TCU teammates Alex Rybakov and Alastair Gray remained undefeated on the grass at Newport and will face each other on Sunday with a nice prize awaiting the winner. The TCU junior and freshman won the Woodbridge/Woodforde doubles flight at the Hall of Fame ITA Grass Court Invitational by defeating last season's NCAA runner-ups Georgia's Jan Zielinski and Robert Loeb 8-7. In the Andy Roddick singles flight, Rybakov won his semifinal match over Columbia's Jackie Tang 6-4, 7-5 while Gray edged Georgia's Jan Zielinski 6-7, 6-1, 10-3. The winner of Sunday's match will earn a main draw wild card into next July's ATP 250 Hall of Fame Open while the loser will get a wild card into the qualifying draw.

North Carolina junior Jessie Aney and Florida senior Anna Danilina will meet in the final of the Kim Clijsters singles flight after Aney edged Florida senior Josie Kuhlman 6-3, 3-6, 10-8 while Danilina rollled over Princeton senior Katrine Steffensen 6-1, 6-2. The winner of Sunday's final gets a main draw wild card into a $25K USTA Pro Circuit event while the loser gets a qualifying wild card. 

Georgia's Alex Phillips and Illinois's Caleb Chakravarthi will meet in the final of the Gardnar Mulloy singles flight while LSU's Eden Richardson and North Texas's Maria Kononova will square off in the Althea Gibson singles final. Full results are available on the ITA's event page

The opening day of the Audi Napa Valley Classic was a good one for USC and Cal with their guys going a combined 6-2 in singles. Billy Griffith, JT Nishimura, and Bjorn Hoffmann were the three Bears to pick up wins while USC's wins came from Jake DeVine, Thibault Forget, and Mateusz Smolicki. Oklahoma's Aleksandre Bakshi, who transferred in from Texas A&M, spoiled the collegiate debut of Cal's Jack Molloy with a straight set win while fellow Sooner Jochen Bertsch did the same to Texas A&M's Juan Carlos Aguilar. The USTA's High Performance Junior Team went 2-6 on the day with Axel Nefve and Jaycer Lyeons picking up wins while Nathan Han was edged 7-6 in the third by Texas A&M's Valentin Vacherot. Full results from Friday are available at this link which also includes the UTRs of each player. 

Friday, 15 September 2017 09:42

What's Coming Up This Week

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Last week was the official kickoff of the fall tournament season but things really ramp up this weekend with over 20 events taking place across the country. The ones that I'll be following the closest are the Duke James Bonk Invite in Cary, the Hall of Fame Grass Court Invitational in Newport, and the Audi Napa Valley Classic. 

The Duke James Bonk Invite in Cary, North Carolina, has three flights of men's singles and three flights of men's doubles with Duke's Spencer Furman, UNC's Simon Soendergaard, Duke's Nick Stachowiak, and Wake Forest's Alan Gadjiev the top four seeds in the highest singles flight. Teams sending participants are Duke, Wake Forest, North Carolina, N.C. State, Louisville, Auburn, Princeton, North Florida, VCU, Charlotte, Gardner-Webb, and Elon. On the women's side there are five flights of singles while doubles will have three rotations in a non-flighted format. Teams sending participants are Duke, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, LSU, NC State. Northwestern, Illinois, Furman, Charlotte, and Elon. You can view the all the draws at these two links - men & women

Near the end of last week the ITA released the selections for the upcoming All-American Championships. The women's event, which takes place in Pacific Palisades, California, from September 30th to October 8th, uses the ITA preseason national singles and doubles rankings to determine at-large selections while the final regional rankings from last season determine the regional representatives. Returning ITA All-Americans and the ITA National Summer Champion are granted automatic entry into the main draw. The detailed selection criteria is available here and the list of all those selected for the 32-player main draw, 64-player qualifying draw, and 64-player pre-qualifying draw are available here. No freshmen were selected for the main draw while the only ones selected to the qualifying draw were Rice's Michaela Haet and Yale's Mimi Levine.  

The men's event, which takes place in Tulsa, Oklahoma, from September 30th through October 9th, utilizes a similar selection criteria however the main draw and qualifying draws are double the size (64-player main and 128-player qualifying) while the prequalifying draw is a massive 256-player draw. The full list of selections are available at this link. Stanford's Axel Geller was the only freshman to get selected for the main draw while all the other top 10 freshmen/newcomers, except UCF's Gabriel Decamps who will be joining the team in January, were selected for the qualifying draw.

The Oracle ITA preseason singles and doubles rankings were released today along with the top 10 freshmen newcomers. The singles and doubles rankings are last season's final rankings with all the graduating seniors removed along with those that turned pro or are taking the fall off to play pro events. There are no freshmen included in these initial singles rankings. 

Ohio State senior Mikael Torpegaard and UCLA sophomore Ena Shibahara were No. 1 in the men's and women's singles rankings. Wake Forest seniors Skander Mansouri and Christian Seraphim were the top ranked men's doubles team while Michigan junior Kate Fahey and senior Alex Najarian were the top ranked women's doubles team.

There were several players that would have been ranked but for one reason or another (turned pro, taking the fall off to play pro events, not enrolled in school, name wasn't submitted) they were not. Cameron Norrie and Collin Altamirano turned pro while Georgia Tech's Chris Eubanks, Baylor's Juan Benitez, Alabama's Mazen Osama, and Florida State's Aziz Dougaz are only playing pro events in the fall. Wake's Borna Gojo, SMU's Ronald Slobodchikov, Memphis's Ryan Peniston and Andrew Watson, TCU's Guillermo Nunez, and Washington's Mitch Stewart were also not listed though I'm not 100% sure on the reason for each. I was surprised to see Arkansas's Jose Salazar at No. 27 because he was listed as a senior last year and is not showing on the current roster. Salazar sat out his first year at Oklahoma and then played in his second before transferring to Arkansas for the last two so he may trying to petition for that final year of eligibility. 

Kevin Anderson had a tremendous two weeks at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center but unfortunately he came up short in the singles final falling to world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in three sets. The opening set stayed on serve through the first six service games, which included an Anderson hold in a six-deuce game, but Nadal would get the first break in a one-deuce game to go in front 4-3. After Nadal held from 40/15, he would break Anderson again to take the opening set 6-3 in 58 minutes. 

The second set started off with five straight holds until Nadal broke Anderson from 30/40 to take a 4-2 lead. Nadal would hold serve two more times to claim the set 6-3 in 39 minutes.

Nadal started off the third set with a break and hold to go up 2-0 and it'd be all holds the rest of the way with Nadal serving out the match in a one-deuce game to win 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 in 2 hours and 27 minutes. Anderson hit 10 aces in the match and won 73% of the points on his first serve but Nadal ripped into his second serve winning 64% of the points. Anderson won just 15 of 72 points (21%) on Nadal's serve while not having any break opportunities. Despite the loss Anderson picked up 1200 ATP points and a tidy sum of $1.83 million. 

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