Bobby Knight

Bobby Knight

This past week was a good one for recent NCAA singles champions with the 2016 champ Mackenzie McDonald winning the $100K Fairfield Challenger while the 2017 champ Thai Kwiatkowski won the $25K Houston Futures. 

Prior to last week McDonald's best performance at the Challenger-level was the semifinals but he plowed past that point with a straight set win over Australia's Christopher O'Connell and then in the finals he defeated Bradley Klahn 6-4, 6-2. McDonald earned a $14,400 payday plus he picked up 90 ATP ranking points which moved him up to a new career-high ranking of 164. 

Thursday, 12 October 2017 19:41

ITA Regional Championships - Week 1

Over the next two weekends there will be 12 men's and 12 women's ITA Regional Championships held at campus sites across the country with the finalists advancing to the Oracle/ITA National Fall Championships in early November. This weekend there are two men's regionals and five women's regionals which means the other 17 will be held the following weekend. 

Three of the seven regionals this weekend have a qualifying draw while the other four do not. Below I'll list out the ones being held this weekend along with the top seeds in the singles draw (if draw released).

Cameron Norrie ran his winning streak to 10 after winning a second straight $100K Challenger with this one coming in Stockton, California. Norrie only dropped four games in his finals win over Darian King which earned the former TCU star a $14,400 paycheck plus 90 ATP ranking points. Norrie's biggest comeback of the week came against Brydan Klein in the second round. Norrie was down a set and a break at 6-4, 4-3 but he managed to take the second set in a tiebreak and then he pulled away in the third set. Norrie, who now has a new career high ranking of 111, talked to Mike Cation after the match with that conversation available at this link.

North Carolina sophomore William Blumberg captured the 2017 Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Championship on Monday morning with a straight set win over UCLA senior Martin Redlicki. Blumberg was dominant on his serve with the sophomore winning 77% of the points on serve while only facing one break point. Redlicki served fairly well but he had a few tough games and that was the difference in the match. 

Redlicki started off the match with a no-ad hold but Blumberg took the next three games with a pair of 40/15 holds and a break from 30/40 after Redlicki netted a forehand. After Redlicki held for 2-3, he had a break opportunity on the no-ad point but his service return was just long which made it 4-2 Blumberg. It'd be all holds the rest of the set though Redlicki fought off a set point on his 3-5 service game with a service winner on the no-ad point. Blumberg closed out the set with a hold from 40/15 to take it 6-4.

Redlicki had a rough first two games of the second set with one unforced error after another giving Blumberg a love break and a love hold to make it 2-0. Neither player would face a break point the rest of the way with Blumberg only dropping six points on serve and he'd close it out with a hold from 40/15 to win it 6-4, 6-4. The ITA will probably have a clip of match point but here is a clip from UNC's Twitter that shows Blumberg tracking down a drop shot with a dropper of his own to win it.  

Vanderbilt junior Fernanda Contreras captured the Riviera/ITA All-American Singles Championship on Sunday afternoon with a straight set win over fellow qualifier Florida Atlantic sophomore Aliona Bolsova. Contreras, who had to win three matches in the qualifying draw just to make the main draw, broke Bolsova to go ahead 3-2 in the first set and then she added another break to take the set 6-3. In the second set Contreras broke midway through the set and then served it out to win 6-3, 6-3. Vanderbilt's recap has a brief video interview with Contreras and the ITA did a great job on its post-match video recap which is just below. 

Saturday was doubleheader day in Tulsa with the round of 16 and quarterfinals trimming the number of competitors from 16 down to 4. Ohio State senior Mikael Torpegaard trailed his round of 16 opponent Texas junior Harrison Scott 5-3 but rallied to win 10 of the next 13 games to advance with a 7-5, 6-3 win. Torpegaard booked his spot in the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Ole Miss junior Gustav Hannson which will set up a Sunday showdown against last year's NCAA runner-up William Blumberg. 

Blumberg snapped Oklahoma junior Ferran Calvo's 17-match winning streak with a 6-4, 7-5 win in the round of 16 then a few hours later he defeated NC State sophomore Alexis Galarneau 6-4, 6-4. Blumberg has yet to drop a set this week with his closest match being the one against Calvo. 

Another player that has yet to drop a set is UCLA senior Martin Redlicki. Redlicki defeated Florida junior Alfredo Perez in the morning match and then in the afternoon he knocked out the defending champion Wake Forest junior Petros Chrysochos 6-4, 7-5. Redlicki's semifinal opponent will be Pac-12 rival Thomas Laurent. The Oregon junior dropped the opening set to Tulane's Constantin Schmitz then came back to win 12 of the next 14 games to record a 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 win. Laurent won his second match of the day 6-2, 6-0 against Eduardo Mena. The Tennessee Tech senior pulled off an upset in the round of 16 when he defeated Oklahoma State's Julian Cash in a third set tiebreak but a second match a few hours later proved to be too much.  

Everyone that advanced to the quarterfinals locked up a spot in next month's Oracle/ITA National Fall Championships in Indian Wells. 

Friday turned out to be a chaotic day at the Riviera/ITA Women's All-Americans with two qualifiers, a lucky loser, and the No. 2 seed advancing to the semifinals. The day started off with three of the four remaining seeded players losing in the round of 16 with the biggest upset, by seed and UTR, occurring when Vanderbilt sophomore Christina Rosca defeated the top seed and last year's runner-up UCLA sophomore Ena Shibahara. The upsets continued with Rosca's teammate junior Fernanda Contreras defeating the No. 4 seed Cal senior Karla Popovic in straight sets and St. John's sophomore Jessica Livianu defeating the No. 7 seed Miami senior Sinead Lohan in three sets. 

Florida International junior Andrea Lazaro lost in the final round of the qualifying draw but due to a couple of late withdrawals she snuck in as a lucky loser. Two days later Lazaro has turned that second chance into a golden opportunity after she advanced to the semifinals with a pair of three-set wins over Cal junior Olivia Hauger and Vanderbilt's Christina Rosca. Lazaro's semifinal opponent will be Aliona Bolsova who plays at Conference USA rival Florida Atlantic. Bolsova, who transferred from Oklahoma State to FAU over the summer, is the only player left in the draw that has yet to drop a set after picking up a pair of straight set wins over Texas Tech junior Felicity Maltby and USC senior Gabby Smith. 

The other semifinal will match up Texas Tech senior Gabriela Talaba and Vanderbilt junior Fernanda Contreras. Talaba only dropped six games in each of her wins over Denver's Julia O'Loughlin and Washington's Stacey Fung while Contreras won the closest match of the day when she defeated St. John's Jessica Livianu 7-6(6) in the third. 

After a week of qualifying we finally had main draw All-American action today in Tulsa and Pacific Palisades. Men's seeds had a great day going 13-3 with Kentucky's William Bushamuka the only top eight seed to fall after he retired in the second set of his match against Notre Dame's Alex Lebedev. The No. 5 seed Florida's Alfredo Perez was just two points away from a straight set loss to Ohio State's Kyle Seelig but Perez turned a 6-7, *5-6 (15/30) deficit into a 6-7(4), 7-6(2), 6-3 win. Seelig also served for the match at 7-6, 5-3 but never had a match point. 

The first 10 matches of the day were played indoors due to rain but once the rain stopped, and the courts dried, the other 22 matches were played outdoors. The men's top seed Ohio State's Mikael Torpegaard cruised past Mississippi State's Giovanni Oradini in straight sets and will next meet Columbia's Victor Pham. Pham, who was the runner-up at the Oracle/ITA Masters, defeated New Mexico qualifier Ricky Hernandez Tong 6-3, 6-2. 

North Carolina sophomore Will Blumberg, who was the NCAA singles runner-up last May, was the first guy off the court after defeating Florida qualifier Johannes Ingildsen 6-1, 6-1 in just under 55 minutes. Next up for Blumberg will be the big hitting Christian Seraphim after the Wake Forest senior pulled away from Baylor's Johannes Schretter 7-5, 6-7, 6-2.   

Ferran Calvo improved to 7-0 on the week and 16-0 this fall after the Oklahoma pre-qualifier defeated Texas Tech qualifier Artem Kapshuk in straight sets. Calvo jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the first set but Kapshuk came back to tie it at 5-5. Calvo held for 6-5 and then broke to take the set 7-5. In the second set Calvo went in front 4-1 but Kapshuk came back to tie it at 4-4. Calvo held for 5-4 and then broke on the no-ad point to win it 6-4. Next up for Calvo will be Timo Stodder after the Tennessee junior cruised to a 6-3, 6-1 win over Dartmouth's Charlie Broom. 

The 16 qualifiers went 4-12 on the day with Arizona State senior Michael Geerts defeating fellow qualifier Marius Frosa (Wichita State) 6-3, 6-4, Columbia sophomore Jackie Tang defeating Drake's Vinny Gillespie 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, and Georgia Tech sophomore Carlos Divar holding off Arkansas senior Jose Salazar 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. 

The biggest upset in terms of UTR was Utah junior Dan Little (13.41) defeating Oklahoma senior Spencer Papa (14.06) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. 

Wednesday, 04 October 2017 22:00

Women's Qualies Wrap Up; Main Draws Released

The final round of qualifying at the women's All-Americans in California wrapped up on Wednesday with five of eight matches finishing in straight sets. Florida's Brooke Austin and Florida Atlantic's Aliona Bolsova both came back from a set down to advance while North Carolina's Jessie Aney won her match 6-2 in the third. FIU's Andrea Lazaro lost in straight sets to Kansas's Anastasia Rychagova but since she was the highest seed to make it to the final round of qualies she got the lucky loser spot that opened up when Pepperdine's Ashley Lahey withdrew. 

I have the singles main draws listed down below with UTRs included and you can check out the doubles draws at these links - men/women. There will be live scoring and video for the men's event in Tulsa however there will be nothing from the event in California. Hopefully the ITA will have some scoring updates on Twitter. 

Cameron Norrie officially started his pro career in June, after three stellar years at TCU, and since then he's won a match at an ATP 250, qualified for the US Open, and made three Challenger finals, two of which he won. The second of those Challenger titles came last week in Tiburon, California, when Norrie dropped just five games in the finals in a straight set win over former Tennessee Volunteer Tennys Sandgren. Norrie was ranked 243 when he turned pro and with these 90 points he now has a new career high ranking of 136. Norrie talked to Mike Cation after the match about his week in Tiburon with those comments available at this link.

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