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
While most of us were feasting on turkey and stuffing last week there were several guys and gals that were out on the pro tour taking care of business. Marcelo Arevalo (Tulsa '11*) and Alejandro Gomez (Kentucky '14) won singles titles in their home countries while Aleksandr Nedovyesov (Oklahoma State '10), Catherine Harrison (UCLA '16), and Maddie Kobelt (Syracuse '14) won doubles titles in their backyards.
Arevalo swept both the singles and doubles titles at the $10K El Salvador F2 Futures (Clay) in La Libertad. Arevalo was the top seed in both draws with he and Christopher Diaz-Figueroa winning the doubles title on Friday with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Pirmin Haenle and Nicholas Reyes and then on Saturday Arevalo capped off the week with a 6-1, 6-2 rout over the second seed Bruno Sant'Anna. Arevalo only dropped 20 games in his five matches in route to winning his 11th singles title while the doubles title was his 21st of his career and fifth with Diaz-Figueroa. Arevalo has now equaled his singles career high of 176 while his doubles ranking of 119 is just two spots behind his career high of 117.
Since the fall college season has come to a close I thought I'd take a look at the players with college ties that are in action at Pro Circuit events across the planet. We'll start in Champaign where Georgia Tech junior Chris Eubanks was playing for a spot in the finals of the JSM Challenger against ATP #141 Henri Laaksonen. After splitting a pair of tiebreaks, Eubanks jumped out to a single-break 3-0 lead in the third set but he'd be unable to close it out as Laaksonen took six of the next seven games to take it 7-6(3), 6-7(6), 6-4. Eubanks definitely showed he belonged after hitting 14 aces, landing 64 percent of his first serves, and winning 33 percent of the points on Laaksonen's serve.
USC freshman Brandon Holt won the Southern California Intercollegiate Championships on Monday afternoon with a straight set win over senior teammate Nick Crystal. Holt broke Crystal from 30/40 to take the opening set 6-4 but Crystal looked like he'd take the early break lead in the second after going ahead 0/40 on Holt's 1-1 service game. Holt managed to come back and hold for 2-1 but Crystal would even it at 2-2 after coming back from 15/40 down. Crystal finally got the break, on the deciding point, to go up 3-2 but he wouldn't win another game the rest of the way. Crystal double faulted the break back to Holt and then Holt held on the deciding point to take a 4-3 lead. Holt broke again and then he served it out for a 6-4, 6-3 win. If you wanted to rewatch the match it is available at this link.
Holt and Riley Smith were set to play Texas Tech's Alex Sendegeya and Bjorn Thomson in the doubles final however Texas Tech's guys couldn't stay until Monday so the final went unplayed. Full results from all other draws can be found here.
13 players with college ties won pro events last week with another 15 finishing as runner-up.
Wil Spencer (Georgia '12) won his third career Futures singles title with a straight set win over Illinois junior Aron Hiltzik at the $25K USA F31 Futures in Houston. Spencer broke Hiltzik from 15/40 to take the first set 6-4 and then after falling behind 3-1 in the second Spencer reeled off five straight games to close it out 6-4, 6-3 in 1 hour and 18 minutes. Spencer is expected to rise from 730 to around 585 in next week's rankings while Hiltzik will shoot up from 1580 to around 885.