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Tuesday, February 28, 2023

USTA Women's Pro Circuit Tournaments Resume in California and Texas; Men Stay in Naples; Michelsen Beats No. 5 Seed at Waco Challenger; Stearns Earns First WTA Level Win; TCU Men and UNC Women Remain No. 1

After two weeks without any women's USTA Pro Circuit events, there are two this week: a $25,000 tournament in Spring Texas and a $60,000 tournament in Arcadia California. The men are playing again this week at another $15,000 tournament in Naples Florida, with the Waco Challenger 75 also underway.

The rain that has plagued California for weeks now washed out Monday's first day of qualifying, so both rounds were scheduled for today, and no first round matches will be played. Although the second round of qualifying is not complete, some qualifiers have been determined, with 15-year-old Tianmei Wang, the USTA Girls 18s Winter Nationals champion, winning two matches today to reach the main draw. Wang defeated top qualifying seed Tori Kinard, who is 20 years older, 6-4, 6-3 in the final round of qualifying.

With the BNP Paribas Open qualifying beginning next Monday, the Arcardia tournament has a number of international competitors, with Sara Errani of Italy, ranked 106, and Diane Parry of France, ranked 115, the top two seeds. 

Main draw wild cards were given to 16-year-old UCLA recruit Olivia Center, UCLA sophomore Kimmi Hance, Christina Rosca(Vanderbilt) and Megan McCray(Oklahoma State). Other current collegians in the draw are Stanford freshman Alexis Blokhina and USC freshman Madison Sieg.

In Spring Texas the qualifying has concluded, with three Americans advancing to the main draw: LSU junior Kylie Collins, 17-year-old Tatum Evans and 14-year-old Tyra Grant.

The wild cards were given to recent Old Dominion star Yuliia Starodubtseva of Ukraine and teens Iva Jovic, Alanis Hamilton and Shannon Lam. The two wild cards who played today won, with Starodubtseva defeating No. 6 seed Jenna DeFalco 6-3, 6-0 and the 14-year-old Lam beating former Princeton standout Victoria Hu 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Orange Bowl finalist Clervie Ngounoue won her first round match, beating Jessica Hinojosa Gomez of Mexico 6-1, 6-2.  Former University of Florida All-American McCartney Kessler defeated top seed Tessah Andrianjafitrimo of France 7-6(1), 2-6, 6-2 in the first round today; she will play Ngounoue next. 

The No. 2 seed is Michaela Bayerlova(Washington State) of the Czech Republic, who will play Veronica Miroshnichenko(Loyola Marymount) of Russia in the first round. 

In Naples, five Americans qualified for the main draw with wins today: Isaiah Strode, Matthew Segura, Jaycer Lyeons(Tyler JC), Evan Bynoe(Cornell) and Ryan Dickerson(Duke/Baylor). Mac Kiger(North Carolina) received a spot in the main draw as a lucky loser. 

The wild cards went to Aidan Kim, Bryce Nakashima, 17-year-old Jack Ling, who is playing his first USTA Pro Circuit tournament, and Zheng Qing Ji of China. Kim and Nakashima played their first round match today, with Nakashima posting a 6-7(9), 6-2, 6-3 victory.

Last week's Naples $15K finalist Kyle Kang will play No. 8 seed Peter Bertran(Georgia/South Florida) of the Dominican Republic in the first round Wednesday.

The top seed in Naples is Matias Franco Descotte of Argentina; the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds both withdrew.

Alex Michelsen has made the transition from indoors to outdoors without skipping a beat, coming from an appearance in the final of the ATP Challenger in Rome Georgia last week. The 18-year-old University of Georgia signee defeated No. 5 seed Maximilian Marterer of Germany 6-0, 6-3 in the first round of the ATP Challenger 75 in Waco Texas and will face unseeded Alex Bolt of Australia in the second round. Top seed Jordan Thompson of Australia, who beat Michelsen in the Rome final, withdrew, with a lucky loser taking his place.

At the WTA 250 in Austin Texas, 2022 NCAA champion Peyton Stearns played late into the night, but earned her first WTA level victory, beating qualifier Katie Boulter of Great Britain 7-6(5). 6-7(2), 7-6(5) in three hours and 26 minutes. Stearns will play wild card Mirjam Bjorklund of Sweden tomorrow, after Bjorklund took out No. 7 seed Alycia Parks 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. 

Stearns teammates at Texas last year, wild cards Charlotte Chavatipon and Sabina Zeynalova, won their first round doubles match today, beating Beatrice Gumulya(Clemson) of Indonesia and Yu-Chieh Hsieh of Taiwan 6-3, 6-4.

This week's computer rankings are out, with no changes at the top of either the men's or women's lists. For the full rankings, click on the headings.

ITA Women's Division I Team Top Ten
February 28, 2023
(last week's ranking in parentheses)

1. North Carolina(1)
2. Texas A&M(7)
3. Ohio State(2)
4. NC State(9)
5. Michigan(3)
6. Georgia(6)
7. Iowa State(4)
8. Auburn(5)
9. Pepperdine(25)
10. Texas(8)

In addition to Pepperdine, other big upward moves outside the top 10 were made by Stanford (22 to 13), who beat Texas; Virginia(20 to 15), who beat Duke; and undefeated Syracuse(53 to 16), who beat Miami.

Texas A&M's win over Ohio State moved them up to where most fans thought they belonged after the Team Indoor Championships.

ITA Men's Division I Team Top Ten
February 28, 2023

1. TCU(1)
2. Texas(2)
3. Michigan(3)
4. Ohio State(4)
5. Kentucky(5)
6. South Carolina(6)
7. Harvard(9)
8. Southern California(7)
9. Georgia(8)
10. North Carolina(10)

The two big movers for the men were outside the Top 10, with Auburn, who won the Blue Gray title over the weekend to go from 36 to 14 and Memphis, who went from 42 to 26 after beating Northwestern.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Eight Americans Competing at J300 in Brazil; Molnar, Spurling Win J30 Titles in Mexico; NYT's Shnaider Feature; Barry Claims Women's D-II National Indoor Title; USGA Announces National Development Program

This week's J300 tournament in South America moves to Brazil and serves as a warmup for the J500 Banana Bowl next week. Many of the US juniors who played events in January and in the first part of February in South America have returned home, but there are five US boys and three US girls in the Porto Alegre 32-player draws this week, none of whom are seeded. The boys are Darwin Blanch, Max Exsted, Cooper Woestendick, Alexander Razeghi and Roy Horovits. The girls are Piper Charney, Alexis Harmon and Sage Loudon.

The top boys seeds are Yaroslav Demin of Russia and Rei Sakamoto of Japan; Sakamoto played last week at the $15K in Naples, reaching the quarterfinals. The girls top seeds are Japan's Sara Saito, who won last week's J300 in Paraguay and Lucciana Perez Alarcon of Peru, who won the two J300s the two previous weeks, in Colombia and Peru. Charney has drawn Saito in the first round.

I reported on the J30 in Eau Claire and the J300 in Uruguay last Friday and Saturday, but I don't want to overlook the three other titles won by Americans on the ITF Junior Circuit last week. Two Southern Californians won singles titles at the J30 in Baja Mexico: 15-year-old Nischal Spurling and 16-year-old Bianco Molnar. Spurling, a qualifier playing in his first ITF Junior Circuit tournament, defeated fellow qualifier Francisco Salmain of Argentina 7-6(2), 6-1 in the final. 

Molnar, the No. 3 seed, won the second ITF Junior Circuit title of her career with a 6-2, 6-0 win over 13-year-old American Sephi Sheng.

At the J30 in Senegal last week, 14-year-old Tejaswini Narala of Florida won her second ITF Junior Circuit title, taking the girls doubles title with Meriem Ben Ezzedine of Tunisia. The top seeds defeated No. 2 seeds Tamara Kuti of Great Britain and Carla Grignac of France 7-6(4), 2-6, 10-7 in the final. 

The New York Times' tennis writer Christopher Clarey has been following the story of North Carolina State freshman Diana Shnaider closely in the past few months and today provides this update on her first few weeks competing for the Wolfpack. Clarey spoke with Shnaider last week, and with NC State coaches Simon Earnshaw and David Secker about the family tensions surrounding her decision to go to college, the eligibility roadblocks she faced, and the level of play she's encountered at the top of the lineup. And it's always great to see a reminder of Lisa Raymond's college career at Florida.

The ITA Division II Women's Team Indoor Championships concluded last night in Nebraska, with top seed Barry defeating No. 3 seed Saint Leo 4-0 in the final. It's second straight title for the Buccaneers, who have won three of the four championships since the Division II event was added in 2020. The box score can be found here.

I happened across an article on the United States Golf Association's recent announcement that the organization would be introducing a national development program. My first reaction was surprise; I guess I had assumed the USGA had something like that in place, as the USTA has had for decades now. Anyway, I thought it would be interesting for those who have knowledge of how the USTA's programs work to compare and contrast with what the USGA is describing here.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Boitan Takes Third Straight $15K in Florida; Michelsen Falls in Rome Challenger Final; Montgomery, Krueger Qualify for Austin's WTA 250; Norrie Beats Alcaraz for Rio Title; Texas A&M Women Beat Ohio State; Case Western Repeats as Men's D-III Indoor Champion

There is no stopping former Baylor All-American Adrian Boitan, who won his third $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit title in Florida in as many weeks Sunday afternoon in Naples. The 23-year-old from Romania defeated 18-year-old Stanford recruit Kyle Kang 6-3, 6-1 in today's final to run his winning streak to 15 matches. He withdrew from next week's $15K, again in Naples, and unfortunately did not receive a wild card into next week's Waco Challenger. Kang is on acceptance list as an ITF junior reserved entry at the second $15K in Naples, as is Kaylan Bigun.

The other American 18-year-old playing for a title in the US today, Alex Michelsen, also lost, with the Georgia signee falling to top seed Jordan Thompson of Australia 6-4, 6-2 at the ATP 75 Challenger in Rome. Thompson, currently No. 93 in the ATP rankings, is the first player in the ATP Top 100 that Michelsen has faced and he struggled a bit today with the depth and quality of Thompson's ball. After dropping the first game on serve, Michelsen stayed close, but wasn't able to regroup as he had down in early matches. He did manage to break back for 2-2 in the second set, but that was the last game Michelsen won, as Thompson lost only one more point on serve the rest of the way.

Michelsen received a special exemption into the main draw at the Waco Challenger, as did former Wake Forest All-American Borna Gojo of Croatia, who reached the final today at the ATP Monterey Challenger 125 in Mexico, losing to former Mississippi State All-American Nuno Borges of Portugal 6-4, 7-6(6). Main draw wild cards were given to Toby Kodat, Ryan Harrison and No. 3 seed Aleks Kovacevic(Illinois). Thompson and Rinky Hijikata(North Carolina) of Australia are the top two seeds in Waco.

Also in Texas this week is the new WTA 250 tournament in Austin, with qualifying concluding today. 2021 US Open girls champion Robin Montgomery is through to the main draw after beating top qualifying seed Jodi Burrage of Great Britain yesterday and Elvina Kalieva today. Another 18-year-old, Ashlyn Krueger, the 2021 USTA Girls 18s National champion, also qualified, beating No. 6 seed Erika Andreeva of Russia 1-6, 7-5, 6-1 today in the final round of qualifying. Montgomery and Krueger, the 2021 US Open girls champions, who won the $60K title in Orlando earlier this month, will also compete in the main draw in doubles. The other two Americans qualifying for the main draw today are Ann Li and Louisa Chirico. 

2022 NCAA singles (and team) champion Peyton Stearns is back in action in Austin as a wild card, after taking the $60K title in Orlando; the former Longhorn will face qualifier Katie Boulter of Great Britain in the first round.

The top seed is Magda Linette of Poland, with Shuai Zhang of China the No. 2 seed. The other wild cards went to Elli Mandlik and Sweden's Mirjam Bjorklund.

Former TCU All-American Cameron Norrie came from a set and a break down to beat world No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz of Spain 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 to earn his fifth ATP title at the Rio Open 500 in Argentina. Alcaraz, returning from a injury layoff that kept him from competing at the Australian Open, had beaten Norrie in the final of the ATP tournament in Buenos Aires last week. For more on Norrie's comeback, see this article from the ATP website.

The Texas A&M women, ranked No. 7, played No. 2 Ohio State for the second time this month, with both traveling to Lake Nona for a rematch outdoors. Although today's 5-2 win for the Aggies was closer than the 4-0 decision they earned over the Buckeyes in the quarterfinals of the National Team Indoors, it did solidify Texas A&M as one of the top contenders for the NCAA title in May, and that should be reflected in the next rankings release. For more on the match, see this article from 12thman.com.

The Case Western men earned their second straight Division III Men's Team Indoor title today in Minnesota, with the second-seeded Spartans defeating No. 4 seed Washington-St. Louis 5-1 in the final. Washington-St. Louis had defeated top seed Chicago 6-3 in Saturday's semifinals. For more on the final, see this article from the Case athletics website.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Kang Reaches First Pro Circuit Final in Naples; Michelsen Advances to Rome Challenger Final; Italians Sweep ITF J500 Titles in Cairo; Stanford Women Get Key Win Over Texas

Eighteen-year-old Stanford recruit Kyle Kang will play in his first USTA Pro Circuit final Sunday at the $15,000 men's tournament in Naples Florida, after he came from behind to defeat Victor Lilov today in the All-US-teen semifinal.

After dropping the first set to the 2021 Wimbledon boys finalist 6-4, Kang was up 5-2 in the second set, only to see Lilov get the break back and forced a tiebreaker. Kang won that easily, then broke Lilov in the third game of the final set, with that break all he needed, winning five of the next six games to take the 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-2 decision. 

Kang will have his work cut out for him in the final, where he'll face Adrian Boitan of Romania, who beat No. 7 seed Bruno Kuzuhara 6-1, 7-6(4) for his 14th consecutive victory in the last three weeks.

Kuzuhara trailed 6-1, 5-1, but fought back to force a tiebreaker before the former Baylor All-American ended the comeback. It will be the first meeting between the two, but with titles the last two weeks in Palm Coast and Weston, Boitan obviously has the edge in experience.

In today's doubles final, the unseeded Czech pair of Jiri Jenicek and Daniel Paty defeated Viacheslav Bielinskyi of Ukraine and Alvaro Guillen Meza of Colombia, also unseeded, 7-6(2), 6-4 for the title.

Wild card Alex Michelsen continued his great start to 2023, with the 18-year-old Georgia signee advancing to his first ATP Challenger final today with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 win over No. 8 seed Seong-chan Hong of Korea in Rome Georgia.

Michelsen was broken early in the first set and Hong didn't give Michelsen a single break point to work with as he secured the lead.  But Michelsen began to get looks in the second set and broke for a 4-2 lead, only to get broken at love serving for the set at 5-3. Michelsen let two set points get away with Hong serving at 4-5 and had to save a break point at 5-all, but he broke on his third set point to even the match.

Hong's speed gave Michelsen problems in the first two sets, and on several occasions the Southern Californian had to hit three or four overheads before he could finally get one past Hong. Both had limited success with drop shots in the early going, but it was Michelsen who adjusted better, on both offense and defense, when that shot surfaced in the latter stages of the match. Once Michelsen got an early break in the third set, after saving three break points in the first game, to take a 3-0 lead, Hong started serving and volleying, but that tactic wasn't effective and Michelsen closed out the win with little difficulty.

Michelsen, who is now up to 356 in the ATP live rankings, will face top seed Jordan Thompson of Australia for the title Sunday, after Thompson defeated Zachary Svajda 7-6(3), 7-6(5).

No. 2 seeds Luke Johnson(Clemson) of Great Britain and Sem Verbeek(Pacific) of the Netherlands took the doubles title, defeating unseeded Gabriel Decamps(UCF) of Brazil and Alex Rybakov(TCU) 6-2, 6-2 in today's final.

The J500 in Cairo Egypt concluded today with Italians winning both the boys and girls singles titles. No. 2 seed Federica Urgesi, an 18-year-old who had won the J300 warmup tournament last week in Cairo, defeated top seed Mirra Andreeva of Russia 6-3, 6-3 in today's final, while No. 13 seed Federico Bondioli, 17, beat No. 16 seed Branko Djuric of Serbia 6-7(6), 6-3, 7-6(5) for the boys title. Djuric had won the warmup tournament the previous week, beating Bondioli 6-1, 6-4 in the second round.

Unseeded Jan Hrazdil and Vojtech Petr of the Czech Republic won the boys doubles title, beating unseeded Sasa Markovic and Vuk Radjenovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-3 in the final. 

The Czechs also took the girls doubles title, with unseeded Alena Kovackova and Laura Samsonova beating No. 2 seeds Malak El Allami and Aya El Aouni of Morocco 6-4, 6-3 in the championship match.

At this week's J300 in Asuncion Paraguay, Kaitlin Quevedo finished as runner-up for the third straight J300 tournament that she played. The 17-year-old from Florida, seeded No. 2, lost to top seed Sara Saito of Japan 6-2, 6-4 in the final. No. 3 seed Emilien Demanet of Belgium won the boys singles title, beating top seed Adriano Dzhenev of Bulgaria 6-2, 6-1.

The Stanford women, seeded No. 5, had a disappointing National Team Indoor earlier this month, going 1-2 and falling to 22 in this week's rankings. With no highly ranked teams in the Pac-12 so far this year, today's match with No. 8 Texas in Austin took on added significance as far as positioning for seeds in the NCAA championships in May.  After Texas won the doubles point, with straightforward wins on lines 1 and 3, prospects weren't bright, but Stanford got singles points from Alexandra Yepifanova at line 1, Connie Ma at line 2, Alexis Blokhina at 4 and, delivering the clinching point, Angelica Blake at 3. The match was played out, with Stanford ultimately earning a 5-2 victory. For the full box score, see this article from gostanford.com.

Friday, February 24, 2023

My Conversation with New USTA National Coach Tom Gutteridge; Three US Teens and Boitan Advance to Naples $15K Semifinals; Michelsen and Svajda Reach Rome Georgia Challenger Semis; Chung, Krupkin Sweep J30 Eau Claire Titles; Men's Division III Team Indoor Underway

Last week I had the opportunity to speak with Tom Gutteridge, who joined the USTA as a National Coach last fall, for this article at the Tennis Recruiting Network. Gutteridge explained why he got into coaching at such a young age, why he prefers coaching juniors to coaching pros, the two sides to every player, and the goal of  traveling to international tournaments with young players. For a current list of USTA National Coaches, click here.

Three American teenagers have advanced to Saturday's semifinals at the $15,000 men's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Naples Florida, while former Baylor star Adrian Boitan of Romania extended his winning streak this month to 13 matches.

Eighteen-year-old Bruno Kuzuhara, seeded No. 7, defeated wild card Ozan Colak(Michigan State) 6-4, 6-4 to reach the fifth $15K semifinal of his pro career. The 2022 Australian Open boys champion will face Boitan, an unseeded 23-year-old from Romania, who defeated Kuzuhara in the quarterfinals of the $15K two weeks ago in Palm Coast Florida. Boitan, who beat 16-year-old Rei Sakamoto of Japan 6-3, 6-2 today, won that title and also last week's title at the $15K in Weston.

The other semifinal will feature 19-year-old Victor Lilov, through to his fourth $15K semifinal, and 18-year-Kyle Kang, who will be playing in his second $15K semifinal. Lilov beat qualifier Lucas Renard of Sweden 6-4, 6-0, while Kang avenged his second round loss last week in Weston to Federico Agustin Gomez of Argentina 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(5). Kang and Lilov haven't played on either the ITF Junior Circuit or the ITF men's World Tennis Tour.

Two young Southern Californians have advanced to the semifinals of the ATP 75 Challenger in Rome Georgia: wild card Alex Michelsen and unseeded Zachary Svajda.  The 18-year-old Michelsen defeated unseeded Edan Leshem of Israel 7-5, 6-3, while the 20-year-old Svajda beat unseeded Elmar Ejupovic of Germany 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.  In his first Challenger semfinal, Michelsen will face No. 8 seed Seong-chan Hong of Korea, who defeated qualifier Toby Kodat 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 today. Two-time Kalamazoo 18s champion Svajda will take on top seed Jordan Thompson of Australia, who beat unseeded Alastair Gray(TCU) of Great Britain 6-4, 6-2.

The ITF J30 in Eau Claire Wisconsin wrapped up today, with 15-year-old Kayla Chung of Pennsylvania and 16-year-old Mark Krupkin of New Jersey taking both the singles and doubles championships.

Chung, the No. 3 seed, defeated qualifier Karlin Schock 6-2, 6-2 for her first ITF Junior Circuit singles title. Chung and Kenna Erickson, seeded No. 2, won the doubles title, beating the unseeded team of Maia Loureiro and Kaede Usui 6-4, 6-3 in an all-US final. Chung has now won five ITF Junior doubles titles, including last week's at the J30 in New Jersey.

The unseeded Krupkin defeated unseeded Jack Kennedy 7-5, 6-2 for his first title on the ITF Junior Circuit. It didn't take long before he got his second, partnering with Cole Henceroth for the doubles title after his singles victory today. Krupkin and Henceroth, seeded No. 3, defeated unseeded Matthew Cizmarik of Canada and Raul De La Vega of Brazil 6-0, 6-4 in the final. It's the first ITF Junior Circuit title for Henceroth.

The ITA Division III Men's Team Indoor Championships began today at Gustavus-Adolphus in Minnesota. No. 2 seed and defending champion Case Western, No. 3 seed Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and No. 4 seed Washington-St. Louis all won their quarterfinal matches today. Top seed University of Chicago is playing host Gustavus-Adolphus tonight.

The ITA Division II Women's Team Indoor Championships also began today, in Nebraska, with Barry the No. 1 seed. No. 2 seed Central Oklahoma lost to No. 7 seed North Georgia 4-0 earlier today.

In one of this weekend's high profile women's Division I matches, No. 1 North Carolina dropped the doubles point to No. 20 Virginia in Charlottesville, but came back to record a 4-1 victory, getting straight-sets wins from Elizabeth Scotty at line 4, Anika Yarlagadda at line 5 and Fiona Crawley at line 1. The clinch however, was in a three-set match, with Carson Tanguilig coming back after dropping the first set to Elaine Chervinsky at line 3 to post a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory. Abby Forbes did not play for the Tar Heels

For a list of the rest of this weekend's big matches, go to collegetennisranks.com.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Five Teens Reach Quarterfinals at Naples $15K; Quevedo Advances to Semifinals at ITF J300 in Paraguay; ITA Men's D-I Team Indoor All-Tournament Team Announced; Wootton Out, Turati In at Missouri

The last three weeks on the USTA men's Pro Circuit have provided plenty of opportunities for teenagers trying to earn those precious ATP points and they have taken advantage of them, with this week's tournament in Naples Florida featuring five young quarterfinalists.

Advancing with victories today are wild card Ozan Baris, a freshman at Michigan State, No. 7 seed Bruno Kuzuhara, Stanford recruit Kyle Kang, all 18 years old, Victor Lilov, 19, and Japan's Rei Sakamoto, 16.

Baris defeated qualifier Ryan Dickerson(Duke/Baylor) 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-2 in over three hours to reach his second Pro Circuit quarterfinal. Kuzuhara needed nearly three hours to beat qualifier Arvid Norquist of Sweden 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 and Sakamoto came from 6-4, 5-2 down to defeat Alvaro Guillen Meza of Ecuador 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in three hours and 13 minutes. In matches completed in less than two hours, Lilov defeated No. 6 seed Viacheslav Bielinskyi of Ukraine 6-2, 7-6(6) and Kang beat No. 2 seed Sebastian Gima of Romania 7-5, 6-3.

Romania's Adrian Boitan(Baylor), who has won the previous two $15Ks in Florida, added to his winning streak, beating Nicolas Buitrago of Colombia 6-0, 4-6, 6-1. 

In Friday's quarterfinals, Sakamoto plays Boitan, Baris faces Kuzuhara, Lilov takes on qualifier Lucas Renard of Sweden, who beat No. 3 seed Sekou Bangoura(Florida) today. Kang will get another shot at Federico Agustin Gomez of Argentina, who beat him in the second round last week in Weston, after Kang had also eliminated the No. 2 seed there.

Kaitlin Quevedo, who turned 17 last week, reached the singles finals in her last two J300s and now has made the semifinals this week at the J300 Asuncion Bowl in Paraguay. Quevedo, the No. 2 seed, defeated wild card Luna Maria Cinalli of Argentina, a quarterfinalist at last year's Junior Orange Bowl 14s, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-1 in today's quarterfinals. She will face unseeded Francesca Gandolfi of Italy in the semifinals Friday. In the top half, No. 1 seed Sara Saito of Japan will play No. 3 seed Luciana Moyano of Argentina.

The boys semifinals feature top seed Adriano Dzhenev of Bulgaria versus No. 5 seed Atakan Karahan of Turkey and No. 3 seed Emilien Demanet of Belgium versus unseeded Andrea M'chich of France.

The ITA Men's Division I Team Indoor Championships All-Tournament team was announced today, with three of the six singles spots occupied by members of champion TCU. The Most Outstanding Player however, was awarded to runner-up Texas's Eliot Spizzirri. For the records of all the players and teams, see this article from the ITA's website.


No. 1: Eliot Spizzirri, Texas

No. 2: Luc Fomba, TCU

No. 3: Ondrej Styler, Michigan and Joshua Lapadat, Kentucky (tie)

No. 4: Sander Jong, TCU

No. 5: Sebastian Gorzny, TCU

No. 6: Will Cooksey, Michigan


No. 1: Andrew Lutschaunig and James Trotter, Ohio State

No. 2: Joshua Lapadat and JJ Mercer, Kentucky

No. 3: Sebastian Gorzny and Pedro Vives, TCU


Eliot Spizzirri, Texas



In a terse statement this morning, the University of Missouri announced the departure of Chris Wootton as women's head coach, calling it a "change of leadership," and offering no reason for his mid-season departure. Bianca Turati, the former University of Texas star, takes over as the interim coach; Turati was hired as an assistant at Missouri last month.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Acceptances for ITF J300 Fila International Championships at Indian Wells; Semifinals Set at ITF J30 in Eau Claire; Michelsen, Svajda Advance to Quarterfinals at Rome Georgia Challenger; UTR Pro Tennis Tour Update

Entries closed yesterday for the new ITF J300 Regional tournament in Indian Wells next month, which I wrote about for the Tennis Recruiting Network in January.

The acceptance lists were posted today, with Kyle Kang, at No. 17, the highest ranked player in the draw, followed by Kaylan Bigun(34), Alexander Razeghi(39), Roy Horovitz(43) and Canada's Keegan Rice(44). The tournament is restricted this year to players from the US and Canada, although there are three boys who are listed in the acceptances from other countries: Oliver Bonding of Great Britain, Max Stenzer of Germany and Miguel Tibon of Colombia. I'm not sure what that's about, but there have been previous cases of players representing other countries playing in the Easter Bowl ITF, so I assume that's what is happening with them.

The J500 in Brazil, on clay, is the week before the Indian Wells J300, and several players remain on both acceptance lists: Razeghi, Adihithya Ganesan, Cooper Woestendick, Cyrus Mahjoog and Jordan Resnik. The withdrawal deadline for Brazil has passed, but there is another week yet to withdraw from Indian Wells.

Notably absent from the Indian Wells acceptance list is Cooper Williams. Nishesh Basavareddy(Stanford) and Learner Tien(Southern California) are also eligible, but they are playing (or waiting to be granted eligibility in the case of Tien) college tennis now. If he does get eligible, Tien could play at Indian Wells in the UTR sponsored match between USC and Pepperdine on finals Sunday at the BNP Paribas Open.

The girls acceptance list at Indian Wells is headed by Iva Jovic, who is No. 12 in the ITF rankings, and Kaitlin Quevedo, who is No. 15. Orange Bowl finalist Clervie Ngounoue, currently No. 24, is also on the acceptance list, as are Mia Slama(33),Tatum Evans(40), Qavia Lopez(43), Ariana Pursoo(44), Valeria Ray(46) and Theadora Rabman(48). Quevedo and Lopez have both withdrawn from the Brazil J500. Ashton Bowers(47) and Alexis Harmon(81) are still entered in both events.

The Eau Claire Wisconsin area is bracing for some heavy snowfall tonight, but hopefully everyone who is through to the semifinals of the J30 tournament there can get to the site for their matches Thursday.

The girls semifinalists are all Americans, with 14-year-old qualifier Karlin Schock of Green Bay Wisconsin facing top seed and Princeton recruit Isabella Chhiv in the top half, and No. 3 seed Kayla Chung and No. 7 seed Gayathri Krishnan meeting in the bottom half. Krishnan dealt No. 2 seed Thea Frodin her first loss in 14 matches this year in today's quarterfinal, beating the 14-year-old from California 6-4, 0-6, 6-4. 

The boys semifinals feature three Americans and one Canadian, unseeded Eric Crivei, who will play unseeded Jack Kennedy in the top half semifinal. Kennedy defeated top seed Aaron Yu of Hong Kong 6-4, 6-3 in today's quarterfinals. 

In the bottom half, it will be No. 4 seed Keaton Hance against unseeded Mark Krupkin for a spot in Friday's final.

Eighteen-year-old Alex Michelsen and two-time Kalamazoo 18s champion Zachary Svajda advanced to the quarterfinals of ATP Challenger 75 in Rome Georgia with victories today. Michelsen, who received a wild card, advanced to his first Challenger quarterfinal when Germany's Mats Moraing retired, with an apparent back injury, at 7-6(4), 1-3.  Michelsen, who has signed with Georgia for this fall, will play the winner of Thursday's second round match between Nathan Ponwith(Georgia/Arizona State) and Edan Leshem of Israel.

Svajda defeated No. 3 seed Aleks Vukic(Illinois) of Australia 6-3, 6-3 to reach his fourth ATP Challenger quarterfinal. The 20-year-old from San Diego will play 30-year-old Elmar Ejupovic of Germany, who beat wild card Ryan Harrison 3-6, 7-5(5), 6-2. Only two seeds, No. 1 Jordan Thompson of Australia and No. 8 Seong-chan Hong of Korea, are left after today's results.

Below are the results of the first seven weeks of 2023 tournaments on the UTR Pro Tennis Tour:

January 2 Boston MA
Nicholas Kotzen d. Holden Koons 6-2, 7-6(4)

January 9 Winston-Salem NC
Harris Walker d. Stefan Latinovic 6-4, 5-7, 7-6

January 16 Newport Beach CA
Maciej Rajski d. Jacob Brumm 6-2, 6-4

January 30 Boca Raton FL
Sekou Bangoura d. Yannick Rahman 6-4, 7-6(0)

February 6 Newport Beach CA
Maciej Rajski d. Evan King 7-6(5), 7-6(4)

January 1 Boca Raton FL
Carol Lee d. Katerina Stewart 7-6(4), 3-6, 7-5

January 9 Newport Beach CA
Maria Kozyreva d. Megan Mccray 6-3, 6-3

January 22 Atlanta GA
Yuliia Starodubtseva d. Mccartney Kessler 4-6, 6-3, 6-0

February 6 Boca Raton FL
Zuzana Zlochova d. Gabriella Broadfoot 6-4, 6-4

February 13 Newport Beach CA
Megan Mccray d. Emily Deming 7-5, 7-5

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

TCU Men Move to No. 1, North Carolina Women Remain Atop First Computerized ITA Division I Team Rankings; Four Americans Reach Main Draw at Naples FL $15K; Wild Card Ponwith Upsets Hijikata at Rome GA Challenger

The first ITA Division I computer rankings were released today and both Team Indoor champions are at No. 1, with TCU replacing Ohio State on the men's side after their title yesterday, and the North Carolina, off this week, staying at No. 1 on the women's side.

The first computer rankings, which count a team's best four wins, often lack accuracy, which then improves as more match results get added and the number of wins calculated rises. This year, the men's first computerized rankings don't offer many raised eyebrows, save the lack of ACC teams in the top eight, but the women's do not feel close to correct.

Ohio State, which was absolutely blitzed by Texas A&M in the Team Indoor quarterfinals, is No. 2, with Michigan at No. 3. Pepperdine, who had several rainouts prior to the Team Indoor, is at 25 after losing to UNC and Auburn in Seattle. The rankings always improve as more data is added throughout the season, but given this week's women's rankings, there will be a lot of "upsets" that aren't really that in the next couple of weeks.

The individual rankings didn't change dramatically; no one who watched the Men's Team Indoor last weekend could quibble with Eliot Spizzirri of Texas at the top spot.

Teams are ranked through 75, with the singles including 125 players and the doubles 60 teams. Below are the top 25 teams, top 10 singles players and top 5 doubles teams. The full women's rankings are here; the full men's rankings are here.

Computerized ITA Division I Men's Top 25, February 21, 2023

1. TCU
2. Texas
3. Michigan
4. Ohio State
5. Kentucky
6. South Carolina
7. Southern California
8. Georgia
9. Harvard
10. North Carolina
11. Columbia
12. Tennessee
13. Northwestern
14. Arizona
15. Florida
16. Florida State
17. Illinois
18. Virginia
19. Wake Forest
20. Mississippi State
21. Stanford
22. Duke
23. Louisville
24. Cornell
25. Middle Tennessee

Men's singles

1. Eliot Spizzirri, Texas
2. Antoine Cornut-Chauvinc, Florida State
3. Nishesh Basavareddy, Stanford
4. Ethan Quinn, Georgia
5. Garrett Johns, Duke
6. Toby Samuel, South Carolina
7. Connor Thomson, South Carolina
8. Michael Zheng, Columbia
9. Henry von der Schulenburg, Harvard
10. Andrew Fenty, Michigan

Men's doubles

1. Toby Samuel and Connor Thomson, South Carolina
2. Andrew Lutschaunig and JJ Tracy, Ohio State
3. Edoardo Graziani and Kevin Zhu, Penn
4. Jordan Chrysostom and Ryan Fishback, Virginia Tech
5. Sander Jong and Lui Maxted, TCU

Computerized Women's ITA Division I Team Top 25 February 21, 2023

1. North Carolina
2. Ohio State
3. Michigan
4. Iowa State
5. Auburn
6. Georgia
7. Texas A&M
8. Texas
9. NC State
10. Duke
11. Wisconsin
12. Tennessee
13. Vanderbilt
14. Central Florida
15. Florida
16. Old Dominion
17. Notre Dame
18. Oklahoma
19. Arizona State
20. Virginia
21. Kansas
22. Stanford
23. Miami
24. Southern California
25. Pepperdine

Women's singles
1. Fiona Crawley, North Carolina
2. Chloe Beck, Duke
3. Daria Frayman, Princeton
4. Madison Sieg, Southern California
5. Connie Ma, Stanford
6. Lea Ma, Georgia
7. Carson Tanguilig, North Carolina
8. Alexa Noel, Miami
9. Mary Stoiana, Texas A&M
10. Ayana Akli, South Carolina

Women's doubles
1. Savannah Broadus and Janice Tjen, Pepperdine
2. Jaedan Brown and Kari Miller, Michigan
3. Adel-Byanu Abidullina and Eliza Askarova, Delaware
4. Fiona Crawley and Carson Tanguilig, North Carolina
5. Nell Miller and Amelia Rajecki, NC State

For the second straight week, there are no women's USTA Pro Circuit events, but there is another men's $15K event in Florida, this time in Naples. Recent Baylor star Adrian Boitan, who won the last two $15K tournaments, in Palm Coast and Weston, didn't need a special exempt this week, and he will play his first round match against No. 5 seed Jonathan Mridha of Sweden on Wednesday. The top seeds are Ignacio Monzon of Argentina and Sebastian Gima of Romania. 

As has been the case the previous two weeks, teenagers are a significant presence in the draw. Michigan State freshman Ozan Colak, 18, won his first round match today, as did Victor Lilov, who turned 19 ten days ago.

Georgia recruit Ignacio Buse of Peru received entry via the ITF's junior exempt program; Stanford recruit Kyle Kang, Rei Sakamoto of Japan and Juan Carlos Prado Angelo of Bolivia received the ITF's junior reserved spots in the draw. Last week's Weston semifinalist Aidan Kim received a wild card; the seeded 18-year-olds are Gonzalo Bueno of Peru at No. 4 and Bruno Kuzuhara at No. 7.

Qualifying concluded today with four Americans reaching the main draw: Ohio State recruit Bryce Nakashima, Jacob Brumm(Cal/Baylor), Jakub Wojcik(South Florida) and Ryan Dickerson(Duke/Baylor).

There were several first round upsets today at the ATP 75 Rome Georgia Challenger, with wild card Nathan Ponwith(Georgia/Arizona State) defeating No. 2 seed Rinky Hijikata(North Carolina) of Australia 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3; qualifier Toby Kodat beat No. 4 seed Enzo Couacaud of France 6-4, 6-3 and Alastair Gray(TCU) of Great Britain defeated No. 5 seed Alexis Galarneau of Canada 6-4, 6-4. Only three seeds remain heading into Wednesday's second round action.

Monday, February 20, 2023

TCU Sweeps Texas for Back-to-Back Division I ITA Men's Team Indoor Titles; Johnston Claims ITF J60 Singles Championship in Mexico; J500 in Cairo Underway; Four Americans Qualify for Rome GA Challenger, Wild Card Michelsen Advances to Second Round

The TCU Horned Frogs became the first team to take back-to-back ITA Division I Men's Team Indoor titles since Virginia's four straight from 2008-2011, beating Texas 4-0 in less than two hours Monday at the XS Tennis Village in Chicago.

The No. 3 seeds took the doubles point, with wins at lines 1 and 2, with Jake Fearnley and Luc Fomba beating Cleeve Harper and Eliot Spizzirri 7-5 at 1 and Sander Jong and Jack Pinnington Jones defeating Pierre-Yves Bailly and Siem Woldeab 6-4 at 2.

Without the doubles point, Texas was looking at an uphill battle, although the Longhorns had managed to scale that mountain against top seed Ohio State in the quarterfinals, that was two 4-3 matches ago. In a fourth match in four days, No. 8 seed Texas was bound to be less fresh, while TCU had had a tough test in its 4-2 semifinal against No. 2 seed Kentucky, that may have been ideal preparation for today's final.

Texas started well enough in singles to give hope that they might be able to earn their third straight upset and first Indoor title, with break leads in three first sets. But that was early, and the Longhorns gave those breaks back, with TCU ultimately taking five first sets.

TCU went up 2-0 before Texas got their sole first set at line 6, with freshman Pinnington Jones defeating Micah Braswell 6-4, 6-0 at line 3. Pinnington Jones, who just became eligible on February 8, hadn't been particularly impressive in his first four dual matches, but today he showed why his eligibility status was so significant in assessing TCU's prospects this spring. 

The bright spots for Texas were few and they dimmed considerably when Spizzirri lost the first set to Fearnley at line 1 and TCU's other freshman, Sebastian Gorzny, came from 4-1 down in the first set to win and take a break lead in the second set over Harper at line 5. 

Jong made it 3-0 TCU with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Woldeab at line 4 and the suspense at the end was who would clinch: Fearnley at line 1, or Gorzny at line 5. Spizzirri had saved a match point in the second set to force a tiebreaker, before Jong closed out Woldeab, but he still had to win that tiebreaker. He did, putting all eyes on Gorzny, who was up 6-4, 5-1, with Harper serving. All the experience edge was all on Harper's side, the momentum was all with Gorzny, and four points later, TCU had its second national team title in program history.

Five teams--Ohio State, Kentucky, TCU, Michigan and South Carolina--had entered the Team Indoor Championships undefeated, but now the only one without a loss is TCU, who will meet Texas again, in Fort Worth, in less than two weeks in a non-conference match.

TCU[3] 4, Texas[8] 0

1. Jake Fearnley and Luc Fomba(TCU) d. Cleeve Harper and Eliot Spizzirri(TEX) 7-5
2. Sander Jong and Jack Pinnington Jones(TCU) d. Pierre-Yves Bailly and Siem Woldeab(TEX) 6-4
3. Sebastian Gorzny and Pedro Vives(TCU) v Chih Chi Huang and Micah Braswell(TEX) 6-5, unfinished

Order of finish: 2, 1

1. Jake Fearnley(TCU) v Eliot Spizzirri(TEX) 6-1, 6-7(5), unfinished
2. Luc Fomba(TCU) v Pierre-Yves Bailly(TEX) 6-4, 3-4, unfinished
3. Jack Pinnington Jones(TCU) d. Micah Braswell(TEX) 6-4, 6-0
4. Sander Jong(TCU) d. Siem Woldeab(TEX) 6-2, 6-3
5. Sebastian Gorzny(TCU) d. Cleeve Harper(TEX) 6-4, 6-1
6. Evin McDonald(TEX) v Tomas Jirousek(TCU) 7-6(5), 1-1, unfinished

Order of finish: 3, 4, 5

The ITF Junior Circuit report for last week includes two titles for American juniors in addition to the doubles title claimed by Kaitlin Quevedo at the J300 in Peru and the four titles for Americans at the J30 in New Jersey.  

Noah Johnston won his first ITF Junior Circuit singles title at the J60 in Mexico, with the unseeded 15-year-old from South Carolina taking out the No. 5, 11, 3 and 1 seeds, in that order, to reach the final, where he defeated No. 2 seed Andres Delgadillo of Mexico 6-2, 6-2. 

At the J60 in Guatemala, 16-year old Vessa Turley won her sixth ITF Junior Circuit doubles title and second with partner Deborah Dominguez Collado of Guatemala. The top seeds defeated No. 3 seeds Ece Gencer of Turkey and Jelena Vico of Canada 6-3, 6-4 in the final. 

The second of the two indoor J30s in the United States is this week in Eau Claire Wisconsin. Isabella Chhiv is the top girls seed, with 14-year-old Thea Frodin, who won a J100 in Mexico two weeks ago and the J30 in New Jersey last week, is the No. 2 seed. The boys top seed is Aaron Yu of Hong Kong, with Mikael Arseneault of Canada the No. 2 seed. 

Most of the US juniors have returned to the US after three or four weeks in Central and South America, but a few are in Paraguay for the J300 this week: Max Exsted and Roy Horovitz[2] in the boys draw and Sage Loudon and Quevedo[2] in the girls draw. The top seeds in Paraguay are Sara Saito of Japan and Adriano Dzhenev of Bulgaria. 

The big ITF junior tournament this week is the J500 in Cairo Egypt, which had little US presence to begin with and none of the three Americans competing in singles advanced out of the first round. No. 14 seed Alexander Frusina, who reached the semifinals of the J300 warmup event last week in Cairo, lost in the first round today at the J500. Abishek Thorat and qualifier Lucy King Oyebog Atang also went out in the first round. The fields are not generally strong--the qualifying fields did not come close to filling--but the top seeds are among the best juniors in the world, with 2023 Australian Open finalist Mirra Andreeva of Russia No. 1 in the girls draw and Australian Open semifinalist Yi Zhou of China No. 1 in the boys draw. 

The ATP Challenger Tour resumes in the United States this week with a 75-level tournament in Rome Georgia; qualifying concluded today and four first round matches were on Monday's schedule.

Americans qualifying for the main draw are Patrick Kypson(Texas A&M), Keegan Smith(UCLA), Toby Kodat and Georgia Tech sophomore Gabriele Brancatelli. The 19-year-old Brancatelli received a wild card into qualifying and beat No. 9 seed Murphy Cassone(Arizona State) in the first round and No. 6 seed Shinji Hazawa of Japan in today's final round. Both Cassone and Hazawa are inside the ATP Top 550, while Brancatelli has never played in the main draw of any ITF Pro Circuit event, at any level.

Eighteen-year-old Alex Michelsen, who received a wild card into the main draw, beat No. 7 seed Dominik Koepfer(Tulane) of Germany 6-3, 6-1 tonight to advance to the second round. The other wild cards this week went to Ryan Harrison and Nathan Ponwith(Georgia/Arizona State). Jordan Thompson of Australia is the top seed, with former North Carolina star Rinky Hijikata the No. 2 seed.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Defending Champion TCU Faces Surprise Finalist Texas for D-I Men's Team Indoor Championship; Saint Leo's Wins Division II Men's Team Indoor Title; Boitan Claims Second Straight $15K Title in Florida; Fritz Wins Delray Beach Open

The battle for men's Division I college tennis supremacy in Texas will be played Monday in Chicago after TCU and Texas won tough semifinal encounters Sunday over higher seeded opponents at the ITA Men's Division I Team Indoor Championships.

No. 3 seed TCU, the defending champions, got by No. 2 seed Kentucky 4-2 in the day's first match, with the Horned Frogs gaining a little breathing room by taking the doubles point with wins at lines 1 and 3, while the Wildcats had taken the match at line 2.

First sets in singles were split, meaning the Wildcats needed to win a match in three sets to advance, but they had plenty of chances, with four of the six singles matches going the distance. TCU took a 2-0 lead with Sebastian Gorzny winning the battle of freshmen with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Jaden Weekes at line 5.

Kentucky got on the board twenty minutes later when Liam Draxl beat Jacob Fearnley 7-6(1), 6-4 at line 1.  Twenty-five minutes after that, TCU's Sander Jong earned a split with Taha Baadi at line 4, which gave the Horned Frogs a bit of insurance, with Luc Fomba closing out Alafia Ayeni of Kentucky 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 at line 2 to give the Horned Frogs a 3-1 lead. They needed it, with Lapadat up big in the third set over TCU newcomer Jack Pinnington Jones, and Lapadat closed out a 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 win to pull Kentucky to within a point.

With Jong and Baadi early in the third, all eyes turned to line 6, where TCU's Tomas Jirousek and Kentucky's Charleile Cosnet were exchanging breaks early in the third set. Jirousek, a junior who had not played singles or doubles in the first two TCU matches this weekend, broke freshman Cosnet serving at 3-4 and held with surprisingly little drama to put the Horned Frogs back in the final.

TCU[3] 4, Kentucky[2] 2

1. Jake Fearnley and Luc Fomba(TCU) d. Alafia Ayeni and Taha Baadi(UK) 6-4
2. Joshua Lapadat and JJ Mercer(UK) d. Sander Jong and Jack Pinnington Jones(TCU) 6-2
3. Sebastian Gorzny and Pedro Vives(TCU) d. Liam Draxl and Jaden Weekes(UK) 6-3

Order of finish: 2, 3, 1

1. Liam Draxl(UK) d. Jake Fearnley(TCU) 7-6(1), 6-4
2. Luc Fomba(TCU) d. Alafia Ayeni(UK) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
3. Joshua Lapadat(UK) d. Jack Pinnington Jones(TCU) 6-2, 2-6, 6-2
4. Sander Jong(TCU) v Taha Baadi(UK) 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 1-1, unfinished
5. Sebastian Gorzny(TCU) d. Jaden Weekes(UK) 6-2, 6-3
6. Tomas Jirousek(TCU) d. Charleile Cosnet(UK) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3

Order of finish: 5, 1, 2, 3, 6

In the second semifinal between No. 4 Michigan and No. 8 Texas, it was the Longhorns who got the doubles point, which proved to be the difference in their 4-3 victory over the Wolverines.

After their stunning 4-3 win over top seed Ohio State late last night, there were questions about how the Longhorns would recover, both mentally and physically, after getting significantly less rest than Michigan, who had breezed past Virginia 4-0 earlier in the day Saturday. 

Texas answered those questions by staying close in the doubles, taking line 2 after Michigan had won at line 1, then surviving a deciding match point on line 3 at 4-5, and going on to win the tiebreaker.

After that 55-minute doubles point, Texas might have shown their fatigue a bit in the opening games of the singles, with Michigan getting breaks on all courts, but with no-ad scoring, those breaks can disappear in a hurry and they did.

Michigan ultimately did take four first sets, which they needed to do, and quickly tied the score with Ondrej Styler dominating Micah Braswell 6-2, 6-1 at line 3. Michigan's Will Cooksey, who was having all kinds of problems with his second serve late in the doubles at line 3 and in the late stage of the first set in singles, collected himself and put Michigan up 2-1 with 7-6(3), 6-1 win over Nevin Arimilli at line 6. Patrick Maloney made it 3-1 Michigan with a 7-5, 6-3 win at line 2 over Pierre-Yves Bailly, who had clinched the win over Ohio State, but Texas closed out wins at line 5, with Cleeve Harper beating Jacob Bickersteth 6-3, 6-4, and line 4, with Siem Woldeab defeating Gavin Young 7-5, 6-4.

The only match to go three sets was at line 1, with ITA No. 1 Eliot Spizzirri of Texas fighting back from a lopsided 6-1 first set loss to Andrew Fenty to take the second set 7-5. Fenty had broken Spizzirri serving for the set at 5-4, but couldn't hold and Spizzirri took his second chance to earn a third.

With the team score 3-3, Spizzirri and Fenty were on serve 1-2 to open the third. The video and audio technical difficulties that ensued over the next several games made it difficult to follow, but Spizzirri got a break, and then a second to take a 5-2 lead. He again had difficulty closing, dropping that game, but he broke Fenty on a deciding point to send the Longhorns to the first Team Indoor final in program history.

Texas[8] 4, Michigan[4] 3

1. Andrew Fenty and Gavin Young(MICH) d. Cleeve Harper and Eliot Spizzirri(TEX) 6-2
2. Pierre-Yves Bailly and Siem Woldeab(TEX) d. Patrick Maloney and Ondrej Styler(MICH) 6-3
3. Chih Chi Huang and Micah Braswell(TEX) d. Will Cooksey and Nino Ehrenschneider(MICH) 7-6(4) 

Order of finish: 1, 2, 3

1. Eliot Spizzirri(TEX) d. Andrew Fenty(MICH) 1-6, 7-5, 6-3
2. Patrick Maloney(MICH) d. Pierre-Yves Bailly(TEX) 7-5, 6-3
3. Ondrej Styler(MICH) d. Micah Braswell(TEX) 6-2, 6-1
4. Siem Woldeab(TEX) d. Gavin Young(MICH) 7-5, 6-4
5. Cleeve Harper(TEX) d. Jacob Bickersteth(MICH) 6-3, 6-4 
6. Will Cooksey(MICH) d. Nevin Arimilli(TEX) 7-6(3), 6-1

Order of finish: 3, 6, 2, 5, 4, 1

Cracked Racquets will have live CrossCourt coverage of the final beginning at noon central time at their YouTube Channel.

The Division II Men's Team Indoor final was today in Indianapolis, with No. 3 seed Saint Leo's earning its first indoor title by beating No. 8 seed and host University of Indianapolis 4-1 in the championship match. UIndy had defeated top seed and defending champion Barry in the first round. This is the fourth year for the Division II event.

Former Baylor All-American Adrian Boitan kept his winning streak alive, with the unseeded 23-year-old from Romania defeating No. 3 seed Christian Langmo(Miami) 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Weston Florida. Boitan, who won last week's $15,000 tournament in Palm Coast Florida, received a special exemption into the main draw this week, and beat three seeds--No. 8, No. 1 and No. 3--while dropping just one set, to Aidan Kim, in the semifinals. Boitan has now won 10 straight matches and could receive another special exempt into the $15K in Naples, where he was in the qualifying acceptances but is not in the qualifying draw.

Taylor Fritz won his fifth ATP title today at the Delray Beach Open, beating Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 in the championship match. For more on his title, his fourth in the past 12 months, see this article from the ATP.  Jean-Julien Rojer(UCLA) of the Netherlands and Marcelo Arevalo(Tulsa) of El Salvador won the doubles title, with the top seeds and defending champions defeating unseeded Rinky Hijikata(North Carolina) of Australia and Reese Stalder(TCU) 6-3, 6-4 in today's final.

At the ATP 500 in Rotterdam, Austin Krajicek(Texas A&M) and Ivan Dodig of Croatia took the doubles title, saving a match point in deciding tiebreaker of their 7-6(5), 2-6, 12-10 victory over unseeded Matthew Ebden of Australia and Rohan Bopanna of India. Dodig and Krajicek, the 2011 NCAA doubles champion, have now won four ATP Tour titles since teaming up last spring and reached the final at Roland Garros last summer. Krajicek is at a career-high ranking of 9, with Dodig No. 10 in the ATP rankings.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Texas Hands Top Seed Ohio State First Loss to Reach Men's Team Indoor Semifinals; Quevedo Falls in ITF J300 Final in Peru; Boitan Faces Langmo for Second Straight $15K Title in Florida

The four quarterfinals today at the ITA Division I Men's Team Indoor Championships demonstrated just how unpredictable the top level of the college game can be with two 4-0 victories and two thrillers that ended 4-3.

The late quarterfinal match at the XS Tennis Village in Chicago, which ran nearly four hours, saw No. 8 seed Texas avenge their 4-0 loss less than two weeks ago to top seed and undefeated Ohio State. The Longhorns dropped a tight doubles point, but went on to claim four singles matches, with Pierre-Yves Bailly defeating Cannon Kingsley 6-7(4), 7-6(2), 6-2 at line 2 to complete the upset.

Kingsley, who was coming off an ankle injury that had kept him out of several matches coming into the Team Indoor, including the match in Columbus against Texas, served for the match at both 5-4 and 6-5 in the second set. But Bailly found a more aggressive mindset in those two games, and Kingsley's first serve wasn't there when he needed it. In the third set, Kingsley went down a break in the first game, and when he lost his second service game to give Bailly a 3-0 lead, most of the tension and noise that surrounds a last match on dissipated quickly. Obviously not at his best physically, Kingsley could not put any pressure on Bailly and the sophomore from Belgium cruised to the finish line.

Texas will face a well-rested Michigan team that dominated reigning NCAA champion Virginia, with the fourth-seeded Wolverines giving the fifth-seeded Cavaliers no chance for a comeback. That match is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Central time Sunday.

No. 2 seed Kentucky scraped by No. 7 seed Southern California 4-3, with Joshua Lapadat clinching for the Wildcats with 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 win over Wojciech Marek at line 3.

Kentucky will face defending champion and No. 3 seed TCU, who beat No. 11 seed Georgia 5-0. That match is scheduled for noon Central. 

Cracked Racquets will be providing its CrossCourt coverage of the semifinals, with commentary by Mike Cation and Alex Gruskin, at the Cracked Racquets YouTube Channel.

Division I Men's Team Indoor Championships
Quarterfinals, February 18, 2023

TCU[3] 5, Georgia[11] 0

1. Ethan Quinn and Trent Bryde(UGA) d. Jake Fearnley and Luc Fomba(TCU) 7-6(3)
2. Sander Jong and Jack Pinnington Jones(TCU) d. Teodor Giusca and Philip Henning(UGA) 7-5
3. Sebastian Gorzny and Pedro Vives Marcos(TCU) d. Blake Croyder and Britton Johnston(UGA) 7-5

Order of finish: 3, 1, 2 

1. Jake Fearnley(TCU) d. Ethan Quinn(UGA) 7-6(1), 6-3
2. Luc Fomba(TCU) v Philip Henning(UGA) 6-4, 4-6, 4-3, unfinished
3. Jack Pinnington Jones(TCU) d. Trent Bryde(UGA) 7-5, 7-5
4. Sander Jong(TCU) d. Blake Croyder(UGA) 6-4, 6-3
5. Sebastian Gorzny(TCU) d. Teodor Giusca(UGA) 7-6(5), 6-4
6. Lui Maxted(TCU) v Miguel Perez Pena(UGA) 6-7(6), 5-4, unfinished

Order of finish: 4, 1, 3/5

Kentucky[2] 4, Southern California[7] 3

1. Taha Baadi and Alafia Ayeni(UK) d. Bradley Frye and Stefan Dostanic(USC) 6-4
2. Wojciech Marek and Lodewijk Weststrate(USC) v Joshua Lapadat and JJ Mercer(UK) 4-4, unfinished
3. Liam Draxl and Jaden Weekes(UK) d. Ryan Colby and Peter Makk(USC) 6-3

Order of finish: 3, 1

1. Stefan Dostanic(USC) d. Liam Draxl(UK) 6-3, 6-4
2. Peter Makk(USC) d. Alafia Ayeni (UK) 4-6, 6-1, 6-4
3. Joshua Lapadat(UK) d. Wojciech Marek(USC) 3-6, 6-2, 6-1
4. Taha Baadi(UK) d. Bradley Frye(USC) 7-5, 6-3
5. Charlelie Cosnet(UK) d. Ryan Colby(USC) 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
6. Lodewijk Weststrate(USC) d. JJ Mercer(UK) 7-5, 6-4

Order of finish: 4, 1, 6, 2, 5, 3

Michigan[4] 4,  Virginia[5] 0

1. Andrew Fenty and Gavin Young(MICH) v Chris Rodesch and Ryan Goetz(UVA) 5-3, unfinished
2. Patrick Maloney and Ondrej Styler(MICH) d. Inaki Montes and Will Woodall(UVA) 6-3 
3. Will Cooksey and Nino Ehrenschnedier(MICH) d. Alex Kiefer and Jeffrey von der Schulenburg(UVA) 6-3

Order of finish: 2, 3

1. Andrew Fenty(MICH) d. Inaki Montes(UVA) 6-0, 6-1
2. Chris Rodesch(UVA) v Patrick Maloney(MICH) 6-3, 5-5, unfinished
3. Ondrej Styler(MICH) d. Jeffrey von der Schulenburg(UVA) 6-3, 6-4
4. Ryan Goetz(UVA) v Gavin Young(MICH) 6-4, 4-5, unfinished
5. Jacob Bickersteth(MICH) v Alex Kiefer(UVA) 7-6(4), 2-2, unfinished
6.  Will Cooksey(MICH) d. Mans Dahlberg(UVA) 6-4, 6-3

Order of finish: 1, 3, 6

Texas[8] 4, Ohio State[1] 3 

1. Andrew Lutschaunig and James Trotter(OSU) d. Eliot Spizzirri and Cleeve Harper(TEX) 6-4
2. Justin Boulais and Robert Cash(OSU) d. Piere-Yves Bailly and Siem Woldeab(TEX) 7-6(2)
3. Chih Chi Huang and Micah Braswell(TEX) d. JJ Tracy and Cannon Kingsley(OSU) 6-2 

Order of finish: 3, 1, 2

1. Eliot Spizzirri(TEX) d. Justin Boulais(OSU)  4-6, 6-2, 6-0 
2. Pierre-Yves Bailly(TEX) d. Cannon Kingsley(OSU) 6-7(4), 7-6(2), 6-2
3. Micah Braswell(TEX) d. JJ Tracy(OSU) 3-6, 6-1, 7-5
4. James Trotter(OSU) d. Siem Woldeab(TEX) 6-2, 7-6(3)
5. Robert Cash(OSU) d. Cleeve Harper(TEX) 5-7, 6-2, 6-3
6. Nevin Arimilli(TEX) d. Andrew Lutschaunig(OSU) 6-4, 6-1

Order of finish: 4, 6, 1, 3, 5, 2

Kaitlin Quevedo came up short today in the final of the ITF J300 in Lima Peru, with the top seed losing to her doubles partner, Lucciana Perez Alarcon of Peru, the No. 2 seed 7-5, 6-4. Perez Alarcon, who beat top seed Iva Jovic in the J300 singles final last week in Colombia, partnered with Quevedo to take the doubles title Friday, with the top seeds defeating No. 2 seeds Mia Slama and Japan's Wakana Sonobe 5-7, 6-3, 10-7 in the final. No. 3 seed Slama had pushed Perez Alarcon in the singles semifinals before dropping a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 decision; Quevedo defeated No. 6 seed Alexia Harmon 6-0, 6-0 in her semifinal.

The boys singles title went to unseeded Pedro Rodrigues of Brazil, who beat unseeded Nicolas Oliveira, also of Brazil, 6-4, 6-4 in the final.  Luca Miremont of Argentina and Benjamin Torrealba of Chile won the boys doubles title, beating Rodrigues and Oliveira 1-6, 6-3, 10-6 in Friday's final.

The run of 18-year-old wild card Aidan Kim came to an end today in the semifinals of the men's $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Weston Florida. Kim gave former Baylor All-American Adrian Boitan his toughest match of the week, but fell 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-2 to the 23-year-old from Romania in two hours and 29 minutes. The unseeded Boitan, who won the title last week at the Palm Coast Florida $15K, will face No. 3 seed Christian Langmo(Miami), who beat unseeded Federico Agustin Gomez of Argentina 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.

Wild cards Bruno Kuzuhara and Vasil Kirkov won the doubles titles, beating the unseeded Czech team of Jiri Jenicek and Daniel Paty 6-2, 6-3 in today's final.(They also had to play their semifinal today after play was suspended yesterday). It's the third ITF World Tennis Tour men's title for the 18-year-old Kuzuhara and the fifth for the 23-year-old Kirkov. Kuzuhara and Kirkov defeated Kim and partner Kyle Kang 6-7(6), 6-2, 21-19 in the first round.

Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula won the doubles title at the WTA 500 in Doha Qatar, the seventh WTA doubles title for the 18-year-old Gauff and the sixth for Pegula. The top seeds defeated No. 2 seed Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia and Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine 6-4, 2-6, 10-7 in the final. Pegula lost in the singles final today to Iga Swiatek of Poland 6-3, 6-0.

At the ATP 250 Delray Beach Open, top seed Taylor Fritz defeated Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 7-6(6) tonight to reach Sunday's final, where he'll play No. 4 seed Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia. Kecmanovic beat Radu Albot of Moldova 7-6(8), 3-6, 6-2 in the afternoon's semifinal.

Former North Carolina star Rinky Hijikata, who won the Australian Open doubles title with Jason Kubler last month, is into the Delray Beach doubles final, with former TCU standout Reese Stalder. This is the first doubles action for Hijikata since his title in Melbourne; he won a Challenger title in his home country in singles before traveling to the US for this tournament. Hijikata and Stalder, who are unseeded, will face No. 2 seeds Jean-Julien Rojer(UCLA) of the Netherlands and Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador in Sunday's final.

Friday, February 17, 2023

My Coverage of USTA Level 2 B14s Final; Close Matches But Just One Upset on Day One of D-I Men's Team Indoor; Kim Reaches Weston $15K Semis; Frodin and Chang Win Medford J30 Titles

For the second year in a row, I covered the USTA National Level 2 B14s finals at Grand Rapids Tennis and Fitness, which gives me a chance to get to know the games of some of boys who will be competing in Kalamazoo in a year or two, and to talk tennis with club owner Tom Walker, one of the top junior development coaches in the country. 

I had seen top seed Colin McPeek before--with his one-handed backhand he was bound to make an impression--but I had not seen No. 3 seed Safir Azam until yesterday. Although I saw plenty of matches the past six weeks via streaming, it was great to get back to live tennis, and I was able to see the latest innovations that Walker has introduced since last year.

The match report of the boys final and an explanation of the improved streaming operation at the club can be found in my article today at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

Photos of most of the boys still competing on the tournament's final day can be found here.

The first day of the men's Division I ITA National Team Indoor Championships concluded tonight with just one upset and that came early in the day, with No. 13 seed Georgia beating No. 6 seed South Carolina 4-3. Trent Bryde defeated Raphael Lambling 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 at line 3 to secure the much-needed win for the Bulldogs, who had dropped a 4-2 decision to Illinois on Wednesday at the same facility that hosts the Team Indoor, XS Tennis Village in Chicago.

The other 4-3 match was No. 5 Virginia's win over No. 12 Tennessee, with Ryan Goetz clinching the victory for the Cavaliers with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 decision over Emile Hudd at line 4.

Complete results are below. Saturday's schedule will feature TCU[3] v Georgia[13] at 9 am Central; Southern Cal[7] v Kentucky[2] at noon; Virginia[5] v Michigan[4] at 3:30 pm and Ohio State[1] v Texas[8] at 6:30 pm. Cracked Racquets will have coverage all day, with Alex Gruskin and Mike Cation providing commentary, at the CR YouTube Channel.

Division I Men's Team Indoor
Round of 16 results, February 17, 2023

TCU[3] 4, Baylor[14] 0

1. Jake Fearnley and Luc Fomba(TCU) v Finn Bass and Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi(BAY) 5-5, unfinished
2. Sander Jong and Jack Pinnington Jones(TCU) d. Tadeas Paroulek and Zsombor Velcz(BAY) 6-3
3. Sebastian Gorzny and Marcos Pedro Vives(TCU) d. Luc Koenig and Ethan Muza 6-3

Order of finish: 2, 1

1. Jake Fearnley(TCU) d. Tadeas Paroulek(BAY) 7-6(5), 6-4
2. Luc Fomba(TCU) d. Marko Miladinovic(BAY) 6-3, 7-6(3)
3. Jack Pinnington Jones(TCU) v Finn Bass(BAY) 3-6, 6-3, 5-2, unfinished
4. Sander Jong(TCU) d. Zsombor Velcz(BAY) 6-4, 6-2
5. Sebastian Gorzny(TCU) v Luc Koenig(BAY) 6-4, 3-6, 4-2, unfinished
6. Lui Maxted(TCU) v Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi(BAY) 6-4, 3-6, 5-0, unfinished

Order of finish: 4, 2, 1

Georgia[13] 4, South Carolina[6] 3

1. Toby Samuel and Connor Thomson(SCAR) d. Trent Bryde and Ethan Quinn(UGA) 6-4
2. Jake Beasley and James Story(SCAR) d. Teodor Giusca and Philip Henning(UGA) 7-6(2)
3. Casey Hoole and Raphael Lambing(SCAR) v Blake Croyder and Britton Johnston(UGA) 6-6, (5-4), unfinished

Order of finish: 1, 2

1. Toby Samuel(SCAR) d. Ethan Quinn(UGA) 6-3, 6-2
2. Connor Thomson(SCAR) d. Philip Henning(UGA) 6-2, 6-3
3. Trent Bryde(UGA) d. Raphael Lambling(SCAR) 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 
4. Blake Croyder(UGA) d. James Story(SCAR) 6-3, 7-6(5)
5. Teodor Giusca(UGA) d. Casey Hoole(SCAR)  6-3, 7-6(4)
6. Miguel Perez Pena(UGA) d. Jake Beasley(SCAR) 6-2, 6-1

Order of finish: 6, 1, 2, 5, 4, 3

Kentucky[2] 4,  Florida[15] 1

1. Axel Nefve and Will Grant(FLA) d. Alafia Ayeni and Taha Baadi(UK) 6-4
2. Joshua Lapadat and JJ Mercer(UK) d. Tanapatt Nirundorn and Togan Tokac(FLA) 6-4
3. Liam Draxl and Jaden Weekes(UK) d. Nate Bonetto and Olek Orlikowski(FLA) 6-3

Order of finish: 1, 3, 2

1. Liam Draxl(UK) d. Axel Nefve(FLA) 6-0, 6-0
2. Alafia Ayeni(UK) v Will Grant(FLA) 6-7(3), 7-6(6), unfinished
3. Joshual Lapadat(UK) d. Jonah Braswell(FLA) 6-4, 6-1
4. Taha Baadi(UK) v Nate Bonetto(FLA) 5-7, 6-4, 1-1, unfinished
5. Togan Tokac(FLA) d. Jaden Weekes(UK) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
6. Charlelie Cosnet(UK) d, Lukas Greif(FLA) 7-6(4), 6-3

Order of finish: 1, 3, 5, 6

Southern Cal[7] 4, North Carolina[10] 1

1. Casey Kania and Ryan Seggerman(UNC) d. Stefan Dostanic and Bradley Frye(USC) 7-6(1)
2. Brian Cernoch and Benjamin Kittay(UNC) d. Wojciech Marek and Lodewijk Weststrate(USC) 6-4
3. Will Jansen and Karl Poling(UNC) v Peter Makk and Ryan Colby(USC) 6-5, unfinished

Order of finish: 1, 2

1. Stefan Dostanic(USC) d. Brian Cernoch(UNC) 6-1, 6-4
2. Peter Makk(USC) d. Ryan Seggerman(UNC) 1-6, 6-4, 6-4
3. Wojciech Marek(USC) d. Will Jansen (UNC) 6-1, 6-4
4. Karl Poling(UNC) v Bradley Frye(USC) 6-7(3), 6-2, unfinished
5. Ryan Colby(USC) d. Chris Li(UNC) 6-2, 6-4
6. Lodewijk Weststrate(USC) v Anjy Watane 7-6(3), 1-4, unfinished

Order of finish: 1, 3, 5, 2

Michigan[4] 4, Stanford[13] 2

1. Arthur Fery and Nishesh Basavareddy(STAN) d. Andrew Fenty and Gavin Young(MICH) 6-4
2. Ondrej Styler and Patrick Maloney(MICH) d. Samir Banerjee and Neel Rajesh(STAN) 6-3
3. Aryan Chaudhary and Filip Kolasinski(STAN) d. Jacob Bickersteth and William Cooksey(MICH) 6-4 

Order of finish: 2, 1, 3

1. Arthur Fery(STAN) d. Andrew Fenty(MICH)  6-4, 7-6(6)
2. Patrick Maloney(MICH) d. Max Basing(STAN) 6-4, 6-3
3. Ondrej Styler(MICH) d. Samir  Banerjee(STAN) 7-5, 6-3
4. Gavin Young(MICH)d.v Basvareddy(STAN) 7-6(4), 6-2
5. Jocob Bickersteth(MICH) v Aryan Chaudhary(STAN) 7-6(2), 3-6, 5-2, unfinished
6. Will Cooksey(MICH) d. Filip Kolasinski(STAN) 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-4

Order of finish: 3, 2, 1, 4, 6

Virginia[5] 4, Tennessee[12] 3

1. Chris Rodesch and Ryan Goetz(UVA) d. Johannus Monday and Pat Harper 6-4
2. Emile Hudd and Shunsuke Mitsui(TENN) d. Mans Dahlberg and Inaki Montes(UVA) 6-3
3. Blaise Bicknell and Angel Diaz(TENN) d. Alex Kiefer and Jeffrey von der Schulenburg 6-4

Order of finish: 2, 1, 3

1. Johannus Monday(TENN) d. Inaki Montes(UVA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
2. Chris Rodesch(UVA) d. Blaise Bicknell(TENN) 6-4, 6-4
3. Jeffrey von der Schulenburg(UVA) d. Shunsuke Mitsui 6-3, 6-3
4. Ryan Goetz(UVA) d. Emile Hudd(TENN) 6-4, 1-6, 6-3
5. Mans Dahlberg(UVA) d. Boris Kozlov(TENN) 6-1, 6-3
6. Angel Diaz(TENN) d. Doug Yaffa(UVA) 7-5, 6-2

Order of finish: 2, 3, 5, 6, 1, 4

Ohio State[1] 4,  Illinois[16] 0

1. Andrew Lutschaunig and James Trotter(OSU) d. Oliver Okonkwo and Mathis Debru(ILL) 6-2
2. Karlis Ozolins and Hunter Heck(ILL) v Justin Boulais and Robert Cash(OSU) 5-2, unfinished
3. Cannon Kingsley and JJ Tracy(OSU) d. Gabe Guzauskas and Kenta Miyoshi(ILL) 6-2

Order of finish: 3, 1

1. Justin Boulais(OSU) v Karlis Ozolins(ILL) 6-4, 6-7(2), unfinished
2. Cannon Kingsley(OSU) v Hunter Heck(ILL) 6-4, 5-7, unfinished
3. JJ Tracy(OSU) d. Gabe Guzauskas(ILL) 6-3, 6-1
4. Will Mroz(ILL) v Alexander Bernard(OSU) 1-6, 6-2, 4-2, unfinished 
5. James Trotter(OSU) v Oliver Okonkwo(ILL) 6-2, 7-6(3)
6. Robert Cash(OSU) d. Nicolas Meister(ILL) 6-1, 7-5

Order of finish: 3, 6, 5

Texas[8] 4, Wake Forest[9] 0

1. Eliot Spizzirri and Cleeve Harper(TEX) d. Juan Lopez and Filippo Moroni(WAKE) 6-4
2. Siem Woldeab and Pierre-Yves Bailly(TEX) d. Jurabek Karamov and Luciano Tacchi(WAKE) 6-3
3. Micah Braswell and Chih Chi Huang(TEX) v Matthew Thomson and Melios Efstathiou(WAKE) 4-4, unfinished

Order of finish: 1, 2

1. Eliot Spizzirri(TEX) v Melios Efstathiou(WAKE) 6-4, 5-2, unfinished
2. Pierre-Yves Bailly(TEX) v Filippo Moroni(WAKE) 6-4, 5-3, unfinished
3. Micah Braswell(TEX) d. Luciano Tacchi(WAKE) 6-4, 6-3
4. Siem Woldeab(TEX) v Jurabek Karimov(WAKE) 6-1, 3-6, 1-0, unfinished
5. Cleeve Harper(TEX) d. Matt Thomson(WAKE) 6-4, 6-2
6. Nevin Arimilli(TEX) d. Bozo Barun(WAKE) 6-3, 6-2

Order of finish: 3, 5, 6

Wild card Aidan Kim is through to his second USTA Pro circuit semifinal after defeating fellow 18-year-old Bruno Kuzuhara 6-3, 7-5 today at the $15,000 tournament in Weston Florida. Kim, who reached the semifinals of a $15,000 tournament in Fayetteville Arkansas last November, will play for a spot in his first Pro Circuit final against last week's $15K champion in Palm Coast Florida, Adrian Boitan of Romania. Boitan, an All-American at Baylor who turned pro last summer, defeated top seed Francisco Comesana of Argentina 6-3, 6-1 for his eighth consecutive victory.  In the other semifinal, No. 3 seed Christian Langmo(Miami) will face Federico Agustin Gomez of Argentina. Langmo ended the run of 18-year-old Georgia recruit Ignacio Buse of Peru with 6-0, 6-3 win in today's quarterfinals.

The finals were played today at the ITF J30 in Medford New Jersey with top seed Thea Frodin sweeping the girls titles and qualifier Jordan Chang winning his first ITF Junior Circuit title in boys singles.

Frodin, 14, defeated unseeded Eva Oxford 6-3, 6-3 in the singles final and is now 12-0 on the year in singles, after taking the J100 in Mexico at the beginning of the month. Frodin is also a perfect 9-0 in doubles matches this year, having won the title in Mexico and capturing another today, with Kayla Chung. The top seeds defeated unseeded Sophia Holod and Lauren Zhang 7-5, 7-5 in the final.

Chang, who won three qualifying matches with two of them ending in 12-10 and 10-6 match tiebreakers, didn't drop a set in the main draw this week, and today the 16-year-old from New York beat unseeded 14-year-old wild card Jack Secord 6-1, 6-3.

Top seeds Ian Mayhew and Stefan Regalia won the boys doubles title, beating Chang and his partner Mark Krupkin 6-2, 6-2 in the final.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Few Major ITF Junior Rules Changes for 2023; Three US Girls Reach Semifinals of J300 in Peru; ITF's Jagger Leach Feature; Kim Reaches Third $15K Quarterfinal in Weston Florida

I typically attempt to highlight the International Tennis Federation Junior rules changes for the new year before this, but when I looked at them last month, I didn't see anything that seemed especially significant.

Many of the changes relate to the renaming of the designations of the levels of junior events, which now are named for the number of points that go to the singles winner, much like the ATP's tiers. Previously junior events were distinguished by Grades, which were A, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5; now those are known as J500s, J300s, J200s, J100s, J60s and J30s, respectively. Junior slams are a separate category and remain there, with 1000 points going to the singles winner.

There are changes to the logos allowed for boys shirts on front back and collar, there is a revised prohibition against cigarettes, alcohol and gambling sponsorships and a lengthy description of who is a "covered person" as part of the Welfare Policy.

The Junior Exempt project, which is different from the Junior Reserved spots in $15Ks, has been expanded for girls. Previously, only year-end Top 10 players were eligible; now there are JEs available for those who finished in the 11-20 positions. There were also some adjustments made to the chart delineating these entries into ITF World Junior Tennis women's tournaments with the introduction of the $40,000 level to the women's circuit this year. There were no changes for the boys, but there is now a separate agreement for boys with the ATP Challenger circuit, which was announced in December.

Under the "Composition of Draws" heading was this change:

Tournament Organisers of new or existing tournaments with 32 Qualifying and 32 Main Draw events are recommended to use a 24 Qualifying draw and a 48 Main Draw. 

Note: This allows for more players to have certainty of their position within the acceptance list, allows for more players to participate, and more matches to be played. No further match courts are required.

I think the ITF will have to do more than "recommend" to see this actually change, as most of the J300s in South America this winter have had 32 main/32 qualifying draws.

The ITF's summary of rule changes for 2023 is here and it's only five pages. If you read the entire ITF Junior Regulations, which can be found here, you'll likely learn something you didn't know in the 109 pages.

The boys semifinalists at the ITF J300 this week in Peru are all unseeded players from Brazil, while three of the four girls semifinalists are from the United States. Top seed Kaitlin Quevedo will face No. 6 seed Alexia Harmon after Quevedo defeated qualifier Emma Dong of Canada 6-1, 6-1; Harmon advanced when Victoria Osuigwe retired trailing 3-6, 6-3, 4-0 in an all-USA battle. Harmon is through to her first J300 semifinal since reaching the 2020 final in Costa Rica at age 14.

No. 3 seed Mia Slama beat No. 8 seed Antonio Vergara Rivera of Chile 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 and will face No. 2 seed and last week's Barranqilla J300 champion Lucciana Perez Alarcon of Peru. Perez Alarcon defeated qualifier Ichino Horikawa of Japan 6-0, 6-2.

Quevedo and Perez Alarcon will play in the doubles final Friday, with the top seeds taking on No. 2 seeds Slama and Japan's Wakana Sonobe.

The ITF posted an update on their junior website today on the success this year of Jagger Leach, the 15-year-old son of Lindsay Davenport and Jon Leach. Leach is the only junior who has won three singles titles this year, with Iva Jovic falling just short of three straight J300 titles last week with her loss to Perez Alarcon in the Barranquilla final.

At the only USTA Pro Circuit tournament this week, the men's $15,000 tournament in Weston Florida, 18-year-old wild card Aidan Kim advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-6(1), 6-2 win over Alec Beckley of South Africa. This is Kim's third quarterfinal at the $15K level; he reached the semifinals of the $15K tournament in Fayetteville Arkansas last fall. The Michigan resident will face fellow 18-year-old Bruno Kuzuhara, who defeated 2021 Wimbledon boys finalist Victor Lilov in the second round, for the second week in a row, this time by a score of 6-2, 6-3. 

Cooper Williams lost to Georgia recruit Ignacio Buse of Peru, who came back from 3-0 down in the third set to earn a 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 win. Buse will play No. 3 seed Christian Langmo(Miami), the third American to reach the quarterfinals. Langmo defeated 2022 Orange Bowl finalist Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez of Mexico 6-7(1), 7-6(10), 6-3 in today's second round. Wild card Kyle Kang went out to Federico Agustin Gomez of Argentina 7-6(4), 6-3. 

Last week's champion at the $15K in Palm Coast Florida, former Baylor All-American Adrian Boitan of Romania, is through to the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-2 win over 2021 Eddie Herr champion and No. 8 seed Viacheslav Bielinskyi of Ukraine.