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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Seven Former Collegians Make US Olympic Team; Fakih Beats Stoiana at Wichita W35; Pareja Advances to Rancho Santa Fe W15 Quarterfinals; $25K Tulsa Rematch for Spizzirri and Braswell

The USTA announced the players who will represent the United States at next month's Olympics in Paris, with seven of the 11 former NCAA Division I collegiate stars.  The Olympic tennis event will run from July 27 through August 4 at Roland Garros.

In singles, the criteria for nominations limits any country to its four players with the highest rankings, as long as they were in the WTA or ATP Top 56 on the acceptance date, which was June 10. 

The team includes Coco Gauff, Jessica Pegula, Danielle Collins(Virginia) and Emma Navarro(Virginia) for women's singles, and Taylor Fritz, Tommy Paul, Chris Eubanks(Georgia Tech) and Marcos Giron(UCLA) for men's singles. Rajeev Ram(Illinois) and Austin Krajicek(Texas A&M) are nominated for doubles, with Fritz and Paul also accepted as a doubles team. Desirae Krawczyk(Arizona State) will play with Collins in doubles, with Gauff and Pegula also accepted as a doubles team. The US mixed doubles team will be announced at a later date.

USTA head of women's tennis Kathy Rinaldi is the women's coach, with US Davis Cup captain Bob Bryan serving as the men's coach.

US players who would have been eligible by ranking, but opted not to participate are Ben Shelton(Florida), Sebastian Korda and Francis Tiafoe on the men's side, and Madison Keys on the women's side. 

For more on the 2024 tennis Olympians, including results in previous Olympics and at Roland Garros, can be found here.

Last night at the W35 women's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Wichita, ITA Player of the Year Mary Stoiana of Texas A&M defeated No. 2 seed Akasha Urhobo 6-3, 6-7(9), 6-0; in today's second round, UCLA rising freshman Kate Fakih took out the nation's top-ranked collegian 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 in just over three hours. Fakih, a 17-year-old from Pasadena California, reached the semifinals of a 2023 SoCal Pro Series tournament last summer, but this is her first quarterfinal above the W15 level. She will face No. 8 seed Cadence Brace of Canada next.

UCF rising sophomore Olivia Lincer of Poland kept her winning streak alive, with last week's W15 champion in the Dominican Republic, who received a special exemption into the main draw this week, beating 16-year-old qualifier Rachael Smith 7-6(1), 6-1 in today's second round. Fakih, Jessica Failla(USC, Pepperdine) and the winner of tonight's match between top seed Victoria Hu(Princeton) and Amelia Honer(UC-Santa Barbara) are the only Americans remaining.

Fifteen-year-old Julieta Pareja of Carlsbad California received a wild card into the SoCal Pro Series W15 this week in Rancho Santa Fe and she has made the most of it, advancing to the quarterfinals with a 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-2 win over No. 6 seed Jessica Alsola(Cal) of Canada. Pareja, who also reached the quarterfinals at the W15 in San Diego two weeks ago, will finally earn a WTA ranking, after she has now earned points in three tournaments. She will play No. 2 seed Sara Daavettila(North Carolina).

UCLA rising junior Anne Lutkemeyer, who beat top seed Amy Zhu(Michigan) in the first round, reached the quarterfinals for the second week in a row, with the 20-year-old qualifier defeating Carolyn Campana(Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Pepperdine) 7-6(4), 6-1. She plays the younger Campana sister, Anna,(Wake Forest, Pepperdine) next.

At the men's $15,000 tournament in Rancho Santa Fe, just three seeds have advanced to the quarterfinals, all in the top half. No. 1 seed Learner Tien(USC) beat San Diego All-American Oliver Tarvet of Great Britain 6-1, 6-4 to run his winning streak to 12 in the SoCal Pro Series; the 18-year-old will face No. 8 seed Jacob Brumm(Cal, Baylor) in the quarterfinals. No. 6 seed Trevor Svajda, who Tien beat in the 2023 Kalamazoo 18s final, reached the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Ohio State All-American Jack Anthrop. 

In the bottom half, No. 2 seed Strong Kirchheimer was beaten today by qualifier Aadarth Tripathi, a rising junior at UCLA, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3, while No. 3 seed Alex Knaff(Florida State) of Luxembourg lost to Matthew Summers of Great Britain 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.

After meeting in the final of last week's men's $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Wichita, Texas teammates Eliot Spizzirri and Micah Braswell will play again this week at the $25,000 tournament in Tulsa, this time in the quarterfinals. 

Wichita champion Braswell, who beat No. 4 seed Cannon Kingsley(Ohio State) in two tiebreakers in the first round, defeated qualifier Luis Carlos Alvarez Valdes of Mexico 6-4, 6-4, while Spizzirri defeated Elio Jose Ribeiro Lago of Italy 6-2, 6-1.

Top seed Mitchell Krueger has advanced to the quarterfinals, as have both Kotzen brothers of Columbia. Qualifier Nick beat No. 6 seed Filip Peliwo of Poland 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 and Alex, who will be playing at Tennessee this fall as a graduate transfer, defeated qualifier Oliver Okonkwo(Illinois) of Great Britain 6-1, 6-2.