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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Gabby Andrews' Commitment to UCLA; Mmoh, Baughman Reach Quarterfinals in Brownsville; Coric to Face Nadal; Six US Women in Macon Quarterfinals

My contribution to the Tennis Recruiting Network's Fall Signing coverage this month is a piece on Gabby Andrews, who decided ten months ago that she would attend UCLA.  I spoke with her about the process and her decision this summer, and for all the the matches I've seen her play since she was 14, I learned much that I didn't know, particularly how she ended up choosing tennis. Great fun to talk to, Andrews is also obviously a phenomenal doubles partner; her coach Barry Friedman told me what makes her so outstanding, although I didn't need any convincing after watching her win so many big titles with a variety of partners.


The quarterfinals are set for the $15,000 Brownsville Futures, with 16-year-old Michael Mmoh and 18-year-old Deiton Baughman earning spots in the final eight.  Mmoh, a semifinalist at last week's Mansfield Futures,  received a wild card this week, and in his first round match Wednesday avenged that semifinal loss to Dimitar Kutrovsky(Texas) 6-3, 6-1.  Today he defeated qualifier Antoine Richard of Canada 6-4, 6-2.  Baughman, who has reached a Futures quarterfinal three times before this week, defeated No. 4 seed Fritz Wolmarans of South Africa 7-5, 6-3 in the first round and today downed Mico Santiago 6-3, 6-3. He will play former University of Kentucky standout Tom Jomby, a qualifier, for a place in his first Futures semifinal.

At the $10,000 ITF Women's Circuit event in Colombia, 16-year-old qualifier Nicole Frenkel has reached her second career pro semifinal. Frenkel, now training at the JTCC in College Park, beat fellow JTCC student Usue Arconada 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-1 in today's quarterfinals.

Seventeen-year-old Borna Coric of Croatia reached his second ATP quarterfinal of the year, his first at a 500-level tournament, with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan.  He will now face Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals. According to Josh Meiseles of the ATP, Coric is the youngest player to make two ATP quarterfinals since Nadal in 2003. More on Coric from the ATP here.

The Macon $50,000 US Pro Circuit tournament is the first one in the USTA's Australian Open wild card challenge, and six US women have reached the quarterfinals: 17-year-old wild card Ellie Halbauer, Madison Brengle(who probably doesn't need the wild card), Sanaz Marand(North Carolina), Julia Boserup, Irina Falconi(Georgia Tech) and Grace Min.  There are two more tournaments left, with the best two results counting, so the wild card is a long way from being decided, but with four US women in the bottom half, one is assured of reaching the final this week. Live streaming is available at the USTA website.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ITF Top-ranked Juniors Rublev, Bellis Lead Entries to Mexican Grade A; Coric Defeats Gulbis; Zverev Feature; Former Collegians on Wall Street


The acceptance lists for the ITF Grade A Abierto Juvenil Mexicano, which moved from January to November and onto clay were released today and both No. 1s--CiCi Bellis and Andrey Rublev of Russia--have entered.

The tournament in Mexico City, which begins Nov. 17, is the first of four consecutive weeks of major clay court events on the ITF junior circuit, with the Grade 1 Yucatan Cup, the Grade 1 Eddie Herr and the Grade A Orange Bowl following it. With the Orange Bowl, the last tournament of the year, ending on December 14th and the first Grade 1 of 2015 not until January 5th, this actually provides something like an off-season, even if only three weeks, and an opportunity to be home for the holidays. Previously, the Abierto Juvenil began around Christmas even though the points counted for the following year.

This year's US entries in the girls main draw are: Bellis, Usue Arconada, Michaela Gordon, Olivia Hauger, Jessica Ho, Mia Horvit, Raquel Pedraza and Kelly Chen.

US boys in the main draw are: Michael Mmoh, Taylor Fritz, Alex Rybakov, Sameer Kumar, William Blumberg, Kalman Boyd, Ulises Blanch, Nathan Ponwith, Robert Levine, Catalin Mateas and Anudeep Kodali.

The complete lists can be found at the ITF junior website.

At the current ITF Grade A in Osaka, Japan, rain disrupted the schedule for Wednesday, but No. 4 seed Taylor Fritz did advance to the third round.  No. 14 seed Mia Horvit, who did not play her second round match, is the only other American with a chance to reach the third round.

Seventeen-year-old wild card Borna Coric of Croatia defeated No. 6 seed Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 7-6(2), 6-3 in the first round of the ATP 500 tournament in Basel, making him the first 17-year-old to win matches in three different tour events in the same year since Rafael Nadal did it in 2003.  Coric will play Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan Thursday for an opportunity to face No. 2 seed Nadal in the quarterfinals. For more on Coric's win, see the ATP website.

The ATP website provided a feature on 2014 Australian Open boys champion Alexander Zverev of Germany, who lost today in Basel to No. 5 seed Grigor Dimitrov 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.  Zverev, also 17, is expected to join Coric in the next generation of ATP stars, and in the article, Andy Murray and John Isner give their views on his potential.

Business Insider regularly updates its readers on who plays tennis with whom on Wall Street, and I believe I posted a link to this article from last year (since updated) on the many former college stars now working in finance in the area.  There's another such article today, with video of James Blake, rumored to be in contention for the USTA's General Manager of Player Development vacancy. I missed earlier that former Notre Dame standout Stephen Bass is now a professional poker player and am still trying to determine who is the "extremely tall 22-year-old, who was a former top-ranked NCAA doubles player with a 4.0 GPA at a southern university more known for its football" who has captured investment banker Jeffrey Appel's attention.  Any ideas?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Singles and Doubles Finals Results from USTA/ITA Men's and Women's Regional Championships

The USTA/ITA Regional Championships ended today, with the 12 men's and 12 women's singles and doubles champions guaranteeing themselves spots in November's USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.  The remainder of the places in the tournament (32-draw in singles, 20-draw in doubles), will be filled by the ITA All-American consolation winners and men's singles quarterfinalists* and women's singles semifinalists,**, All-American doubles finalists, at-large selections, the small college super bowl champions and wild cards. Those will be announced later on the ITA website.

Freshmen Cameron Norrie of TCU, Andrew Watson of Memphis, Tom Fawcett of Stanford, Viktoriya Lushkova of Oklahoma State and Josie Kuhlman of Florida won regional singles titles as did unseeded newcomer Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State. Although there are links to most draws at the ITA regional results page, I was not able to determine the seeds in the women's Northeast Regional and in the men's doubles in the Northeast Regional, but have provided them for all other results.

MEN:
Central:  
Axel Alvarez Llamas(1), Okalahoma def. Leandro Toledo(3), Minnesota 7-6(2), 6-4
Tin Ostojic and Tomislav Gregurovic(7), Wichita State def. Alvarez Llamas and Dane Webb(3), Oklahoma 6-3, 4-6, 10-8

Texas:
Cameron Norrie(14), TCU def. Soren Hess-Olsen(1), Texas 6-4, 0-6, 6-3
Norrie and Trevor Johnson, TCU  def. Tony Lupieri and Felipe Rios, Baylor 2-6, 7-5, 10-7

Northwest:
Tom Fawcett(9), Stanford def. Ashot Khacharyan(17), Santa Clara 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
Bernardo Saraiva and Nils Skajaa(5), San Francisco def. Andre Goransson and Oskar Wikberg(3), Cal 5-7, 6-3, 10-6

Ohio Valley:
Andrew Watson(17), Memphis def. Gonzales Austin(1), Vanderbilt 6-3, 7-6(4)
Austin and Rhys Johnson(2), Vanderbilt def.  Chris Simich and Albert Wagner(4), Louisville  6-4, 6-4

Mountain:
Henry Craig(1), Denver def. Sam Iftikhar(2), New Mexico 6-3, 6-2
Craig and Alex Gasson(1), Denver def. James Hignett and Bart Van Leijsen(8), New Mexico, 6-3, 6-4

Southwest:
Mackenzie McDonald(1), UCLA def. Jonny Wang(2) Southern Cal 3-6, 6-2, 6-1
McDonald and Martin Redlicki(2), UCLA def. Joe Di Giulio and Karue Sell(3), UCLA 4-6, 6-1, 11-9

Southeast:
Austin Smith(1), Georgia def. Nathan Pasha(2), Georgia 4-2 ret.
Roberto Cid and Sasha Gozun(2), South Florida def. Smith and Eric Diaz(5), Georgia 6-3, 3-6, 10-3

Carolinas:
Brayden Schnur(1), North Carolina def. Jason Tahir(4), Duke 6-3, 6-2.
Ian Dempster and Robbie Mudge(2), North Carolina St def. Alejandro Augusto and Hunter Harrington(3), Clemson 3-6, 6-3, 11-9

South:
Lukas Ollert(1), Auburn def. Max Hinnisdaels, Auburn 6-4, 6-4
Julian Cash and Florian Lakat(2), Mississippi St def. Ollert and Marko Krickovic(5), Auburn 7-6(1), 5-7, 10-8

Northeast:
Winston Lin(1), Columbia def. Ashok Narayana(5), Columbia 7-6, 6-3
Denis Nguyen and Brian Yeung, Harvard def. Chris Kipouras and Dovydas Sakinis, Dartmouth 6-7(1), 6-0, 10-5

Atlantic:
Ryan Shane(2), Virginia def. Amerigo Contini(1), Virginia Tech 6-2, 7-6(6).
Shane and Luca Corinteli(5), Virginia def. Alexandre Drean and Daniel Gray(7) Maryland-Baltimore County 6-3, 6-3

Midwest:
Mikael Torpegaard, Ohio State def. Jared Hiltzik(1), Illinois 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
Eddy Covalschi and Josh Hagar(9), Notre Dame def. Ralf Steinbach and Kevin Metka(1), Ohio State 7-6, 4-6, 12-10

WOMEN:

Northwest:
Carol Zhao(2), Stanford def. Taylor Davidson(7), Stanford  7-6(4), 6-1
Klara Fabikova and Zsofi Susanyi(3), Cal def.  Maegan Manasse and Denise Starr(1), Cal 6-1, 6-4

Southwest:
Zoe Scandalis(1), Southern Cal def. Lorraine Guilliermo(2), Pepperdine walkover
Giuliana Olmos and Gabby Smith(4), Southern Cal def. Guilliermo and Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai(5), Pepperdine 7-6(7), 7-6(1)

Mountain: 
McKenzie Davis(7), Utah State def. Tereza Bekerova(1) Utah, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(0)
Julyette Steur and Kyra Wojcik(11), Colorado def. Mayci Jones and Toby Miclat(1), BYU, walkover (could not play on Sunday)

Texas:
Despoina Vogasari(7), Houston def. Natalie Beazant(10), Rice 6-4, 6-4
Ines Deheza and Rachel Pierson(1), Texas A&M def.  Seda Arantekin and Stefanie Tan(4), TCU 6-4, 6-1

Central:
Viktoriya Lushkova(1), Oklahoma State def. Vladica Babic(14), Oklahoma State 6-4, 6-2
Lushkova and Kelsey Laurente(1), Oklahoma State def. Katarina Adamovic and Babic(6), Oklahoma State 2-6, 6-1, 10-8

Southern:
Julia Jones(6), Ole Miss def. Pleun Burgmans(1), Auburn 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(4)
Burgmans and Emily Flickinger(2), Auburn def. Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe(1), Alabama 3-6, 6-3, 10-5

Midwest:
Emina Bektas(1), Michigan def. Ronit Yurovsky(2), Michigan 4-6, 6-1, 6-1
Bektas and Alex Najarian(5), Michigan, def. Quinn Gleason and Monica Robinson(4), Notre Dame, 8-7(6)

Ohio Valley:
Sydney Campbell(1), Vanderbilt def. Courtney Colton(2), Vanderbilt 6-2, 6-3
Nadia Ravita and Aldila Sutjiadi(1), Kentucky def. Campbell and Colton(3), Vanderbilt 6-2, 7-5

Northeast:
Jessica Wacnik, Boston College def. Hanna Yu, Yale 6-3, 6-2
Rima Asatria and Kanika Vaidya, Columbia def. Yu and Ree Ree Li, Yale 6-2, 6-2

Atlantic:
Stephanie Nauta(1), Virginia def. Ilinca Stoica(2), Virginia Tech 7-6(3), 6-2
Cassie Mercer and Skylar Morton(5), Virginia def. Nauta and Maci Epstein(1), Virginia 7-6, 2-6, 11-9

Carolinas:
Caroline Price(2), North Carolina def. Joana Eidukonyte(5), Clemson 6-4, 7-6(2)
Ashley Dai and Kate Vialle(3), North Carolina def. Hadley Berg and Elixane Lechemia(5), South Carolina 4-6, 6-3, 10-5

Southeast:
Josie Kuhlman(5), Florida def. Brianna Morgan(3), Florida 6-2, 6-2
Kourtney Keegan and Brooke Austin(6), Florida def. Kuhlman and Peggy Porter(4), Florida 6-3, 6-3


*All-American quarterfinalists men:
Julian Lenz, Baylor
Thai Kwiatkowski, Virginia
Sebastian Stiefelmeyer, Louisville
Dominik Koepfer, Tulane
Nathan Pasha, Georgia
Romain Bogaerts, Wake Forest
Nicolas Alvarez, Duke
Yannick Hanfmann, Southern Cal
Mackenzie McDonald, UCLA (consolation winner)

**All-American semifinalists women:
Chanelle Van Nguyen, UCLA
Brooke Austin, Florida
Hayley Carter, North Carolina
Robin Anderson, UCLA
Jamie Loeb, North Carolina (consolation winner)

Monday, October 20, 2014

First USTA Masters Event Starts Thursday; Kozlov Falls to Klizan in Valencia; Lao Beats Vaidisova in Macon $50K; Texas, Southern Win NJTL 14s Titles

The first edition of the new Masters event, part of the 2014 changes to the USTA's junior competition schedule, begins Thursday in Boca Raton. A total of 50 players will participate, four boys and four girls in the 14s, seven boys and seven girls in the 16s and 14 boys and 14 girls in the 18s.  Today's USTA release describes the event this way:


The event, developed from the past model of junior national team training camps, in which the top juniors from around the country would converge for match play and training, will feature a “progressive” tournament format combining 18-and-under, 16-and-under and 14-and-under age groups for boys and girls (The group of 14s will square off first, with the winner advancing to play in the group with 16s. The two top players from the 16s will then progress to play with the 18s).

In addition to the clay-court tournament, each junior will have access to the Training Center’s resources, receiving on-court instruction from the USTA national coaching staff, as well as strength and conditioning and mental skills training.

The participants: (many changes, updated 9 a.m. Tuesday)

Boys 14s:
Christian Alshon
Blake Croyder
Amav Dhingra
Bradley Frye
Keenan Mayo (out)

Girls 14s:
Sydney Jones
Nicole Conard (out)
Sophia Edwards (out)
Taylor Johnson (out)
Nicole Stephens
Natasha Subhash

Boys 16s:
Jacob Brumm
William Howells (out)
Robert Loeb
Gianni Ross
Alexandre Rotsaert
Timothy Sah
JJ Wolf
Chase Wood

Girls 16s:
Ally Bojczuk
Carson Branstine (out)
Abigail Chiu
Morgan Coppoc (out)
Victoria Flores
Grace Joyce
Madeline Meredith (out)
Lexi Milunovich
Danielle Quevedo
Taylor Russo

Boys 18s:
Liam Caruana
Daniel Gealer
Michael Genender (out)
Connor Hance
Jacob Hansen
Andrew Heller
Martin Joyce (out)
Mcclain Kessler
Jason Kros
Sameer Kumar
Emil Reinberg
Alex Ross
Robert Seby (out)
Alan Sweet
Jacob Walker
Evan Zhu

Girls 18s:
Madison Battaglia
Andie Daniell (out)
Summer Dvorak
Jessica Failla
Nadia Gizdova
Alexa Graham (out)
Ellyse Hamlin
Meghan Kelley
Andrea Kevakian (out)
Claire Liu
Ally Miller-Krasilnikov
Darya Possokhova
Maddie Pothoff
Ena Shibahara
Erica Susi
Jaclyn Switkes
Christi Woodson

Draws and results will be available at the TennisLink site.

Today in Valencia, 16-year-old Stefan Kozlov played in his second main draw match on the ATP tour, falling 6-3, 6-3 to Slovakia's Martin Klizan.  Klizan, who won the French Open boys title back in 2006, got the first break of the match in the seventh game, and didn't face a break point in the opening set.  Kozlov got his first two break points in the opening game of the second set, but Klizan held and eventually took a 4-1 lead in the second set.  Kozlov got back on serve with a break at 4-2, but he was broken to give the 25-year-old left-hander an opportunity to serve out the match, which he did.   Jeff Sackmann at tennisabstract.com charted the match, and it is available to watch via ESPN3's replay feature.  The ATP's Josh Meiseles wrote this feature on Kozlov prior to today's match.

The USTA's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge for US women begins this week at the Macon $50,000 tournament.  Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia is the No. 1 seed and one of three WTA Top 100 players in the field. Qualifying doesn't end until Tuesday, but Danielle Lao, the former USC All-American, had a big win in today's second round of qualifying, beating former WTA Top 10 player Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic, who is making a comeback after four years away from the tour. Lao won 6-4, 6-2 and will face Slovenia's Petra Rampre for a place in the main draw.  Fifteen-year-old Michaela Gordon is also in the final round of qualifying.


Qualifying is complete at the $15,000 Brownsville Futures, with 17-year-old Nikola Samardzic making his main draw Futures debut after failing to qualify in his previous 15 attempts.  Sixteen-year-old Michael Mmoh, a semifinalist last week, received a wild card into the main draw, where he will meet No. 2 seed Dimitar Kutrovsky of Bulgaria, who beat him 6-2, 6-4 last week in Mansfield. Henrique Cunha of Brazil is the top seed, with Dennis Novikov No. 3.

At the National Junior Tennis League finals in South Carolina, teams from Austin, Texas and Woodstock Georgia won the two divisions in the 14s age group.  For more on their victories, see this article from the USTA.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bellis Wins Second Consecutive $25K in South Carolina; Fritz, Pedraza and Horvit Seeded at ITF Grade A Osaka Mayor's Cup; Sell Goes Undefeated, Wins Michigan High School Championship

Fifteen-year-old CiCi Bellis won her second straight singles title at a $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event today in Florence, South Carolina. Bellis received a special exemption into the main draw this week based on her inability to play qualifying because she was competing in the final of the Rock Hill tournament. In today's final, Bellis defeated No. 6 seed Ysaline Bonaventure of Belgium 6-2, 6-1, giving her ten straight Pro Circuit victories and 15 wins in a row counting her five at No. 1 singles for the US Junior Fed Cup team late last month.

Because Bellis is only 15, she is restricted to just 10 WTA/ITF pro tournaments between April of 2014 and April of 2015, when she turns 16. She has played seven, and will almost certainly receive an additional two tournament entries based on finishing the year in the ITF Junior Top 5, but the restrictions will certainly impact her schedule in the next six months.

University of North Carolina sophomore Jamie Loeb and former Tar Heel Sanaz Marand won the doubles title in Florence, with the No. 2 seeds beating No. 3 seeds Keri Wong(Clemson) and Danielle Lao(USC) 6-3, 7-6(5).

At the Mansfield Futures, top seed Liam Broady of Great Britain won both titles, beating former Texas Longhorn Dimitar Kutrovsky of Bulgaria 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-0 in the singles final and teaming with Dennis Novikov for the doubles title. Broady and Novikov beat Henrique Cunha(Duke) and Kutrovsky 4-6, 6-3, 10-7.

Former Alabama star Saketh Myneni of India won the first Challenger singles title of his pro career today at the $50,000 tournament in Indore, India. The unseeded Myneni, who turns 27 today, beat top seed Aleksandr Nedovyesov(Oklahoma St) of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3 in the final.

American participation at the Grade A Osaka Mayor's Cup in Japan is generally not great due to the distance and time of year, but this year there are a number of US juniors in the draws.  Taylor Fritz, the No. 4 seed, is joined in the boys draw by Alexander Lebedev, and five US girls are competing: No. 11 seed Raquel Pedraza, No. 14 seed Mia Horvit, Emma Higuchi, Mimi Levine and Jenna Friedel.  Horvit reached the semifinals of this week's Grade 2 in Nagoya Japan, losing to top seed Katie Swan of Great Britain.  Swan lost to No. 10 seed Chihiro Muramatsu of Japan 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5) in the final.  No. 3 seed Johan Nikles of Switzerland won the boys title, beating unseeded Uosuke Watanuki of Japan 7-6(6), 6-4.

Youth Olympic Games gold medalist Shilin Xu of China is the top girls seed, while Duck Hee Lee of Korea is the top boys seed in Osaka.

At the ITF Grade 5 in Vancouver Canada this week, two US juniors made the finals. No. 2 seed Sangeet Sridhar lost to Canada's Kyryll Kryvchun, the No. 1 seed, 6-3, 6-2 in the final.  Qualifier Alexandra Belaya won her first ITF title, beating unseeded Oleksandra Gorchanyuk of Canada 6-3, 6-3 in the final.  


I mentioned on my twitter account (@zootennis) Friday that I was at Stowe Stadium to watch the Michigan State High School Division II boys championships.  The top two seeds were from the local Portage schools, with senior Steward Sell of Portage Northern No. 1 and freshman Bill Duo of Portage Central No. 2. Duo was the runner-up at this year's USTA Boys 14s Nationals in San Antonio, but obviously is much younger and less experienced than Sell.  Both won in less than 40 minutes in the third round matches I watched Friday, and yesterday they met, as expected, in the final at No. 1 singles, with the match played indoors due to rain.  Sell won 6-3, 6-4, his fourth victory over Duo this year, to finish his season undefeated.

Forest Hills Central ended Midland Dow's impressive five-year winning streak of team titles.  For more on Sell and Duo, see this Kalamazoo Gazette article.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bellis Reaches Second Straight $25K Final; Wild Card Kozlov Draws Klizan in ATP Valencia Tournament; Jenkins Sweeps Toowoomba Futures; Nominate Your Favorite Tournament Director

CiCi Bellis continued her run in South Carolina, with the 15-year-old reaching her second $25,000 Pro Circuit final in as many weeks with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 seminial win today over unseeded Petra Rampre in Florence.  Bellis, who received direct entry this week due to reaching the final last week in Rock Hill, went down a break 1-0 in the second set after dropping the first, but won four of the next five games for a 4-2 lead.  She let that slip, but broke Rampre serving at 4-5 to send the match to a third set, which Bellis dominated.  She will play No. 6 seed Ysaline Bonaventure of Belgium in Sunday's final, looking for her tenth straight win.

Michael Mmoh's run at the Mansfield Futures ended in today's semifinals, with No. 4 seed Dimitar Kutrovsky(Texas) beating the 16-year-old 6-2, 6-4.  Kutrovsky will play top seed Liam Broady in both Sunday finals. He and Henrique Cunha(Duke), the No. 3 seeds, will play Broady and Dennis Novikov(UCLA), the No. 2 seeds, in the doubles final.

Stefan Kozlov announced, even before he had reached the Sacramento Challenger final, that he had received a main draw wild card into the ATP 500 tournament next week in Valencia Spain.  With the draw released today, the 16-year-old learned he will face unseeded Martin Klizan of Slovakia in his second ATP tour-level match.  The 25-year-old Klizan is ranked No. 37.  The schedule has not been announced, but the draw is available here.


2013 NCAA finalist Jarmere Jenkins continued his outstanding fall, winning his second straight $15,000 Futures in Australia.  This week in Toowoomba, the former Virginia Cavalier, seeded No. 3, beat top seed and two-time junior slam winner Luke Saville of Australia 6-3, 7-5 in the final.  He also partnered with Mitchell Krueger for the doubles title, their second in the past three weeks.  Jenkins and Krueger, the top seeds, defeated No. 2 seeds Jake Eames and Christopher O'Connell of Australia 6-2, 6-2 in the final. They didn't lose more than four games in any of the eight sets of doubles they played.

In other results from the ITF Pro Circuit, Australian Open champion Elizaveta Kulichkova of Russia won her third $25,000 tournament of the year, this one in Thailand. The 18-year-old, seeded fourth, defeated No. 6 seed Lesley Kerkhove of the Netherlands 6-1, 6-0 in the final.

And Wimbledon boys semifinalist Johan Sebastien Tatlot of France claimed his second Futures title in two months and third overall at a $10,000 tournament in Italy.  Tatlot, the No. 4 seed, beat No. 6 seed Walter Trusendi of Italy 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the final.

Lisa Stone at Parenting Aces has taken a step to accentuate the positive in junior tennis tournaments, implementing an award for Best Tournament Director. Recognition in that job is tough to come by, so if you have had a good experience at a junior tournament, here's your chance to give feedback that will help provide some.  I plan to fill out a nomination myself. The direct link to the nomination form is here.