When I first started College Tennis Today three years ago I wasn't really sure how much content I'd be able to produce due to my son, 2 1/2 at the time, being my main priority during the day. I had a few small windows of free time here and there but by and large I did most of my writing at night which on many occasions turned into late-night. Once my son started going to preschool my free time increased which meant I was able to spend more time diving into the numbers and analyzing stats and rankings and whatnot. During the dual-match portion of the season if I had a free minute I was updating something on the site or preparing something for later because I wanted to make sure the site was as current as it could possibly be.
In the summer of 2016 my wife and I found out that we were going to have a second child, also a boy, with a February 2017 arrival. I knew my workload at home was about to increase exponentially but I figured I'd still be able to find the time to churn out content on a near-daily basis during the summer and fall. I held my own, for the most part, over the last several months but as you've probably noticed the number of blog entries has dropped a good bit recently. The little guy is mobile now plus he likes to wake up at 6 a.m. which has meant my free time during the day has dwindled and I just don't have enough steam left to do much work at night.
Another big personal change that will take place in the next few weeks will be a relocation of the Knight Family from St. Louis to London. My wife was presented with a fantastic opportunity by her employer so for the next three years we will become residents of the United Kingdom. For anyone that has ever moved before you know how strenuous it can be but this move across the ocean is going to be extremely taxing. Not only do we have to pack up our belongings but we also have to get rid of our cars, get passports for the kids, set up visas, set up schooling for our oldest, sell our house in St. Louis and find a place to live in London, and then once we're there we'll have to adapt to a new culture - plus we'll have to hope our 10-month old is fairly civil on the eight-hour flight.
With a five-hour time difference between the east coast and an eight-hour difference between the west coast following the college tennis news cycle is going to be harder plus the night matches in the US will be middle of the night matches in the UK.
Due to these changes I've decided that I'm going to significantly cut back the amount of content on the site in 2018. I'm still going to follow college tennis as closely as I can but I just won't have the time to write about it as frequently.
While the timing of this announcement isn't the best, with the dual-match season about to begin, I thought it was better to do it before the move to London. Best of luck to everyone in the new year and I'll try not to be a stranger!!
Incoming TCU freshman Andreea Rosca won a second consecutive pro singles title in Cairo and also picked up a doubles title as well. Rosca only dropped 18 games in her five singles wins with just four of those coming in the final in a 6-1, 6-3 win over Austria's Melanie Klaffner. Rosca will have a new career-high singles ranking of around 601 when these 12 points are added in next week. Rosca and Gabriela Tatarus won the doubles title with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Klaffner and Jelena Stojanovic. The doubles title was the fourth of Rosca's career with three of those coming with Tatarus.
Last week was another strong on the pro tour for players with college ties. The unstoppable doubles duo of Rob Galloway (Wofford '15) and Ben Lock (Florida State '16) ran their winning streak to 23 after winning a sixth straight doubles title. Galloway and Lock won a third straight doubles title in South Africa after previously winning three straight in Kuwait. They won their first three matches in straight sets and then in the finals of the South Africa F3 in Stellenbosch they edged Jaime Pulgar-Garcia (NC State '12) and Javier Pulgar-Garcia (San Diego State '12) 7-6, 6-7, 10-5. Lock's ranking is now a new career high of 247 while Galloway has a new career high of 284. Galloway finished the year with seven doubles titles while Lock won nine.
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.
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.
 USA vs. France
 Germany vs. Belgium
 Great Britain vs. Ireland
 Russia vs. China
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
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.
For the second week in a row a former Stanford Cardinal claimed a singles title as Carol Zhao won the biggest singles title of her pro career at the ITF $100K event in Shenzhen, China. Zhao started off the week with a 6-4 (ret.) win over the No. 7 seed Anna Zaja and then in the second round she came back from a 5-1 third set deficit to defeat former top 30 player Laura Robson 6-1, 4-6, 7-5. Zhao defeated Xu Liu Sun 7-5, 6-4 in the quarterfinals and then in the semifinals she won 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 over Yuxuan Zhang. In the final, Zhao ousted the No. 4 seed Fangzhou Liu 7-5, 6-2 in 1 hour and 19 minutes. The singles title is the second of Zhao's career with the other coming back in August at a $25K event in Japan.
Zhao entered the week with a WTA ranking of 221 but with the title and corresponding 140 points she moved up 71 spots to a new career high of 150. Zhao also picked up a nice payday of $15,200. Zhao's former teammate Kristie Ahn won an $80K event last week in Tyler, Texas.
National Signing Day was this past Wednesday with hundreds of high school seniors signing their national letters of intent. The Tennis Recruiting Network has been doing a tremendous job with its Fall Signing Week coverage with article after article profiling several of the signees so if you haven't visited their site recently I highly recommend doing so.
It's always interesting to look back at the recruiting rankings from years past to see who excelled and who did not. If you look back at TRN's Blue Chips from 2014 several of them are top of the lineup players, some are solid contributors in the middle to lower part of the lineup, and a few quit playing.
I put all the blue chip, five-star, and some of the known international signees from TRN into a spreadsheet and added their respective Universal Tennis Ratings. There aren't any sure things but several of these guys and girls look like can't miss prospects.