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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

NCAA D-I Sweet 16 Begins Thursday in Athens; Four Americans Reach Quarterfinals at Grade 1 in Italy; Pro Circuit Update; Duo to Princeton

Eight men's matches will kick off the NCAA Sweet 16 on Thursday, with the eight women's matches scheduled for Friday.

Here are matchups and times:

9 AM:
Baylor[7] vs Texas[10]
Virginia[2] vs Florida[15]

NOON:
Ohio State[3] vs Oklahoma[14]
TCU[6] vs Illinois

4PM:
USC[4] vs Georgia[13]
UCLA[5] vs Texas A&M[12]

7PM:
Wake Forest[1] vs Stanford[16]
Cal[8] vs North Carolina[9]

All the matches will be streamed live, for free, via Playsight, until the finals, with ESPN having the rights to those matches.

Bobby Knight will be in Athens throughout the team championships, make sure you follow his reports at College Tennis Today. He has written previews of all eight matches, with predictions, but you will need a subscription to see all of them.  It's only $9.99 a month, so support Bobby for all the work he does for college tennis.

In addition, the Tennis Recruiting Network's SLAM Tennis site has odds for each match and FloTennis has previews on its site.

The quarterfinals are set at the ITF Grade 1 in Santa Croce Italy, with three US girls and one US boy advancing to the final eight.  No. 15 seed Ann Li, No. 8 seed Elysia Bolton and unseeded Victoria Flores were the American girls posting victories today, with No. 4 seed Danny Thomas the American boy moving on.

Bolton saved five match points in her 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(10) win over No. 10 seed Fernanda Labrana of Chile, according to Stefan Berlincioni (@carretero77) on Twitter. See his timeline for videos and descriptions of all the drama, which wasn't just between the two players.  Li may have saved match points in her 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-0 win over Irina Cantos Siemers of Germany, but with Berlincioni not covering the match, I don't know if she did.  Flores, who beat No. 2 seed Anastasia Kharitonova of Russia in the second round, had an easier win today, defeating unseeded Barbora Matsuova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-1.  Thomas defeated No. 15 seed Benard Nkomba of Australia 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Four junior boys are preparing for their European clay court season at a $15,000 Futures in Romania.  Vasil Kirkov and Patrick Kypson lost in qualifying and the first round respectively, but qualifiers Gianni Ross and Sam Riffice both won their first round matches, with Riffice taking out No. 3 seed Marco Bortolotti of Italy  6-3, 6-3.

Those juniors opting for green clay are competing at the Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, where the third of three ITF Grade 4 events in Florida is being held this week.  No. 2 seed Margaryta Bilokin of Ukraine, who is going for her third straight title this week, is through to the quarterfinals, as are seven US junior girls. Boris Kozlov, the top boys seed, made the quarterfinals, but gave 13-year-old Martin Damm a walkover into the semifinals.

The only USTA Pro Circuit event this week is another $25,000 women's tournament in Naples Florida.  Taylor Townsend is the top seed, and she, along with nine other Americans, have advanced to the second round.  Sofya Zhuk[2](RUS), Emiliana Arango(COL), Usue Arconada[4], Katherine Sebov[5](CAN) and Taylor Johnson are the teenagers who advanced, with many former college stars also still in the draw.


In recruiting news of particular interest to those of us in Kalamazoo, Bill Duo of Portage Michigan has verbally committed to Princeton for 2018.  Duo, a blue chip who is coached by top junior development coach Tom Walker, was considering a variety of schools, including Notre Dame, Northwestern and Michigan.

Tennis Recruiting Network also recently posted an article on the decision of Florida blue chip Jimena Rodriguez-Benito, who will be joining another Ivy League school, Penn, a year early, this fall.

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