A trio of top 15 matches highlighted the mid-week slate with the TCU men, Pepperdine women, and Duke women all coming through with wins.
TCU earned a hard fought 4-3 win at home over No. 8 Texas A&M. The Horned Frogs won a pivotal doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 2 and then each team took three opening sets in singles. Texas A&M's Valentin Vacherot tied it up with a straight set win at No. 3 but TCU made it 3-1 with a three-set win from Luc Fomba at No. 5 and a straight set win from Sander Jong at No. 6. Texas A&M's Barnaby Smith made it 3-2 with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 4 and Juan Carlos Aguilar tied it up with a 7-6, 7-5 win at No. 2. TCU senior Alex Rybakov won the decider on senior night with a 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 win over Hady Habib.
The big match during the week took place in Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon as eighth-ranked UCLA hosted ninth-ranked Pepperdine. The Bruins struck first by taking the doubles point with wins at No. 2 and No. 3 but Pepperdine quickly tied it up with a 6-0, 6-0 win by Anastasia Iamachkine at No. 6. UCLA retook the lead with a straight set win by Elysia Bolton at No. 2 but Pepperdine added straight set wins by Jessica Failla and Daria Kuczer at No. 3 and No. 4 to go in front 3-2. UCLA's Jada Hart tied the match at 3-3 with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 1 but Pepperdine's Dzina Milovanovic would win the decider at No. 5 singles 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.
In men's action on Wednesday, No. 11 North Carolina defeated ACC rival No. 21 NC State 4-0. The Tar Heels took the doubles point and then added straight set wins in singles from William Blumberg, Brian Cernoch, and Bo Boyden at No. 1, No. 3, and No. 5.
Wake Forest defeated North Carolina for the second time in the last five weeks with a 5-2 victory at home in Winston-Salem. North Carolina got off to a promising start after taking the doubles point and adding a straight set win from Mac Kiger at No. 6 but Wake tied it up at 2-2 with straight set wins from Petros Chrysochos and Rrezart Cungu at No. 2 and No. 5. The three remaining matches went three sets with Wake taking them all. Borna Gojo won 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 at No. 1 to make it 3-2, Bar Botzer got the clincher with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win at No. 3, and to close out the day Melios Efstathiou won 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-4 at No. 4.
The Winston-Salem Journal has a good recap of the match with quotes from Tony Bresky, Sam Paul, Borna Gojo, and Bar Botzer so make sure you give it a read.
Wake Forest now has a two game lead in the ACC over North Carolina and Virginia while Miami is just one game back however the Canes still have to play both Wake and UVA.
Wednesday afternoon brought us a top 3 showdown on the women's side with North Carolina hosting rival Duke. The Tar Heels, ranked No. 1 by the ITA and No. 2 by the USTA, jumped out to the early 1-0 lead on #3/#4 Duke after rolling to 6-2 win at both No. 1 and No. 3 doubles. UNC added four opening sets in singles however the first match to finish came at No. 6 with Duke's Ellyse Hamlin winning convincingly 6-0, 6-1. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils that'd be the only point they'd muster because UNC's Sara Daavettila would make it 2-1 with a 6-4, 6-0 win at No. 3 and Cameron Morra would up the lead to 3-1 with a 6-2, 7-5 win at No. 4.
UNC senior Jessie Aney would close it out at No. 5, in the only match to go three sets, with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win.
Over the last few days both the ITA and USTA released their weekly rankings. There wasn't much movement in the USTA/Tennis Channel Top 25 however in the Oracle ITA Top 50 there were several changes. Last week's ITA rankings used each team's four best wins but this week's rankings used each team's five best wins so that extra data point accounted for some of the movement. The North Carolina women took over the top spot from undefeated Georgia who just defeated them just two weeks ago in the finals of the National Team Indoors. UNC got a ranking bump by having wins over last week's #3 Duke, #5 UCLA, #7 Vanderbilt, #13 Oklahoma State, and #23 NC State. Georgia's five best wins used in this week's rankings were over #2 UNC, #4 Stanford, #7 Vanderbilt, #23 NC State, and #31 Georgia Tech so that fifth win (#23 vs. #31) was where UNC made up the difference in points.
The USTA Men's Top 25 didn't have any movement in the top 9 though last week's No. 10 UCLA dropped to No. 14 after a loss to USC. The USTA Women's Top 25 didn't have any movement in the top 13 and the other sizable movement in the top 25 was UCF entering at No. 24 while Florida, which lost to UCF, fell from No. 18 to No. 25.
I have the side-by-side tables of both the men and women down below so you can see where the biggest differences are at.
Wednesday was rankings release day with both the ITA and USTA releases its latest rankings. Up until this point all the ITA team rankings have been done by committee but starting with this week and going forward the computers take so that's why we saw a bunch of swings in this week's rankings versus prior weeks. The computer rankings used each team's four best wins while deducting points for losses so that's why we had a few notable teams not show up in the top 50 (Georgia/Texas A&M).
As expected Ohio State is the new men's No. 1 after running the table at the National Team Indoors while Wake Forest comes in at No. 2. Virginia made one of the bigger upward moves from 13 to 4 while Illinois came up from 14 to 8. Oregon made a jump from unranked to 15 while LSU and Penn also made nice jumps into the top 25 after being unranked.
There wasn't much change in the top 4 on the women's side, since most teams were idle last week, however there was plenty of move down below 4. Some of the teams that fell the most were Pepperdine from 6 to 20, Michigan from 13 to 27, and Florida from 24 to 48. The teams that rose the most were Washington State going from unranked to 15, Florida State from 20 to 12, and Old Dominion from unranked to No. 19.
The latest USTA Top 25 didn't have any changes at the No. 1 spot, since Ohio State moved up to No. 1 the week prior on the men's side, with Georgia remaining at No. 1 on the women's side. On the men's side some notable increases were Wake Forest from 5 to 2, TCU from 15 to 7, and Columbia from 14 to 9. Mississippi State fell 10 spots from 2 to 12 after a less than successful weekend in Chicago and Florida dropped 5 spots from 8 to 3 after also coming up short in Chicago.
Many of the top women's programs were idle last week so the changes weren't too noticeable in the top 20 aside from Pepperdine falling from 7 to 13 after they lost to Cal who has gone from unranked to 20.
Notre Dame, ranked No. 11, went into Wednesday's night home clash against No. 14 Illinois with an undefeated record and seeking a fourth win over a top 15 opponent but despite a great start in singles they'd be unable to hang on as Illinois came storming back from a 3-1 deficit to win 4-3. Illinois, which was playing just its second match of the season after getting an automatic berth into the National Indoors due to being the host, jumped out to the early 1-0 lead after claiming doubles wins at No. 1 and No. 2. Notre Dame came back in singles and won all six opening sets and would finish three out in straight sets with Alex Lebedev, Tristan McCormick, and Guillermo Cabrera winning at No. 1, No. 4, and No. 6.
Illinois managed to get splits on the other three courts and one by one they'd all fall the way of the Illini. Zeke Clark cut the deficit to 3-2 with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 3 and Caleb Chakravarthi tied it at 3-3 with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 5. The deciding match at No. 2 would be a back and forth affair with Illinois junior Aleks Kovacevic coming out on top over Notre Dame sophomore Richard Ciamarra 6-7, 6-2, 6-4. Ciamarra went up a break at 4-3 in the third but Kovacevic broke back, held, and broke again to close it out.
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.