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Monday, May 29, 2023

Georgia Tops 2023 Men's Recruiting Class Rankings; Snell Sweeps, Kennedy Claims Second Straight Title on ITF Junior Circuit; Stearns, Shnaider Post Opening Round Victories at Roland Garros; US Players Get Seven Wins in Paris

The final edition of the Tennis Recruiting Network's men's rankings for the 2023 recruiting class was published today, with Georgia retaining its position at No. 1, having been in the top spot in January as well. Stanford stayed at No. 2, but several teams improved their positions in the four months since the first rankings were released, including No. 3 Tennessee, No. 4 Florida and No. 5 Princeton. The rest of the top ten, in order, are Harvard, Kentucky, Pepperdine, South Carolina and Ohio State. Three schools gathered No. 1 votes, and three schools posted their best rankings ever; those and other tidbits can be found in the article's notes.

In addition to Kaitlin Quevedo's singles title at the J500 in Milan, there were seven other championships claimed by Americans last week on the ITF Junior Circuit. 

I don't think the top American boys from the 2008 birth year expected to be playing each other most of the time on their spring trip to Spain, but for the third week in a row it was an all-US final there. This week's J60 in Les Franqueses Del Valles saw the four Americans facing off in the semifinals, with unseeded Jack Secord defeating No. 3 seed Keaton Hance 6-4, 6-3 and No. 2 seed Jack Kennedy beating No. 7 seed Ford McCollum 6-3, 7-5. Secord and Kennedy had met in the previous week's final, and Kennedy again came through in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1.

The 14-year-old from New York reached all three singles finals and also won two doubles titles with Hance at J60s this month, the first two on clay and the most recent on hard courts.

The other singles title came from Holland Snell, who also took the doubles championship at the J60 in El Salvador. The 18-year-old  top seed defeated No. 2 seed Boxiong Zhang of China 6-1, 6-2 for his first ITF Junior Circuit singles title of the year and second overall. Snell and partner Juan Carlos Fuentes Vasquez of El Salvador, the No. 2 seeds, defeated unseeded Zhang and Zhangsiqi Zhou of China 6-4, 7-6(9) in the doubles final.

Seventeen-year-old Yontha Tadoum won her first ITF Junior Circuit title in doubles, with partner Michelle Irigoyen of El Salvador. The unseeded pair took out top seeds Valentina Vargas of Ecuador and Yasmin Vavrova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-4 in the championship match.

Katie Rolls won the J100 doubles title last week in Bolivia, but the results of the singles finals, scheduled for Saturday, were never posted. Rolls, the top seed, reached the singles final, and has so far not received any ITF ranking points, which would be expected if the match was abandoned. Rolls has already won two J100 singles titles this month. In the doubles final, played Friday, Rolls and partner Catalina Padilla Udaeta of Bolivia, the top seeds, defeated No. 3 seeds Francesca Maguina Bunikowska of Peru and Natalia Trigosso of Bolivia 6-2, 6-0.  UPDATE: As of Tuesday morning, Rolls shows as the singles winner, beating No. 4 seed Bunikowska 6-2, 6-3.

Two more doubles titles for Americans were collected in Canada and Georgia. At the J60 in Fredericton New Brunswick, Mark Krupkin reached the singles final and won the doubles title. The 16-year-old from New Jersey and his partner Volodymyr Gurenko of Ukraine, seeded No. 2, defeated the unseeded Canadian pair of  Alec Anghel and Aidan Wang-Fan 6-2, 6-1 in the final. 

At the J30 in Tbilisi Georgia, 17-year-old Seth Sadikov won his second ITF Junior Circuit doubles title, with Itay Cohen of Israel. The top seeds defeated unseeded Nikoloz Gurgenidze and Alexsandre Shvangiradze of Georgia 6-4, 7-5 in the final. 

This week's warmup for the Roland Garros Junior Championships is the ITF J300 Astrid Bowl in Belgium. There were five American boys and 11 American girls in the main draw when play began this morning. Fully half the 16 girls seeds are Americans; seeds begin play on Tuesday in the 48-player singles draws. 

Live scoring is available at Tennis Ticker.

After disappointing American results Sunday on the first day of Roland Garros, Monday proved more successful, with seven of the 11 Americans in action earning victories. 2022 NCAA champion Peyton Stearns(Texas) got her first victory at a major in just her second attempt, beating Katarina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 7-6(7), 6-2.  NC State's Diana Shnaider, who was playing in the NCAA women's team final nine days ago, earned her second victory in a major in her second appearance, defeating Rebecca Marino of Canada 6-3, 7-5. 

Qualifier Kayla Day earned her first win in a major since 2016, when the USTA National 18s champion, aged 16, beat Madison Brengle in the first round of the US Open. Day beat former WTA Top 10 player Kristina Mladenovic of France, a wild card, 7-5, 6-1.

Monday's first round results featuring Americans:

Sloane Stephens d. Karolina Pliskova[16](CZE) 6-0, 6-4
Kayla Day[Q] d. Kristina Mladenovic[WC](FRA) 7-5, 6-1
Madison Keys[20] d. Kaia Kanepi(EST) 6-1, 3-6, 6-1
Bernarda Pera d. Anett Kontaveit(EST) 7-6(6), 6-2
Marketa Vondrousova(CZE) d. Alycia Parks 6-4, 6-0
Peyton Stearns d. Katerina Siniakova(CZE) 7-6(7), 6-2
Simona Waltert[Q](SUI) d. Elli Mandlik[Q] 6-1, 4-6, 6-2

Novak Djokovic[3](SRB) d. Aleksandar Kovacevic 6-3, 6-2, 7-6[1]
Denis Shapovalov[26](CAN) d. Brandon Nakashima 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3
Frances Tiafoe[12] d. Filip Krajinovic(SRB) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
Marcos Giron d. Hamad Medjedovic[Q](SRB) 6-0, 6-2, 1-6, 6-0

Tuesday's first round matches featuring Americans:

Claire Liu v Ylena In-Albon[Q](SUI)
Emma Navarro[WC] v Erika Andreeva[LL](RUS)
Lauren Davis v Lin Zhu(CHN)
Alison Riske-Amritraj v Mirra Andreeva[Q](RUS)
Coco Gauff[6] v Rebeka Masarova(ESP)
Shelby Rogers[32] v Petra Martic(CRO)

Christopher Eubanks v Holger Rune[6](DEN)
Michael Mmoh v Taylor Fritz[9]
Tommy Paul[16] v Dominic Stricker(LL)(SUI)
JJ Wolf v Yoshihito Nishioka[27](JPN)