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Sunday, July 31, 2022

Damm and Quinn Top Kalamazoo 18s Seeds, Horovitz No. 1 in 16s; Scott and Trotter Win $25K USTA Pro Circuit Titles; Brooksby Falls in Atlanta Final; ITF World Junior Tennis 14U Team Event Begins Monday

The draws have been released for the USTA Nationals Boys 16s and 18s Championships in Kalamazoo, with play beginning Friday August 5th.

The B18s top 32 seeds:

1. Martin Damm
2. Ethan Quinn
3. Bruno Kuzuhara
4. Kyle Kang
5. Michael Zheng
6. Nishesh Basavareddy
7. Alex Michelsen
8. Learner Tien
9. Sebastian Gorzny
10. Cooper Williams
11. Ozan Colak
12. Nicholas Godsick
13. Samir Banerjee
14. Hudson Rivera
15. Jack Anthrop
16. Aidan Kim
17. Alexander Frusina
18. Jonach Braswell(WC)
19. Kaylan Bigun
20. Jelani Sarr
21. Meecah Bigun
22. Lucas Brown
23. Ryan Colby
24. Braden Shick
25. Adit Sinha
26. Bryce Nakashima(WC)
27. Alexander Visser
28. Nicholas Heng
29. Landon Ardila
30. Marko Mesarovic
31. Sebastian Sec
32. Alexander Razeghi

Boys 16s Top 32 seeds:
1. Roy Horovitz
2. Quang Duong
3. Adhithya Ganesan
4. Cooper Woestendick
5. Darwin Blanch(WC)
6. Matthew Forbes
7. Stiles Brockett
8. Ian Bracks
9. Mitchell Lee
10. Cyrus Mahjoob
11. Andrew Ena
12. Rudy Quan
13. Calvin Baierl
14. Maxwell Exsted
15. Jordan Reznik
16. Aidan Atwood
17. Chase Fralick
18. Lucas Coriarty
19. Kase Schinnerer
20. Shaurya Bharadwaj
21. Paris Pouatcha (WC)
22. Asror Ismoilov
23. Mikel Anderson
24. Callum Markowitz
25. Sanjeev Chundu
26. Cassius Chinlund
27. Krish Arora
28. Matthew Staton
29. Raghav Jangbahadur
30. Cayden Wang
31. Mikkel Zinder
32. Saahith Jayaraman

For the remaining 33 seeds, see the draws at the the PlayTennis site.

Dallas $25K champion Katrina Scott

Eighteen-year-old Katrina Scott won her second $25K title of the month today, claiming the women's USTA Pro Circuit title in Dallas Texas.  The fifth-seeded Scott, who won the Columbus $25K to start July, ended the month with a convincing 6-1, 6-0 victory over fellow American teenager Elvina Kalieva, the No. 6 seed.  Scott hit ten aces and made 80 percent of her first serves, which explains the lopsided score. Kalieva made only 45 percent of her first serves and had more double faults(4) than aces(3). Although her points are coming from the lowest level, Scott now will move into contention for the USTA's US Open Wild Card Challenge, with two more weeks of competition.

Qualifier James Trotter of Japan, who survived a three-hour and 22 minute semifinal yesterday, had enough energy to come back for his seventh win in seven days in today's final at the $25,000 USTA men's Pro Circuit tournament in Edwardsville Illinois. The Ohio State Buckeye defeated No. 8 seed Nathan Ponwith(Arizona State) 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 for his first singles title on the Pro Circuit. 

At the ATP Challenger 80 in Winnipeg, former USC star Emilio Gomez of Ecuador, the No. 2 seed, defeated former NC State standout Alexis Galarneau of Canada 6-3, 7-6(4) in the final. It's Gomez's fourth Challenger title and his second this year.

No. 6 seed Jenson Brooksby defeated No. 4 seed Frances Tiafoe last night in the ATP Atlanta Open semifinals 6-1, 6-4, reaching his third ATP final, but he again fell short of his first title, losing to No. 3 seed Alex de Minaur of Australia 6-3, 6-3 this evening. 

The ITF's team event for 14-and-under players begins Monday in Prostejov Czech Republic, with the USA boys seeded third and the USA girls seeded second. The Czech Republic is No. 1 in the girls draw and Italy is No. 1 in the boys draw. The tournament begins with round robin play; Monday's match ups and the groups can be found in this ITF Junior Circuit article.  The USA's girls team consists of Shannon Lam, Julieta Pareja and Capucine Jauffret; the USA boys team is Carel Ngounoue, Keaton Hance and Jack Kennedy. Kathy Rinaldi and Jose Caballero are the captains.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

USTA's New Battle of the Sections Begins Sunday; Teens Scott and Kalieva Reach Dallas $25K Final; Ponwith and Trotter Meet for Edwardsville $25K Title; Galarneau and Gomez in Winnipeg Challenger Final

Team competition for the 18s age division the week before the USTA Nationals is a well established tradition, and after a two-year hiatus it returns beginning tomorrow outside Grand Rapids Michigan and in Claremont California.

For many years, the boys tournament was played at the University of Illinois, with teams from each USTA section facing off against each other in a four-day event. Byron Center, which is much closer to Kalamazoo than Champaign, will be site of this year's boys tournament for the first time. The girls tournament moved to Southern California when the Nationals moved from Northern California to San Diego, with Claremont serving as host for that event since.

The format has changed this year to include 16s, with their  Intersectionals competition discontinued. It is no longer in the standard college format with three doubles and six singles, but according to the PlayTennis website, "This is a team tournament where each USTA Sectional Association will have a team represented in a compass draw. Each Section team will be composed of four 16s players and four 18s players and a team match will be composed of 4 doubles matches and 8 singles matches. Participants will play a total of 4 singles and 4 doubles matches throughout the competition."

Because that opens up the possibility of a tie, "If teams are tied at 6-6 after singles and doubles, then coaches pick one 16s and one 18s player to play ONE doubles super TB (no ranking points) to determine which team advances."

The matchups will be decided based on the new World Tennis Number that the USTA has adopted (the boys site shows those numbers, the girls site does not). It doesn't appear to me that the teams are attracting as many top players as they were previously, but it's the first year after two years of no team events at all, so it's hard to be sure.

I plan to go up one day next week to have a look; I never went to Champaign in past years because I'm so busy getting ready for Kalamazoo, but it's so close now, I should be able to fit it in.

The boys PlayTennis site is here; the girls is here. The Southern California section is seeded No. 1 in both events.

Two teenagers have advanced to the final of the $25,000 USTA women's Pro Circuit tournament in Dallas Texas, with Katrina Scott aiming for her second title of the month Sunday and Elvina Kalieva for her first Pro Circuit title.

For the second time in two weeks, Scott, the No. 5 seed this week, defeated Robin Anderson(UCLA), the No. 1 seed this week. Last week at the $60,000 tournament in Evansville, Scott won their first round match 6-1, 5-7, 6-4; today the 18-year-old needed only 67 minutes to get past the former Bruin star 6-1, 6-3.

Kalieva, the No. 6 seed, defeated fellow 19-year-old Hina Inoue 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 to reach her third Pro Circuit final, with the previous two coming at the $60K level. 

Scott and Kalieva haven't played in the pros, but Kalieva has a 2-0 record over Scott in two lower level ITF junior tournaments way back in 2018.

In the Dallas doubles final today, Maria Kozyreva(St. Mary's) and Veronica Miroshnichenko(Loyola Marymount) of Russia defeated Jessie Aney(North Carolina) and Jessica Failla(Pepperdine) 6-4, 6-7(7), 10-5. Neither team was seeded.

At the $25,000 USTA men's Pro Circuit tournament in Edwardsville Illinois, Ohio State's James Trotter of Japan and former Arizona State Sun Devil Nathan Ponwith will meet for the singles title. Ponwith, the No. 8 seed, will be the more rested, as he defeated 2021 NCAA singles champion Sam Riffice(Florida) 6-2, 6-4 in an hour and 44 minutes, while qualifier Trotter needed nearly two hours more than that to beat Patrick Kypson(Texas A&M) 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 7-6(4).

Ponwith reached singles final and won the doubles title at the Edwardsville tournament back in 2019, after winning his first and only singles title two months earlier at a $15,000 tournament in Champaign. Trotter is looking for his first singles title on the Pro Circuit after winning two doubles titles this summer.

In the Edwardsville doubles final this evening, No. 2 seeds Makoto Ochi and Seita Watanabe of Japan defeated unseeded Cooper Williams and Kweisi Kenyatte(Illinois) 7-6(1), 6-3. Williams and Kenyatte had three set points at 5-6 in the first set, but could not get the break, and Ochi and Watanabe dominated the tiebreaker.

At the ATP Challenger 80 in Winnipeg, former North Carolina State star Alexis Galarneau of Canada has advanced to his first Challenger final, defeating qualifier Evan Zhu(UCLA) 6-3, 7-5 into today's semifinal. In Friday's quarterfinal, the unseeded Galarneau beat top seed Liam Broady of Great Britain 7-6(5), 6-7(1), 6-3. He will play No. 2 seed Emilio Gomez(USC) of Ecuador, who beat unseeded Enzo Couacaud of France 6-3, 6-4. 

Regardless of the outcome of the final, Galarneau will move to a career high of ~238, assuring himself of a place in the US Open qualifying, with Monday the ranking date for that entry.

Stanford rising junior Arthur Fery of Great Britain won his first ITF World Tennis Tour singles tournament today on the grass of a $25,000 tournament in Nottingham. Fery, 20, defeated top seed Alastair Gray(TCU) in the first round and No. 6 seed Dan Cox 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 in today's final. 

Friday, July 29, 2022

My Look at Wimbledon's First 14U Tournament; Scott Advances at Dallas $25K; Riffice Reaches Edwardsville $25K Semifinal; Tiafoe Makes Atlanta Open Semifinals

There wasn't a lot of information available in the run up to the first 14-and-under event at Wimbledon, but once I was on site, I was able to talk with a few players and coaches about the experience, as well as the All England Lawn Tennis Club's manager of the tournament.  Those conversations led to this article for the Tennis Recruiting Network, which is less about the results and more generally focused on what led to the introduction of the event and the logistics involved in putting it on.

There is little doubt that the tournament will be a fixture in Wimbledon's second week in the years to come, and I think the fields will get better and better as word of the event spreads throughout the younger age divisions. I do think the USTA needs to come up with a better qualifying system than they did this year, with a grass court event specifically for selecting the US entrants preferable to using the Easter Bowl. The fact that the Wimbledon tournament uses the ITF birth-year age eligibility rule rather than the USTA's birth-month rule complicated the selection process this year at the Easter Bowl, so a playoff tournament in June, on grass, with only those age-eligible invited, would be ideal.

The semifinals are set at the $25,000 USTA women's Pro Circuit tournament in Dallas, with Katrina Scott defeating 16-year-old wild card Clervie Ngounoue 6-4, 7-6(4) to advance to her second Pro Circuit semifinal of the month. The fifth-seeded 18-year-old, who won the $25K in Columbus earlier this month, reached the quarterfinals last week at the Evansville. She will face top seed Robin Anderson(UCLA), a 6-4, 7-6(2) winner today over Alexa Glatch. Scott defeated Anderson 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 in the first round last week in Evansville, with Anderson the No. 2 seed there.

The other semifinal will feature two 19-year-olds: Elvina Kalieva, the No. 6 seed, and unseeded Hina Inoue. Kalieva beat 2022 NCAA champion Peyton Stearns(Texas) 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, while Inoue came out on top in a nearly three-hour battle with No. 2 seed Hanna Chang 7-5, 6-7(2), 6-2. All matches this week have been, and will be continue to be, played indoors due to the heat.

The last two juniors lost today in the quarterfinals of the $25,000 USTA men's Pro Circuit tournament in Edwardsville Illinois. Qualifier Jack Anthrop(Ohio State) fell to No. 8 seed Nathan Ponwith(Arizona State) 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, while Michael Zheng completed his rain-delayed second round with a 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-3 win over No. 6 seed Peter Bertan of the Dominican Republic, but then lost later in the day to 2021 NCAA champion Sam Riffice(Florida) 6-4, 6-1. Riffice, who is not returning for a fifth year at Florida, had won only one match in his four tournaments as a professional until this week. He plays Ponwith Saturday.

In the bottom half semifinal, qualifier James Trotter(Ohio State) of Japan will play Patrick Kypson(Texas A&M) for a place in the final. Trotter defeated Karlins Ozolins(Illinois) of Latvia 6-4, 6-3, while Kypson beat No. 5 seed Zeke Clark 7-6(3), 6-4.

Cooper Williams, who will be playing Kalamazoo next week, is through to the doubles final in Edwardsville, with partner Kweisi Kenyatte(Illinois). The unseeded pair pulled off a big upset today, defeating last week's Indianapolis Challenger doubles finalists Purav Raja and Divij Sharan of India 6-3, 3-6, 10-8. They will play No. 2 seeds Makoto Ochi and Seita Watanabe of Japan for the title Saturday.

Last night's second round match at the ATP Atlanta Open was a doozy, with No. 2 seed John Isner defeating wild card Ben Shelton(Florida) 7-6(8), 4-6, 7-6(3). Shelton faced only two break points in the match, saving both, while Isner was 1 for 2 in saving break points. The serving stats were similar, with Shelton hitting 13 aces and Isner 16, although Isner was at 70% first serves. As always in an Isner match, it comes down to a few points, usually in a tiebreaker, and the former Georgia Bulldog, who is the defending champion in Atlanta and has won the tournament six times, came out on top.

Isner will play another American, Jenson Brooksby, the No. 6 seed, tonight for a place in the semifinals against Frances Tiafoe.

Tiafoe, the No. 4 seed, continued his domination of Brandon Nakashima, the No. 8 seed, beating him for the third time this year 6-4, 6-2 in just over an hour. Tiafoe had eight aces and no doubles faults and played flawlessly in a match that was delayed by rain and lightning for two hours late this afternoon.

In the top half, No. 5 seed Tommy Paul lost to Ilya Ivashka of Belarus 6-2, 3-6, 6-1, and No. 3 seed Alex De Minaur of Australia defeated lucky loser Adrian Mannarino of France 4-6, 6-3, 6-0.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

USTA Nationals 12s and 14s Wild Cards; 16-Year-Old Ngounoue Posts Best Career Win at Dallas $25K; Anthrop Advances at Edwardsville $25K; Ayeni and Zhu Face Off in Winnipeg Challenger Quarterfinals

I posted the wild cards for the USTA Boys and Girls 16s and 18s on Monday, but didn't have any information on the 12s and 14s until today. As you can see, there is much less demand for a wild card in those age divisions, but because there is no designation on the draws, it's important to those of us reporting on the tournaments to have access to that information somehow.

B12s:
Gaurbaaz Narang
Quint Freeman
Payton Yea

G12s:
Nala Gorham
Welles Newman  (USTA 12s Clay Court finalist)
Bella Arwood
Lola Llach

B14s:
Joshua Miller
Udaijot Sangha
Jack Lindstrom
Juan Parrilla
Harrison Glickstein

none


Clervie Ngounoue has shown no sign of rust since returning to competitive tennis this week at the $25,000 USTA women's Pro Circuit tournament in Dallas. The 16-year-old from Washington DC hadn't played since retiring from her semifinal match at a $15K in Morocco in March, but today she picked up the best win of her career, defeating No. 4 seed and WTA No. 241 Marcela Zacarias of Mexico 7-5, 6-3. Next up for Ngounoue, who is using the Dallas tournament as a warmup for the USTA Girls Nationals next month in San Diego, is 18-year-old Katrina Scott, the No. 5 seed. Scott, who is not playing San Diego, defeated wild card Kylie McKenzie 6-2, 6-0. 

An American champion is already guaranteed in Dallas, with the other three quarterfinal matches also between US players.

Top seed Robin Anderson(UCLA) will face Alexa Glatch; No. 6 seed Elvina Kalieva will play NCAA champion Peyton Stearns, and Hina Inoue takes on No. 2 seed Hanna Chang.

The quarterfinals are not quite set at the $25,000 Men's Pro Circuit tournament in Edwardsville Illinois, after play was canceled for the day due to rain with Michael Zheng leading No. 6 seed Peter Bertran(South Florida) of the Dominican Republic 6-1, 2-3.  The other seven singles matches were completed.

Georgia redshirt freshman Ethan Quinn's Pro Circuit winning streak ended at six, when last week's Champaign champion retired trailing qualifier Jack Anthrop 5-2. Anthrop will face No. 8 seed Nathan Ponwith(Arizona State). Ponwith won their second round meeting earlier this month at the Lakewood $15K 6-1, 6-1.

In the other quarterfinals, unseeded Karlis Ozolins(Illinois) of Latvia will play qualifier James Trotter(Ohio State) of Japan after both took out seeds. Ozolins defeated No. 7 seed Makoto Ochi of Japan 7-6(5), 6-2 and Trotter outsted No. 2 seed Martin Damm 6-4, 6-4. Patrick Kypson(Texas A&M), who beat Ronan Jachuck(Harvard) by the bizarre score of 6-1, 0-6, 6-1, will face No. 5 seed Zeke Clark(Illinois), who advanced when Stefan Dostanic(USC) retired trailing 5-2.

Sam Riffice(Florida) beat top seed Pedja Krstin of Serbia 6-2, 6-1 and will play the winner of the Zheng-Bertran match in the quarterfinals.

Today's action at the ATP Challenger 80 in Winnipeg, which was washed out yesterday, saw qualifiers Evan Zhu(UCLA) and Alafia Ayeni(Cornell) advance to a quarterfinal meeting. Zhu, who defeated No. 5 seed Kaichi Uchida of Japan 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, will be playing in his second Challenger quarterfinal. Ayeni defeated qualifier Kyle Edmund the former ATP No. 14 from Great Britain,  7-6(2), 6-2 with Edmund returning to competition this week after injuries have kept him out for the better part of two years. It's Ayeni's first quarterfinal at the Challenger level. 

Andres Martin of Georgia Tech played his second round ATP Atlanta Open match against lucky loser Adrian Mannarino of France today, and although he got off to an excellent start, leading 4-1 in the first set, the rising junior lost to the ATP No. 78 7-5, 6-3.  No. 6 seed Jenson Brooksby(Baylor) defeated Mackenzie McDonald(UCLA) 6-3, 6-4 in the other second round day match in Atlanta. NCAA champion Ben Shelton(Florida) plays No. 2 seed John Isner(Georgia) later tonight.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Three Americans Advance to Atlanta Open Quarterfinals; Zheng, Quinn, Anthrop and Damm Reach Edwardsville $25K Second Round; Ngounoue, Yu Win at Dallas $25K; Change in USA's World Junior Tennis Girls Roster

The day after two collegians from the United States won their first ATP match at the Atlanta Open, three Americans advanced to Friday's quarterfinals. No. 5 seed Tommy Paul beat Soonwoo Kwon of Korea 6-3, 6-3, former Virginia Cavalier Brandon Nakashima[8] defeated John Millman of Australia 7-6(8), 6-4, saving three set points in the first set tiebreaker; No. 4 seed Francis Tiafoe, playing his first match of the tournament after receiving a first round bye, took out qualifier Taro Daniel of Japan 7-5, 6-4. 

Top seed Reilly Opelka withdrew today, with Steve Johnson(USC) receiving entry as a lucky loser. He lost tonight to Ilya Ivashka of Belarus 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Tiafoe will face 2021 finalist Nakashima on Friday, with Tiafoe holding a 3-0 advantage in the head-to-head, with wins this year at both Indian Wells and Miami.

In Thursday's second round matches, NCAA champion and Florida rising junior Ben Shelton will face No. 2 seed John Isner, and Andres Martin, a rising junior at Georgia Tech, will play lucky loser Adrian Mannarino of France, after Nick Kyrgios withdrew prior to his match last night. Jenson Brooksby(Baylor)[6] meets Mackenzie McDonald(UCLA) in the other all-USA second round match.

Four players who will be competing in the Boys 18s Nationals next month in Kalamazoo have won their first round matches today at the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Edwardsville Illinois

Qualifier Jack Anthrop, a redshirt freshman at Ohio State, defeated former Buckeye standout Kyle Seelig, the No. 4 seed, 7-5, 6-1. He will face fellow 18-year-old Ethan Quinn, last week's champion at the $25K in Champaign, who extended his pro winning streak to six matches with a 6-4, 7-6(3) win over qualifier Martins Rocens(NC State) of Latvia. Wimbledon boys finalist Michael Zheng defeated Kareem Al Allaf(Iowa) of Syria 6-3, 6-4 and will face No. 6 seed Peter Bertran(South Florida) of the Dominican Republic Thursday. No. 2 seed Martin Damm won the battle of the 2018 and 2019 Kalamazoo 16s champions today, beating Alex Bernard 6-3, 6-2. Because Bernard turns 19 next month, he is not eligible for Kalamazoo this year; Damm doesn't turn 19 until September, so he is eligible. Damm's opponent Thursday is qualifier James Trotter(Ohio State) of Japan, who beat Osgar O'Hoisin(Wisconsin) of Ireland 6-2, 6-2.

Two girls competing in the Girls 18s Nationals next month in San Diego won first round matches today at the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Dallas, with 16-year-old Clervie Ngounoue picking up her first win since March. Ngounoue, currently No. 22 in the ITF Junior Circuit ranking, defeated qualifier Taylor Ng(Dartmouth) 7-6(5), 6-4. Qualifier Eleana Yu defeated lucky loser Maria Kononova(North Texas) 6-0, 7-6(6), with Kononova replacing Catherine Harrison. 2021 San Diego 18s finalist Reese Brantmeier, who is playing San Diego again this year, lost 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to Madison Sieg, the rising USC freshman, who is 19 and therefore ineligible for the Nationals. 18s Clay Court champion Bridget Stammel, a wild card, played top seed Robin Anderson(UCLA) close, but lost 7-6(3), 7-6(5).

As I mentioned last week, the ITF World Junior Tennis 14U team competition begins August 1 in the Czech Republic. Tyra Grant was initially announced as one of the three US girls on the team, but she is not competing, with Capucine Jauffret instead joining Shannon Lam and Julieta Pareja.

Earlier this week, the ITF spoke with Kathy Rinaldi, the head of women's tennis at the USTA and this year's WJT captain, about her past experiences at the event and what she expects the US girls will learn from competing there.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Shelton Wins First ATP Match, Martin Upsets Kokkinakis in Atlanta; Qualifying Complete at Women's $25K in Dallas; Nanda Wins 2019 Kalamazoo Final Rematch; Herendeen Named Head Coach at Texas Tech

2022 NCAA singles champion Ben Shelton received a wild card into the ATP 250 Atlanta Open this week and in his first ATP main draw match, the rising junior at the University of Florida earned a victory, defeating qualifier Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-2, 7-5. Shelton showed few signs of nerves in his ATP debut, getting early breaks in both sets, which allowed him to hit out aggressively and take chances in his return games. Although he saved seven of the eight break points he faced, Shelton lost his second set lead of 4-3, but broke at 5-all and held for the win.

Shelton will play No. 2 seed and defending champion John Isner(Georgia) on Thursday. For more on Shelton's win today, and his comments on returning to Florida for his junior year, can be found in this Tennis Panorama article.

In what is designated as College Night in Atlanta, Georgia Tech rising junior Andres Martin, who received this year's collegiate wild card given to a local Georgia player, stunned ATP No. 69 Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia 6-3, 6-2. As with Shelton, it's the first ATP level match for Martin, and unlike Shelton, Martin played his first two professional circuit matches at any level this summer. He will now face the winner of tonight's late match between qualifier Peter Gojowzcyk of Germany and No. 7 seed Nick Kyrgios of Australia.

Other Americans winning their first round matches yesterday and today are 2021 finalist Brandon Nakashima(Virginia), No. 5 seed Tommy Paul, No. 6 seed Jenson Brooksby(Baylor) and Mackenzie McDonald(UCLA). 

There are just two USTA Pro Circuit tournaments this week, a $25,000 event for women in Dallas and a $25,000 event for men in Edwardsville Illinois.

Rain has delayed the completion of qualifying in Edwardsville, but the main draw has begun, and there will be six players competing in the Kalamazoo Nationals warming up for that tournament this week: Michael Zheng, Ethan Quinn(Georgia), wild card Cooper Williams, No. 2 seed Martin Damm, wild card Kyle Kang and Jack Anthroph, who beat Nishesh Basavareddy tonight in a final round qualifying match.  The other two wild cards went to Hunter Heck(Illinois) and Stefan Dostanic(USC). Pedja Krstin of Serbia is again the top seed, as he was last week in Champaign.

I believe the women are playing indoors at the SMU courts in Dallas due to heat, although as with Evansville last week, it's officially an outdoor tournament. All eight final round qualifying matches were played today, as well as four first round matches in the main draw. 

Advancing to the main draw are Americans Maegan Manasse(Cal), Kylie Collins(Texas/LSU), Taylor Ng(Dartmouth), Eleana Yu and Elysia Bolton(UCLA), along with collegians Snow Han(USC) of China, Ena Shibahara(UCLA) of Japan and Jessica Hinojosa Gomez(Baylor) of Mexico.

Wild cards were given to Dallas resident and USTA 18s Clay Court champion Bridget Stammel, who drew top seed Robin Anderson(UCLA); SMU senior Hadley Doyle, Kylie McKenzie and 16-year-old Clervie Ngounoue. Ngounoue, who has not played since March, is also entered in the USTA Girls 18s Nationals in San Diego next month.

Hanna Chang, the No. 2 seed, won her first round match today, but Jessie Aney(North Carolina) beat No. 3 seed Emiliana Arango of Colombia 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

There is no ATP Challenger this week in the United States, but quite a group of Americans went to Winnipeg Canada for an 80 there. Govind Nanda(UCLA) and Zachary Svajda both qualified for the main draw and met today in the first round in a rematch of the 2019 Kalamazoo 18s boys final, which Svajda won 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 for his first of two Kalamazoo 18s titles. Today it was Nanda who came back, with the 21-year-old California earning a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory.

Other Americans advancing to the second round in Winnipeg are qualifier Alafia Ayeni(Cornell), who beat No. 4 seed Michael Mmoh 6-4, 6-4, qualifier Evan Zhu(UCLA) and Alex Rybakov(TCU).

What I believe was the last open head coaching position in a major tennis conference is now closed, with Texas Tech hiring former Furman coach Adam Herendeen to take over its women's program. Herendeen coached the women at Furman for seven years, winning six conference titles and making the NCAA tournament five times. Herendeen replaces Todd Petty, who resigned late last month.

Monday, July 25, 2022

San Diego and Kalamazoo USTA Nationals Wild Cards; USTA's Jackson Takes Over at Princeton; Quevedo Extends Winning Streak with J2 Title; Murthy Claims J3 in Dominican Republic

Wild cards have been selected for the upcoming USTA 16s and 18s Nationals. Wimbledon girls champion Liv Hovde has apparently changed her mind about playing after she confirmed she would when I asked her about it at Wimbledon; Sonya Macavei is also a notable top ITF player that isn't competing. The complete list of entrants for the girls is here and the boys is here.

G18s:
Rachel Gailis
Katherine Hui
Luciana Perry
Akasha Urhobo
Emma Sun
Rebecca Lynn
Sankavi Gownder

G16s:
Emily Baek
Maya Iyengar
Sophie Suh
Sophia Yang

B18s:
Braden Shick
Jonah Braswell
Sean Daryabiegi
Rohan Murali
Bryce Nakashima
Joseph Phillips
Dylan Charlap
Eli Stephenson

B16s:
Darwin Blanch
Maximus Dussault
Joseph Oyebog
Rohan Belday
Lachlan Gaskell
Nicolas Iantosca
Paris Pouatcha
Dominick Mosejczuk


Jamea Jackson, a USTA National Coach for the past nine years, has been named the new women's head coach at Princeton, succeeding Laura Granville, who resigned for personal reasons last month. Jackson, who was the assistant women's coach at Oklahoma State prior to joining the USTA, worked primarily with junior girls in Boca Raton and Lake Nona. With her background in professional tennis, Jackson had a full array of development experience to draw on, and I know she'll be missed at the USTA and will be difficult to replace. It will be great to continue seeing her on the recruiting trail however, and comforting to know she is staying in the coaching profession. Today's release on her hiring, containing glowing remarks from her colleagues, is here.

On the ITF Junior Circuit last week, Americans won seven titles, with Kaitlin Quevedo capturing her second straight singles championship this week at the J2 in Colombia. After taking the J3 in Medellin last week, the 16-year-old won six more matches this week in Bogota, with the No. 1 seed beating unseeded Antonia Vergara Rivera of Chile 6-1, 7-6(7) in the final. Quevedo, who has lost only one set in her 11 consecutive victories, is now up to 55 in the ITF junior rankings.

Valeria Ray won the doubles title in Bogota, with Cindy Zhao of China. Ray and Zhao, the No. 2 seeds, defeated top seeds Quevedo and Ashton Bowers 6-4, 6-7(3), 10-2 in the final.

Sixteen-year-old Anya Murthy won her second ITF junior circuit singles title at the Grade 3 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Seeded No. 3, Murthy defeated her doubles partner, unseeded Brooklyn Olson, 6-2, 6-1 in the all-American final. 

Preston Stearns won the Santo Domingo boys doubles title, with China's Yi Zhou. The top seeds defeated No. 2 seeds Jules Leroux of France and Jack Loge of Belgium 6-2, 6-4 in the final.

The other three titles came at the Grade 5 in Kingston Jamaica. Seventeen-year-old Esunge Ndumbe had never won a main draw match in ITF Junior Circuit play prior to this week, but he won five matches to take the boys singles title. He defeated No. 7 seed Dominick Mosejczuk 1-6, 6-4, 6-0 in another all-USA final.

The boys doubles championship was also decided between Americans, with No. 3 seeds Nicolas Iantosca and Mosejczuk defeating No. 2 seeds Malik Trail and Yubel Ubri 7-5, 6-1. It's the first ITF junior circuit title for the 15-year-olds.

The girls doubles title went to No. 4 seeds Sanjana Devineni and Great Britain's Athina Schlepphorst, who defeated No. 3 seeds Kayla Moore and Jamaica's Alyssa James 7-5, 6-3 in the final. It's the first ITF junior circuit title for the 15-year-old Devineni.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Pro Circuit Titles for Teens Quinn, Krueger and Mboko; Another Challenger Trophy for Wu; Jimenez Kasintseva and Bailly Claim European JB1 Titles; Giron, Korda and Nakashima Kick Off Atlanta Open Monday

It was milestones all around for three juniors today, with 15-year-old Canadian Victoria Mboko and 18-year-old Ashlyn Krueger winning their first Pro Circuit titles, while 18-year-old Ethan Quinn picked up his first title above the $15K level.

The unseeded Mboko defeated 19-year-old Madison Sieg, a rising freshman at USC and also unseeded, 6-2, 6-0 today at the $25,000 women's ITF World Tennis Tour tournament in Saskatoon Canada. Mboko, who reached the final of a $25K in Tunisia this spring, had a supportive crowd cheering her throughout and didn't face a break point after the fifth game of the first set.

Krueger, who won her first ITF Pro Circuit title earlier this year in doubles, collected her first singles title today at the $60,000 USTA women's Pro Circuit tournament in Evansville Indiana. Krueger, the 2021 USTA 18s singles and doubles champion, avenged her two recent losses to Sachia Vickery, taking out the No. 5 seed by a score of 6-3, 7-5 in today's final, played indoors. Krueger now moves into the WTA Top 250, which is slam qualifying territory, and will be in the lead in the women's USTA US Open Wild Card Challenge when the first women's rankings come out Monday.

Quinn's first title at the $25,000 level didn't come easily; the Georgia redshirt freshman went three sets in four of his five matches this week in Champaign Illinois, including the final, where the Fresno native defeated qualifier Stefan Dostanic(USC) 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-2.

Quinn will move to just outside the ATP Top 500 when the points are added a week from Monday, after having no ranking in March. Last year, Ben Shelton came to play the Kalamazoo Nationals after having won Champaign (it was played a week later last year) and he reached the 18s final. Quinn is entered in the $25K starting tomorrow in Edwardsville, with Kalamazoo starting the weekend following the final in Edwardsville.

Former Illinois star Aleks Kovacevic couldn't stop the freight train that is Yibing Wu, although he had six match points in today's final at the Rajeev Ram Foundation ATP Challenger 80 in Indianapolis. Wu, the 22-year-old from China, saved one of those match points at 5-6 in the second set and five more in the tiebreaker before going on to a 6-7(10), 7-6(13), 6-3 victory in just under three hours. Wu, who won last week's ATP Challenger in Rome Georgia, had an ATP ranking of 1869 in March; with this title, the 2017 US Open boys champion is up to 174. Kovacevic will move up in the US Open Wild Card Challenge rankings with his appearance in the final, behind Ben Shelton, but with Shelton already getting the wild card via his NCAA title, Kovacevic will be the effective leader. 

In the doubles final last night in Indianapolis, top seeds Hunter Reese(Tennessee) and Hans Hach Verdugo(Abilene Christian) of Mexico defeated unseeded Purav Raja and Divij Sharan of India 7-6(3), 3-6, 10-7. It's Reese's 17th ITF or Challenger doubles title; Verdugo has 26, including an ATP title, but it's their first as a team.

The European Championships concluded today, with the ITF JB1 in Klosters Switzerland, and the 14s and 16s in the Czech Republic. 

Top seed Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra defeated No. 4 seed Celine Naef of Switzerland 6-2, 6-3 to win her first junior title since October of 2020.  Roland Garros runnerup Gilles Bailly of Belgium, the No. 3 seed, won the boys title, defeating No. 4 seed Dino Prizmic of Croatia 6-2, 6-3. Both No. 1 seeds took the doubles titles, with Jakub Mensik and Jakub Nicod of the Czech Republic defeating No. 2 seeds Mika Brunold and Kilian Feldbausch of Switzerland 6-3, 6-4. The Slovakian team of Nikola Daubnerova and Nina Vargova beat No. 5 seeds Naef and Karolina Kozakova 6-2, 6-7(2), 10-3 in the championship match.

At the 16s Championships in Prerov, No. 5 seed Joel Schwaerzler of Austria shocked top seed Martin Landaluce of Spain 6-4, 6-4 in the boys final. Schwaerzler is No. 116 in the ITF junior rankings, while Landaluce is No. 9.  No. 6 seed Mia Ristic of Serbia won the girls title, beating Maria Soriano Santiago of Spain 6-1, 6-1 in the final. 

At the 14s Championships in Most, top seed Alena Kovackova of the Czech Republic defeated No. 9 seed Mia Pohankova of Slovakia 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 for the girls singles title. Unseeded (despite being the reigning Les Petits As champion) Thijs Boogaard of the Netherlands won the boys title, beating unseeded Diego Dedura-Palomero of Germany 6-3, 6-2 in the final. 

The US Open Series kicks off Monday at the ATP Atlanta Open, with three Americans in first round action. Marcos Giron(UCLA) faces Soonwoo Kwon of Korea; Sebastian Korda plays qualifier Taro Daniel of Japan and No. 8 seed Brandon Nakashima will take on Jordan Thompson of Australia. No Americans qualified, with both Steve Johnson(USC) and Donald Young losing today in the final round, but five of the top six seeds are Americans, with Reilly Opelka No. 1 and defending champion John Isner(Georgia) the No. 2 seed.

Wild card Andres Martin of Georgia Tech will play Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia and wild card Ben Shelton of Florida will face qualifier Ramkumar Ramanathan of India in the first round Tuesday.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Quinn and Dostanic Meet for Champaign $25K Title; Sieg and Mboko Advance to Saskatoon $25K Final; Krueger and Vickery Reach $60K Final; Kovacevic Beats Shelton at Indianapolis Challenger; Americans Sweep WTA Hamburg Titles

Ethan Quinn and Stefan Dostanic met last week in the second round of the $15,000 SoCal Pro Circuit tournament in Lakewood, with Quinn coming away with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 victory. The University of Georgia redshirt freshman and the University of Southern California rising senior will meet again in the first final of a $25,000 Pro Circuit event for either of them on Sunday in Champaign Illinois.

The 18-year-old Quinn defeated No. 8 seed Cannon Kingsley(Ohio State) 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, with qualifier Dostanic, 20, beating unseeded Patrick Kypson(Texas A&M) 7-5, 6-3. Dostanic has now won six singles matches in the past six days, and also won the doubles title today, with Johannes Monday(Tennessee) of Great Britain. Dostanic and Monday defeated the Ohio State pair of Justin Boulais of Canada and James Trotter of Japan 7-6(4), 6-3 in the final. 

Canadian Victoria Mboko, who reached the Wimbledon girls singles semifinals earlier this month, is through to her second $25K final of the year after the 15-year-old defeated No. 6 seed Elysia Bolton(UCLA) 6-2, 6-2 in today's semifinals in Saskatoon Canada today. Mboko, who turns 16 next month, will play USC rising freshman Madison Sieg, who received a walkover into the final from No. 3 seed Hurricane Tyra Black.

Seventeen-year-olds Marina Stakusic and Kayla Cross won the doubles title, with the Canadians defeating their fellow unseeded team of Kendra Bunch(Drexel) and Katarina Kozarov(Furman) of Serbia 6-3, 7-6(4) in today's final.

Ashlyn Krueger has advanced to her first $60K singles final, with the 18-year-old Texan defeating Catherine Harrison(UCLA) 6-0, 7-6(6) in today's semifinal in Evansville Indiana. Krueger will face No. 5 seed Sachia Vickery, who defeated Elli Mandlik 7-6(5), 7-5. Krueger and Vickery have played twice since last fall, at the WTA 125 in Midland and at the Orlando $60K, with Vickery winning both times in straight sets. The match is scheduled to be played indoors due to the excessive heat, the fourth straight day where conditions have not allowed play outdoors.

Wild cards Kollie Allen(Ohio State) and Ava Markham(Wisconsin) were the surprise winners of the doubles title in Evansville, beating 2021 NCAA doubles finalist Kylie Collins(Texas) and 2021 USTA girls 18s and US Open girls doubles champion Krueger 3-6, 6-1, 10-3 in today's final. 

Aleks Kovacevic(Illinois) spoiled a second straight Challenger final between Ben Shelton and China's Yibing Wu, when the 23-year-old avenged his lost last week to Shelton by taking a 6-4, 7-5 decision today at the Rajeev Ram Foundation's event in Indianapolis. Wu, last week's champion, defeated Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan 7-5, 6-3 for his ninth consecutive Challenger win. It's the first Challenger final for Kovacevic, who completed his eligibility at Illinois in 2021.

Post-Wimbledon tournaments on European clay are not where you expect Americans to sweep titles, but the WTA 250 in Hamburg Germany concluded today with three Americans holding the winners' trophies.  Bernarda Pera, who won her first WTA title last week in Budapest as a qualifier, kept right on rolling this week, defeating top seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-2 6-4 in today's final.

As those who read my posts on the USTA Pro Circuit know, Sophie Chang and Angela Kulikov(USC) have been on a great run this year, with the pair claiming four titles all at the $60K and above level, on both clay and hard courts. In their first appearance in a WTA tournament this week, they won the title, beating No. 3 seeds Aldila Sutjiadi(Kentucky) of Indonesia and Miyu Kato of Japan 6-3, 4-6, 10-6. Both Chang and Kulikov will move into the WTA Top 100 in the doubles ranking with the title.

For more on today's Hamburg finals, see this article from the WTA website.

Today in the first round of qualifying at the ATP 250 Atlanta Open, Steve Johnson(USC), the No. 3 seed, saved a match point at 5-6 in the second set tiebreaker and went on to beat 18-year-old wild card Bruno Kuzuhara 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3. The other American advancing to the final round of qualifying is Donald Young, who moved on when JJ Wolf(Ohio State) retired trailing 4-6, 6-4, 3-1.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Teens Shelton, Krueger, Quinn, Sieg and Mboko Reach Pro Circuit Semifinals; Kuzuhara Faces Johnson in Atlanta Open Qualifying; Recap of 18s Clay Court Championships; Stowe Stadium Resurfacing Underway

Teenagers continue to post impressive results this week in North America, with at least one advancing to the semifinals of this week's USTA and ITF Pro Circuit tournaments.

At the ATP Challenger 80, a new tournament in Indianapolis sponsored by the Rajeev Ram Foundation, NCAA singles Ben Shelton defeated Wimbledon doubles champion Max Purcell of Australia 7-6(5), 6-4 to reach the semifinals, a week after he advanced to the final of the Challenger in Rome Georgia. The 19-year-old, who is a rising junior at Florida, will face Aleks Kovacevic(Illinois) in Saturday's semifinals; in Rome, the two met in the quarterfinals with Shelton winning the tense and well-played match 7-6(2), 7-5.  Kovacevic defeated No. 5 seed Dominik Koepfer(Tulane) of Germany 7-5, 7-6(5) in the quarterfinals today. 

The other semifinal will feature Rome champion Yibing Wu of China and Yatsutaka Uchiyama of Japan, with Wu defeating Alex Rybkov 6-3, 6-3, and Uchiyama getting the better of No. 8 seed Chris Eubanks(Georgia Tech) 7-6(3), 6-7(4), 6-4. None of the semifinalists are seeded.

Play begins at 2 p.m. tomorrow, with free live streaming, available at the ATP Challenger website. Mike Cation is providing commentary.

After two rounds of singles today, the $60,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Evansville Indiana is back on schedule, after heat and humidity sent all matches indoors for the past two days.  2021 USTA National 18s champion Ashlyn Krueger won two matches today, with the 18-year-old Texan beating Alexa Glatch and qualifier Vicky Duval in straight sets.  Krueger will play unseeded Catherine Harrison, who has continued the form she displayed at Wimbledon, where she qualified and reached the second round. Harrison defeated qualifier Maegan Manasse(Cal) and Katherine Sebov of Canada in straight sets today to reach the semifinals. The other semifinal will feature Elli Mandlik and No. 5 seed Sachia Vickery.

As with the women in Evansville, the men in the semifinals at the $25K in Champaign are all Americans. Ethan Quinn, who made the semifinals of the $15K in Lakewood last week, reached his second $25K semifinal with a 7-5, 7-5 victory over Kareem Al Allaf(Iowa) of Syria. The 18-year-old Georgia freshman will face No. 8 seed Cannon Kingsley(Ohio State), who beat Eduardo Nava(Wake Forest) 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. The other semifinal has 2017 Kalamazoo 18s champion Patrick Kypson(Texas A&M) meeting qualifier Stefan Dostanic(USC). Kypson defeated No. 5 seed Peter Bertran(South Florida) of the Dominican Republic 6-4, 6-4, while Dostanic won his third consecutive three-setter today, beating No. 2 seed Omni Kumar(Duke)5-7, 6-1, 7-6(0). Kingsley is the only seed remaining.

At the $25,000 ITF World Tennis Tour women's tournament in Saskatoon Canada, both 15-year-old Canadian Victoria Mboko and 19-year-old Madison Sieg(USC) are through to the semifinals. Mboko defeated No. 5 seed Stacey Fung of Canada 6-2, 6-3 and will play No. 6 seed Elysia Bolton(UCLA), who beat No. 4 seed Jessie Aney(North Carolina) 6-3, 6-3. 

Sieg needed three hours and eight minutes to get past 17-year-old Marina Stakusic 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(4). Sieg will play No. 3 seed Hurricane Tyra Black, who beat 16-year-old qualifier Teah Chavez of Canada 6-2, 6-0.

The US Open Series begins tomorrow with qualifying for the Atlanta Open, and Bruno Kuzuhara will be first up. The 2022 Australian Open boys singles and doubles champion, who received a wild card into qualifying, will face Steve Johnson(USC) on the Stadium Court beginning at 10:00 a.m. The other all-USA qualifying match will feature Donald Young, who won a wild card tournament, and JJ Wolf(Ohio State).  Other Americans in action Saturday are Stefan Kozlov, Chris Eubanks and Ernesto Escobedo.

The Tennis Recruiting Network wrapped up its USTA National Clay Court Championships coverage today with article on the boys 18s title for Nicholas Heng and the girls 18s title for Bridget Stammel.

The photo below is for those of you making your way to Kalamazoo in the next week or ten days to compete at the Nationals. The Stowe Stadium courts are being completely resurfaced for the first time in quite a few years, so they are likely to be slower than they were for last year's tournament. 

The USTA wild card meeting for the Nationals was today, but it will be several days before those names will be released.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Quarterfinals Set at European Championships; Recaps of 16s Clay Courts; Quinn Reaches Champaign $25K Quarterfinals; Shelton Will Make ATP Debut at Atlanta Open, Kuzuhara Receives Qualifying Wild Card

The quarterfinals are set for Friday at the 14s, 16s and ITF European championships, with four of the six No. 1 seeds still alive for the singles titles. 

The top seed in the girls 16s draw, Tereza Valentova of the Czech Republic, withdrew before the tournament began. Boys 14s top seed Ivan Ivanov of Bulgaria lost today. B16s No. 1 seed Martin Landaluce of Spain, G14s top seed Alena Kovackova of the Czech Republic, ITF top seeds Jakub Mensik of the Czech Republic and Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra won their round of 16 matches today.

The British girls have been impressive all week, with both Hannah Klugman and Mika Stojsavljevic reaching the quarterfinals in the 14s, Mingge Xu reaching the quarterfinals in the 16s and Ella McDonald advancing to the final eight in the ITF tournament. Stojsavelijevic beat No. 2 seed Eliska Forejtkova of the Czech Republic by the delightful score of 6-0, 6-7, 6-0 today, and Xu beat No. 2 seed and Wimbledon girls doubles champion Rose Nijkamp of the Netherlands 7-6(3), 6-3. The unseeded McDonald has yet to drop a set in her three victories.

Klugman wasn't seeded, despite reaching the final at Les Petits As this year. Even worse, boys champion Thijs Boogard of the Netherlands wasn't seeded either, and he too is in the quarterfinals. Klugman plays Kovackova of the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals, which is not ideal, for either player. The quarterfinal matchups are below; Tennis Europe is providing a live blog daily here.

ITF JB1
Boys:
Jakub Mensik[1](CZE) v. Edas Butvilas[5](LTU)
Dino Prizmic[4](CRO) v. Alexandre Blockx[12](BEL)
Gilles Bailly[2](BEL) v. Henrique Rocha(POR)
Kilian Feldbausch[2](SUI) v. Iliyan Radulov(BUL)

Girls:
Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva[1](AND) v. Nikola Daubnerova[5](SVK)
Brenda Fruhvirtova[3](CZE) v. Ariana Geerlings ESP)
Celine Naef[4](SUI) v. Ella McDonald (GBR)
Joelle Steur[11](GER) v. Raquel Gonzalez Vilar[14](ESP)

G14s
Alena Kovackova([1](CZE) v. Hannah Klugman(GBR)
Laura Samsonova[3](CZE) v. Sona Depesova[8](SVK)
Charo Esquiva BaƱuls[12](ESP) v. Veronika Sekerkova[4](CZE)
Mia Pohankova[9](SVK) v. Mika Stojsavljevic[13](GBR)

B14s
Diego Dedura-Palomero(GER) v Ziga Sesko[11](SLO)
Matei Todoran[4](ROU) v. Filip Kosarko[5](CZE)
Vito Antonio Darderi(ITA) v. Thijs Boogard (NED)
Timeo Trufelli[10](FRA) v. Marko Dragovic[13](SRB)

G16s
Emily Sartz-Lunde[13](NOR) v. Yoana Konstantinova[5](BUL)
Marta Soriano Santiago(ESP) v. Sarah Iliev(FRA)
Mia Ristic[6](SRB) v. Artemis Aslanisvili[15](GRE)
Luca Urbanova[12](CZE) v. Mingge Xu[14](GBR)

B16s
Martin Landaluce[1](ESP) v. Nicolai Budkov Kjaer[6](NOR)
Jan Kumstat(CZE) v. Theo Papamalamis[10](FRA)
Joel Schwaerzler[5](AUT) v. Andreas Timini(CYP)
Antonio Voljavec[8](CRO) v. Federico Cina[2](ITA)

The Tennis Recruiting Network's recaps of the 16s Clay Court Championships were published today. Stiles Brockett won the boys title and Natasha Rajaram claimed the girls singles championship, with both picking up their first gold balls.

Ethan Quinn(Georgia) advanced to the quarterfinals of the $25,000 USTA men's Pro Circuit tournament in Champaign Illinois today, beating No. 6 seed Makoto Ochi of Japan 5-7, 6-1, 6-4. Quinn will face unseeded Kareem Al Allaf(Iowa) of Syria, who advanced when top seed Pedja Krstin of Serbia retired trailing 6-3, 4-1.

The first round of singles at the $60,000 USTA women's Pro Circuit tournament in Evansville Indiana finally finished indoors today, after heat and humidity had disrupted the schedule the past two days. Katrina Scott defeated No. 2 seed Robin Anderson(UCLA) 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 and Ashlyn Krueger beat No. 3 seed Caroline Dolehide 6-4, 6-4. After one round, No. 4 seed Carol Zhao(Stanford) of Canada is the top seed remaining, with top seed Alycia Parks losing two days ago. The schedule for Friday is for two rounds of singles, followed by the doubles quarterfinals, all indoors.

Ben Shelton advanced to the quarterfinals of the ATP Challenger 80 in Indianapolis when No. 2 seed Tim van Rijthoven of the Netherlands retired leading 7-6(7), 2-1. Rijthoven had treatment on his back after the tiebreaker, then went up 2-0 in the second set. But when Shelton broke him for the first time in the match to get back on serve, Rijthoven retired. Shelton will face Wimbledon doubles champion Max Purcell of Australia, who is also unseeded, in Friday's quarterfinals.

Shelton will be making his ATP debut next week at the Atlanta Open, after he was announced as a wild card recipient by the tournament today. Shelton, who did play, and win a round at the US Open qualifying last year, spent his childhood in Atlanta when his father Bryan coached the Georgia Tech women. 

The tournament also announced that Bruno Kuzuhara was receiving a qualifying wild card. Currently No. 3 in the ITF junior rankings and expected to compete in Kalamazoo next month, Kuzuhara also just signed a sponsorship deal with FILA.  The tournament release is incorrect that Kuzuhara will be making his ATP debut in Atlanta; he was given a qualifying wild card into Delray Beach back in February. I spoke with him about that experience for this Tennis Recruiting Network article.

Coco Gauff will be playing an exhibition at the Atlanta Open on Sunday July 24th and Monday July 25th. Originally US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez of Canada was going to be her opponent, but Fernandez has been injured and withdrew with Taylor Townsend now taking her place. Gauff did a media zoom conference to promote the event, which can be viewed here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

US Open Entries Announced; No More Service Lets for Women in College Tennis; Stearns, Wolf and McNally Awarded Cincinnati Qualifying Wild Cards; 14s Clay Court Recaps; Quinn, Williams Advance at Champaign $25K

The USTA released the entry lists for the US Open today, with the rankings from Monday used to determine who makes the main draw (the qualifying field is based on the rankings from August 1).

The United States has the most competitors of any country, and this is before wild cards, with 15 women and 13 men. The cutoffs, as of today, are 99 for women (with six players using a protected rankings) and 101 for men (with four players using a protected ranking). Jack Sock, Stefan Kozlov and JJ Wolf are 3, 4 and 5 on the alternate list, so they should get in. As of today, unvaccinated non-citizens can't enter the United States, so if this doesn't change, at least one man, Novak Djokovic, will have to withdraw.

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

The ITA announced the rule changes for the upcoming 2022-23 season and the big news is that women will now play service lets (if the serve hits the net and goes into the proper service box, the ball is in play)..  The men have been treating a let serve as any other shot for years now, but the women stuck with the pro standard until today. Juniors on the ITF Circuit have been playing service lets since 2018 and I prefer it; Wimbledon is the only junior slam that didn't adopt that change and found I have little patience for that do-over now; so as far as I'm concerned, this is a positive step for college tennis, not least because both genders have the same rule.

It's obvious from the number of rules addressing it that bench and support staff sportsmanship was a problem last year, and several of the changes are an attempt to reign that in. 

Sportsmanship overall has been deemed a Point of Emphasis for the upcoming season with "stricter enforcement of all sportsmanship-related ITA rules including unsportsmanlike conduct rules for on-court players, unsportsmanlike conduct rules for coaches and bench player harassment rules."

In yet another release I received today, the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati announced that qualifying wild cards are being awarded to three players from Ohio: Caty McNally, JJ Wolf(Ohio State) and NCAA singles champion Peyton Stearns(Texas). The player lists for the main draw of the tournament, which begins with qualifying on Saturday August 13, is here.

The Tennis Recruiting Network's articles on the 14s Clay Court Championships went up today, with this recap of Jack Kennedy's sweep of the boys titles, and Julieta Pareja's victory in the girls singles.

Two juniors advanced to the second round of the $25,000 USTA Men's Pro Circuit tournament in Champaign today, with 18-year-old Ethan Quinn(Georgia) defeating lucky loser Alex Brown(Illinois) 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 and 17-year-old Harvard recruit Cooper Williams, a qualifier, beating Tristan McCormick(Georgia) 7-6(2), 6-4. It's Williams second main draw win on the Pro Circuit and the first on the $25K level; Quinn now has 16 singles wins on the men's Pro Circuit this year.

The $60,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Evansville Indiana has been plagued by heat and humidity, with only two matches completed this morning before the heat index went to and remained over 100 degrees all day. With first round matches yet to be played, they are moving indoors Thursday, according to the order of play.

At the $25,000 tournament in Saskatoon Canada, Victoria Mboko won the battle of Canadian teens, defeating wild card Kayla Cross 6-4, 6-1. Two other teenagers advanced to the quarterfinals with wins today: 17-year-old Canadian Maria Stakusic and 19-year-old Madison Sieg.  Stakusic, who beat No. 2 seed Elvina Kalieva 6-4, 6-1 last night, defeated qualifier Hibah Shaikh(Virginia) 6-3, 6-3 today. Sieg, the rising freshman at USC, defeated No. 7 seed Ena Shibahara(UCLA) of Japan 6-3, 6-4.

Three Americans have advanced to Friday's quarterfinals at the ATP Challenger 80 in Indianapolis with wins today. Aleks Kovacevic(Illinois) defeated qualifier Sho Shimabukuro of Japan 6-3, 6-4; No. 8 seed Chris Eubanks(Georgia Tech) beat qualifier Jerry Shang of China 7-5, 6-3 and wild card Alex Rybakov(TCU) defeated Alexis Galarneau(North Carolina State) 6-4, 5-7, 6-3. Ben Shelton is the only American in singles action on Thursday; he plays No. 2 seed Tim van Rijthoven of the Netherlands for a place in the quarterfinals.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Mboko Earns WTA Top 200 Win; Qualifying Complete at Evansville $60K, Champaign $25K; Shelton Leads USO Wild Card Challenge, But Won't Need It; Clay Court 12s Recaps; NCAA D-I Update

Canadian Victoria Mboko, who turns 16 next month, defeated top seed and WTA 190 Valentini Grammatikopoulou of Greece 6-7(1), 6-1, 6-3 today in the first round of the $25,000 ITF World Tennis Tour women's tournament in Saskatoon Saskatchewan. Mboko, who reached the semifinals at Wimbledon earlier this month, is currently No. 13 in the ITF junior rankings. In the second round, she will face longtime doubles partner Kayla Cross, who received a wild card into the main draw and beat fellow Canadian 17-year-old Cadence Brace in the first round yesterday.

Americans playing in Saskatoon this week include Elvina Kalieva[2], Hurricane Tyra Black[3], Jessie Aney[4](UNC), Elysia Bolton[6](UCLA) and Madison Sieg(USC).

The reason for so many Americans in Canada this week is that there is only one tournament for women on the USTA Pro Circuit, a $60,000 tournament in Evansville Indiana. Temperatures in the upper 90s have delayed the completion of two of the four first round matches today, but the qualifying is complete, with six Americans advancing to the main draw: Vicky Duval, Chanelle Van Nguyen(UCLA), Christina Rosca(Vanderbilt), Reese Brantmeier(North Carolina), Maegan Manasse(Cal) and Ava Markham(Wisconsin). 

Alycia Parks was the top seed, but she lost in the first round today to Katherine Sebov of Canada 6-2, 6-0. Robin Anderson(UCLA) is the No. 2 seed, and she will face 18-year-old Katrina Scott Wednesday.

Wild cards were given to Peyton Stearns(Texas), Eryn Cayetano(USC), Hina Inoue and Kollie Allen(Ohio State).

The men's USTA Pro Circuit events this week are the new ATP Challenger 80 in Indianapolis and a $25,000 tournament in Champaign Illinois.

In Champaign, the wild cards were given to Ryan Harrison and three University of Illinois players: Hunter Heck, Alexander Petrov and Karlis Ozolins of Latvia. 

Americans advancing to the main draw through qualifying are Stefan Dostanic(USC) and Harvard recruit Cooper Williams, with Alex Brown(Illinois) getting in as a lucky loser. 2021 NCAA Division III singles and doubles champion Leo Vithoontien(Carleton) of Japan also reached the main draw with two qualifying victories.

The top two seeds are Pedja Krstin of Serbia and Omni Kumar(Duke).

At the Indianapolis Challenger, 17-year-old wild card Nishesh Basavareddy stayed with top seed Peter Gojowczyk of Germany throughout, but fell 7-6(4), 7-6(3). Basavareddy, ranked No. 6 in the ITF juniors was down a break in both sets, but got that break back immediately each time. In the tiebreakers however, ATP No. 93 Golowczyk gave away no points, while Basavareddy couldn't get the first serves he needed when it mattered.

The only American to pick up a win today in Indianapolis was Florida rising junior Ben Shelton, who beat former North Carolina star Rinky Hijikata of Australia 6-3, 6-4. The 2022 NCAA singles champion, who plays No. 2 seed Tim Van Rijthoven of the Netherlands in the second round, joins Alex Rybakov(TCU), Chris Eubanks(Georgia Tech) and Aleks Kovacevic(Illinois), as Americans who won their first round matches. 

After reaching the final last week at the Rome Challenger, Shelton leads the USTA's US Open Wild Card Challenge, but according to the release the USTA sent out last week, he won't need it, as they are confirming that he will receive a main draw wild card as the NCAA singles champion. From Monday's release:

 

Standings Update -- US Open Wild Card Challenge

 

Orlando, Fla., July 18, 2022 – If it were possible to earn two singles wild cards into the US Open in the same year, Ben Shelton would be well on his way. 

 

The 19-year old Floridian leads the Men's US Open Wild Card Challenge after Week 1, with 54 points from reaching the final at the USTA Pro Circuit Challenger 80 in Rome, Ga. Shelton, though, won't need the wild card bestowed upon the Challenge's victor, as the University of Florida product won the 2022 NCAA men's singles title and will receive a wild card into the US Open as such. Should Shelton end up winning the Challenge, the wild card would go to the next eligible player in the standings. 

 

The standings after Week 1 of 5 for the men are as follows:

 

*1. Ben Shelton -- 54

T2. J.J. Wolf -- 16

T2. Aleks Kovacevic -- 16

T2. Bjorn Fratangelo -- 16

 

*Will receive WC as NCAA singles champion

 

The Tennis Recruiting Network is publishing recaps of all eight of the USTA Clay Court National Championships this week, kicking things off today with articles on Jordan Lee's win in the boys 12s, and Hannah Ayrault's title in the girls 12s.

John Parsons has an update on last month's NCAA Division I Tennis Committee meeting, with news that the move of the NCAA individual tournament to the fall will be voted on in August, after the ITA completes a survey of coaches this month. For more on that, and on the push to get college tennis on TV, the duration of the Super Regional experiment, bracket integrity and other issues see John's post at his No-ad, No Problem blog.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Quevedo, Pursoo Win ITF J3 Titles; European Championships Underway with Some Surprise Competitors; ITF World Junior Tennis U14 Team Participants Named, USA to Compete in Boys and Girls Events

Last week's ITF Grade 3 in the Dominican Republic concluded with four American champions, with US girls sweeping the singles and doubles titles.

Top seed Ariana Pursoo defeated No. 3 seed Maya Iyengar 6-4, 6-0 for her second ITF Junior Circuit title, both coming at J3s this year. The 16-year-old from New York has now improved her ITF junior ranking to a career-high of 125.

Top seed Preston Stearns lost in the final of boys singles, to No. 2 seed Yi Zhou of China, 6-2, 6-1.

The unseeded team of Brooklyn Olson and Anya Murthy won the girls doubles title, beating No. 4 seeds Hannah Chambers of Barbados and Xintong Zhou of China 4-6, 6-4, 10-7. It's the fourth Junior Circuit doubles title for Murthy and the fifth for Olson, but the first the 16-year-olds have won together.

Zhou and Tyler Nguyen won the boys doubles title, with the No. 4 seeds beating top seeds Stearns and Dylan Charlap 6-3, 6-4.

Kaitlin Quevedo, who qualified at Wimbledon, went from the grass of England to the clay of Colombia last week, where she won the Grade 3 in Medellin. The 16-year-old Quevedo, seeded No. 1, defeated No. 4 seed Valeria Ray 6-7(1), 6-0, 6-4 for her fourth ITF Junior Circuit singles title. 

She and Ray partnered for the girls doubles title, with the top seeds beating No. 2 seeds Tania Andrade Sabando of Ecuador and Lourdes Ayala of Argentina 6-3, 6-2 in the final. 

Kurt Miller won the boys doubles title, with Camilo Cano Gomez of Colombia. The No. 2 seeds defeated top seeds Felipe Pinzon Moreno and Chile's Nicholas Villalon Valdes 6-1, 3-6, 10-4 in the final. It's Miller's fourth ITF Junior Circuit doubles title.

At the J5 last week in Belgium, 17-year-old Amar Tahirovic won his first ITF Junior Circuit title, capturing the boys doubles title with Germany's Aaron Funk. The No. 2 seeds defeated the unseeded Luxembourg team of Noe Plique and Matiej Reiter 6-2, 6-4 in the final. 

The European Championships are underway this week, with the ITF JB1 as usual in Klosters Switzerland. The boys and girls 16s, for many years held in Moscow, is now in Prerov in the Czech Republic, and no Russian or Belarusian players are in any of the draws. The boys and girls 14s are in Most in the Czech Republic, their regular location.

Jakub Mensik of the Czech Republic is the top seed in Klosters, with Wimbledon boys champion Mili Poljicak not competing. 

Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra is the top girls seed in the JB1, with the WTA 154 returning to junior competition for only the second time this year, having played the Junior Championships at Roland Garros, where she lost in the second round.

In the 16s, the top seeds are among the best in the ITF junior rankings. Tereza Valentova of the Czech Republic, the European 14s champion last year, is currently No. 24 in the ITF junior rankings. 

Martin Landaluce of Spain, currently No. 10 in the ITF junior rankings, is the top seed in the boys 16s. Both Valentova and Landaluce play their first round matches Tuesday.

The top seed in the boys 14s is Ivan Ivanov of Bulgaria, who was the No. 1 seed at the recent Wimbledon U14 event, where he lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Se Hyuk Cho of Korea. Alena Kovackova of the Czech Republic, who reached the final of an ITF J3 earlier this month, is the top seed in the girls 14s.

Live scoring for the ITF JB1 is available via the TennisTicker app.

I can't remember getting this information this early in previous years, but today, the ITF released the names of the competitors for next month's World Junior Tennis team event in Prostejov Czech Republic. 

The 16 boys teams competing:

Argentina
Bulgaria
Colombia
Czech Republic
Ecuador
Germany
Italy 
Japan
Kazakhstan
Korea 
Mexico
Morocco
Slovenia
South Africa
Switzerland
USA

The 16 girls teams competing:
Argentina
Australia
Brazil
Canada
Czech Republic
Egypt
Germany
Great Britain
India
Japan
Korea
Latvia
Serbia
Slovakia
Tunisia
USA

Aside from the Czech Republic, which automatically qualify as hosts, just five countries have both boys and girls teams: Argentina, Germany, Korea, Japan and the United States. Teams from Russia and Belarus were banned from the qualifying earlier this year. It's notable that France does not have a team in either the girls or the boys competition.

The United States boys team consists of Carel Ngounoue, Keaton Hance and Jack Kennedy, with Jose Caballero the captain. Tyra Grant, Julieta Pareja and Shannon Lam are the members of the USA's girls team, with Kathy Rinaldi the captain.

Rosters for every team are here.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Stammel Captures G18s Clay Court Championship, Heng Wins B18s; First ATP Titles for Cressy and Cerundolo; Han, Seelig, Navarro Claim Pro Circuit Titles

Rain is always part of the story when it comes to the USTA Clay Court Championships, but all twelve of the gold balls scheduled to be awarded today were distributed, despite several lengthy weather delays. 

Bridget Stammel, G18s USTA Clay Court Champion

Bridget Stammel earned her first gold ball in singles at the Girls 18s in Mount Pleasant South Carolina, defeating 14-year-old Shannon Lam 6-4, 6-2, but the final was hardly as straightforward as the score might suggest.

For Stammel, the No. 16 seed, the rain interruption came at an inopportune time.

"In the first set I was actually down 4-2, then went up 6-4, 2-1, and then we had the rain delay," said the 18-year-old from Dallas Texas. "I had won like six of the last seven games or something like that, so definitely the momentum was with me. It was a pretty long rain delay, three or four hours, so definitely I could feel the nerves."

Stammel didn't miss a beat when play resumed, building a 5-2 lead, but she needed eight match points before she final shut the door on Lam, a No. 17 seed.

"I was up 40-0 in that game and the game just kept going, her ad, my ad, back and forth for a long time," said Stammel, who won a gold ball in doubles at the 2019 Winter Nationals. "I've never won a singles gold ball before and it's always been a goal of mine, so I was really happy and proud of myself."

Stammel admitted that playing against a 14-year-old created extra stress.

"I thought she was really mature, she acted pretty professional for as young as she was, but I kind of felt the pressure the whole tournament, because I'm definitely one of the older ones here," said Stammel, who turns 19 in October. "I used to be the young, getting to play those older and that's definitely easier, because you pretty much have nothing to lose. But I was just happy with myself that I was able to stay focused and not let the pressure get to me too much."

After her victory today, Stammel was awarded a wild card into the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Dallas, which begins on July 25th. She is playing the USTA National Championships in San Diego, then starts classes at Vanderbilt in late August.

In the Girls 18s doubles final, top seeds Natalie Block and Piper Charney defeated No. 2 seeds Vivian Miller and Maddy Zampardo 7-5, 7-5.

After losing in the final last year to Ryan Colby, Nicholas Heng took the next step at this year's B18s Clay Courts in Delay Beach Florida, with the No. 4 seed defeating No. 2 seed Jelani Sarr 6-4, 6-3. 

Although the 18s Clay Court singles champions receive a main draw wild card to the US Open Junior Championships, neither Stammel or Heng are age eligible by ITF rules, with both turning 19 this year.

In the boys 18s doubles final, No. 7 seeds Nikita Filin and Alexander Razeghi defeated top seeds Lucas Brown and Landon Ardila 6-3, 5-7, 10-5. Filin and Razeghi beat the top 3 seeds, with their last four wins this week coming in match tiebreakers. Normally, the semifinals and finals of a Level 1 are not decided in match tiebreakers, but the rain forced a format change.

At the Girls 16s in Huntsville Alabama, top seed Natasha Rajaram defeated unseeded Katie Spencer 6-3, 6-2 in the singles final. No. 4 seeds Kayla Chung and Alanis Hamilton won the doubles title, beating top seeds Saray Yli-Piipari and Kayla Schfke 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4.

At the B16s in Delray Beach Florida, Stiles Brockett won the battle of 17 seeds in the singles final, beating Mikel Anderson 6-1 6-3. In the doubles final, No. 15 seeds Krish Gupta and Evan Burnett defeated No. 7 seeds Nicholas Snyder and Cole Henceroth 6-4, 6-1.

No. 5 seed Julieta Pareja won the G14s singles title in Plantation Florida, defeating top seed Aishi Bisht 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-1 in the final. Top seeds Sara Shumate and Bella Payne won the doubles title, beating No. 11 seeds Georgia Kulevich and Zosia Henryson-Gibbs 6-4, 6-0 in the final. 

Jack Kennedy swept the titles at the B14s in Dothan Alabama. Seeded No. 17 in singles, Kennedy defeated No. 6 seed Gus Grumet 6-2, 6-4 in the championship match. In the doubles final, Kennedy and Sebastian Bielen, the No. 6 seeds, defeated No. 3 seeds Yannik Alvarez and Ryan Cozad 6-3, 6-3.

The 12s titles were decided earlier this weekend.  No. 3 seed Jordan Lee defeated No. 4 seed Vihaan Reddy 6-1, 6-3 in singles and top seeds Akshay Mirmira and Safir Azam defeated No. 6 seeds Diego Custodio and Daniel Patsula 6-0, 6-1 in doubles at the B12s in Lake Nona.

At the G12s in Boca Raton, No. 7 seed Hanna Ayrault beat No. 2 seed Welles Newman 6-3, 6-3 in the singles final, with top seeds Shaya Jovanovic and Daniela Navarro defeating No. 5 seeds Madeleine Bridges and Reiley Rhodes 7-5, 5-2 for the doubles title.

It was a banner day for college tennis today, with three ATP 250 titles and a host of others around the world. At the Hall of Fame Open in Newport Rhode Island, No. 4 seed Maxime Cressy(UCLA) came from 6-3, 2-0 down to defeat No. 3 seed Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) and earn his first ATP title in his third final, all this year. Cressy, who was outside the ATP Top 100 at this time last year, will move to a career-high of 33 in Monday's rankings. For more on the final, see this article from the ATP website.

The Newport men's doubles title also went to former collegians, with No. 4 seeds Will Blumberg(North Carolina) and Steve Johnson(USC) defeating top seeds Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Marcelo Melo of Brazil 6-4, 7-5. It's the second ATP doubles title for both Blumberg and Johnson, with Blumberg winning Newport last year with Jack Sock and Johnson earning his title with Sam Querrey in Geneva in 2016.

Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo, who played one semester at South Carolina, won his first ATP title at the Nordea Open in Bastad Sweden. The unseeded Cerundolo, who beat top seed Casper Ruud in the second round, defeated No. 8 seed Sebastian Baez of Argentina 7-6(4), 6-2 in the final. Cerundolo, who started the year ranked 127, will move to a career-high of 30 in Monday's ATP rankings.

2022 NCAA singles champion Ben Shelton(Florida) fell short in his bid for a first ATP Challenger title, falling to Yu Wibing of China 7-5, 6-3 in the championships match today in Rome Georgia. Both are playing the ATP Challenger in Indianapolis next week, each getting a special exemption into the main draw. Local junior Nishesh Basavareddy received a main draw wild card and will play top seed and ATP 91 Peter Gojowczyk of Germany in the first round.

2021 NCAA singles champion Emma Navarro won her first title since turning pro last month. A week after reaching the finals of a $60,000 tournament in the Netherlands, Navarro won the championship at a $60,000 ITF World Tennis Tour women's tournament in Latvia. The former Virginia Cavalier, seeded No. 5, defeated No. 2 seed Yue Yuan of China 6-4, 6-4 and will move to 155 in Monday's WTA rankings.

USC's redshirt sophomore Snow Han won her second Pro circuit title today at the $15,000 tournament in Lakewood California, the last of the six tournaments on the SoCal Pro Circuit. No. 5 seed Han, a 20-year-old from China, defeated top seed Dabin Kim of Korea 7-5, 7-5 in the final.

No. 3 seed Jaimee Floyd Angele of France took the men's title in Lakewood, defeating No. 4 seed Nathan Ponwith(Arizona State) 6-2, 7-5. 

For more on today's finals, see this article from USTA SoCal press aide Steve Pratt.

At the $15,000 USTA men's Pro Circuit tournament in Pittsburgh, top seed Kyle Seelig(Ohio State) won his second pro title, defeating No. 7 seed AJ Catanzariti 6-4, 6-3 in the championship match.