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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Women's D-I Semifinals Set; D-III Team Championships Begins Monday; Georgia Gwinnett Sweeps NAIA Titles; 21 US Juniors in Milan Grade A; French Open Qualifying Features 11 US Men

Another day of disruptive rain at the NCAA Division I team championships in Athens Georgia, but the women's semifinalists have been determined, with two of the matches played indoors and the other two played outdoors.

At one time all four quarterfinals were in progress, with Stanford and North Carolina playing indoors at the four-court Dan Magill Tennis Complex, while Florida and Oklahoma State and Pepperdine and Vanderbilt competed on the outdoor courts.  Ohio State and Texas Tech were sent to Atlanta to play on the six indoor courts at Georgia Tech, and the No. 3 seeds were the first team to reach the semifinals, beating No. 6 seeds Texas Tech 4-0.

Ohio State, in the semifinals for the first time in program history, will face defending champion Stanford, who beat No. 2 seed North Carolina 4-2. Stanford cruised through the doubles point, but the singles matches were considerably closer, and in the four-court indoor facility, two matches had to finish before lines 5 and 6 could begin.  Emily Arbuthnott of Stanford won the battle of the freshmen at line 5, clinching the match for the Cardinal with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Makenna Jones.

Vanderbilt's Sydney Campbell clinches 4-2 win over Pepperdine
In the outdoor matches, top seed Florida won the doubles point from No. 9 seed Oklahoma State with little difficulty and didn't need a third set in singles to close out the 2016 finalists 4-1.  The Gators will play No. 4 seed Vanderbilt, who came back from dropping the doubles point to beat No. 12 seed Pepperdine 4-2.  Vanderbilt has beaten Florida twice in the past five weeks in Nashville, both by 4-3 scores, so the Gators will be happy to have a neutral setting this time.

The men's semifinal matches on Monday have been moved up to 10 am, with more rain in the forecast.  No. 9 seed North Carolina will face No. 13 seed Georgia and No. 3 seed Ohio State will take on No. 2 seed and defending champion Virginia.

The women's semifinals will follow at 2 pm.  Live streaming is available here.

#6 STANFORD (25-2) 4, #4 NORTH CAROLINA (33-3) 2

1. #39 Emily Arbuthnott/Taylor Davidson (STANFORD) def. #4 Jessie Aney/Hayley Carter (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-1
2. #46 Caroline Doyle/Melissa Lord (STANFORD) def. Cassandra Vazquez/Alexa Graham (NORTH CAROLIINA), 6-1
3. Sara Daavettila/Makenna Jones (NORTH CAROLINA) vs. Emma Higuchi/Caroline Lampl (STANFORD), 5-1, DNF

1. #2 Hayley Carter (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #38 Caroline Doyle (STANFORD), 6-1, 6-0
2. #28 Melissa Lord (STANFORD) def. #18 Sara Daavettila (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-4, 4-6, 6-1
3. #54 Taylor Davidson (STANFORD) def. #35 Jessie Aney (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-2, 7-5
4. #74 Alexa Graham (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #90 Caroline Lampl (STANFORD), 5-7, 6-2, 7-5
5. Emily Arbuthnott (STANFORD) def. #100 Makenna Jones (NORTH CAROLINA), 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
6. Chloe Ouellet-Pizer (NORTH CAROLINA) vs. #71 Emma Higuchi (STANFORD), 7-6(3), 2-6
Doubles (1,2) Singles (1,3,2,4,5)

#2 OHIO STATE (32-2) 4, #7 TEXAS TECH (27-4) 0

1. #18 Francesca Di Lorenzo/Miho Kowase (OHIO STATE) vs. #26 Sarah Dvorak/Sabrina Federici (TEXAS TECH), 4-4, DNF
2. Sandy Niehaus/Anna Sanford (OHIO STATE) def. #69 Felicity Maltby/Gabriela Talaba (TEXAS TECH), 6-4
3. Gabriella De Santis/Ferny Angeles Paz (OHIO STATE) def. Alex Valenstein/Alba Cortina-Pou (TEXAS TECH), 6-2

1. #1 Francesca Di Lorenzo (OHIO STATE) vs. #9 Gabriela Talaba (TEXAS TECH), 4-6, 4-2, DNF
2. #67 Anna Sanford (OHIO STATE) def. #58 Felicity Maltby (TEXAS TECH), 7-6(5), 6-4
3. #95 Gabriella De Santis (OHIO STATE) vs. Alex Valenstein (TEXAS TECH), 6-7(2), 2-0, DNF
4. #91 Miho Kowase (OHIO STATE) def. Sabrina Federici (TEXAS TECH), 6-4, 6-1
5. #112 Sandy Niehaus (OHIO STATE) vs. Sarah Dvorak (TEXAS TECH), 3-6, 5-5, DNF
6. Ferny Angeles Paz (OHIO STATE) def. Katelyn Jackson (TEXAS TECH), 6-2, 6-2
Doubles (2,3) Singles (6,4,2)

#1 FLORIDA (27-3) 4, #9 OKLAHOMA STATE (25-6) 1

1. #11 Anna Danilina/Ingrid Neel (FLORIDA) vs. #13 Vladica Babic/Carla Tur Mari (OKLAHOMA STATE), 5-6, DNF
2. #20 Brooke Austin/Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA) def. #48 Aliona Bolsova/Katie Stresnakova (OKLAHOMA STATE), 6-2
3. #45 Josie Kuhlman/Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) def. #70 Katarina Adamovic/Viktoriya Lushkova (OKLAHOMA STATE), 6-4

1. #6 Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) vs. #8 Viktoriya Lushkova (OKLAHOMA STATE), 2-6, 5-2, DNF
2. #23 Josie Kuhlman (FLORIDA) def. Katarina Adamovic (OKLAHOMA STATE), 6-1, 6-1
3. #73 Aliona Bolsova (OKLAHOMA STATE) def. #31 Ingrid Neel (FLORIDA), 7-5, 6-3
4. #44 Anna Danilina (FLORIDA) def. #63 Vladica Babic (OKLAHOMA STATE), 6-4, 6-4
5. Brooke Austin (FLORIDA) def. Katarina Stresnakova (OKLAHOMA STATE), 6-2, 6-3
6. #59 Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA) vs. Lena Ruppert (OKLAHOMA STATE), 6-2, 5-7, DNF
Doubles (2,3) Singles (5,2,3,4)

#3 VANDERBILT (24-5) 4, #12 PEPPERDINE (24-5) 2

1. #8 Christine Maddox/Mayar Sherif Ahmed (PEPPERDINE) def. #1 Astra Sharma/Emily Smith (VANDERBILT), 6-2
2. Sydney Campbell/Emma Kurtz (VANDERBILT) def. #53 Luisa Stefani/Jean Runglerdkriangkrai (PEPPERDINE), 6-2
3. Ashley Lahey/Dzina Milovanovic (PEPPERDINE) def. Christina Rosca/Fernanda Contreras (VANDERBILT), 6-3

1. #4 Astra Sharma (VANDERBILT) def. #14 Luisa Stefani (PEPPERDINE), 6-4, 6-4
2. #15 Sydney Campbell (VANDERBILT) def. #19 Ashley Lahey (PEPPERDINE), 4-6, 6-4, 6-0
3. #37 Mayar Sherif Ahmed (PEPPERDINE) def. #102 Christina Rosca (VANDERBILT), 6-2, 6-2
4. Emma Kurtz (VANDERBILT) vs. #97 Laura Gulbe (PEPPERDINE), 4-6, 5-6, DNF
5. Georgina Sellyn (VANDERBILT) def. Jean Runglerdkriangkrai (PEPPERDINE), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
6. Fernanda Contreras (VANDERBILT) def. Dzina Milovanovic (PEPPERDINE), 6-0, 6-2
Doubles (1,2,3) Singles (6,3,1,5,2)

The Division III team championships quarterfinals begin Monday in Chattanooga Tennessee.

The women's quarterfinal matchups:

8:30 am:
Chicago vs Williams 
Johns Hopkins vs Middlebury

11:30 am:
Emory vs Bowdoin
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps vs Washington-St. Louis

2:00 pm:
Emory vs Williams
Bowdoin vs Washington-St. Louis

4:30 pm:
Wesleyan vs Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Middlebury vs Gustavus Adolphus

The NAIA team finals were scheduled to be completed on Saturday, but only the men's final finished, pushing the women's final to today. Georgia Gwinnett took both championships, with the men defeating Xavier (Louisiana) 5-0 in the final for their fourth straight title and the women beating Lindsey Wilson 5-3 for their second straight title and third in the past four years.  Both teams finished the year undefeated, and the men have now won 55 consecutive matches.

The ITF Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio begins Monday in Milan, with nine US girls and 12 US boys in the main draw.  Elli Mandlik qualified over the weekend to join Elysia Bolton, Whitney Osuigwe[6], Caty McNally, Ellie Douglas[12], Natasha Subhash, Taylor Johnson[4], Sofia Sewing[9] and Ann Li in the girls draw. Defending champion Oleysa Pervushina of Russia is the top seed.  Lukas Greif and Sangeet Sridhar qualified into the boys main draw, joining Alexandre Rotsaert, wild card Mark Mandlik, Sam Riffice, Trent Bryde[4], Gianni Ross, Sebastian Korda, Vasil Kirkov, Patrick Kypson, Danny Thomas and Oliver Crawford[13].

Riffice, who plays No. 7 seed Jurij Rodionov of Austria, is not on Monday's schedule, no doubt requesting a later start due to playing in the final of the $15,000 Romanian Futures today.  Riffice lost to No. 8 seed Nicolae Frunza of Romania 6-3, 6-3.

It was a disappointing finals day all around for US players on the ITF Pro Circuit, with Kristie Ahn falling in the final of the $60,000 tournament in France, Taylor Townsend losing to 17-year-old Sofya Zhuk of Russia in the final of the $25,000 Naples Florida tournament, and Marcos Giron dropping two tiebreakers in the final of the $25,000 tournament in Wuhan China.

There are no USTA Pro Circuit events this week or next, with all eyes on the red clay of Roland Garros. Qualifying begins Monday for the men, with 11 Americans hoping to make their way to the main draw. The only seeded player among them is No. 32 Bjorn Fratangelo.  The rest:  Reilly Opelka, Mitchell Krueger, Dennis Novikov, Tim Smyczek, Rajeev Ram, Mackenzie McDonald, Stefan Kozlov, Michael Mmoh, Bradley Klahn and Denis Kudla.  Noah Rubin, who has been having issues with his wrist, withdrew.  Monday's schedule is here.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Defending Champion Virginia, Ohio State Reach NCAA D-I Men's Semifinals; Riffice Takes Out Top Seed to Advance to Futures Final; Bilokin Wins Third Straight Grade 4 Title in Florida

Rain has interrupted the second block of quarterfinals at the NCAA Division I men's team championships, with UCLA and North Carolina leading Georgia and Wake Forest 1-0 and 2-0 respectively.  But the noon matches were completed, with No. 2 seed Virginia beating No. 10 seed Texas 4-1 and No. 3 seed Ohio State winning its second consecutive 4-3 thriller over No. 6 seed TCU.

Texas really needed to win the doubles point to challenge two-time defending champion Virginia, and the Longhorns fell at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles to give the Cavaliers all the breathing room they needed. JC Aragone clinched it for Virginia, taking a second set tiebreaker from Leonardo Telles at line 5, to put the his team in the semifinals again.  The last time Virginia did not make the NCAA Final Four was 2009, an amazing run of sustained excellence.

Hugo Di Feo after clinching Ohio State's 4-3 win over TCU
Ohio State has had difficulty getting out of the quarterfinals, going 3-8 in that round since 1999, and while the Buckeyes did not need a third set tiebreaker to advance as they had in Thursday's round of 16 meeting with Oklahoma, they were on the brink of elimination against TCU today.  The crucial doubles point came down to line 1, with Herkko Pollanen and Mikael Torpegaard saving a match point at 5-6 in the 7-6(6) tiebreaker that decided it. Four of the six singles matches went three sets, and after TCU's Cameron Norrie beat Torpegaard 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 at line 1 to make it 3-3, TCU was in the better position, with Guillermo Nuñez up 4-3, 40-30 against Hugo Di Feo at line 3.  But an error by Nuñez brought up a deuce point, and Di Feo blistered a forehand winner to get back on serve.

Di Feo then fell behind 0-40 on his serve but won the next four points to take a 5-4 lead, putting the pressure back on Nuñez. Di Feo was able to convert the first of his two match points at 30-40, when Nuñez's shot hit the tape and ricocheted wide.

Virginia and Ohio State will play for a place in the finals at noon on Monday. See the school website recaps by clicking on the bold team results below. For more on all the men's quarterfinals, see College Tennis Today.

#2 VIRGINIA (32-1) 4, #11 TEXAS (22-9) 1

1. #76 George Goldhoff/Leonardo Telles(TEXAS) def. #17 Luca Corinteli/Carl Söderlund (VIRGINIA), 6-2
2. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA) def. Colin Markes/Christian Sigsgaard (TEXAS), 6-4
3. Collin Altamirano/J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA) def. Yuya Ito/ Harrison Scott (TEXAS), 6-2

1. #25 Christian Sigsgaard (TEXAS) def. #91 Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA), 7-5, 6-3
2. #14 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VIRGINIA) vs. #36 Harrison Scott (TEXAS), 5-7, 6-3, 3-0, DNF
3. Carl Söderlund (VIRGINIA) def. #55 Yuya Ito (TEXAS), 6-2, 6-1
4. #40 Collin Altamirano (VIRGINIA) def. George Goldhoff (TEXAS), 6-1, 6-0
5. #109 J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA) def. Leonardo Telles (TEXAS), 6-2, 7-6(3)
6. #102 Henrik Wiersholm (VIRGINIA) vs. Rodrigo Banzer (TEXAS), 7-6(6), 2-3, DNF
Doubles (3,1,2) Singles (4,3,1,5)


#3 OHIO STATE (32-3) 4, #6 TCU (22-5) 3

1. Herkko Pollanen/Mikael Torpegaard (OHIO STATE) def. #25 Jerry Lopez/ Reese Stalder (TCU), 7-6(6)
2. #30 Hugo Di Feo/Martin Joyce(OHIO STATE) def. #57 Alex Rybakov/Guillermo Nuñez (TCU), 6-4
3. Cameron Norrie/ Trevor Johnson (TCU) def. Hunter Tubert/ JJ Wolf (OHIO STATE), 6-4

1. #1 Cameron Norrie (TCU) def. #2 Mikael Torpegaard (OHIO STATE), 5-7, 6-4, 6-3
2. #20 Alex Rybakov (TCU) def. #46 JJ Wolf (OHIO STATE), 6-4, 6-4
3. #9 Hugo Di Feo (OHIO STATE) def. #83 Guillermo Nuñez (TCU), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
4. #114 Jerry Lopez (TCU) def. Martin Joyce (OHIO STATE), 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
5. Herkko Pollanen (OHIO STATE) def. Reese Stalder (TCU), 6-4, 6-4
6. Kyle Seelig (OHIO STATE) def. Trevor Johnson (TCU), 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
Doubles (3,2,1) Singles (5,2,4,6,1,3)

#9 NORTH CAROLINA (28-4) 4, #1 WAKE FOREST (30-3) 2

1. #4 Skander Mansouri/Christian Seraphim (WAKE FOREST) def. #12 William Blumberg/ Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA), 7-5
2. #82 Jack Murray/Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Borna Gojo/ Alan Gadjiev (WAKE FOREST), 6-4
3. Anu Kodali/ Ronnie Schneider (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Petros Chrysochos/Dennis Uspensky (WAKE FOREST), 6-2

1. #5 Petros Chrysochos (WAKE FOREST) def. #22 Ronnie Schneider (NORTH CAROLINA). 7-6(3), 6-2
2. #16 William Blumberg (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #45 Borna Gojo (WAKE FOREST), 7-5, 7-6(6)
3. #13 Skander Mansouri (WAKE FOREST) def. #116 Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA), 7-5, 6-4
4. #84 Christian Seraphim (WAKE FOREST) vs. Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA), 7-6(3), 4-6, 3-2 DNF
5. Jack Murray (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Dennis Uspensky (WAKE FOREST), 6-2, 6-0
6. Bo Boyden (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Alan Gadjiev (WAKE FOREST), 6-2, 1-6, 6-2
Doubles (2,3,1) Singles (5,1,3,2,6)
#12 GEORGIA (22-7) 4, #5 UCLA (22-6) 2

1. #1 Jan Zielinski/Robert Loeb (GEORGIA) def. #3 Martin Redlicki/ Evan Zhu (UCLA), 6-3
2. Austin Rapp/Joseph DiGiulio (UCLA) def. Emil Reinberg/ Nathan Ponwith (GEORGIA), 6-3
3. Maxime Cressy/ Ben Goldberg (UCLA) def. Wayne Montgomery/ Walker Duncan (GEORGIA), 6-4

1. #60 Martin Redlicki (UCLA) def. #56 Nathan Ponwith (GEORGIA), 6-4, 1-6, 6-2
2. #33 Wayne Montgomery (GEORGIA) def. Evan Zhu (UCLA), 6-3, 6-4
3. Logan Staggs (UCLA) vs. #59 Emil Reinberg (GEORGIA), 7-6(3), 5-6 DNF
4. Jan Zielinski (GEORGIA) def. Maxime Cressy (UCLA), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
5. Walker Duncan (GEORGIA) def. Austin Rapp (UCLA), 6-3, 7-6(2)
6. Robert Loeb (GEORGIA) def. Joseph DiGiulio (UCLA), 7-6(4), 6-2
Doubles (1,2,3) Singles (2,5,1,6,4)

The women's quarterfinals are on tap for Sunday and due to weather issues, the times have changed.

10 am
No. 2 UNC vs No. 7 Stanford
No. 3 Ohio State vs No. 6 Texas Tech

1 pm:
No. 1 Florida vs No. 9 Oklahoma State
No. 4 Vanderbilt vs No. 12 Pepperdine

Links to live streaming are available here.

Eighteen-year-old Sam Riffice has been on a roll since committing to the University of Florida for 2018. He reached the final of the $15K Vero Beach Futures late last month as a qualifier and has made another final this week at a $15,000 Futures in Romania, also as a qualifier.  Today Riffice defeated top seed and ATP 267 Yannick Mertens of Belgium 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 and will face 19-year-old Nicolae Frunza of Romania, the No. 8 seed, for his first Futures title.

At the $25,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Naples Florida, top seed Taylor Townsend beat No. 4 seed Usue Arconada 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 and will play No. 2 seed Sofya Zhuk of Russia in the final. Zhuk, the 2015 Wimbledon girls champion, defeated No. 3 seed Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal 6-4, 6-0.

Emina Bektas and Alexa Guarachi Mathison of Chile won the doubles title, with the No. 4 seeds beating No. 3 seeds Sophie Chang and Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway 6-3, 6-1 in the final.  Bektas won last week's doubles title in Naples, with Sanaz Marand, and the week before that won the doubles title at the Charleston $60K with Guarachi Mathison, giving her a 12-match doubles winning streak on clay this month.

An even better streak is in progress on the ITF junior circuit where Margaryta Bilokin has won 18 singles matches in a row.  The 16-year-old Ukrainian collected her third title in three weeks today, beating No. 5 seed McCartney Kessler 6-2, 7-5 in the Grade 4 final in Plantation.  Bilokin, the No. 2 seed this week, has lost a total of three sets in those 18 victories.  The boys title went to 15-year-old Liam Draxl of Canada, who did not have to take the court to claim his first ITF singles title. Seventeen-year-old qualifier Antoine Sanchez, playing in his first ITF tournament, gave Draxl a walkover in the final.

The boys doubles title went to No. 4 seeds Thomas Guy of New Zealand and Christian Alshon, who defeated the unseeded team of Draxl and fellow Canadian Ryan Navarro 7-6(10) 3-6, 10-7 in the final. No. 7 seeds Dasha Kourkina and Michelle Sorokko won the girls doubles title, beating No. 5 seeds Anna Brylin and Mackenzie Clark 7-5, 7-5.

At the ITF Grade 4 in Morocco, Skyler Grishuk lost in the singles final but claimed the doubles title with Carol Youngsuh Lee of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Sebastian Korda won the doubles title at the ITF Grade 2 in Austria, in partnership with Ondrej Styler of the Czech Republic. The top seeds beat No. 2 seeds Hugo Gaston and Clement Tabur of France 6-2, 6-0 in the final.

Friday, May 19, 2017

My Interview with Henry Craig; Pepperdine Ousts Host Georgia in Women's D-I Sweet 16; Woodruff Promoted at Tennessee; Arconada and Riffice Reach Pro Circuit Semifinals

While I was in Ojai last month I had an opportunity to interview Men's Open champion Henry Craig on his transition from college tennis to professional tennis for this article at the Tennis Recruiting Network. We talked about how college prepared him for the next level and how long he will give himself to break through before putting his business degree to use.

I'll get to the NCAA Division I women's Sweet 16 matches today in a minute, but there's other news, including today's announcement that Chris Woodruff will take over as the men's head tennis coach at the University of Tennessee. Woodruff, who has served as assistant/associate coach in Knoxville since 2004, takes over for Sam Winterbotham, who was let go earlier this month.  Woodruff, the NCAA singles champion in 1993 while a sophomore at Tennessee, was passed over for the job when Winterbotham was hired in 2006, but he stayed on and will now have a chance to guide the program with that much more experience.  For more on Woodruff's hiring, see this article from the Knoxville News Sentinel.

In Pro Circuit news, 18-year-old Usue Arconada reached the semifinals of the $25,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Naples Florida. The No. 4 seed won her third consecutive match in straight sets, beating No. 7 seed Lauren Albanese 6-1, 6-3.  She will face top seed Taylor Townsend next.  The other semifinal features No. 2 seed Sofya Zhuk of Russia against No. 3 seed Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal.

Sam Riffice, also 18, has reached the semifinals of the $15,000 Futures in Romania, with the qualifier defeating No. 6 Petru-Alexandru Luncanu of Romania 6-0, 7-5 today.  Riffice, who recently reached the final of the Vero Beach Florida Futures, will play top seed Yannik Mertens of Belgium in the semifinals.  Mertens beat qualifier Gianni Ross 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.  Both Riffice and Ross are scheduled to play in next week's ITF Grade A in Milan Italy, where qualifying begins on Saturday.

Pepperdine's Luisa Stefani readies herself for the celebration
As was the case yesterday in the Division I men's Sweet 16, the women's Sweet 16 also featured two 4-3 matches, but unfortunately for the Georgia fans, this time the home team came out on the wrong end of that score.  Pepperdine, the No. 12 seed, took the doubles point from the No. 5 seeds, and in singles three straight-set matches went to the Bulldogs, and two straight-set matches went to the Waves.  That left the outcome to be decided at line 1, the only match to go three sets, with Luisa Stefani defeating Ellen Perez 6-7(8), 6-2, 6-2 to clinch.
The third set saw five consecutive breaks of serve to start, but Stefani was able to get two holds and she served well in the final game to send the Georgia crowd home disappointed.

Pepperdine will play No. 4 seed Vanderbilt, a 4-1 winner over Cal, in the quarterfinals.

The other 4-3 match went to 2016 finalist Oklahoma State. The No. 9 seeds defeated No. 8 seeds Georgia Tech after dropping the doubles point but taking singles matches at lines 1, 2, 3 and 6.  The match came down to Georgia Tech's Paige Horigan and Oklahoma State's Aliona Bolsova. Horigan got back on serve after trailing 4-2 in the third set, but Bolsova won two deuce points in the next two games to take the match 7-5, 1-6, 6-3.  Oklahoma State will face top seed Florida, who beat Texas A&M, the only unseeded team in the women's Sweet 16, 4-0.

In the early matches, No. 7 seed Stanford defeated No. 10 seed Michigan 4-1 and No. 2 seed North Carolina rolled past No. 15 seed Duke 4-0, with the Cardinal and Tar Heels set to meet Sunday in the quarterfinals.  The noon matches saw No. 3 seed Ohio State defeat No. 14 seed South Carolina 4-1 and No. 6 seed Texas Tech come back from losing the doubles point to take out Auburn 4-2.  It's the first visit to the quarterfinals for Texas Tech in the program's history.

Below are the women's results from today. A recap of the match can be found by clicking on the bold score line.  See Georgiadogs.com for more on each match, including quotes.

#4 NORTH CAROLINA (33-2) 4, #15 DUKE (22-6) 0

1. #4 Jessie Aney/Hayley Carter (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #42 Kaitlyn McCarthy/Meible Chi (DUKE), 6-2
2. Cassandra Vazquez/Alexa Graham (NORTH CAROLIINA) vs. Alyssa Smith/Chalena Scholl (DUKE), 5-3, uf
3. Sara Daavettila/Makenna Jones (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Samantha Harris/Ellyse Hamlin (DUKE), 6-1
1. #2 Hayley Carter (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #80 Samantha Harris (DUKE), 6-0, 6-3
2. #18 Sara Daavettila (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #43 Mebile Chi (DUKE), 6-2, 6-1
3. #35 Jessie Aney (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #55 Chalena Scholl (DUKE), 6-4, 6-4
4. #99 Kaitlyn McCarthy (DUKE) vs. #74 Alexa Graham (NORTH CAROLINA), 7-5, 4-1, DNF
5. Alyssa Smith (DUKE) vs. #100 Makenna Jones (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-4, 2-3, DNF
6. Ellyse Hamlin (DUKE) vs.Chloe Ouellet-Pizer (NORTH CAROLINA), 7-6, 2-2, DNF
Doubles (3,1,2) Singles (1,2,3)

#6 STANFORD (24-2) 4, #10 MICHIGAN (23-6) 1

1. #39 Emily Arbuthnott/Taylor Davidson (STANFORD) def. #9 Kate Fahey/Alex Najarian (MICHIGAN), 6-1
2. Chiara Lommer/Brienne Minor (MICHIGAN) vs. #46 Caroline Doyle/Melissa Lord (STANFORD), 3-2, DNF
3. Emma Higuchi/Caroline Lampl (STANFORD) def. Mira Ruder-Hook/Valeria Patiuk (MICHIGAN), 6-0

1. #26 Kate Fahey (MICHIGAN) def. #38 Caroline Doyle (STANFORD), 6-3, 1-6, 6-2
2. #28 Melissa Lord (STANFORD) vs. #24 Brienne Minor (MICHIGAN), 6-4, 5-7, 4-3, DNF
3. #54 Taylor Davidson (STANFORD) def. Alex Najarian (MICHIGAN), 6-4, 1-6, 6-3
4. Chiara Lommer (MICHIGAN) vs. #90 Caroline Lampl (STANFORD), 7-5, 6-6, DNF
5. Emily Arbuthnott (STANFORD) def. Mira Ruder-Hook (MICHIGAN), 3-6, 6-0, 6-4
6. #71 Emma Higuchi (STANFORD) def. Valeria Patiuk (MICHIGAN), 6-0, 6-2
Doubles (3,1) Singles (6,3,1,5)

#2 OHIO STATE (31-2) 4, #14 SOUTH CAROLINA (20-9) 1

1. #18 Francesca Di Lorenzo/Miho Kowase (OHIO STATE) def. #25 Hadley Berg/Paige Cline (SOUTH CAROLINA), 6-1
2. Brigit Folland/Ingrid Gamarra Martins (SOUTH CAROLINA) def. Sandy Niehaus/Anna Sanford (OHIO STATE), 6-3
3. Gabriella De Santis/Ferny Angeles Paz (OHIO STATE) def. Rachel Rohrabacher/Caroline Dailey (SOUTH CAROLINA), 6-3

1. #1 Francesca Di Lorenzo (OHIO STATE) def. #49 Ingrid Gamarra Martins (SOUTH CAROLINA), 6-1, 6-1
2. #47 Mia Horvit (SOUTH CAROLINA) def. #67 Anna Sanford (OHIO STATE), 6-3, 6-2
3. #95 Gabriella De Santis (OHIO STATE) vs. Paige Cline (SOUTH CAROLINA), 6-3, 4-5, DNF
4. #91 Miho Kowase (OHIO STATE) def. Silvia Chinellato (SOUTH CAROLINA), 7-5, 6-2
5. #112 Sandy Niehaus (OHIO STATE) def. Hadley Berg (SOUTH CAROLINA), 6-3, 6-0
6. Ferny Angeles Paz (OHIO STATE) vs. Brigit Folland (SOUTH CAROLINA), 7-6(6), 1-0, DNF
Doubles (1,2,3) Singles (5,1,2,4)

#7 TEXAS TECH (27-4) 4, #11 AUBURN (25-11) 2

1. #14 Alizee Michaud/Taylor Russo (AUBURN) def. #26 Sarah Dvorak/Sabrina Federici (TEXAS TECH), 6-3
2. #69 Felicity Maltby/Gabriela Talaba (TEXAS TECH) def. Andie Dikosavljevic/Alannah Griffin (AUBURN), 6-2
3. #64 Caroline Turner/Georgie Axon (AUBURN) def. Alex Valenstein/Alba Cortina-Pou (TEXAS TECH), 7-5

1. #9 Gabriela Talaba (TEXAS TECH) def. #17 Alizee Michaud (AUBURN), 4-6, 6-2, 6-0
2. #58 Felicity Maltby (TEXAS TECH) def. #29 Andie Dikosavljevic (AUBURN), 6-1, 6-0
3. Alex Valenstein (TEXAS TECH) vs. #115 Taylor Russo (AUBURN), 6-2, 4-6, 3-1, DNF
4. Sabrina Federici (TEXAS TECH) def. Georgie Axon (AUBURN), 7-5, 6-0
5. Alannah Griffin (AUBURN) def. Sarah Dvorak (TEXAS TECH), 6-3, 6-2
6. Katelyn Jackson (TEXAS TECH) def. Caroline Turner (AUBURN), 7-5, 6-2
Doubles (2,1,3) Singles (2,5,4,6,1)

#12 PEPPERDINE (24-4) 4, #5 GEORGIA (19-6) 3

1. #8 Christine Maddox/Mayar Sherif Ahmed (PEPPERDINE) def. #3 Ellen Perez/Caroline Brinson (GEORGIA), 6-4
2. #53 Luisa Stefani/Jean Runglerdkriangkrai (PEPPERDINE) def. #38 Elena Christofi/Kennedy Shaffer (GEORGIA), 6-4
3. Marta Gonzalez/Mariana Gould (GEORGIA) def. Ashley Lahey/Dzina Milovanovic (PEPPERDINE), 6-3

1. #14 Luisa Stefani (PEPPERDINE) def. #12 Ellen Perez (GEORGIA), 6-7(8), 6-2, 6-2
2. #19 Ashley Lahey (PEPPERDINE) def. #20 Elena Christofi (GEORGIA), 6-4, 6-0
3. #52 Kennedy Shaffer (GEORGIA) def. #37 Mayar Sherif Ahmed (PEPPERDINE), 6-2, 6-3
4. #66 Caroline Brinson (GEORGIA) def. #97 Laura Gulbe (PEPPERDINE), 6-2, 6-3
5. Jean Runglerdkriangkrai (PEPPERDINE) def. Marta Gonzalez (GEORGIA), 6-4, 6-3
6. Mariana Gould (GEORGIA) def. Dzina Milovanovic (PEPPERDINE), 6-4, 6-3
Doubles (1,3,2) Singles (2,3,5,6,4,1)

#3 VANDERBILT (23-5) 4, #13 CALIFORNIA (19-6) 1

1. #34 Maegan Manasse/Maya Jansen (CALIFORNIA) def. #1 Astra Sharma/Emily Smith (VANDERBILT), 6-4
2. Sydney Campbell/Emma Kurtz (VANDERBILT) def. #55 Olivia Hauger/Karla Popovic (CALIFORNIA), 7-5
3. Christina Rosca/Fernanda Contreras (VANDERBILT) def. Denise Starr/Maria Smith (CALIFORNIA), 6-3

1. #34 Maegan Manasse (CALIFORNIA) vs. #4 Astra Sharma (VANDERBILT), 6-4, 6-6, uf
2. #15 Sydney Campbell (VANDERBILT) def. #10 Karla Popovic (CALIFORNIA), 6-4, 6-1
3. #102 Christina Rosca (VANDERBILT) def. #123 Denise Starr (CALIFORNIA), 7-5, 6-1
4. Emma Kurtz (VANDERBILT) vs. Olivia Hauger (CALIFORNIA), 6-4, 4-3, DNF
5. Maya Jansen (CALIFORNIA) def. Georgina Sellyn (VANDERBILT), 6-4, 6-3
6. Fernanda Contreras (VANDERBILT) def. Maria Smith (CALIFORNIA), 6-3, 6-2
Doubles (1,3,2) Singles (5,6,2,3)

#1 FLORIDA (26-3) 4, #20 TEXAS A&M (18-13) 0

1. #11 Anna Danilina/Ingrid Neel (FLORIDA) def. #7 Rachel Pierson/Rutuja Bhosale (TEXAS A&M), 6-2
2. Eva Paalma/ Domencia Gonzalez (TEXAS A&M) def. #20 Brooke Austin/Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA), 6-3
3. #45 Josie Kuhlman/Belina Woolcock (FLORIDA) def. Stefania Kristov/Saska Gavrilovska (TEXAS A&M), 7-6(1)

1. #6 Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) def. #16 Rachel Pierson (TEXAS A&M), 6-0, 6-4
2. #53 Rutuja Bhosale (TEXAS A&M) vs. #23 Josie Kuhlman (FLORIDA), 7-6(3), 2-1
3. #31 Ingrid Neel (FLORIDA) vs. Domencia Gonzalez (TEXAS A&M), 7-5, 1-6, DNF
4. #44 Anna Danilina (FLORIDA) def. Saska Gavrilovska (TEXAS A&M), 6-3, 6-0
5. Brooke Austin (FLORIDA) vs. Eva Paalma (TEXAS A&M), 7-5, 2-4, DNF
6. #59 Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA) def. Macarena Olivares (TEXAS A&M), 6-3, 6-1
Doubles (1,2,3) Singles (4,1,6)

#9 OKLAHOMA STATE (25-5) 4, #8 GEORGIA TECH (20-8) 3

1. #29 Kenya Jones/Paige Hourigan (GEORGIA TECH) def. #13 Vladica Babic/Carla Tur Mari (OKLAHOMA STATE), 6-0
2. #23 Johnnise Renaud/ Rasheeda McAdoo (GEORGIA TECH) def. #48 Aliona Bolsova/Katie Stresnakova (OKLAHOMA STATE), 6-2
3. #70 Katarina Adamovic/Viktoriya Lushkova (OKLAHOMA STATE) vs. Luca Fabian/Nami Otsuka (GEORGIA TECH), 5-3, DNF

1. #8 Viktoriya Lushkova (OKLAHOMA STATE) def. #48 Rasheeda McAdoo (GEORGIA TECH), 6-0, 6-2
2. Katarina Adamovic (OKLAHOMA STATE) def. #36 Johnnise Renaud (GEORGIA TECH), 6-3, 6-3
3. #73 Aliona Bolsova (OKLAHOMA STATE) def. #96 Paige Hourigan (GEORGIA TECH), 7-5, 1-6, 6-3
4. Kenya Jones (GEORGIA TECH) def. #63 Vladica Babic (OKLAHOMA STATE), 6-2, 6-2
5. Nami Otsuka (GEORGIA TECH) def. Katarina Stresnakova (OKLAHOMA STATE), 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
6. Lena Ruppert (OKLAHOMA STATE) def. Luca Fabian (GEORGIA TECH), 6-4, 6-2
Doubles (1,2) Singles (1,4,6,2,5,3)

The men's quarterfinals are scheduled for Saturday.

Ohio State[3] vs TCU[6]
Virginia[2] vs Texas[10]

4 pm:
Wake Forest[1] vs North Carolina[9]
UCLA[5] vs Georgia[13]

Live streaming is available on all courts at this link.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Ohio State Survives Oklahoma, Georgia Tops USC in Men's D-I Sweet Sixteen Action; Top Seeds Wake Forest and Virginia Roll; ESPNU to Televise Team Finals; Women Begin Friday

The NCAA Division I men's Sweet 16 kicked off today at the University of Georgia and the 13th-seeded Bulldogs proved to be poor hosts, defeating No. 4 seed Southern California 4-3.  After all the turmoil the past few days, with associate head coach Bo Hodge suspended and a police investigation underway, it was hard to know how the team would react, but they shrugged off the distraction to eliminate the Trojans in the round of 16 for the second straight year.

Wayne Montgomery reacts to clinching Georgia's 4-3 win over USC
Georgia lost the doubles point, but won four of six singles matches, with Jan Zielinski at line 5 and Wayne Montgomery at line 2 getting three-set wins within seconds of each other to put Georgia into the quarterfinals against UCLA.  The fifth-seeded Bruins, playing without their No. 1 player Gage Brymer, recorded an impressive 4-1 win over No. 12 seed Texas A&M.

Ohio State's JJ Wolf celebrates clinching victory over Oklahoma
As tense as the Georgia - USC match was, it paled in comparison to the ending of No. 3 seed Ohio State's 4-3 win over No. 14 seed Oklahoma. Like the Bulldogs, the Buckeyes lost the doubles point, and dramatically too, dropping a rollercoaster of a match at line 3. JJ Wolf and Hunter Tubert saved four match points with Oklahoma's Jochen Bertsch and Adrian Oetzbach serving at 5-6, then took a 6-4 lead in the tiebreaker, only to lose it 9-7.

Oklahoma, who had reached the team final the past three years, won three first sets and closed out two of them, but not the third with Ohio State's Mikael Torpegaard coming back to defeat Spencer Papa 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-3 at line 1 to even the match at 3-all. Ohio State's Wolf had dropped the second set to Andrew Harris at line 2, so when Torpegaard tied it, all the attention turned to their court, with Wolf serving at 4-4. The freshman held on a deuce point for 5-4 and had a match point on a deuce point with Harris serving at 4-5, but missed his return.  After two less dramatic holds of serve they went to a tiebreaker, and it was the freshman who made fewer nervous errors, winning the last five points of the match to seal the victory.

Ohio State will play No. 6 seed TCU on Saturday, after the Horned Frogs beat Illinois, the only unseeded team in the Sweet 16, 4-1.

The early matches saw No. 10 Texas top No. 7 Baylor 4-1 and No. 2 seed Virginia have little trouble with Florida, blanking the Gators in just over two hours.

The evening matches went to the ACC with No. 1 Wake Forest disposing of No. 16 seed Stanford 4-0 and No. 9 North Carolina taking out No. 8 Cal 4-1, although five of the six singles matches went to three sets.  It's the first quarterfinal appearance in school history for Wake.  The ACC has three teams remaining, the Big 12 two teams and one team each for the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12.  The draw is here, and more on the matches and the links to the Playsight live streaming is at georgiadogs.com.

There was good news on the broadcast front from the NCAA today, when they announced Tuesday's team finals are airing on ESPNU. I have heard that Sam Gore will be doing the play-by-play and Patrick McEnroe will be providing color commentary.

The women begin their Sweet 16 matches on Friday.  Here is the schedule:

9 am:
No. 7 Stanford vs No. 10 Michigan
No. 2 North Carolina vs No. 15 Duke

No. 3 Ohio State vs No. 14 South Carolina
No. 6 Texas Tech vs No. 11 Auburn

4 pm:
No. 4 Vanderbilt vs No. 13 Cal
No. 5 Georgia vs No. 12 Pepperdine

7 pm:
No. 1 Florida vs Texas A&M
No. 8 Georgia Tech vs No. 9 Oklahoma State

Below are the box scores for Thursday's men's matches. Click on the bold score for the winning team's recap, if available.

#2 VIRGINA (31-1) 4, #15 FLORIDA (19-10) 0

1. #2 Alfredo Perez/Johannes Ingildsen (FLORIDA) vs. #17 Luca Corinteli/Carl Söderlund (VIRGINIA), 5-4, DNF
2. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA) def Maxx Lipman/Elliott Orkin (FLORIDA), 6-4
3. Collin Altamirano/J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA) def. Joshua Wardell/Chace Perez-Blanco (FLORIDA), 6-2

1. #8 Alfredo Perez (FLORIDA) vs. #91 Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA), 6-3, 6-6, DNF
2. #14 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VIRGINIA) def. #85 Elliott Orkin (FLORIDA), 6-3, 6-2
3. Carl Söderlund (VIRGINIA) def. Chase Perez-Blanco (FLORIDA), 6-1, 6-4
4. #40 Collin Altamirano (VIRGINIA) vs. Maxx Lipman (FLORIDA), 6-3, 3-6, 1-1, DNF
5. #109 J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA) def. #123 Johannes Ingildsen (FLORIDA), 6-4, 6-4
6. #102 Henrik Wiersholm (VIRGINIA) vs. McClain Kessler (FLORIDA), 6-2, 6-5, DNF
Doubles: (3,2) Singles (2,3,5)

#11 TEXAS (22-8) 4, #7 BAYLOR (23-8) 1

1. #22 Juan Benitez/Will Little (BAYLOR) def #76 George Goldhoff/Leonardo Telles(TEXAS), 6-4
2. Christian Sigsgaard/Colin Markes (TEXAS) def. #84 Johannes Schretter/Jimmy Bendeck (BAYLOR), 6-1
3. Max Tchoutakian/Bjoern Petersen (BAYLOR) def. Yuya Ito/Harrison Scott (TEXAS), 6-3

1. #25 Christian Sigsgaard (TEXAS) def. #15 Juan Benitez (BAYLOR), 7-6(4), 6-3
2. #36 Harrison Scott (TEXAS) def. #50 Max Tchoutakian (BAYLOR), 6-3, 7-5
3. #63 Johannes Schretter (BAYLOR) vs. #55 Yuya Ito (TEXAS), 6-3, 6-7, 1-1, DNF
4. George Goldhoff (TEXAS) def. Bjoern Petersen (BAYLOR), 6-0, 6-2
5. Leonardo Telles (TEXAS) def. Will Little (BAYLOR), 6-1, 6-4
6. Jimmy Bendeck (BAYLOR) vs. Rodrigo Banzer (TEXAS), 7-5, 5-5, DNF
Doubles: (2,3,1) Singles: (4,5,2,1)

#3 OHIO STATE (32-3) 4, #14 OKLAHOMA (17-11) 3

1. Mikael Torpegaard/Herkko Pollanen (OHIO STATE) def. #15 Spencer Papa/Andrew Harris (OKLAHOMA), 6-3
2 #63 Alex Ghilea/Florin Bragusi (OKLAHOMA) def. #30 Hugo Di Feo/Martin Joyce (OHIO STATE), 6-4
3. Jochen Bertsch/Adrian Oetzbach (OKLAHOMA) def. Hunter Tubert/JJ Wolf (OHIO STATE), 7-6(7)

1. #2 Mikael Torpegaard (OHIO STATE) def. #24 Spencer Papa (OKLAHOMA), 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-3
2. #46 JJ Wolf (OHIO STATE) def. #32 Andrew Harris (OKLAHOMA), 7-5, 1-6, 7-6(2)
3. #47 Alex Ghilea (OKLAHOMA) def. #9 Hugo Di Feo (OHIO STATE), 6-3, 7-6(3)
4. #113 Florin Bragusi (OKLAHOMA) def. Martin Joyce (OHIO STATE), 6-3, 7-6(5)
5. Herkko Pollanen (OHIO STATE) def. Jochen Bertsch (OKLAHOMA), 6-4, 6-4
6. Kyle Seelig (OHIO STATE) def. Adrian Oetzbach (OKLAHOMA), 6-1, 6-2
Doubles (1,2,3) Singles (6,5,4,3,1,2)

#6 TCU (22-4) 4, #25 ILLINOIS (18-12) 1

1. #25 Jerry Lopez/Reese Stalder (TCU) vs. #71 Vuk Budic/Aleks Vukic (ILLINOIS), 5-4, DNF
2. #57 Alex Rybakov/Guillermo Nuñez (TCU) def. Zeke Clark/Aleks Kovacevic (ILLINOIS), 6-3
3. Cameron Norrie/Trevor Johnson (TCU) def. Gui Gomes/Aron Hiltzik (ILLINOIS), 6-4

1. #1 Cameron Norrie (TCU) def. #3 Aleks Vukic (ILLINOIS), 6-3, 6-4
2. #20 Alex Rybakov (TCU) def. #41 Aron Hiltzik (ILLINOIS), 6-2, 7-6(5)
3. Gui Gomes (ILLINOIS) vs. #83 Guillermo Nuñez (TCU), 6-4, 3-6, 3-2, DNF
4. #114 Jerry Lopez (TCU) def. Aleks Kovacevic (ILLINOIS), 6-0, 7-5
5. Reese Stalder (TCU) vs. Noe Khlif (ILLINOIS), 7-5, 2-6, 2-2, DNF
6. Zeke Clark (ILLINOIS) def. Trevor Johnson (TCU), 6-4, 6-4
Doubles (2,3) Singles (4,6,1,2)

#12 GEORGIA (21-7) 4, #4 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (27-6) 3

1. #14 Brandon Holt/Riley Smith (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) def. #1 Jan Zielinski/Robert Loeb (GEORGIA), 7-6(1)
2. Nick Crystal/Laurens Verboven (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) def. Emil Reinberg/Nathan Ponwith (GEORGIA), 6-3
3. Wayne Montgomery/Walker Duncan (GEORGIA) def. Rob Bellamy/Jack Jaede (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA), 6-4

1. #19 Brandon Holt (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) def. #56 Nathan Ponwith (GEORGIA), 6-4, 6-4
2. #33 Wayne Montgomery (GEORGIA) def. Nick Crystal (Southern California) 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-2
3. #59 Emil Reinberg (GEORGIA) def. #88 Logan Smith (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA), 6-2, 7-5
4. Jan Zielinski (GEORGIA) def. Jack Jaede (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA), 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-3
5. Walker Duncan (GEORGIA) def. Thibault Forget (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA), 6-4, 6-1
6. Riley Smith (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) def. Robert Loeb (GEORGIA), 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
Doubles (3,2,1) Singles (5,1,3,6,4,2)

#5 UCLA (22-5) 4, #13 TEXAS A&M (21-7) 1

1. #3 Martin Redlicki/Evan Zhu (UCLA) def. #9 AJ Catanzariti/Arthur Rinderknech (TEXAS A&M), 7-5
2. Austin Rapp/Joseph Di Giullo (UCLA) def. Hady Habib/Jordi Arconada (TEXAS A&M), 6-1
3. Aleksandre Bakshi/Maxim Lunkin (TEXAS A&M) def. Maxime Cressy/Ben Goldberg (UCLA), 6-4

1. #6 Arthur Rinderknech (TEXAS A&M) def. #60 Martin Redlicki (UCLA), 6-4, 6-2
2. Evan Zhu (UCLA) def. #48 Jordi Arconada (TEXAS A&M), 6-4, 6-3
3. AJ Catanzariti (TEXAS A&M) vs. Logan Staggs (UCLA), 6-2, 4-6, 2-3, DNF
4. Maxime Cressy (UCLA) def. Valentin Vacherot (TEXAS A&M), 6-4, 6-4
5. Austin Rapp (UCLA) vs. Hady Habib (TEXAS A&M) 6-3, 3-6, 4-4, DNF
6. Joseph DiGiulio (UCLA) def. Aleksandre Bakshi (TEXAS A&M), 7-5, 6-1
Doubles: (2,3,1) Singles (2,6,1,4)

#1 WAKE FOREST (30-2) 4, #16 STANFORD (18-8) 0

1. #4 Skander Mansouri/Christian Seraphim (WAKE FOREST) def. #54 Tom Fawcett/Yale Goldberg (STANFORD), 7-5
2. Michael Genender/Sameer Kumar (STANFORD) def. Borna Gojo/Alan Gadjiev (WAKE FOREST), 6-4
3. Petros Chrysochos/Dennis Uspensky (WAKE FOREST) def. David Wilczynski/Brandon Sutter (STANFORD), 6-3

1. #5 Petros Chrysochos (WAKE FOREST) def. #11 Tom Fawcett (STANFORD), 6-2, 6-0
2. #45 Borna Gojo (WAKE FOREST) vs. Sameer Kumar (STANFORD), 6-4, 2-5, DNF
3. #13 Skander Mansouri (WAKE FOREST) def. David Wilczynski (STANFORD), 6-4, 6-2
4. #84 Christian Seraphim (WAKE FOREST) def. Michael Genender (STANFORD), 6-2, 6-2
5. Dennis Uspensky (WAKE FOREST) vs. Brandon Sutter (STANFORD), 3-6, 5-4, DNF
6. Alan Gadjiev (WAKE FOREST) vs. William Genesen (STANFORD), 6-4, 2-4, DNF
Doubles (2,3,1) Singles (1,4,3)

#9 NORTH CAROLINA (27-4) 4, #8 CALIFORNIA (20-8) 1

1. #12 William Blumberg/Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #5 Filip Bergevi/Florian Lakat (CALIFORNIA), 7-6(2)
2. #74 Andre Goransson/Billy Griffith (CALIFORNIA) def. #82 Jack Murray/Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-3
3. Anu Kodali/Ronnie Schneider (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Bjorn Hoffmann/J.T. Nishimura (CALIFORNIA), 6-1

1. #22 Ronnie Schneider (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #12 Florian Lakat (CALIFORNIA), 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
2. #16 William Blumberg (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #61 Andre Goransson (CALIFORNIA), 6-2, 3-6, 6-2
3. Filip Bergevi (CALIFORNIA) vs. #116 Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-4, 2-6, 6-6, DNF
4. Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA) vs. #81 Billy Griffith (CALIFORNIA), 6-3, 4-6, 5-3, DNF
5. Jack Murray (NORTH CAROLINA) def. J.T. Nishimura (CALIFORNIA), 6-4, 6-3
6. Bjorn Hoffmann (CALIFORNIA) def. Bo Boyden (NORTH CAROLINA), 3-6, 6-3, 6-0
Doubles (3,2,1) Singles (5,2,6,1)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

NCAA D-I Sweet 16 Begins Thursday in Athens; Four Americans Reach Quarterfinals at Grade 1 in Italy; Pro Circuit Update; Duo to Princeton

Eight men's matches will kick off the NCAA Sweet 16 on Thursday, with the eight women's matches scheduled for Friday.

Here are matchups and times:

9 AM:
Baylor[7] vs Texas[10]
Virginia[2] vs Florida[15]

Ohio State[3] vs Oklahoma[14]
TCU[6] vs Illinois

USC[4] vs Georgia[13]
UCLA[5] vs Texas A&M[12]

Wake Forest[1] vs Stanford[16]
Cal[8] vs North Carolina[9]

All the matches will be streamed live, for free, via Playsight, until the finals, with ESPN having the rights to those matches.

Bobby Knight will be in Athens throughout the team championships, make sure you follow his reports at College Tennis Today. He has written previews of all eight matches, with predictions, but you will need a subscription to see all of them.  It's only $9.99 a month, so support Bobby for all the work he does for college tennis.

In addition, the Tennis Recruiting Network's SLAM Tennis site has odds for each match and FloTennis has previews on its site.

The quarterfinals are set at the ITF Grade 1 in Santa Croce Italy, with three US girls and one US boy advancing to the final eight.  No. 15 seed Ann Li, No. 8 seed Elysia Bolton and unseeded Victoria Flores were the American girls posting victories today, with No. 4 seed Danny Thomas the American boy moving on.

Bolton saved five match points in her 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(10) win over No. 10 seed Fernanda Labrana of Chile, according to Stefan Berlincioni (@carretero77) on Twitter. See his timeline for videos and descriptions of all the drama, which wasn't just between the two players.  Li may have saved match points in her 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-0 win over Irina Cantos Siemers of Germany, but with Berlincioni not covering the match, I don't know if she did.  Flores, who beat No. 2 seed Anastasia Kharitonova of Russia in the second round, had an easier win today, defeating unseeded Barbora Matsuova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-1.  Thomas defeated No. 15 seed Benard Nkomba of Australia 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Four junior boys are preparing for their European clay court season at a $15,000 Futures in Romania.  Vasil Kirkov and Patrick Kypson lost in qualifying and the first round respectively, but qualifiers Gianni Ross and Sam Riffice both won their first round matches, with Riffice taking out No. 3 seed Marco Bortolotti of Italy  6-3, 6-3.

Those juniors opting for green clay are competing at the Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, where the third of three ITF Grade 4 events in Florida is being held this week.  No. 2 seed Margaryta Bilokin of Ukraine, who is going for her third straight title this week, is through to the quarterfinals, as are seven US junior girls. Boris Kozlov, the top boys seed, made the quarterfinals, but gave 13-year-old Martin Damm a walkover into the semifinals.

The only USTA Pro Circuit event this week is another $25,000 women's tournament in Naples Florida.  Taylor Townsend is the top seed, and she, along with nine other Americans, have advanced to the second round.  Sofya Zhuk[2](RUS), Emiliana Arango(COL), Usue Arconada[4], Katherine Sebov[5](CAN) and Taylor Johnson are the teenagers who advanced, with many former college stars also still in the draw.

In recruiting news of particular interest to those of us in Kalamazoo, Bill Duo of Portage Michigan has verbally committed to Princeton for 2018.  Duo, a blue chip who is coached by top junior development coach Tom Walker, was considering a variety of schools, including Notre Dame, Northwestern and Michigan.

Tennis Recruiting Network also recently posted an article on the decision of Florida blue chip Jimena Rodriguez-Benito, who will be joining another Ivy League school, Penn, a year early, this fall.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

ITA Announces National Indoor Move to Indian Wells; Missing Drugs Focus of Georgia Tennis Upheaval; ATP Next Gen Finals to Use No-Ad Scoring, Shot Clock

Outside courts at Indian Wells Tennis Garden
The ITA announced today that the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships in Indian Wells will replace the National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships beginning in November of 2017.  The National Indoor Championships, which date back to 1978 for the men and 1984 for the women, have been held at the USTA's Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York for the past seven years, when the ITA added the USTA as a sponsor. Now Oracle has taken over the presenting sponsorship, and with its connection to Indian Wells, perhaps an individual event there was inevitable, although October's All-American Championships were also a possibility.

In addition to the change of venue and surface, the fields have been expanded, with 64-player singles draws and 32-team doubles draws, but the tournament's days--four--remain the same. This means two days of two matches a day, [correction: I am told the release is wrong and the tournament is actually five days in length Nov. 1-5] and with that plus doubles, there aren't enough courts available at Indian Wells to accommodate all the matches. Having been there for the Easter Bowl for four years now, I have nothing but good things to say about the Tennis Garden as a place to watch tennis, but the chance to spend a weekend in New York, and the ease of traveling to New York from almost anywhere, were major benefits of that location for many student-athletes. And everyone played at one site.

I hope this change turns out to be a good one, and while I'm not really a fan of indoor tennis, the traditionalist in me resists the move to a slower outdoor hard court, as it just leads to more of the same baseline tennis. Perhaps that battle is already lost, but I hope there is at least consideration of bringing back the National Clay Courts, which were discontinued in 2000. There's a nice new facility in Lake Nona that could serve as host for that.

In other ITA news, the regional winners of the various ITA National Awards have been announced.  The National winners will be revealed at the ITA Awards Luncheon in Athens on May 23rd.

One of the names on that list, men's Southeast Assistant Coach of the Year Bo Hodge of Georgia, has been suspended indefinitely by the school, as has women's associate head coach Drake Bernstein.  Chip Towers, who has covered Georgia Tennis for many years, has been following the story since last weekend, and developments are being posted at DawgNation.  The post this morning details the police department's involvement, with men's head coach Manny Diaz having reported missing prescription drugs.  Hodge and Bernstein are not named in the police report, according to Towers. A followup post is here.

A serve clock was used at the US Open Junior Championships last year

The ATP announced the format for its inaugural Next Gen ATP finals in Milan Italy in November, and has introduced many changes to a traditional setting.
  • sets to four, with a tiebreaker at 3-all; best of five 4-game sets
  • no-ad
  • shorter warmup
  • 25-second shot clock
  • no-lets on serves
  • 1 medical timeout
  • coaching, but not on court
  • free movement of fans, except behind baselines
My dislike of no-ad is well known to anyone who has read my posts over the past three years and my recent experience watching some of the Pac-12 team matches in Ojai has done nothing to change my mind. As I said earlier on Twitter today, no-ad does add drama in a superficial sense, but when all big games look the same, with a maximum of 7 points, tension never really builds, and it diminishes the mental and physical parts of the game too much for my taste.

As for the other changes, I have no real objections, although I think the 4-game sets would be a disaster for tracking statistics over the years in the sport.

I'm not sure tennis is broken in any significant way, and although I recognize TV is an important consideration, time-shifting and streaming makes a lot of the "we've got to change to fit into this TV window" thinking a bit outdated. I'm as impatient as the next person, which is why I don't object to a shot clock, but changing how the game is scored just doesn't make sense to me.  Anyway, how the players respond to this will be interesting, and whether fans take it more seriously than any other exhibition remains to be determined.

Monday, May 15, 2017

My Conversation with USTA's Stephen Amritraj about June's College Combine in Lake Nona, ITF Pro Circuit Changes, Demise of US Open Playoffs

USTA Director of Collegiate Tennis Stephen Amritraj
Last week I had an opportunity to chat by phone with the USTA Director of Collegiate Tennis Stephen Amritraj about a variety of topics, with an emphasis on the upcoming USTA Collegiate Combine scheduled for June 14-16 at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona Florida. For more from the USTA on the inaugural event for junior players, see this article.

I started out with a question on how I would find news about the Combine or anything related to college tennis on the newly redesigned USTA website, as I couldn't locate anything there in advance of the interview.

Stephen Amritraj: We're working on it. I hear you. It's definitely something that we're well aware of and we're definitely working on it.

Colette Lewis: So what's the impetus behind the Collegiate Combine?

SA: One of our team's goals has been to increase the amount of Americans playing college tennis, or at least try to. We all understand the landscape that is out there for players and parents as they try to get college scholarships and roster spots, owing to the fact that tennis has the highest foreign percentage of any D-I sport.

So we brainstormed, thought of an idea like this recruiting showcase, where we can try to attract as many as players as we can, as many coaches as we can and showcase them in a different light: from a tennis perspective, a physical perspective, but have it be only for Americans, that's the really unique thing about it. I think it's picking up steam and I hope it's a part of the National Campus every year, that coaches are marking on their calendars and saying this is one of the better events that we can come to.

CL: How is the Intercollegiate Tennis Association involved?
SA: We're partnering with the ITA to host a coaches symposium on the grounds of the campus during the event, so I feel it's a great kind of mixture. American juniors are going to be there playing in front of college coaches, who have a great reason to be there.  It's on the campus, which is a pretty amazing place, especially when it's buzzing. And the coaches are going to get an educational component out of it. We're trying to make it a one-stop shop and I hope people find it to be an attractive proposition.

CL: Is it just Division I?
SA: Absolutely not. It is all levels. We've had multiple D-III signups so far; we've had top D-I signups as well, but it's meant to be for all levels, everything across the board.

CL: Will the list of the coaches attending be released?
SA: We're going to be doing that soon, and hopefully making a marketing push through you, through Lisa (Stone, ParentingAces.com), others to drive awareness for it.  The really cool thing about it is it's open entry. No matter how good, or where you're from, as long as you're American you can enter and compete in this, and by compete, I mean showcase yourself. If you want to play college tennis, there is probably a level for way more juniors than are currently playing college tennis.

CL: What would a successful first event look like in retrospect?
SA: I think there will be really good execution on our part and our staff's part. We can't control the amount of people that are signing up. We can't control the number of coaches who are showing up. I believe it will be close to 100 players who will sign up and I believe it will be close to 100 coaches who will come, because we're on the heels of the Bobby Curtis Sectionals event, where we already get a lot of coaches coming. It's a first-year event, so there's going to be things that come up that we didn't expect, but in general, great execution on our part is what I'm expecting and what are goals are.

Our hopes are that this can turn into something that helps more Americans feel that they have more support from the USTA to be a part of college tennis. That's the goal of this and I hope it works out, because I really think that it's our biggest step in that direction and I hope there is really good support from the community with it.

CL: What are your thoughts on the US Open Playoffs getting axed?
SA: It was definitely a tough decision. I think a lot of college players did use it, but what ended up happening was that so many foreigners ended up winning it. That turned it into an event that wasn't having the same outcome as when you conceptualize it. People were taking advantage of it and that becomes problematic. That's a pretty big carrot. Just in general, as the release said, I don't think that's what the initial thought was with it, and I kind of agree with that.

CL: The ITF recently announced a restructuring of its Pro Circuit. What input did the USTA have on this?
SA: I've had some discussion with it. I totally understand why the ITF is doing it. I think that overall there's a gambling concern in the rest of the world that makes this an issue and it's something they have to be proactive on. It's too easy these days to contact someone over social media when they're playing for whatever it is for first round, a hundred and fifty dollars, a line that can be placed somewhere, some place, on the match. I think that's not a mixture that's without problems.

They're going to create this transition tour of lower prize money and then have the main ITF Circuit at the $25K level, where they are, from what I gather, starting ATP and WTA points at that level.

So instead of what you have currently, with over 2000 people ranked with a point, you have 750 or 800 with what is I guess a more palatable number than the 2200 quote unquote professionals, who aren't really professionals.

CL: Is there any fear that college players won't be able to make that transition? I'm assuming the ITF hasn't given much consideration to that aspect.
SA: I haven't seen the full proposal, so I can't speak on the record about that. But what I am willing to say is that it probably going to force players to have a goal earlier in their collegiate career, a goal that they want to be a professional tennis player. It's not easy now, but if a guy or girl who comes out of school without a point and decides they want to do this, it will be even more of an uphill battle, starting from the transition tour.

The ITF is an international body, and I don't believe they're taking the viewpoint of collegiate tennis in the forefront of their mission. But I think college tennis has found a way to be a great pathway and I think it's still going to be a great pathway, I really do.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Liu Wins $25K Naples Title; Tiafoe Claims Another Challenger Title; Baylor Sole D-I Women's Seed Missing from Sweet 16; Quarterfinals Set in D-III

Claire Liu, who turns 17 later this month, won her second career title on the Pro Circuit, defeating No. 7 seed Danielle Collins 6-3, 6-1 in the today's final at the $25,000 tournament in Naples Florida.

As a qualifier, Liu was playing her eighth match in eight days, but even after a tough three-set win over junior rival and No. 2 seed Kayla Day on Saturday, Liu had more than enough energy to sail through the one-hour and 12-minute final. Liu had told me at the Easter Bowl that she was devoting much of her practice sessions to her serve and her success was certainly evident today. In the second set, Liu made 19 0f 21 first serves, over 90% and overall her first serve percentage was over 74%.  Interesting to note that five of Liu's eight wins were over fellow teenagers.

Liu had already cracked the WTA Top 500 with her semifinal showing last week at the Charleston $60K, and these points won't be added until the May 22nd rankings, but she will make another big jump, into the mid-300s, then.  Her only previous pro title was at a 2015 $10,000 level tournament in Orlando, also on clay.

Nineteen-year-old Frances Tiafoe won his second consecutive ATP Challenger, following up his title at the $100K tournament in Savannah Georgia last month with an even bigger title today at the €127,000+H Challenger in Aix en Provence France.  Tiafoe, seeded No. 4, defeated No. 3 seed Jeremy Chardy of France 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(5) in today's final. With the title, Tiafoe has moved his ATP ranking to 64, a new career high.

The women's Division I Sweet 16 field is now set, with play starting for them in Athens on Friday. As with the men, just one seeded host team failed to advance to the final site, with No. 16 Baylor falling to Texas A&M 4-3, the only match to go the distance of the nine played today. That leaves the Aggies to face No. 1 Florida, who shut them out in College Station back in March.

Last year four men's seeds failed to advance and two women's seeds, so just one from each this year is something of a surprise.

The complete women's second round results are below:

Women’s Second Round
Florida[1] def. Miami 4-0
Texas A&M def. Baylor[16] 4-3

Oklahoma State[9] Arkansas 4-0
Georgia Tech[8] def. Northwestern 4-0

Georgia[5] def. North Carolina St. 4-0
Pepperdine[12] def. UCLA 4-1*

Cal[13] def. LSU 4-0
Vanderbilt[4] def. Clemson 4-1*

Ohio State[3] def. Notre Dame 4-0
South Carolina[14] def. Texas 4-3*

Auburn[11] def. Florida State 4-2*
Texas Tech[6] def. Denver 4-1*

Stanford[7] def. TCU 4-2
Michigan[10] def. Kentucky 4-2*

Duke[15] def. Tennessee 4-1*
North Carolina[2] def. Ole Miss 4-0

*regional finals held on Saturday

The men's draw, with Thursday's times, is here.  The women's draw, with Friday's times, is here.

In other Division I news, Georgia men's associate head coach Bo Hodge and Georgia women's associate head coach Drake Bernstein have been suspended, as reported by Chip Towers in DawgNation.

The final eight have been decided for the men's and women's Division-III team championships May 22-24 in Chattanooga Tennessee.

The men's quarterfinals:
Emory vs Williams
Bowdoin vs Washington-St. Louis
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps vs Wesleyan
Gustavus Adolphus vs Middlebury

The big upset in today's men's round of 16 was No. 21 Gustavus Adolphus taking out No. 6 Chicago 5-4.

The women's quarterfinals:
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps vs Washington-St. Louis
Bowdoin vs Emory
Johns Hopkins vs Middlebury
Williams vs Chicago

The only women's team above that was not in the quarterfinals last year is Johns Hopkins.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Men's D-I Sweet 16 Field Set; West Florida Men and Barry Women Win D-II Titles; Liu and Collins Meet in Naples $25K Final; Bilokin Claims Second Straight ITF Grade 4 Title

Sixteen men's teams and seven women's teams have earned their trips to Athens with second round victories today in the Division I regionals held across the country.

After a mostly predictable and not very exciting first day on Friday, the drama increased today, with a number of 4-3 decisions.  The Illinois men trailed No. 11 seed and host Oklahoma State 3-0 before roaring back to take the final four points and the match. The Cowboys were the only seed who failed to make it out of their regional this year. Men's No. 10 seed Texas saved match points that would have put Tulane in the Sweet 16 in Athens, coming from 3-1 down to salvage that victory. The complete men's bracket is here.

The Texas women were not as fortunate as the men, with their hopes for an upset over No. 14 seed and host South Carolina dashed by South Carolina freshman Mia Horvit, who beat Neda Koprcina 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 at line 2 to secure the 4-3 victory.  In first round play, LSU came back to beat Tulsa 4-3 and Notre Dame eked out a 4-3 win over Kansas, who was unable to field a player at line 6, giving a default win to the Fighting Irish.  The only team in the 33-48 group to win in the first round today was Northwestern, who beat Mississippi State, in the 17-32 grouping, 4-1. The women's bracket is here.

The results from the men's second round, with all winners advancing to Athens:

Wake Forest[1] def. Kentucky 4-2
Stanford[16] def. Michigan 4-1

North Carolina[9] def. South Carolina 4-1
Cal[8] def. Northwestern 4-1

UCLA[5] def. Ole Miss 4-0
Texas A&M[12] def. Oregon 4-0

Georgia[13] def. South Florida 4-1
USC[4] def. Wisconsin 4-0

Ohio State[3] def. Louisville 4-0
Oklahoma[14] def. Mississippi State 4-1

Illinois def. Oklahoma State[11] 4-3
TCU[6] def. Florida State 4-1

Baylor[7] def. Cornell 4-0
Texas[10] def. Tulane 4-3

Florida[15] def. Georgia Tech 4-0
Virginia[2] def. Columbia 4-0

The women's results from today:

Women’s Second Round (winners earn berth in Sweet 16 in Athens)

Pepperdine[12] def. UCLA 4-1

Vanderbilt[4] def. Clemson 4-1

South Carolina[14] def. Texas 4-3

Auburn[11] def. Florida State 4-2
Texas Tech[6] def. Denver 4-1

Michigan[10] def. Kentucky 4-2

Duke[15] def. Tennessee 4-1

Women’s First Round

Florida[1] def. Massachusetts 4-0
Miami def. South Florida 4-0

Texas A&M def. Louisiana-Monroe 4-2
Baylor[16] def. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 4-0

Oklahoma State[9] def. Missouri-KC 4-0
Arkansas def. Wichita State 4-2

Northwestern def. Mississippi State 4-1
Georgia Tech[8] def. Alabama State 4-0

Georgia[5] def. South Carolina State 4-0
North Carolina St. def. Oregon 4-2

Cal[13] def. San Jose St 4-0
LSU def. Tulsa 4-3

Ohio State[3] def. Buffalo 4-0
Notre Dame def. Kansas 4-3

Stanford[7] def. Idaho 4-0
TCU def. Rice 4-0

Ole Miss def. William & Mary 4-1
North Carolina[2] def. Furman 4-0

The Division II champions have been crowned with top seed West Florida defeating No. 2 seed Barry 5-2 to take their fourth NCAA men's team title.  The second-seeded Barry women delivered the title the men could not, blanking No. 3 seed Lynn 3-0 for their third NCAA team title.

At the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Naples Florida, qualifier Claire Liu has advanced to the final, where she'll meet No. 7 seed Danielle Collins.

The 16-year-old Liu, who reached the semifinals last week at the Charleston South Carolina $60K, beat No. 2 seed Kayla Day 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 to win her seventh match in the past seven days.  Liu will play No. 7 seed Danielle Collins in the final after Collins defeated Ellie Halbauer 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.  Collins, who reached the final last week in Charleston, beat Halbauer in three sets in the round of 16 last week. The 22-year-old Collins and Liu have not played before.

In the doubles final in Naples, top seeds Sanaz Marand and Emina Bektas defeated Collins and Taylor Townsend 7-6(1), 6-1 for the title. Bektas, the former Michigan star, has had a great run this spring in doubles, winning the $60,000 Pelham AL tournament with Marand recently and last week winning the $60,000 Charleston tournament with Alexa Guarachi Mathison.

The second of the three consecutive ITF Grade 4 tournaments in South Florida finished today in Coral Gables, with Margaryta Bilokin of Ukraine earning her second straight title.  The sixth-seeded 16-year-old, who didn't lose a set all week, defeated wild card Abigail Forbes 6-4, 6-2 in the final. The boys title went to 18-year-old Kirac Bekisoglu of Turkey, the No. 3 seed, who defeated No. 4 seed Ronan Jachuck 6-0, 7-6(3) in the final.

Top seeds Daniel Moreno of Mexico and Sebastian Mermersky won the boys doubles title, beating unseeded Johan Castillo Grullon and Yeudy Villar of the Dominican Republic 6-1, 6-2 in the final. The girls doubles champions are unseeded Chloe Beck and Emma Navarro, who defeated top seed Bilokin and Kacie Harvey 6-3 7-5 in the final.

At the Grade 3 in Morocco, No. 2 seed Katya Townsend advanced to the final, losing to top seed Sina Zuger of Switzerland 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-4. Katie LaFrance won the doubles title at the Grade 5 in Namibia, partnering with Lillian Gabrielsen of Norway.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Part 2 of NCAA Roundtable; Few Surprises in First Day of NCAA Team Championships; Qualifier Liu Among all-US Semifinalists at Naples $25K

The second edition of the NCAA Division I Roundtable was posted today at the Tennis Recruiting Network, with their 12 college tennis contributors, of which I am one, naming their candidates for taking out a regional host. The article ends as it always does, with our dark horses and our predictions of who will win the titles.  I diverged from the consensus, but found it surprising that no one picked No. 1 seed Wake Forest on the men's side. The first one is the most difficult, always, but that is a very talented team.

The men play first this year in Athens, so all their first round matches were today, and only one match of the 32 played didn't follow the seeding/grouping.  Louisville, in the 33-48 grouping, defeated Central Florida, in the 17-32 grouping 4-3, the only men's match all day that was decided by the last match on.  The men's results are below:

Wake Forest[1] def. UNC-Wilmington 4-0
Kentucky def. Georgia State 4-0
Michigan def. Valparaiso 4-0
Stanford[16] def. Idaho 4-0

North Carolina[9] def. VCU 4-0
South Carolina def. East Tennessee St 5-0
Northwestern def. Utah State 4-2
Cal[8] def. Tennessee Tech 4-0

UCLA[5] def. Army 4-0
Ole Miss def. UC-Santa Barbara 4-1
Oregon def. Memphis 4-2
Texas A&M[12] def. Buffalo 4-0

Georgia[13] def. Florida A&M 4-0
South Florida def. Duke 4-0
Wisconsin def. San Diego 4-1
USC[4] def. Denver 4-0

Ohio State[3] def. Butler 4-0
Louisville def. Central Florida 4-3
Mississippi State def. SMU 4-0
Oklahoma[14] def. Bryant 4-0

Oklahoma State[11] def. Missouri-KC 4-0
Illinois def. Drake 4-0
Florida State def. Arkansas 4-1
TCU[6] def. Jackson State 4-0

Baylor[7] def. Lamar 4-1
Cornell def. Rice 4-0
Tulane def. Washington 4-2
Texas[10] def. Presbyterian 4-0

Florida[15] def. Florida Gulf Coast 4-0
Georgia Tech def. Minnesota 4-1
Columbia def. Purdue 4-2
Virginia[2] def. Monmouth 4-0

The men's bracket is here.

Only 28 of the 64 women's team played today, with the rest starting their regionals on Saturday.  But even with only 14 matches played, there were three teams in the 33-48 grouping coming out on top over those in the 17-32, and all those losing were Pac-12 teams.

Florida State defeated Arizona State 4-2, Clemson defeated Washington 4-2 and Denver defeated Southern California 4-2.  The loss by Southern California marked the end of the coaching career there of Richard Gallien, who was today named Pac-12 Coach of the Year. Although USC didn't have a great year, the award demonstrates the regard his peers had for Gallien.

Women's results from Friday:

UCLA def. UC-Santa Barbara 4-0
Pepperdine[12] def. LIU-Brooklyn 4-0

Clemson def. Washington 4-2
Vanderbilt[4] def. Southern Illinois-Edwardsville 4-0

Texas def. Wake Forest 4-3
South Carolina[14] def. North Florida 4-0

Auburn[11] def. DePaul 4-0
Florida State def. Arizona State 4-2
Denver def. Southern Cal 4-2
Texas Tech[4] def. Quinnipiac 4-0

Kentucky def. Dartmouth 4-2
Michigan[10] def. Youngstown State 4-0

Duke[13] def. Boston University 4-0
Tennessee def. Winthrop 4-1

The women's draw is here.

The semifinals are set at the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Naples Florida, with two juniors among the four Americans left vying for the title. Sixteen-year-old qualifier Claire Liu, who reached the semifinals last week at the $60,000 tournament in Charleston, defeated No. 8 seed Usue Arconada 6-3, 6-0 to advance against No. 2 seed Kayla Day. The 17-year-old Day beat Elizaveta Ianchuk of Ukraine 6-0, 6-2 in today's quarterfinals.  Day and Liu played just over a year ago in the final of the ITF Grade 1 in Carson, with Day winning a tense three-setter.

The semifinal in the top half will feature last week's Charleston finalist Danielle Collins, the No. 7 seed, against unseeded Ellie Halbauer. Collins beat qualifier Carol Zhao of Canada 6-4, 6-3, while Halbauer took out top seed Taylor Townsend 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.  Halbauer and Collins have played twice recently on the Pro Circuit, with Collins winning last week in Charleston in three sets and last fall in two close sets in a $25K in Stillwater Oklahoma.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Steve Johnson Sr Passes Away

I learned just this evening that Steve Johnson Sr., father of pro Steve Johnson has died, unexpectedly and much too young.

I still can't quite believe it, because I had several long talks with him while I was at Ojai, a tournament he loved and attended every year. As is always the case when I'd see him--at least twice, maybe three times a year--Steve and I would talk about all sorts of tennis and family related topics. We'd discuss his work as a tennis coach, which was now happening at a new location after the sale of the club where he previously worked.  He said he was optimistic that he would have some Ojai junior finalists in the coming years, and was happy to be on court and busy.

In addition to player development in general, we'd talk about paths to the pros, and while he acknowledged that each player and situation is different, he was adamant that staying at home and staying in school, as Stevie did, was a viable option that should not be dismissed.  This article on Steve Sr's move to Huntington Beach's Golden West Tennis Academy gives some insight on his thinking about that.

We also talked about his plans for this summer. He enjoyed traveling with Stevie when he could, and this year was planning to spend the grass court season with him in Europe, while his wife Michelle and daughter Alison were going earlier for the clay tournaments Steve was playing, including the French Open. Steve Sr loved Wimbledon and to see his son competing there was obviously a great source of pride to him.

And we spoke about Stevie's upcoming wedding, next April, which, unfathomably, he did not live to see.

I considered Steve a friend and also a model for tennis parents everywhere. He was optimistic, kind, intelligent, thoughtful, supportive, yet he was also unafraid to speak his mind. And although he was a tennis lifer, he possessed a keen sense of perspective and was always appreciative of what the sport had given him. When around him, you couldn't help but feel his happiness, both in the sport and in his life.

It's hard not to focus on the void his death will leave for so many people. But that void is so large because of the impact he had on so many while he lived. He'll be missed, for all he was and all he did. Rest in peace.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

NCAA D-III Individual Selections Announced; D-II Team Championships Underway; Qualifiers Gordon and Liu Reach Second Round at Naples $25K

The NCAA announced the fields for the Division III men's and women's singles and doubles championships today, scheduled for May 25-27 in Chattanooga Tennessee.  Unlike the Division I tournament, the draws are 32 for singles and 16 for doubles, with two matches played each of the first two days in singles and the final on the third day. There is one doubles match each of the first two days and two on the third day, which can be exhausting for those who are in both draws and also reached the final day in the team event.

Both NCAA finalists from 2016 are back in the women's field, with junior Eudice Chong of Wesleyan going for her third straight title. Juli Raventos of Williams, last year's finalist, will challenge Chong, as will Emory's Oracle Cup champion Bridget Harding, Pomona-Pitzer's Caroline Casper and Washington-St. Louis's Rebecca Ho.  2016 NCAA men's champion Skyler Butts has graduated from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, but CMS freshman Nikolai Parodi and seniors Glenn Hull and Daniel Morkovine are ready to keep the school's legacy going. Kalamazoo College's Branden Metzler, who reached the final last year, is back, as is semifinalist Zachary Hewlin of Whitman. Oracle Cup finalist Lubomir Cuba of Middlebury and Oracle Cup champion Aman Manji of Emory among the men's singles favorites.

The complete women's field is here; the complete men's field is here.

The Division II team championships got underway yesterday in Altamonte Springs Florida, and the semifinals are set for the men, while the women's tournament has reached the quarterfinals. The women's bracket is here.

The men's semifinals will feature Barry vs Columbus State and West Florida vs Southwest Baptist.  The men's bracket is here.  Live stats and results from previous matches are available here.  The ITA also announced its Division II awards on Monday.

There is only one USTA Pro Circuit event in the United States this week, with the women at a $25,000 tournament in Naples Florida. Seven of the eight players who qualified on Tuesday were Americans and three of them--Claire Liu, Lauren Embree and Michaela Gordon--advanced to the second round with wins today, as did Canadian qualifier Carol Zhao(Stanford).  Gordon will face top seed Taylor Townsend Thursday and Embree will take on former Florida teammate Danielle Collins (Collins was a freshman at Florida in Embree's senior year before leaving for Virginia in 2014). Liu plays No. 3 seed Sonya Kenin in a third all-US matchup.

Usue Arconada, the No. 8 seed, advanced with a 3 hour and 20 minute, 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-5 win over qualifier Sophie Chang. Arconada will face Norway's Ulrikke Eikeri and Kayla Day, the No. 2 seed, will play former USC star Sabrina Santamaria in the second round Thursday.