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Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Qualifying Complete at Men's $15K and $25K Pro Circuit Events; First Round Underway at Women's $15K; Blue Chip Commitment Roundup; Shelton Leads Australian Open Wild Card Challenge; USA Begins Quest for Bille Jean King Cup Wednesday

The USTA Pro Circuit is winding down, with the week of November 14th marking the end of of its 2022 schedule. There are four men's events next week: the ATP Challenger 80 in Champaign, a $25,000 tournament in Columbus, a $15,000 tournament in East Lansing and a $15,000 tournament in Boca Raton. The women have only one tournament next week, a $15,000 event in Waco

This week's tournaments, all on college campuses, include the ATP Challenger 80 in Knoxville, a men's $25,000 tournament in Austin, a men's $15,000 tournament in Winston-Salem and a women's $15,000 tournament in Champaign.

Despite Champaign hosting the only women's Pro Circuit tournament in the country this week, the qualifying draws did not fill and 17-year-old Olivia Lincer of Poland, who has verbally committed to Central Florida, is the No. 1 seed. Lincer won her first round match today over former Illinois player Louise Kwong of Canada 6-2, 6-3. Second seed Connie Hsu(Penn) of Taiwan lost to qualifier Tiffany William(Middle Tennessee St) 6-1, 6-1 in today's first round action. The other qualifier to advance to the second round is Illinois sophomore Kathryn (Kasia) Treiber, who beat Shatoo Mohamad 6-1, 1-6, 6-4. Two other Illinois players, both wild cards, advanced to the second round: senior Ashley Yeah and junior Katherine Duong.  Sixteen-year-old Maya Joint, fresh off her win last week at the J3 in Canada, received a main draw wild card, losing to No. 8 seed Noel Saidenova of Russia, a UCF sophomore, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

The only American to qualify at Winston-Salem was LSU junior Ron Hohmann, with six other qualifiers either current or former collegians. Duke senior Garrett Johns is the top seed, with South Carolina junior Toby Samuel, last week's champion in Fayetteville, the No. 2 seed. Samuel defeated Cash Hanzlik(Tyler JC) 6-4, 6-1 today in the first round; Johns plays his first round match Wednesday. Wild cards were given to NC State's Braden Shick and Wake Forest's Filippo Moroni, Bozo Barun and Luciano Tacchi.

Three juniors used their ITF Top 100 rankings for entry: Fayetteville finalist Learner Tien, Aidan Kim and Arizona State freshman Constantinos Koshis of Cyprus. Kyle Kang and Alex Michelsen[5] are also in the draw, via their ATP rankings. Duke freshman Pedro Rodenas of Spain also received direct entry and is seeded No. 6; he defeated Shick 7-6(4), 6-1.

American qualifiers in Austin include Pranav Kumar(Texas A&M/SMU), Noah Schachter(Texas A&M), Eric Hadigian(Gonzaga/Pepperdine) and Ryan Dickerson(Duke/Baylor). Eighteen-year-olds Sebastian Gorzny(TCU) and Marko Mesarovic, a Clemson recruit, also reached the main draw via qualifying. 

Bernard Tomic of Australia is the top seed, with Jack Pinnington Jones of Great Britain seeded No. 2. Wild cards went to Texas Tech's Tyler Stewart, Texas's Micah Braswell and Siem Woldeab and Georgia's Phillip Henning. First round play begins Wednesday.

Signing day is tomorrow, with 2023 recruits able to make their verbal commitments official. Tennis Recruiting Network has posted the latest on the blue chips, with the boys list here and the girls list here. Madeleine Jessup was just announced today as a Princeton recruit; Girls 18s champion Eleana Yu made her choice--Stanford--just a few days ago.

The USTA released the update standings for its men's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge, with Charlottesville champion Ben Shelton(Florida) taking the lead from Las Vegas champion Tennys Sandgren(Tennessee), with two weeks of competition remaining. Although there are Challengers in Canada this week and next that count toward the competition, it's most likely the Knoxville and Champaign Challengers will decide the winner. Shelton, the No. 4 seed in Knoxville, didn't look sharp in his first round match today, but he got past Keegan Smith(UCLA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.  2019 Knoxville champion Michael Mmoh is the top seed, with Stefan Kozlov the No. 2 seed. Christopher Eubanks and Sandgren are also in the field in Knoxville, and like Mmoh and Kozlov, also won their first round matches.

The top 5 in the Men's Challenge standings (rankings in parentheses) after Week 2 of 4 are as follows:

1. Ben Shelton (No. 128) -- 87
2. Tennys Sandgren (No. 288) -- 84
3. Stefan Kozlov (No. 159) -- 57
4. Chris Eubanks (No. 120) -- 50
5. Two players tied at 30

The United States begins play in the Billie Jean King Cup Wednesday in Glasgow Scotland against Poland. Their group, one of four, also includes the Czech Republic. The four group winners will advance to the semifinals Saturday. Jessica Pegula was initially named to the team, but withdrew with illness, so the US team now consists of Coco Gauff, Madison Keys, Danielle Collins, Caty McNally and Taylor Townsend. World No. 1 Iga Swiatek is not playing for the Polish team. 

For more on the US team as they prepare for this week's competition, see this article from the USTA.


Brent said...

Didn't Cash Hanzlik commit to Arizona State initially or am I making that up? Noticed your Tyler JC reference in today's update.

Colette Lewis said...

No, I think Hanzlik did commit to Arizona State, but he's not currently on their roster, so I didn't include it.

Brent said...

Committed to ASU but not starting until '23 (I presume that means he'll join at the semester in time for the spring season). Interesting story here - https://www.statepress.com/article/2022/04/asu-mens-tennis-cash-hanzlik-usta-athlete-2023