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

Monday, January 30, 2023

Texas A&M Women, Georgia and Stanford Men Round out D-I Team Indoor Fields; Georgia Tops Men's Recruiting Class Rankings; Leach and Bittner Win ITF J100 Titles in New Zealand; Junior Orange Bowl Videos

The last three regional finals to determine the Division I National Team Indoor fields concluded today, with no surprises. The top-seeded Texas A&M women defeated No. 2 Florida 4-2 at Baylor's indoor facility (due to inclement weather) to advance to the women's Team Indoor, which begins February 10th in Seattle. Host Washington gets automatic entry into the event; the other 14 teams are North Carolina, Texas, Duke, Georgia, Stanford, Virginia, Pepperdine, Ohio State, Auburn, Oklahoma, Michigan, Iowa State, Vanderbilt and San Diego.

In the men's two regional finals, top-seeded Stanford lost the doubles point for the second straight day, but came back to beat No. 3 seed Texas A&M 4-1. Top seed Georgia rounds out the men's Team Indoor field after beating No. 2 seed Louisville 4-1. The men's Team Indoor is scheduled to begin February 17 in Chicago, with the University of Illinois as the host. The other 13 men's teams qualifying are Virginia, Ohio State, Texas, Michigan, Kentucky, TCU, Southern California, Florida, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Baylor, South Carolina and Tennessee.

All 15 hosts won their regional on the men's side, while just 11 of the 15 women's hosts advanced.

For all the results of the Kickoff Weekend, see SLAM tennis.

The first men's recruiting class rankings for the Class of 2023 were published today at Tennis Recruiting Network, with Georgia in the top spot, followed by Stanford, Kentucky, Harvard and South Carolina. The Power Five and the Ivy League conferences dominate, securing 23 of the 25 spots, which has been the case throughout the 18 years TRN has been conducting this poll. As a voter in every one of these (there are two a year, with the next one coming out in May), believe me when I say no one knows whose class will ultimately turn out the best; this is just an educated guess by those who follow college tennis on who is attracting the best talent right now.

The ITF Junior Circuit produced three American champions in doubles and three in singles. Three were in big events I followed throughout last week, with Learner Tien and Cooper Williams capturing the Australian Open boys doubles title, and Iva Jovic winning the singles and, with Tyra Grant, the doubles titles at the Costa Rica J300

The other three came at the J100 (formerly grade 3) ITF tournament in New Zealand, where Jagger Leach won his third straight, and biggest, singles title and Allie Bittner claimed both the singles and doubles titles in Auckland.

The third-seeded Leach, the 15-year-old son of Jon Leach and Lindsay Davenport, did drop his first set during his trip to New Zealand, in the semifinals, but in the final beat No. 5 seed Jake Dembo of Australia 6-0, 6-0. Leach won two J60s, in Christchurch and Wellington the previous two weeks.

The 16-year-old Bittner lost in the final at the middle of the three tournaments, then came back to earn her second singles title and first doubles title of the New Zealand swing last week. Bittner, seeded No. 8, defeated top seed Renee Zhang of New Zealand 7-6(5), 6-1 in the semifinals and No. 6 seed Aishi Das of New Zealand 6-2, 6-1 in the final. Bittner and her partner I Wen Wan of Taiwan, seeded No. 4, defeated top seeds Zhang and Maria Galatescu of New Zealand 2-6, 6-2, 10-6 in the final.

Leach is up to 184 in the ITF junior rankings now, after starting the year at 647.  Bittner has gone from 1232 in the ITF junior rankings at the start of the year to 284 now.

The last of the videos from December's Florida junior swing are up now at the tenniskalamazoo YouTube channel. Four videos, of the finals of both 14s and of the champions of the 12s, are embedded below. The video of Yeri Hong, the girls 12s finalist, is here; the video of Tabb Tuck, the boys 12s finalist, is here.


Kickoff Weekend said...

Several Key Takeaways from Women's Kickoff Weekend

1. Iowa State - Welcome to the Elite National stage

2. Overlook at NC State - Is Diana ineligible or overconfidence by Simon

3. UCLA went 0-2

4. San Diego is for real

5. No Sarah Hamner for South Carolina