College MatchDay Coming Back Strong in 2018; Pro Circuit Recap with Danielle Collins & Emilio Gomez Winning Singles TitlesWritten by Bobby Knight
The USTA announced that the popular College MatchDay series will return to Lake Nona in 2018 with eight matches scheduled between February 3rd and April 15th. The series kicks off with the Florida State and Florida men and women playing simultaneously and then a week later the Georgia and Georgia Tech men will play on February 9. The USTA National Campus drew over 5300 fans a year ago including just under 1800 for Florida State's upset win over Florida. “Last year, College MatchDay cemented itself as the bowl series of college tennis, with marquee matches and elite programs,” said USTA Collegiate Tennis Director Stephen Amritraj via the USTA's release. “It is quickly turning the USTA National Campus into the 'Home of College Tennis,' with a devoted fan base and incredible atmosphere."
The full College MatchDay schedule for next year is listed below plus they'll be plenty of other college matches scheduled for Lake Nona as well.
Saturday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. ET: Florida vs. Florida State men and women
Friday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. ET: Georgia vs. Georgia Tech men
Saturday, Feb. 24, at 10:30 a.m. ET: Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M men
Saturday, March 3, at 12:30 p.m. ET: UCF vs. Michigan men and women
Sunday, April 1, at 5 p.m. ET: Florida vs. Texas women
Sunday, April 15, at 5:30 p.m. ET: UCF vs. South Florida men
The final women's singles rankings of the fall are out and the top three players are from the unlikely locales of Kansas, Florida Atlantic, and Florida International. Kansas junior Anastasia Rychagova, who won the consolation draw at the All-Americans, jumped from No. 35 to No. 1 after picking up nine ranked wins including three over top 10 opponents. Rychagova becomes the first Kansas player to ever hold the top spot in the singles ranking.
Florida Atlantic sophomore Aliona Bolsova moved up from No. 30 to No. 2 after making the finals at the All-Americans. Bolsova picked up six ranked wins in her run from the qualifying draw to the final. Florida International senior Andrea Lazaro moved up from No. 29 to No. 3 after winning the National Fall Championships. Lazaro's six wins at Indian Wells all came over top 25 opponents plus she added three additional ranked wins en route to making the semifinals at the All-Americans.
Duke's Samantha Harris and Kelly Chen are the top ranked doubles team after going 9-2 (seven ranked wins) with semifinals showings at both of the fall majors. The second ranked doubles team is also from Duke with the All-American doubles champs Ellyse Hamlin and Kaitlyn McCarthy claiming that spot after going 8-2 (five ranked wins). According to Duke's release this is the first time that the top two spots in the doubles rankings have belonged to the same school since Stanford did it in 1990.
Typically the ITA only releases one set of individual rankings in the fall, with those being preseason rankings in early September, but today they released a second set of individual rankings which took into account all the results from the past two months. UCLA senior Martin Redlicki jumped up from No. 24 to No. 1 in the men's singles rankings after going 9-2 with a finals appearance at the All-Americans in Tulsa and a semifinal appearance at the National Fall Championships in California. Redlicki picked up four top 10 wins during the fall with wins over Wake's Petros Chrysochos, Oregon's Thomas Laurent, Florida's Alfredo Perez, and Michigan's Alex Knight. Redlicki's only losses came to No. 2 William Blumberg (UNC) and No. 3 Nuno Borges (Miss St).
Florida's Johannes Ingildsen and Alfredo Perez were the top ranked doubles team after going 7-1. The Florida duo won the All-Americans with wins over three top 10 teams plus they made it to the quarterfinals at the National Fall Championships.
Pro Circuit Recap - Carol Zhao Wins in Shenzhen; Strong Showing from Yannick Maden in France; Challenger Doubles SuccessWritten by Bobby Knight
For the second week in a row a former Stanford Cardinal claimed a singles title as Carol Zhao won the biggest singles title of her pro career at the ITF $100K event in Shenzhen, China. Zhao started off the week with a 6-4 (ret.) win over the No. 7 seed Anna Zaja and then in the second round she came back from a 5-1 third set deficit to defeat former top 30 player Laura Robson 6-1, 4-6, 7-5. Zhao defeated Xu Liu Sun 7-5, 6-4 in the quarterfinals and then in the semifinals she won 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 over Yuxuan Zhang. In the final, Zhao ousted the No. 4 seed Fangzhou Liu 7-5, 6-2 in 1 hour and 19 minutes. The singles title is the second of Zhao's career with the other coming back in August at a $25K event in Japan.
Zhao entered the week with a WTA ranking of 221 but with the title and corresponding 140 points she moved up 71 spots to a new career high of 150. Zhao also picked up a nice payday of $15,200. Zhao's former teammate Kristie Ahn won an $80K event last week in Tyler, Texas.
National Signing Day was this past Wednesday with hundreds of high school seniors signing their national letters of intent. The Tennis Recruiting Network has been doing a tremendous job with its Fall Signing Week coverage with article after article profiling several of the signees so if you haven't visited their site recently I highly recommend doing so.
It's always interesting to look back at the recruiting rankings from years past to see who excelled and who did not. If you look back at TRN's Blue Chips from 2014 several of them are top of the lineup players, some are solid contributors in the middle to lower part of the lineup, and a few quit playing.
I put all the blue chip, five-star, and some of the known international signees from TRN into a spreadsheet and added their respective Universal Tennis Ratings. There aren't any sure things but several of these guys and girls look like can't miss prospects.
Kristie Ahn won her second singles title of the year, seventh career, after defeating two-time NCAA singles champion Danielle Collins in the final of the $80K RBC Pro Challenge in Tyler, Texas. The match started off with three consecutive breaks until Ahn held for 3-1. The rest of the opening set was all holds, including a six-deuce hold by Ahn for 5-3, as Ahn would go on to take it 6-4. Ahn went up an early break in the second set but Collins back on serve at 4-4. However Ahn would break back at love for 5-4 and then go on to serve it out in a one-deuce game to claim the title with a 6-4, 6-4 win.
Ahn earned $12,000 and picked up 115 WTA ranking points which moved her ranking up to a new career of 106. As the runner-up Collins earned $6,500 and picked up 70 WTA ranking points which moved her ranking up from 206 to 167.