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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Min Claims First $50K Title on Her 18th Birthday; JP Smith Sweeps Vero Beach Futures Titles

Today is Grace Min's birthday, but it was Melanie Oudin who ended up with the biggest gift, the French Open wild card.

The unseeded Min defeated wild card Maria Sanchez 6-4, 7-6(4) in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., to win her first title at a $50,000 event. Sanchez had an opportunity to capture the USTA's reciprocal wild card into the main draw at Roland Garros, but she had to win to get it, while Oudin, who lost in the second round this week, could only root for her now 18-year-old friend to help her.

The match started with three straight breaks of serve, with Min the first to hold for a 3-1 lead. Sanchez, who was playing college tennis at USC a year ago, pulled even at 3-3, but was immediately broken and Min served out the set.

Unlike the first set, breaks of serve nonexistent in the second set,  although both had more than a few chances. Min was serving from behind, but held steady in both the 4-5 and 5-6 games to force a tiebreaker.

Sanchez took a 4-2 lead at the changeover when she hit a backhand return winner on Min's second serve, but it was the last point the 22-year-old would win. Serving at 4-3, Sanchez hit both a forehand and a backhand wide, and although they weren't wild shots, they were unforced errors at a key time. Min showed no nervousness when she took the lead, getting her first serve in at 5-4 and 6-4, and when Sanchez netted a backhand, Min had her title, and Oudin had her wild card.

Because Min lost in qualifying in the $50,000 events in Dothan and Charlottesville, she was not in the running for the French Open wild card, which the USTA granted based on the best two results from those three tournaments.  Min won the first Pro Circuit event of the year at the $25,000 event in Innisbrook, Fla., and reached the final at the $25,000 Clearwater tournament in March, but this was the best result of her young career.

For complete draws, see the Pro Circuit page at usta.com.

An eight-time All-American at Tennessee, JP Smith has had a fine start to his professional career, and today the 23-year-old Australian collected the singles and doubles titles at the $10,000 Vero Beach Futures.  Seeded No. 2,  Smith, who is currently ranked 337, lost in the semifinals to former teammate Tennys Sandgren in the $15,000 Little Rock Futures last month, but avenged that loss in the semifinals this week, and today beat former Cal standout Pedro Zerbini of Brazil 6-2, 6-0 for his first singles title of 2012. Zerbini was a qualifier who had to win three matches just to reach the main draw,  so a 7-1 week is nothing to be depressed about.

Smith then teamed with Ben Rogers in the doubles final, where the top seeds defeated Vahid Mirzadeh and Ed Corrie, the No. 4 seeds, 5-7, 6-1, 11-9. It was Smith's fifth doubles title of the year, with three of those Challenger titles with John Peers as his partner. Smith reached the NCAA doubles final in both 2009 and 2010, with Tennys Sandgren's older brother Davey.

For complete draws, see the Pro Circuit page at usta.com.

Outside of the United States, Nicole Melichar won her second recent title at a $10, 000 tournament in Turkey, while Devin Britton won the doubles with Darian King at the $10, 000 Futures in Mexico.  Britton has begun writing a blog about his life in the tennis minor leagues, which can be found at devinbritton.com.  Former Tennessee star Caitlin Whoriskey won the doubles at the $10,000 tournament in Germany this week (16-year-old Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan won the singles title) and Nadia Echeverria Alam and Elizabeth Ferris of the US won the doubles at the $10,000 tournament in Peru.


been-there said...

Is there a site where you can tell if someone officially went pro? Did Grace Min go pro? What about Nicole Melicar?

Colette Lewis said...

If you find one, let me know. Sports management agencies rarely publicize signings, and besides, very few of those who do turn pro, American or international, have representation, so it's difficult to determine their status.

Austin said...

Colette, can you post a link to the lineups when you see one? I was on ncaa.com and couldnt find anything.


Colette Lewis said...

I don't think they are going to be publicly available this year, but I'm checking on that. We may have to wait until everyone plays their first match to get an idea, and then we still won't know if someone has been pulled.