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Monday, July 22, 2013

Emina Bektas Sweeps Titles at Evansville $10K; Kevin King Qualifies for ATP's Atlanta Tournament; Southern Cal Women Finish with Bronze at World University Games

The Tennis Recruiting Network begins its review of all eight of the USTA Clay Court Championships this week, and I'll have a recap of the Girls 18s in Memphis for them on Friday, so check their website daily.

While the US junior tennis world was focused on the clay, the Pro Circuit was in four different cities across the country. At the women's $10,000 tournament in Evansville, Indiana, University of Michigan rising junior Emina Bektas won both the singles and doubles titles. Wild card Bektas, who lost in the first round of Evansville last year and the first round of the Buffalo $10K this year, her only Pro Circuit main draw appearances, beat top seed Brooke Austin 4-6, 6-4 6-3 in the final Sunday.

Bektas, who grew up in Indiana, and teammate Brooke Bolender won the doubles title on Saturday, beating former Wolverine star Denise Muresan and former Vanderbilt standout Jacqueline Wu, 6-4, 6-4 in an all-unseeded final. For more on the final, and a curious reference to a Evansville bid on an NCAA regional, see this article from the Evansville Courier and Press.

At the $50,000 Challenger in Portland, Oregon, No. 4 seed Kurumi Nara of Japan beat No. 3 seed Alison Riske 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, but the run to the final was enough to get Riske into the WTA Top 100 for the first time in her career, at No. 96.  Riske is also tied for second with Shelby Rogers in the race for the US Open wild card, with Nicole Gibbs, the winner last week in Yakima, leading.  French Open wild card winner Rogers is in the field for the final women's tournament this week in Lexington, but only the two best results count, so she will need a deep run to pass Gibbs, who is playing the Stanford WTA event this week.  Riske is not in the Lexington field, while Grace Min, who is fourth in the standings, is, taking a wild card.

Top seeds Irina Falconi and Nicole Melichar took the doubles title in Portland over unseeded Sanaz Marand and Ashley Weinhold 4-6, 6-3, 10-8.

The men's race has just begun, with three more events still on the schedule, including two $100,000 Challengers, but French Open wild card winner Alex Kuznetsov is in the lead after his title at the $50,000 Challenger in Binghamton.  Kuznetsov, the No. 6 seed, beat 2010 NCAA champion Bradley Klahn, the No. 5 seed, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 for the title.  Klahn and former LSU All-American Michael Venus of New Zealand, seeded second, won the doubles title, defeating Australians Adam Feeney and former Tennessee star JP Smith, the top seeds, 6-3, 6-4 in the final.  For more on the finals, see the tournament website.

At the $10,000 Futures in Joplin, Missouri, top seed Darian King of Barbados defeated Pepperdine star Alex Sarkissian, who was unseeded, 6-3, 7-6(3) in the final.  Top seeds Daniel Garza of Mexico and Venezuela's Roberto Maytin, a former Baylor Bear, won the doubles title, defeating No. 4 seeds Dekel Bar of Israel and Leon Frost of Australia 6-1, 6-2 in the final.

This week the men and women are both in Lexington for a joint Challenger. In the Futures, the women are in Austin, Texas, and the men in Godfrey, Illinois for $10,000 tournaments.  For links to the draws, see the USTA Pro Circuit page.

The ATP's BB&T Atlanta Open is underway, with the final round of qualifying completed today.  Former Georgia Tech star Kevin King made it through qualifying, defeating ATP No. 141 Jimmy Wang of Taiwan in the first round, and today downing Robby Ginepri, currently ranked 232, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 to reach his first ATP main draw.  King will play No. 5 seed Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan Tuesday afternoon.  Two former college rivals, Georgia's John Isner and Illinois' Kevin Anderson, are the tournament's top two seeds.

The World University Games in Kazan, Russia ended with the Southern Cal women claiming the overall bronze medal for their combined performance during the competition.  Sabrina Santamaria, who was unseeded, took the silver medal in singles, and she and Kaitlyn Christian, the NCAA doubles champions, reached the quarterfinals in doubles before losing to WTA Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Elena Vesnina of Russia, both in the WTA Top 25.

For more on the USC men's and women's results in Russia, see the USC website.  For more on Santamaria's experience in the final, see this article from the USA's World University Games website.