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Sunday, March 31, 2024

Kennedy Leads ITF Junior Circuit in Wins with Seven Other Americans Also Featured in ITF's Review of Top 2024 Performances; Two Top 10 Upsets Sunday as UCLA Women Beat Stanford, Auburn Women Top Georgia

After back-to-back-to-back weeks at major junior tournaments, I'll be slowing down considerably in the next couple of days, and it may take me longer than that to get through the news I missed during this three-week stretch in Southern California.

But I did run across this article from the ITF last week, which highlights the top performances of the first three months of 2024 on the ITF Junior Circuit, with a handful of Americans featured, all but one of whom competed in one or more of the Southern California tournaments just concluded. 

Jack Kennedy, the ITF J300 San Diego champion, leads the ITF Junior Circuit in wins in 2024, with 23, while Yannik Alvarez, who represents Puerto Rico, but lives and trains in Georgia, leads the Junior Circuit in titles this year, with six. Ryan Cozad, Alvarez's friend and doubles partner, also rates a mention. Cozad, the 2023 Easter Bowl 14s finalist, will unfortunately be out with an elbow injury for the next four to six weeks; he slipped and fell in his second round match against Liam Alvarez(no relation to Yannik), leading to his retirement in both singles and doubles, where he and Yannick Alvarez were the top seeds and favorites. He had his arm in a sling at the Indian Wells Tennis Center the following day, but is expected to be back for the USTA Level 1s this summer, if not sooner.

Ian Mayew, Shannon Lam and Thea Frodin, all of whom competed in the two ITF J300s are mentioned, as is Ava Rodriguez, who finished third in the Easter Bowl 16s yesterday. Kaitlyn Rolls, who won the Banana Bowl J500 in Brazil this month, did not compete in the Southern California tournaments.

I'm sure I've missed some important developments in college tennis too, but two results stood out to me today in women's Division I. No. 16 Auburn defeated No. 4 Georgia 4-3 on Senior Day with fifth-year Carolyn Ansari clinching for the Tigers at No. 1 with a  6-4, 5-7, 6-3 win over Dasha Vidmanova of Georgia. Georgia did not have Alexandra Vecic, who has been playing at the No. 2 position, in the lineup. Auburn dropped the doubles point, but got wins from DJ Bennett at No. 2, Ariana Arseneault at No. 3 and Angella Okutoyi at No. 4 to put Ansari in the position to clinch. The recap of Auburn's win can be found here, with the full box score included.

The Pac-12 has been extremely competitive this year, with Stanford, USC, Cal and UCLA all capable of beating each other and doing so in various configurations this weekend. No. 17 UCLA got the biggest win today, beating No. 5 Stanford 4-3 on the road, with Kimmi Hance winning a third set tiebreaker from Connie Ma at No. 2 singles to deliver the fourth point. UCLA had a 3-0 lead before Stanford tied it up.  For more on the match, see this article from the UCLA website.