Lauren Davis Wins Puerto Rico Challenger; Kandler and Strobel Take Titles in Atlanta ITF; Kukushkin's Route to ATP Title
Lauren Davis gave herself a Halloween treat today, winning her second Pro Circuit event this month, the $25,000 Pro Circuit tournament in Puerto Rico. The 17-year-old from Ohio, who is now training at the Evert Academy in Boca Raton, Fla., beat Madison Keys, who also is at Evert's, 7-6(5), 6-4 in today's singles final.
After winning the $10,000 Pro Circuit tournament in Williamsburg, Va., earlier this month, Davis went straight to the Pan-American Closed ITF junior tournament in Tulsa, where she lost to eventual champion Keys in a three-set semifinal match. That was the only loss of the month for Davis, who has now won 11 consecutive professional matches, including her one qualifying match in Puerto Rico. Neither Davis nor Keys were seeded in Puerto Rico.
The doubles title went to top seeds Maria-Fernanda Alves of Brazil and Marie-Eve Pelletier of Canada, who defeated the second-seeded team of Maria Irigoyen and Florencia Molinero of Argentina 7-6(5), 6-4.
At the Birmingham Futures tournament, Canadian Philip Bester, the No. 2 seed, beat top seed James Lemke of Australia 0-6, 6-2, 6-0. Bester also won the doubles title, teaming with countryman Kamil Pajkowski to beat Lemke and German Dennis Bloemke 6-7(4), 6-4, 10-5.
Bester wasn't the only player to lose the first set 6-0 and come back to win a championship today. Austria's Christine Kandler won the ITF Grade 4 girls singles title over Brooke Austin by the score of 0-6, 7-5, 7-6(2). It was Austin, the No. 6 seed, making the comeback in the third set, taking five straight games after falling behind 5-1, but the eighth-seeded Kandler prevailed in the tiebreaker. No. 2 seed Trey Strobel won the boys singles title, defeating fellow 16-year-old Harrison Richmond, the sixth seed, 6-1, 6-1 in the final. Top seeds Anthony Delcore and Austin Smith won the boys doubles title, with No. 2 seeds Austin and Hannah King taking the girls doubles title.
For complete results from the Atlanta ITF, see the ITF junior website. Next week the ITF circuit in the US moves to Lexington, SC, where unfortunately the former Grade 2 tournament is now a Grade 4.
Next week on the Pro Circuit, the women are in Grapevine, Texas for a $50,000 Challenger, while the men have a $50,000 Challenger in Charlottesville, Va. and a $10,000 Futures in Niceville, Fla. Qualifying for all three events is underway. In Charlottesville, all wild cards went to former or current Cavaliers: Treat Huey, Ted Angelinos, Jarmere Jenkins and Alex Domijan. Jenkins and Angelinos play each other in the opening round. Michael Shabaz, a wild card into qualifying, has won two matches and will play Nicholas Monroe for a spot in the main draw Monday.
See usta.com's Pro Circuit results page for draws.
Twenty-two-year-old Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan won the St. Petersburg, Russia ATP event today, and because I didn't recall his name from the juniors, I wondered if he had played mostly Futures events and perhaps only small ITF junior events in Russia (where he was born and grew up) when he was younger. As I tweeted earlier today, I was surprised to find that Kukushkin had not played a single ITF junior event, anywhere, at any age. He is not in the ITF junior database. There are many examples of young players concentrating on Futures rather than junior events, most notably Rafael Nadal, but even Nadal, who was 16 at the time, played Junior Wimbledon (he was given a wild card). I've long since learned that every player's path to success is different, but this is one that I could not have imagined.