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Friday, February 2, 2024

January Aces; Anderson Ousts Top Seed Carle at W75 in Rome; Quinn, Kypson Advance to Cleveland Challenger Semis; US Wins Davis Cup Qualifier; College Match Day Returns Saturday; Two of Top Three Men's D-I Teams Fall Friday Night

My monthly column for Tennis Recruiting Network, published today, features 18 performances(including three doubles teams) by juniors and former collegiate players who excelled in January. First titles, lengthy streaks, dramatic ranking improvements were just some of the accomplishments deserving of notice to start 2024.

The semifinals of the USTA Pro Circuit W75 in Rome Georgia will feature four Americans, after former UCLA All-American Robin Anderson took out top seed and last week's champion Maria Carle(Georgia) of Argentina 6-1, 7-6(3) and 2022 Wimbledon girls champion Liv Hovde defeated No. 8 seed Stacey Fung of Canada 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. Anderson, 30, has always been at her best indoors; Hovde, 18, has won her three Pro Circuit titles outdoors, but she played two events in Great Britain last month on indoor hard, making the quarterfinals in both. They will meet for the first time in Saturday's semifinals.

No. 5 seed McCartney Kessler(Florida) and No. 2 seed Hailey Baptiste will play in the other semifinal, with Kessler, who won the fall 2023 version of this event, beating No. 4 seed Robin Montgomery 7-6(1), 6-3 in today's quarterfinals to extend her winning streak in Rome to eight. Baptiste defeated Victoria Hu(Princeton) 6-3, 6-1 today giving herself the opportunity to avenge her 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 loss to Kessler last October in Templeton California. 

Denis Kudla, Ethan Quinn(Georgia) and Patrick Kypson(Texas A&M) have reached the semifinals of the ATP Challenger 75 in Cleveland, all with wins over other Americans. Kudla, the No. 4 seed, defeated No. 6 seed Tennys Sandgren(Tennessee) 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 to set up a semifinal against Quinn, who got past Thai Kwiatkowski(Virginia) in a quarterfinal between NCAA singles champions 7-6(7), 5-7, 6-4.  Kypson, the No. 5 seed, defeated No. 3 seed Emilio Nava 4-6, 7-6(1), 6-4 and will face top seed James Duckworth of Australia, who ended the run of Oregon senior Quinn Vandecasteele 6-3, 7-5.

The United States will be back in the Davis Cup World Finals, after their 4-0 victory over Ukraine concluded today in Lithuania. Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek clinched the match by winning the doubles match over Vitaliy Sachko and Illya Beloborodko 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Taylor Fritz, who was pulled from the lineup Thursday due to injury, returned for the dead rubber in singles today, beating Vladyslav Orlov, 6-3, 6-4 for the final point of the match.

Comments from Krajicek, Ram, captain Bob Bryan and Fritz can be viewed here.

College Match Day returns tomorrow at the USTA National Campus, with Florida facing Florida State in both a men's dual match and a women's dual match. Cracked Racquets will have coverage of the two matches on its YouTube channel, with Mark Bey, having just returned to from assisting at the Davis Cup, providing the commentary. For more on tomorrow's matches, and the other College Match Day later in the month, see this USTA.com article. 

It seems like we just wrapped up an important weekend of Division I college tennis, but there's another big one this weekend, and already two of the top three men's teams have suffered losses. No. 2 South Carolina was beaten at home by unranked North Carolina State 4-3, with the Gamecocks still playing without Connor Thomson and James Story in their singles lineup. 

No. 3 Virginia, who lost to South Carolina at home earlier in the season, was also shorthanded in Columbus, and No. 1 Ohio State rolled over the Cavaliers 7-0. Virginia was playing without No. 1 Chris Rodesch, who is competing in Davis Cup for Luxembourg this weekend, and No. 2 Inaki Montes, who played his first singles match of the year last week in the regional final, but was not in the lineup tonight.