While I was immersed in the ITA Women's Team Indoor Championships, three former NCAA champions put up some impressive results last weekend at two ATP Challengers.
2010 NCAA champion Bradley Klahn(Stanford) won his second consecutive $50,000 ATP Challenger title, returning to Australia from his victory in Maui last month (not a short hop flight) to play the Adelaide Challenger as the top seed. The 23-year-old left-hander defeated No. 3 seed Tatsuma Ito of Japan 6-3, 7-6(9) in the final, and now has risen to an ATP career-high of 67. He is now the third-ranked American, after No. 13 John Isner and No. 56 Sam Querrey.
|Steve Johnson after winning USTA|
Australian Open Wild Card
tournament last December
Steve Johnson, who won the NCAA singles title in 2011 and 2012 while at USC, won his first Challenger since last summer in Nottingham at the $100,000 tournament. Unseeded, Johnson picked up a second round win over No. 6 seed Ryan Harrison, then took advantage of the early exit of all the other seeds, beating unseeded Malek Jaziri of Tunisia 6-4, 6-4 in the final. The only set Johnson lost was to UCLA senior (and fellow ITA Indoor champion) Clay Thompson, who received a wild card and pushed Johnson in the first round before falling 6-1, 5-7, 6-4. Johnson's ATP ranking rose to 129 with the win.
Top seeds Sam Groth and Chris Guccione of Australia won the doubles title, beating unseeded (and mostly retired) Mark Knowles of the Bahamas and Harrison 6-4, 6-2 in the final.
Germany's Tim Puetz, a former All-American at Auburn, reached the semifinals in Dallas. Complete draws can be found here.
This week the only Pro Circuit event for the men is a $10,000 Futures in Sunrise, Florida, with qualifying concluding today.
The women's Pro Circuit events are the $100,000 Challenger in Midland, Michigan and a $25,000 tournament in Rancho Santa Fe, California. Live streaming is available for the Midland tournament at usta.com. Teenagers Brooke Austin, Taylor Townsend and Tornado Alicia Black received wild cards into the main draw, as did defending champion Lauren Davis, who is the No. 2 seed, behind Poland's Urszula Radwanska, in her first tournament back after an extended injury layoff. Sachia Vickery, Vicky Duval and Allie Kiick are other young US players in the main draw.
At the ITF Grade 2 last week in Peru, 16-year-old Raquel Pedraza, seeded No. 9, made her first ITF final, but lost to unseeded Julieta Estable of Argentina 6-4, 7-6(2). Mary Haffey of the US and Georgia Tech recruit Alexis Prokopuik of Canada, seeded fifth, won the doubles title, beating No. 7 seed Anna Brogan of Great Britain and Maghan Kelley of the US 6-2, 6-3 in the final.
Logan Smith of the US lost in the boys doubles final, playing with Felipe Cunha Silva of Portugal. The third seeds lost to No. 5 seeds Marcelo Barrios Vera of Chile and Juan Jose Rosas of Peru 2-6, 6-3, 10-8.
Peru's Nicolas Alvarez won the boys singles title, with the top seed beating No. 4 seed Pedro Iamachkine, also of Peru, 6-3, 6-1.
This week there is an ITF Grade 1 in Morocco, with just one American entered, Miranda Ramirez. At the ITF Grade 2 in Bolivia this week, Jakub Wojcik and Kalman Boyd, the No. 11 seed, are the US boys in the draw. There are ten US girls in the 48-player draw, including No. 2 seed Nicole Frenkel, Pedraza(4), Ellyse Hamlin(5) and Ally Miller-Krasilnikov(11).