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Monday, April 23, 2018

Easter Bowl ITF and 16s Divisions Photos and Videos

Below are photos of the singles semifinalists and doubles finalists at the USTA Easter Bowl 16s and the ITF Easter Bowl in Indian Wells.  My Tennis Recruiting Network recap of the 16s tournament is here; my recap of the ITF tournament is here.

Indian Wells Tennis Garden, main site of USTA 16 and ITF Easter Bowl
Chidimma Okpara, 16s semifinalist
Hibah Shaikh, 16s third place
India Houghton, 16s finalist
Anessa Lee, 16s champion
Chidimma Okpara and Amanda Chan, 16s doubles finalists
Allura and Maribella Zamarripa, 16s doubles champions
Logan Zapp, 16s semifinalist
Harsh Parikh, 16s third place
Max McKennon, 16s finalist
Keshav Chopra, 16s champion
Keshav Chopra and Coy Simon, 16s doubles finalists
Benjamin Koch and Welsh Hotard, 16s doubles champions
Emma Navarro, ITF semifinalist
Gabby Price, ITF semifinalist
Alexa Noel, ITF finalist
Katie Volynets, ITF champion
Kylie Collins and Savannah Broadus ITF doubles finalists
Caty McNally and Hailey Baptiste, ITF doubles champions
Cannon Kingsley, ITF semifinalist
Siem Woldeab, ITF semifinalist
Tristan Boyer, ITF finalist
Jenson Brooksby, ITF champion
Christian Alshon and Tyler Zink, ITF doubles finalists
Govind Nanda and Trey Hilderbrand, ITF doubles champions

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Townsend Claims $80K Title in Dothan; Bryde Qualifies at Tallahassee Challenger; US Women Reach Fed Cup Final; Vanderbilt Women Beat Florida to Win SEC Tournament

2012 ITF World Junior champion Taylor Townsend won the $80,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Dothan Alabama this morning, moving her into the WTA Top 100 and giving her a comfortable lead in the USTA's Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge.  The fourth-seeded Townsend, who turned 22 last week, defeated No. 5 seed Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 in the final, and with the 115 points she earned today, along with the 29 she received last week as a semifinalist in Indian Harbour Beach, she now leads IHB champion Caroline Dolehide 144 to 80 in the wild card race. She'll move to 91 in the WTA rankings, just 2 places off her career high.  Townsend is entered in next week's $80,000 event in Charlottesville, with qualifying underway there in the third of four tournaments that make up the Wild Card Challenge.

At the $100,000 ATP Challenger in Sarasota, Hugo Dellien of Bolivia took the title, beating Facundo Bagnis of Argentina 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.  Hunter Reese and Evan King won the doubles title, defeating Christian Harrison and Canadian Peter Polansky 6-1, 6-2 in the final. It's their third title as a team, with the other two coming last year in Futures tournaments. 

Chris Eubanks fell in the final of the $50,000+H Guadalajara Challenger, with No. 6 seed Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador beating the former Georgia Tech star 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(5). Former Tulsa standout Arevalo also won the doubles title, teaming with former Texas Longhorn Miguel Reyes-Varela of Mexico. The No. 1 seeds defeated Brydan Klein of Great Britain and Ruan Roelofse (Illinois) of South Africa 7-6(3), 7-5 in the final.

Top seed Noah Rubin lost in the final of the $15,000 Orange Park Florida Futures, with No. 2 seed Marcelo Barrios Vera of Chile prevailing 6-3, 6-4.  The doubles title went to Christopher Haworth(Oklahoma State) and Isaiah Strode, with the unseeded pair defeating No. 3 seeds Nick Chappell(TCU) and Raleigh Smith(Northwestern) 6-4, 1-6, 11-9 in the final.

Next week's Futures event on the USTA Pro Circuit is in Vero Beach Florida, with qualifying scheduled to finish on Monday for the $15,000 tournament.

The next US stop on the ATP Challenger circuit is Tallahassee, with qualifying completed today at the $75,000 tournament.  Eighteen-year-old Trent Bryde, who signed last week with the University of Georgia, has made it through qualifying, beating No. 3 seed Frank Dancevic of Canada 6-4, 6-2 in the final round today. Bryde will face fellow qualifier Federico Coria of Argentina in the first round tomorrow. Denis Kudla is the top seed, with DJ Thomas, JC Aragone, Jared Hiltzik and Florida State junior Aziz Dougaz of Tunisia receiving wild cards.

The US women will defend their Fed Cup title against the Czech Republic in November after defeating host France 3-2 in this weekend's semifinals.  Sloane Stephens defeated Kristina Mladenovic 6-2, 6-0 to give the US a 2-1 lead and Madison Keys beat Pauline Parmentier 7-6(4), 6-4 to clinch the tie for the Americans.  The Czech Republic defeated Germany 4-1 and will host the final.  Kathy Rinaldi is now 5-0 since taking over the Fed Cup captaincy from Mary Joe Fernandez.

The Bryan brothers won their second consecutive Masters title and their 38th overall this week in Monte Carlo, defeating Oliver Marach of Austria and Mate Pavic of Croatia 7-6(5), 6-3 in the final. The former Stanford stars turn 40 next Sunday.

Lots of action in college tennis today, with one Power 5 conference tournament now decided, the women's SEC.  Vanderbilt, the regular season champion, added the tournament title to their haul this year, beating Florida 4-0 in today's final.  Rhiannon Potkey has a detailed look at today's final at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

To keep tabs on all the conference tournaments and their implications for the NCAAs, see the Slam Tennis site, an offshoot of Tennis Recruiting Network, and College Tennis Today.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Eubanks Reaches First Challenger Final; Townsend Plays for Title at Dothan $80K; Andreach, Berdusco Win ITF Junior Titles in Caribbean; Duke Women Top No. 1 North Carolina

Christopher Eubanks, who turned pro last fall after his junior year at Georgia Tech, has reached his first Challenger final at the $50,000+H tournament in Guadalajara Mexico. Eubanks, unseeded and ranked 290, defeated unseeded Pedja Krstin of Serbia 6-2, 7-6(5) in this afternoon's semifinal, which had an odd ending. After Krstin double faulted at 5-all in the tiebreaker, Eubanks had a serve to win it. He hit a good first serve, but the racquet slipped completely out of his hand, leaving him unable to defend any subsequent shot. Fortunately for him Krstin barely got a racquet on it, so Eubanks earned the point and the match.  The 21-year-old from Atlanta will face No. 6 seed and former Tulsa star Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador, who advanced to the final when former UNC standout Brayden Schnur of Canada retired trailing 6-3, 2-0.  Arevalo won a Challenger earlier this month, also in Mexico.

Taylor Townsend, the No. 4 seed, has advanced to the final of the $80,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Dothan Alabama and with that result, has taken over the lead in the USTA's Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge. Townsend came back to defeat unseeded Sesil Karatantcheva of Bulgaria 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in today's semifinal and will face No. 5 seed Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia, who beat qualifier Francesca Di Lorenzo 6-2, 6-0.  Townsend, who reached the semifinals last week at Indian Harbour Beach, now has 99 points, with Caroline Dolehide, who is not playing this week, at 80 after winning the $60,000 event last week.

The doubles title went to Alexa Guarachi of Chile and Erin Routliffe of New Zealand, who defeated No. 4 seed Jamie Loeb(North Carolina) and Sonya Kenin 6-4, 2-6, 11-9. The former University of Alabama stars now have four pro titles together, three this year. This is the biggest, with the others at the $25,000 and $60,000 levels.

At the $100,000 Sarasota Challenger, Reilly Opelka retired trailing Facundo Bagnis of Argentina 5-2 in the first set to end American hopes for a title. Bagnis will face Hugo Dellien of Bolivia, who beat Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina 6-3, 6-3.  The doubles final will feature three Americans, with Evan King(Michigan) and Hunter Reese(Tennessee) facing off against Christian Harrison and Canadian Peter Polansky.  I believe Opelka has taken over the lead of the men's Roland Garros Challenge from Denis Kudla, but with so many tournaments a part of the men's race, it's difficult to keep track.

On the ITF junior circuit, 15-year-old Julia Andreach swept the titles at the Grade 4 in Barbados, with the No. 2 seed defeating No. 3 seed Sydney Clarke of the Bahamas 6-2, 6-0 in the final. It was the second Grade 4 singles title for Andreach, who did not drop a set all week. No. 2 seeds Andreach and Payton Saca won the doubles title via walkover from top seeds Nicole Kiefer and Canada's Maria Tanasescu.  Vikash Singh of India swept the boys titles, with the No. 2 seed taking out top seed William Woodall 6-2, 6-1 in the singles final and partnering with Canadian Cleeve Harper for the doubles title. The top seeds defeated Blu Baker of Great Britain and John Bernard, the No. 2 seeds, 6-3, 6-7(3), 10-3 in the final.

Seventeen-year-old Russell Berdusco won his first ITF Junior Circuit singles title at the Grade 5 in Guadeloupe. The No. 6 seed, who lost the first set he played in the tournament, but not another one, beat top seed Tom Leblanc Claverie of France 6-2, 6-2 in the final.

It's a busy week in college tennis, with most conferences wrapping up regular season play before next week's conference tournaments. In women's action, No. 4 Duke took out No. 1 North Carolina last night in Durham 5-2, with Hannah Zhao's 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Marika Akkerman at line 6 clinching the match for the Blue Devils. Sara Daavettila did not play for the Tar Heels. Duke can claim sole possession of the ACC regular season title with a win over Virginia Tech on Sunday.

The SEC women's conference tournament final is scheduled for Sunday, with a rematch of last week's regular season decider between Vanderbilt and Florida on tap.  Top SEC tournament seed Vanderbilt won last week's match in Gainesville 4-3, playing without senior Astra Sharma, who is now back in the lineup.  No. 2 seed Florida defeated surprise semifinalist Arkansas 4-2 today, while Vanderbilt took out No. 5 seed Ole Miss 4-1.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Di Lorenzo, Opelka, Eubanks, Rubin Advance to ATP and Pro Circuit Semifinals; Team Impact's Partnership with College Tennis; Danielle Collins Feature; US Meets France in Fed Cup Semifinals

Francesca Di Lorenzo, who is in her first full year on the WTA tour after two years at Ohio State, has reached her first semifinal above the $25,000 level at the $80,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Dothan Alabama. The 20-year-old from Ohio, who won three qualifying matches to reach the main draw, defeated Barbara Haas of Austria 6-4, 6-1 to advance to the final four. Di Lorenzo, who should move into the WTA Top 200 with her results this week, will face No. 5 seed Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia, who beat No. 2 seed Sonya Kenin 6-4, 6-1. Taylor Townsend, the No. 4 seed, is playing Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Spain tonight to decide who will meet unseeded Sesil Karatancheva of Bulgaria in the other semifinal.

At the $100,000 ATP Challenger in Sarasota, Reilly Opelka advanced to the semifinals, beating Guilherme Clezar of Brazil 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.  Stefan Kozlov couldn't join him however, despite holding a match point in his 5-7, 6-1, 7-6(6) loss to Hugo Dellien of Bolivia. Opelka will play Facundo Bagnis of Argentina next, with Dellien taking on Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina in the other semifinal.  All the semifinalists are unseeded.

At the $50,000+H ATP Challenger in Guadalajara Mexico, former Georgia Tech star Chris Eubanks has advanced to the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Danilo Petrovic of Serbia.  Eubanks, who defeated No. 7 seed Victor Estella Burgos of the Dominican Republic 7-6(5), 7-6(6) in the second round, will face another Serbian, Pedja Krstin in Saturday's semifinal.

The rarity of the top four seeds advancing to the semifinals has happened at the $15,000 Futures in Orange Park Florida, with former Wake Forest star Noah Rubin continuing to cruise through the draw.  The top-seeded Rubin, who took a wild card into the event, defeated No. 5 seed Santiago Rodriguez Taverna of Argentina 6-1, 6-3 in today's quarterfinal and will face No. 4 seed Jose Pereira of Brazil Saturday.  No. 2 seed Marcelo Barrios Vera of Chile will play No. 3 seed Samuel Bensoussen of France in the other semifinal.

Two-time NCAA champion Danielle Collins has been the subject of several features since her results in March vaulted her to the WTA Top 50.  This article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch features quotes not just from Collins, but also from her father and former Virginia head coach Mark Guilbeau, who continues to be involved in Collins' coaching.

The Tennis Recruiting Network has posted an article about the college teams who have partnered with sick and disabled children through the non-profit Team IMPACT.  It's an inspiring article on what several collegiate programs have done to reach out to young people in their communities who often don't have teams of their own.

The US women's Fed Cup team is in France this weekend for the semifinals, with the Americans favored, even on red clay, to advance to the final for the second consecutive year. The 2017 champions will send out Sloane Stephens in the first singles match, against France's Pauline Parmentier, while CoCo Vandeweghe will play Kristina Mladenovic in the second singles match.  Also on the team are Madison Keys and Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Kathy Rinaldi, who took over as captain last year, has yet to lose a Fed Cup match. The winner of the tie will face the winner of the semifinal between Germany and the Czech Republic. For more on the US-France semifinal, see the Fed Cup website.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Pro Circuit Update; Nine US Men, 17 US Women Accepted into French Open Main Draw; UCLA Women Beat Pepperdine

Three professional events are taking place this week in the US: a $15,000 Men's Futures in Orange Park Florida, an $80,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Dothan Alabama and a $100,000 Men's ATP Challenger in Sarasota Florida.

Only one American remains after two rounds in Orange Park: Noah Rubin, who took a wild card into the event and is the No. 1 seed. Rubin, the former Wake Forest star, hasn't had a great deal of success this year in the ATP qualifying and at the Challenger level, so he decided to get some matches on the Florida Har-Tru.  Rubin defeated former Pepperdine Wave Mousheg Hovhannisyan 6-1, 6-3 in today's second round to reach the quarterfinals.

In Dothan, the second of four events in the USTA Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge, three Americans have advanced to the quarterfinals: No. 2 seed Sonya Kenin, No. 4 seed Taylor Townsend and qualifier Francesca Di Lorenzo. Louisa Chirico is playing No. 5 seed Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia tonight with a chance to join them.  Kenin advanced when Julia Grabher of Austria retired trailing 6-1, 4-6, 2-0; Townsend defeated USTA girls 18s champion Ashley Kratzer, a wild card, 6-4, 7-6(0) and Di Lorenzo downed No. 7 seed Jamie Loeb 7-6(6), 6-4.  Top seed Jennifer Brady(UCLA) lost to Sesil Karatantcheva of Bulgaria 7-5, 6-0 in first round action last night.

At the Sarasota Challenger, two Americans have advanced to the quarterfinals: Stefan Kozlov and Reilly Opelka.  Kozlov defeated No. 3 seed Donald Young yesterday 6-4, 6-4 and Opelka beat 2013 NCAA champion and No. 8 seed Blaz Rola of Slovenia 7-6(6), 6-3 today.  The only seeded player remaining in Sarasota is No. 5 seed Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland.

The entries for the French Open were posted on Wednesday, with nine US men and 17 US women receiving entry.

The US men:
John Isner
Sam Querrey
Jack Sock
Tennys Sandgren
Steve Johnson
Jared Donaldson
Ryan Harrison
Frances Tiafoe
Taylor Fritz

The US women:
Serena Williams*
Venus Williams
Sloane Stephens
Madison Keys
CoCo Vandeweghe
Cici Bellis
Danielle Collins
Varvara Lepchenko
Sachia Vickery
Madison Brengle
Jennifer Brady
Sonya Kenin
Christina McHale
Bethanie Mattek-Sands
Bernarda Pera
Alison Riske
Vania King*

*used protected ranking for entry

The complete men's list is here.  The complete women's list is here.

In college tennis action last night, the UCLA women got a big win, coming from 3-1 down to take out Pepperdine 4-3 in Malibu.  The Bruins won the doubles point, but lost in straight sets at lines 3, 4 and 5 to go down 3-1.  But they got three-set wins from Alaina Miller at line 6 and Jada Hart at line 2 to tie it, with Ena Shibahara clinching for UCLA with a 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-3 win over Luisa Stefani at line 1.  It's just the second loss of the year for the Waves, who lost to North Carolina in the National Team Indoor final back in February.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Boys Team USA Set; Carle Heads Spring Signing Announcements; UCLA Men, Pepperdine Women Continue as No. 1 in USTA Division I Poll

The USTA's playoffs to decide the members of this summer's Team USA was completed today in Lake Nona, with the following boys earning spots on the team:

Jack Anthrop (14, Orlando, Fla.; Coach: John Roddick)

Alexander Bernard (14, Bonita Springs, Fla.; Coach: Rene Gomez)

Hunter Heck (15, New Brighton, Minn.; Coach: Viet Pham)

Toby Kodat (15, Bradenton, Fla.; Coach: Ales Kodat)

Alex Lee (16, Oak Brook, Ill.; Coach: Tom Lockhart)

Marcus McDaniel (15, Vacaville, Calif.; Coach: Phil Cello)

J.C. Roddick (15, Helotes, Texas; Coach: Mark Hilderbrand)

Niroop Vallabhaneni (15, Paradise Valley, Ariz.; Coach: Jeremy Coll)
USTA Player Development provides those on the team with training opportunities, coaching and travel assistance to select USTA National and ITF junior tournaments throughout the summer.

Complete round robin results can be found here.  Those who finished in the top two in their group then played a tournament, with those results here.

More Division I spring signing announcements have been posted in the past week, with a big one today from Georgia, who has signed former ITF Top 10 junior Maria Carle of Argentina.  Carle, currently ranked No. 14, reached the semifinals of the US Open Junior championships last year and was the Eddie Herr champion in 2016.

Other women's signings:

Florida State has signed Emmanuelle Salas of France. 

Men's signings:
Arizona has signed Conner Olsen.

Louisville has signed Fabien Salle of Switzerland

Florida has signed Grey and Harry Cacciatore.

The USTA Division I weekly poll continues to have the UCLA men and Pepperdine women at No. 1.  Pepperdine is way down at No. 10 in the ITA rankings, which are done by computer, and their relatively weak conference costs them in that algorithm. Stanford is also ranked much higher by the humans, coming in at No. 7 this week, with their ITA ranking at 20. The complete Top 25 poll is available at usta.com.

USTA Poll Division I Top 10, April 18, 2019 (previous April 11 rankings in parentheses):

1. UCLA (1)
2. Wake Forest (2)
3. Ohio State (3)
4. Stanford (4)
5. Texas A&M (5)
6. North Carolina (6)
7. TCU (7)
8. USC (9)
9. Illinois (8)
10. Florida State (11)

1. Pepperdine (1)
2. North Carolina (2)
3. Vanderbilt (3)
4. Duke (4)
5. Texas (5)
6. Georgia Tech (6)
7. Stanford (10)
8. Georgia (11)
9. South Carolina (7)
10. Florida (T8)