A quartet of past and present Virginia tennis players went a perfect 4-for-4 in quarterfinal matches Thursday at the American Collegiate Invitational. The event, which is part of the US Open tennis tournament, permits current or recently graduated college players to participate.
2016 NCAA champion Danielle Collins started the day off with a dominant 6-1, 6-2 victory over Georgia junior Kennedy Shaffer. The Virginia graduate had previously lost in the opening round of the women’s singles tournament after receiving the wild card traditionally extended to the American NCAA singles champions. This is Collins’s second appearance in the ACI. She advanced to the semifinals of the 2014 event.
Fellow Virginia grad Julia Elbaba followed Collins’s victory with an even more impressive 6-2, 6-1 victory over North Carolina senior and 2016 NCAA runner-up Hayley Carter. Carter was the third seed in the tournament and will most likely open the college season as the #1 player in the nation. Elbaba is playing in her third ACI, and was the runner-up in the inaugural event in 2014.
Elbaba advances to play Michigan graduate Ronit Yurovsky in the semifinals. Collins, who is the second seed, will play Breaunna Addison who graduated from Texas.
In the men’s tournament, current Virginia senior Thai-Son Kwiatkowski advanced when Arkansas senior Michael Redlicki retired from the match. Kwiatkowski was leading 6-4, 3-0. It was the Cavalier’s second match in Flushing Meadows, as he received a wild card into the men’s singles qualifying draw, falling in the first round over a week ago. Kwiatkowski is the top seed in the tournament, and will meet Stanford junior Tom Fawcett in his next match. Fawcett and Kwiatkowski are the only players left in the event that have college eligibility remaining.
2015 NCAA singles champion and Virginia graduate Ryan Shane also advanced to the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Illinois graduate Jared Hitzlik. Shane was playing his third match at the US Open, having advanced to the second round of qualifying in men’s singles. Shane will meet Georgia graduate Austin Smith.
Both Shane and Kwiatkowski played in the ACI event last year, advancing to the semifinals. The winners of the ACI are guaranteed entry into the qualifying draws of the 2017 US Open unless they achieve a world ranking of 120 or better - in which case they will receive direct entry into the main singles draw.