Kumar, Chen Take Lexington ITF Grade 4 Titles; Rublev Wins Bradenton Futures; Boys Les Petits As Playoff Participants
I don't know how much longer I'll have power, with the severe storms in the area tonight and the lights flickering regularly, so this post will be brief.
At this week's ITF Grade 4 tournament in Lexington, SC, Sameer Kumar won his second consecutive title, defeating Emil Reinberg 6-4, 6-2 in the final. Kumar, the 16-year-old from Indiana, won last week's ITF Grade 4 in Atlanta also. Neither player was seeded, which is not all that unusual in lower level ITF events, where so many younger players are competing to build their rankings. Kumar, who won the Easter Bowl and reached the semifinals at Kalamazoo this year, is obviously one of the best of his age in the country, but has played very few ITF junior circuit events.
The boys doubles title went to Robert Kelly and Nick Stachowiak, who beat Korey Lovett and Josh Silverstein 6-4, 6-3 in the final. Neither team was seeded.
While Kumar was collecting his second ITF title, so was 14-year-old Kelly Chen. Chen played her first ITF tournament at the Grade 4 in Claremont, California back in March, and won her first ITF title at the Grade 5 in Canada in July. Last week in Atlanta, the Southern Californian lost to eventual champion Kennedy Shaffer in the first round; this week, as the No. 9 seed, Chen beat both 2013 18s Clay Courts finalists--No. 3 seed Chloe Ouellet-Pizer in the quarterfinals and No. 15 seed Terri Fleming in the semifinals. In the final, Chen beat No. 6 seed Andie Daniell 5-7, 7-5, 6-4.
Daniell did come away with a title however. She and Sophie Chang, the No. 6 seeds, beat No. 2 seeds Helen Altick and Alexa Bortles 7-5, 6-1 for the girls doubles championship.
At the $10,000 Bradenton Futures, 2012 16s Orange Bowl champion and 2013 16s European champion Andrey Rublev won his first title on the pro circuit. The 16-year-old Russian, seeded eighth, defeated 19-year-old Martins Podzus of Latvia, the No. 6 seed, 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-3 in the final. Rublev is entered in both the Eddie Herr and the Orange Bowl, so he assumes a favorite's role now, as the surface is the same green clay, and in the case of the Eddie Herr, the exact same courts, as those tournaments.
One teen succeeded in claiming his first title, but unseeded Ernesto Escobedo just missed out. The 17-year-old Southern Californian lost to No. 2 seed Nick Meister(UCLA) 7-6(4), 1-6, 7-6(7) at the $10,000 Futures in Mexico. Alex Llompart(Pepperdine) of Puerto Rico and Marcelo Arevalo(Tulsa) of El Salvador won the doubles title.
Other prominent juniors collecting ITF Pro Circuit singles titles today include 16-year-old Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, who won both singles and doubles at the $10,000 event in Helsinki, 16-year-old Ivana Jorovic of Serbia, who won her second straight $10,000 event in Egypt, and 17-year-old Katerina Siniakova, who won the $25,000 tournament in Poland.
Former Ohio State Buckeye Steven Moneke of Germany won a $10,000 Futures title in Egypt.
The boys playoff for the Teen Tennis and Les Petits As trip in January is taking place early this year, beginning this Tuesday and running through Thursday. Eight boys have been invited to the USTA Boca Raton National Center to compete for two of the spots on the four-player team that travels to Europe for those two major events. The eight boys, seven from the 2000 birth year and one(Neff) from 2001, are: