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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.