Schedule a training visit to the prestigious Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, MD by clicking on the banner above

Friday, September 30, 2022

September Aces; ITF JB1 Pan American Closed Qualifying Begins Saturday; ITA All-American Pre-Qualifying Starts Without Top Women's Newcomers; Ngounoue and Montgomery Reach Semifinals at Austin $25K, Templeton $60K; Kovacevic Through to ATP Seoul Semis

You may have seen my coverage earlier this month of five US Open Championships featured in my September Aces column for the Tennis Recruiting Network, but while you were following that you may have missed the five titles won by teenagers from the Czech Republic. There were also quite a few first titles for former collegians, and you can read all about them here.

Qualifying for the ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed begins tomorrow morning at the Top Seed Tennis Club in Nicholasville Kentucky. As is always the case for this event, the qualifying draws do not fill, and this year there are 30 girls and 25 boys in the qualifying draws. 

It appears as if the eight boys at the top of the qualifying list moved into the main draw; I know that Mitchell Lee and Rudy Quan received main draw wild cards should they need them. Also receiving a main draw wild card is Canada's Keegan Rice, who won the J2 in Montreal and was a finalist in the J3 in Quebec City earlier this month. 

Kaitlin Quevedo, who has reached the semifinals of the $15,000 women's ITF World Tennis Tour event in Cancun today(she is featured as an Ace this month), withdrew from the tournament, leaving ITF junior No. 53 Mia Slama as the top seed.  Tatum Evans, who lost today in the quarterfinals of the $25,000 tournament in Austin, is still in, and because this is a 48-draw and she will be seeded, Evans won't play her first match until Tuesday. 

Girls receiving main draw wild cards are Capucine Jauffret and Riley Crowder.

As John Parson pointed out in a tweet earlier today, only one of the women's Division I Top 10 Newcomers is playing the ITA All-American Championships, which begins with pre-qualifying Saturday in Cary North Carolina. Diana Shnaider, the No. 1 newcomer, was not given a main draw or even a qualifying draw wild card; the fact that the top freshmen face the prospect of playing 11 matches to win the title no doubt is a factor in this lack of participation. Oklahoma State's Raquel Gonzalez, No. 7 on the Newcomer list, is the only one in the pre-qualifying draw.

The men's ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa Oklahoma are in direct contrast to the women's, with draws twice the size and nine of the 10 Newcomers scheduled to participate. Sebastian Gorzny of TCU, who has been struggling with a shoulder injury this summer, is the only one not expected to compete in the tournament, with eight newcomers in the qualifying draw, not pre-qualifying, and No. 1 Ethan Quinn of Georgia with a wild card into the main draw.

Once the pre-qualifying and qualifying are complete and the main draw begins next Wednesday, Cracked Racquets will be providing its CrossCourt Cast for both the men's and women's tournaments at their YouTube Channel.

Wild card Clervie Ngounoue has advanced to the semifinals at the Austin $25K, with the 16-year-old from Washington DC defeating  19-year-old Jana Kolodynska of Belarus 7-5, 6-3. Ngounoue will play No. 2 seed Yuki Naito of Japan, who beat No. 5 seed Jamie Loeb(North Carolina) 6-4, 6-3. 

The other semifinal in Austin will feature the past and the future of the University of Texas women's team. No. 6 seed Peyton Stearns, who led the Longhorns to two team titles and won the singles title before turning pro this summer, will play Texas freshman (and No. 4 ITA Newcomer) Nicole Khirin of Israel for a place in the final. Stearns beat Ashley Lahey(Pepperdine) 6-0, 6-1 and Khirin defeated Evans 6-3, 6-2.

At the $60,000 women's Pro Circuit tournament in Templeton California, qualifier Robin Montgomery is through to the semifinals after defeating No. 7 seed Katarzyna Kawa of Poland 6-3, 6-1. Montgomery, who turned 18 this month, will be playing in her first semifinal at the $60K level Saturday when she faces fellow qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine, who at 36 is twice Montgomery's age. Bondarenko defeated No. 2 seed Yue Yuan of China 7-6(5), 6-4 today. The other semifinal will feature top seed Madison Brengle, who beat No. 5 seed Nao Hibino of Japan 6-1, 6-2, against unseeded Sophie Chang. Chang defeated Marcela Zacarias of Mexico 6-2, 7-5.

Ken Thomas is providing coverage of the Templeton matches at radiotennis.com.

Former Illinois star Aleks Kovacevic lost in the final round of qualifying at the ATP San Diego Open last week and in the final round of qualifying at this week's ATP 250 in Seoul Korea. He didn't get into San Diego, but he did get a lucky loser spot in Korea, and the 24-year-old from New York has made the most of it, reaching the semifinals with wins over ATP Top 100 players Miromir Kecmanovic of Serbia, Chun-Hsin Tseng of Taiwan and, in the quarterfinals, Mackenzie McDonald(UCLA). Kovacevic, who had never played in an ATP main draw before this week, will play unseeded Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan for a place in the final. The other semifinal early Saturday morning features Jenson Brooksby(Baylor) and Denis Shapovalov of Canada. For more on Kovacevic's college and Challenger experiences, see this ATP article.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Hurricane Ian Cancels Charleston Challenger, Hilton Head $15K; Evans and Ngounoue Reach Austin $25K Quarterfinals; Montgomery Advances at Templeton $60K

When the state of South Carolina declared a state of emergency in advance of Hurricane Ian, the chances of the two USTA Pro Circuits in progress being completed went to zero, with the ATP announcing last night that its Challenger 80 in Charleston had been canceled. The tournament did not get as far as the quarterfinals, with only the top half playing two rounds; the bottom half had completed just one.

The formal announcement regarding the $15,000 women's tournament on Hilton Head was posted on the USTA's Women's Pro Circuit site. They did get through the first two rounds of singles and managed to get as far as the finals in doubles yesterday, but that was the extent of play for the week. 

Texas Tech junior Olle Wallin of Sweden has continued his run after winning the $15K last week in Lubbock as a qualifier, with a special exemption into the main draw in Albuquerque. He defeated top seed Emil Reinberg in the first round and is through to the quarterfinals after beating Warren Wood(CMS) 6-4, 6-3 today. Sixteen-year-old Rei Sakamoto of Japan is also through to the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Cal fifth year and No. 8 seed Yuta Kikuchi of Japan. 

Teens Clervie Ngounoue and Tatum Evans are through to the quarterfinals in Austin, with 16-year-old Ngounoue beating 19-year-old USC freshman Madison Sieg 6-1, 7-6(0). Wild card Ngounoue, who also reached a $25K quarterfinal in Texas in July, will face another 19-year-old, Jana Kolodynska of Belarus, who beat Samantha Crawford 4-6, 7-6(9), 6-2. 

Seventeen-year-old Evans, a qualifier, took out No. 4 seed Justina Mikulskyte(Kentucky) of Lithuania 6-3, 6-4 today and will play University of Texas freshman Nicole Khirin of Israel in the quarterfinals Friday. Khirin defeated Aldila Sutjiadi(Kentucky) of Indonesia 7-6(9), 2-6, 7-5.  

Former Pepperdine All-American Ashley Lahey was leading top seed Fernanda Contreras(Vanderbilt) of Mexico 6-2, 4-3 when Contreras retired. Lahey will play No. 6 seed and NCAA singles champion Peyton Stearns(Texas), who beat Martyna Kubka of Poland 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. 

In Templeton, 2022 US Open girls champion Alexandra Eala of the Philippines, who received a wild card, lost to No. 7 seed Katarzyna Kawa of Poland 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 in today's second round. Next for Kawa will be the 2021 US Open girls champion, Robin Montgomery. The 18-year-old Montgomery, a qualifier, beat wild card Vicky Duval 6-1, 6-2.

Top seeds Madison Brengle and Yue Yuan of China, who made last week's final in Berkeley, continued to have success, with Brengle beating qualifier Janice Tjen(Pepperdine) of Indonesia 6-1, 6-4 and Yuan taking out Astra Sharma(Vanderbilt) of Australia 6-3, 6-2.

Ken Thomas of radiotennis.com is providing match commentary for the Templeton tournament.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

ITA All-American Championships Feature Most of Preseason Top Ten; Svajda Advances at Charleston Challenger; Ngounoue Beats Hovde, Sieg Upsets Harrison at Austin $25K; Junior Orange Bowl Announces New Presenting Sponsor

The ITA All-American championships begin this weekend when prequalifying begins, with the men in Tulsa, as usual, and the women playing in Cary North Carolina for the first time. 

The deadline for withdrawals is tonight, but both acceptances lists now have posted the 24 participants in the women's main draw  and the 48 participants in the men's main draw.

Two of the women's Top 10 are not competing in Cary next week, with No. 1 Eryn Cayetano of Southern California out and No. 7 Connie Ma of Stanford, the 2022 NCAA finalist, withdrawing recently. That leaves Sarah Hamner of South Carolina, Daria Frayman of Princeton, Layne Sleeth of Oklahoma, Chloe Beck, Cameron Morra and Georgia Drummy of Duke, Carson Branstine of Texas A&M and Irina Cantos Siemers of Ohio State as the likely Top 8 seeds.

Several new women have appeared recently in the main draw: Kylie Collins of LSU, who came from the alternate list; Jessica Alsola of Cal; Solymar Colling of San Diego and Emma Jackson of Duke. Lisa Zaar of Pepperdine also withdrew recently.

The men's draw features nine of the Top 10, with only No. 2 Gabriel Diallo of Kentucky missing. The other top 10 players are Stefan Dostanic of Southern California, Cannon Kingsley and JJ Tracy of Ohio State, Inaki Montes de la Torre and Chris Rodesch of Virginia, Luc Fomba of TCU, Nikola Slavic of Mississippi, Tyler Stice of Auburn and Alex Kotzen of Columbia.

Harris Walker of Harvard and Peter Maak of Southern California have moved from the alternate list into the main draw recently. Francois Le Tallec of Old Dominion withdrew recently. 

The ITA published a preview that features introductions to the top five seeds in singles and the top three seeds in doubles for both men and women.

Two-time Kalamazoo 18s champion Zachary Svajda, still just 19, reached his fourth ATP Challenger quarterfinal today, beating No. 4 seed Juan Pablo Ficovich of Argentina 6-3, 7-5 in Charleston South Carolina. Svajda, who is trying to get back to his ATP career-high ranking of 306 after he won a match at the US Open as the Kalamazoo wild card last September, will play another two-time Kalamazoo 18s champion in the quarterfinals: Donald Young, who won in 2005 and 2006. Young's ranking has fallen to 628 and he had to qualify for the main draw this week. He has beaten lucky losers Omni Kumar(Duke) and Govind Nanda(UCLA) to get the quarterfinals.

Georgia freshman Ethan Quinn gave top seed Jordan Thompson of Australia a stern test in today's second round, but Thompson got the only break of the third set with a perfect lob on his third break point with Quinn serving at 3-4 and finished with a love hold for a 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 victory. Quinn, who won his first Challenger match Monday, received a wild card into the main draw of the All-Americans in Tulsa.

Several notable results from the USTA women's $25,000 Pro Circuit tournament in Austin Texas today, with wild card Clervie Ngounoue defeating doubles partner Liv Hovde 7-5, 6-3 in first round action. The 16-year-old will face Southern California freshman Madison Sieg, who took out No. 3 seed Catherine Harrison(UCLA) 1-6, 6-4, 7-6(2) in three hours and three minutes. Seventeen-year-old qualifier Tatum Evans got her first win above the $15K level today, beating Rasheeda McAdoo(Georgia Tech) 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

The 61st edition of the Junior Orange Bowl for the 12s and 14s age groups is scheduled to take place December 11-20, 2022 Miami area sites. Registration is now open and closes on October 17. The tournament has a new presenting sponsor, Laurel Springs School.

The recent release from the tournament is below:

MIAMI, Fla. — The Junior Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships returns to Miami for its 61st year in December and will once again showcase the most talented 12-and 14-and-under tennis players in the world.

The prestigious junior tournament that boasted 66 former players in the recent US Open, including semifinalist Frances Tiafoe and finalist Casper Ruud, will have a new presenting sponsor in Laurel Springs School, an online private school in New Jersey that offers a challenging K-12 academic program renowned for its flexibility and college preparatory experience.

"Our student-first academic approach nurtures personal and academic growth, providing student-athletes ownership of their educational journey while they pursue their passions,” said Laurel Springs School President Arra G. Yerganian. “Student-athletes can greatly benefit from our flexibility and recruitment support while extensive, college-preparatory course offerings aid student-athletes in their academic development, giving them limitless learning opportunities.”

Laurel Springs encourages students to pursue their interests and talents outside of the classroom — as evidenced by Alejandro Arcila, winner of the boys' 14s in last year’s Jr. Orange Bowl.

This annual tennis tournament has featured future No. 1s including Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Jennifer Capriati, Justine Henin, Jimmy Connors, and Andy Murray. Delray Beach favorite Coco Gauff, currently ranked in the Top 10, won the Jr. OB 12s in 2016. Pembroke Pines resident Sofia Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open champion, also competed in this tournament, as did recently retired legend Roger Federer. Both went on to win the Orange Bowls 18s.

The tournament will be held Dec. 11-20, at various sites in the Miami area, including the Biltmore Hotel, Crandon Park Tennis Center and Salvadore Park.

Registration for the Junior Orange Bowl is open and will close at 11:59 a.m. on Oct. 17. All players, including international players, must have a USTA number to enter. For additional information, go to jrorangebowl.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

USTA Men's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge Begins in Late October; Qualifying Complete at Three Women's USTA Pro Circuit Events, Men's $15K in Albuquerque

The USTA's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge for women begins this week and extends through the week of October 24th, as announced earlier this month. The USTA Australian Open Wild Card Challenge for men was just announced, with its first week October 24th and its last week November 14th, which is a four-week stretch, while the women's is five weeks. For both genders, it's the best three results in the designated weeks from any events at the $25,000 level and above on hard courts, indoor and out. The men's Challenge also includes any tournaments on carpet. Although there is no restriction on country--ATP and WTA points earned at any tournament in the world count--below I've included a table of the men's tournaments in the United States during that four-week stretch. There are also two Challengers in Canada the last two weeks.

Last week there were three men's and two women's events on the USTA Pro Circuit; this week those numbers are reversed. The men have the ATP Challenger 80 in Charleston South Carolina and a $15,000 tournament in Albuquerque New Mexico; the women have a $60,000 tournament in Templeton California, a $25,000 tournament in Austin Texas and a $15,000 tournament in Hilton Head South Carolina.

Although there usually isn't much in the way of pro tennis in New Mexico, or perhaps because of that, the qualifying draws were full in Albuquerque. Americans advancing to the main draw: Max McKennon(Arizona State), Chad Kissell(Valparaiso), Michael Shabaz(Virginia) and Ryan Dickerson(Duke/Baylor). Wild cards were given to Jaycer Lyeons(Tyler JC) and three New Mexico players: senior Rafael Abdul Salam of Venezuela and sophomores Ryoma Matsushita of Japan and Arda Azkara of Turkey.  Emil Reinberg(Georgia) is the top seed.

The only Americans to qualify in Templeton were 18-year-old Robin Montgomery and 33-year-old Alexa Glatch. Pepperdine junior Janice Tjen of Indonesia, who received a qualifying wild card, reached the main draw with a 6-3, 6-0 win over No. 7 seed Urszula Radwanska of Poland. 

US Open girls champion Alexandra Eala of the Philippines received a main draw wild card, as did Maria Mateas(Duke), Whitney Osuigwe and Vicky Duval. Madison Brengle, who won last week's $60K in Berkeley, is the No. 1 seed again this week, and Yue Yuan of China, the runner-up in Berkeley, is again the No. 2 seed.

Three Americans qualified for the main draw at the Austin $25K: former University of Texas star Kylie Collins, now at LSU; Eryn Cayetano, a senior at USC, and 17-year-old Tatum Evans. The other five qualifiers are all currently on D-I rosters: Baylor sophomore Anita Sahdiieva of Ukraine, Baylor freshman Vanda Vargova of Slovakia, UCF sophomore Noel Saidenova of Russia, UCF freshman Jantje Tilbuerger of Germany and USC sophomore Snow Han of China.

Three of the wild cards went to current Texas players: junior Malaika Rapolu, who won the Texas Regional title on Monday; sophomore Sabina Zeynalova of Ukraine and freshman Nicole Rivkin of Germany. 

US Open girls quarterfinalist Clervie Ngounoue received the fourth wild card and will play fellow 16-year-old Liv Hovde, the reigning girls Wimbledon champion, who received a special exemption into the main draw after winning the $15K in Lubbock Sunday. They are playing doubles together this week and won their first round match today.

2022 NCAA champion Peyton Stearns returns to Austin as the No. 6 seed; Fernanda Contreras(Vanderbilt) of Mexico is the top seed. 

The qualifying at the Hilton Head $15K was completed yesterday, and the first round was played today. Top seed and University of Georgia sophomore Mell Reasco of Ecuador advanced with no problem, as did Georgia freshman Anastasiya Lopata of Ukraine, who received entry via the ITF Junior Reserve program. 

Wild cards were given to Mia Horvit(South Carolina), Kelly Keller(Arkansas), high school junior Madison Hill and high school sophomore Mia Yamakita. Keller beat Hill in the first round, Horvit got past 17-year-old Qavia Lopez 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 and Yamakita lost to No. 4 seed Paris Corley(LSU) 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. UCLA recruit Ahmani Guichard, a Junior Reserve entry, lost to qualifier Tenika McGiffin(Tennessee) of Australia 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. 

Monday, September 26, 2022

My Interview with New Princeton Coach Jackson; Five US Singles Titles on ITF Junior Circuit; Crawley, Tjen, Fearnley and Rapolu Win D-I Fall Tournaments; Quinn Earns First Challenger Victory

I have known Jamea Jackson since she began coaching at Oklahoma State, and once she joined USTA Player Development our paths crossed even more frequently with all her work with top American juniors. I will admit to some surprise at her decision to leave the USTA for the women's head coaching job at Princeton this summer, so I thought I'd ask her about it when I saw her on the recruiting trail late last month. That conversation turned into this article for Tennis Recruiting Network, where she explains not only her pathway to the Princeton position, but also what has kept her in the sport since her successful WTA career was cut short by injury. I know the USTA will miss her, but college tennis will be better for her presence in it.

The ITF Junior Circuit returned to the US hard courts last week with the J5 in McKinney Texas, that, unsurprisingly, featured American champions in all four draws.

Seventeen-year-old Brendan Boland, the No. 7 seed, won his first ITF Junior Circuit title when qualifier Andrew Ena retired trailing 3-1 in the first set. Boland is the son of former Virginia and Baylor head coach Brian Boland. Unseeded 15-year-old Aspen Schuman, playing in just her third ITF Junior Circuit tournament, won her first title, beating unseeded wild card Sydney Jara 7-6(6), 6-1 in the final. Schuman, a blue chip freshman from Northern California who won a UTR Pro Tennis Tour tournament in Newport Beach back in May, did not drop a set all week.

Seventeen-year-old Leonardo Dal Boni won his first ITF Junior Circuit title in boys doubles, partnering with Raul de la Vega of Brazil. The No. 4 seeds defeated unseeded Ian Bracks and Jacob Mann 7-5, 6-1 in the final. 

The girls doubles title in McKinney went to the unseeded pair of 16-year-old Kayla Schefke and 15-year-old Kayla Chung, who did not drop a set in earning their first ITF Junior Circuit titles. Schefke and Chung defeated Aishi Bisht of India and Sophie Hernandez, also unseeded, 6-3, 6-3 in the final.

Jacob Golden swept the titles at the J5 in Nicaragua, with the 16-year-old earning his first and second ITF Junior Circuit titles. Golden, a qualifier who was the No. 7 seed, defeated unseeded Sklar Phillips 6-0, 6-3 in the final, and did not drop a set in his five victories. He partnered with 14-year-old Ford McCollum in doubles, with the No. 3 seeds defeating No. 2 seeds Alfredo Gallegos of Ecuador and Nicolas Garnier of Costa Rica 6-2, 2-6, 10-4 in the final. It's McCollum's first ITF Junior Circuit title.

The girls singles title in Nicaragua also went to an American, with No. 8 seed Lucia Donnelly, 16, claiming her first ITF Junior Circuit title with a 7-6(4), 6-2 win over Canada's Jolene Fernandes, the No. 3 seed. All four of Donnelly's wins were in straight sets. 

At the J5 in Albania, 17-year-old Kate Mansfield won her second ITF Junior Circuit title. The top-seeded Mansfield defeated No. 4 seed Alexandra Panagiotidou of Greece 7-6(5), 7-6(4) in the final. 

Two other ITF Junior Circuit titles for Americans last week came in doubles, with 17-year-old Hanu Patel winning the J5 in Germany with Vincent Marysko of Germany. Patel and Marysko, the top seeds, defeated No. 2 seeds Dann Meijer and James Pikkaart of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-3 in the final.  

At the J4 in Great Britain, 15-year-old Lena Friedman partnered with Louise Booker of Great Britain for the girls doubles title, Friedman's first ITF Junior Circuit title. The unseeded pair defeated top seeds Ellie Blackford and Gabia Paskauskas of Great Britain 1-6, 6-4, 10-8 in the final.

This week's tournament in the United States is a J4 in Corpus Christi Texas. Cooper Woestendick and Korea's Yujin Kim are the top seeds.

The ITA All-American Championships, the first D-I major of the fall, are coming up next week, and college players have begun their preparations for that event by playing in tournaments all over the country. The best field of the fall for women was at the NC State College Ranked Spotlight, with NCAA semifinalist Fiona Crawley of North Carolina taking the top flight. Crawley, a junior, beat ITA preseason No. 1 Eryn Cayetano of USC 6-2, 6-1 in the quarterfinals, and in the final beat freshman Madison Sieg of USC 6-4, 6-0. For more on Crawley's title, see this article from goheels.com. For photos of other flight winners, see this article from gopack.com.

At the Battle of the Bay in San Francisco, Pepperdine's Janice Tjen took the women's title, beating Georgia's Dasha Vidmanova 6-3, 6-4 in the final. For more on Tjen's title, see this article from pepperdinewaves.com.

Jake Fearnley won the men's title at the Battle of the Bay, with the TCU junior defeating Jonas Ziverts of Arizona 6-4, 7-5 in the final. For more on Fearnley's victory, see this article from gofrogs.com.

At the ITA women's D-I regional in Texas, No. 3 seed Malaika Rapolu defeated fellow Texas Longhorn Marlee Zein, the No. 1 seed and graduate transfer from Florida, 6-4, 6-3 in the final. Rapolu, a junior who played at the No. 5 and No. 6 positions last year and didn't play after March, has assured herself of a place in the ITA National Fall Championships in November.

The ATP Challenger 80 in Charleston South Carolina got underway today, with the final round of qualifying and three first round matches played. Georgia redshirt freshman Ethan Quinn, who received a wild card into the main draw, was playing in his first Challenger, and the Kalamazoo 18s finalist got the victory, beating Sebastian Fanselow(Pepperdine) of Germany 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. Quinn will play the winner of the first round match Tuesday between top seed Jordan Thompson of Australia, last week's champion in Columbus, and Canada's Alexis Galarneau(NC State). 

Two-time Kalamazoo 18s champion Zachary Svajda also won his first round match, defeating Enzo Couacaud of France 7-6(7), 7-6(1). 

Those reaching the main draw via qualifying wins today are: Italy's Giovanni Oradini(Mississippi State), Garrett Johns(Duke), Donald Young, Denmark's August Holmgren(San Diego), Strong Kirchheimer(Northwestern) and Patrick Kypson(Texas A&M). Three additional players got in as lucky losers: Omni Kumar(Duke), Govind Nanda(UCLA) and Tennys Sandgren(Tennessee).

Sunday, September 25, 2022

US Open Junior Championships Photo Gallery; Hovde, Riffice Claim $15K Titles; Nakashima Defeats Giron for First ATP Title; Tiafoe Clinches Laver Cup for Team World

All 37 competitors from the United States who appeared in the main draw of singles at the US Open Junior Championships earlier this month are featured today in the zootennis.com photo gallery at the Tennis Recruiting Network. As always, a huge thank you to Paul Ballard for all his hard work and dedication as he photographed every player, whether American or international, who competed in the main draw this year. 

Liv Hovde, who turns 17 next month, won her first Pro Circuit event today at the $15,000 tournament in Lubbock Texas. The reigning Wimbledon girls champion, seeded No. 7, defeated No. 8 seed Carson Branstine of Canada, a senior at Texas A&M, 7-6(2), 6-1 in the final. Hovde, who did not drop a set in her five victories, had played in the main draw of just three pro events prior to this week, a $15K, a $25K and a $60K. She should move into the 700s in the WTA rankings when the points are added.

The singles title in the men's $15,000 tournament in Lubbock went to qualifier Olle Wallin of Sweden, a junior at Texas Tech, who defeated No. 2 seed Blaise Bicknell(Florida/Tennessee) of Jamaica 6-4, 6-2 in today's final. Wallin, who played one season at UNC-Charlotte, didn't drop a set in his seven victories, playing just one tiebreaker in those 14 sets.

Sam Riffice captured his second pro singles title today at the $15,000 tournament in Fayetteville Arkansas. The 2021 NCAA singles champion for the Florida Gators, Riffice took the title when No. 2 seed Blu Baker of Great Britain retired trailing 5-1 in the first set. It was Riffice's sixth Pro Circuit final and his first since 2019.

At the ATP Challenger 80 in Columbus, top seed Jordan Thompson of Australia defeated No. 2 seed Emilio Gomez(USC) of Ecuador 7-6(6), 6-2. Thompson didn't drop a set in his five victories, winning all three tiebreakers he played.

At the $60,000 women's Pro Circuit tournament in Berkeley California, 2022 NCAA champion Peyton Stearns won the doubles title, the second of her career, with Elvina Kalieva. Stearns and Kalieva defeated Stearns' former University of Texas teammates Allura and Maribella Zamarripa 7-6(5), 7-6(5) in today's final. It's the first pro title for the 19-year-old Kalieva. 

Top seed Madison Brengle won the singles title in Berkeley, defeating No. 2 seed Yue Yuan of China 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-2. 

Tonight at the ATP 250 in his hometown of San Diego, No. 5 seed Brandon Nakashima(Virginia) won his first ATP title, defeating No. 3 seed Marcos Giron(UCLA) 6-4, 6-4 in the final. Nakashima was playing in his third ATP final, having lost in back-to-back finals last year in Los Cabos and Atlanta, while 2014 NCAA champion Giron was playing in his first ATP final. Nakashima, whose previous ATP career-high was 49, will be at 48 as of tomorrow, joining eight other US men in the ATP Top 50. John Isner is the only one older than 25.

Americans also captured the doubles title in San Diego, with No. 2 seeds Jackson Withrow(Texas A&M) and Nate Lammons(SMU) defeating the unseeded Australian pair of Luke Saville and Jason Kubler 7-6(5), 6-2. It's the second ATP title for Withrow and the first for Lammons.

It's been quite a month for 2015 Kalamazoo 18s champion Frances Tiafoe, with a win over Rafael Nadal and his first slam semifinal at the US Open, and a win in Laver Cup doubles, with Jack Sock, over Nadal and Roger Federer, playing in the last match of his career. He finished the Laver Cup today, saving four match points in a 1-6, 7-6(11), 10-8 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece to give Team World an insurmountable lead over Team Europe. Europe lead 8-4 after the first two days of competition in London, but with each match worth three points today it meant Europe had to win two of the four matches, while World had to win three of four. Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada partnered with Jack Sock in doubles to start the day, and they beat Matteo Berrettini and Andy Murray 2-6, 6-3, 10-8 to make it 8-7. Then Auger-Aliassime defeated Novak Djokovic 6-3, 7-6(3) to give World a 10-8 lead, and Tiafoe finished the job, leaving the final match between Taylor Fritz and Casper Ruud unplayed. 

It's the first time in five Laver Cup competitions that Team World has beaten Team Europe.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Hovde Reaches Lubbock $15K Final; Williams Earns First Pro Circuit Title in Doubles; Top Seeds Advance to Finals at Berkeley $60K, Columbus Challenger; Giron Makes First ATP Final in San Diego

Sixteen-year-old Liv Hovde has advanced to her first Pro Circuit final at the $15,000 women's tournament in Lubbock Texas. The Wimbledon girls champion, who turned pro a few weeks after that title, defeated wild card Mccartney Kessler(Florida) 7-6(3), 6-4 in Hovde's first Pro Circuit semifinal today. She will face No. 8 seed Carson Branstine of Canada, with the Texas A&M senior defeating top seed Martyna Kubka of Poland 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 in a semifinal that lasted three hours and 6 minutes. 

In today's women's doubles final in Lubbock, No. 2 seeds Veronica Miroshnichenko(Loyola Marymount) of Russia and Katarina Kozarov(Furman) of Serbia defeated top seeds Connie Hsu(Penn) of Taiwan and Maria Kononova(North Texas) of Russia 6-1, 4-6, 11-9.

The mens' singles final Sunday at their $15,000 tournament in Lubbock will feature qualifier Olle Wallin of Sweden, a junior at Texas Tech and No. 2 seed Blaise Bicknell(Florida/Tennessee) of Jamaica. Wallin defeated No. 6 seed Alex Michelsen 7-6(10), 6-3 and Bicknell beat Jordan Hasson(Oklahoma) of Israel 6-2, 6-3. 

Former Texas A&M teammates Pranav Kumar and Juan Carlos Aguilar, who now represents Canada, won the doubles title in a final between two unseeded teams. Kumar, now at SMU, and Aguilar, who played last season at TCU, defeated Wichita State teammates Kristof Minarik of Slovakia and Alexander Richards 6-3, 7-5. It's the fifth pro doubles title for Aguilar and the first for Kumar.

A long week of tennis in both Columbus Ohio and Berkeley California will end with the top two seeds facing off for the singles titles. 

No. 1 seed Jordan Thompson of Australia ended Ohio State senior and wild card Cannon Kingsley's run today in the ATP Challenger 80 semifinals today in Columbus, posting a 7-6(6), 6-3 victory. No. 2 seed Emilio Gomez(USC) of Ecuador came back to beat No. 8 seed Rinky Hijikata(North Carolina) of Australia 3-6, 6-3, 6-0. The 30-year-old Gomez will crack the ATP Top 100 for the first time if he wins the title Sunday.

The top seeds in doubles, Julian Cash(Mississippi St/Oklahoma St) and Henry Patten(UNC-Asheville) of Great Britain took the doubles title, beating unseeded Charlie Broom(Dartmouth/Baylor) of Great Britain and Constantin Frantzen(Baylor) 6-2, 7-5 in the final.

North Carolina State freshman Diana Shnaider had been racking up the routine wins this week at the $60,000 women's tournament in Berkeley, but she was on the other side of the equation today, with top seed Madison Brengle beating the 18-year-old Russian 6-1, 6-2 in 50 minutes. Brengle will play No. 2 seed Yue Yuan of China, who came back to beat No. 8 seed Louisa Chirico 5-7, 7-5, 6-1. 

Unseeded Peyton Stearns(Texas) and Elvina Kalieva are in the doubles final after defeating the Cal wild card team of Jessica Alsola of Canada and Valentina Ivanov of New Zealand 6-3, 6-4. They will play the Zamarripa twins, Maribella and Allura, who turned pro after their freshman year at Texas. The Zamarripas defeated Robin Montgomery and Ashlyn Krueger 6-3, 6-3.

Seventeen-year-old Cooper Williams earned his first Pro Circuit title today in the doubles final at the $15,000 tournament in  Fayetteville Arkansas. Williams, a Harvard recruit, and Oklahoma State freshman Alessio Basile of Belgium defeated Arkansas teammates Adrien Burdet of Switzerland and Melvin Manuel of France 6-4, 6-3. Williams had made the doubles final of the last two Pro Circuit events he played this summer, with other partners.

2021 NCAA champion Sam Riffice(Florida) will play Blu Baker of Great Britain in the Fayetteville singles final Sunday. Riffice, the No. 7 seed, defeated Cornell sophomore Radu Papoe of Romania 6-3, 6-0, while Baker, the No. 2 seed, beat Wake Forest senior Menelaos Efstathiou of Cyprus 6-4, 6-4.

At the ATP 250 in San Diego, 2014 NCAA champion Marcos Giron(UCLA) has advanced to his first ATP final, with the 29-year-old from Thousand Oaks California defeating top seed Dan Evans 6-3, 7-5 this afternoon. Giron, the No. 3 seed, will play the winner of tonight's match between No. 5 seed Brandon Nakashima and unseeded Christopher O'Connell of Australia. O'Connell saved two match points at 3-5 in the third set in last night's quarterfinal with No. 2 seed Jenson Brooksby and went on to post a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 victory. (UPDATE: Nakashima defeated O'Connell 6-4, 7-6(3) to make it an all Southern California final in San Diego).

Friday, September 23, 2022

Landaluce to Lead Spain in ITF Junior Davis Cup; Shnaider Reaches Berkeley $60K Semifinals; Michelsen, Hovde Advance in Lubbock $15Ks; Kingsley Makes Semis at Columbus Challenger; Giron Moves on in San Diego

The ITF released the Junior Davis Cup teams for 16-and-under competition in Antalya Turkey November 1-6, and although he had intimated that he was moving on from junior tennis, US Open boys champion Martin Landaluce will be leading the team from Spain. 

As with its Billie Jean King Cup team, the United States is taking two players who were not on the North/Central America qualifying team this spring: Kaylan and Meecah Bigun. Alexander Razeghi, who was on the team that qualified in Mexico this spring, is also competing in the finals; the Bigun twins are replacing Rudy Quan and Nikita Filin. Jon Glover is the team captain.

In addition to Landaluce, two other ITF Top 50 players will be in Turkey: Rei Sakamoto of Japan and Joao Fonseca of Brazil. 

The complete rosters for the 16 teams are here. The Junior Billie Jean King Cup team rosters, announced yesterday, are here.

North Carolina State freshman Diana Shnaider has yet to play for the Wolfpack, but the US Open girls doubles champion is displaying the form that led to her position at the top of the Newcomer list at the $60,000 USTA women's Pro Circuit tournament in Berkeley California. The 18-year-old from Russia, who is unseeded this week, advanced to the semifinals with a 6-1, 6-2 win over fellow lefty Kayla Day; Shnaider will face top seed Madison Brengle on Saturday, after Brengle defeated wild card Johanne Svendsen of Denmark 6-3, 6-0 in 59 minutes. Shnaider has never face a WTA Top 100 player; Brengle is No. 60. No. 8 seed Louisa Chirico, who defeated Ashlyn Krueger 6-2, 6-1, will face No. 2 seed Yue Yuan of China in the other semifinal. Krueger and Robin Montgomery, the 2021 US Open girls doubles champions, defeated top seeds Alexandra Osborne of Australia and Marcela Zacarias of Mexico 7-6(6), 6-4 today to advance to the doubles semifinals.

Alex Michelsen has reached his second $15,000 USTA men's Pro Circuit semifinal in Lubbock Texas after a 6-4, 6-3 win over wild card Aidan Kim. The 18-year-old from Southern California, seeded No. 6, will face qualifier Olle Wallin of Sweden, a junior at Texas Tech in Saturday's semifinals. The other semifinal features No. 2 seed Blaise Bicknell(Florida/Tennessee) against unseeded Jordan Hasson of Israel, a sophomore at Oklahoma. 

Wimbledon girls champion Liv Hovde, who reached the quarterfinals of the Lubbock $15K last year, has gone one step further this year, defeating No. 4 seed Veronica Miroshnichenko(Loyola Marymount) of Russia 6-4, 6-4 today. Hovde, the No. 7 seed, faces wild card Mccartney Kessler(Florida) in Saturday's semifinals. The top half semifinal has Texas A&M's No. 1 Carson Branstine of Canada, the No. 8 seed, playing top seed Martyna Kubka of Poland.

2021 NCAA champion Sam Riffice(Florida) is the only American to advance to the singles semifinals at the $15,000 tournament in Fayetteville Arkansas. Riffice, the No. 7 seed, beat top seed Jack Pinnington Jones(TCU) of Great Britain 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 today and will face Cornell sophomore Radu Papoe of Romania, who beat Sander Jong(TCU) of the Netherlands 7-5, 6-4.  The other semifinal will feature No. 2 seed Blu Baker of Great Britain and Menelaos Efstathiou(Wake Forest) of Cyprus. Efstathiou defeated Cooper Williams 6-4, 6-4 in today's quarterfinals. Williams and Oklahoma State freshman Alessio Basile of Belgium are through to the doubles final after defeating No. 4 seeds AJ Catanzarite(Texas A&M) and Jody Maginley of Antigua 6-4, 6-4. They will face Arkansas teammates Adrien Burdet of Switzerland and Melvin Manuel of France in the final.

At the ATP Columbus Challenger 80, Ohio State senior Cannon Kingsley continued his impressive run, with the 21-year-old wild card defeating No. 4 seed Aleks Vukic(Illinois) of Australia 6-3, 6-2 to reach the semifinals. Kingsley will face top seed Jordan Thompson, who beat Kentucky senior Gabriel Diallo of Canada 6-2, 6-1. 

No. 2 seed Emilio Gomez, a 6-3, 6-1 winner over Nick Chappell(TCU), will play Australia's Rinky Hijikata(North Carolina) in the semifinals. Hijikata, the No. 8 seed, beat No. 3 seed Dominic Stricker of Switzerland 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-3, saving three match points in the second set tiebreaker.

I haven't been able to provide much in the way of coverage of the ATP 250 in San Diego this week, due to the three-hour time difference and regular night sessions, but No. 3 seed Marcos Giron(UCLA) is through to the semifinals after a 7-6(5), 6-3 win over No. 7 seed James Duckworth of Australia today. He will play top seed Dan Evans of Great Britain Saturday. Jenson Brooksby[2] and Brandon Nakashima[5] are playing their quarterfinals tonight for a chance to meet in the semifinals. Brooksby beat Nakashima three times in major junior events in 2018 (Easter Bowl, Kalamazoo 18s, US Open) and once in a $25K in 2019, but they haven't played since then.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Junior Billie Jean King Cup Teams Announced; Kim Ousts Top Seed at Lubbock $15K; Shnaider and Svendsen Reach Berkeley $60K Quarterfinals; Diallo, Chappell Advance at Columbus Challenger

In the past, the Junior Billie Jean King and Junior Davis Cups are scheduled for the end of September, but this year the ITF's two 16-and-under competitions will take place November 1-6 in Antalya Turkey. The participants for the Junior Billie Jean King Cup's 16 teams were announced today, and the United States team now has two players who were not a part of the North/Central American qualifying this spring: Clervie Ngounoue and Valerie Glozman. Ngounoue was injured at that time; Glozman had just won the Easter Bowl 16s title, but had no international experience. Her recent run to the San Diego National 18s final and a women's qualifying win at the US Open earned her a place on the team with Ngounoue and Iva Jovic, who was on the North/Central American qualifying team that included Mia Slama and Maya Joint.

Lori Riffice is the girls team captain. The boys teams are scheduled to be announced tomorrow. 

Seventeen-year-old wild card Aidan Kim earned his first ATP point yesterday, and today he defeated top seed Emil Reinberg(Georgia) in the second round of the USTA Pro Circuit $15,000 men's tournament in Lubbock Texas. Kim's 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-4 victory, which took one minute shy of three hours, moves him into the quarterfinals against fellow junior player Alex Michelsen. Michelsen, the No. 6 seed, defeated Aditya Vishal Balsekar of India 6-2, 7-5. 

Kim and Lucas Brown have also advanced to the doubles semifinals, beating Francisco Rocha(Middle Tennessee) of Portugal and Bautista Vilicich(Mississippi St/UT-Arlington) of Argentina 6-3, 3-6, 10-7.

Seventeen-year-old Cooper Williams is through to his first Pro Circuit quarterfinal at the $15,000 tournament in Fayetteville Arkansas with a 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(2) win over No. 8 seed AJ Catanzariti(Texas A&M). He will play unseeded Wake Forest senior Menelaos Efstathiou of Cyprus in the quarterfinals. 

The two 18-year-olds who competed in the US Open Junior Championships that are in the main draw of the USTA Pro Circuit $60,000 women's tournament in Berkeley California have advanced to the quarterfinals with wins today. Wild card Johanne Svendsen of Denmark defeated No. 5 seed Robin Anderson(UCLA) 6-3, 7-5 and NC State freshman Diana Shnaider of Russia beat No. 6 seed Sachia Vickery 6-3, 4-2 retired. Svendsen gets top seed Madison Brengle next, while Shnaider faces unseeded Kayla Day. Day beat NCAA champion Peyton Stearns(Texas) 7-6(3), 7-6(3). Another 18-year-old, Ashlyn Krueger, defeated No. 3 seed Katie Volynets 6-3, 6-4 and will play No. 8 seed Louisa Chirico in the quarterfinals. 

At the ATP Challenger 80 in Columbus Ohio, Nick Chappell(TCU) advanced to his second straight Challenger quarterfinal as an alternate, defeating No. 5 seed Enzo Couacaud of France 6-4, 6-7(1), 6-4. He will face No. 2 seed Emilio Gomez(USC) of Ecuador, who beat Tennys Sandgren(Tennessee) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. University of Kentucky senior Gabriel Diallo needed three hours and 36 minutes to defeat Aidan McHugh of Great Britain, but the soon-to-be 21-year-old pulled out a 7-5, 6-7(6), 7-5 win. He will play top seed Jordan Thompson in Friday's quarterfinals. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Semifinals Set at ITF J5 in McKinney; Shnaider Breezes into Second Round at Berkeley $60K; Kingsley Reaches First Challenger Quarterfinal; Juniors Advance at Men's $15Ks; ITA Women's D-I Texas Regional Begins Friday

Of the eight players remaining in singles at the ITF Grade 5 in McKinney Texas only two are seeded: boys No. 7 seed Brendan Boland and girls No. 4 seed Katerina Shabashkevich.

Boland, the son of former University of Virginia men's coach Brian Boland, defeated top seed Prathinav Chunduru 6-4, 6-4 in today's quarterfinals and will play unseeded Asror Ismoilov, who lives in Delray Beach and competes in USTA events, but plays under the Uzbekistan flag. Ismoilov defeated No. 4 seed Alex Khamrotau of Belarus 6-4, 6-3 today. The other boys semifinal Thursday will feature qualifier Andrew Ena, who beat Leonardo Dal Boni 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-2, and Ian Bracks, who had taken out the No. 2 seed in the first round and today beat Stephan Gershfeld 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. 

Shabashkevich, a 2-6, 6-0, 6-4 winner over Alexis Nguyen today, will face unseeded Aspen Schuman, who beat Kayla Schefke 6-1, 6-4. Schuman, who beat the top seed in the first round, has yet to drop a set. The other girls semifinal has wild card Sydney Jara facing qualifier Eva Oxford after Jara defeated Vasilina Adronov of Israel 6-1, 6-2 and Oxford eliminated No. 3 seed Neha Malar Guru 6-1, 6-3. Oxford and Schuman are 15 years old, Shabashkevich and Jara are 14.

I mentioned in yesterday's post my interest in the first round match at the $60,000 tournament in Berkeley between North Carolina State freshman and ITA No. 1 newcomer Diana Shnaider and qualifier Lisa Zaar, a senior at Pepperdine, who reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA championships in May. I thought it would a good test for Shnaider, whose WTA ranking is 245, with Zaar a veteran mainstay on one of the best college teams of the past two years. If it was a test, Shnaider gets an A+, as she took out Zaar 6-2, 6-0 in an hour and 17 minutes. Shnaider will face No. 6 seed Sachia Vickery in the second round Thursday, after Vickery defeated qualifier Kylie Collins(Texas/LSU) 6-4, 6-4. 

The only qualifier to advance to the second round is Robin Montgomery, who beat wild card Rachel Gailis(Florida) 6-4, 6-3.  2021 US Open girls champion Montgomery, who turned 18 two weeks ago, is playing her first tournament since June after a wrist injury.

Ashlyn Krueger, who turned 18 in May, defeated Grace Min 7-6(6), 6-1; 18-year-old wild card Johanne Svendsen of Denmark beat Cal sophomore and qualifier Jessica Alsola 6-2, 6-3. The only seed to lose in today's conclusion of the first round was No. 7 Katrina Scott, 18, who fell to Maria Mateas(Duke) 7-5, 6-4.

Ohio State senior Cannon Kingsley is through to his first Challenger quarterfinal, after defeating 2019 NCAA champion Paul Jubb(South Carolina) of Great Britain, the No. 7 seed, 7-6(5), 6-4 this evening on his home courts in Columbus Ohio. Kingsley, who lost a 25-point game to trail 4-1 in the second set only to then win five games in a row, will face No. 4 seed Aleks Vukic(Illinois) of Australia in the quarterfinals. No. 8 seed Rinky Hijikata(North Carolina) of Australia and No. 3 seed Dominic Stricker of Switzerland are in the other quarterfinal that has been decided. The four remaining second round matches are Thursday.

Ohio State wild cards Robert Cash and the Czech Republic's Matej Vocel, who reached the NCAA doubles final in May, defeated No. 2 seeds Nicolas Mejia of Colombia and Roberto Quiroz(USC) of Ecuador 6-3, 6-1 in first round doubles play Tuesday.

In today's conclusion of first round action at the men's $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Lubbock Texas, 18-year-old Alex Michelsen, the No. 6 seed, advanced with a 6-3, 6-4 win over qualifier Pranav Kumar(Texas A&M). Aidan Kim, who won't be 18 until November, defeated fellow wild card Franco Ribero of Argentina, a senior at Texas Tech, 7-5, 6-4. If Michelsen and Kim were to win their second round matches, they would meet in Friday's quarterfinals. 

At the men's $15,000 tournament in Fayetteville Arkansas, 17-year-old Cooper Williams advanced to the second round with a 6-7(3), 6-1, 7-5 win over qualifier Adit Sinha(Cornell) that took two hours and 41 minutes.

Most of the ITA Division I Regionals are in October, as they function as qualifying tournaments for the ITA National Fall Championships in November, but the women's Texas Regional begins tomorrow in Fort Worth Texas. Qualifying and main draws for the event can be found here. University of Texas graduate transfer Marlee Zein, who played at Florida for four years, is the top seed.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Rabman Downs No. 2 Seed for First Pro Circuit Win; Trio of Cal Bears Qualify for Berkeley $60K; Kingsley, Boulais Win All-Buckeye Challenger Matches; Reinberg, Pinnington Jones Top Seeds at Men's $15Ks

After a dearth of USTA Pro Circuit events since the US Open, there are five events this week: men's and women's $15Ks in Lubbock Texas, a men's $15K in Fayetteville Arkansas, a women's $60K in Berkeley California and the ATP Challenger 80 in Columbus Ohio.

Thea Rabman, fresh off her win at the ITF J2 in Montreal last week, received entry into the $15,000 women's tournament in Lubbock via the ITF's junior reserved program and today the 17-year-old from New York earned her first professional circuit win, defeating No. 2 seed Katarina Kozarov(Furman) of Serbia 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-2 in just under three hours. The North Carolina recruit, who is now at a career-high of 60 in the ITF World Junior rankings, will play a qualifier in the next round.

The only American to qualify today in Lubbock is Arkansas senior Kelly Keller. Wild cards were given to Texas Tech sophomore Avelina Sayfetdinova of Russia, Megan McCray(Oklahoma State) and Mccartney Kessler(Florida). Martyna Kubka of Poland is the top seed. Liv Hovde, the No. 7 seed, won her match today; Oklahoma State freshman Raquel Gonzalez Vilar of Spain, who reached the second round of the US Open Junior Championships this month, defeated No. 3 seed Connie Hsu(Penn) of Taiwan in the first round 6-3, 7-5.

At the $60K in Berkeley, the wild cards were not given to any current Cal women, although former Bear Maegan Manasse did get one of the four main draw wild cards. The others went to Florida freshman Rachel Gailis, Jenna DeFalco, who recently left Pepperdine after just two weeks in Malibu and Johanne Svendsen, an 18-year-old from Denmark, who is currently No. 16 in the ITF Junior rankings. I don't know if she's considering attending Cal, but the wild card is a little puzzling if she isn't.

Although none of the current Cal players received a main draw wild card, three will be playing in the main draw after qualifying: sophomores Jessica Alsola and Katja Wiersholm and junior Hannah Viller Moller. Alsola will face Svendsen in the first round; Wiersholm plays No. 5 seed Robin Anderson(UCLA) and Viller Moller No. 2 seed Yue Yuan of China. 

In addition to Wiersholm, other Americans qualifying for the main draw today were Robin Montgomery, Kylie Collins(Texas/LSU), Maribella Zamarripa(Texas) and Makenna Jones(North Carolina).  Pepperdine senior Lisa Zaar of Sweden also qualified today to set up an intriguing first round match against NC State freshman Diana Shnaider of Russia.

Madison Brengle is the top seed, Yuan is No. 2 and Katie Volynets No. 3.  No. 4 seed Greet Minnen of Belgium lost to 2022 NCAA champion Peyton Stearns(Texas) 7-5, 6-1 this evening in first round action.

The first round of the ATP Columbus Challenger is spread over three days, but four of the five Ohio State Buckeyes played today, against each other. In the battle of the wild cards, Justin Boulais of Canada defeated JJ Tracy 7-5, 7-6(4), and wild card Cannon Kingsley beat qualifier James Trotter of Japan 6-4, 6-4. 

At the men's $15,000 tournament in Lubbock, six Americans qualified for the main draw with wins today: Jaycer Lyeons (Tyler JC), Pranav Kumar(Texas A&M), Oren Vasser (Miami), Nathan Chavez, Tyler Stewart(Abilene Christian/Texas Tech) and Jakub Ostajewski. 

Emil Reinberg(Georgia) is the top seed, with Blaise Bicknell(Florida/Tennessee) of Jamaica the No. 2 seed. Wild cards were given to Aidan Kim, Jibril Nettles, and Texas Tech seniors Isaac Arevalo of Mexico and Franco Ribero of Argentina. 

At the men's $15,000 tournament in Fayetteville, Great Britain's Jack Pinnington Jones, recently added to the TCU roster, is the top seed, with Blu Baker of Great Britain the No. 2 seed. 

Americans qualifying into the main draw today are Adit Sinha(Cornell), Warren Wood(CMS) and Ryan Dickerson(Duke/Baylor). Wild cards were given to Arkansas freshman Benedikt Emesz of Austria, Arkansas juniors Adrien Burdet of Switzerland and Melvin Manuel of France and Cornell freshman Aman Sharma, who lost to No. 7 seed Sam Riffice(Florida) 6-2, 6-1 today.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Two Qualifiers Bring Buckeyes Columbus Challenger Main Draw Total to Five; Sieg and Bobichon Win Milwaukee Classic, Earn ITA Fall Nationals Wild Cards; Alabama State, Xavier-LA Win HBCU Championships; Three Titles for Americans at ITF J5 in Honduras

Qualifying is complete at this week's ATP Challenger 80 in Columbus Ohio, with two Ohio State Buckeyes joining three of their teammates in the main draw. Red shirt senior James Trotter of Japan lost only four games in his two qualifying matches, beating No. 2 seed Strong Kirchheimer(Northwestern) 6-2, 6-0 in today's final round of qualifying. 

Wild card Robert Cash, a senior who concentrated on doubles last season due to a knee injury and won the two fall majors and made the NCAA final in May, today defeated Daniil Glinka of Estonia 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-4, saving a match point in the second set tiebreaker.  Cash and his partner in last season's success, Matej Vocel, received a wild card into the doubles draw.

Trotter has drawn teammate Cannon Kingsley in the first round, while Cash has drawn No. 2 seed Emilio Gomez(USC) of Eucador.

JJ Tracy and Justin Boulais, who, like Kingsley, received wild cards, play each other in the first round.

Other American qualifiers are Patrick Kypson(Texas A&M), Nathan Ponwith(Arizona State) and Ryan Harrison. Harrison advanced without winning a match, when he received a bye as the No. 4 seed, then had no opponent when both players in the first round match in his bracket withdrew and there were no alternates.

One of the significant Division I fall events in September is the Milwaukee Tennis Classic, which features a wild card into the ITA National Fall Championships for the singles champions. USC freshman Madison Sieg defeated teammate Naomi Cheong 7-6(3), 6-2 for the women's singles title, while Sieg and Cheong won the doubles title as well, defeating Chie Kezuka and Miska Kadleckova of Iowa State 6-1 in the final.

The men's singles title went to VCU's Matisse Bobichon, who also beat a teammate in the final. Bobichon defeated Maxence Bertimon 6-2, 6-2 for the championship and accompanying wild card. Harvard's Ronan Jachuck and Daniel Milavsky, the No. 2 seeds, defeated the top-seeded Bertimon twins, Maxence and Charles, 8-5 in the men's doubles final.

For more on the Milwaukee Tennis Classic, see this article from the ITA.

The National Championships for Historically Black Colleges and Universities were held over the weekend in Georgia, with Alabama State taking the men's title and Xavier-Louisiana claiming the women's title. Teams receive points for flighted singles and doubles competition; complete draws can be found at the HBCU tennis site. The ITA has a recap with the teams standing and the top finishers in the various flights.

Last week, I covered the ITF J2 in Montreal, which featured three titles for Americans, with Thea Rabman winning the girls singles, Maya Joint and Ariana Pursoo taking the girls doubles and Darwin Blanch and Roy Horovitz claiming the boys doubles. 

The J5 in Honduras last week also produced three titles for Americans, in the same three cataegories.

Fifteen-year-old Ameia Sorey of Florida won her first ITF Junior Circuit singles title at a J5 tournament in Honduras back in April, made the final and won her first doubles titles the following week, and in her return this week, picked up another singles title. Sorey, the No. 3 seed, defeated unseeded compatriot Ishika Ashar, a 14-year-old who also made last week's J5 final in Honduras, 7-5, 5-7, 7-6(8) in the final.

Madison Smith won the doubles title with Nicole Alfaro of Costa Rica. The No. 2 seeds defeated No. 3 seeds Maria Ramos Garcia of Guatemala and Daniela Tijaro of Colombia 3-6, 6-1, 10-7 in the final. 

Twins Abhinav and Parthinav Chunduru won the doubles title, with the top seeds defeating unseeded Javier Mejia of El Salvador and Cristian Pemueller of Guatemala 6-1, 6-4 in the final. 

The ITF fall circuit in the United States begins this week in McKinney Texas, with a J5 tournament. Parthinav Chunduru is the top seed in the boys draw; Susana Souhrad was the top seed in the girls draw, but she lost today to Aspen Schuman 6-0, 6-1.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Quevedo Wins Cancun $15K; Boulais Takes Title at Champaign $15K; Mmoh Champion at Cary Challenger; Fruhvirtova Sisters Claim WTA and ITF Titles; Impressive Weekend for UGA's Quinn

Unseeded Kaitlin Quevedo, who received entry into the $15,000 ITF Women's World Tennis Tour tournament in Cancun Mexico by virtue of her junior ranking, is now the champion, defeating top seed and WTA 420 Thaisa Pedretti of Brazil 6-4, 6-3 in today's final.

The 16-year-old from Naples Florida had played only one Pro Circuit tournament prior to this week, losing in the first round, but she defeated the No. 5, No. 2 and No. 1 seeds to capture the title. Although she has limited experience in pro events, Quevedo has shown an ability to win this year on the ITF Junior Circuit, where she has three singles titles at the J2 and J3 level, and is at a career high of 47 in the ITF World Junior rankings.

Ohio State senior Justin Boulais finished his week at the $15,000 USTA men's Pro Circuit tournament in Champaign Illinois on the highest note possible, beating top seed Sekou Bangoura(Florida) 6-1, 6-1 in exactly one hour. Boulais, a 20-year-old Canadian, qualified for the tournament, losing just one set in his seven victories over seven days.

While he's on this run, Boulais has an opportunity to continue it at the Challenger level on his home courts in Columbus. He received a wild card into the main draw, and his first round opponent will be teammate JJ Tracy, who also received a wild card. 

Qualifying began today in Columbus, and will conclude Monday, with two main draw matches also on the schedule.

Michael Mmoh won his first Challenger title in nearly three years today in Cary North Carolina, with the No. 7 seed defeating No. 8 seed Dominik Koepfer(Tulane) of Germany 7-5, 6-3 in the final. Koepfer had defeated top seed Denis Kudla 7-6(5), 6-3 in last night's semifinal. Today, Mmoh led 7-5, 3-0, lost three straight games, but then held, broke and held for the victory. He will move to 133 in the ATP rankings with the title. 

Mmoh was initially in the qualifying for the ATP 250 in San Diego, but couldn't play that since he had advanced to the Cary semifinals. So he will have the week off, while Koepfer is the No. 6 seed in Columbus.

The US qualifiers for San Diego are Emilio Nava, Christopher Eubanks(Georgia Tech) and Mitchell Krueger. 

Given their success the past several years, it was bound to happen, and today it did, with 15-year-old Brenda Fruhvirtova and 17-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova both winning singles titles. 

Brenda's title was, as crazy as it sounds, routine. Seeded No. 2, she won the $25,000 ITF Women's World Tennis Tour tournament in Italy, with unseeded Jessica Pieri retiring trailing 6-4, 2-0 in today's final. It's the fifth consecutive title at the $25K level for Brenda, who started the streak in June, and she has seven titles at the $25K level this year. Already in the WTA Top 200, she will move up when these points are added a week from Monday and is assured of competing in the Australian Open qualifying in January.

Unseeded Linda won the WTA 250 in Chennai India today, coming from 4-1 down in the third to defeat No. 3 seed Magda Linette of Poland 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. After winning a title in her first WTA final, Linda is projected to move all the up to 74 in Monday's WTA rankings. For more on Linda's victory in the Chennai final, see this article from the WTA website.

Kalamazoo 18s finalist Ethan Quinn began competition in his collegiate career for the first time this weekend at the Southern Intercollegiate Championships in Athens and Georgia's redshirt freshman validated his position as the ITA's top newcomer this season, and then some.

Quinn defeated No. 35 Eliot Spizziri of Texas 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 on Friday, No. 21 Jeffrey Von Der Schulenburg of Virginia 6-4, 6-7(8), 6-4 Saturday and No. 1 Stefan Dostanic of Southern California 6-2, 6-3 today. Quinn, who was not exempted from the Georgia tradition of freshmen shaving their heads, was named the singles champion of the tournament, while teammates Blake Croyder and Britton Johnston were the doubles champions. For more on the final day, see this article from georgiadogs.com.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Quevedo Reaches Final of Cancun $15K; Bangoura and Boulais Meet for Champaign $15K Title Sunday; Mmoh Advances to Cary Challenger Final; ATP San Diego Qualifying Underway

Sixteen-year-old Kaitlin Quevedo played her first ITF Women's World Tennis Tour tournament in Cancun Mexico back in January and lost in the first round. This week, the Naples Florida resident is playing her second, also at a $15,000 tournament in Cancun, and she has reached the final.

As she did this winter, Quevedo used the ITF's Junior Reserve program for her main draw entry, and she defeated fellow 16-year-old Lexington Reed in the first round. Quevedo took out No. 5 seed Paris Corley(LSU) in the second round and today beat No. 2 seed Jessica Hinosojo Gomez(Baylor) 7-6(3), 6-0 to advance to the final. She will face top seed Thaisa Pedretti of Brazil Sunday for the title. 

Ohio State senior Justin Boulais of Canada is through to his first ITF Men's World Tennis Tour final, with the 20-year-old qualifier defeating Yuta Kikuchi(Cal) of Japan 6-2, 6-4 in today's semifinals at the $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Champaign Illinois. Boulais will face top seed Sekou Bangoura(Florida), who ended the run of 16-year-old Rei Sakamoto of Japan with a 6-2, 6-2 win in the semifinals.

Illinois junior Hunter Heck and his partner Edward Winter of Australia won the doubles title today, with the No. 3 seeds defeating unseeded Jannik Optiz of Germany and Peter Kuszynski of Canada, both Western Michigan alums, 6-1, 7-6(2). 

Michael Mmoh is through to his second ATP Challenger title of the year in Cary North Carolina, after the 24-year-old, seeded No. 7, defeated No. 2 seed Jordan Thompson 6-3, 6-2 in today's first semifinal. 2016 Kalamazoo 18s champion Mmoh, who lost in the Tallahassee Challenger final this spring, last won a Challenger title in 2019. He will face the winner of tonight's semifinal between top seed Denis Kudla and No. 8 seed Dominik Koepfer(Tulane) of Germany. 

In the doubles final today, top seeds Jackson Withrow(Texas A&M) and Nate Lammons(SMU) defeated No. 4 seeds Treat Huey(Virginia) of the Philippines and JP Smith(Tennessee) of Australia 7-5, 2-6, 10-5 for the title, their second this year as a team, after winning three Challenger titles last year. Both are ranked in the ATP Top 70 in doubles.

Mmoh was entered in the qualifying for the ATP 250 in San Diego, but because he won his match yesterday in Cary, he was withdrawn. 

2022 Kalamazoo 18s champion Learner Tien was given a wild card into qualifying but he is ill and withdrew Friday. The qualifying wild cards went to Hudson Rivera, the 18-year-old Stanford recruit, and Alafia Ayeni, the former Cornell star, who is a graduate transfer at Kentucky this season. Both are from the San Diego area. 

Two-time Kalamazoo champion Zachary Svajda was given a main draw wild card Friday, joining Brandon Holt(USC) and Fernando Verdasco as wild card recipients. 

Although two more first round qualifying matches have yet to start, these are the six results that have been completed. Rivera lost to Mitchell Krueger 3-6, 6-1, 6-2; Aleks Kovacevic(Illinois) defeated Giovanni Oradini(Mississippi State) of Italy 7-6(5), 6-2; Emilio Nava beat Gage Brymer(UCLA) 6-1, 6-1; Ernesto Escobedo defeated Bradley Klahn(Stanford) 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-2; Marek Gengel of the Czech Republic beat Sebastian Fanselow(Pepperdine) 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 and Govind Nanda(UCLA) took out top seed Juan Pablo Ficovich of Argentina 6-3, 6-1. It's a career-best win by ATP ranking for the 21-year-old Nanda, a Kalamazoo 18s finalist in 2019, with Ficovich at No. 126.

The USA's Davis Cup team lost to the Netherlands today 2-1, with both Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul losing their singles matches. That means a second place finish in their group, which will have them playing a top finisher from another of the four groups in the quarterfinals in November. 

Results from this week for the USA in Scotland: 

 United States 2, Great Britain 1

Tommy Paul, USA d. Daniel Evans, GBR, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
Cameron Norrie, GBR d. Taylor Fritz, USA, 2-6, 7-6(2), 7-5
Rajeev Ram / Jack Sock, USA d. Andy Murray / Joe Salisbury, GBR, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5

United States 2, Kazakhstan 1

Tommy Paul, USA d. Mikhail Kukushkin, KAZ, 6-1, 6-4
Taylor Fritz, USA d. Alexander Bublik, 7-6(6), 1-6, 6-3
Bublik / Aleksandr Nedovyesov, KAZ d. Rajeev Ram / Jack Sock, USA, 6-2, 7-6(6)

Netherlands 2, United States 1

Tallon Griekspoor, NED d. Tommy Paul, USA, 7-5, 7-6(3)
Botic van de Zandschulp, NED d. Taylor Fritz, USA, 6-4, 7-6(3)
Rajeev Ram / Jack Sock, USA d. Wesley Koolhof / Matwe Middelkoop, NED, 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4

Friday, September 16, 2022

Rabman Wins ITF J2 Title in Montreal; USTA Announces Women's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge; New Tennis Facilities at MTSU, VCU; UT-Martin to Drop Tennis; Desdunes New Princeton Assistant; USA Reaches Davis Cup Quarterfinals

Seventeen-year-old Thea Rabman won her second ITF Junior Circuit title today at the J2 in Montreal, with the top seed defeating No. 4 seed Mayu Crossley of Japan 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 in the final. Rabman, a blue chip senior who has verbally committed to North Carolina, now has two J2 titles, both claimed in Canada.  

Unseeded 16-year-old Keegan Rice of Canada won the boys singles title, beating No. 8 seed Roy Horovitz to prevent a sweep of the singles and doubles titles by Americans. The ITF Junior Circuit site for the tournament hasn't been updated, but Tennis Canada did tweet the names and photos of the champions today. [Update: Rice d. Horovitz 6-3, 6-2].

The USTA announced its annual Australian Open Wild Card Challenge for the reciprocal wild card it exchanges with Tennis Australia, with details available right now just for the women's competition. The men's announcement is expected next week.

The women's event begins the week of September 26th and runs for five weeks, through the week of October 24th. The best three results during those five weeks on indoor or outdoor hard courts at the $25,000 level or above, including WTA tournaments, will count in the standings. Below are the USTA Pro Circuit events during those five weeks, although the Challenge is not confined to them.

Two announcements on Division I facility upgrades came out this week, with Middle Tennessee State breaking ground on its $7.1 million eight-court Outdoor Tennis Complex and Virginia Commonwealth revealing an anonymous $2.5 million donation to its Athletics Village tennis facility, which is still in the planning stages, but is expected to feature 12 outdoor and six indoor courts. 

In less positive college tennis news, University of Tennessee-Martin will be dropping its women's tennis program after this season. Caitlyn Williams resigned her position as head coach Monday at the Division I school and an interim coach will be hired for this final season.

I have an interview with new Princeton women's head coach Jamea Jackson coming up next week for the Tennis Recruiting Network; when I talked to her she did not yet have an assistant coach, but she does now. Jean Desdunes, a USTA National Coach from 2005-2020 and before that the men's head coach at Georgia Tech, will reunite with Jackson, with the two working together at the USTA for many years. For more on Desdunes resume, which has to be the most impressive of any assistant in the country, see this article from the Princeton website.

The USA Davis Cup reached November's quarterfinals today without playing, when the Netherlands beat Great Britain 2-1 in Glasgow. The USA and the Netherlands will play tomorrow, but that's simply to decide who will sit atop the group, with both currently 2-0. For more on today's match, see this article from the Davis Cup website.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

My US Open Juniors Recap; Four International Juniors Advance to Champaign $15K Quarterfinals; Rabman, Horovitz Reach Montreal J2 Finals; US Wins Again in Davis Cup Group Play

Unlike this year's Wimbledon Junior Championships, which were played over nine days with no rain delays, last week's US Open Junior Championships did not go smoothly. Packing the tournament into seven days left no room for the rain storms that seem obligatory in the second week of the Open, and when rain kept any matches from being played on Tuesday, those who did not complete their second round of singles or first round of doubles on Monday were bound to suffer. 

Girls finalist Lucie Havlickova bore the brunt of this scheduling problem, playing three matches on both Wednesday and Friday. Although the 17-year-old from the Czech Republic, who did take over the top spot in the ITF Junior Circuit rankings this week, was aware that any complaint would sound like an excuse, she did admit that it hurt her in the final against Eala, who never played more than two matches in a day.

For me, the Wimbledon schedule was ideal, and I hope if the US Open does not adopt that, at least they return to the Sunday singles finals that had been a tradition at the event since I began covering it in 2004 through 2019.

My recap of the tournament for the Tennis Recruiting Network is available today.

Four of the boys who competed in the US Open Junior Championships--Peter Privara of Slovakia, Daniel Vallejo of Paraguay, Edward Winter of Australia and Rei Sakamoto of Japan--have advanced to the quarterfinals of this week's $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Champaign. Privara, who lost to champion Martin Landaluce of Spain in the third round in New York, defeated NCAA Most Outstanding Player Gianni Ross(Virginia) 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 and will play top seed Sekou Bangoura(Florida) in Friday's quarterfinals.

The seventh-seed Vallejo, who lost to Landaluce in the semifinals last week, defeated Cash Hanzlik(Arizona State) 6-3, 6-3 and will play unseeded Yuta Kikuchi(Cal) of Japan, who defeated No. 2 seed Emil Reinberg(Georgia) 6-1, 6-3 today. The eighth-seeded Edward Winter, who qualified for the US Open Juniors but lost in the first round, defeated qualifier Jody Maginley of Antigua 7-5, 6-7(0), 6-1 and will face qualifier Justin Boulais(Ohio State) of Canada.

Sakamoto, who lost in the second round of the US Open Junior Championships, defeated No. 3 seed Tadeas Paroulek(Baylor) of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4 and will play No. 5 seed AJ Catanzariti(Texas A&M) in the quarterfinals.

It's the fifth $15K quarterfinal for Vallejo and the first for the other three.

USTA National 16s champion Darwin Blanch, who trains in Spain and returned there after Kalamazoo, decided to extended his trip to the United States for the US Open Juniors, where he won a round. Playing this week at the ITF J2 in Montreal, Blanch reached the semifinals, where he lost today to Roy Horovitz 7-5, 6-1. No. 8 seed Horovitz, who had not played since losing in the fourth round as the No. 1 seed in Kalamazoo last month, will play unseeded Keegan Rice of Canada in Friday's final.

Blanch and Horovitz did team up for the doubles title today, with the unseeded pair defeating wild cards Adam Faragcao and Stephane Kamendje of Canada 6-1, 6-1 in the final.

Top seed Thea Rabman will play No. 4 seed Mayu Crossley of Japan in the girls final Friday.

The girls doubles title went to No. 4 seeds Maya Joint and Ariana Pursoo, who beat wild cards Raphaelle Leroux and Gianna Oboniye of Canada 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 in today's final.

The United States beat Kazakhstan 2-1 today in Davis Cup Group play, with Tommy Paul and Taylor Fritz getting singles victories. There are still many permutations left, with matches scheduled for Friday and Saturday, so although they are in a good position as far as qualifying for the quarterfinals in November, nothing is decided as of yet.  For more on today's match, see this Davis Cup article.