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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Former US Open Junior Champions Save Match Points to Take Titles; Krajicek Sweeps at Austin Futures

After, a bumpy day up in the air, I'm back in Kalamazoo after 11 days in Tulsa, with college and junior tennis absorbing all my focus during that time.

The Pro Circuit doesn't pause while my attention is elsewhere and neither do the WTA and ATP tours. This weekend, two former US Open Junior champions, Heather Watson and Jack Sock, collected titles, and both saved match points in their respective  finals, which went to third set tiebreakers.

Great Britain's Watson, the 2009 US Open girls champion, won the WTA International level event in Osaka, Japan, defeating Taiwan's Kai-Chen Chang 7-5, 5-7, 7-6(4). Watson saved four match points (see this article from the WTA's website for more) to become the first British woman to win a WTA title since Sara Gomer in 1988.  Neither Watson nor Chang were seeded in the tournament.

Watson is now projected to become the British No. 1, just ahead of Laura Robson, when the new rankings are posted on Monday.  The success of these two young players--Watson is 20 and Robson 18--has Great Britain buzzing, and The Independent focused on Watson and her family in this article, entitled "Heather Watson's Success Achieved Without Pushy Parents." I have long admired Watson's mother Michelle,  whom I see and talk with every year at the Eddie Herr, for her warmth, her common sense and her passion for the game, and I'm delighted her daughter's success belies the notion that tennis parents must be borderline obnoxious and "crazy." That generalization is not based on research or numbers, but on the visibility of those who do fit the unflattering description, so it's nice to read a story reminding us their are other models.

2010 boys US Open champion Jack Sock won his first Challenger title at the $100,000 Tiburon tournament today, defeating Misha Zverev of Germany 6-1, 1-6, 7-6(3). Sock, who had beaten NCAA champion Steve Johnson 6-4, 7-6(4) in the semifinals, saved a match point with Zverev serving at 6-5, 40-30 in the third set. As in the Osaka women's final, neither player was seeded. With the 100 points he gets for winning, Sock will move well inside the ATP Top 200, to a career high. No. 4 seeds Rik De Voest of South Africa and Chris Guccione of Australia defeated No. 2 seeds Jordan Kerr of Australia and Sweden's Andreas Siljestrom(the 2007 NCAA doubles champion while at Middle Tennessee State) 6-1, 6-4 to win the doubles title in Tiburon.

This week on the Pro Circuit, Austin Krajicek won the singles and doubles titles at the $15,000 Futures tournament in Austin, Texas.  Seeded fifth, Krajicek, the 2008 Kalamazoo champion and 2011 NCAA doubles champion at Texas A&M, beat No. 4 seed Josh Milton of Great Britain 6-0, 6-1 in the singles final. It was the 22-year-old lefthander's second Futures title of the year in singles. Yesterday he and Devin Britton, the top seeds, won their fourth Futures doubles title of the year in Austin, beating No. 2 seeds Carsten Ball of Australia and Chase Buchanan 6-4, 7-5.  It was Britton's tenth doubles title of the year, and Krajicek's fifth;  Krajicek also has a Challenger title with former Baylor star John Peers this year.

As in the Pan American Closed girls final, both finalists at the women's Troy, Alabama $25,000 tournament this week were Canadian, with No. 3 seed Stephanie Dubois defeating No. 7 seed Sharon Fichman 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 for the title.  The doubles title went to the unseeded Russian pair of Angelina Gabueva and Arina Rodionova, who downed top seed Fichman and Marie-Eve Pelletier, also of Canada, 6-4, 6-4.

This week the women are in Rock Hill, South Carolina for another $25,000 event, while the men are in Mansfield, Texas for another $15,000 Futures.

For the women's qualifying draws, click here.

For the men's qualifying draws, click here.

There are no ITF junior tournaments in the US until the Atlanta Grade 4 the week of October 29th.