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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Gibbs Wins $50K in Carson, Takes Lead in US Open WC Race; Black, Frank, Guarachi Capture Futures Titles

Two-time NCAA champion Nicole Gibbs won the $50,000 Carson Challenger today, defeating Melanie Oudin 6-4, 6-4, collecting the third $50,000 singles title of her career. The 21-year-old Gibbs, who has received a wild card into the US Open the last two years as the NCAA champion, is now in the lead for the wild card the USTA is awarding for the best two performances out of the three $50,000 women's Pro Circuit events.  Seeded No. 2 this week, Gibbs lost in the second round last week in Sacramento, to Louisa Chirico, but beat Chirico this week in the semifinals en route to her meeting with No. 4 seed Oudin in the final.  The third tournament in the USTA Wild Card Challenge is this week in Lexington, a joint event with the men.

For more on Gibbs' win, read this release from Steve Pratt.

The men's Wild Card Challenge began this week in Binghamton, but it consists of four events, the last two of which are $100,000 tournaments, which will give them more weight in the final standings. No. 8 seed Wayne Odesnik reached the final of the $50,000 Binghamton Challenger, losing to No. 2 seed Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4, 7-6(9). Bradley Klahn, who was the top seed, withdrew with a foot injury after reaching the quarterfinals.  Denis Kudla also withdrew, tweeting that he's been diagnosed with mononucleosis.

Sixteen-year-old Tornado Alicia Black won her second career $10,000 Pro Circuit title today in Evansville.  Black, the No. 7 seed, defeated top seed Caitlin Whoriskey(Tennessee) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in the final. Natalie Pluskota, Whoriskey's former doubles partner at Tennessee, partnered Florida recruit Brooke Austin for the doubles championship.  They defeated Catherine Harrison(UCLA) and 2013 NCAA finalist Mary Weatherholt(Nebraska) 6-4, 3-6. 11-9 in the final.

This week's $10,000 event for women is in Austin, Texas.

Virginia rising senior Mitchell Frank claimed his first Futures title today at the $10,000 tournament in Tulsa.  Frank, who was unseeded, defeated top seed Liam Broady of Great Britain 6-2, 6-1 in the final.  As this article from the University of Virginia website points out, Frank beat the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 seeds this week, and didn't drop a set.

This week's men's Futures tournament is a $10,000 event in Godfrey, Illinois, and is expected to feature Wimbledon boys champion Noah Rubin.  The final round of qualifying is Monday, and former Arkansas All-American Blake Strode, who had retired from the tour to attend Harvard Law School, is among those still in contention for a place in the main draw.

2013 NCAA semifinalist Alex Guarachi won her first title today at the $10,000 tournament in Vancouver. The former Crimson Tide star, seeded No. 4, beat top seed Yuka Higuchi of Japan 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(6) in the final.