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Friday, May 26, 2017

Kwiatkowski Downs Top Seed Torpegaard to Reach NCAA D-I Quarterfinals; D-III Finals Set for Saturday; Crawford into Milan Grade A Semifinals; Fratangelo and Mattek-Sands Qualify for French Open

Thai Kwiatkowski reaches singles quarterfinals for third straight year
The quarterfinals are set at the NCAA Division I singles championships in Athens, with eight of the 16 players remaining unseeded.

Only two seeds remain in the women's draw, No. 6 seed Belinda Woolcock of Florida and Sydney Campbell of Vanderbilt, a No. 9-16 seed.

Two Midwest sectional junior rivals will meet in the top quarter, with Michigan sophomore Brienne Minor facing North Carolina freshman Sara Daavettila.  Minor defeated Mayar Sherif Ahmed 6-3, 7-5, while Daavettila ousted Cal's Karla Popovic, a 9-16 seed, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

Campbell, a senior who has been on top of her game in Athens, defeated No. 4 seed Ena Shibahara of UCLA 6-2, 6-4 and will face Pepperdine freshman Ashley Lahey, who beat No. 5 seed Blair Shankle of Baylor 4-6, 6-0, 6-4.

In the bottom half of the draw, a second Michigan player has advanced to the quarterfinals, with sophomore Kate Fahey defeating Jessica Livianu of St. Johns 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.  She will face Miami freshman Estela Perez-Somarriba, who defeated Mia Horvit of South Carolina 6-4, 5-7, 6-1.

Woolcock will take on Gator teammate Anna Danilina after Woolcock beat Joana Valle Costa of LSU 6-3, 6-1 and Danilina eliminated home favoried Ellen Perez, a 9-16 seed, 6-4, 7-6(3).

None of last year's quarterfinalists advanced to the final eight this year.

The men's draw features only two unseeded players, and 2016 finalist Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State, the No. 1 seed, is not one of them after he fell to Virginia's Thai Kwiatkowski, a 9-16 seed, 6-1, 7-6(3). Senior Kwiatkowski, who now has reached at least the quarterfinals of the singles championships three years in a row, will play No. 5 seed Chris Eubanks of Georgia Tech next.  Eubanks beat unseeded Yuya Ito of Texas 6-3, 6-0.

No. 3 seed Petros Chrysochos of Wake Forest also fell in the third round, losing to unseeded Alex Ghilea of Oklahoma 7-6(5), 7-5. Ghilea's quarterfinal opponent is Stanford's Tom Fawcett, the No. 8 seed, who beat No. 9-16 seed Florian Lakat of Cal 7-5, 7-5.

Freshman William Blumberg continued his impressive run in Athens, with the No. 9-16 seed beating No. 6 seed Alfredo Perez of Florida 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.  He will play unseeded Jack Findel-Hawkins of North Florida, who defeated Borna Gojo of Wake Forest 6-3, 2-6, 6-0.

No. 2 seed Nuno Borges of Mississippi State got past No. 9-16 seed William Bushamuka of Kentucky 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 and will play No. 9-16 seed Skander Mansouri of Wake Forest, a 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 winner over Jolan Cailleau of Texas Tech.

Eight different teams are represented in the men's quarterfinals, but four are from ACC teams.

Draws are available at the tournament website.

The finals are set for the Division III singles championships Saturday, and at that tournament the seeding has held up very well.  The men's final will feature No. 1 seed Lubomir Cuba of Middlebury against No. 3 seed Nicolai Parodi of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.

Top seed Eudice Chong of Wesleyan will go for her third straight women's singles title against No. 2 seed Rebecca Ho of Washington-St. Louis.

The D-III tournament website is here, but I find it easier to use the Slam Tennis scoreboard because you can check results from men's and women's matches on the same page.

At the Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan Italy, No. 13 seed Oliver Crawford has advanced to Saturday's semifinals. Crawford defeated Uisung Park of Korea 6-4, 6-2 and will play No. 15 seed Marko Miladinovic of Serbia. Caty McNally and Whitney Osuigwe will play in Saturday's girls doubles final, while Vasil Kirkov and Danny Thomas are through to the boys doubles final.

The live scoring for Milan is available here.

Two Americans qualified for the main draw of the French Open, which begins on Sunday.  No. 32 seed Bjorn Fratangelo, the 2011 boys champion at Roland Garros, defeated No. 15 seed Gerald Melzer of Austria 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-6(1) in third round qualifying action today. Bethanie Mattek-Sands[12] defeated Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-1 to earn her place in the main draw.

The singles draws were revealed today and can be found here.

Check out this usta.com article for news on the Americans and their first round opponents.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fifteen Collegians Earn All-American Honors at NCAAs; Pedroso Named to Replace Boland at Virginia; Four American Juniors Reach Quarterfinals at Milan Grade A; French Final Round Qualifying Features Four From US

The opportunity to earn All-American status comes every year in the second round of the NCAA singles championships and today in Athens, 15 collegians were able to earn that highly coveted title with wins today.  All players seeded in the tournament, regardless of their performance this week, had already received that title, but a rash of upsets on Wednesday opened the door for the ten women and five men who had come into the tournament unseeded.

The women earning All-American honors with wins today:
Mayar Sherif Ahmed, Pepperdine
Brienne Minor, Michigan
Sara Daavettila, North Carolina
Ashley Lahey, Pepperdine
Jessica Livianu, St. Johns
Kate Fahey, Michigan
Mia Horvit, South Carolina
Estela Perez-Somarriba, Miami
Joana Valle Costa, LSU
Anna Danilina, Florida

The men earning All-American honors with wins today:
Yuya Ito, Texas
Alex Ghilea, Oklahoma
Jack Findel-Hawkins, North Florida
Borna Gojo, Wake Forest
Jolan Callieau, Texas Tech

The doubles tournament began today, and just like in singles, three of the top four seeds in the women's tournament are gone.  Top seeds Astra Sharma and Emily Smith of Vanderbilt withdrew, No. 2 seeds Jasmine Lee and Lisa Maria Rioux of Mississippi State lost to Tess Bernard-Feigenbaum and Nina Khmelnitckaia of Kansas and No. 4 seeds Jessie Aney and Hayley Carter fell to Eleni Christofi and Kennedy Shaffer of Georgia.  The top four seeds in the men's doubles all advanced to the second round.

For complete results, see the tournament website.

The University of Virginia announced the hiring of a new head coach, with former associate head coach Andres Pedroso returning to Charlottesville to take over for Brian Boland.  Pedroso worked under Boland for four years before leaving to coach privately in South Florida in 2014.  Pedroso, who was a USTA National Coach prior to joining Virginia as an assistant, will become director of tennis for the University as well.   Although there has been no announcement, my assumption is that Dustin Taylor, Boland's current assistant, will be leaving to join Boland at the USTA. Taylor was the USTA's National Collegiate coach prior to joining Virginia when Pedroso left.

Two US girls and two US boys advanced to Friday's quarterfinals at the ITF Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan Italy with wins today.

No. 13 seed Oliver Crawford defeated qualifier Sangeet Sridhar 6-3, 6-2 and No. 4 seed Trent Bryde came back to beat Nicolas Mejia of Colombia 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

No. 6 seed Whitney Osuigwe defeated Tatiana Pieri of Italy 7-6(3), 6-2 and unseeded Ann Li topped No. 2 seed Amina Anshba of Russia 6-4, 7-5.   Li, the reigning USTA 18s Clay Court champion, is having the best Grade A of her career this week, which should help her chances for making the main draw at Wimbledon.

Osuigwe and Caty McNally are into the doubles semifinals, as are Vasil Kirkov and Danny Thomas.

The final day of French Open qualifying is Friday, with two US men and two US women needing one more win to make the main draw.

Nicole Gibbs[20] defeated Hiroko Kuwata of Japan 6-4, 6-1 in today's second round and will face top seed Sara Errani of Italy Friday. Bethanie Mattek-Sands[12] defeated Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia 7-6(6), 6-4 and will play Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.

Bjorn Fratangelo[32] will play Gerald Melzer[15] of Austria and Denis Kudla faces Paul-Henri Mathieu[16] of France.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

My Conversation with Tracy Austin; More Rain in Athens; Williams and Emory Claim D-III Championships; Eight US Juniors Advance at Milan Grade A; Opelka, Fratangelo and Kudla Reach Final Round Qualifying at French Open

While I was at Ojai late last month, I had an opportunity to sit down with two-time US Open champion Tracy Austin to talk about her roles as tennis parent and television commentator, resulting in this article for the Tennis Recruiting Network. She spoke of the different commitment levels her three sons had to the sport, with middle son Brandon Holt, who is now a freshman at USC, electing to devote most of his free time mastering it.  Austin, who didn't turn pro until after she had made the US Open women's quarterfinals twice, has some interesting thoughts on the decision of going pro or going to college.

Holt lost his first round match today in the NCAA individual tournament in Athens, with the rain that has plagued the the event since Saturday continuing to cause disruptions today.  With matches delayed and moving inside and no apparent updates of scores except on twitter, it's been a challenge to keep track of what's going on.

The big news tonight (matches are still in progress) was the losses of women's top two seeds Francesca Di Lorenzo of Ohio State and Hayley Carter of North Carolina.  Di Lorenzo was beaten by Mayar Sherif Ahmed of Pepperdine 6-4, 6-2 and Carter lost to Florida's Anna Danilina 6-2, 6-3.

Di Lorenzo, a sophomore, had won the previous two collegiate majors last fall and was going for the major title triple crown, which has never been done in the same academic school year. Carter, a senior, was the 2016 NCAA singles finalist.

Vanderbilt's Astra Sharma, the women's No. 3 seed, withdrew.

The top 3 men's seeds--Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State, Nuno Borges of Mississippi State and Petros Chrysochos of Wake Forest--advanced in straight sets, but No. 4 seed Arthur Rinderknech of Texas A&M lost to Borna Gojo of Wake Forest 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.

The All-Tournament teams have been announced, with almost all positions filled from those teams in the finals. Usually the team that wins the championship produces the Most Outstanding Player, but this year the men's MOP was North Carolina freshman Will Blumberg, whose team lost to Virginia 4-2.  Belinda Woolcock of Florida took the honor for the women.

No. 1 doubles: Anna Danilina & Ingrid Neel, Florida
No. 2 doubles: Brooke Austin & Kourtney Keegan, Florida
No. 3 doubles: Josei Kuhlman & Belinda Woolcock, Florida

No. 1 singles: Belinda Woolcock, Florida
No. 2 singles: Melissa Lord, Stanford
No. 3 singles: Taylor Davidson, Stanford
No. 4 singles: Anna Danilina, Florida
No. 5 singles: Emily Arbuthnott, Stanford
No. 6 singles: Kourtney Keegan, Florida

Most Outstanding Player:
Belinda Woolcock, Florida

No. 1 doubles: William Blumberg & Robert Kelly, North Carolina
No. 2 doubles: Thai Kwiatkowski & Alexander Ritschard, Virginia
No. 3 doubles: Collin Altamirano & JC Aragone, Virginia

No. 1 singles: Mikael Torpegaard, Ohio State
No. 2 singles: William Blumberg, North Carolina
No. 3 singles: Robert Kelly, North Carolina
No. 4 singles: Collin Altamirano, Virginia
No. 5 singles: JC Aragone, Virginia
No. 6 singles: Blaine Boyden, North Carolina

Most Outstanding Player:
William Blumberg, North Carolina

The Division III team championships were decided today in another rainy national finals site, Chattanooga Tennessee.  The women once again brought the drama, with Williams defeating Emory 5-4, with the match coming down to a third set at line 1.  Juli Raventos of Williams got an early break in the final set against Emory's Bridget Harding, held on to that one then earned another and served out the match for a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 win and the Ephs' tenth team title. Williams and Emory had met in the finals the past three years, with Williams winning 5-4 in 2015 and Emory taking the title by a 5-4 score last year.

An excellent recap of Williams' victory can be found at their athletic website.

Unlike the Division I finals, with the men playing indoors and the women outdoors, both Division III championship matches were played inside.  Emory won all three doubles matches from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps but probably knew better than to think they would coast to victory as CMS had won five singles matches against Middlebury in the semifinals to earn a 5-4 victory. The Eagles took a 4-1 lead but the Stags fought back, with four singles matches going to a third set, but the CMS effort fell short when Adrien Bouchet closed out Daniel Morkovine at line 3 5-7, 6-2, 7-5. That gave Emory a 5-2 win and its fourth National title, with the last one coming in 2012.
All results can be found at the tournament website.

Eight US juniors have advanced to the third round of the Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglioi in Milan Italy, including five boys who won second round matches today.  Trent Bryde[4], Oliver Crawford[13], Patrick Kypson, Sebastian Korda and qualifier Sangeet Sridhar will play for a place in the quarterfinals Thursday, with Crawford and Sridhar going head-to-head.  The only two US girls playing second round matches today were Elysia Bolton and No. 4 seed Taylor Johnson and both lost, leaving Whitney Osuigwe,[6] Natasha Subhash and Ann Li, who won on Tuesday, as the last American girls remaining.

Live scoring for the tournament is available at Tennis Ticker.

Day three of the French Open qualifying is complete, with three US men into the final round of qualifying: Bjorn Fratangelo[32], Denis Kudla and Reilly Opelka.  Fratangelo defeated Bradley Klahn 6-4, 7-6(6), Kudla beat Ricardo Ojeda Lara of Spain 6-4, 6-3 and Opelka outlasted Leonardo Mayer of Argentina 5-7, 7-6(7), 6-3.  Opelka is the only one of the three scheduled to play Thursday.

Three US women advanced to the second round of qualifying with wins today: Kristie Ahn, Sonya Kenin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.  They join Tuesday winners Nicole Gibbs[20] and Kayla Day in Thursday's second round.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Virginia Men Beat UNC to Capture Third Straight Title; Florida Women Defeat Stanford for Championship; Division III Finals Set

One defending champion kept its winning streak alive, while the other saw its run come to an end Tuesday on another rainy day in Athens Georgia.

2017 NCAA Division I Champions Virginia
The University of Virginia men won their third straight title and fourth overall, beating the University of North Carolina 4-2 on the indoor courts on the University of Georgia campus. After a three-hour rain delay, the match was moved to the four indoor courts, making it the second year in a row that Virginia had claimed its NCAA national team championship indoors.

The No. 9 Tar Heels, who had lost their three previous meetings this season with No. 2 Virginia, needed the doubles point, and they came close, with the point decided by a tiebreaker at line 2.  After Virginia had easily taken line 3 with Collin Altamirano and JC Aragone beating Anu Kodali and Ronnie Schneider 6-1, North Carolina's William Blumberg and Robert Kelly followed with an equally lopsided 6-2 victory over Luca Corinteli and Carl Soderlund at line 1. That left line 2 to decide it in a tiebreaker, in which UNC's Jack Murray and Simon Soendergaard led Thai Kwiatkowski and Alexander Ritschard 3-1 and 5-4.  The match was on Soendergaard's racquet at 5-4, but he lost both points on serve, and Kwiatkowski and Ritschard converted their match point for a 7-6(5) win at a 1-0 Virginia lead.

Ritschard gave Virginia a 2-0 lead with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Schneider at line 1, but Blumberg got the Tar Heels on the board with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Kwiatkowski at line 2, the ITA Rookie of the Year's fifth win in this year's NCAA championships.  With two matches complete, lines 5 and 6 could begin their matches, but before they could start, Altamirano brought Virginia within one point of the title with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Soendergaard. Kelly made it 3-2 a few minutes later, beating Soderlund 6-2, 6-4, leaving the two matches, just underway, to decide it.

Virginia's Aragone and Henrik Wiersholm have been two of Virginia's strongest points all season, and both took the first sets from Murray and Bo Boyden, respectively. Both went up breaks in their second sets, and it was senior Aragone who finished first, beating Murray 7-6(2), 6-2 to clinch the title.

The Cavaliers, who have now played in six out of the last seven NCAA team finals, say goodbye to three seniors in their top 6--Ritschard, Kwiatkowski and Aragone--as well as head coach Brian Boland, who is leaving after the upcoming individual championships to become head of men's tennis at the USTA.

For more on Virginia's title, see virginiasports.com.

2017 NCAA Division I champions Florida
The weather cleared midway through the men's final and the women's championship was able to be played outdoors, starting a 8 p.m., three hours past its originally scheduled time.  It didn't look like it was going to last much more than two hours, when top seed Florida had a 2-0 lead on defending champions Stanford and match points on courts 1 and 5 within seconds of each other.  Florida had dominated the doubles point winning 6-2 at line 1 and 6-1 and line 3, and Kourtney Keegan had dealt freshman Emma Higuchi her first loss all year by way of a 6-0, 6-0 thrashing at line 6.

Needing just two more points, Florida looked to have them in hand when Belinda Woolcock was up 6-1, 5-3 on Caroline Doyle at line 1 and Brooke Austin had a match point on Emily Arbuthnott serving at 6-2, 5-4. On that match point, a deciding point, Austin missed a volley, making it 5-5, and although Woolcock closed out Doyle seconds later to make it 3-0, the Cardinal was back in the match, particularly after Arbuthnott won the next two games to send that contest into a third set. Once Stanford had gotten on the board with Melissa Lord's 6-4, 7-5 win over Josie Kuhlman, all the remaining matches were in a third set, with Florida's Ingrid Neel and Anna Danilina coming back from a set down against Taylor Davidson and Caroline Lampl.

Neel took a 3-0 lead in the third over Davidson, who had clinched Stanford's dramatic 4-3 win over Ohio State in a third-set tiebreaker ending close to midnight on Monday.  The Cardinal senior had needed time in the hospital to recover and had her leg heavily taped, but she had continued to battle, shortening points when she could.  She received a medical timeout at 3-0 in the third and got back on serve, but Neel broke back to take a 4-2 lead, held and broke again to give the Gators their seventh team title and their first since 2012.

The Florida website's article on the Gators title is here.

For more on the finals, see the tournament page.

#2 VIRGINIA (34-1) 4, #9 NORTH CAROLINA (29-5) 2

1. #12 William Blumberg/Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #17 Luca Corinteli/Carl Söderlund (VIRGINIA), 6-2
2. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA) def. #82 Jack Murray/Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA), 7-6(5)
3. Collin Altamirano/J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA) def. Anu Kodali/Ronnie Schneider (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-1

1. #91 Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA) def. #22 Ronnie Schneider (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-1, 6-3
2. #16 William Blumberg (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #14 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VIRGINIA), 6-3, 6-2
3. #116 Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Carl Söderlund (VIRGINIA), 6-2, 6-4
4. #40 Collin Altamirano (VIRGINIA) def. Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-3, 6-1
5. #109 J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA) def. Jack Murray (NORTH CAROLINA), 7-6(2), 6-2
6. #102 Henrik Wiersholm (VIRGINIA) vs. Bo Boyden (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-4, 4-2, DNF
Doubles (3,1,2) Singles (1,2,4,3,5)


#1 FLORIDA (29-3) 4, #6 STANFORD (26-3) 1

1. #11 Anna Danilina/Ingrid Neel (FLORIDA) def. #39 Emily Arbuthnott/Taylor Davidson (STANFORD), 6-2
2. #46 Caroline Doyle/Melissa Lord (STANFORD) vs. 20 Brooke Austin/Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA), 4-3, DNF
3. #45 Josie Kuhlman/Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) def. Emma Higuchi/Caroline Lampl (STANFORD), 6-1

1. #6 Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) def. #38 Caroline Doyle (STANFORD), 6-1, 6-3
2. #28 Melissa Lord (STANFORD) def. #23 Josie Kuhlman (FLORIDA), 6-4, 7-5
3. #31 Ingrid Neel (FLORIDA) def. #54 Taylor Davidson (STANFORD), 5-7, 6-3, 6-2
4. #44 Anna Danilina (FLORIDA) vs. #90 Caroline Lampl (STANFORD), 4-6, 6-1, 5-4, DNF
5. Emily Arbuthnott (STANFORD) vs. Brooke Austin (FLORIDA), 2-6, 7-5, 4-2, DNF
6. #59 Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA) def. Emma Higuchi (STANFORD), 6-0, 6-0

The finals are set for the Division III Team Championships, with the women's title to be decided, for the third year in a row, between Emory and Williams.  Defending champion Emory defeated Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 5-1, while Williams defeated Middlebury 5-4, coming from 4-1 down to earn a rematch with the Eagles.  Williams won the 2015 women's title over Emory by a 5-4 score, the same score as Emory's win over Williams last year.

The men's championship match will feature two new finalists this year, although they are two of the elite of Division III tennis.  Emory defeated 2016 champion Bowdoin 5-2, avenging their semifinal loss to the Polar Bears last year. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps lost all three doubles points to 2016 finalist Middlebury, but came back to win five of six singles matches to beat the Panthers 5-4.

For more on the Division III championships, see the tournament page.

ITA National Awards Announced; D-I Individual Draws Released; Day Opens Roland Garros Qualifying with Win; Sridhar Ousts Second Seed in Milan Grade A

With the NCAA Division I team championships delayed once again by rain, I've decided to put up an early post on the news from today's play in Europe and the list of the ITA Division I National Award winners, which were announced today at the annual pre-finals luncheon. The complete release with full descriptions of the award recipients' accomplishments is here.

Note that the ITA men's coach of the year is announced after the championships are complete.

WOMEN:Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year: Melissa Schaub, Ohio State
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Courtney Nagle, North Carolina
ITA Most Improved Player (Senior): Blair Shankle, Baylor
ITA Senior Player of the Year: Hayley Carter, North Carolina
ITA Rookie of the Year: Ena Shibahara, UCLA
ITA Player to Watch: Astra Sharma, Vanderbilt
ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award: Monica Robinson, Notre Dame
ITA/Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship: Aslina Chua, Michigan State
ITA Community Service Award (tie): Tennessee & East Carolina

ITA Assistant Coach of the Year (tie): Justin Kronauge, Ohio State & Dustin Taylor, Virginia
ITA Most Improved Player (Senior): Jose Salazar, Arkansas
ITA Senior Player of the Year: Ronnie Schneider, North Carolina
ITA Rookie of the Year: William Blumberg, North Carolina
ITA Player to Watch: Alfredo Perez, Florida
ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award: Christopher Eubanks, Georgia Tech
ITA Community Service Award: Boise State

The draws for the Division I individual tournaments are posted, with several withdrawals from the men's singles, including two of the Top 3: TCU's Cameron Norrie and Illinois' Aleks Vukic. Ohio State's Mikael Torpegaard is the top seed. Georgia's Robert Loeb and Jan Zielinski are the top seeds in doubles, which will start Thursday.

As of today, all the women's initial entries in singles are still in the draw, with Francesca Di Lorenzo of Ohio State and Hayley Carter of North Carolina the top two seeds. Astra Sharma and Emily Smith of Vanderbilt are the top seeds in doubles.

Complete draws, with singles times for Wednesday, can be found under the Tournament Brackets section on this page.

The second day of qualifying is complete at Roland Garros, with three US players posting victories.  Dennis Novikov had a good win in his first round match, taking out No. 7 seed Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland 6-2, 6-3.  Rajeev Ram lost his first round qualifying match, meaning US men went 8-3 overall. There is guaranteed to be one less after the second round with Bjorn Fratangelo facing Bradley Klahn.

The US women had a decidedly less successful day, with only Nicole Gibbs[20] and Kayla Day advancing to the second round. Gibbs defeated Slovenia's Tamara Zidansek 6-3, 7-5 and Day beat Olga Govortsova of Belarus 6-1, 6-3.  Jamie Loeb, Grace Min, Irina Falconi and Alexa Glatch lost their openers.  Five US women are scheduled to play their first round qualifying matches on Wednesday.

The second day of main draw action at the ITF Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan is complete, with seven US boys advancing to the second round: Alexsandre Rotsaert, Sebastian Korda, qualifier Lukas Greif, Patrick Kypson, Oliver Crawford[13] and qualifier Sangeet Sridhar. No. 4 seed Trent Bryde had advanced on Monday.  A day after top seed Yibing Wu of China went out, Sridhar upset No. 2 seed Yu Hsiou Hsu of Taiwan 1-6, 6-3, 7-5.  Sam Riffice, who reached the final last week at a $15,000 Futures in Romania, dropped his first round match to No. 7 seed Jurij Rodionov of Austria 0-6, 7-6(6), 6-3.

The only US girl playing a first round match today was qualifier Elli Mandlik and she lost to wild card Federica Bilardo of Italy 7-6(1), 6-3. Three US girls advanced to the round of 16 with wins today: Whitney Osuigwe[6], Natasha Subhash and Ann Li.  Elysia Bolton and Taylor Johnson[4] play their second round matches on Wednesday.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Defending Champions Stanford Women and Virginia Men Return to D-I Finals; D-III Semifinals Set; Seven US Men Win First Round Qualifying Matches at Roland Garros; Bolton Beats Top Seed Pervushina in Milan

No. 2 seed Virginia will play for its third straight men's team title on Tuesday afternoon after defeating No. 3 seed Ohio State 4-2, but it won't be against its usual rivals USC, UCLA or Oklahoma.  Instead the Cavaliers will take on another ACC team, No. 9 seed North Carolina, who advanced to the final with a dramatic 4-3 win over Georgia.

Both men's semifinal matches finished indoors after a four-hour rain delay.  Virginia's Henrik Wiersholm had failed to convert two match points against Kyle Seelig at line 6 outdoors, but had two more chances once play resumed, with Virginia leading 3-1. At line 1, Ohio State's Mikael Torpegaard also had match points, leading Alexander Ritschard 6-3 in the tiebreaker. Wiersholm and Seelig started their point, but it was a long one, and while they rallied, Torpegaard converted his match point. That sequence could have unnerved Wiersholm, but he retained his focus and won the point, to put Virginia in its third straight final.

North Carolina's Bo Boyden clinches 4-3 win over Georgia
North Carolina was in unchartered territory today, having never gotten past the quarterfinals until this year. The Tar Heels took the doubles point from No. 13 seed Georgia, but Georgia had overcome that loss in both the round of 16 and the quarterfinals. Up 3-1, North Carolina looked ready for a relatively easy win with Simon Soendergaard serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set over Jan Zielinski at line 4. Soendergaard couldn't close it out then and in the subsequent tiebreaker he failed to win a point after taking a 4-0 lead putting that match in a third set. Georgia got another point from Nate Ponwith at line 1 before the rain delay, but even that four-hour break couldn't halt Zielinski. With Bo Boyden down an early third-set break to Robert Loeb at line 6, it wasn't looking good for the visitors, with the indoor courts reverberating with all the cheering of the Bulldog fans. But Boyden got the break back, then held on a deciding point for 3-2.  In the eighth game, with Loeb serving, Boyden was up 15-40, but line call controversies ratcheted up the players, coaches and crowds. At 30-40 Boyden was docked a point for being overruled a third time, but Boyden had one more chance to get the break, winning the deuce point when Loeb's forehand went long.

Serving out the match, Boyden kept his second serves to a minimum, yet Loeb kept up, hitting a forehand winner for 30-30. Loeb missed a forehand wide to give Boyden a match point and he again got a first serve in and played aggressively. The Carolina fans erupted after his first overhead, but Loeb got it back, forcing Boyden to hit a second overhead, but the sophomore from Raleigh blasted it with no hesitation setting off a wild celebration in front of the disappointed Bulldog fans.

Florida's Brooke Austin clinches 4-2 win over Vanderbilt
Due to the rain, the women's semifinals were both played indoors from start to finish, with top seed Florida and No. 4 seed Vanderbilt staying in Athens and No. 3 Ohio State and No. 7 Stanford sent to Georgia Tech's six indoor courts in Atlanta. Florida, who had twice dropped 4-3 decisions to Vanderbilt in the past five weeks, turned the tables on the Commodores, winning the doubles point and getting the clinching win from Brooke Austin at line 5. Because there are just four indoor courts in Athens, Austin didn't go on until one of the top 4 matches finished, but she had no difficulty taking out Georgina Sellyn 6-2, 6-3 to put the Gators in the final for the first time since they won the title in 2012.

Defending champion Stanford needed every last ounce of energy they had to beat the Buckeyes, with last year's title clincher Taylor Davidson again playing the role of hero as midnight approached Monday night. Ohio State's Miho Kowase at line 4 and Gabriella De Santis at line 3 both were serving for their matches against Caroline Lampl and Davidson at 5-4 in the third set, with Ohio State trailing 3-2.  Neither could close, although Kowase broke again and held on her second opportunity to make it 3-3.  De Santis broke a second time too, but she was unable to serve it out on her second chance, and a tiebreaker would decide Florida's opponent in Tuesday's final.  Davidson took a 6-3 lead, but De Santis fought off two match points, before a cramping Davidson took the third after a long rally that featured moonballs, normal rally shots, drives, and everything in between.

As the top two programs in Division I women's tennis, Stanford and Florida have played often in the finals, but this will be their first meeting with a title on the line since Florida's memorable 4-3 win in Palo Alto in 2011.

#9 NORTH CAROLINA (29-4) 4, #12 GEORGIA (22-8) 3

1. #12 William Blumberg/Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #1 Jan Zielinski/Robert Loeb (GEORGIA), 6-3
2. #82 Jack Murray/Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #67 Emil Reinberg/ Nathan Ponwith (GEORGIA), 7-5
3. Wayne Montgomery/ Walker Duncan (GEORGIA) def. Anu Kodali/ Ronnie Schneider (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-2

1. #56 Nathan Ponwith (GEORGIA) def. #22 Ronnie Schneider (NORTH CAROLINA), 7-6(4), 6-2
2. #16 William Blumberg (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #33 Wayne Montgomery (GEORGIA), 6-3, 6-2
3. #116 Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #59 Emil Reinberg (GEORGIA), 6-3, 6-4
4. Jan Zielinski (GEORGIA) def. Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA), 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3
5. Walker Duncan (GEORGIA) def. Jack Murray (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-1, 7-5
6. Bo Boyden (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Robert Loeb (GEORGIA), 7-6(0), 4-6, 6-3
Doubles (3,1,2) Singles (2,5,3,1,5,6)

#2 VIRGINIA (33-1) 4, #3 OHIO STATE (32-3) 2

1. Mikael Torpegaard/Herkko Pollanen (OHIO STATE) def. #17 Luca Corinteli/Carl Söderlund (VIRGINIA), 7-6(3)
2. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA) def. #30 Hugo Di Feo/Martin Joyce (OHIO STATE), 6-4
3. Hunter Tubert/JJ Wolf (OHIO STATE) def. Collin Altamirano/J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA), 6-4

1. #2 Mikael Torpegaard (OHIO STATE) def. #91 Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA), 6-2, 2-6, 7-6(3)
2. #14 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VIRGINIA) def. #46 JJ Wolf (OHIO STATE), 6-2, 6-2
3. #9 Hugo Di Feo (OHIO STATE) vs. Carl Söderlund (VIRGINIA), 5-7, 6-4, 2-1, DNF
4. #40 Collin Altamirano (VIRGINIA) def. Martin Joyce (OHIO STATE), 6-0, 6-3
5. #109 J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA) def. Herkko Pollanen (OHIO STATE), 6-3, 6-3
6. #102 Henrik Wiersholm (VIRGINIA) def. Kyle Seelig (OHIO STATE), 7-5, 7-5
Doubles (3,2,1) Singles (2,4,5,1,6)

#1 FLORIDA (28-3) 4, #3 VANDERBILT (24-6) 2

1. #11 Anna Danilina/Ingrid Neel (FLORIDA) def. #1 Astra Sharma/Emily Smith (VANDERBILT), 6-1
2. #20 Brooke Austin/Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA) def. Sydney Campbell/Emma Kurtz (VANDERBILT), 6-4
3. #45 Josie Kuhlman/Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) vs. Christina Rosca/Fernanda Contreras (VANDERBILT), 5-5, DNF

1. #6 Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) def. #4 Astra Sharma (VANDERBILT), 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-0
2. #15 Sydney Campbell (VANDERBILT) def. #23 Josie Kuhlman (FLORIDA), 6-4, 6-1
3. #102 Christina Rosca (VANDERBILT) def. #31 Ingrid Neel (FLORIDA), 7-5, 6-4
4. #44 Anna Danilina (FLORIDA) def. Emma Kurtz (VANDERBILT), 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
5. Brooke Austin (FLORIDA) def. Georgina Sellyn (VANDERBILT), 6-2, 6-3
6. #59 Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA) vs. Fernanda Contreras (VANDERBILT), 6-0, 1-3, DNF
Doubles (1,2) Singles (2,3,4,1,5)
#7 Stanford 4, #3 Ohio State 3

1. #18 Kowase/Di Lorenzo (OSU) vs. #39 Arbuthnott/Davidson (STAN), 4-4, unf.
2. Sanford/Niehaus (OSU) def. #46 Lord/Doyle (STAN), 6-2
3. De Santis/Angeles Paz (OSU) def. Higuchi/Lampl (STAN), 6-1

1. #1 Francesca Di Lorenzo (OSU) def. #38 Caroline Doyle (STAN), 6-1, 6-0
2. #28 Melissa Lord (STAN) def. #67 Anna Sanford (OSU), 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
3. #54 Taylor Davidson (STAN) def. #95 Gabriella De Santis (OSU), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(5)
4. #91 Miho Kowase (OSU) def. #90 Caroline Lampl (STAN), 3-6, 7-6(0), 7-5
5. Emily Arbuthnott (STAN) def. #112 Sandy Niehaus (OSU), 6-4, 6-3
6. #71 Emma Higuchi (STAN) def. Ferny Angeles Paz (OSU), 6-3, 7-5
Order of Finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (1,5,2,6,4,3)

The semifinals are set at the NCAA Division III Team Championships in Chattanooga, with rain also causing problems there, with a two-hour delay.  Three of the four semifinalists in both the men's and women's draws have returned, with only Claremont-Mudd-Scripps preventing a repeat in each draw. Defending women's champion Emory and defending men's champion Bowdoin remain in the hunt for another title.

Today's results:
CMS def. Washington-St Louis 5-1
Emory def. Bowdoin 5-1
Williams def. Chicago 5-3
Middlebury def. Johns Hopkins 5-1

Emory def. Williams 5-3
Bowdoin def. Washington-St Louis
CMS def. Wesleyan 5-0
Middlebury def. Gustavus Adolphus 5-1

Nine US men were in action Monday in the first round of the French Open qualifying and seven advanced: Reilly Opelka, Tim Smyczek, Mackenzie McDonald, Stefan Kozlov, Bradley Klahn, Denis Kudla and Bjorn Fratangelo[32].  Michael Mmoh and Mitchell Krueger were the only two Americans in action who failed to advance. Rajeev Ram and Dennis Novikov play their first round matches on Tuesday.

The women's qualifying begins on Tuesday, with six of the 11 Americans in the draw playing their first round matches, including 2016 USTA 18s and US Open girls champion Kayla Day. In addition to Day, Jamie Loeb, Nicole Gibbs[20], Grace Min, Irina Falconi and Alexa Glatch are on Tuesday's schedule. Sonya Kenin, Kristie Ahn, Asia Muhammad, Bethanie Mattek-Sands[12] and Sachia Vickery[24] will play their first round matches Wednesday. Ahn and Muhammad is the only all-US first round match in either draw.

Both number 1 seeds were ousted in first round action today at the Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan. Elysia Bolton beat defending champion and former ITF junior No. 1 Olesya Pervushina of Russia 3-6, 7-5, 6-0 for the best win of her career.  Boys top seed Yibing Wu of China was beaten by Chun Hsin Tseng of Taiwan 6-1, 6-1.  In addition to Bolton, other US girls advancing to the second round are Whitney Osuigwe[6], Natasha Subhash, Taylor Johnson[4] and Ann Li.  Caty McNally, Sofia Sewing[9] and Ellie Douglas[12] lost their first round matches.  Qualifier Elli Mandlik plays on Tuesday.

The US boys had a rough day, going 1-4, with only No. 4 seed Trent Bryde advancing.  Gianni Ross, Vasil Kirkov, Danny Thomas and wild card Mark Mandlik lost.  Seven US boys are scheduled to play their first round matches on Tuesday.  Live scoring is available at TennisTicker.