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Wednesday, November 1, 2023

No. 1s Noel and Cassone Among Five Seeds Ousted in First Round of ITA National Fall Championships; US Wins Group, Advances to Junior Davis Cup Quarterfinals; J500 Merida Mexico Acceptances Feature 15 Americans

The ITA Fall National Championships began today at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego, with top seeds Alexa Noel of Miami and Murphy Cassone of Arizona State, both ITA All-American Championship finalists, bowing out after winning the first set.

Noel was beaten by North Carolina's Reilly Tran, who received entry into the tournament by winning the Milwaukee Tennis Classic back in September, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, while Cassone lost to Oklahoma State's Tyler Zink 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. Zink won the Central Regional last month.

Also in the top half, No. 4 seed Michael Zheng of Columbia was beaten by Gavin Young of Michigan 7-5, 6-2. Zheng did not win the Northeast Regional, falling in the semifinals to Cooper Williams, but he was given a wild card/at-large bid into the event. Young received entry by virtue of his semifinal result at the All-American Championships last month.

The third seed in the men's draw to fall was Southwest regional champion Colton Smith of Arizona, who was beaten by TCU's Pedro Vives, the Texas regional finalist. 

Ohio State has three of the remaining 16 competitors, with No. 2 seed JJ Tracy, Jack Anthrop and Alexander Bernard all winning in straight sets.

The other women's seed to lose was No. 5-8 Irina Cantos Siemers of Ohio State, who was an ITA wild card/at-large selection. Cantos Siemers lost to Hibah Shaikh of Virginia, who was the Atlantic regional finalist, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0.

The No. 1 upsets didn't end in singles, as Hunter Heck and Karlis Ozolins of Illinois, the top seeds in men's doubles, lost to TCU's Duncan Chan and Lui Maxted, the Texas regional finalists, Heck and Ozolins won the Midwest regional.

Women's No. 1 seeds Reese Brantmeier and Elizabeth Scotty of North Carolina did avoid the top spot jinx, beating Tanya Sasnouskaya and Sabina Zeynalova of Texas 7-5, 6-1 this evening.

Links to the draws, live scoring, live streams and Cracked Racquets CrossCourt coverage can be found at the ITA event page.

The round robin phase of the Junior Davis Cup concluded today, with eight teams advancing to the quarterfinals. The United States won its group 3-0, beating Japan in a third straight shutout. Max Exsted defeated Hiromasa Koyama 6-1, 6-2 at No. 2 singles, and Darwin Blanch beat Ryo Tabata 7-6(3), 6-2 at No. 1 singles. Exsted and Jagger Leach defeated Tabata and Ren Matsumura 6-1, 6-4 in the doubles match. Canada finished second in the US round robin group to advance to the quarterfinals.

Two other countries got through their groups with perfect records: Germany and the Czech Republic. Spain finished atop the most competitive of the groups; Italy, the Netherlands and Great Britain were the other second place finishers advancing to the quarterfinals.

The United States will play the Netherlands in the quarterfinals; No schedule for tomorrow is posted, so I believe it's an off-day, with the quarterfinals beginning on Friday.

The draw and results from all today's matches can be found here. Live scoring is here, and live streaming is here.

There are two J500s remaining on the ITF Junior Circuit for 2023: the J500 in Merida Mexico later this month and the J500 Orange Bowl in Plantation Florida to close out the year. 

The acceptances for Merida, which runs from November 20-26, were posted today, with eight US boys and seven US girls receiving entry into the main draw.

The US boys, in ranking order, are Alex Frusina, Alex Razeghi, Kaylan Bigun, Roy Horovitz, Adhithya Ganesan, Cooper Woestendick, Maxwell Exsted and Matthew Forbes. Jagger Leach is just two out of the main draw, so is likely to move into the main draw. The main draw cutoff at the deadline was 98.

ITF junior No. 2 Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez of Mexico is 18 years old, but will be defending his title, with the ATP Accelerator Program likely one of the reasons. If he finishes in the Top 10 in the ITF junior rankings, he will receive ATP Challenger main draw wild cards. Frusina and Ganesan are also in their last two months of junior eligibility, perhaps hoping to secure a spot in the Top 20 in the ITF junior rankings at year-end, which provides qualifying wild cards to Challengers.

Other Top 10 boys entered are Iliyan Radulov of Bulgaria, also a 2005 birth year, and Federico Cina of Italy.

The US girls in the main draw are Kaitlin Quevedo, Iva Jovic, Mia Slama, Ariana Pursoo, Kaitlyn Rolls, Anya Murthy and Victoria Osuigwe. Five more US girls are in spots 3-7 in qualifying: Kate Fakih, Claire An, Maya Iyengar, Shannon Lam and Olivia Center. The girls main draw cutoff at deadline was 116.

The Top 10 girls currently entered are Quevedo, and Tereza Valentova and Laura Samsonova of the Czech Republic. They have one, two and three years of junior eligibility remaining after this year.