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Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Holt and Tien Receive Wild Cards for ATP's San Diego Open; Qualifying Complete at Champaign $15K; ITA Women's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Saturday; SI Feature on Rubin, Giron; NYT Explores College Recruiting at US Open

Last year's "pop-up" ATP 250 tournament at San Diego's Barnes Tennis Center was a notable success, so it's no surprise to see the San Diego Open on the calendar again this year, even with the BNP Paribas Open back to its regular dates in March. 

San Diego's Brandon Nakashima has entered, as has Jenson Brooksby, Marcos Giron, JJ Wolf and Mackenzie McDonald. Great Britain's Dan Evans is will be the top seed, with his ranking at 25. Two-time major finalist Casper Ruud was last year's champion.

The tournament announced Spain's Fernando Verdasco as a wild card last week; today it was announced that Brandon Holt, the former USC All-American would also receive a main draw wild card. Holt, who beat Taylor Fritz in the first round of the US Open after qualifying in New York, was initially in qualifying for the event. That leaves one more wild card is available for the 28-player main draw.

Kalamazoo 18s champion Learner Tien, who won the ITF San Diego J1 at Barnes in March, was announced as a qualifying wild card recipient. There is another qualifying wild card available for the 16-player draw, with two victories necessary to reach the main draw.

The field for the WTA San Diego Open in October, which is a 500 level event, is expected to include US Open champion Iga Swiatek, Anett Konteveit, Jessica Pegula, Aryna Sabalenka, Coco Gauff and Danielle Collins.

There are no USTA Pro Circuit events for women this week, the third consecutive week without any competitive tournaments except for the US Open.

As I mentioned Sunday, the men have the ATP Challenger 80 in Cary North Carolina, where first round action will conclude today, and there is also a $15,000 men's tournament in Champaign Illinois.

Four of the players in the main draw competed in the main draw of the US Open Junior Championships last week, with Peter Privara of Slovakia, Rei Sakamoto of Japan and Yaroslav Demin of Russia using the ITF's junior reserved program for entry. The fourth, Aidan Kim, received a wild card, but the 17-year-old from Michigan lost to Yuta Kikuchi(Cal) of Japan 6-4, 6-4.  Sakamoto defeated Illinois freshman Kenta Miyoshi of Japan, a wild card, 6-4, 6-3 and Privara took out No. 6 seed Alex Martinez(Oklahoma) of Spain 7-5, 6-4 in first round action today. In addition to Miyoshi and Kim, wild cards were awarded to Illinois grad transfer Oliver Okonkwo(Iowa) and Illinois transfer Mathis Debru(formerly at Georgia). 

Sekou Bangoura(Florida) is the top seed, and he won his first round match today over Jordan Hasson(Oklahoma) of Israel 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

The final round qualifying made up the bulk of the matches today, with five Americans reaching the main draw: Warren Wood(CMS), Toby Boyer(Nebraska), Alex Petrov(Illinois), Trent Bryde(Georgia) and Kweisi Kenyatte(Valparaiso, Illinois).

The ITA Women's Hall of Fame induction ceremony, delayed two years due to the pandemic, is scheduled for Saturday at William and Mary. I do wish the men's and women's Hall of Fame would join forces to form one collegiate Hall of Fame, but for whatever the reason that they have not. This women's class consists of players Diane Donnelly Stone(Northwestern), Lisa Spain Short(Georgia), AnnaMaria Fernandez-Ruffels(USC) and coach Lin Loring(Indiana). For more on their accomplishments, see this article from the ITA.

While I was in New York for the US Open Junior Championships, a couple of articles were published that might be of particular interest to readers of this website. The New York Times took a look at all the college recruiting that happens at a junior slam in this article(if you are a subscriber, or have a free article left). If you've ever wondered how Parsa Nemati makes a living, this article explains it. Sports Illustrated published this feature on former UCLA star Marcos Giron and former Wake Forest standout Noah Rubin that looks at the financial and mental costs of trying to make a living as a professional tennis player after having junior and college success.