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Monday, November 7, 2011

ITF Junior and Pro Circuit Update

While my attention was focused on the USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in New York, the junior and pro circuit events kept right on keeping on, and I'll start with the US results and then look beyond this country to highlight notable performances elsewhere.

Hayley Carter swept the girls titles at the ITF Grade 4 in South Carolina, and although she wasn't seeded, I don't think that's much of an upset. The 16-year-old Carter, who won the 14s National Championship in 2009, the 16s Clay Courts in 2010 and reached the quarterfinals at this year's 18s Nationals in San Diego, beat No. 11 seed Josie Kuhlman 6-4, 6-3 in the final. Carter and Kuhlman won the doubles, defeating 13-year-olds Tornado Ali Black and Nicole Frenkel 6-1, 6-0 in the final. Romanian Andrei Stefan Apostol, seeded No. 12, beat top seed Austin Siegel 6-3, 6-4 to win the boys singles, with unseeded Connor Clements and Christopher Cox taking the boys doubles title over No. 4 seeds Charles Boyce and Mackenzie McDonald 7-5, 3-6 10-5.

This week's ITF junior tournament in the US is the Grade 4 at the Evert Academy in Boca Raton, with Samantha Crawford and Trey Strobel the top seeds.

At the $10,000 Futures event in Niceville, Fla. 18-year-old Australian Jason Kubler got his second consecutive singles title. Unseeded, he beat No. 3 seed Roman Vogeli of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-4 in the final. For more on the young Australian's prospects--and his injury problems--see this article from The Australian. The doubles championship went to Vogeli and the former Pepperdine star Bassam Beidas, who beat junior Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant 6-4, 6-0 in the final. Adams and Vinsant both received wild cards into this week's $10,000 tournament in Pensacola, and will play each other Tuesday morning.

At the $50,000 women's challenger in Grapevine Texas, No. 8 seed Kurumi Nara of Japan beat unseeded Sesil Karatantcheva of Kazakhstan 1-6, 6-0, 6-3. Top seeds Jamie Hampton and Shuai Zhang of China beat No. 2 seeds Lindsay Lee-Waters and Megan Moulton-Levy 6-4, 6-0. The women move west to Phoenix for a $75,000 challenger there this week, with Irina Falconi the top seed.

At the men's $75,000 Challenger in Charlottesville, Virginia, the winners of singles and doubles both came from the college ranks. South Africa's Izak Van Der Merwe, an All-American at Old Dominion, beat qualifier Jesse Levine in the singles final 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Van Der Merwe. the No. 5 seed, beat wild card Denis Kudla in the semifinals. Unseeded wild cards Treat Huey and Dominic Inglot, both former Cavaliers, won the doubles title, defeating No. 4 seeds John Paul Fruttero and Raven Klaasen of South Africa 4-6, 6-3, 10-7. For more on Huey and Inglot's new partnership (they never played together at Virginia), see this article from the Daily Progress.

As the article mentions, this week the Pro Circuit Challenger, this one a $50,000 tournament, is in Knoxville, Tennessee. The qualifying ends on Monday, and two NCAA champions will face off, with 2011 winner Steve Johnson of USC playing Devin Britton, who won the title in 2009 while at the University of Mississippi. For more on Johnson's finances while he plays Pro Circuit events as an amateur, see this article from the Knoxville News Sentinel. Michael Russell is the top seed in Knoxville, with former Volunteers Tennys Sandgren, Rhyne Williams and JP Smith all receiving wild cards, as did Kudla.

For all the draws for the past and present Pro Circuit events, see usta.com.

In other Women's ITF circuit events outside of the US, Alison Riske won the $50,000 Challenger in Nantes, France, beating the No. 1, No. 3 and No. 5 seeds along the way. Riske, now ranked 135, is still not high enough to assure herself of an Australian Open main draw spot, despite two wins at $50,000 tournaments in the last two months.

Kelsey Laurente, who just committed to Pepperdine, reached the final of the $10,000 ITF Women's event in Jamaica last week, defeating Chalena Scholl, who beat Laurente at the Pan American Junior ITF last month, in the second round. Scholl did win the doubles, teaming with Zuzana Zlochhova of Slovakia.

Former NCAA doubles finalist Caitlin Whoriskey of Tennessee won the doubles at the $10,000 ITF Women's tournament in Sunderland, England, with partner Eva Wacanno of the Netherlands. Former Cal Bear Bojana Bobusic of Australia won the $25,000 ITF Women's Circuit event in Australia.

At the ITF Junior B1 Asian Closed, top seed Luke Saville, the Wimbledon boys champion, took the boys title, defeating fellow Australian Andrew Harris, seeded fourth, 6-3, 6-4. This moves Saville a bit closer to the top spot in the junior rankings, but still behind Czech Jiri Vesely. Korea's So-Ra Lee, a former Junior Orange Bowl 14s champion, won the girls title in her home country as the fifth seed, defeating compatriot Su Jeong Jang 6-2, 6-4 in the final.