The United States had won the Master'U BNP Paribas for six straight years, and seven of the last eight, but Great Britain put an end to that streak with a 4-2 upset win last Sunday. The US came back from a 2-1 deficit in wins over France and Germany but it couldn't do it a third time against Great Britain. UCLA sophomore Ena Shibahara put Team USA in front 1-0 after coming back from 3-0 down in the third set to win 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 but recent North Florida graduate Jack Findel-Hawkins tied it up after defeating UCLA senior Martin Redlicki 6-4, 6-4. Pepperdine sophomore Ashley Lahey fell 7-6, 7-6 but it looked like USC sophomore Brandon Holt would tie it up when he served for the match up 6-5 (40/0) in the third. However Holt would be unable to close it out and would fall 7-6(3) to GB's Jonny O'Mara. Shibahara and Lahey trimmed the deficit to 3-2 with a 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 win in doubles but Redlicki and Holt fell 6-4, 6-3 to Findel-Hawkins and O'Mara to give Great Britain its first-ever Master'U championship. Former Texas Longhorn Pippa Horn was also a member of Team Great Britain. 

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The 12th annual Master'U BNP Paribas is set to begin in France with several current and former US college players set to participate in the eight-team event that Team USA has dominated since 2011. Team USA will be represented by UCLA's Martin Redlicki and Ena Shibahara, USC's Brandon Holt, Pepperdine's Ashley Lahey, Florida's Alfredo Perez, and North Carolina's Alle Sanford. Other players with US college tennis ties are Michael Geerts (Arizona State Sr/Belgium), Louis Cant (Mississippi State '12/Belgium), Jane Fennelly (Notre Dame '17/Ireland), Pippa Horn (Texas '15/Great Britain), and Jack Findel-Hawkins (North Florida '17/Great Britain). The eight countries participating are the United State, France, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, China, Russia, and Ireland. Live scoring will be available at this link and there is a tournament program here though most of it is in French. Boise State head coach Greg Patton is writing a blog for USTA.com so you can check out his Thursday post at this link.

First-Round Pairings:
[1] USA vs. France
[4] Germany vs. Belgium
[3] Great Britain vs. Ireland
[2] Russia vs. China

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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

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The Wimbledon main draws were released on Friday with 34 players with college ties set to compete at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. There were 23 former college players in the singles qualifying draws but Irina Falconi was the only one to come through with the former Yellow Jacket qualifying with a straight set win over Mariana Duque-Marino. Falconi's reward for qualifying will be a match against the top seed and last year's runner-up Angelique Kerber.

There will be four former college players in the men's singles draw and two in the women's singles draw. The men's doubles draw has 25 former college players while the women's doubles draw has four. The top seed in the men's doubles draw belongs to former MTSU Blue Raider and Baylor Bear John Peers and his partner Henri Kontinen. 

Cameron Norrie, who recently turned pro, will face ATP #10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first round while both John Isner and Steve Johnson are seeded and will face Taylor Fritz and Nicolas Kicker respectively. Former Illini Kevin Anderson will have a tough opener against Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.  

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It was a big weekend in upstate New York for Mikael Torpegaard as the Ohio State rising senior swept both the singles and doubles titles at the USA F20 Futures in Rochester. Torpegaard won his third career pro singles title after dispatching former Big Ten rival Sam Monette (Indiana '16) in straight sets. Torpegaard jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the opening set and had three set points when serving up 40/0 but Monette managed to take the next five points to break for 1-5. Monette made it two straight with a hold for 2-5 but Torpegaard served out the set at love to take it 6-2 (note - there was a brief rain delay before Torpegaard's 5-2 service game). Torpegaard broke at love to start the second set and would lead *3-2 when the rain came again and delayed play for over three hours. Once things started back up Torpegaard maintained his break lead and closed out Monette 6-2, 6-4 in 57 minutes.

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Virginia senior Thai-Son Kwiatkowski moved into the doubles final and singles semifinals after picking up straight set wins in both of his Thursday's matches at the $10K Mayaguez, Puerto Rico F1 Futures. Kwiatkowski started off the day with a sound 6-1, 6-3 win over Kalamazoo Boys 18 runner-up Vasil Kirkov. Kwiatkowski won 32 of 37 (.865) points on serve and 29 of 56 (.518) on Kirkov's serve while breaking the 17 year-old four times. Following a brief break Kwiatkowski and Quinton Vega, who spent a few years at Wisconsin, defeated the Lock Brothers. Ben and Courtney, 6-4, 6-2. Kwiatkowski will now face recent UNC Tar Heel Brayden Schnur in the singles semifinals while he and Vega will face the top seeds Ilija Vucic (St. John's '12*) and Nebojsa Peric in the doubles final.

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Five years ago John Peers was finishing out his collegiate career at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and on Sunday he and his doubles partner Henri Kontinen won the year-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. The match didn't exactly start off on the right foot for the Peers/Kontinen team after they dropped the opening set to Rajeev Ram (Illinois '03*) and Raven Klaasen 6-2 however Peers/Kontinen rebounded to take the second set 6-1 to set up a winner take all third set supertiebreak. The server won each of the first 16 points in the tiebreak until Peers/Kontinen earned the mini-break off the Klaasen serve to take a 9-8 lead. Peers closed it out with a service winner to make the final 2-6, 6-1, 10-8. Peers and Kontinen split $455,000 and earned 1500 ATP points while Ram and Klaasen split $245,000 and earned 800 ATP points. 

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Friday, 18 November 2016 22:25

Pro Circuit Friday Recap

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.

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