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Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Case Western Takes D-III Men's Team Championship; Barry Women Win Sixth Straight D-II Title; 2022 Rematch in D-III Women's Final Wednesday; Juniors Jauffret, Lyons and Urhobo Qualify at USTA Pro Circuit Events

The third time was a charm for the Case Western Reserve men, who defeated Tufts 5-2 to win the first NCAA Division III team title for the school in any sport. The Spartans had fallen in the last two finals, going out to Emory in 2021 and Chicago last year. 

Although D-III switched to no-ad scoring, they kept the best-of-nine format, with all three doubles matches counting as points. If you lose all three, you have to win five singles matches, and Tufts found itself in that rare and unfortunate position in the final. Tufts got on the board with a quick win at line 4, but Case countered with a win at line 5 to make it 4-1. Tufts took the next decision at line 6, but Case had its ace in the hole, with senior James Hopper up a set and 4-4 at line 1. He delivered, beating Rishabh Sharda 6-4, 6-4 for the long-awaited title. 

The box score is available here.

The Division II women's final was played at the same time as the D-III men's final, so it was difficult to watch both, but after Case got their first title, the Barry women earned their sixth. The top seeds defeated No. 2 seeds Nova Southeastern 4-1, with the only point the Buccanneers lost coming in doubles. It did take nearly three and a half hours, so it was far from easy, but Selina Pichler did the honors at line 5, defeating Diane Follin-Arbelet 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 to extend Barry's winning streak to 90(!) matches. 

With the Barry men winning their fourth in a row last night, there's absolutely no question which school has built two dynasties in Division II tennis. 

The box score is here.

The NCAA Women's Division III final will be a rematch of the 2022 championship match, also held at the National Campus, after Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Chicago each posted 5-1 victories, over Emory and Middlebury respectively, this afternoon in Lake Nona. Chicago has already gotten some measure of revenge for their 5-1 loss to CMS in last year's NCAA final, taking out the Athenas 5-1 in the final of the National Team Indoor Championships in March; it was the only loss of the season for CMS, while Chicago is undefeated, so it's safe to say the top two seeds are meeting in the final even if there are no seeds awarded in Division III.

The women's Division III final is scheduled for noon Wednesday, with live streaming available at NCAA.com.

The women's Division I quarterfinals begin at 5 p.m., with coverage available at the Cracked Racquets YouTube channel

The Division III men's individual championships begin on Thursday. 

Three juniors were among the American qualifiers as this week's three USTA Pro Circuit events are underway in Delaware, Alabama and Florida.

Fifteen-year-old Capucine Jauffret, who is from Delaware, was successful in her first attempt at qualifying in a USTA Pro Circuit event at the $25,000 Bethany Beach Delaware tournament. Jauffret, who was on the US 14-and-under team that finished third last summer at the ITF World Junior Tennis competition in the Czech Republic, defeated Rebecca Fiedler 6-1, 6-0 today after beating Dylan Cline 6-1, 6-0 in the first round of qualifying yesterday. The qualifying draws in Bethany Beach did not fill, and neither of Jauffret's opponents had WTA rankings, but she will face 29-year-old Ukrainian Ganna Poznikhirenko, the WTA's No. 698 in the first round Wednesday.  Other Americans advancing to the main draw are Mia Horvit(South Carolina), 16-year-old Mia Yamakita, Meisha Kendall-Woseley, Duke rising sophomore Katie Codd and Ohio State rising freshman Luciana Perry. 

Maria Mateas(Duke) is the top seed, with Wimbledon girls champion Liv Hovde the No. 2 seed. Only one wild card was awarded, with Georgia Tech rising freshman Meera Jesudason receiving it. She lost to Paris Corley(LSU) 7-5, 6-2 today.  In other first round results, 16-year-old Victoria Osuigwe defeated Allie Kiick 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 and Hovde defeated fellow 17-year-old Lexington Reed 6-3, 6-2. 

At the $60,000 women's event in Pelham Alabama, three of the qualifying matches were not completed today, but 16-year-old Akasha Urhobo, who rarely plays outside of south Florida, did reach the main draw, beating unranked Natalie Boesing 6-3, 6-1. Rising Auburn sophomore DJ Bennett qualified, as did Rasheeda McAdoo.

Renata Zarazua of Mexico is the top seed, with Robin Anderson(UCLA) seeded No. 2. Wild cards were giving to Haley Giavara(Cal), Allura Zamarrippa(Texas) Jaeda Daniel(Auburn/NC State) and Kylie McKenzie. 

After a week off, the men return to USTA Pro Circuit action in Pensacola, with a $25,000 tournament underway there. Florida State rising freshman Justin Lyons, playing in his first Pro Circuit event, was among the Americans making the main draw today. Wild card Lyons, who has been playing primarily in Universal Tennis Pro Tennis Tour events the past year, defeated Miguel Angel Cabrera of Chile 7-5, 6-1 in the second round of qualifying. All eight of the qualifiers are American current or former collegians: wild cards Jonah Braswell(Florida) and Ryan Fishback(Virginia Tech), Tyler Stice(Auburn), Ryan Haviland(Stanford), Ryan Dickerson(Duke/Baylor), Elijah Poritzky(Furman) and Keshav Chopra(Georiga Tech).

Wild cards were given to Tennys Sandgren(Tennessee), who is the No. 1 seed, Will Mayew(Louisville), Bruno Kuzuhara and Jaycer Lyeons(Tyler JC). Nathan Ponwith(Georgia/Arizona State) is the No. 2 seed. All first round singles matches are scheduled for Wednesday.