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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Small College Champions Earn Berths in ITA National Fall Championships; Six Americans Advance at Grade A Osaka Mayor's Cup

The ITA Cup concluded over the weekend in Rome Georgia, with eight singles champions from NAIA, Division II, Division III, and JUCO divisions advancing to next month's major, the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships in Surprise Arizona. The competition gives the winners an opportunity to play against the best players in Division I, and since the tournament moved outdoors and expanded to 64 draws there is no longer just one Small College Super Bowl Champion, as was the case in the past. The divisions' doubles winners are required to play off for the only spot reserved for a non-Division I team.

The results are below:

MS: Federico Herrera Duran(Georgia Gwinnett) def. Mika Kosonen(Georgia Gwinnett) 6-4, 6-2
MD: Ayed Zatar and Valentino Caratini(Georgia Gwinnett) def. Federico Herrera Dran and Rafael Coutinho(Georgia Gwinnett) 7-6(8), 6-3
WS: Madeline Bosnjak(Georgie Gwinnett) def. Anais Gabriel(Keiser) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
WD: Nadine Geschke and Sarah Urbanek(San Diego Christian) def. Peeraya Charoensirisutthikul and Rebecca Piils(Brenau) 6-4, 6-4

Division III:
MS: Boris Sorkin(Tufts) def. Chad Leduff (UC-Santa Cruz) 2-6, 6-4, 6-2
MD: Jonathan Jemison and Adrien Bouchet(Emory) def. Yangeng Jian and Justin Wang(Bowdoin) 6-3, 6-3
WS: Ysabel Gonzalez-Rico(Emory) def. Lauren O’Malley(John Carroll) 6-4, 6-1
WD: Caroline Cox and Catherine Allen(CMS) def. Danna Taylor and Melissa Strome(Carnegie Mellon) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4

Division II:
MS: Kiranpal Pannu(Columbus St) def. Pierre Montrieul(Barry) 6-2, 7-6(4)
MD: Zach Whaanga and Alvaro Regalado(Columbus St) def. Filip Kesina and Jakob Schnaitter(Azusa Pacific) 7-5, 0-6, 6-2
WS: Berta Bonardi(West Florida) def. Isabella Dunlap(Central Oklahoma) 6-4, 6-1
WD: Zuza Maciejewska and Verena Schmid(Barry) def. Beatriz Lopez and Marleen Tilgner(Columbus St) 6-1, 6-2

MS: Nicolas Rousset(Seward County CC) def. Alex Parker(Tyler JC) 6-4, 6-1
MD: Gabriel Nery and Sander Jans(Seward County CC) def. Sergio Ingles and Matthew Carroll(ASA Miami) 6-3 6-4
WS: Maria Genovese (Tyler JC) def. Molly Helgesson(ASA Miami) 6-1, 6-0
WD: Maria Genovese and Anna Brogan(Tyler JC) def. Michaela Krauskova and Tatiana Simova(ASA Miami)

Doubles Overall Championships:
Ayed Zatar and Valentino Caratini(Georgia Gwinnett) def. Zach Whaanga and Alvaro Regalado(Columbus St) 7-6(3), 6-1
Maria Genovese and Anna Brogan(Tyler JC) def. Zuza Maciejewska and Verena Schmid(Barry) 6-1, 7-5.

The ITA's Fall Championships tournament page has a link to the list of all players who have qualified so far for the event, but it does not yet include the Division I regional champions.

Although some Regionals have concluded, many begin later this week. See the ITA Regionals tournament page for schedules and sites. Below are the Regional results that I've been able to find; several schools have claimed their first Regional championships.

S: Emmanuel Coste(Oregon) def. William Genesen(Stanford) 6-3, 6-1
D: Joshua Charlton and Thomas Laurent(Oregon) def. Jack Davis and Piers Foley(Washington) 6-2, 6-7(6), 10-8

Ohio Valley:
S:Timo Stodder(Tennessee) def. Gonzalo Morell(Middle Tenn) 6-1, 6-3
D: Hendrik Inno and Marko Ilic(Belmont) def. Timo Stodder and Preston Touliatos(Tennessee) 6-4, 6-4

S:David Volfson(Cornell) def. Charles Broom(Dartmouth) 7-5, 6-3
D: Jack Lin and William Matheson(Columbia) def. Daniel Soyfer and David Volfson(Cornell) 6-0, 6-2

S:Paul Jubb(South Carolina) def. Bar Botzer(Wake Forest) 7-6(2), 6-2
D: Oli Nolan and Henry Patten(UNC-Asheville) def. Bo Boyden and Anu Kodali(North Carolina) 6-2, 3-6, 10-8

S: Stephanie Schrage(Princeton) def. Iuliia Bryzgalova(Penn), walkover
D: Sofya Golubovskaya and Sofya Treshcheva(Syracuse) def. Marija Curnic and Marta Kowalska(Penn) 6-2, 6-3

Ohio Valley:
S: Amanda Meyer(Vanderbilt) def. Emily Smith(Vanderbilt) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
D: Summer Dvorak and Christina Rosca(Vanderbilt) def. Viktoriya Dzyuba and Kateryna Popova(Lipscomb) 6-7(5), 6-0, 10-3

S: Chiara Tomasetti(Northern Arizona) def. Arisha Ladhanti(Denver) 6-3, 6-1
D:  TJ Fumagalli and Kristin Kerrigan(Air Force) def. Arisha Ladhani and Toni Nelson(Denver) 6-2, 4-6, 10-7

S: Eden Richardson(LSU) def. Tea Jandric(Ole Miss) 6-0, 1-6, 6-2
D: Jessica Golovin and Eden Richardson(LSU) def. Alexa Bortles and Isolde de Jong(Ole Miss) 6-3, 4-6, 10-7

The first round of the ITF Grade A Osaka Cup is complete, with two US boys and all four US girls into the round of 32.  Robin Montgomery won on Monday; on Tuesday she was joined by No. 3 seed Gabby Price, Sasha Wood and qualifier Ayana Akli.  Akli defeated ITF No. 60 and No. 5 seed Himari Sato of Japan 6-4, 6-3, for her first victory in a Grade A and just her second ITF Junior Circuit win. The only other ITF Junior tournament the 17-year-old Maryland recruit has played was August's Grade 1 in College Park, where she lost in the second round to eventual champion Katie Volynets.

The US boys remaining are No. 12 seed Zane Khan, who won on Monday, and 16-year-old qualifier Muhammad Dossani, who won his first ITF Junior Circuit match above a Grade 4 with a 6-4 6-2 victory over qualifier Daisuke Inagawa of Japan.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Grade A Osaka Mayor's Cup Underway in Japan; Houghton's ITF Junior Debut Results in Two Titles; Nine Other Americans Claim Championships on ITF Junior Circuit

The ITF Grade A tournaments are coming in bunches now, with the Osaka Mayor's Cup in Japan underway now, just a week after the Youth Olympic Games. The ITF Grade A in Mexico has moved from Mexico City to Yucatan this year, and is scheduled for November 19-25, with the Orange Bowl ending the ITF Junior Circuit season December 3-9.

As is usually the case with this Grade A, Americans are scarce.  Gabby Price took a wild card into Osaka and is the No. 3 seed, with Robin Montgomery, Sasha Wood and qualifier Ayana Akli the US girls in the main draw. Montgomery, who turned 14 last month, has already won her first round match, her first win at a Grade A.

Four US boys are also in the main draw, including No. 12 seed Zane Khan, who is through to the second round. Murphy Cassone, who played at the Pan American Closed last week in Charlotte, lost his first round match, while Trinity Grear and Muhammad Dossani earned their spots through qualifying.

Grear drew top seed Valentin Royer of France. Clara Tauson of Denmark, who was initially scheduled to compete in the Youth Olympics but withdrew, is the top seed in the girls draw.

Americans won both titles at the Pan American Closed last week, but Govind Nanda and Elli Mandlik were joined by nine other US juniors who collected winner's trophies over the weekend.

Sixteen-year-old India Houghton made her ITF Junior Circuit debut last week at the Grade 5 in Vancouver Canada and swept both titles. After winning two qualifying matches 6-0, 6-0, Houghton lost only five games in her next three wins, before needing three sets to beat the No. 7 seed in the semifinals. In the final, Houghton took on doubles partner and top seed Leena Bennetto of Canada and squeezed out a 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(2) victory.  Bennetto and Houghton were not seeded in doubles but won the title with a 3-6, 6-1, 10-7 victory over No. 2 seeds Alexandra Nielsen and Chae Eun Yoo of Canada.

Cash Hanzlik lost in the finals of both the boys singles and doubles.

At the Grade 5 in the Dominican Republic, 17-year-old Randy Wilson, seeded No. 3, won his first ITF Junior circuit title with a 7-6(6), 6-2 win over No. 6 seed Joaquin Caballer of Spain. All six of Wilson's victories came in straight sets. Sisters Kiana and Maria Rizzolo won the girls doubles title, with the unseeded pair defeating top seeds Sofia Cabezas Dominguez of Venezuela and Laura Quezada Martinez of the Dominican Republic 3-6, 6-3, 11-9.

The Grade 5 in Curacao produced American winners in three categories, with 15-year-old Alexandra Centra capturing her first ITF Junior Circuit title in the girls singles.  Centra, the No. 3 seed, defeated unseeded Xintong Zhou of China 6-3, 6-3 in the final. Artemis Pados and Adele Fernandez LeCaroz of Puerto Rico won the girls doubles when No. 2 seeds Shirley Liang of Canada and Aleksa Marquez of Peru retired in the final.

The boys doubles title went to No. 2 seeds Benjamin Kittay and Milledge Cossu, although they needed to win only one full match to claim the title. Their semifinal and final opponents both retired.  Kittay, the No. 2 seed, reached the singles final, losing to No. 3 seed Derrick Chen of Great Britain 6-4, 6-3.

Fifteen-year-old Michelle Tikhonko continued her winning streak in doubles at the Grade 5 in the Netherlands. After winning two titles with two different partners in Montenegro, Tikhonko made it three titles in three weeks, this time with Zuzanna Kubacha of Poland. The unseeded pair beat top seeds Zoe Billon of France and Melissa Boyden of the Netherlands 6-4, 7-6(2) in the championship match.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Juvan Claims ITF Youth Olympic Gold Medal in Girls Singles; Hiltzik, Fratangelo Win Futures, Challenger Titles

Kaja Juvan of Slovenia won the ITF Youth Olympic Games gold medal today in girls singles, defeating Clara Burel of France 7-5, 6-4.  The 17-year-old, who last played a junior event nearly a year ago when she finished as runner-up in the ITF Junior Masters, had already claimed a gold medal in doubles Saturday with Iga Swiatek of Poland. Juvan is the first player to win two gold medals in a Youth Olympic Games event, which have been held every four years since the inaugural edition in 2010.  Hugo Gaston of France, who won the boys singles gold medal and bronze medals in the mixed and boys doubles, is the first player to win three medals in the event.

The boys doubles gold medal went to home favorites and top seeds Sebastian Baez and Facundo Diaz Acosta of Argentina, who beat unseeded Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria and Rinky Hijikata of Australia 6-4, 6-4. 

The mixed doubles gold medal went to the Japanese pair of Yuki Naito and Naoki Tajima, who beat Nicolas Mejia and Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia 6-2, 6-3 in the final.

The final medal list:

Boys singles:
Gold: Hugo Gaston, France
Silver: Facundo Diaz Acosta, Argentina
Bronze: Gilbert Soares Klier Junior, Brazil

Girls singles:
Gold: Kaja Juvan, Slovenia
Silver: Clara Burel, France
Bronze: Maria Osorio Serrano, Colombia

Boys doubles:
Gold: Sebastian Baez and Facundo Diaz Acosts, Argentina
Silver: Adrian Andreev, Bulgaria and Rinky Hijikata, Australian
Bronze: Hugo Gaston and Clement Tabur, France

Girls doubles:
Gold: Kaja Juvan, Slovenia and Iga Swiatek, Poland
Silver: Yuki Naito and Naho Sato, Japan
Bronze: Xiyu Wang and Xinyu Wang, China

Mixed doubles:
Gold: Yuki Naito and Naoki Tajima, Japan
Silver: Nicolas Mejia and Maria Osorio Serrano, Colombia
Bronze: Clara Burel and Hugo Gaston, France

The two USTA men's Pro Circuit events concluded today, with Americans taking both titles.

At the $100,000 ATP Challenger in Fairfield California, unseeded Bjorn Fratangelo defeated No. 8 seed Alex Bolt of Australia 6-4, 6-3 to claim his first Challenger title since April of 2016.  The 25-year-old Fratangelo, who didn't drop a set all week and beat top seed Jordan Thompson of Australia in the quarterfinals, is now 3-4 in Challenger finals.

The doubles final in Fairfield was rare in that it did not feature any former collegians. Top seeds Sanchai Ratiwatana of Thailand and Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia defeated unseeded Harri Heliovaara of Finland and Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland 6-0, 7-6(9) in the final.

At the $25,000 Futures in Houston, No. 2 seed Jared Hiltzik(Illinois) defeated top seed Ronnie Schneider(North Carolina) 6-4, 6-7(7), 7-5 to earn his second career singles title on the pro tour.  Schneider and Hiltzik, both 24 years old, were rivals throughout their junior years in the Midwest section; here's my recap of their 2012 final at the USTA Spring National Championships in Mobile, which Schneider won 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

UCLA senior Maxime Cressy of France and Nick Meister, a former Bruin, won the doubles title in Houston, with the No. 4 seeds beating No. 2 seeds John-Paul Fruttero(Cal) and Portugal's Bernardo Saraiva(San Francisco) 7-5, 6-3 in the final.  It's Cressy's fifth Futures doubles title this year, while Meister, who was out for 18 months with an injury before returning at the end of June, has now won two Futures doubles titles this fall.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Nanda and Mandlik Perform Double Duty to Claim ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed Titles; France's Gaston Wins Youth Olympic Games Boys Singles Gold

©Colette Lewis 2018--
Charlotte NC--

The No. 2 seeds emerged as champions at the ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed Saturday, with both Govind Nanda and Elli Mandlik collecting two straight-sets victories to take home their first Grade 1 titles.

Nanda defeated unseeded Andres Martin 6-2, 7-6(2) in the semifinals and No. 3 seed Eliot Spizzirri 6-2, 6-1 in the final, while Mandlik took out No. 3 seed Chloe Beck 6-3, 6-4 in their semifinal and beat No. 11 seed Savannah Broadus 6-1, 6-3 in the final.

A week that began with rain and included the washout of two entire days ended with sunny skies and cool temperatures at the Jeff Adams Tennis Center, a public facility that served as the site on the final day,
due to football homecoming at University of North Carolina-Charlotte, the tournament's host.

With all the disruptions throughout the week, doubles were cancelled, and  four rounds of boys singles and five rounds of girls singles were completed in the final two days, with match tiebreakers played for a third set Friday and Saturday.

Mandlik played three matches on Friday, earning her place in Saturday's semifinal with a 6-3, 4-6, 10-7 victory over No. 7 seed Vanessa Ong.  Nanda and Martin had the option to play their semifinal match on Friday, after playing only two matches earlier in the day, but they decided to wait until Saturday morning.

That proved an advantage when it became clear that the Jeff Adams courts were significantly faster than those at UNC-Charlotte. Spizzirri had played his semifinal against Marcelo Sepulveda Garza of Mexico on Friday at UNCC, so he did not have a match under his belt as Nanda did.

"These courts are really, really fast and playing a match on it before definitely helped me a lot," said Nanda, a 17-year-old from Cerritos, California. "I could tell he was struggling with that, catching a lot of balls late, not getting to a lot of balls that he would usually get to."

"The courts were pretty fast and a little bit of a change from the rest of the week," said Spizzirri, a 16-year-old from Greenwich Connecticut. "We were playing on slower courts before, and his game is suited pretty well for this. When he's timing the ball well, he's just cracking backhand winners left and right, so it's tough to get the ball out in front on these fast courts, when he's hitting so low and flat. He played really well."

The final was close for the first four games, but after Nanda broke for a 3-2 lead, he stayed in the zone, finishing a long week with a 55-minute victory.

"Early on in the match it was pretty tight," Nanda said. "But I think after I got that break, I just broke free a little bit. I started playing a little better and he started playing a little worse."

Nanda did not have an opportunity to defend his 2017 Pan American Closed doubles title, so he was grateful to have the champion's singles points to help with his 2019 junior ranking.

"I'm not going to be able to play juniors at the start [of 2019]," said Nanda, who is joining the UCLA Bruins in January. "So this is pretty big for me. Hopefully I can keep it going through Eddie Herr and Orange Bowl."

Spizzirri, who is also playing Eddie Herr and Orange Bowl with an eye toward improving his ranking enough to qualify for the junior slams, admitted that the week was unlike any he had encountered.

"It's been pretty chaotic," Spizzirri said. "I haven't had a tournament that's gone like this in forever; this is the first one I think. The change of sites, the hurricane, finding indoor places 45 minutes away, it was kind of hectic. But we've worked through it. Obviously, it's not the best thing that we had to play on different courts for the finals, but it happens, and you've just got to deal with it."

Mandlik said she tried to get a feel for the courts while warming up
with her brother Mark, but she still needed more time to adjust before she could feel comfortable in her semifinal with Beck.

"I couldn't see the ball too good because of the shadows from the trees," said Mandlik, the daughter of four-time slam winner Hana Mandlikova. "And because it was a different court, I didn't feel the ball like I did at the other site. I warmed up with my brother before the match and I didn't get it yet. And then I went on the court and it took me like three games to finally feel it."

Broadus came back from 4-0 down in the second set to defeat No. 9 seed Kylie Collins, an experience the 16-year-old from Carrollton Texas found draining in several ways.

"It was tough," Broadus said of playing the semifinals and finals back-to-back. "My semi was physically and mentally challenging, because I was playing a good friend of mine. I had never done [back-to-back] before, so it was tough, but I'll learn from my experience. I think I'll be prepared if it happens again."

In the final, Broadus could not find the free swinging power that she had used to win the final six games of her match against Collins, with Mandlik determined to keep Broadus off balance.

"I watched her during the tournament," said Mandlik, who had never played Broadus before. "I know she's a big hitter. I tried to put space over the net, so it wasn't in her strike zone, so she doesn't hit the ball flat and blow me off the court."

Mandlik took a 5-2 lead in the second set, but she couldn't get to match point serving for it. At 5-3, Broadus had three game points to put the pressure back on Mandlik, but she had trouble getting a first serve in, and Mandlik converted her first match point when Broadus sent a forehand long.

Mandlik, No. 47 in the ITF Junior rankings prior to this week's title, is eager to secure her place in the junior slams next summer.

"I wanted next year to be safe to play all the grand slams," said the Bradenton Florida resident, who probably won't play Australia, but would like to play the other three. "So I'm playing the Grade A on clay in Yucatan, then Eddie Herr and Orange Bowl."

As for all the twists and turns of the week, Mandlik could look back on them without frustration.

"It turned out good," Mandlik said. "But I thought it was going to be worse. Yesterday was three matches and my legs and body were hurting. I almost lost in the quarters, I was in the tiebreaker, but I thought I played good both matches today."

Broadus agreed.

"She played really well," said Broadus, who is also playing all three clay tournaments to end the ITF Junior Circuit season. "I made a lot of errors, I could have made more balls, but she definitely played really well."

At the ITF Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, No. 3 seed Hugo Gaston of France disappointed the home crowd by defeating No. 8 seed Facundo Diaz Acosta of Argentina 6-4, 7-5 for the gold medal.  The gold medal in girls doubles went to No. 2 seeds Kaja Juvan of Slovenia and Iga Swiatek of Poland, who defeated No. 4 seeds Yuki Naito and Naho Sato of Japan 6-7(5), 7-5, 10-4.  Juvan will play for the singles gold on Sunday against Clara Burel of France.  The boys doubles final between Diaz Acosta and Sebastian Baez and Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria and Rinky Hijikata of Australia is also Sunday, as is the mixed doubles final between Naoki Tajima and Naito of Japan and Maria Osorio Serrano and Nicolas Mejia of Colombia.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Long Day at Pan American Closed Ends with Girls Semifinalists Set; Spizzirri Reaches Boys Final; Juvan and Burel Vie for Youth Olympic Games Gold; Kinnear, Rinaldi Take Over as Head of Men's and Women's Tennis at USTA

©Colette Lewis 2018--
Charlotte NC--

Friday dawned clear and cool, perfect conditions for an ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed schedule that required several competitors to play three singles matches.

No. 3 seed Eliot Spizzirri was one of those who opted to play three matches, and he now finds himself in his first Grade 1 final, awaiting his opponent.

The boys had completed their second round of singles prior to the two-days of rain that kept any matches from being played Wednesday and Thursday. That meant only two matches were absolutely necessary to get the boys to the semifinals, but Spizzirri and No. 11 seed Marcelo Sepulveda Garza of Mexico agreed to play a third match.  Spizzirri had already beaten No. 16 seed Alexander Bernard 6-3, 6-2 and No. 5 seed Liam Draxl of Canada 6-3, 6-3, avoiding the match tiebreakers that constituted the third set. Sepulveda had beaten wild card Joshua Lapadat in straight sets Friday morning, but his 6-3, 5-7, 10-6 win over top seed Tyler Zink in the quarterfinals was a real battle, so it was surprising that he agreed to a third match. He may regret that decision now, with Spizzirri dominating in a 6-2, 6-1 semifinal victory.

"Three matches is a lot for me," said the 16-year-old from Connecticut. "My back's been hurting a little bit for the past couple of weeks, but I've been managing it pretty well and I'm going into the final feeling pretty good about my back."

Spizzirri said that he's noticed that his back issues have actually had a positive impact on his serving.

"I've definitely been working on my serve and my return a lot," said Spizzirri, who earned a substantial number of free points on his serve against Sepulveda. "Actually, it's kind of crazy, because my back is affecting my serve a little bit, but I'm actually managing to serve bigger, even with this injury. I don't really understand it; maybe it's because I'm not trying to force it too much. But I'm serving really well and with confidence."

Spizzirri will face the winner of Saturday morning's semifinal match between unseeded Andres Martin and No. 2 seed Govind Nanda, who agreed that two matches was enough for Friday.  Nanda defeated No. 15 seed Daniel Salazar of Colombia 6-3, 6-1 and No. 9 seed Alex Lee 7-5, 6-3.  Martin took out No. 4 seed Taha Baadi of Canada 6-1, 6-4 and then beat No. 6 seed Ronan Jachuck 6-7(2), 6-4, 10-4 in the quarterfinals.

The win over Baadi was particularly satisfying for Martin, who had falled to Baadi in the quarterfinals of the Grade 2 last month in Montreal.

"From that match, I was, OK, I understand how to play him this time," said Martin, a 17-year-old Georgia Tech recruit. "I worked on my backhand, because it was struggling in that tournament. I worked on going line and cross court, hitting my spots, and that actually helped me today, in both matches, so I'm happy for that."

Martin said he spent most of the two rain days playing video games.

"We were just playing video games the whole time," Martin said. "A little bit of Fortnite, and this game called Mario Party. I've done a little bit of studying--I've been taking my calculus test for three days now in my online schooling."

Martin and Nanda played in the second round of the ITF Grade 1 International Spring Championships back in April, with Nanda earning a 6-3, 6-3 victory.

The girls, who did not complete their second round on Tuesday, faced the prospect of three matches on Friday just to reach the semifinals and two of the semifinalists negotiated all three.  No. 3 seed Chloe Beck defeated unseeded Alexandra Yepifanova 6-2, 4-6, 10-4; No. 16 seed Hina Inoue 6-1, 6-4; and unseeded Canadian Ariana Arseneault, the only non-American in the quarterfinals, 6-3, 6-0.  She will play No. 2 seed Elli Mandlik in the semifinals, after Mandlik earned wins of Daria Tomashevskaya of Canada 6-3, 6-0; Elvina Kalieva 6-3, 6-3 and No. 7 seed Vanessa Ong 6-3, 4-6, 10-7. 

The two girls semifinalists in the top half only needed to play two matches to advance, with No. 11 seed Savannah Broadus defeating Jaedan Brown 6-2, 6-4 in the second round and No. 6 seed Kacie Harvey 6-2, 4-6, 10-7 in the third round. Broadus's day ended there, when Emma Navarro, the No. 4 seed, withdrew with an injury an defeating Emma Jackson 6-2, 7-5 in the third round.
Like Navarro, No. 9 seed Kylie Collins had finished her second round match on Tuesday before all the rain. She defeated No. 8 seed Lauren Anzalotta of Puerto Rico 6-4, 6-4 in the third round, and then took out top seed Hurricane Tyra Black 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.

Collins, 15, had lost to Black in the quarterfinals of the International Spring Championships and fell behind 3-1 in the first set, but took the next five games to secure the lead.

"I think my footwork was a little slow, but my game plan was there," Collins said. "I just had to pick that up, stay more controlled. I think I was a little bit wild. I stuck to my game plan, played with controlled aggression."

Collins knew that Black's formidable defense can lead to frustration, but she told herself not to assume she had hit a winner.

"I knew from the last time, if I hit a winner, it was going to come back, so I was always ready for the next shot," Collins said. "If the ball was sitting up, I wouldn't always go for a winner, but just open up the court more for the next ball. I was always expecting one or two more balls when I thought it would be a winner."

Collins and Broadus have played doubles together, and hit indoors together during the two rain days, but Collins had to go way back in her memory bank to retrieve a singles match between them.

"Last time I played her was like Little Mo's in Austin," Collins said. "Ten years ago or something, it was a while ago."

Beck and Mandlik haven't played on the ITF Junior Circuit, but Mandlik does have a win over Beck in the USTA 14s Clay Courts four years ago.

Due to the UNC Charlotte football homecoming, the five matches Saturday will be played at the Jeff Adams Tennis Center in Charlotte.

At the ITF Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, No. 4 seed Kaja Juvan of Slovenia and No. 7 seed Clara Burel of France have advanced to the gold medal match. Juvan defeated No. 5 seed Xinyu Wang of China 6-0, 7-5, while Burel downed No. 6 seed Maria Osoria Serrano of Colombia for the second time in two months 6-4, 7-5.  Juvan and Burel will play on Sunday; Facundo Diaz Acosta of Argentina and Hugo Gaston of France will play for the boys gold medal Saturday.

The boys doubles final is set, with top seeds Sebastian Baez and Diaz Acosta of Argentina taking on Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria and Rinky Hijikata of Australia.

The girls doubles final between Yuki Naito and Naho Sato of Japan and Juvan and Poland's Iga Swiatek will take place on Saturday.
The USTA announced several major changes in Player Development, with Ola Malmqvist, head of women's tennis, leaving that position to become Director of Coaching.  Former Team USA lead National Coach Kathy Rinaldi will take Malmqvist's position, while retaining her Fed Cup Captaincy.  Kent Kinnear, who has been the USTA's Director of Player ID and Development for six years, and a National Coach prior to that, will take over as head of men's tennis. That position, held for many years by Jay Berger, was occupied by former University of Virginia coach  Brian Boland between June of last year and May of this year.

For quotes from Player Development General Manager Martin Blackman, Rinaldi and Kinnear, see this article from the USTA. For more on Kinnear's previous position at the USTA, see this Tennis Recruiting Network article of mine from early this year.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Tropical Storm Michael Washes Out Another Day of Play at Pan American Closed; Diaz Acosta and Gaston to Meet for Olympic Gold; Wolf Reaches First Challenger Quarterfinal

©Colette Lewis 2018--
 Charlotte NC--

For the second consecutive day, no tennis was played at the ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed, this time due to Tropical Storm Michael. With the Charlotte area under a tropical storm warning, the decision was made early Thursday morning to cancel play for the day. The rain and wind continued for most of the day, but the skies cleared around 5 p.m. and are expected to remain clear for the next several days. With only two days remaining to complete the tournament, the doubles competition was cancelled, with only one of the 31 matches in those two draws played to completion before rain washed out play Tuesday afternoon.  The format for singles for the remainder of the tournament will be two sets with a match tiebreaker in lieu of a third set, which was the format for the girls second round, but not the boys, who finished their second round under standard best-of-three scoring.

Because I had no live tennis to watch today, I focused instead on the live stream of the ITF Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires Argentina. The girls quarterfinal match between No. 6 seed Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia and unseeded Yuki Naito of Japan was first up, and after a tight first set, Osorio Serrano took control, posting a 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-1 victory.

Osorio Serrano will face No. 7 seed Clara Burel in the semifinals, after Burel surprised No. 3 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland 6-4, 6-2. Swiatek had beaten Burel in the round of 16 in both the French Open and Wimbledon this year, in straight sets, so the scoreline, if not the result, was certainly unexpected. Burel and Osorio Serrano met in the semifinals of the US Open last month, with Burel winning 7-6 in the third, so that could be a good one.  The other girls semifinal will feature No. 4 seed Kaja Juvan of Slovenia versus No. 5 seed Xinyu Wang of China. Juvan defeated Wang en route to last year's title at the ITF Junior Masters.

The boys semifinal match streamed today saw Facundo Diaz Acosta of Argentina, the No. 8 seed, defeat Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria, the No. 6 seed 6-4, 6-1. Diaz Acosta will face No. 3 seed Hugo Gaston of France for the gold medal on Saturday, with Gaston defeating No. 7 seed Gilbert Soares Klier Junior of Brazil by the same score.

No boys or girls doubles were played today, but eight second round mixed doubles matches moved that draw into the quarterfinals.

The live stream is available here.

The USTA Pro Circuit events this week are both men's tournaments, with a $25,000 Futures in Houston and a $100,000 ATP Challenger in Fairfield California.

In Houston, five of the eight quarterfinalists are Americans, including the top two seeds: Ronnie Schneider(UNC) and Jared Hiltzik(Illinois).  Schneider will play UCLA junior Evan Zhu; Patrick Kypson(Texas A&M) will play Ryan Peniston(Memphis) of Great Britain; Jordi Arconada(Texas A&M) will face No. 5 seed Maxime Tchoutakian(Baylor) of France and Hiltzik will face No. 7 seed Peter Bothwell of Ireland. No. 4 seeds Maxime Cressy and Nick Meister(UCLA) play No. 2 seeds John Paul Fruttero(Cal) and Portugal's Bernardo Saraiva(San Francisco) in the doubles final.

In Fairfield, two Americans have advanced to the quarterfinals: Bjorn Fratangelo and Ohio State junior JJ Wolf.  Wolf, who received a wild card, won the ITA All-American Championships singles title on Monday, then flew to California for his first round match on Wednesday. He beat qualifier Evan King, then came back today to take out No. 3 seed Noah Rubin 6-3, 6-2. It's Wolf's first Challenger quarterfinal, although he already has a ATP Top 100 win earlier this summer, over Jozef Kovalik of Slovakia in the qualifying of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Wolf will face No. 5 seed Adrian Menendez Maceiras of Spain, while Fratangelo plays either top seed Jordan Thompson of Australia or Maxime Janvier of France, who play later tonight.