John Isner (Georgia '07) returned to the state where he had a ton of success in college and proceeded to win his fourth singles title at the BB&T Atlanta Open. Isner, who won the week before in Newport and has now won 12 career singles titles, fired 23 aces and won 85% of the points on his first serve in a 7-6(6), 7-6(7) win over fellow American Ryan Harrison. There were no breaks of serve in the first set, in fact there were no break points either, though Harrison went up a mini-break to start the tiebreak. Isner put it back on serve on the next point and would eventually fight off a set point when serving at 5-6 before taking the tiebreak 8-6.
Harrison jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second set after breaking Isner from 30/40 but Isner broke back in a one-deuce game to make it 2-1. After another nine holds, Harrison went up 4-1 in the tiebreak but Isner took the next three to even it at 4-4. Harrison fought off a set point while serving at 5-6 while Isner fought off one while serving at 6-7. Isner would close out the second set tiebreak just like the first by winning the final three points to take it 9-7.
Isner won $114,595 with the title while collecting 250 ATP points which moved his ranking up from 20 to 18.
Yannick Hanfmann (USC '15) started off 2017 by playing a pair of Futures events in his old college stomping grounds of Los Angeles but seven months later he's two sets away from winning his first ATP singles title. Hanfmann came into the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open in Gstaad, Switzerland, with just three career main draw ATP wins but after breezing through two qualifying matches he's won four straight main draw matches with all four going the full three sets. Hanfmann started off the week with 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-4 win over Facundo Bagnis (ATP 109) and then in the second round he knocked out the defending champ Feliciano Lopez (ATP 27) 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-1. In the quarterfinals, Hanfmann dispatched Joao Sousa (ATP 61) 6-7(10), 6-2, 6-2 which set up his match today against Robin Haase (ATP 50).
Haase jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the opening set but Hanfmann broke, held, and broke to put it back on serve at 4-3. Haase would break back from 30/40 and then serve out the set from 40/30 to take it 6-3.
Haase broke Hanfmann from 15/40 to start the second set but Hanfmann broke back from 30/40 to even it at 1-all. The rest of the set would be all holds with only two of the next ten service games reaching deuce (Hanfmann held on both occasions). In the second set tiebreak, Haase had a pair of match points after going in front 6-4 but Hanfmann took the next four points to take the tiebreak 8-6 and force a third and deciding set.
William Blumberg continued his strong play at the $75K Levene Gouldin & Thompson Tennis Challenger in Binghamton, New York, as the North Carolina rising sophomore moved into the quarterfinals after defeating Denis Kudla (ATP 172) 6-3, 6-2. Blumberg, who got into the main draw via a wild card, won 81% of the points on his first serve and he broke Kudla six times. Blumberg will have the day off on Thursday and will be back on Friday to take on China's Ze Zhang (ATP 259). Cameron Norrie, who just recently turned pro after his junior season at TCU, also moved into the quarterfinals after he defeated Daniel Nguyen (USC '12) 6-3, 6-3. Norrie's next opponent will be the 2013 NCAA singles champion Blaz Rola after the former Ohio State Buckeye defeated Alex Bolt 6-3, 6-2.
Georgia Tech rising senior Chris Eubanks picked up his first career main draw win at the ATP-level and moved into the second round of the BB&T Atlanta Open with a straight set win over 19-year-old American Taylor Fritz. Both guys served well with each winning over 70% of the points on their serve but it was Eubanks who earned the lone break of the match and came away with the 7-6(5), 6-4 win. Eubanks was playing in the main draw of his hometown event for the third year in a row but this was the first time he was able to come away with the all-important win. Next up for Eubanks is the eighth seed Jared Donaldson.
The opening day of Wimbledon qualies was a good one for those with college tennis ties as 11 of 18 men picked up opening round wins. 2015 USC graduate Roberto Quiroz defeated 2011 Texas graduate Ed Corrie in the only matchup between two former college players. Corrie jumped out to a 6-4, 3-1 lead but Quiroz won 10 straight games to go up 5-0 in the third and would close it out 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. Benjamin Becker, who won the 2004 NCAA Singles Championship, moved on to the second round with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Yasutaka Uchiyama. The 36-year old former Baylor Bear broke Uchiyama to go up 5-3 in the second and then in the third set he broke for 3-2.
James McGee, who spent two seasons at the NC State almost 10 years ago, won his first-ever qualifying match at Wimbledon by coming back from 4-1 down in the third to defeat Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-4. McGee will try to make it two in a row when he plays Andrey Rublev in the second round.
Full results from Monday are down below along with the second round matchups. The women get started on Tuesday with five former college players in the qualifying draw.
The ITA released its second set of computerized team rankings today and we now have a new mens No. 1 with Ohio State taking over the top spot while Virginia drops to No. 2. Wake Forest stayed at No. 3, Oklahoma moved up one spot to No. 4, and Oklahoma State moved up three spots to No. 5. This set of rankings used each team's five best wins and all losses so even though Virginia had the head-to-head victory Ohio State's body of work at this point in the season was just a little bit better. Further down below I'll show my subscribers how each team's ranking was calculated so if you haven't subscribed yet now is just as good a time as any.
The women's top four stayed the same with Florida, Ohio State, North Carolina, and Michigan at 1, 2, 3, and 4 while Georgia Tech moved up six spots to No. 5 after picking up a big road win on Friday at Georgia. Down below the login line I have a breakdown of all the teams that entered the rankings and all those that dropped out with why they made the moves that they did.
It looked like Virginia was playing a dual-match today at USC as five guys played in the singles main draw with four of them on court at the same time. UVA senior JC Aragone was the first off the court after holding off ATP #515 Markos Kalovelonis. Aragone broke from 30/40 to go up 5-4 in the third and then he served it out from 40/15 to take it 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. UVA junior Collin Altamirano pulled off the biggest upset of the day when he beat the top seed ATP #282 Tommy Paul 4-6, 6-0, 6-3. Altamirano was in control of his serve all day winning 50 of 68 points (.735) while he had an amazing 22 break point opportunities converting three in the second set and one in the third.
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.
It's officially time to open the book on another season of college tennis and the first page contains the preseason individual rankings which were released earlier on Tuesday. For those that weren't aware these preseason rankings are simply last year'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 although there is a list of the top 10 newcomers.
Ohio State junior Mikael Torpegaard lands at No. 1 in the men's rankings after finishing last year at No. 2. TCU junior Cameron Norrie is at No. 2, Illinois junior Aleks Vukic is at No. 3, Virginia senior Thai-Son Kwiatkowski is at No. 4, and Georgia Tech junior Christopher Eubanks comes in at No. 5.
Steve Johnson (USC '12) not only became the highest ranked American this week but he also became the highest ranked player with college ties. Johnson moved up two spots to 21 with John Isner (Georgia '07) staying at 22. Both Kevin Anderson (Illinois '07) and Benjamin Becker (Baylor '05) remain in the top 100 though Anderson is defending 250 points this week in Winston-Salem after winning the title last year.