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Friday, November 10, 2023

US Junior BJK Cup Team Rolls to Semifinals, Women's Team Falls; All American Semifinals in Knoxville Challenger; Three Longhorns and Tien Advance to Austin $25K Semis; Wake Versus Duke in $15K Semifinals

Mixed results in Spain for the United States' Billie Jean King Cup teams today, with the junior girls advancing to the semifinals with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Brazil and the women losing to the Czech Republic 2-1 to end their chance at a title for outgoing captain Kathy Rinaldi.

The second-seeded girls continued to dominate this week in Cordoba, again winning every set they've played now in four matches. Against Brazil, Tyra Grant returned to the singles lineup with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Carolina Bohrer Martins at No. 2 singles, while Iva Jovic, who has played all four matches at No. 1 singles, defeated Pietra Rosolen Rivoli 6-4, 6-1 to clinch the match. Grant and Alanis Hamilton played the dead doubles match, beating Bohrer Martins and Helena Caruso Bueno 6-1, 6-4.

The US will play No. 6 seed Spain in the semifinals after they defeated No. 7 seed Australia 2-0, with doubles not played. 

The other semifinal is a blockbuster, with the Czech Republic, the top seed, facing No. 3 seed Great Britain. The Czech team defeated No. 4 seed Japan 2-1, while Great Britain defeated No. 5 seed Sweden 3-0.

Live scoring is available here; a live stream is available at the ITF YouTube channel.

The women got a victory from Danielle Collins(Virginia) at no. 2 singles in their match with the Czech Republic, with the two-time NCAA champion beating Katarina Siniakova 6-3, 6-3, but Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova defeated Sofia Kenin 6-1, 6-1 at No. 1 singles to send the match to the deciding doubles. The Czechs had the advantage there, with Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova, one of the best doubles teams of the century, defeating Collins and Taylor Townsend 6-3, 7-5 to put them into Saturday's semifinals against Canada. The other semifinal will feature Slovenia, in a first for that country, against Italy.

The ATP Challenger 75 in Knoxville has given hope to four Americans in the USTA's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge, after Aidan Mayo took the lead with an appearance in the final of the Charlottesville Challenger last week. Two Americans will match that result this week in Knoxville after Tennys Sandgren, Alex Michelsen[3], Denis Kudla and Emilio Nava[5] posted wins in the quarterfinals. Sandgren(Tennessee) defeated Alexander Ritschard(Virginia) of Switzerland 7-6(9), 6-4; Michelsen avenged his loss last month to wild card Nishesh Basavareddy in the Fairfield Challenger, with an impressive serving performance that saw the 19-year-old Californian blast 11 aces, claim 26 of 26 first serve points and drop only two points on serve in his 6-3, 6-3 victory. Kudla defeated Aidan McHugh of Great Britain 6-3, 7-6(5) and Nava got past No. 4 seed Zachary Svajda in the night match 6-4, 6-4. It will be Sandgren versus Michelsen and Kudla versus Nava in the semifinals Saturday, with free live streaming available at the ATP's Challenger TV page.

Next week is the final week to earn points in the AO wild card race.

The weather in Austin Texas cooperated today, with all singles matches at the $25,000 men's tournament completed, although again short scoring was used in the two round of 16 matches that were held over from Thursday. Qualifier Siem Woldeab, a fifth year at Texas, won his second round match with top seed Federico Agustin Gomez(Louisville) of Argentina in that format; leading 6-1 coming into today's resumption, Woldeab lost the second set 6-4, but came through in the match tiebreaker 12-10. He then faced No. 6 seed Duarte Vale(Florida) of Portugal in the quarterfinals and won that in the standard three-set fashion 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. 

Woldeab will face No. 4 seed Learner Tien(USC), who defeated Pepperdine freshman Edward Winter 6-3, 6-3 to run his Pro Circuit winning streak to eight matches. 

The other semifinal will be an all-Longhorn affair, with wild card Pierre-Yves Bailly, a junior, taking on Eliot Spizzirri, a fifth year.

Bailly had to play two matches Friday, but he caught a break when No. 2 seed Blaise Bicknell(Florida/Tennessee) of Jamaica retired trailing 6-2, 2-0 in the second round match and teammate and defending champion Micah Braswell retired trailing 7-6(2), 3-0. 

Spizzirri defeated former Texas Longhorn Colin Markes 6-1, 6-2 in the quarterfinals to advance to his third career semifinal at the $25K level.

Three of the top four seeds have advanced to the semifinals of the $100,000 women's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Charleston South Carolina. Top seed Emma Navarro(Virginia), who got a walkover from No. 6 seed Sachia Vickery, will face No. 4 seed Hailey Baptiste, who defeated wild card and No. 5 seed Elli Mandlik 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 in today's quarterfinals. In the bottom half, No. 3 seed Panna Udvardy of Hungary will face unseeded Renata Zarazua of Mexico, after Udvardy defeated qualifier Varvara Lepchenko 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 and Zarazua beat No. 8 seed Ann Li 6-4, 6-1.

The run of 14-year-old Annika Penickova ended today at the $15,000 women's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Champaign Illinois, with No. 2 seed Stefani Webb of Australia defeating the qualifier 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-1. Webb, a sophomore at Central Florida, will face No. 6 seed Gina Dittmann of Germany, a senior at NC State, with Dittmann beating No. 8 seed Xin Tong Wang(Wichita State) of China 5-7, 6-4, 6-0 in the other semifinal.

The $15,000 men's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Winston-Salem will feature the top two seeds, both from Duke, and two unseeded Wake Forest teammates. Top seed and Blue Devil sophomore Pedro Rodenas of Spain defeated qualifier Ishaan Ravichandar(Columbia) 6-4, 6-3 and will play Wake Forest sophomore DK Suresh, of India, who was a wild card entry. Suresh defeated Robin Catry(NC State) 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.

In the bottom half, Luciano Tacchi won the battle of the Demon Deacons from Argentina, defeating Franco Capalbo, a graduate transfer from Utah, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. Tacchi will face No. 2 seed Garrett Johns, a fifth year at Duke, who prevailed over unseeded Emile Hudd(Oklahoma State/Tennessee) of Great Britain 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in just under three hours. 

In the doubles final Friday, Georgia Tech teammates Marcus McDaniel and Keshav Chopra defeated Tacchi and Wake Forest freshman Luca Pow of Great Britain 6-2, 4-6, 12-10.

Another Georgia Tech team member has had success in pro tennis this week, with Andres Martin advancing to the semifinals of the ATP Challenger 75 in Calgary Canada. The unseeded Martin defeated qualifier Enzo Wallart of France 6-1, 6-1 today and will face wild card Liam Draxl(Kentucky), who defeated Virginia senior Inaki Montes of Spain, a qualifier, 7-5, 5-7, 6-1 this evening.