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Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Bowl Recap; Teens Have Big Weekends on Pro Circuit; Kosakowski, Min Lead Har-Tru Wild Card Challenge After Week One; ITF Junior Update

My Easter Bowl recap is up today at the Tennis Recruiting Network. It's overview of a very busy week at Indian Wells Tennis Garden, and I hope to have the slideshow and videos from that tournament available by this weekend.

Croatia's Donna Vekic, who turns 18 in June, had already appeared in two WTA finals prior to yesterday, when she won the WTA event in Kuala Lampur, beating top seed and Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 5-7, 7-5 7-6(4).  It was Vekic's first Top 10 win, and she is the first 17-year-old to win a WTA title since Vania King won in Bangkok in 2006.  For more on Vekic's title, see this article from the WTA website.

On the Pro Circuit in the US, teens Nick Kyrgios of Australia and Grace Min of the US collected titles.  The unseeded Kyrgios, who will be 19 next week, hadn't played in a couple of months due to an elbow injury, but he collected his second career Challenger title at the $100,000 tournament in Sarasota. Kyrgios beat unseeded Filip Krajinovic of Serbia 7-6(10), 6-4 in the final, returning him to the ATP Top 200, the only teenager in that group.

Kyrgios defeated wild card Dan Kosakowski(UCLA) in the semifinals 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, but Kosakowski was the only US player (not already in the main draw of the French Open) to earn points in the USTA's Har-Tru Wild Card Challenge.  He leads the race, which includes this week's $50,000 Challenger in Savannah and next week's $50,000 Challenger in Tallahassee. A French Open wild card will go to the American with the best two results in terms of ATP points in the three Challengers. Kosakowski received a special exemption into the main draw in Savannah this week, and he will play Jarmere Jenkins(Virginia) in the first round.

Grace Min leads the women's Har-Tru Wild Card Challenge after winning the $50,000 title in Dothan, Alabama yesterday.  The unseeded Min, who will be 20 next month, defeated No. 8 seed Vicky Duval 6-3, 6-1 in the final.  Min picked up 80 points, while Duval now has 48.  A total of 13 US players earned points in Dothan; the next two events are the $50,000 tournament in Charlottesville, Virginia this week, and the $50,000 tournament in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida next week.

The Har-Tru Challenge points tables can be found here.

Another notable result from last week came from Uzbekistan, where 16-year-old Roman Safiullin of Russia captured his first Futures title. Safiullin, a wild card who had no ATP points, had played only three Futures before last week, losing in qualifying in all three. He defeated top seed Dennys Molchanov of Ukraine 6-3, 6-4 in the second round, and in the final, downed unseeded 19-year-old Temur Ismailov of Uzbekistan 2-6, 7-5, 6-1.

In the ITF Juniors, Caroline Turner, who lost in the first round of the Easter Bowl to eventual champion CiCi Bellis, won her first title last week at the Grade 4 in Barbados. Second seed Turner, who has committed to Auburn for 2015, beat top seed Sabrina Faybyshev of the US 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the final.  Qualifier Emanuel Llamas of the US won his first ITF title in Barbados, beating top seed Rasheed Carey of the Bahamas 6-3, 7-6(2) in the final.

Johnnise Renaud, who also lost in the first round of the Easter Bowl, won the Grade 4 in Guadeloupe as the top seed. Renaud beat No. 3 seed Maria Portillo Ramirez of Mexico 6-2, 6-1 in the final.  Reigning Eddie Herr 14s champion Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia swept the boys titles, partnering Gabriel Pilones of the US for the doubles championship.

Several other exceptionally young players had impressive results in ITF tournaments last week.  Thirteen-year-old Destanee Aiava of Australia claimed her third ITF title since February, with the No. 1 seed cruising past No. 2 seed Maddison Inglis of Australia 6-0, 6-2 in the final of the Grade 4 in Australia.

Eddie Herr 12s champion Anastasia Potapova of Russia, who just turned 13 in March and only then became eligible for ITF junior play, won the first ITF she entered, the Grade 4 in Israel. A qualifier, Potapova won all of her matches in straight sets, a total of eight matches in all.

Fourteen-year-old Anastasia Mikheeva of Great Britain won the Grade 4 in Nottingham, England.

At the Grade B1 Asian Closed in India, 16s Orange Bowl champion Yunseong Chung of Korea won the boys title, with the No. 3 seed defeating top seed Duck Hee Lee of Korea 7-6(1), 7-6(3). Top seed Kamonwan Buayam of Thailand won the girls title, defeating No. 4 seed Tamachan Momkoonthod, also of Thailand, 7-6(2), 6-3 in the championship match.