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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Fritz, Collins Earn Wild Cards at BNP Paribas Open via Oracle Challenger Series; Little Change in USTA D-I Team Top Ten; Bryde Commits to Georgia; Eight US Girls Advance to Round of 16 at Grade A in Brazil

Taylor Fritz and Danielle Collins have claimed wild cards into next month's BNP Paribas Open based on their performances at the two tournaments in the Oracle Challenger Series.  Fritz defeated Norbert Gombos of 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of this week's $150,000 ATP Challenger at Indian Wells, and with the points from winning the Newport Beach Challenger back in January, he has secured one of the two men's wild cards that will be awarded to Americans in this two-tournament competition. Americans still in the draw in Indian Wells are Mitchell Krueger, Marcos Giron and Dennis Novikov and Christian Harrison, who meet in the second round Thursday.  Novikov and Krueger both won one match in Newport Beach.

Collins, the champion at Newport Beach, won her first round match at the WTA 125 this week in Indian Wells, to clinch at least one of the two main draw wild cards being awarded to American women. Amanda Anisimova, who beat Nicole Gibbs 6-4, 6-0 today to reach the quarterfinals, is still in the running for the second wild card, as are Kristie Ahn and Caroline Dolehide, who play their second round matches Thursday.

The USTA's weekly poll of the Division I men's and women's Top 25 has been released, and as with the ITA rankings, Team Indoor champions Wake Forest and North Carolina remain at No. 1.  The complete rankings can be found here.

USTA Men’s Top 10 February 28, 2018 (previous week's rankings in parentheses)
1. Wake Forest (3)
2. UCLA (8)
3. Ohio State (1)
4. Stanford (4)
5. North Carolina (6)
6. USC (7)
7. Texas A&M (5)
8. Georgia (8)
9. Columbia (10)
10. Oklahoma State (11)

USTA Women’s Top 10 February 28, 2018
1. North Carolina (1)
2. Pepperdine (2)
3. Vanderbilt (3)
4. Duke (4)
5. Georgia Tech (6)
6. Texas Tech (7)
7. Georgia (5)
8. Mississippi (8)
9. UCLA (11)
10. Oklahoma State (T9)

The Georgia Bulldogs received a significant blue chip commitment this week, with Suwanee Georgia resident Trent Bryde deciding to stay close to home. The 18-year-old Bryde, who was been ranked as high as 8 in the ITF World Junior rankings last year, will join Georgia this fall.

The second round is complete at the ITF Grade A in Porto Alegre Brazil, with one US boy--No. 4 seed Drew Baird--and eight US girls advancing to the round of 16.  Although No. 3 seed Alexa Noel went out to Canadian Leylah Fernandez, the other six seeded Americans advanced: Chloe Beck[16], Peyton Stearns[7], Gabby Price[11], Elli Mandlik[10], Hailey Baptiste[15] and Lea Ma[5]. Only Mandlik was taken to three sets.  Two unseeded Americans moved into the third round, with Kacie Harvey continuing her impressive play in South America with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 win over No. 8 seed Mariam Dalakishvili of Georgia and Sabina Dadaciu defeating unseeded Ariana Arseneault of Canada 6-0, 6-1.  On Tuesday, Dadaciu had taken out US Open semifinalist Maria Carle of Argentina, the No. 2 seed, 7-6(2), 6-4.   Harvey vs Mandlik is the only all-US girls match in the third round.