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Thursday, June 13, 2024

TCU's Roditi and Tennessee's Ojeda Named ITA Coaches of the Year; Women's Kickoff Weekend Draft Complete; Wimbledon Junior Acceptances Include Svajda and Urhobo

The ITA Division I National Awards, which for many years were announced prior to the finals of the NCAA Team Championships, are on a different schedule now, with the ITA Regional Awards announced yesterday and the National Awards today. Below are the winners; while Texas's Eliot Spirzzirri and Texas A&M's Mary Stoiana didn't received any Regional awards, they are the National Players of the Year after finishing the season at No. 1 in the rankings. Congratulations to all coaches and players who earned acknowledgement of their great seasons.

ITA Division I National Awards

Wilson Coach of the Year: David Roditi, TCU

Assistant Coach of the Year: Devin Bowen, TCU
Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship: Alex Kiefer, Virginia
Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship: Ryan Fishback, Virginia Tech
Rookie of the Year: Cooper Williams, Harvard
Most Improved Player: Jake Fearnley, TCU
Player to Watch: Michael Zheng, Columbia
Senior Player of the Year: Micah Braswell, Texas
National Player of the Year: Eliot Spizzirri, Texas

Wilson Coach of the Year: Alison Ojeda, Tennessee

Assistant Coach of the Year: Jarryd Chaplin, Georgia
Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship: Connie Ma, Stanford
Cissie Leary Sportsmanship: Carol Lee, Georgia Tech
Rookie of the Year: Luciana Perry, Ohio State
Most Improved Player: Ange Oby Kajuru, Oklahoma State
Player to Watch: Amelia Honer, UC Santa Barbara
Senior Player of the Year: Amelia Rajecki, NC State
National Player of the Year: Mary Stoiana, Texas A&M

THe women's ITA Kickoff Weekend Draft was held today, with 42 teams choosing which of the 14 regional host sites they will travel to for the January 2025 regional competition that will determine the ITA National Team Indoor participants. 

As with the men's draft yesterday, the first regional to fill was Tennessee; the last to fill was Charlottesville, with Virginia hosting the final team in the field, No. 66 New Mexico. Texas A&M was the last site to be selected. In addition to Tennessee, the other two regionals to fill early, with all four teams among the Top 35, are Florida and North Carolina.

Three teams passed, as compared to the six men's teams that elected not to play the event: Notre Dame, Syracuse and Purdue. Northwestern and Illinois will be the cohosts of the Women's Team Indoor in February and therefore receive automatic entry. See the SLAM tennis draft page for the breakdown of each regional.

The acceptances for next month's Wimbledon Junior Championships, which I will be covering in person again this year, are out, with six US girls and eight US boys on the initial list of main draw acceptances. 

Every girl in the Top 10 of the ITF junior rankings has entered, including Australian Open girls champion Renata Jamrichova of Slovakia and Roland Garros girls champion Tereza Valentova of the Czech Republic. The US girls entered in main draw are Tyra Grant, Iva Jovic, Kristina Penickova, Kaitlyn Rolls, Thea Frodin and Akasha Urhobo. Urhobo received entry based on her Top 400 WTA ranking, with the 17-year-old from Florida having one of the best World Tennis Numbers in the field.  

Texas rising freshman Maya Joint of Australia, who is in the Wimbledon women's qualifying, has also entered the Junior Championships. Although she received entry based on her junior ranking, she will be seeded in junior event due to her WTA ranking, which is now 177.

The main draw cutoff was 50. Five US girls received entry into the qualifying, which had a cutoff of 84: Shannon Lam, Kate Fakih, Christasha McNeil, Monika Ekstrand and Maya Iyengar.

The boys field is missing two Top 10 players: No. 2 Joel Schwaerzler of Austria and No. 7 Joao Fonseca of Brazil, who is no longer competing in juniors. But aside from those two, every boy in the Top 23 has entered, including Roland Garros champion Kaylan Bigun and Australian Open champion Rei Sakamoto of Japan. The US boys on the main draw acceptance list are: Bigun, Cooper Woestendick, Jagger Leach, Max Exsted, Ian Mayew, Alex Razeghi, Jack Kennedy and Trevor Svajda. Like Urhobo, Svajda received entry based on his professional ranking. Boys inside the ATP 750 (Svajda is currently 662) received direct acceptance into the main draw of a junior slam. SMU rising sophomore Svajda currently has the best World Tennis Number of any player on the acceptance list. Mae Malige of France also received entry, as he did at Roland Garros, based on his ATP ranking inside the Top 750. He is at 718 in the ATP rankings right now. I don't remember a junior slam that had an acceptance for both a boy and a girl from the US based on their professional ranking. 

The boys main draw cutoff was 47. Five US boys were accepted into qualifying: Matthew Forbes, Kase Schinnerer, Nikita Filin, Noah Johnston and Rudy Quan.

Quan received entry into the qualifying based on his ATP ranking, which rose to 847 after his run to the quarterfinals of the Little Rock Challenger last month. Any boy with an ATP ranking between 750 and 850 is accepted into qualifying at a junior slam.
The cutoff for qualifying for the boys was 74.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

USTA Announces Summer Collegiate Team; Men's Kick-off Weekend Draft Complete; Ohio State Adds Transfers Li, Kim and Jansen; ITA D-I Regional Awards; Krajicek Endows Scholarship at Texas A&M

The USTA announced the Summer Collegiate Team today, with six American men and six American women chosen for support during competition this summer on the USTA Pro Circuit. With the exception of Perry and Williams, who ended the year as the top-ranked freshmen, and UNC's Fiona Crawley, who had so much success as a member of the team in 2023, these are the Americans with the best ITA season-ending rankings.

*Fiona Crawley, UNC (Sr.; San Antonio)
Connie Ma, Stanford (Jr.; Dublin, Calif.)
Kari Miller, Michigan (Sr.; Ann Arbor, Mich.)
Alexa Noel, Miami (Jr.; Summit, N.J.)
Luciana Perry, Ohio State (Fr.; Export, Pa.)
*Mary Stoiana, Texas A&M (Jr.; Southbury, Conn.)

Ozan Baris, Michigan State (Soph.; Okemos, Mich.)
​*Nishesh Basavareddy, Stanford (Soph.; Carmel, Ind.)
Micah Braswell, Texas (Sr.; Sarasota, Fla.)
*Eliot Spizzirri, Texas (Sr.; Greenwich, Conn.)
Cooper Williams, Duke (Fr.; New York)
Michael Zheng, Columbia (Soph.; Montville, N.J.)

​*members of 2023 Summer Collegiate teams

From today's USTA release:
Each of the players was selected based on a number of criteria, including rankings, individual collegiate tournament results or Intercollegiate Tennis Association honors. Players on the team are eligible to receive a grant for travel to USTA Pro Circuit events and coaching support over the summer.

Oklahoma State Assistant Coaches Martin Redlicki and Samantha Crawford will travel with and coach the men and the women, respectively, and will provide assistance to any American collegians playing at tournaments throughout the summer. The program is led by USTA National Coach Maureen Diaz.

“As the level of training and competition in college tennis continues to rise in the U.S. and become an increasingly more important and viable pathway for our best American prospects to mature and develop before they enter the professional ranks, our USTA PD commitment to our top collegians is also strong and comprehensive,” said USTA Player Development GM Martin Blackman. “We commend the ITA for working closely with the ATP and WTA to establish important and powerful linkages for top collegians into professional tennis events. We look forward to seeing this year's Summer Team compete, perform and progress during a robust and exciting summer of great USTA Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S. Congratulations also to the coaches from these great universities for their success in developing these great young players.”
The ITA Men's Kickoff Weekend Draft was held today, with 42 teams selecting which one of the 14 regional host sites where they wish to compete in the January 2025 event. Given the unique nature of the draft, which allows a team to select a regional that it prefers based on competitive or travel considerations, reading the tea leaves is irresistible, although there is no question this is way too early to make a prediction on the strength of a host (or other teams in the region).

The first regional to fill was Tennessee; the last to fill was Columbia, who will host Miami, who at a ranking of 64, was the last team to draft. The last regional to get a No. 2 seed was Ohio State; Tennessee had its regional full before No. 36 Princeton chose Columbus. In addition to Tennessee, Harvard and Mississippi State were popular destinations for top seeds. No. 10 Florida State quickly got its No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in No. 15 South Carolina and No. 19 San Diego, but their fourth seed was one of the last teams to draft: No. 60 UNC-Wilmington.

Six teams passed: Florida Atlantic,  Notre Dame, Utah State, Penn, Clemson and Cal. SMU and Baylor receive direct entry into the 16-team Men's ITA National Team Indoor Championships as co-hosts.

See SLAM tennis for the full regional lineups. The women's draft is Thursday at noon Eastern, with the SLAM tennis page to follow it is here.

The Ohio State men, who lost four of its top six, announced three significant transfers today: rising sophomore Aidan Kim from Florida, rising junior Will Jansen from North Carolina and rising senior Chris Li from Tennessee(previously North Carolina).  With the NCAA no longer involved in the transfer process, signings like these are likely to become an even bigger part of building rosters each summer. 

The ITA announced its Regional Award winners today; the National Award winners will be announced on Thursday. For all the Regional winners, see the ITF pages for men and women. Interesting that Eliot Spizzirri of Texas and Mary Stoiana of Texas A&M, both of whom finished ranked No. 1 in the nation, did not receive any of the Texas Region's awards. I will list all the National winners in my post Thursday.

Former Texas A&M All-American Austin Krajicek, a former ATP World No. 1 in doubles and now ranked No. 14, won the NCAA doubles title in 2011 with Jeff Dadamo and reached the ATP Top 100 in singles before focusing solely on his doubles career. T

The 33-year-old from Florida, who now lives in Texas, was married recently and his wife, the former Misia Kedzierski, who played at Illinois, is a graduate of the Texas A&M Mays business school. Earlier this year, the couple announced an endowment for a marketing scholarship at Mays for students, who like Kedzierski, are not from Texas. As this quote from Misia in the Texas A&M Today article explains, "The scholarship will support out-of-state marketing graduate students because Texas A&M offers such a great college experience. We thought more people from around the country should know about Aggieland and experience its culture like we did while having fun being an Aggie." 

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Three USTA Pro Circuit Tournaments Underway, with Quinn Defending Wichita $25K Title; Men's ITA Kickoff Weekend Draft Wednesday; Lipka Named Men's Head Coach at Penn State; ACC Women's Conference Awards

The USTA Pro Circuit has three events this week, with another joint SoCal Pro Series tournament in San Diego, this one at the University of San Diego, not Barnes Tennis Center, and a $25K in Wichita Kansas.

Due to a delay today, I assume weather-related, the San Diego matches are still going on, and final round qualifying results have not been posted. 

In the women's $15,000 tournament in San Diego, Fiona Crawley(North Carolina) is the top seed, with Haley Giavara(Cal) the No. 2 seed. 

Wild cards were given to rising high school junior Alexandra Wolf, Easter Bowl 18s champion Tianmei Wang, Anne Christine Lutkemeyer(UCLA) and rising San Diego senior Filippa Bruu-Syversen. 

In the men's $15,000 tournament in San Diego, Leo Borg of Sweden in the top seed, with Strong Kirchheimer(Northwestern) the No. 2 seed. Wild cards were given to rising high school sophomore Tyler Lee, who lost 6-1, 6-3 in the first round to Jack Anthrop(Ohio State), Anders Matta(Stanford), Blake Kasday(San Diego) and Bryce Nakashima(Ohio State). Nikita Filin received entry via the ITF's junior reserved program for players in the Top 100.

At the $25,000 USTA Men's Pro Circuit tournament in Wichita Kansas, qualifying concluded today, with six Americans, all current or former collegians reaching the main draw.

Alex Kotzen(Columbia,Tennessee), Sebastian Gorzny(TCU, Texas), Micah Braswell(Texas), Nick Kotzen(Columbia), Tyler Zink(Georgia, Oklahoma State) and Chad Kissell(Valparaiso). This tournament had a rare 48-player draw in qualifying for a 32-player main draw; Nick Kotzen, who wasn't seeded in qualifying, had to win three matches to advance to the main draw, and he will play his older brother Alex in the first round.

Australian Bernard Tomic, presumably recovered from his bout with Covid during the Little Rock Challenger, is the top seed, with Ethan Quinn(Georgia), the defending champion at this event, seeded No. 2. 

Wild cards were given to Govind Nanda(UCLA), Aidan Kim(Florida), Samir Banerjee(Stanford) and Alejandro Jacome Jaramillo(Wichita State) of Ecuador. Adhithya Ganesan(Florida) received entry via the ATP ITF Junior Accelerator Program; his 2023 year-end ranking of 27 qualifies him for eight main draw acceptances for $15K or $25K tournaments.

All 16 first round matches are scheduled for Wednesday.

The NCAA tournament ended barely two weeks ago, but preparation for next season's ITA National Team Indoor Championships begin tomorrow, with the Kickoff Weekend Draft for men. Next year, with SMU and Baylor co-hosts of the men's Team Indoor, the top 14 teams in last month's final rankings will host the January regionals that will decide who competes for the National Team Indoor Title in February. The draft, which begins at 9 a.m. (Pacific time) Wednesday with No. 15 South Carolina selecting which host it wants to travel to, can be monitored at the Slam tennis page.

The women's draft is Thursday, with Northwestern and Illinois, the dual hosts next February, getting direct entry into the 16-team field. The women's draft page is here.

Penn State announced its new head coach, with Bruce Lipka selected to lead the Nittany Lions' men's program. Lipka is taking over for Jeff Zinn, announced his retirement in April. The director of tennis at Woodmont Country Club in Maryland the past 24 years, Lipka was the head coach at Miami of Ohio from 1989-1996.

The last of the conference awards were finally released, with the ACC women announcing theirs last week, more than a month after the other conferences, including the ACC men. 

Player of the Year: Alexa Noel, Miami

Coach of the Year: Sara O'Leary, Virginia

Freshman of the Year: Savit Kimchin, Duke

For all complete list of all the conference award winners, click here.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Bigun Moves to No. 1 in ITF Junior Rankings; ITF Junior Circuit Titles for Murray, Traynor and Mata; Chinlund and Delgado Claim ITF M15 Doubles Title; Update on Junior Tennis Documentary; NCAA Singles Finals Videos

Kaylan Bigun not only won the Roland Garros boys singles title Saturday, but when the latest ITF Junior Circuit rankings were released today, the 18-year-old Californian had risen to the top spot, from the No. 6 position he occupied after winning the ITF J500 in Milan.

Bigun bumped previous No. 1, Australian Open champion Rei Sakamoto of Japan down to No. 3, with Austria's Joel Schwaerzler, who had been No. 1 for most of the year, remaining at No. 2 after reaching the semifinals in singles and winning the doubles. 

The outstanding Roland Garros results from Tyra Grant, Iva Jovic and Kristina Penickova put all three in the Top 10. Grant stayed at No. 5 with her singles semifinal and doubles final, while Jovic, with a quarterfinal in singles and the doubles final, moved to a career-high of 7. Kristina Penickova, a semifinalist in singles, moved to her career-high of 10 from 25 a week earlier.

Australian Open champion Renata Jamrichova of Slovakia retained the top spot in the girls rankings, with a quarterfinal in singles and the doubles title. Singles and doubles champion Tereza Valentova of the Czech Republic is up to a career-high of No. 4.

In addition to Bigun's Roland Garros title, there were three other Americans who collected singles titles on the ITF Junior Circuit last week.

Sixteen-year-old Ligaya Murray won the J100 in Guatemala, with the No. 3 seed defeating No. 4 seed Valentina Vargas of Ecuador 6-3, 6-4 in the final. It's Murray's second and biggest ITF singles title.  Unseeded Maria Araoz-Gosn and Isabelle DeLuccia won the doubles title, beating No. 3 seeds Marianne Angel of Mexico and Carlota Balseiro of Guatemala 6-3, 6-4 in the final. Zavier Augustin reached the boys singles and doubles final, losing to top seed Cesar Cruz of El Salvador 6-3, 7-6(4) in the singles final.

Sixteen-year-old Olivia Traynor was unseeded at the J60 in Canada, but dropped only one set all week, while beating the top two seeds in the semifinals and finals. Traynor defeated No. 1 seed Anna Tabunshchyk of Canada 6-3, 6-0 in the championship match.

Thirteen-year-old Te'anna Mata, playing in her first ITF Junior Circuit tournament, won the title at the J30 in Congo, which had only 11 participants in the singles draw. Mata didn't lose a set in her three wins, beating No. 2 seed Ann Hsu of Taiwan 7-5, 6-1 in the final.

At the J30 in Uganda, 17-year-old Neha Krishnan won her sixth doubles title of the year, all in Africa, and her second with Saina Jayesh Vaidya of Singapore. The top seeds defeated Saumya Chatterjee of India and Chiu Kwan Nina Wang of Hong Kong 6-3, 6-4 in the final.

Last night at the ITF men's World Tennis Tour $15K in the Dominican Republic, 2023 Easter Bowl champion Cassius Chinlund won his first Pro Circuit doubles title, partnering with Wake Forest rising freshman Andrew Delgado. Left-handers Chinlund, 17, and Delgado, 19, defeated Lorenzo Claverie of Italy and Lucca Pignaton of Brazil 3-6, 7-6(4), 11-9 in the final. It's also the first Pro Circuit doubles title for Delgado, who won the Orange Bowl doubles championship in December with Matthew Forbes.

Ariana Pursoo being filmed for documentary in 2022
The documentary that was the subject of much speculation during its filming at the 2022 Eddie Herr and Orange Bowl appears to be near a debut on Amazon Prime, although nothing official has been announced. Here's the information the Hollywood Reporter recently provided; I wasn't aware until reading this article that Sloane Stephens was involved as an executive producer.

With Roland Garros occupying my time for the past two weeks I'm just now getting everything organized from the NCAAs, and I just finished processing the videos from the singles finals, which appear below. 

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Former Collegians Win All Four USTA Pro Circuit Titles Sunday; Gauff Captures Women's Doubles Title at Roland Garros

Although the NCAA tournaments have concluded, former collegians continue to dominate the headlines, with four players with college ties claiming singles titles today on the USTA Pro Circuit.

Carson Branstine, who is the most recent college competitor, won the biggest title of her career today at the women's W75 in Sumter South Carolina, beating Sophie Chang 6-7(6), 7-6(6), 6-1 in a two-hour and 40-minute battle between unseeded players. The 23-year-old Branstine, who had reached finals in her two most recent ITF W35 tournaments in February and April, returned to Texas A&M for the SEC tournament and NCAA team championships, and playing at the No. 1 or No. 2 position, provided the boost the Aggies needed to claim their first NCAA team title last month in Stillwater. 

Branstine, who reached a career-high of 4 on the ITF Junior Circuit in 2017, the year she changed her representation from the United States to Canada, is now inside the WTA Top 350 after this title. It's her second title this year and the fifth of her career on the ITF women's World Tennis Tour.

At the ATP Challenger 75 in Tyler Texas, James Trotter of Japan won his first Challenger singles title, with the former Ohio State Buckeye defeating Brandon Holt(USC) 6-2, 7-6(3) this afternoon. The 2022 NCAA doubles champion, who won his fifth Challenger doubles title Saturday night, won all three of the tiebreakers he contested during the hot and humid week. Yet with all the challenges of playing singles and doubles in difficult conditions, he managed to play his best tennis in his first singles final; he did not face a break point in today's match and won 29 of 31 points when he made a first serve.

Trotter will make a huge jump in the ATP rankings with this title, going from 371 to 274 in the live rankings.

The SoCal Pro Series $15,000 tournaments in San Diego also produced former collegiate champions. Eighteen-year-old Learner Tien, who played a half of a semester at USC last year, won his second consecutive men's title at the Barnes Tennis Center this afternoon. The top-seeded Tien, the two-time Kalamazoo 18s champion who returned last week after several months out with injury, defeated No. 2 seed Alafia Ayeni(Cornell, Kentucky) 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4 for his fifth USTA Pro Circuit singles title, all coming in the past 11 months. Tien should be around 375 in the ATP rankings when these 15 points are added a week from Monday. Needing matches in his return from injury, Tien got them, winning a 10 singles matches he played, and he is not entered in either the $25K in Wichita or in the third $15K in San Diego next week.

Former University of North Carolina All-American Sara Daavettila won her only ITF women's World Tennis Tour titles last June in San Diego, sweeping the singles and doubles in the SoCal Pro Series at Barnes Tennis Center. The 26-year-old picked up her second singles title today, with the No. 3 seed blanking 16-year-old Maya Iyengar 6-0, 6-0 in the final. Daavettila, who lost only one set this week, in her first round win over Megan McCray(Oklahoma State), didn't play last week's W15 in San Diego, but is on the entry list for this coming week's tournament. Daavettila's teammate in 2020-21, Fiona Crawley, is at the top of the entry list for next week in San Diego.

These are the four winners on the USTA Pro Circuit, but several other current and just graduated collegians won titles outside the United States today, and because I don't think I'll be able to feature them in my June Aces, I'll note them here.

Recent Pepperdine graduate Janice Tjen won her first two ITF women's World Tennis Tour titles this week at the W15 in Monastir Tunisia. The 22-year-old from Indonesia, who qualified for the main draw, defeated No. 5 seed Patricija Paukstyte of Lithuania 6-1, 7-6(1). She and Canadian Leena Bennetto(Princeton) won the doubles title as wild cards, beating No. 3 seeds Paukstyte and Alica Rusova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-1 in the final.

It was a good week for Pepperdine Waves, with men's sophomore Edward Winter of Australia winning his second ITF men's World Tennis Tour singles title at a $15K in Korea. The unseeded 19-year-old beat two Illinois players in the semifinals and finals today, first taking out rising senior Karlis Ozolins of Latvia 6-2, 6-4, and in the final, current assistant coach Zeke Clark, the No. 8 seed, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

Recent Kentucky graduate Taha Baadi of Canada won his first ITF men's World Tennis Tour title at the $15K in the Dominican Republic. The unseeded 22-year-old defeated No. 4 seed Peter Bertran(Georgia, South Florida) 7-5, 6-4 in the final. 

Coco Gauff won her first major in women's doubles, after losing in the 2021 US Open final with Caty McNally, and the 2022 Roland Garros final with Jessica Pegula. This tournament Gauff was playing with Katerina Siniakova, who claimed the Roland Garros titles in 2018 and 2021, and in their first competition as partners, the No. 5 seeds won the title, beating unseeded Jasmine Paolini and Sara Errani of Italy 7-6(5), 6-3 in today's final. 

For more on the 20-year-old Gauff's second slam title, see this article from the Roland Garros website

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Bigun Claims Roland Garros Boys Title, Valentova Sweeps Girls Championships; Former Tulsa Star Arevalo Wins Men's Doubles; Branstine Reaches Sumter W75 Final; Holt and Trotter Meet in Tyler Challenger Final

Kaylan Bigun joked that he's now a junior clay court specialist, after adding the Roland Garros boys title to the J500 he won last month in Milan. The 18-year-old left-hander from California, who has had some success on Har-Tru, including a semifinal at last year's Orange Bowl, has gotten his best results on hard courts, at least until this spring.
Today in Paris, the No. 5 seed withstood a barrage of huge serves from unseeded Tomasz Berkieta of Poland to come back for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory, becoming the first American boy since Tommy Paul in 2015 to earn the Roland Garros boys title.

Bigun had also come from a set down against No. 2 seed Joel Schwaerzler of Austria in Friday's semifinals, and the had a similar dynamic, although Berkieta will probably look back at the first game of the second set with some regret. After closing out the first set with a love hold, the 17-year-old from Warsaw had four break points in the first game of the second set. Bigun got through that game and didn't face another break point in the rest of the match. Berkieta, who averaged 125 mph on his first serve, topping out at 139 on one serve, did bring some suspense into the final game. After saving three match points in his 7-6(3), 4-6, 7-6(4) semifinal win over Lorenzo Carboni of Italy Friday, Berkieta saved three more serving at 3-5 in the third, but Bigun just shrugged at the ace, forehand winner and backhand that forced an error that saved those match points. With Berkieta's first serve deserting him at the worst possible time, Bigun could wait him out in the rallies, and that's what he did on the fourth match point, with Berkieta making a forehand error after a 10-shot rally. For more on Bigun's win, see this article from the ITF junior website.

Bigun, who now has a 12-match winning streak at the highest two levels of the ITF Junior Circuit, is the fourth US boy to win the Roland Garros singles title in the Open era, along with John McEnroe in 1977, Bjorn Fratangelo in 2011 and Paul in 2015.

Tereza Valentova swept the girls titles, with the No. 12 seed taking the singles championship with a 6-3, 7-6(0) victory over No. 3 seed Laura Samson in the first all-Czech junior slam final in history. A US Open girls finalist in 2023, the 17-year-old Valentova got off to a quick start, taking a 3-0 lead, but Samson shook off her nerves and pulled even before Valentova won the next three games to take the first set. In the second set, Valentova again took the lead and again Samson came back, and when Valentova couldn't serve out the match at 6-5, Samson had reason to be optimistic. The 16-year-old played poorly to start the tiebreaker however, and this time didn't have enough time to recover, with Valentova closing out her sixth straight-sets victory of the week. For more on the girls final, see this article from the ITF junior website.

Valentova, the third Czech girls singles champion in the past four years at Roland Garros, then went on to claim the doubles title with Renata Jamrichova of Slovakia. The No. 3 seeds, who also didn't drop a set all tournament, ended the junior slam run of No. 4 seeds Iva Jovic and Tyra Grant, the Australian Open champions, 6-4, 6-4.

The boys doubles title went to top seeds Nicolai Budkov Kjaer of Norway and Schwaerzler, who came from 5-0 down in the second set to defeat No. 2 seeds Federico Cina of Italy and Rei Sakamoto of Japan 6-4, 7-6(3).

Former Tulsa standout Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador won his second major men's doubles title today at Roland Garros, with partner Mate Pavic of Croatia. No. 9 seeds Pavic and Arevalo, who had won the Roland Garros title in 2022 with Jean-Julien Rojer(UCLA), defeated No. 11 seeds Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori of Italy 7-5, 6-3 in the final. Pavic is now just the sixth man to win all four slams during his career, all with different partners. For more on the men's doubles final, see this article from the Roland Garros website.

Coco Gauff will play for the women's doubles title Sunday, with Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, against the Italian team of Jasmine Paolini, who lost in the women's singles final today to Iga Swiatek, and Sara Errani. 

Carson Branstine, who was instrumental in Texas A&M's first NCAA team title last month, is back on the Pro Circuit this week in Sumter South Carolina and has advanced to the final at the W75 event.  The 23-year-old from Southern California, who represents Canada, defeated top seed Maria Mateas(Duke) 6-3, 6-2 to reach her third final in her last three Pro Circuit tournaments. Branstine will play Sophie Chang, who is also unseeded, in the final after Chang defeated Allie Kiick 6-4, 6-3.

In the doubles final, former Baylor standouts Melany Solange Krywoj of Argentina and Alicia Herrero Liana of Spain, who were unseeded, defeated top seeds Chang and Dalayna Hewitt 6-3, 6-3 for their third and biggest title of the year. Krywoj and Herrero Liana have won five titles on the women's World Tennis Tour in the past four years.

At the ATP Challenger 75 in Tyler Texas, Brandon Holt(USC) and James Trotter(Ohio State) of Japan will play in the final Sunday, with one of them getting his first Challenger title. The 26-year-old Holt, who reached his first Challenger final in January at Indian Wells, got his first straight-sets win of the week in today's semifinal, beating No. 8 seed Liam Draxl(Kentucky) of Canada 6-3, 7-5. The 24-year-old Trotter, also unseeded, beat No. 2 seed Coleman Wong of Hong Kong 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(4) to reach his first Challenger final in his first year on the Pro Circuit, after leaving Ohio State with the NCAA doubles title last spring.

While Trotter is just now advancing to a Challenger final in singles, his doubles pedigree has been evident throughout the year, and today he won the fifth Challenger doubles title of his career, but a first with Hans Hach Verdugo(Abilene Christian) of Mexico. Trotter and Hach, seeded No. 2, defeated former Florida Gators Andres Andrade of Ecuador and Abdullah Shelbayh of Jordan, who were unseeded, 7-6(3), 6-4 in this evening's final.

A pair of former Texas A&M Aggies, Hady Habib of Lebanon and Trey Hilderbrand, won their first ATP Challenger doubles titles today at the Challenger 50 in Argentina. The unseeded pair defeated Ignacio Carou of Uruguay and Facundo Mena of Argentina, also unseeded, 6-7(5), 6-2, 10-4 in the final. 

At the SoCal Pro Series in San Diego, Maya Iyengar advanced to her first Pro Circuit final in just her second tournament, with the 16-year-old from Arizona defeating Carolyn Campana(Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Pepperdine) 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 in the women's semifinals. She will face former UNC All-American Sara Daavettila, the No. 3 seed, who defeated Aspen Schuman 6-4, 7-5.

Campana won the doubles title, however, with Pepperdine's All-American Lisa Zaar of Sweden. The No. 2 seeds defeated top seeds and USC teammates Eryn Cayetano and Australia's Lily Fairclough 6-7(3), 6-4, 11-9 in this evening's final.

The men's singles final Sunday will be between the top two seeds, just as it was last week, with No. 1 Learner Tien(USC), who won the title last week in San Diego, facing No. 2 Alafia Ayeni(Cornell/Kentucky). Tien defeated No. 7 seed Noah Schachter 6-3, 6-2, while Ayeni beat Alan Rubio(UCF) of Mexico 7-6(6), 6-2.

Arizona State teammates Max McKennon and Jacob Bullard won their first Pro Circuit titles today in doubles, with the unseeded pair defeating Jeremy Jin(Florida) of Australia and Lui Maxted(TCU) of Great Britain 6-2, 6-3 in this morning's final. 

Friday, June 7, 2024

Bigun Reaches Roland Garros Boys Final; Jovic and Grant Aim for Second Straight Junior Slam Doubles Title; ATP Confirms Second Year of Collegiate Accelerator Program; Chicago Tops Final D-III Rankings; Tien, Iyengar and Schuman Advance at San Diego $15K

Until today, Kaylan Bigun hadn't been pushed in his run to the semifinals of the Roland Garros Junior Championships.

Unsurprisingly, that changed in his match with No. 2 seed Joel Schwaerzler of Austria, who won an ATP Challenger last month. The UCLA rising freshman dropped the first set--the only one he's lost all week--but stayed calm, leading him to a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over his fellow left-hander. Bigun got an early break in the final set and made it stand up; the 18-year-old didn't face a break point in the final two sets. After Schwaerzler saved a match point serving at 3-5 and held, Bigun faced the biggest game of his junior career, and he got every first serve in, including a 126 mph one at 40-30, which Schwaerzler returned, but Bigun hit a forehand winner off it to reach his first junior slam final.

His opponent Saturday will be Tomasz Berkieta of Poland, who saved three match points in his dramatic 7-6(3), 4-6, 7-6(4) win over Lorenzo Carboni of Italy. Serving at 5-6 in the third, Berkieta had to come with winners at 30-40, and two ad-outs, and the 17-year-old might have hit two lines during the last match point he saved. Once he got to the tiebreaker, his first serve, which reached 136 mph on one occasion and averaged 121 mph, proved too much for Carboni.

Berkieta is the first Polish boy since Jerzy Janowicz in 2008 to reach the Roland Garros final; Bigun is the first US boys to reach the final since Toby Kodat in 2019. Tomorrow's final will be their first meeting.

Both US girls lost to their Czech opponents Friday, with No. 4 seed Tyra Grant falling to No. 12 seed Tereza Valentova 6-3, 7-6(1), and Kristinia Penickova seeing her run end at the hands of No. 3 seed Laura Samson 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. Both Americans mounted impressive comebacks; Grant trailed 4-0 in the second set, but won the next five games to serve for the set, only to drop her serve at love, and Valentova returned to her previous level in the tiebreaker to reach her second junior slam final.

Penickova trailed 6-3, 5-2 to Samson before winning five straight games, and was briefly up a break in the third set, before Samson recovered, breaking the 14-year-old Penickova at 4-5 after she had been  unable to serve out the match at 5-3. 

Despite all the success of the Czech girls, who will have won three of the last four Roland Garros titles after tomorrow, this is the first junior slam final between two Czech girls. 

Valentova will also play for the doubles title Saturday, with Renata Jamrichova of Slovakia. The No. 3 seeds defeated No. 5 seeds Emerson Jones of Australia and Vittoria Paganetti of Italy 7-5, 6-2 in today's semifinal, posting their fourth consecutive straight-sets win.

The will face Grant and Iva Jovic, the No. 4 seeds, for the title, after the Australian Open girls champions defeated top seeds Samson and Alena Kovackova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-4. Grant, who won the Roland Garros doubles title last year with Clervie Ngounoue, and Jovic have also not lost a set this week; in fact, they haven't lost a set in junior slam competition this year, winning the Australian Open girls doubles final without losing a set.

The boys doubles final will feature the top two seeds, with No. 1 seeds Schwaerzler and Nicolai Budkov Kjaer of Norway saving a match point in their 4-6, 6-2, 11-9 victory over unseeded Timofei Derepasko of Russia and Amir Omarkhanov of Kazakhstan.

No. 2 seeds Federico Cina of Italy and Rei Sakamoto of Japan were also forced to a tiebreaker by the unseeded team of Alexander Razeghi and Germany's Max Schoenhaus, but escaped with a 7-5, 2-6, 10-7 victory.

The ATP website published an article today on its collegiate accelerator program for the ITA top 20, which will begin its second year on July 1. It provides details on players who have used the program to maximum effect, and provides a list of the 21 players who have qualified for this year's edition(The ITA Top 20, plus Jack Anthrop of Ohio State, who made the quarterfinals of the NCAAs to qualify). It also has a quote from ITA No. 1 Eliot Spizzirri of Texas.

The final rankings for Division III were released this week, with the team champions from the University of Chicago topping both 
the men's and women's rankings. For the full final rankings, click on the headings.


Team Top 10
1. Chicago
2. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
3. Bowdoin
4. Case Western
5. Middlebury
6. Emory
7. Tufts
8. Denison
9. Williams
10. Swarthmore

Singles Top 10
1. Tristan Bradley, Bowdoin
2. Matthew Kandel, Williams
3. Advik Mareedu, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
4. Vuk Vuksanovic, Tufts
5. Jordan Theron, Sewanee
6. Julian Wu, Middlebury
7. Kael Shalin Shah, Denison
8. Emil Grantcharov, Chicago
9. Derek Hsieh, Chicago
10. Ajay Mahenthiran, Case Western

Doubles Top 5
1. Gae Gohl and Tyler Haddorff, Gustavus Adolphus
2. Tristan Bradley and Reid Staples, Bowdoin
3. Matthew Kandel and Nicholas Chen, Williams
4. Adrei Leonov and Pat Otero, Chicago
5. Diego Maza and Vishway Aduru, Case Western

Top 10 Team
1. Chicago
2. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
3. Pomona-Pitzer
4. Wesleyan
5. Emory
6. Johns Hopkins
7. Washington St. Louis
8. Middlebury
9. Amherst
10. Washington and Lee

Singles Top 10
1. Angie Zhou, Pomona-Pitzer
2. Matia Cristiani, Babson
3. Sylwia Mikos, Chicago
4. Rena Lin, Chicago
5. Emily Kantrovitz, Emory
6. Audrey Yoon, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
7. Olivia Soffer, Babson
8. Lindsay Eisenman, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
9. Ana Cristian Perez, Emory
10. Erica Ekstrand, Williams

Doubles Top 5
1. Nikolina Batoshvili and Alisha Chulani, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
2. Olivia Soffer and Matia Cristiani, Babson
3. Rena Lin and Oliwia Mikos, Chicago
4. Lily McCloskey and Hannah Kassaie, Case Western
5. Caitlyn Ferrante and Sarah Youngberg, Wesleyan

Three teens eligible to compete at the USTA Nationals this summer are through to the semifinals at the SoCal Pro Series $15,000 San Diego II tournament after wins today.  Sixteen-year-old Aspen Schuman, who reached the final of this tournament last year, advanced to the all-USA women's semifinals with a 3-6, 6-3 6-2 win over Pepperdine's Anna Campana; 16-year-old Maya Iyengar, who is playing just her second Pro Circuit tournament, with last week her first, defeated 15-year-old qualifier Julieta Pereja 6-7(0), 6-2, 7-5 and will face unseeded Carolyn Campana(Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Pepperdine) for a place in the final. Campana took out top seed Dasha Ivanova 7-5, 6-3.  Schuman will play former North Carolina All-American Sarah Daavettila, the No. 3 seed, who beat qualifier Katie Codd(Duke) 6-4, 6-1.

Two-time Kalamazoo champion Learner Tien, who at this time last year was reaching the semifinals of the Roland Garros junior championships, advanced to the men's semifinals with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Isaac Becroft(Oklahoma State) of New Zealand. Last week's champion in San Diego, the 18-year-old top seed will look to extend his winning streak to nine when he takes on No. 7 seed Noah Schachter(Texas A&M), who beat No. 4 seed Alex Knaff(Florida State) of Luxembourg 3-6, 6-2, 6-0. In the other semifinal, Alan Rubio(Central Florida) of Mexico will take on No. 2 seed Alafia Ayeni(Cornell, Kentucky) after Rubio defeated 2013 Kalamazoo 18s champion Collin Altamirano(Virginia) 6-1, 6-1 and Ayeni downed Joshua Charlton(Oregon) of Australia 7-6(6), 6-3.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Bigun, Grant and Penickova Reach First Junior Slam Semifinal at Roland Garros, AO Champions Jamrichova and Sakamoto Fall in Quarterfinals; Williams Transfers to Duke; ITA D-I All-Americans Now Official; Pareja, Iyengar and Schuman Reach San Diego $15K Quarterfinals

Last year two American boys(Learner Tien(USC) and Darwin Blanch) made the semifinals at the Roland Garros Junior Championships, but no girls advanced to the final four, with Clervie Ngounoue falling in the quarterfinals. This year both genders are represented in Friday's semifinals, with No. 5 seed Kaylan Bigun, No. 4 seed Tyra Grant and unseeded Kristina Penickova earning victories today in Paris.

Bigun, who had breezed through his first three matches, was certainly expecting a challenge from qualifier Henry Bernet of Switzerland, who had beaten him last November at the Eddie Herr and put up stiff resistance in Bigun's straight-set quarterfinal win at the J500 in Milan two weeks. After some tense moments, Bigun came through again today, earning a 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 victory to reach his first junior slam semifinal, after reaching the quarterfinals at Wimbledon last year and at the Australian Open this year. 

Bigun will face No. 2 seed Joel Schwaerzler of Austria, with Bigun winning their only prior meeting at a J200 in Germany two years ago.

The other boys semifinal will feature two unseeded players, with Lorenzo Carboni, who hasn't played a junior tournament in over a year, meeting Tomasz Berkieta of Poland.  Carboni, who received entry based on this ATP ranking of 705, defeated top seed and Australian Open champion Rei Sakamoto of Japan 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. Roland Garros is just the second junior slam for the 18-year-old Carboni; he played the Australian Open in 2023, qualifying but losing in the first round.

Berkieta is a more familiar face in junior slams, having competed in all four last year and in Australia this year; with his win today, the 17-year-old matches his best result: the 2023 Australian Open, where he lost to Learner Tien in the semifinals.

Tyra Grant has twice come back from a set down this week, but her 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over unseeded Jeline Vandromme of Belgium was particularly impressive. Vandromme, who won the Belgium ITF J300 warmup tournament last week, led 6-4, 4-2 before Grant raised her level, winning nine straight games and coasting to a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory. Grant, whose only three losses this year on the ITF Junior Circuit to Emerson Jones of Australia, who lost in the first round in Paris, will face Tereza Valentova of the Czech Republic in her first junior slam semifinal in singles.  Valentova handed top seed and Australian Open girls champion Renata Jamrichova of Slovakia a 6-3, 6-2 defeat, much more decisive than her three-set win over Jamrichova at the US Open last September. Grant and Valentova met last year in the semifinals of the ITF J300 in Santa Croce, with Grant winning 6-1 3-6, 6-3.

Like Valentova, Kristina Penickova hasn't dropped a set in advancing to the semifinals; unlike Valentova, who is playing in her ninth junior slam at the age of 17, Penickova is competing in her second junior slam, with last year's US Open her first. Today Penickova posted a routine 6-4, 6-2 victory over unseeded Rose Maria Nijkamp of the Netherlands to reach the semifinals; although Nijkamp didn't play well, much of that can be attributed to the pace and depth of shot that Penickova consistently displayed.

She will need all that depth and consistency in the semifinals Friday, when the 14-year-old faces 16-year-old Laura Samson of the Czech Republic. Samson, the No. 3 seed, outlasted No. 10 seed Iva Jovic 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-5 in a well-played contest that hinged on just a few points in the final few games. Jovic was up a break 4-3 in the third set, only to see Samson get the break right back, then save two break points in the 4-all game. Both players were playing fearless tennis down the stretch, but it was Samson who made more of those aggressive shots when it mattered. With this victory, Samson avenged her loss to Jovic in the Junior Billie Jean King ITF Team final last November that clinched the title for the United States.

The doubles semifinals are also scheduled for Friday, with Grant and Jovic, the Australian Open girls doubles champions, the only players left with a chance at a junior grand slam. After Australian Open boys champions Cooper Woestendick and Maxwell Exsted were unable to play their quarterfinal due to Exsted's illiness, Grant and Jovic were the sole hope. They defeated unseeded Noemi Basiletti of Italy and Joy De Zeeuw of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-3 to keep their hopes alive. They will play top seeds Alena Kovackova and Samson in the semifinals Friday. Grant is defending her 2023 Roland Garros girls doubles title, with her partner then Clervie Ngounoue.

The other girls doubles semifinal will feature No. 3 seeds Valentova and Jamrichova against No. 5 seeds Jones and Paganetti of Italy, who beat No. 2 seeds Hannah Klugman and Mingge Xu of Great Britain 6-4, 7-5.

There was a second walkover in the boys doubles quarterfinals today, with No. 2 seeds Federico Cina of Italy and Sakamoto advancing when No. 6 seeds Viktor Frydrych of Great Britain and Mees Rottgering of the Netherlands withdrew. Cina and Sakamoto will play Alexander Razeghi and Germany's Max Schoenhaus, who beat No. 4 seeds Bigun and Jagger Leach 4-6, 6-3, 10-4. In the top half, unseeded Timofei Derepasko of Russia and Amir Omarkhanov of Kazakhstan will face top seeds Schwaerzler and Norway's Nicolai Budkov Kjaer.

Friday's semifinals featuring Americans:

Kaylan Bigun[5] v Joel Schwaerzler[2](AUT)

Tyra Grant[4] v Tereza Valentova[12](CZE)
Kristina Penickova v Laura Samson[3](CZE)

Tyra Grant and Iva Jovic[4] v Alena Kovackova and Laura Samson[1](CZE)

Alexander Razeghi and Max Schoenhaus(GER) v Federico Cina(ITA) and Rei Sakamoto(JPN)[2]

Division I college tennis continues to produce news, with Cooper Williams entering the portal this week after a massively successful freshman year at Harvard and being announced today as a new member of the Duke Blue Devils. Several other top players are expected to transfer in the next several weeks, so stay tuned for more announcements like this.

The ITA officially announced its Division I All-America teams today, with 27 women and 26 men earning that honor this year. I have previously discussed all those who are included, whether from their seeding at the NCAAs, reaching the round of 16 (or quarterfinals in doubles) at the NCAAs or by finishing in the top 20(singles) or top 10(doubles). The complete men's list is here; the complete women's list is here.

Tennessee's Esther Adeshina was announced today as the winner of the annual Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award. For more on Adeshina and the award, see this article from the ITA.

Two 16-year-olds and a 15-year-old advanced to the quarterfinals at the SoCal Pro Series W15 this week in San Diego. Fifteen-year-old qualifier Julieta Pareja defeated No. 4 seed (and Pepperdine No. 1) Lisa Zaar of Sweden 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in three hours and 17 minutes today, avenging her second round loss last week to Zaar in the first San Diego W15. She will next play 16-year-old Maya Iyengar, who defeated qualifer Isabelle Chhiv(Princeton)2-6, 6-3, 6-0. Sixteen-year-old Aspen Schuman, who, like Iyengar, received entry based on her ITF junior Top 100 ranking, reached the final of the W15 in San Diego last year before losing to NCAA champion Fangran Tian(UCLA) of China. Schuman, who defeated No. 7 seed Chloe Noel(Oklahoma) of France 1-6, 6-1, 7-6(2) in the second round today, will play Anna Campana(Pepperdine) in Friday's quarterfinals. Campana beat 17-year-old qualifier Tianmei Wang, the Easter Bowl 18s champion, 6-1, 6-2 today; Wang had defeated No. 2 seed Eryn Cayetano(USC) 6-4, 6-2 in the first round.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

May Aces; Four Americans Reach Quarterfinals at Roland Garros Junior Championships; Boys Battle of the Sections Moves to Western Michigan; USTA Midwest's College Showcase Set for Later This Month

The May edition of my monthly column for Tennis Recruiting Network has a bit everything, with a WTA title, a Challenger title, NCAA championships and milestones for juniors and former collegians on the Pro Circuit.  The 19 players in the winner's circle last month, which is by no means everyone who excelled in May, can be found here.

Five of the May Aces are still alive in the Roland Garros Junior Championships, including Americans Max Exsted and Cooper Woestendick, and Kaylan Bigun, all three of whom are Milan J500 champions; No. 2 seed Joel Schwaerzler of Austria, who won the aforementioned Challenger and is in the quarterfinals of singles and doubles, the latter with Nicolai Budkov Kjaer of Norway, and No. 3 seed Laura Samson of the Czech Republic, who will play in the quarterfinals of both singles and doubles Thursday.

No. 5 seed Bigun continued his dominance on red clay, beating No. 12 seed Miguel Tobon of Colombia 6-4, 6-1. He will take on the last qualifier remaining in the boys draw, Henry Bernet of Switzerland. Bigun and Bernet are 1-1 in their two matches since last November, with Bernet taking a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 decision in the first round of the Eddie Herr J300 and Bigun earning a 6-4, 7-6(4) in the quarterfinals of Milan J500 two weeks ago.

The other boys quarterfinals, all first meetings on the ITF Junior Circuit:
Rei Sakamoto[1](JPN) v Lorenzo Carboni(ITA) 
Moise Kouame[WC](FRA) v Tomasz Berkieta(POL) 
Petr Brunclik[10](CZE) v Joel Schwaerzler[2](AUT)

Three of the four quarterfinals feature American girls, with No. 4 seed Tyra Grant beating qualifier Yufei Ren of China 6-3, 6-4 to set up a first meeting with Jeline Vandromme of Belgium, who won the J300 in Belgium last week, and is up to 19 in the current ITF junior rankings. 

Unseeded 14-year-old Kristina Penickova won her third consecutive match in straight sets, beating qualifier Mia Pohankova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-2. Ponhankova had taken out No. 5 seed Hannah Klugman of Great Britain in the second round. Penickova faces unseeded Rose Marie Nijkamp of the Netherlands, who beat No. 15 seed Katie Rolls 6-2, 6-2. With her limited experience at the top level of the ITF Junior Circuit, Penickova is playing most players for the first time, as she is with the 18-year-old Nijkamp. 

No. 10 seed Iva Jovic had the toughest battle of the three US girls, coming from a set down to defeat qualifier Eliska Tichackova of the Czech Republic 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. Jovic will play Samson, who also had to grind out a third round win, beating No. 14 seed Kaitlin Quevedo of Spain 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-2. Jovic and Samson played in the final of the ITF Junior Billie Jean King Cup last November in Spain, with Jovic's 6-1, 7-5 victory at No. 1 singles clinching the Cup for the United States.

The fourth quarterfinal features doubles partners Renata Jamrichova of Slovakia, the No. 1 seed, and Tereza Valentova of the Czech Republic. Valentova has cruised through her first three matches, while Australian Open girls champion Jamrichova had a second three-set match today, beating No. 16 seed Teodora Kostovic of Serbia 0-6, 6-3, 6-4. Jamrichova and Valentova were to meet in the final of the J300 in Roehampton last year, but Valentova withdrew; they did play in the semifinals of the US Open junior championships in September, with Valentova earning a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory.

Three all-US teams are through to the doubles quarterfinals, and at least one American will be in the doubles semifinals, with Alexander Razeghi and his German partner taking on Bigun and Jagger Leach.

Thursday's quarterfinal singles and doubles matches featuring Americans:

Iva Jovic[10] v Laura Samson[3](CZE)
Tyra Grant[4] v Jeline Vandromme(BEL)
Kristina Penickova v Rose Marie Nijkamp(NED)

Kaylan Bigun[5] v Henry Bernet[Q](SUI)

Maxwell Exsted and Cooper Woestendick[7] v Nicolai Budkov Kjaer(NOR) and Joel Schwaerzler(AUT)[1]
Kaylan Bigun and Jagger Leach[4] v Alexander Razeghi and Max Schoenhaus(GER)

Tyra Grant and Iva Jovic[4] v Noemi Basiletti(ITA) and Joy De Zeeuw(NED)

I heard last week that the boys Battle of the Sections, a pre-USTA Hard Court Nationals event for the 16s and 18s divisions, will be at Western Michigan University this year, July 27-30, after the first two editions of the event took place in Byron Center two years ago and Notre Dame last year. I still find the new format confusing and less compelling than the former tournament, which was more a college dual-match concept with all sections seeded and players order by ability.  The girls event will continue to be held, as it has been for many years, at the Claremont Club in Southern California. 

Registration for those events and for the USTA Nationals in August is open now. Links can be found at the National Junior Tournament Calendar.

The Midwest Closed is coming up later this month in Indianapolis, and the USTA Midwest section is hosting a College Showcase June 21st, a day prior to the start of play, at the North Central High School. For more information, and to register, click here

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Grant, Jovic, Rolls, Penickova and Bigun Advance to Third Round at Roland Garros Juniors; NCAA Champion Noel Receives Sumter W75 WC; ATP Challenger Underway in Tyler; Jackson Named Head Coach at Arizona State

The four Americans seeded at this year's Roland Garros Junior Championships have avoided the upset bug that has bitten 15 seeds from other countries in the first two rounds, and 14-year-old Kristina Penickova was responsible for one of those upsets today, beating No. 11 seed Iva Ivanova of Bulgaria 6-4, 6-3.
No. 10 seed Iva Jovic started the day with 6-1, 7-5 win over Yelyzaveta Kotliar of Ukraine, who was forced to qualify despite being 28 now in the ITF junior rankings. Kotliar won the J300 in Santa Croce and made the semifinals at the Milan 500 last month, but those results didn't help her avoid qualifying, as the cutoff was at the end of April. Jovic had beaten Kotliar 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the J300 in Traralgon prior to the Australian Open Junior Championships.

No. 4 seed Tyra Grant, after struggling with consistency at the start of her three-set first round win, looked more comfortable today in her 6-2, 6-2 win over Rositsa Dencheva of Bulgaria.

No. 15 seed Katie Rolls defeated Malak El Allami of Morocco, a rising freshman at Columbia 6-2, 4-6, 6-3; if she and Penickova win against their unseeded opponents Wednesday, they will play each other in the quarterfinals.

No. 5 seed Kaylan Bigun made quick work of French wild card Timeo Trufelli 6-1, 6-2, extending his ITF junior winning streak to eight matches after claiming the J500 title in Milan two weeks ago. Bigun is the featured player in today's ITF coverage of the Roland Garros Junior Championships, revealing the same method of relaxation as WTA No. 1 Iga Swiatek, and what the future UCLA Bruin talks about with former stars Mackenzie McDonald and Marcos Giron.

Tuesday's second round singles results of Americans:

Theo Papamalamis[16](FRA) d. Cooper Woestendick 7-6(7), 6-2
Kaylan Bigun[5] d. Timeo Trufelli[WC](FRA) 6-1, 6-2
Federico Cina[7](ITA) d. Maxwell Exsted 6-0, 6-2
Charlie Robertson[Q](GBR) d. Alexander Razeghi 6-2, 7-6(4)

Iva Jovic[10] d. Yelyzaveta Kotliar[Q](UKR) 6-1, 7-5
Kristina Penickova d. Iva Ivanova[11](BUL) 6-4, 6-3
Kaitlyn Rolls[15] d. Malak El Allami(MAR) 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
Tyra Grant[4] d. Rositsa Dencheva(BUL) 6-2, 6-2

The first round of doubles was completed today, with seven US boys advancing to tomorrow's second round: Exsted and Woestendick[7], Bigun and Jagger Leach[4], Jack Kennedy and Ian Mayew, and Razeghi, with German partner Max Schoenhaus.

Three US girls remain in doubles: No. 4 seeds Jovic and Grant, and Kate Fakih, who is playing with Emily Sartz-Lunde of Norway.

Wednesday's third round matches featuring Americans:
Tyra Grant[4] v Yufei Ren[Q](CHN) 
Kristina Penickova v Mia Pohankova[Q](SVK)
Kaitlyn Rolls[15] v Rose Marie Nijkamp(NED)
Iva Jovic[10] v Eliska Tichackova(CZE)

Kaylan Bigun[5] v Miguel Tobon[12](COL)

Emma Navarro(Virginia) and Diana Shnaider(NC State) of Russia are through to the quarterfinals of women's doubles, as is Coco Gauff, who is playing with Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, with Jessica Pegula out with an injury. Gauff will play Swiatek in the singles semifinals on Thursday.

The two big USTA Pro Circuit events this week are the ATP Challenger 75 in Tyler Texas and the W75 in Sumter South Carolina

Qualifying concluded in Tyler yesterday, with three Americans advancing to the main draw: Ethan Quinn(Georgia), Strong Kirchheimer(Northwestern) and Christian Langmo(Miami). Quinn was scheduled to face Bernard Tomic of Australia, the No. 5 seed, but Tomic tested positive for covid late last week in Little Rock, and Quinn instead played lucky loser Leo Borg of Sweden, the son of Bjorn Borg, who had lost to Kirchheimer. Quinn won their first round match today 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. 

Wild cards went to SMU rising sophomore Trevor Svajda, UCLA rising freshman Rudy Quan and Bruno Kuzuhara. Svajda lost to former Ohio State Buckeye standout James Trotter of Japan 6-4, 7-6(5) yesterday in the first round.

The top seed this week in Tyler is Alexis Galarneau(NC State) of Canada, who defeated Quan 6-2, 7-5 this evening, with matches still going due to rain early in the day.

2024 NCAA singles champion Alexa Noel had her week off in Miami and is back competing with a wild card into Sumter. She faces Usue Arconada, another wild card, in the first round Wednesday.  ITA Player of the Year Mary Stoiana of Texas A&M also received a wild card; she played teammate Carson Branstine of Canada in the first round today, with Branstine posting a 6-3, 6-1 victory. The fourth wild card went to Jaeda Daniel(Auburn, NC State), who lost to No. 4 seed Allie Kiick 6-1, 6-2 today. 

Americans who advanced to the main draw via qualifying: Savannah Broadus(Pepperdine), Charlotte Chavatipon(Texas), Lea Ma(Georgia), Ashton Bowers(Texas), Anna Rogers(NC State) and Ema Burgic(Baylor).

Maria Mateas(Duke) is the top seed in Sumter, Katarina Kozarov(Furman) of Serbia is the No. 2 seed. Seventeen-year-old Akasha Urhobo, who has taken the last two weeks off, is the No. 6 seed this week. 

The second week of the SoCal Pro Series is again at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego, with all qualifying and some first round matches completed today.

In the women's W15 tournament, all eight qualifiers were from the United States: Julieta Pareja, Isabella Chhiv(Princeton), Jessica Bernales(Michigan), Klara Kosan(Pacific), Katie Codd(Duke), Olivia Center(UCLA), Taylor Cataldi(Wisconsin) and
Tianmei Wang.

Wild cards were awarded to Emily Deming, Kayla Chung and Julia Ronney.

The top seed is Dasha Ivanova, with USC graduate Eryn Cayetano the No. 2 seed. Sixteen-year-old Anna Frey defeated No. 5 seed Basak Eraydin of Turkey 7-6(4), 6-3 in a first round match; Maya Iyengar, receiving entry via the Junior Reserved program, also won her first round match. Aspen Schuman, the other JR entry, plays her first round on Wednesday.

In the men's $15K tournament in San Diego, American qualifiers today were: Alexander Petrov(Illinois), Sebastian Gorzny(TCU, Texas), Ryan Dickerson(Duke, Baylor), Maxwell McKennon(Arizona State), Noah Zamora(UC-Irvine) and Bryce Nakashima(Ohio State).

Wild cards were given to Alexander Chang(Cal), Rohan Murali(Harvard), Zhengqing Ji(Yale) and William Kleege.

Last week's champion Learner Tien(USC) is the top seed, with Alafia Ayeni(Cornell, Kentucky) the No. 2 seed.

Jamea Jackson, a former Oklahoma State assistant, a former USTA National Coach and, most recently, the head coach for the women's program at Princeton, has been named head coach at Arizona State, succeeding Shelia McInerney, who led the program for 40 years. Although  McInerney's retirement announcement a few weeks ago was low-key, in keeping with her wishes, the search for a successor was obviously pursued with a sense of urgency. Jackson led Princeton to two Ivy League titles in her two seasons at the helm, but will have another learning curve in her second head coaching job, with Arizona State's transition to the Big-12, not to mention all the changes swirling around college tennis right now. 

Monday, June 3, 2024

Six More Americans Advance to Roland Garros Juniors Second Round, No. 2 Seed Jones Falls to Qualifier; Friedman Sweeps Titles at J100 in Canada; Texas Tops Recruiting Class Rankings; Indiana Names Moore to Lead Women's Program, Adamovic to Houston

Eight of the 14 Americans who played in the first round of the Roland Garros Junior Championships the past two days have reached Tuesday's second round, with six joining Iva Jovic and Alex Razeghi, who won their first round matches Sunday.

Two of the girls picked up their first junior slam victory: No. 15 seed Katie Rolls and unseeded Kristina Penickova. Rolls, making her junior slam main draw debut, needed 13 match points in two epic games when serving for the match at 5-1 in the second set against Germany's Sonja Zhenikhova; at 5-1 she had five match points in a seven-deuce game and at 2-5, Zhenikhova saved seven match points in an eight-deuce game. Through it all, Rolls kept plugging away; serving for the match at 5-3, she went up 40-0, ending the building suspense on the first match point of that game. 

The 14-year-old Penickova played the US Open juniors last year as a wild card, losing in the first round; in her Roland Garros debut, she defeated Michigan rising freshman Emily Sartz-Lunde of Norway 7-6(4), 6-4. 

No. 4 seed Tyra Grant rebounded after a hot start from her opponent Julia Stusek of Germany to claim a 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 win. The ITF junior website spoke with her after her victory, and the article says she is no longer training at the USTA campus in Orlando, but is now at an academy in the south of France. She is still being closely followed by the USTA however, with Kathy Rinaldi and Martin Blackman both in attendance at her match today.

Thea Frodin, the fourth US girls playing today, lost to No. 7 seed Mingge Xu of Great Britain 6-4, 6-4.

Jack Kennedy was making his junior slam debut and despite a bad draw, the 15-year-old New Yorker acquitted himself well, pushing No. 2 seed and ATP No. 387 Joel Schwaerzler of Austria in a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 loss. 

Cooper Woestendick got revenge in his first round match, beating Andreas Timini of Cyprus 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 after dropping a first round contest to Timini 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(7) at the ITF J500 in Milan two weeks ago. 

No. 5 seed Kayla Bigun continued his excellent form in his opening match today, with the Milan J500 champion cruising to a 6-1, 6-3 win over Viktor Frydrych of Great Britain.

Jagger Leach, the fifth US boys playing a first round match today, lost to qualifier Daniele Rapagnetta of Italy 7-6(5), 6-1.

Milan girls champion Emerson Jones of Australia was the biggest first round upset victim in either draw, with the No. 2 seed losing to Russian qualifier Daria Shadchneva, ranked No. 84, 7-6(3), 6-4.

All 32 second round singles matches are on Tuesday's schedule, as well as the 13 remaining first round doubles matches. All seeded doubles teams in action Monday advanced to the second round.

Tuesday's second round singles matches featuring Americans:
Cooper Woestendick v Theo Papamalamis[16](FRA)
Kaylan Bigun[5] v Timeo Trufelli[WC](FRA)
Maxwell Exsted v Federico Cina[7](ITA)
Alexander Razeghi v Charlie Robertson[Q](GBR)

Iva Jovic[10] v Yelyzaveta Kotliar[Q](UKR)
Kristina Penickova v Iva Ivanova[11](BUL)
Kaitlyn Rolls[15] v Malak El Allami(MAR)
Tyra Grant[4] v Rositsa Dencheva(BUL)

On the ITF Junior Circuit last week, three American girls claimined singles titles. Leena Friedman, the Orange Bowl 16s champion, swept the titles at the ITF J100 in Calgary Canada, the fourth singles title and fourth doubles title on the ITF Junior Circuit for the 17-year-old. 

Friedman, the top seed, defeated unseeded Andrea Cabio of Canada 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 in the singles final; partnering with Vessa Turley, who has now won four consecutive J100 doubles titles, the first three with Riley Crowder, the No. 2 seeds defeated unseeded Sydney Barnhart and Anita Tu 6-3, 6-0 in the final. 

Simon Caldwell, the No. 7 seed, made the boys singles final, falling to No. 8 seed Felix Roussel of Canada 7-5, 7-6(2); he and partner Zachary Cohen, seeded No. 1, took the doubles title, beating the No. 2 seeds from Canada Adam Faragcao and Miko Lapalme 6-2, 6-7(5), 10-4 in the final. 

Unseeded 15-year-old Isabelle DeLuccia won the J60 singles title in El Salvador without dropping a set, earning her first singles title on the ITF Junior Circuit. DeLuccia defeated top seed Nina Marcela Chavez Vicente of Guatemala 6-4, 6-1 in the final. 
Unseeded Sophia Budacsek and Alexandra Miroshnichenko won the doubles title, beating No. 2 seeds Maria Araoz-Gosn and Sophia Cedeno 6-3, 6-2 in the all-USA final.

At the J60 in Japan, 17-year-old Amina Salibayeva won the second ITF Junior Circuit singles title of her career, with the No. 4 seed defeating unseeded 14-year-old Yui Komada 6-4, 7-5 in the final. Salibayeva then lost in the doubles final to Komada and her partner Ran Wakana, with the Japanese pair beating top seeds Salibayeva and Jinshu Xia of China 6-7(5), 6-3, 17-15.

At the J100 in Sweden, Keaton Hance and Jacob Olar won the doubles title, with the unseeded pair beating the No. 4 and No. 1 seeds en route to the final, where they defeated unseeded Tim Malmqvist and Filip Soderqvist of Sweden 2-6, 6-4, 10-6. 

The Division I women's spring recruiting class rankings were released today at the Tennis Recruiting Network, with the University of Texas No. 1, just as they were in February. With the addition of Ashton Bowers and Carmen Andreea Herea, the Longhorns now have four recruits with a UTR of 10.50 or higher; there is no argument that they have the top recruiting class and that was unanimous among the 13 voters (of which I am one). After Texas, the top 10 are Central Florida, Oklahoma, Southern Cal, Pepperdine, Columbia, Clemson, NC State, Michigan and South Carolina. The complete list and comments, including the six programs who were not in February's Top 25.

In other college news, the women's head coaching position at Indiana was filled today, with Gabby Moore named to replace Ramiro Azcui, who was let go last month. Moore comes to Indiana after two years at McNeese State, where she posted a 35-10 record. Prior to that she coached at Jackson State, where she led both the men's and women's programs.

The University of Houston announced the hiring of former Oklahoma State All-American Katarina Adamovic, who in her two years leading the Grand Canyon program, took them to the NCAA championships for the first time last year and again this season. Adamovic, who joined Alex Gruskin on the Cracked Racquets NCAA Team Championships coverage for the semifinals and finals, was the Most Outstanding player of the NCAA team championships in 2016, when the Cowgirls reached the final, falling to Stanford. 

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Razeghi and Jovic Advance on First Day of Roland Garros Juniors Championships, No. 3 Seed Budov Kjaer Ousted; Tien and Broadfoot Claim $15K Titles in San Diego; Krueger Wins Little Rock Challenger; Miami Fills Men's Head Coaching Position, Yaroshuk-Tews Promoted

The first day of the Roland Garros Junior Championships wasn't good to the boys seeds, with four of the seven in action Sunday failing to advance, including No. 3 seed Nicolia Budkov Kjaer of Norway.

Budkov Kjaer, who reached the semifinals at the ITF J500 in Milan two weeks ago and won his second ITF $15K last month in Turkey, was beaten by qualifier Henry Bernet of Switzerland, with the 6-3, 6-1 score nearly as surprising as the result. It is not an unimaginable upset however, with the two having met in the ITF J300 final in France in April, and Budkov Kaher surviving that encounter 6-4, 5-7, 6-3. The ITF Junior Circuit's reporter on the scene, Courtney Walsh, spoke with the 17-year-old Bernet about his one-handed backhand and the obvious comparisons with Roger Federer that it generates.

The other boys seeds who lost Sunday are No. 11 seed Mees Rottgering of the Netherlands, No. 9 seed Jangjun Kim of Korea and No. 15 seed Thomas Faurel of France. The only girls seed, of the eight in action, to lose was No. 8 Ena Koike of Japan, who was beaten by Gloria Nahum of Benin 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

The results of the five American in action today are below, with No. 10 seed Iva Jovic and unseeded Alexander Razeghi earning victories. Jovic had relatively little difficulty with ITF No. 36 Gaeul Jang of Korea, posting a 6-2, 6-2 win; Razeghi trailed 5-2 in the second set tiebreaker in his match with French wild card Lucas Marionneau, but won the last five points of the match for a 6-3, 7-6(5) victory.

Sunday's results in matches featuring American juniors:
Alexander Razeghi d. Lucas Marionneau[WC](FRA) 6-3, 7-6(5)
Andres Santamarta Roig[SE](ESP) d. Ian Mayew 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
Daniil Sarksian(RUS) d. Matthew Forbes 6-2, 6-1

Laima Vladson(LTU) d. Monika Ekstrand[Q] 6-2. 2-6, 6-1
Iva Jovic[10] d. Gaeul Jang(KOR) 6-2, 6-2

The nine other Americans in the draw play their first round singles matches on Monday. Doubles first round play begins Monday, with 10 boys first round matches and 9 girls first round matches. Tyra Grant and Iva Jovic are the No. 4 seeds; Kate Fakih, who lost in the final round of singles qualifying, will be playing doubles with Emily Sartz-Lunde of Norway. Two American boys teams are seeded, with Kaylan Bigun and Jagger Leach No. 4 and Australian Open and Milan J500 champions Maxwell Exsted and Cooper Woestendick the No. 7 seeds. As a reminder, the ITF junior doubles seedings have nothing to do with the results of a team or the likelihood of their advancing; rather the combined rankings of the two players entered are divided by two and the lower that number, the higher the seed.

Monday's Roland Garros first round junior matches featuring Americans:
Cooper Woestendick v Andreas Timini(CYP)
Jagger Leach v Daniele Rapagnetta[Q](ITA)
Kaylan Bigun[5] v Viktor Frydrych(GBR)
Maxwell Exsted v Nathan Trouve(FRA)
Jack Kennedy v Joel Schwaerzler[2](AUT)

Tyra Grant[4] v Julia Stusek(GER)
Thea Frodin v Mingge Xu[7](GBR)
Kristina Penickova v Emily Sartz-Lunde(NOR)
Kaitlyn Rolls[15] v Sonja Zehnikhova(GER)

Two-time defending Kalamazoo 18s champion Learner Tien(USC), returning to competition after a three-month injury absence, added a singles title to the doubles title he won yesterday at the SoCal Pro Series $15,000 tournament in San Diego. The top-seeded 18-year-old from Irvine California defeated No. 2 seed Karue Sell(UCLA) of Brazil 6-7(6), 6-2, 6-2 for his fourth career Pro Circuit singles title. Tien, who needs matches after not playing since February, is entered in next week's $15K in San Diego, which begins with qualifying on Monday. He will break into the ATP Top 400 for the first time when the points from this week's title are added.

NC State rising sophomore Gabriella Broadfoot won her first ITF women's World Tennis Tour singles title today in San Diego, with the 19-year-old qualifier from South Africa defeating No. 4 seed Lisa Zaar of Sweden 6-2, 7-6(2) in the final. Broadfoot, who couldn't crack the Wolfpack's starting lineup with any regularity, playing just eight matches at lines 5 and 6, was making her USTA Pro Circuit debut this year, after going 0-2 in USTA Pro Circuit main draw matches last year.

No. 6 seed Mitchell Krueger won his fifth ATP Challenger title and his second of the year at the 75 in Little Rock Arkansas today beating unseeded Yuta Shimuzu of Japan 6-3, 6-4. The 30-year-old from Texas, who won the Indian Wells Challenger I 50 in January, is now back into the ATP Top 200 after ending last year at 283 and not making the qualifying at the Australian Open or Roland Garros this year.

The University of Miami announced two personnel changes to its tennis program two days ago, with long-time women's coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews named the Director of Men's and Women's Tennis at Miami, a new position, while retaining her position as women's head coach. Yaroshuk-Tews's associate head coach Alex Santos, who has been an associate women's head coach in Coral Gables on two occasions, most recently in the past four years, will take over the open position as men's head tennis coach. 

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Roland Garros Junior Championships Begin with 14 Americans in Contention; Navarro Advances to Second Week of Major for First Time; Tien Claims Doubles Title, Reaches Singles Final at $15K in San Diego

The Roland Garros Junior Championships begin Sunday in Paris, with 14 boys and 16 girls first round singles matches. Five of the 14 Americans in the draw are on Sunday's schedule; below are the seeds and the first round matches featuring Americans. Top seeds and Australian Open junior champions Rei Sakamoto of Japan and Renata Jamrichova of Slovakia are the only two players still in contention for the junior grand slam; no boy has won the first two in a calendar year since Gael Monfils in 2004, according to the much appreciated pre-tournament notes provided by the ITF. Live scoring is available at the Roland Garros website.

Roland Garros seeds:
1. Renata Jamrichova(SVK)
2. Emerson Jones(AUS)
3. Laura Samson(CZE)
4. Tyra Grant(USA)
5. Hannah Klugman(GBR)
6. Wakana Sonobe(JPN)
7. Mingge Xu(GBR)
8. Ena Koike(JPN)
9. Alena Kovackova(CZE)
10. Iva Jovic(USA)
11. Iva Ivanova(BUL)
12. Tereza Valentova(CZE)
13. Antonia Vergara Rivera(CHI)
14. Kaitlin Quevedo(ESP)
15. Kaitlyn Rolls(USA)
16. Teodora Kostovic(SRB)

1. Rei Sakamoto(JPN)
2. Joel Schwaerzler(AUT)
3 Nicolai Budkov Kjaer(NOR)
4. Luca Preda(ROU)
5. Kaylan Bigun(USA)
6. Hayden Jones(AUS)
7. Federico Cina(ITA)
8. Maxim Mrva(CZE)
9. Jangjun Kim(KOR)
10. Petr Brunclik(CZE)
11. Mees Rottgering(NED)
12. Miguel Tobon(COL)
13. Amir Omarkhanov(CKAZ)
14. Reda Bennani(MAR)
15. Thomas Faurel(FRA)
16. Theo Papamalamis(FRA)

First round matches featuring Americans:
*Alexander Razeghi v Lucas Marionneau[WC](FRA)
*Ian Mayew v Andres Santamarta Roig[SE](ESP)
*Matthew Forbes v Daniil Sarksian(RUS)
Cooper Woestendick v Andreas Timini(CYP)
Jagger Leach v Daniele Rapagnetta[Q](ITA)
Kaylan Bigun[5] v Viktor Frydrych(GBR)
Maxwell Exsted v Nathan Trouve(FRA)
Jack Kennedy v Joel Schwaerzler[2](AUT)

*Monika Ekstrand[Q] v Laima Vladson(LTU)
*Iva Jovic[10] v Gaeul Jang(KOR)
Tyra Grant[4] v Julia Stusek(GER)
Thea Frodin v Mingge Xu[7](GBR)
Kristina Penickova v Emily Sartz-Lunde(NOR)
Kaitlyn Rolls[15] v Sonja Zehnikhova(GER)

2021 NCAA champion Emma Navarro is through to the fourth round of a major for the first time at Roland Garros, after the 23-year-old former Virginia Cavalier, seeded No. 22, defeated No. 14 seed Madison Keys 7-6(5), 7-6(3) in the third round today. The miserable weather continued in Paris, but Navarro and Keys played in Suzanne Lenglen, so they were at least out of the rain. Navarro next faces No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, whom she defeated in the third round this year at Indian Wells. She is one of two American women remaining in singles, with No. 3 seed Coco Gauff also through to the round of 16. The 2022 NCAA singles champion, Peyton Stearns(Texas), lost to 17-year-old Mirra Andreeva of Russia 6-2, 6-1.

No. 12 seed Taylor Fritz is the only American man still in contention, after he made the fourth round of Roland Garros for the first time with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(4), 5-7, 6-3 win over Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia. Tommy Paul[14] and Ben Shelton[15] lost their third round matches today.

Eighteen-year-old Learner Tien, who has played very little this year due to injury, has returned after three months out to claim the doubles title at this week's $15,000 SoCal Pro Series is San Diego. Partnering with Sebastian Gorzny, who, like Tien, has won a junior slam in doubles, the unseeded pair defeated NC State's Robin Catry of France and Braden Shick 1-6, 6-3, 10-1. The first set in the final was the only set they lost this week. It's new Texas transfer Gorzny's first pro title; Tien now has four doubles titles, all with different partners, and he will go for his fourth singles title tomorrow, after the top seed defeated No. 4 seed Alex Knaff(Florida State) of Luxembourg 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-1. Tien will face No. 2 seed Karue Sell(UCLA) of Brazil, who defeated No. 8 seed Alan Rubio Fierros(UCF) of Mexico 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. 

Pepperdine graduate Lisa Zaar of Sweden and NC State's rising sophomore Gabriella Broadfoot of South Africa will play for the women's title at the San Diego W15. Zaar, the No. 4 seed, beat Oklahoma rising sophomore Chloe Noel of France, a qualifier, 6-7(5), 7-6(3), 6-4 in three hours and 33 minutes, while Broadfoot, another qualifier, who played just eight dual matches at 5 and 6 for the Wolfpack, defeated top seed Haley Giavara(Cal) 6-3, 6-3. 

Giavara and Kelly Keller(Arkansas) won the doubles title, with the No. 3 seeds beating top seeds Zaar and Dasha Ivanova 2-6, 6-2, 10-5.

At the ATP Challenger 75 in Little Rock, Mitchell Krueger will play in his eighth Challenger final seeking his third Challenger title of the year. The No. 6 seed defeated No. 8 seed Abdullah Shelbayh(Florida) of Jordan 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 and will face unseeded Yuta Shimuzu of Japan, who beat Nishesh Basavareddy(Stanford) 7-6(3), 6-0 in the other semifinal. Shelbayh played four sets of singles today, winning his quarterfinal match with Brandon Holt(USC), which resumed at 1-1 in the third set, 7-6(4), 2-6, 7-5. 

The doubles title went to the unseeded Canadian pair of former collegians Liam Draxl(Kentucky) and Benjamin Sigouin(UNC), who beat No. 2 seeds Rithvik Choudary Bollipalli of India and Hans Hach Verdugo(Abilene Christian) of Mexico 6-4, 3-6, 10-7. It's the sixth pro doubles titles for Draxl and the seventh for Sigouin, but their first together.