Plenty of current, future, and former college players were in action today at pro events all across the globe. There are a pair of Futures events in the United States this week with one taking place on the clay in Rochester and another on the hard courts in Winston-Salem. Recent Virginia graduate Thai-Son Kwiatkowski won the longest match of the day with the former Hoo defeating TCU's Alex Rybakov in 3 hours and 11 minutes. Rybakov came back from a 4-1 first set deficit to take the set in a tiebreak 7-5 but Kwiatkowski would get a split by taking the second set in a tiebreak 11-9. Rybakov led that second set tiebreak 5-3 but he never had a match point. Kwiatkowski broke Rybakov to start the third set and he'd add another break to go up 5-2 and would close it out with a love hold to win 6-7, 7-6, 6-2. 

Kwiatkowski will face recent South Florida graduate Sasha Gozun in the second round after Gozun defeated 16 year-old Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 7-6. Other players with college ties that advanced to the second round are Mikael Torpegaard (Ohio State), Winston Lin (Columbia), Alexander Knight (Michigan), Sam Monette (Indiana), Dennis Nevolo (Illinois), Charles Broom (Dartmouth), Cameron Silverman (Elon). Julian Zlobinsky (Texas), and Ohio State commit John McNally. 

Ryan Shane (Virginia), Wil Spencer (Georgia), and Riley Smith (USC) scored upset wins in Winston-Salem to join the nine other players with college ties in the second round. 

Shane defeated the No. 2 seed Alex Sarkissian (Pepperdine) in a pair of tiebreak sets. In the first set tiebreak Shane came back from a 4-0 deficit to take it 8-6 but Sarkissian rebounded in the second set and went ahead 3-0. Shane won three straight to even it at 3-3 and he'd break for 5-4 but Sarkissian broke at love to knot it at 5-5. After an exchange of holds, Shane raced out to a 6-0 lead in the tiebreak and ended up winning it 7-4. Shane will meet Henry Craig (Denver) in the second round after Craig defeated last year's Kalamazoo Boys 18 runner-up Vasil Kirkov 6-1, 6-3

What a tremendous week for players with college tennis ties with 46 winning or finishing as runner-up at pro tournaments across the globe. Georgia Tech rising senior Chris Eubanks won his first career pro title with a long three-set win over 2012 Georgia Tech graduate Kevin King. King spent this past season as a volunteer coach at Georgia Tech while rehabbing an injury and he and Eubanks also played doubles this week with the pair finishing as runner-up to USC's Brandon Holt and Riley Smith. In Sunday's final at the USA F17 Futures in Winston-Salem, Eubanks came back from a 2-0 first set deficit to take the set 7-5 but King bounced back in the second set and took it 6-2. There are were no breaks of serve in the third set with the only break opportunity coming when King served 3-4 (ad-out). King went up a mini-break to start the third set tiebreak but he wouldn't lead again as Eubanks led 4-2 at the changeover and ended up taking it 8-6. 

The last vacant Power Five head coaching position was filled on Friday when Minnesota Athletic Director Mark Coyle announced the hiring of Catrina Thompson as the new women's head coach of the Gophers. Thompson comes to Minneapolis from South Bend where she has been the women's assistant coach for the last four years. Thompson played at Notre Dame from 2003 to 2007 and also coached at Yale and Boise State. Thompson replaces Chuck Merzbacher who retired after 28 years as a head coach with the final five coming at Minnesota. Below are some quotes from Minnesota's recap:

"As an assistant coach, Catrina has contributed to significant academic and athletic success for her student-athletes during the past seven seasons. She is a person of great substance, and her dedication to the total collegiate experience is exactly what we want from all of our head coaches," said Athletics Director Mark Coyle. "Catrina was an All-American and a professional athlete before becoming a coach. She's competed, coached and won at the highest levels. That experience will serve her and our student-athletes well."

"I am thrilled to be a part of the Gopher family. I am looking forward to helping Gopher student-athletes develop and reach their goals on and off the court, and also building on the success and tradition that the University of Minnesota embodies," said Thompson. "I am humbled by this incredible opportunity with which I have been entrusted. I want to thank Mark and everyone at Minnesota for this honor and responsibility, and I'd also like to thank Jay Louderback and Beck Roghaar for their mentorship throughout my college coaching career."

Thursday, 15 June 2017 08:44

Thursday Pro Circuit Update

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There are three pro events this week in the United States and all three have a slew of players with college ties that are still in the draw as the weekend approaches. In Winston-Salem, seven of the eight singles quarterfinalists and all four of the doubles finalists have college ties. Georgia Tech rising senior Chris Eubanks and 2012 Georgia Tech graduate Kevin King advanced to the doubles finals where they'll meet USC rising sophomores Brandon Holt and Riley Smith.

Eubanks, King, and Holt also advanced to the singles quarterfinals with King getting a walkover win over the No. 3 seed Christian Harrison. Holt came back from 5-3 down in the third to defeat Wake Forest's Borna Gojo 7-5, 6-7, 7-5. Gojo served for the match and had a pair of match points at 5-4 (40/15) but Holt won four straight to break for 5-5 and then broke again at love to close it out. Eubanks won a pair of tiebreak sets over 2016 Denver graduate Henry Craig. There were no breaks of serve in the match and in fact there was only one break point which came when Craig served at 5-6 (30/40) in the first set. 

Another big coaching opening was filled as LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva named Andy Brandi and his son Chris as the men's co-head coaches of the Tigers. Andy has plenty of coaching experience in the SEC after spending 17 exceptional seasons as the women's head coach at Florida from 1984 to 2001. During those 17 seasons, Andy won three NCAA Championships while his teams won 91% of its matches and lost zero SEC home matches! After Andy left Florida he served as Director of Tennis at the IMG Academy for five years and then most recently he was a national coach on the USTA Player Development staff.

Chris Brandi played collegiately at TCU and Florida from 2001 to 2005 and then was an assistant coach at Wake Forest in 2008 and at Baylor from 2009-2011; most recently he was a private tennis coach in Florida. Andy and Chris Brandi replace Jeff Brown who stepped down after 15 seasons. Below are some quotes from LSU's release:

For the second time in the last three weeks Virginia director of athletics Craig Littlepage welcomed in a new head tennis coach. The day after the NCAA team championships he named Andres Pedroso as the director of tennis and head men's coach and today he named Sara Anundsen O’Leary as the new women’s head coach. O'Leary comes to Charlottesville after spending the last three seasons as the women's head coach at Davidson where she led the Wildcats to a 45-21 (.682) record. Prior to coaching at Davidson, O'Leary was an assistant coach at her alma mater, North Carolina,

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