigian(Pepperdine) and Michael Shabaz(Virginia). 

Gage Brymer(UCLA), the finalist last week in Rancho Santa Fe, is the top seed, with wild cards going to Stefan Menichella (Pepperdine), Ryan Seggerman(Princeton), Siem Woldeab(Texas) and Nikhil Niranjan(San Diego).

The WTA recently featured an article about Danielle Collins and her determination to be financially secure after her tennis playing career is over. Collins admits that even with a degree from Virginia, she didn't have the knowledge about her finances that she needed, and the article explains how a mentor helped her study that aspect of being a professional tennis player. 

I've noticed that USTA Player Development has been more diligent recently about getting the message out about the work it has been doing and the success that American players have had in the past decade; this article from Tennis.com provides an overview of the Team USA philosophy implemented in 2013 and expanded with the opening of the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona, with comments from Martin Blackman, Ola Malmqvist, Kathy Rinaldi and Kent Kinnear.