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Friday, June 22, 2018

Kenin, Kudla, Mmoh Advance on European Grass; Mandlik Reaches Semifinals at ITF Grade 1 in Germany; Kingsley and McNally Claim Pro Circuit Doubles Title

Nineteen-year-old Sonya Kenin's ranking trajectory has consistently tracked toward the Top 100, with the 2015 USTA Girls 18s National Champion's ranking going from 624 at the end of that year to 108 at the end of 2017.  Today Kenin, a qualifier, earned her first Top 10 win at the WTA International event in Mallorca, reaching her first WTA semifinal with a 6-3, 6-3 win over top seed Caroline Garcia of France.  Kenin, who plays Tatjana Maria of Germany in Saturday's semifinals, has been in the Top 100 since March and will reach a career-high ranking in the 70s, regardless of her result tomorrow.  For more on Kenin's breakthrough week, see this article from the WTA website.

While Kenin hasn't had much success on grass prior to this week, Denis Kudla, also a qualifier, has a reputation for excelling on the surface and today he reached the semifinals of the ATP 500 in Halle, beating Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-2, 7-5. Kudla, who has yet to face a seed or lose a set, will play top seed Roger Federer in Saturday's semifinal.  The 25-year-old from Virginia, who has reached one other ATP semifinal, is back in the Top 100 now, although still some results away from his career-high ATP ranking of 53 two years ago. With five Wimbledon main draw wild cards still yet to be distributed, Kudla's case is a strong one.

Michael Mmoh hadn't won a professional level match on grass until this week at the €127,000 ATP Challenger in Ilkley England, but he now has three wins on the surface after the 20-year-old seventh-seed defeated No. 3 seed Thomas Fabbiano of Italy 6-1, 6-2. Mmoh will face No. 8 seed Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine, who beat top seed Jordan Thompson of Australia today in the quarterfinals 6-4, 6-4. Mmoh should move inside the ATP Top 120 with his results this week.

Mmoh's friend and junior rival Frances Tiafoe lost today in the quarterfinals of the Queens Club ATP 500 to France's Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-4.

Elli Mandlik reached the final of the ITF Grade 1 last week in Offenbach Germany and she is through to the semifinals of the second Grade 1 in Germany this week as the No. 11 seed. Mandlik defeated No. 4 seed Taisya Pachkaleva of Russia 6-3, 6-1 in today's quarterfinals, with No. 10 seed Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia next up on Saturday. Top seed Margaryta Bilokin of Ukraine, who trains at IMG and has committed to Duke, is through to the semifinals in the top half.

Fifteen-year-old qualifier Connie Ma's run came to an end at the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Baton Rouge Louisiana, but it took over three hours for No. 8 seed Nika Kukharchuk of Russia to earn her 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 quarterfinal victory.  Kukharchuk will face recent Vanderbilt graduate Astra Sharma of Australia, who beat Julia Elbaba 6-3, 6-2.  The other semifinal features unseeded Ashley Lahey of Pepperdine and Duke recruit Maria Mateas, the No. 5 seed.

The main event at the $25,000 Futures in Winston-Salem figured to be this afternoon's match between 2018 NCAA champion Petros Chrysochos of Cyprus and Wake Forest teammate Skander Mansouri of Tunisia.  Unfortunately Chrysochos's oral surgery disrupted that quarterfinal and he gave a walkover to Mansouri. Although the walkover counts as neither a win or a loss on the two players' records, the streak of 36 straight wins is considered over for Chrysochos, who won last week's Futures at Wake Forest.  Mansouri will play Michael Redlicki in the bottom half semifinal, with top seed Tommy Paul facing Henry Craig in the top half.  JC Aragone(Virginia) and Harrison Adams(Texas A&M) won the doubles title, with the No. 3 seed beating Wake Forest's Ian Dempster and Christian Seraphim of Germany 7-5, 6-7(4), 10-3 in the final.

At the $15,000 Futures in Rochester New York, No. 4 seed Alex Rybakov is the only seed to reach the semifinals. The rising TCU senior will play wild card Andres Andrade, the rising Florida sophomore, who beat wild card Ryan Goetz 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.  Virginia rising sophomore Gianni Ross, a qualifier, advanced to the second Futures semifinal of his career with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Collin Johns to earn a meeting with unseeded Russian Markos Kalovelonis of Russia.

Wild cards Cannon Kingsley and John McNally won the Rochester doubles title, beating No. 2 seeds Alejandro Gomez of Colombia and Pavel Krainik of Canada 6-4, 6-4 in tonight's final. It's the first Pro Circuit title for both the 17-year-old Kingsley, who has committed to Ohio State for 2019, and the 19-year-old McNally, a rising sophomore at Ohio State.

The $25,000 men's Futures in Calgary was not able to complete its quarterfinals, I assume due to rain, but the women's $15,000 tournament in British Columbia couldn't have that problem as its the rare June tournament played indoors.  The semifinals are set there, with just one seed remaining, No. 7 Alexa Graham, the North Carolina rising junior. Graham will play 27-year-old Gail Brodsky, who is back competing regularly on the Pro Circuit after having two children.  The other semifinal features two former Pac-12 stars: Cal's Maegan Manasse, a qualifier, and UCLA's Pamela Montez. Until this year, the 27-year-old Montez hadn't played on the Pro Circuit since 2010 and the 23-year-old Manasse had, prior to this month, played only one Pro Circuit event since the summer of 2016.

Brodsky and Brynn Boren (USC) won the doubles title, with the unseeded pair beating No. 2 seeds Safiya Carrington and Alana Smith 6-1, 6-2 in the final.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Four-Time NCAA D-III Champion Chong Reaches $25K Semifinals; Ma Advances to Quarterfinals in Baton Rouge $25K; Oracle Extends Agreement with ITA; Registration Open for New Balance High School Championships

This is the time of year that college players flood the ITF and USTA Pro Circuits, and this year the urgency in acquiring ATP and WTA points is greater than ever with the ITF's Transition Tour scheduled to begin next year.

Eudice Chong (photo courtesy Wesleyan Athletics)
Four-time NCAA Division III champion Eudice Chong returned to Hong Kong this month after graduation from Wesleyan and received a wild card into the $25,000 ITF Women's Pro Circuit taking place there this week. The 22-year-old has beaten three Pro Circuit veterans, all ranked around 300, to advanced to the semifinals, where she'll face top seed Jia-Jing Lu of China, ranked 185.  Chong is due back in the United States this weekend to receive the Honda Division III Athlete of the Year Award Monday night in Los Angeles. I spoke to Chong earlier this week about her junior pathway, her historic collegiate career and her professional aspirations, with our conversation scheduled to be posted on the Tennis Recruiting Network on Monday.

The $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Baton Rouge has six current or former collegians in the quarterfinals, along with Duke recruit Maria Mateas and 15-year-old Connie Ma.  Ma, a qualifier, defeated Salome Devidze of Georgia, also a qualifier, 6-4, 6-1 today to advance to the last eight. She will face a player more than twice her age, 31-year-old Russian Nika Kukharchuk (Ole Miss) after the No. 8 seed defeated 15-year-old qualifier and French Open girls champion Coco Gauff 7-5, 6-3.

Julia Elbaba (Virginia) upset top seed Usue Arconada 6-3, 6-3 and will face Australian Astra Sharma (Vanderbilt), the No. 7 seed, in the quarterfinals.  No. 5 seed Mateas, who beat Anastasia Nefedova in a three-hour and 29-minute battle today, will face Paige Hourigan (Georgia Tech) of New Zealand, and NCAA singles finalist Ashley Lahey will play Sanaz Marand(UNC).  Lahey won the all-Pepperdine showdown with Luisa Stefani of Brazil, beating her teammate 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in two hours and 45 minutes.

Wake Forest's Petros Chrysochos won the contest between NCAA singles champions today at the $25,000 Futures in Winston-Salem, with the 2018 winner taking out 2014 champion Marco Giron(UCLA), the No. 5 seed, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 to move into the quarterfinals . The 22-year-old from Cyprus, who captured last week's Wake Forest Futures, has now won 36 consecutive matches since an ATP Challenger loss in March.  Chrysochos will face unseeded wild card Skander Mansouri of Tunisia, the third teammate he has played in the past two weeks.  Except for top seed Tommy Paul, who is scheduled to play in Wimbledon qualifying next Monday, all the quarterfinalists have collegiate backgrounds.  Florida recruit Sam Riffice, a qualifier, will play former Denver star Henry Craig, Paul faces former UCLA Bruin Karue Sell[6] of Brazil and Michael Redlicki(Arkansas) plays Ronnie Schneider(North Carolina). Paul and Sell are the only two seeds remaining.

In other college news, Oracle and the ITA have announced an extension of their agreement, with the ITA National Team Indoor Championships and the ITA Summer Circuit added to the list of events and items sponsored by the tech giant. The only mention of the duration of the agreement is its description as "multi-year."  Oracle's co-CEO Mark Hurd played tennis at Baylor and has been a advocate for the collegiate game for many years now.  For the complete release, see this article on the ITA website.

Coming up next month is the fifth annual New Balance High School Championships, and this year, for the second year in a row, the tournament will be held at the Weil Academy in Ojai California.  This year's dates are July 21st-24th. Any member of a high school tennis team during the 2017-18 school year may enter, although the draws are limited to 64 players, with UTR part of the selection process, along with geographic diversity.  See the USTA's Tennis Link site for more information. Entries close on June 28th.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

First Batch of Wimbledon Wild Cards Announced, with 2017 Junior Champions Davidovich and Liu Receiving Qualifying Spots; Jachuck, Mandlik Advance to Third Round at ITF Grade 1 in Germany; Noel Reaches $15K Quarterfinal

Wimbledon announced many of its wild cards today, although many more are still available, especially in the men's singles. The release I received gave "later this week" as the time frame for the naming of the remaining wild cards.  The LTA is holding a men's and a women's wild card tournament beginning tomorrow, with each of the two finalists awarded qualifying wild cards. The draws for those two events are available here.

Wimbledon main draw wild cards:

Men's singles:

Women's singles:
2 Naomi BROADY (GBR)
3 Harriet DART (GBR)
4 Katy DUNNE (GBR)
6 Katie SWAN (GBR)
7 Gabriella TAYLOR (GBR)

Most slams do not offer the previous year's junior champions qualifying wild cards, but Wimbledon usually does, and this year Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain and Claire Liu of the United States have been invited to participate.

Wimbledon qualifying wild cards:
Men's singles:
5 Aidan MCHUGH (GBR)
6 Alexander WARD (GBR)
7 James WARD (GBR)
8 Wild Card Play-off place
9 Wild Card Play-off place

Women's singles:
2 Francesca JONES (GBR)
3 Claire LIU (USA)
7 Wild Card Play-off place
8 Wild Card Play-off place

The current wild card list, which includes main draw men's and women's doubles recipients, can be found here, although, many of those are also still to be determined.

Americans who received direct entry into the main draw this year include nine men and 15 women.

The men:
John Isner
Sam Querrey
Jack Sock
Steve Johnson
Tennys Sandgren
Ryan Harrison
Jared Donaldson
Frances Tiafoe
Taylor Fritz

The women:
Serena Williams
Venus Williams
Sloane Stephens
Madison Keys
CoCo Vandeweghe
Danielle Collins
Taylor Townsend
Bernarda Pera
Sachia Vickery
Jennifer Brady
Christina McHale
Varvara Lepchenko
Sonya Kenin
Madison Brengle
Alison Riske

Cici Bellis was in the main draw, but has withdrawn due to a persistent injury.

The current list of Americans in qualifying:

The men:
Mackenzie McDonald
Bjorn Fratangelo
Denis Kudla
Michael Mmoh
Donald Young
Reilly Opelka
Bradley Klahn
Kevin King
Noah Rubin
Ernesto Escobedo
Stefan Kozlov
Dennis Novikov
Tommy Paul
Christopher Eubanks
Evan King
Christian Harrison
Mitchell Kreuger

The women:
Nicole Gibbs
Caroline Dolehide
Kristie Ahn
Irina Falconi
Jamie Loeb
Lauren Davis
Francesca Di Lorenzo
Grace Min

Complete main draw entry lists are here.

With so many men's main draw wild cards remaining,  Kudla, who has reached the quarterfinals this week at the ATP 500 in Halle Germany as a qualifier, has a good chance to be given one.  Although Querrey and Tiafoe are already in the Wimbledon main draw, they have also shown good form on grass this week, with both reaching the Queens ATP 500 quarterfinals in London.  Mmoh and Rubin are still in the €127,000 Challenger on grass in Ilkley, with the champion there also a possible Wimbledon wild card recipient.

Qualifiers Kenin and Riske are still alive at the WTA International this week in Mallorca, with Kenin reaching the quarterfinals and Riske beating No. 2 seed Angelique Kerber of Germany in the first round today. Again, they both received direct entry into Wimbledon, so their results have no impact on that, just their form and ranking.

The ITF Junior Circuit's Grade 1 tournament this week in Germany is again on clay, with Elli Mandlik, last week's Grade 1 finalist, the only US girl to advance to the third round.  Mandlik, the No. 11 seed, will face No. 5 seed Marta Custic of Spain in Thursday's third round.  Unseeded Ronan Jachuck, who lost in the first round last week in Offenbach, is the only US boy to reach the third round. The Harvard recruit will play No. 7 seed Savriyan Danilov of Russia on Thursday.

Alexa Noel opted to play in a $15,000 ITF Women's Pro Circuit event this week in Italy, using her junior exemption, and has reached the quarterfinals. The 15-year-old, who has played sparingly on the Pro Circuit and had won just one main draw match before this week, will face top seed Angelica Moratelli of Italy next.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Fifteen-year-old Ma, Fourteen-year-old Gauff Qualify for Baton Rouge $25K; Chrysochos Wins Again in Winston-Salem Futures; Kingsley, Poling Qualify at Rochester Futures; Guillermo Nunez Feature

Qualifying for the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Baton Rouge Louisiana was completed today, with 14-year-old Coco Gauff and 15-year-old Connie Ma among the eight to earn their way into the main draw.  Gauff, who is back in the US after winning the French Open girls title earlier this month before heading to Roehampton and Wimbledon, had already qualified and won a round at a $25,000 tournament last month in Florida, but Ma will be making her Pro Circuit debut. Ma, who finished third at the USTA 16s Nationals in San Diego last year, played her first Pro Circuit qualifying match last week, losing to former WTA Top 35 player Olga Govortsova of Belarus in the first round. This week, the Tennis Recruiting Network's top player in the class of 2021 defeated three accomplished college players: Mary Closs of Notre Dame, LSU's Jessica Golovin, the 2018 NCAA doubles champion, and today, Texas Tech All-American Gabriela Talaba of Romania.  Ma will play No. 4 seed Emiliana Arango of Colombia on Wednesday, with Gauff facing qualifier Hayley Carter, who is returning to professional tennis after spending last year as the assistant coach for the women's program at Oklahoma State. Carter, a seven-time All-American at North Carolina explained her decision to pursue a pro career earlier this month at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

Sixteen-year-old Hailey Baptiste, Duke rising sophomore Kelly Chen and Allie Will, the former Florida star, are the other Americans advancing to the main draw.  Usue Arconada, who was hoping to play for LSU this past season, but ran into eligibility issues, is the top seed. Wild cards were given to 15-year-old Alexandra Yepifanova, LSU's Ryann Foster, UCLA's Ena Shibahara and 17-year-old Hurricane Tyra Black. Black defeated Shibahara 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 in first round action today.

In addition to the Baton Rouge event, many Americans have also made their way to Victoria British Columbia for the $15,000 ITF Women's Circuit tournament there. Fifteen-year-old Tara Malik, 16-year-old Anna Zhang and 17-year-old Haley Giavara are among the qualifiers. Amanda Rodgers is the top seed, with three wild cards going to young Canadians and the other to University of Oregon rising sophomore Paiton Wagner of Washington.

The men's USTA Pro Circuit is at Wake Forest again this week, for a second straight $25,000 Futures event.  NCAA champion Petros Chrysochos of Cyprus, who won last week's Futures tournament on his home courts, is not seeded, but remains a favorite to win the tournament. He defeated teammate Christian Seraphim of Germany, a wild card, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 to extend his winning streak to 35 matches.  Top seed Tommy Paul, making his first appearance in a sanctioned event since late January, also advanced to the second round, defeating qualifier Oliver Crawford (Florida) 6-2, 6-4.  Like Seraphim, the other three wild cards are all members of the Wake Forest team: Eduardo Nava, Skander Mansouri of Tunisia and Rrezart Cungu of Montenegro.

The second USTA Pro Circuit tournament this week is a $15,000 Futures in Rochester New York.  Several qualifying matches were delayed until today, with Ohio State recruit Cannon Kingsley, Princeton recruit Karl Poling, LSU's Shane Monroe joining Ohio State's John McNally, Virginia's Gianni Ross and Texas A&M's Jordi Arconada as American qualifiers. Top seed Mattias Descotte of Argentina, who lost in the first round last week as the No. 1 seed, has suffered another early loss this week, with Isaiah Strode earning a 7-6(3), 6-4 decision in action today.  John Speicher(Dartmouth), Andres Andrade(Florida), Ryan Goetz(Virginia) and Alex Knight(Michigan) were awarded wild cards.

The men also have a $25,000 tournament in Calgary Alberta, with 15 Americans in the main draw, including 2017 NCAA champion Thai Kwiatkowski(Virginia). Canadians Steven Diez and Samuel Monette(Indiana) are the top two seeds. Diez is one of the wild cards; the other three are also Canadians: 16-year-old Taha Baadi, and Calgary residents Harrison Scott(Texas) and Joshua Peck(North Carolina).

Bobby Knight tweeted out a link to this article about recent TCU graduate Guillermo Nunez of Chile. Nunez, who was a Top 10 junior in the ITF rankings, decided not to pursue pro tennis and, now employed on Wall Street, he explains why he took the college route, while his contemporary Christian Garin went straight to the Pro Circuit and is currently 173 in the ATP rankings. The article is in Spanish, but it sounds as if his decision to begin his career is based on visa requirements as well as an assessment of the likelihood of making a living in the lower levels of tennis. Nunez is going to continue his involvement with tennis however, with some part-time work at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy.

Monday, June 18, 2018

USTA's US Open Wild Card Challenge Begins July 9th, with Five Weeks of Tournaments, Including WTA; ITA Announces 2018 Collegiate All-Star Team; Texas Slam Winners

The USTA announced today that its annual US Open Wild Card Challenge will begin on July 9th, with the women's events including WTA tournaments for the first time.  The men have been using points accumulated in ATP events for some time in these Wild Card Challenges, but the women have always been restricted to the USTA Pro Circuit events designated.  This year the five weeks of tournaments for women will include not only Lexington, which had previously been part of the US Open Wild Card Challenge, but four additional $60,000 events in Honolulu Hawaii, Berkeley California, Ashland Kentucky and Landisville Pennsylvania.  Points earned in both qualifying and main draw at the WTA tournaments in San Jose and Washington DC will also count toward the best two results in this five-week span.

The men have 16 events in those five weeks that can provide points, with the American with the best three results in those ATP Tour and Challenger tournaments receiving a US Open main draw wild card.

The USTA press release is below:


Main Draw Wild Cards into 2018 US Open to be Awarded to Top-Performing American Man and Woman over Five-Week Run of ATP, WTA and USTA Pro Circuit Hard-Court Events

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., June 18, 2018 – The USTA today announced that the US Open Wild Card Challenge, which utilizes hard-court pro tournaments to award an American man and woman a main draw wild card into the US Open, will kick off the week of July 9 and conclude the week of Aug. 6.

The men’s wild card will go to the American with the highest cumulative total of ATP singles ranking points earned from their best three results during that five-week window, including results from any professional hard-court event at the ATP Challenger level and above around the world.

The women’s wild card will be awarded to the American with the highest cumulative total of WTA singles ranking points earned from their best two results during those five weeks, at select $60,000 outdoor USTA Pro Circuit hard-court events (main draw only) – including four new $60,000 tournaments, in Honolulu, Berkeley, Calif., Ashland, Ky., and Landisville, Pa. – as well as qualifying and main draw results from the WTA tournaments in San Jose, Calif., and Washington, D.C.

Only Americans who do not earn direct entry into the US Open are eligible. In the event of a tie, the player with the best ATP or best WTA singles ranking on Aug. 13 will be awarded the wild card.

All USTA Pro Circuit tournaments will be streamed live on www.procircuit.usta.com. This is the seventh consecutive year the USTA has used a wild card challenge format to award US Open wild cards for American players.

The US Open Wild Card Challenge will consist of the following events:

Men’s Events
  • Week of July 9: Winnetka, Ill. $75,000; Winnipeg, Canada $75,000
  • Week of July 16: Astana, Kazakhstan $125,000; Gatineau, Canada $75,000
  • Week of July 23: Atlanta ATP 250; Granby, Canada $100,000; Binghamton, N.Y. $75,000
  • Week of July 30: Washington D.C. ATP 500; Los Cabos ATP 250; Chengdu, China $125,000; Segovia, Spain €85,000+H; Lexington, Ky. $75,000
  • Week of August 6: Toronto ATP Masters 1000; Jinan, China $150,000; Aptos, Calif. $100,000; Portoroz, Slovenia €64,000+H
Women’s Events
  • Week of July 9: Honolulu $60,000
  • Week of July 16: Berkeley, Calif. $60,000
  • Week of July 23: Ashland, Ky. $60,000
  • Week of July 30: San Jose WTA Premier; Washington, D.C. WTA International; Lexington, Ky. $60,000
  • Week of August 6: Landisville, Pa. $60,000
The USTA first used this US Open wild card format for its 2012 wild cards. The USTA also utilizes this wild card challenge format for the French Open and Australian Open.

Previous US Open wild card winners include:
  • 2012 – Steve Johnson and Mallory Burdette, both of whom reached the third round
  • 2013 – Bradley Klahn and Shelby Rogers, with Klahn winning his first-round match
  • 2014 – Wayne Odesnik and Nicole Gibbs, with Gibbs reaching the third round
  • 2015 – Bjorn Fratangelo and Samantha Crawford
  • 2016 – Ernesto Escobedo and Sofia Kenin, with Escobedo picking up his first Grand Slam win
  • 2017 – Tommy Paul and Sofia Kenin, with Kenin reaching the third round, before falling to Maria Sharapova in Arthur Ashe Stadium
The 2018 US Open main draw will be held Monday, Aug. 27, through Sunday, Sept. 9.  Information on the US Open Wild Card Challenge will be available at www.procircuit.usta.com. Follow the USTA Pro Circuit #USTAProCircuit. 

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association released its 2018 National Collegiate All-Star Team today.  The Division I Team is below. For the members from Division II, Division III, NAIA and Junior Colleges, see the release on the ITA website.

Division I Men
NCAA Singles Champion: Petros Chrysochos, Jr., Wake Forest University
NCAA Singles Runner-Up: Borna Gojo, So., Wake Forest University
Oracle ITA National Fall Championships Singles Champion: Nuno Borges, Jr., Mississippi State 
No. 1 Ranked Singles: Martin Redlicki, Sr., UCLA
NCAA Doubles Champions: Martin Redlicki (Sr.) / Evan Zhu (Jr.), UCLA
NCAA Doubles Runner-Up: Mikael Torpegaard (Sr.) / Martin Joyce (Jr.), The Ohio State University 
Oracle ITA National Fall Championships Doubles Champion: Petros Chrysochos (Jr.) / Skander Mansouri (Sr.), Wake Forest University 

Division I Women
NCAA Singles Champion: Arianne Hartono, Sr., Ole Miss
NCAA Singles Runner-Up: Ashley Lahey, Jr., Pepperdine University 
Oracle ITA National Fall Championships Singles Champion: Andrea Lazaro, Sr., Florida International University 
No. 1 Ranked Singles: Astra Sharma, Sr., Vanderbilt University
NCAA Doubles Champions: Jessica Golovin (Jr.) / Eden Richardson (Fr.), LSU 
NCAA Doubles Runner-Up: Vladica Babic (Sr.) / Sofia Blanco (Jr.), Oklahoma State University 
Oracle ITA National Fall Championships Doubles Champion: Emily Arbuthnott (So.) / Michaela Gordon (Fr.), Stanford University 

The USTA Texas Section held its big Closed tournament last week, with Trey Hilderbrand and Fiona Crawley winning the 18s singles titles.  The
singles finals results are below, with more on the tournament available at the USTA Texas website.

Boys’ 18 Singles: Trey Hilderbrand def. Reed Collier 6-1, 6-0
Boys’ 16 Singles: Andrew Chang def. Zachery Foster 6-4, 6-4
Boys’ 14 Singles: Kyle Totorica def. Charles Wood 6-2, 7-6 (4)
Boys’ 12 Singles: Alexander Razeghi def. Yuki Asako 6-0, 6-0

Girls’ 18 Singles: Fiona Crawley def. Sydney Fitch 7-5, 6-3
Girls’ 16 Singles: Bridget Stammel def. Brianna Wilbur 7-5, 6-0
Girls’ 14 Singles: Erica Jessel def. Ylan Duong 6-3, 6-7 (3), 7-5
Girls’ 12 Singles: Chelsie Son def. Maya Dutta w/o (inj)

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Ma Wins ITF Grade 1 in Germany; Lee Takes Grade 5 Title in Thailand; Rybakov Claims Buffalo Futures, Chrysochos Extends Winning Streak at Wake Forest $25K; Townsend Captures Sumter Title

Lea Ma won her first ITF Grade 1 singles title today in Offenbach Germany, defeating Elli Mandlik 6-4, 7-5 in the all-American girls final.  The 17-year-old Ma, who was the No. 2 seed, had reached the final of two Grade 1 tournaments earlier this year, while Mandlik, also 17, was playing in her first Grade 1 final.  The boys title went to No. 6 seed Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic, who defeated unseeded Giulio Zeppieri of Italy 6-3, 7-5.  Ma, whose previous career high in the ITF junior rankings was 37, should move into the Top 25 with her title today.

At the ITF Grade 5 in Thailand, 15-year-old Karl Lee picked up his first ITF Junior Circuit title. The Sacramento resident, seeded No. 15, defeated four higher seeds to claim the title, beating No. 5 seed Iiro Vasa of Finland 6-3, 6-3 in the final.

At the ITF Grade 4 in Guatemala, Spencer Brachman and Max McKennon won the boys doubles title, with the unseeded pair beating No. 2 seeds Guillermo Castaneda and Patricio Nieto of Mexico 6-2, 7-6(2) in the final. McKennon, who was unseeded in singles, lost in the final to unseeded Rafael De Alva Valdez of Mexico 6-2, 6-4.

Two of the three USTA Pro Circuit events had disappointing endings, with Taylor Townsend claiming the $25,000 women's event in Sumter South Carolina without winning a point.  The top seed got a retirement from No. 2 seed Alize Lim before any points were played to earn her third Pro Circuit singles title this year.  At 75 in the WTA rankings, Townsend may have played her last $25,000-level tournament for a while.  The Sumter Item has been covering the event this week; whether they will have a story about the final is unclear, but this article provides more on Saturday's doubles title, won by collegians Astra Sharma and Luisa Stefani.

TCU rising senior Alex Rybakov, the No. 5 seed, won his second career Futures title today at the $25,000 tournament in Buffalo New York, with No. 4 seed Deiton Baughman retiring down 7-6(5), 3-1. The 21-year-old left-hander was playing his first Futures event since early in January, when he made two quarterfinals in the California Futures.

A dramatic finish did play out at the $25,000 Futures at Wake Forest, with NCAA champion Petros Chrysochos of Cyprus coming from 4-1 down in the third set to defeat qualifier Michael Redlicki 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.  Rising Wake Forest senior Chrysochos was down two breaks before his surge in the third set, which kept his winning streak intact.  In my post last night, I said Chrysochos hadn't lost since January, and that's true in a collegiate context, but he did have a quarterfinal ATP Challenger loss back in March. But since then, he also has recorded three Davis Cup wins, so his winning streak, at all levels, now stands at 34, according to the Wake Forest sports information staff. Chrysochos is also entered in the second Wake Forest $25,000 Futures this coming week, which is expected to see the comeback of Tommy Paul, who hasn't played since the end of January.