Krygios Wins Sydney Challenger; UCLA's Giron and Novikov Take Pacific Coast Doubles Title; Johns Hopkins Wins Women's D III Team Indoor; BNP Paribas Qualifying Draws Released
Australian Open boys champion Nick Kyrgios won the singles title at the $50,000 challenger in Sydney Sunday, in just his second tournament at that level. The 17-year-old Australian, currently the world's top-ranked junior, received a wild card into the hard court event, and dropped only one set, to Greg Jones, in the third round. Due to wet weather on Saturday, the semifinals and finals were played on the same day, with Kyrgios defeating No. 5 seed Stephane Robert of France in the semifinals, then downing unseeded Matt Reid of Australia 6-3, 6-2.
In the current climate of men's tennis, which demands physical and mental maturity, any teenager winning a Challenger is big news. When its the world's top-ranked junior, who is from a country hungry to restore some of its lost luster on the world tennis stage, it is even bigger news. With his victory, his first on the ITF men's circuit, having never even reached a Futures final, he will move inside the ATP Top 350, and will be, by nearly a year, the youngest player at that level. He came within a few points of also taking the doubles title, with he and partner Alex Bolt falling to top seeds Brydan Klein and Dane Propoggia 6-4, 4-6, 11-9 For more on Kyrgios's Sydney tournament, see this article from Tennis Australia.
In the $15,000 Futures in Harlingen, Texas, No. 2 seed Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic got by Bjorn Fratangelo 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3, for the ninth Futures title of his career. The doubles title went to No. 3 seeds Ruben Gonzales of the Philippines and Clint Lecher of Australia, who downed former Georgia Tech players Kevin King of the US and Dean O'Brien of South Africa 6-2, 6-3.
At the 124th annual Pacific Coast Doubles tournament in La Jolla, California, UCLA's Dennis Novikov and Marcos Giron came away with the winners' trophy, defeating USC's Max de Vroome and Eric Johnson 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4. Giron and Novikov, seeded third, had needed three sets to get past Stanford's John Morrissey and Denis Lin, a No. 9 seed in Sunday morning's semifinal, while de Vroome and Johnson, a No. 5 seed, had rolled past Stanford's Robert Stineman and Maciek Romanowicz, also a No. 9 seed.
Novikov served for the first set in the finals, but two double faults cost him and he never got to set point. In the second set, UCLA took an early lead and held onto it. In the third set, Johnson was broken at love to give UCLA a 3-2 lead and Giron held to make it 4-2. After de Vroome and Novikov held for 5-3, Johnson got down 0-40 on his serve, but he and de Vroome saved all three match points. With Giron serving for the title, he had a 40-0 lead, but those three match points came and went too. Finally, on their seventh match point, Giron and Novikov converted, adding another prestigious title to their collection. Giron won the Kalamazoo 16s doubles championship with Nick Chappell in 2009 and Novikov is the reigning Kalamazoo 18s doubles champion, with Michael Redlicki.
And speaking of doubles, unseeded wild cards Jack Sock and James Blake, who reached the Memphis final last week in their first tournament as a team, won the title at Delray Beach, defeating top seeds Max Mirnyi of Belarus and Horia Tecau of Romania 6-4, 6-4. It is Sock's first ATP title.
At the ITA Women's Division III Team Indoor, it was another close final, as No. 11 Johns Hopkins came from 4-2 down to defeat No. 5 Carnegie Mellon 5-4 today at DePauw. Only one match went three sets, at No. 1 singles, but all three Johns Hopkins players at No. 4, 5 and 6 knew they had to win, and all three did. For the ITA's account of the match, click here.
In SEC play in College Station today, the No. 6 Texas A&M women defeated No. 4 Florida 4-3, giving the Aggies their best win ever, as they hadn't beaten a Top 4 team before. The Florida men, who had fallen to No. 35 in the rankings, had a better result in Gainesville, defeating the No. 11 Aggies 4-3, with the Gators' Michael Alford taking the deciding point with a 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(2) win over Shane Vinsant at line 4.
The women's qualifying at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells begins Monday, and the draw has been released. There are plenty of fascinating matchups. Wild card Sachia Vickery has drawn top qualifying seed Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland, Elina Svitolina of Ukraine and Eugenie Bouchard of Canada will meet in a rematch of the 2012 Wimbledon's girls final, which Bouchard won, wild card Samantha Crawford takes on Monica Puig, wild card Grace Min faces Kristyna Pliskova, Jessica Pegula meets Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, and in a blockbuster first rounder, Yulia Putintseva plays Andrea Petkovic. Former college players in the draw include Irina Falconi, Julia Cohen and Mallory Burdette.
The order of play and draws can be found at the tournament website.