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Monday, January 9, 2023

Ten Americans Collect Australian Open Qualifying Wins Monday, Thirteen More Play First Round Matches Tonight; NCAA Champions Navarro and Stearns Begin Year at Naples $25K; Applications for Hurd $100K Collegiate Grants Now Open

Day Two of the Australian Open qualifying is underway in Melbourne, with six US women and seven US men playing their first round matches. On Monday, 14 Americans were in first round action, with eight of the 10 women and two of the four men advancing to Wednesday's second round. 

The women advancing were Elli Mandlik[21], Ashlyn Krueger, Sachia Vickery, Sophie Chang, Ann Li[24], Coco Vandweghe[23], Kayla Day and Katie Volynets[11]. The 18-year-old Krueger defeated 2014 Australian Open semifinalist Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-3, 1-6, 6-4.

Two former collegians, Brandon Holt(USC) and Bradley Klahn(Stanford) got the men's wins, with Holt taking out No. 3 seed Radu Albot of Moldova 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 and Klahn getting past Frederico Silva of Portugal 6-3, 7-6(5). Klahn, the 2010 NCAA singles champion, now 32, has had a variety of injuries since he finished 2018 ranked 76, but if he's healthy, he can still win ATP Tour level matches.

In action tonight(Tuesday in Australia): Alycia Parks[1], Katrina Scott, Hailey Baptiste, Robin Montgomery, Asia Muhammad, Caroline Dolehide, Denis Kudla[6], Aleks Kovacevic, Michael Mmoh[9], Bruno Kuzuhara[WC], Emilio Nava, Ernesto Escobedo and Mitchell Kreuger.

All Australian Open qualifying matches can be streamed at ESPN+.

Two players who would have been in the qualifying at the Australian Open this year have instead opted to play the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Naples Florida, where they are the top two seeds.

2021 NCAA singles champion Emma Navarro(Virginia), ranked 149, is the top seed, while 2022 NCAA singles (and team) champion Peyton Stearns(Texas), ranked 209, is the No. 2 seed. Navarro plays a qualifier in the first round, with Stearns set to face former teammate Lulu Sun of Switzerland.

Main draw wild cards were given to 16-year-old Naples resident and ITF junior No. 23 Kaitlin Quevedo, Isabella Barrera-Aguirre, Samantha Crawford and Victoria Sanchez Bronzetti of Spain. Elvina Kalieva is the No. 3 seed, with Malibu $25K champion Jamie Loeb seeded No. 5. 

The first round of qualifying was completed today, with 15-year-old wild card and Winter Nationals 18s finalist Alanis Hamilton picking up a 6-0, 6-3 win over No. 7 seed Christina Rosca(Vanderbilt). UNC freshman Reese Brantmeier[4], who has yet to play for the Tar Heels, lost to former Princeton standout Victoria Hu 7-5, 4-6, 10-7 in the first round of qualifying.

Last March at the BNP Paribas Open, Universal Tennis announced the return of the $100,000 collegiate grants that were established in 2017 in partnership with Oracle and its co-CEO Mark Hurd. After his death in 2019, and with the pandemic disrupting college tennis, the grants were not awarded in 2021 and 2022, but applications are now open for the 2023 grants, being administered through the Universal Tennis Foundation. One American man and one American women will receive $100,000 stipends to assist in their transition to pro tennis; previous recipients include current Top 100 pros Danielle Collins, Mackenzie McDonald and JJ Wolf. 

The grant is open to college seniors as well as those who have recently played college tennis. For more details on the criteria for applying, see this document from the Universal Tennis Foundation. The application process is now open, with the deadline to apply February 10, 2023. 

The committee responsible for selecting the recipients includes Paula Hurd, Lindsay Davenport, Tracy Austin, Mary Joe Fernandez, Todd Martin, Peggy Michel, Gordon Uehling and Stephen Amritraj.

After last week's announcement that the ITA would be adopting the ITF's World Tennis Number, which is in direct competition with the Universal Tennis rating system, there was concern about Universal Tennis's role in college tennis going forward. That is by no means allayed as it pertains to other facets of college tennis, but it's encouraging to see this initiative return.


Midwest Coach said...

Diana Shnaider just won her first round qualifying at the Australian Open. Guaranteed another 25K and ranked WTA 108.

This is not an education decision because she hasn't been in college, in fact, is she even scheduled for an in-person class?

This is not a good look for college, keeping players in college way too long while not looking after the best interest of players.

Even if she plays this Spring, this will not look good on NC State.

Brent said...

What evidence do you have that someone other than her is making the decision here? You seem to be valuing only dollars in the decision. Maybe there are other factors in her decision - playing with teammates, developing lifelong relationships, knocking out classes towards a degree, earning the right to come back later and finish her degree on scholarship (the Brooksby plan) as a nice back-stop in case the pros don't work out, etc. Could be a lot of factors - agree that no one should begrudge her right to go pro now without criticism but can't the opposite decision also be true?

Midwest Coach said...


Yes, all your reasons could be true.

She is 18 years old with a WTA live ranking of #106 - think her Pro career is off to a great start. When she becomes Top 100, the first round of Grand Slam tournaments is 80K. She plays main draw in all of them that 320K. Would be easily be Main Draw of the French Open if she continued to play Pro events.

I really do not care if she goes to school or not but I like a good, healthy debate. My initial thoughts to some of the reasons would be - if she really wanted to play with teammates, she wouldn't have spent all Fall on the road and starting the Spring in Australia. Sadly, this isnt a college experience.

Will be anxious to see how many college matches she will skip for pro tournaments. This is more of a potential abuse of the system. The coaches can't be doing any coaching or teaching if she isn't even on campus.

I sure hope she has a one-n-done deal. But she has already earned enough prize money to play for several years of college. I doubt the coaches are saying - what do you want to do? Or turning Pro is in your best interest Or do what is best for you.

Visa to the rescue said...

Diana is one match away from the Main Draw at Australian Open - 80K

NC State got Diana on a Student Visa - so I am not saying she is trapped into staying in college but if she leaves this would affect her travel back home & would cause some travel issues with her family as well.

I hope someone is getting her a huge NIL deal to compensate for all the prize money she is about to lose for playing in college tennis. So this isn't about playing college tennis or playing for teammates, this sounds like finding anyone who would get her a Visa to have the ability to travel to tournaments.