Kasatkina, Nishioka Win ITF Grade 1 International Hard Courts; Santamaria and Christian Shut Out of US Open Women's Doubles Draw; Schnack, Roberson Win USO Mixed Wild Card
This year the International Hard Court tournament became an ITF Grade 1, and had my personal circumstances been different, I would have covered it in person, or at least more extensively than I did. With so many ITFs in the US being downgraded to Grades 4 or 5, an upgrade deserves more recognition than I was able to give it. Thanks to Ray Benton of the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland for providing US players with an opportunity to improve their ITF rankings without traveling outside the US.
This year it was international players who benefitted the most however, with top seed Darya Kasatkina of Russia taking the girls title without the loss of a set, and No. 4 seed Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan claiming the boys title. The 16-year-old Kasatkina defeated unseeded Maria Shishkina of Kazakhstan, when Shishkina retired trailing 6-3, 3-1. Unseeded Michaela Gordon and Josie Kuhlman reached the semifinals.
Nishioka, a semifinalist at last year's US Open juniors, downed No. 3 seed Stefan Kozlov 6-4, 6-1, after Kozlov had beaten top seed and former ITF No. 1 junior Nikola Milojevic of Serbia 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in the semifinals. Nishioka also won the doubles title, with Naoki Nakagawa of Japan. The No. 3 seeds beat No. 6 seeds Nicolas Jarry of Chile and ALan Nunez Aguilera of Mexico 3-6, 6-3, 10-4.
The girls doubles title went to Iryna Shymanovic of Belarus and Alina Silich of Russia, the No. 2 seeds. They beat top seeds Katie Boulter of Great Britain and Viktoriya Lushkova of Ukraine 7-6(4), 6-1.
Unfortunate news out of New York today, with the word that Sabrina Santamaria and Kaitlyn Christian, the USC pair who won all three collegiate majors this year, including the NCAA title, did not receive a wild card into the women's doubles at the US Open. Santamaria and Christian, not knowing they needed to apply to the USTA for a wild card, didn't, and the oversight wasn't noted by anyone at USTA Player Development when the time came for deciding US Open wild cards. Men's NCAA champions Jarmere Jenkins and Mac Styslinger of Virginia did receive a wild card into the US Open men's doubles. It's hoped that both Santamaria and Christian will receive wild cards into the mixed doubles draw.
Speaking of mixed doubles, former UCLA star Yasmin Schnack and former Boise State standout Eric Roberson won the US National Playoffs for the mixed doubles main draw wild card today in New Haven. Schnack and Roberson defeated two other UCLA stars, Matt Brooklyn and Stephanie Wetmore, 6-1, 6-4 in today's final. For more, see this article from the Connecticut Post. The National Playoffs mixed doubles draw is available here.