Novikov, Krueger Claim First Pro Circuit Singles Titles; Young US Men Stepping Up?; Looking at Past Top Juniors; Edmund, Hoyt Profiles
Dennis Novikov captured his first title on the Pro Circuit today, defeating qualifier Jarmere Jenkins 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 in the final of the $10,000 Futures in Amelia Island, Florida.
UCLA's Novikov, the No 7 seed, had lost to Virginia's Jenkins 7-6(3), 6-3 at the No. 1 position in the NCAA team final a little over a month ago, so it's tempting to say perhaps Jenkins had run out of gas after winning four qualifying matches just to get into the main draw at Amelia Island. But Jenkins handled the rigors of the back-to-back team and individual championships so well, the explanation for the loss is probably no deeper than on this day, Novikov just played the better match between two evenly matched competitors. Novikov had beaten top seed Chase Buchanan in the semifinals, also in three sets, while Jenkins had defeated Duke's Jason Tahir in the semifinals, meaning the final four there were all current or former college players.
Jenkins and partner Mac Styslinger did win the doubles title. The NCAA champions, unseeded, defeated No. 4 seeds Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador and Roberto Maytin of Venezuela 6-4, 6-2, in another final with all competitors either current or former college players.
Over in the Netherlands, 19-year-old Mitchell Krueger picked up his first singles title as a professional, in a $15,000 Futures. One week after traveling and training partner Bjorn Fratangelo won the first Futures on the trip, the unseeded Krueger followed suit, defeating No. 2 seed Ricardo Hocevar of Brazil 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.
At the $10,000 women's tournament in Buffalo, No. 6 seed Alexandra Mueller of the United States defeated former WTA Top 20 player Alisa Kleybanova of Russia 7-5, 6-4 in the final. Kleybanova is just returning to tennis after a 2011 diagnosis of Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and was denied a requested wild card into this year's Wimbledon. Mueller and former Syracuse player Emily Harman, the top seeds, took the doubles title over No. 4 seeds Sachie Ishizu of Japan and Denise Starr of the US 4-6, 6-3, 10-7.
With Wimbledon beginning on Monday, USA Today looks at the state of men's tennis in the United States, with USTA General Manager of Player Development Patrick McEnroe putting it at "4.5 to 5" on a scale of 1 to 10. Bob Bryan and Sam Querrey also talk about the young American men making a push toward the ATP Top 100 in this article.
The Independent looked back at the last nine ITF junior No. 1s in this article, tracking their highest professional rankings and number of titles. It's a pretty small sample size, but it is interesting that only one male player, the oldest one, Gael Monfils, has won an ATP title, while four of those nine female players have already collected WTA titles.
The Kyle Edmund profiles right now are too numerous to keep track of, but despite the dreaded "next Andy Murray" usage, this one from The Guardian is worth reading. Evan Hoyt, a wild card into the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton, who had a big win over Australian Open boys finalist Thanasi Kokkinakis in today's first round, is the subject of this feature, as Wales searches for a player to have an impact on the ATP tour. It should be noted that Hoyt has only one win in Futures competition and thus one ATP point, and is currently ranked 1711.