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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Johnson Wins Nottingham Challenger, Receives Wimbledon Wild Card; Nedovyesov Reaches Prague Challenger Final; Frank, Morgan Reach Pro Circuit Finals

Steve Johnson won the Nottingham Challenger today, defeating Belgian Ruben Bemelmans 7-5, 7-5 in the final. A few hours later, Wimbledon announced it had granted Johnson a main draw wild card, meaning he will not have get in via qualifying, as he did at the Australian and French Opens.  With the USTA wild card he earned into last year's US Open by accumulating the most ATP points over several designated tournaments and this one, Johnson has now competed in every grand slam since winning his second NCAA singles title last May.  The points earned this week also should put him at 100 in the ATP rankings, likely assuring him entry into the main draw of the US Open.

For Johnson's comments on his victory today, see this article from Eurosport. 

For the current list of Wimbledon wild cards, see the tournament website.

Another outstanding collegian, Oleksandr Nedovyesov, who played at Oklahoma State and finished 2009 atop the ITA rankings, has had some impressive results himself the past month.  In May, the 26-year-old from Ukraine reached the final of the $50,000 Challenger in Uzbekistan, and today he made his way into another Challenger final, this one the 64,000 Euro tournament in Prague. The seventh-seeded Nedovyesov, who is currently ranked 161, defeated No. 4 seed Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo of Spain in the semifinals 6-4, 6-4.  For more on Nedovyesov's win, see this onsite account from Tennis Alternative.

The finals of the two Pro Circuit events this week in the US feature two current collegians, with Florida's Brianna Morgan and Virginia's Mitchell Frank looking for their first titles on the professional circuit.  The unseeded Frank defeated No. 2 seed and last week's Futures champion Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador 6-4, 7-6(5) to advance to his second Futures final, where he'll meet former Kentucky All-American Jesse Witten. Witten, who was off the circuit for nearly a year between August of 2011 and July of 2012, defeated Fernando Romboli of Brazil 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 in today's semifinals of the $10,000 Indian Harbour Beach Futures, to reach his first final since 2009.

Morgan, a wild card, defeated No. 2 seed Brooke Austin 6-3, 6-0 in the semifinals of the $10,000 Bethany Beach tournament to reach her first final in a Pro Circuit event. In Sunday's final, Morgan will play top seed Jessica Moore of Australia, who edged unseeded wild card Peggy Porter 6-1, 3-6, 7-5.   Porter did leave Delaware with a title however, as she and former Virginia star Lindsey Hardenbergh took the doubles championship with a 6-1, 6-4 decision over Denise Muresan and Jackie Wu.

In Futures outside the United States, recently crowned NCAA champion Blaz Rola of Ohio State has reached the finals of a $10,000 Futures in Mexico and 2011 French Open boys champion Bjorn Fratangelo has reached the finals of a $15,000 Futures in the Netherlands.