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Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Busy Week for Men on USTA Pro Circuit; Women's Lone Tournament a $25K in Austin Texas; Michelsen Tops Men's Australian Open Wild Card Rankings Heading into Final Week

There are four USTA Pro Circuit tournaments this week in the United States for men: the Champaign Challenger 75, which I previewed yesterday; a $25,000 tournament in Columbus Ohio; a $15,000 tournament in Boca Raton Florida and a $15,000 tournament in East Lansing Michigan.

Rain in Boca Raton has left the tournament way behind in qualifying, and the forecast for Wednesday is also poor, but the main draw has been published, with Federico Agustin Gomez(Louisville) of Argentina the top seed.

Junior reserved spots went to Leanid Boika, Alexander Razeghi and Kaylan Bigun; wild cards were given to South Carolina freshman Jelani Sarr, Virginia sophomore Ty Switzer, UCLA recruit Rudy Quan and Harvard junior Daniel Milavsky. 

There will be no weather issues at the Michigan State indoor facility in East Lansing this week, and the qualifying has concluded, with five first round matches also on Tuesday's schedule.

Qualifiers are Arizona State senior Maxwell McKennon, Tulane senior Alex Bancila, Cameron Muller, Michigan sophomore Bjorn Swenson, Drake senior Jeremy Schifris of Germany, Arizona fifth year Nick Lagaev of Canada, Illinois freshman Jeremy Zhang of Australia and Jacksonville State graduate student Ivan Marrero Curbelo of Spain.

There were no junior reserved spots allocated; wild cards went to three Michigan State Spartans: junior Max Sheldon, graduate student Sebastien Collard of Canada and redshirt freshman Aristotelis Thanos of Greece. The fourth wild card was awarded to Texas fifth year Eliot Spizzirri, who is the No. 3 seed.

Top seed is Alafi Ayeni(Cornell/Kentucky), with Michigan State sophomore Ozan Baris, playing in his hometown tournament for the third straight year, the No. 2 seed.

Stanford sophomore Samir Banerjee took out No. 5 seed Derek Pham of Australia, a freshman at Oklahoma State, 6-2, 6-0 in first round action today; Spizzirri won his first round match over Robin Catry, a NC State senior from France, 6-4, 6-3.

The Columbus tournament is also indoors, at Ohio State's Ty Tucker Tennis Center, with the top two seeds Radu Papoe(Cornell) and Learner Tien(USC). 

Qualifying today are Dayton fifth year Connor Bruce, BYU junior Wally Thayne, TCU senior Jake Fearnley (who would have been a direct into the main draw had he entered), Henry Lieberman(Charlotte/UNC), Washington senior Jim Hendrikx of the Netherlands, Auburn fifth year Finn Murgett of Great Britain, Georgia Gwinnett senior Aleksa Ciric of Serbia and Luc Fomba(TCU) of France.

Wild cards were given to 16-year-old Evan Sharygin, Ohio State redshirt freshman Preston Stearns, Buckeye recruit Nikita Filin and Ohio State fifth year Robert Cash.

The women have just one tournament this week, a $25,000 event in Austin Texas, and so far weather has been much better than for the men last week.

Qualifying concluded today, so advancing to the main draw are 18-year-old Tatum Evans, who has committed to North Carolina for next fall, Ava Markham(Wisconsin), Kimmi Hance(UCLA), Mao Mushika(Cal) of Japan, Jade Otway(TCU) of New Zealand, Nicole Rivkin(Texas) of Germany, Katja Wiersholm(Cal) and Ayumi Miyamoto(Oklahoma State) of Japan.

Wild cards were awarded to Catherine Harrison(UCLA), Texas senior Taisiya Pachkaleva of Russia and Ashley Lahey(Pepperdine). Mary Stoiana is showing as a junior exempt, but I think that is more likely to be her collegiate wild card under the new program the ITA and ITF have introduced. She won her first round match today over Sahaja Yamalapalli(Sam Houston State) of India 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. Chloe Beck(Duke), Ellie Douglas(TCU) and Madison Sieg(USC) also picked up first round wins today.

Central Florida sophomore Stefani Webb of Australia, the champion at last week's Champaign $15K, received a special exemption into the main draw and will face Evans in a first round match Wednesday.

Nigina Abduraimova of Uzbekistan and Stacey Fung(Washington) of Canada are the top two seeds. The last two Wimbledon girls champions are also in the field, 2022 winner Liv Hovde, the No. 7 seed, and this year's winner Clervie Ngounoue.

The USTA's update on the men's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge was distributed today, with Alex Michelsen taking the lead after his title Sunday in Knoxville. This is the last week of the race for men, with Challengers in Champaign, Canada, Sweden and Japan having Americans still in contention. Champaign has by far the most of those four, so it's likely to decide the winner, as it often does. Live streaming, with Mike Cation providing commentary, is available all week at ATP Challenger TV.

The current Top Five, with ATP ranking in parentheses:

1. Alex Michelsen (99) -- 75
2. Aidan Mayo (293) -- 62
3. Denis Kudla (164) -- 57
4. Brandon Nakashima (143) -- 39
5. Emilio Nava (146) -- 37

Mayo, Kudla(retired with injury) and Nava all lost in Champaign today.



Fearnley's ranking said...

For Columbus, Fearnley was on the qualifying list but the entry list came out before his October run (was ranked 1780 at the time). Could see another run from him this week

College Fan said...

Michelsen has likely earned a spot in the NextGen finals. He’s 9th and the top 10 make it. Alcaraz and Rune are in Turin. Colette, when is the last week to accumulate points for Jeddah?

College Fan said...

Looks like one more win in Champaign will qualify Michelsen. Cobolli qualified as of Monday. Shelton and Musetti have withdrawn, so Michelsen is in the 5th spot. There is one WC to a Jordanian player.