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Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Rajecki Ousts Women's No. 1 Seed Crawley in NCAA Division I Third Round; Top Three Men's Seeds Reach Quarterfinals; Four US Juniors Make Third Round at ITF J500 in Milan; Six Americans Advance to Final Round of Roland Garros Qualifying

Wednesday's competition at the NCAA Division I individual  championships again finished indoors due to rain. But for the first time this week, all singles matches were started and finished outdoors at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona Florida, with only doubles matches forced indoors after more afternoon rain.

The women's singles quarterfinals feature none, as in zero, of the top eight seeds, with the No. 1, 3, 4 and 6 seeds falling today.  Amelia Rajecki of North Carolina State produced the biggest surprise, defeating No. 1 seed Fiona Crawley of North Carolina 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. Rajecki, who was on the wrong side of the clinching match in the team final Saturday at line 3, got some measure of revenge on the Tar Heels, who placed none of their five singles competitors in the singles quarterfinals this year.

The match of the day was unquestionably Oklahoma senior Layne Sleeth's 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(2) win over No. 6 seed Chloe Beck of Duke, which was nearly four hours in duration. Sleeth served for the match at 5-3 in the second set, but Beck forced a final tiebreaker. Although Beck had the momentum, it was Sleeth, with her exceptional defense, who prevailed, with the Canadian refusing to make an error and refusing to concede any point.

The quarterfinal matchups, which feature four unseeded players and four No. 9 seeds, are below:

Women's Round of 16 results:
Amelia Rajecki(NC State) d. Fiona Crawley(North Carolina)[1] 6-1, 1-6, 6-3
Carol Lee(Georgia Tech)[9] d. Carolyn Ansari(Auburn) 3-6, 7-5, 6-0
Angelica Blake(Stanford) d. Lea Ma(Georgia)[3] 6-4, 7-6(0)
Layne Sleeth(Oklahoma) d. Chloe Beck(Duke)[6] 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(2)

Ayana Akli(South Carolina)[9] d. Carly Briggs(Florida) 6-4, 7-5
Madison Sieg(Southern Cal)[9] d. Dasha Vidmanova[4](Georgia) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
Fangran Tian(UCLA)[9] d. Alexandra Yepifanova(Stanford) 7-5, 6-3
Kari Miller(Michigan) d. Ariana Arseneault(Auburn) 6-1, 6-2 

As someone who had recently covered both Ethan Quinn and Nishesh Basavareddy in the juniors, I was most interested in their round of 16 match, and it didn't disappoint. I don't think either of the 2022 ITA fall major champions played his best, but neither could establish any superiority over the course of three sets, and it came down to a deciding point with Basavareddy serving at 5-6. Quinn has come up big in those points all week, and he got a shank error from Basavareddy, giving the No. 2 seed a nearly three-hour win over his fellow teenager.

The other freshman in the quarterfinals is a surprise, with Alexander Bernard, who played at line 5 for Ohio State, advancing with a 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-4 win over Andre Ilagan of Hawaii. The 2019 Kalamazoo 16s champion trailed 4-2 in the final set, but took the last four games to post the victory.

All eight of the men's quarterfinalists have qualified for the ATP's collegiate Accelerator program, which was introduced late last year and implemented for this sesaon. For more on what Challenger wild cards will be forthcoming for these quarterfinalists and when they can be used, see this article.

Men's Round of 16 results:
Eliot Spizzirri(Texas)[1] d. Pedro Rodenas(Duke) 7-5, 7-6(3)
Ondrej Styler(Michigan)[8] d. Michael Zheng(Columbia) 7-6(5), 7-6(5)
Arthur Fery(Stanford)[3] d. Liam Draxl(Kentucky)[9] 6-1, 6-1
Murphy Cassone(Arizona State) d. Micah Braswell(Texas) 6-2, 6-3

Chris Rodesch(Virginia)[9] d. Axel Nefve(Florida) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
Alexander Bernard(Ohio State) d. Andre Ilagan(Hawaii) 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-4
Andrew Fenty(Michigan) d. James Trotter(Ohio State) 6-2, 7-6(3)
Ethan Quinn(Georgia)[2] d. Nishesh Basavareddy(Stanford)[9] 6-3, 4-6, 7-5

The women's doubles quarterfinals feature just two seeds and they will play each other Thursday. UNC's Crawley and Carson Tanguilig defeated top seeds Savannah Broadus and Janice Tjen of Pepperdine 6-1, 6-1, giving the Tar Heels two teams in the quarterfinals. Reese Brantmeier and Elizabeth Scott, a 5-8 seed, will play No. 2 seeds Jaedan Brown and Kari Miller in the quarterfinals.

Three women are in both the singles and doubles quarterfinals: Miller, Akli and Sieg.

With last night's cancellation of the men's doubles, all 16 first round matches were played today, many of them indoors, and few seeds survived.  Top seeds Toby Samuel and Connor Thomson of South Carolina lost to Ozan Baris and Max Sheldon of Michigan State 6-4, 6-2, and with the withdrawal of TCU's Luc Fomba and Jacob Fearnley, that leaves No. 3 seeds Cleeve Harper, the 2022 doubles champion, and Eliot Spizzirri of Texas as the top remaining seeds. 

Men still in both singles are doubles are Spizzirri, Fery and Fenty.

Two rounds of men's doubles are scheduled for Thursday.

Live scoring, results and the day's schedule can be found here. Playsight cameras for individual courts are available here, with a free registration necessary to view. Cracked Racquets will continue their coverage of the individual championships at their YouTube Channel.

Of the 14 Americans who reached the second round at the ITF J500 Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan, just four were able to advance to the round of 16, three of them seeded: No. 12 seed Cooper Williams, No. 2 seed Clervie Ngounoue and No. 8 seed Kaitlin Quevedo. Unseeded Darwin Blanch is the fourth player to reach the third round. 

Live scoring is available at Tennis Ticker.

The final round of qualifying at Roland Garros will feature six of the seven Americans who played second round matches today.

Emilio Nava defeated Liam Broady of Great Britain 6-4, 0-6, 6-3 and will face Geoffrey Blancaneaux of France, the 2016 Roland Garros boys champion, in the final round. Nicolas Moreno de Alboran(UC-Santa Barbara) beat Aleks Vukic(Illinois) of Australia 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 to advance to a meeting with top qualifying seed Aslan Karatsev of Russia.

Taylor Townsend defeated Kaja Juvan of Slovenia 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, Elli Mandlik beat Arina Rodionova of Australia 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, Kayla Day defeated Miriam Bulgaru of Romania 6-4, 6-1 and Ashlyn Krueger held on for a 6-2, 2-6, 7-6(6) win over Katie Boulter of Great Britain.

Sixteen-year-old Mirra Andreeva of Russia will face top seed Camila Osorio of Colombia for a place in the main draw Thursday, while 18-year-old Jerry Shang is also on Thursday's schedule, playing Renzo Olivo of Argentina.

Day and Mandlik are the only Americans on Thursday's schedule.