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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bellis Wins Second Consecutive $25K in South Carolina; Fritz, Pedraza and Horvit Seeded at ITF Grade A Osaka Mayor's Cup; Sell Goes Undefeated, Wins Michigan High School Championship

Fifteen-year-old CiCi Bellis won her second straight singles title at a $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event today in Florence, South Carolina. Bellis received a special exemption into the main draw this week based on her inability to play qualifying because she was competing in the final of the Rock Hill tournament. In today's final, Bellis defeated No. 6 seed Ysaline Bonaventure of Belgium 6-2, 6-1, giving her ten straight Pro Circuit victories and 15 wins in a row counting her five at No. 1 singles for the US Junior Fed Cup team late last month.

Because Bellis is only 15, she is restricted to just 10 WTA/ITF pro tournaments between April of 2014 and April of 2015, when she turns 16. She has played seven, and will almost certainly receive an additional two tournament entries based on finishing the year in the ITF Junior Top 5, but the restrictions will certainly impact her schedule in the next six months.

University of North Carolina sophomore Jamie Loeb and former Tar Heel Sanaz Marand won the doubles title in Florence, with the No. 2 seeds beating No. 3 seeds Keri Wong(Clemson) and Danielle Lao(USC) 6-3, 7-6(5).

At the Mansfield Futures, top seed Liam Broady of Great Britain won both titles, beating former Texas Longhorn Dimitar Kutrovsky of Bulgaria 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-0 in the singles final and teaming with Dennis Novikov for the doubles title. Broady and Novikov beat Henrique Cunha(Duke) and Kutrovsky 4-6, 6-3, 10-7.

Former Alabama star Saketh Myneni of India won the first Challenger singles title of his pro career today at the $50,000 tournament in Indore, India. The unseeded Myneni, who turns 27 today, beat top seed Aleksandr Nedovyesov(Oklahoma St) of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3 in the final.

American participation at the Grade A Osaka Mayor's Cup in Japan is generally not great due to the distance and time of year, but this year there are a number of US juniors in the draws.  Taylor Fritz, the No. 4 seed, is joined in the boys draw by Alexander Lebedev, and five US girls are competing: No. 11 seed Raquel Pedraza, No. 14 seed Mia Horvit, Emma Higuchi, Mimi Levine and Jenna Friedel.  Horvit reached the semifinals of this week's Grade 2 in Nagoya Japan, losing to top seed Katie Swan of Great Britain.  Swan lost to No. 10 seed Chihiro Muramatsu of Japan 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5) in the final.  No. 3 seed Johan Nikles of Switzerland won the boys title, beating unseeded Uosuke Watanuki of Japan 7-6(6), 6-4.

Youth Olympic Games gold medalist Shilin Xu of China is the top girls seed, while Duck Hee Lee of Korea is the top boys seed in Osaka.

At the ITF Grade 5 in Vancouver Canada this week, two US juniors made the finals. No. 2 seed Sangeet Sridhar lost to Canada's Kyryll Kryvchun, the No. 1 seed, 6-3, 6-2 in the final.  Qualifier Alexandra Belaya won her first ITF title, beating unseeded Oleksandra Gorchanyuk of Canada 6-3, 6-3 in the final.  

I mentioned on my twitter account (@zootennis) Friday that I was at Stowe Stadium to watch the Michigan State High School Division II boys championships.  The top two seeds were from the local Portage schools, with senior Steward Sell of Portage Northern No. 1 and freshman Bill Duo of Portage Central No. 2. Duo was the runner-up at this year's USTA Boys 14s Nationals in San Antonio, but obviously is much younger and less experienced than Sell.  Both won in less than 40 minutes in the third round matches I watched Friday, and yesterday they met, as expected, in the final at No. 1 singles, with the match played indoors due to rain.  Sell won 6-3, 6-4, his fourth victory over Duo this year, to finish his season undefeated.

Forest Hills Central ended Midland Dow's impressive five-year winning streak of team titles.  For more on Sell and Duo, see this Kalamazoo Gazette article.