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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Spir Wins First Futures Title; 2012 NCAA Doubles Champions Buchanan and Rola Claim Challenger in Japan; Kan, Fucsovics Move into Top 200 with Challenger Titles

Juan Spir, who just completed his career at Georgia Tech back in June has had an excellent start to his professional career, and this weekend won his first Futures event.  That the 23-year-old Colombian had already won a four doubles titles this year was not a surprise. He and teammate Kevin King, with whom he won the Quito Challenger in September, were an elite team in college and Spir was an All-American in doubles three times, twice with King, and after King graduated, with Vikram Hundal last year. Spir's singles career in college was not as notable, but in just a few months on the tour, and has gone 18-6 in Futures events, reaching two semifinals and two finals, including his win this week, unseeded, at the $15,000 tournament in his home country. He also has reached the quarterfinals of a Challenger. His ATP ranking, which was 1768 as recently as August, should be inside the Top 500 when these points are added.

Ohio State's Blaz Rola and Chase Buchanan, who won the NCAA doubles title in 2012, as well as the two ITA fall events in 2011, have reunited during this month's Challengers in Japan. They lost in the second round in Yokohama, but won the championship this week in Toyota. Although they have 13 Futures doubles titles between them, this is the first Challenger title for either. 2013 NCAA singles champion Rola also made the semifinals in singles, and his ATP ranking, less than six months after leaving Columbus, is now 185.

In other doubles news, former LSU All-American Michael Venus will be playing in Australian Open main draw in January, after he and Yuki Bhambri of India won the Asia-Pacific wild card playoff conducted by Tennis Australia. Venus, who represents New Zealand, is currently at a career high 121 in the ATP doubles rankings and 395 in singles.

Unseeded 18-year-old Victoria Kan of Russia, who was an Eddie Herr finalist in 2011, won the $75,000 Challenger in Egypt today, beating qualifier Nastja Kolar of Slovenia 6-4, 6-4. Kan, who hasn't played a junior event since the French Open in 2012, has two $25,000 titles to her credit, but this victory will be a huge boost to her ranking, putting her in the 150s.

2010 Wimbledon boys champion Marton Fucsovics of Hungary won his second Challenger tournament at the 30,000 Euro plus Hospitality event in Italy. Unseeded, the 21-year-old beat the No. 2, 3, and 4 seeds, downing No. 3 Dustin Brown of Germany 6-3, 6-4 in the final. Fucsovics has now moved up to a career-high of 180 after ending 2012 at 445. Andreas Siljestrom of Sweden, the 2007 NCAA doubles champion from Middle Tennessee State, won the doubles title, with Philipp Oswald of Austria.