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Thursday, November 2, 2023

Just Seven of 16 Seeds Make ITA Fall National Championships Quarterfinals; US Qualifiers for 2024 Les Petits As; J500 Orange Bowl Acceptances; Razeghi Commits to Stanford

The ITA Fall National Championships continues to produce surprises, with none of the men's quarterfinals and just one of the women's quarterfinals featuring two seeded players.

Two more men's seeds fell today in the second round, with Alvin Tudorica of South Florida, the Southeast Regional finalist, beating No. 5-8 seed Peter Makk of USC, an ITA wild card/at large, 1-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 and Radu Papoe of Cornell, the Northeast finalist, defeating No. 5-8 seed Ozan Baris of Michigan State 6-4, 6-3.

Papoe, who won the Ithaca $15K last month on his home courts, will play No. 2 seed JJ Tracy of Ohio State, who defeated Alejandro Garcia of Oklahoma State 6-2, 6-1. Tudorica faces Ohio State's Jack Anthrop, an ITA wild card/at-large selection, who beat Michigan's Gavin Young 6-3, 7-5. Anthrop lost to teammate Tracy in the semifinals of the Midwest Regional.

There will be a repeat of the Texas regional in the quarterfinal between Pedro Vives of TCU and No. 3 seed Micah Braswell of Texas. Vives defeated Samir Banerjee of Stanford 6-4, 6-0, while Braswell, who beat Vives 6-4, 6-4 in the regional final, defeated Bodin Zarkovic of Utah State 6-4, 6-3.

Like Ohio State, TCU has two quarterfinalists, with No. 5-8 seed Jack Pinnington Jones keeping the Buckeyes from advancing a third with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 win over Alexander Bernard. Pinnington Jones plays Pablo Masjuan of UC-Santa Barbara, after Masjuan defeated Oklahoma State's Tyler Zink 6-7(8), 6-0, 6-3.

The one quarterfinal that is as anticipated, is in the bottom quarter, with No. 2 seed Reese Brantmeier of North Carolina taking on Sarah Hamner of South Carolina, a 5-8 seed. Brantmeier defeated Michigan's Julia Fliegner 6-2, 7-5, while Hamner cruised past Pepperdine's Savannah Broadus 6-1, 6-2.

No. 3 seed Ange Oby Kajuru of Oklahoma State is the third seed in the bottom half, and she will face Cal's Hannah Viller Moeller for a spot in the semifinals. Viller Moeller defeating Hibah Shaikh of Virginia 6-4, 6-4, while Kajuru got past ITA Cup representative Salma Djoubri of Divison II Lynn 7-6(1), 6-2.

The only seed in the top half is No. 4 Ayana Akli of South Carolina, who is coming off a semifinal appearance at the $80,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Tyler Texas last week. Akli defeated Malaika Rapolu of Texas 7-6(6), 7-6(3) to set up another North Carolina vs South Carolina quarterfinal with Annika Yarlagadda. Yarlagadda defeated 5-8 seed Kari Miller of Michigan 6-4, 7-6(1).

The only three-set match in the women's second round saw Southern California's Emma Charney take out North Carolina's Reilly Tran 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. Charney will play Vanderbilt's Celia-Belle Mohr, who beat 5-8 seed Anastasiya Komar of Oklahoma State 6-4, 6-4.

For links to draws, live streaming, live scoring and the Cracked Racquets CrossCourt coverage, see the ITA's event page. Quarterfinals begin at 1 p.m. Eastern time Friday.

The Les Petits As United States playoffs, which decide the American entrants for the prestigious the 14-and-under tournament in France in January 2024, are drawing to a close this weekend in South Florida. 

The quarterfinals were today, and although the website hasn't been updated, results were posted on twitter. The boys results are here; the girls results are here. The boys semifinalists are Jason Eigbedion, Tabb Tuck, Izyan "Zizou" Ahmad and Arjun Krishnan. The girls semifinalists are Welles Newman, Maggie Sohns, Janae Preston and Caroline Shao. 

The top three finishers receive main draw wild cards, with the fourth place finishers promised a qualifying wild card. The winners of Friday's semifinals will know they are in the main draw; final standings will not be known until Saturday.

The J500 Orange Bowl acceptances came out a week earlier than usual, on the same day as the J500 in Merida, which I analyzed yesterday, although Merida is two weeks earlier. Many of the players I mentioned yesterday have also entered the Orange Bowl, but there are several notable newcomers on the boys side.

ITF Junior Finals champion Joel Schwaerzler of Austria has entered, as have Top 10 players Yaroslav Demin of Russia, Cooper Williams, Juan Carlos Prado Angelo of Bolivia, Iliyan Radulov of Bulgaria and Federico Cina of Italy. Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez of Mexico, who reached the Orange Bowl final last year, did not enter, but is in the field in the J500 in his home country.

The ATP Accelerator Program is no doubt responsible for the strong field, as 18-year-olds like Demin, Williams Prado Angelo and Radulov would not play the last junior tournament they are eligible for in years past. An ITF year-end Top 10 position will now earn ATP Challenger main draw wild cards, so the carrot approach seems to have had its desired affect on the boys field.

The same can't be said for the girls field, which is basically the same as the J500 in Mexico. Without a similar program, the top girls are not competing in Plantation, although there are several top American girls who are playing in Florida, but not in Mexico.

The US girls receiving main draw entry are: Kaitlin Quevedo, Iva Jovic, Tyra Grant, Mia Slama, Alanis Hamilton, Ariana Pursoo, Kaitlyn Rolls, Tatum Evans, Anya Murthy and Aspen Schuman. The main draw cutoff was 98.

The US boys receiving main draw entry are: Cooper Williams, Alex Frusina, Alex Razeghi, Kaylan Bigun, Roy Horovitz, Adhithya Ganesan, Cooper Woestendick and Max Exsted. The main draw cutoff was 86.

The 16s division's selections have not yet been announced, but are expected by tomorrow at the USTA's Orange Bowl website. The tournament begins with 16s main draw on December 3rd and concludes on December 10th.

Blue chip Alexander Razeghi, the 2021 Kalamazoo 16s champion and current ITF junior No. 23, has verbally committed to Stanford, according to Parsa Nemati. Razeghi's sister Sydney is a freshman on Stanford's gymnastics team.